Category Archives: President

The GOP sabotage of ‘Obamacare’ may come to a climax next week

There are a two events scheduled to occur next week on the “Obamacare” front that could affect the status of both “Obamacare” and the awful American Health Care Act passed in a rush by the Tea-Publican House a couple of weeks ago.

I previously gave you a backgrounder on the House GOP lawsuit House v. Price (née House v. Burwell) for which the next status report to the Court is due on Monday, May 22.  The Trump administration could opt to sabotage “Obamacare” by not funding the cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and blowing up health insurance markets across the country.

The second scheduled event is the release of the nonpartisan Congresssional Budget Office (CBO) score for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 24. The CBO score for the Zombie Trumpcare bill is widely expected to be far worse than for the Trumpcare 2.0 bill.

And there is another complication that that “the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin” and Ayn Rand fanboy, House Speaker Paul Ryan, did not seriously consider when he forced a House vote on the AHCA without the benefit of the CBO score.

NBC News reports, Uh-Oh: The House May Need to Vote on Health Care (Again!):

Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed on Friday that that the House may need to vote on the American Health Care Act a second time before the Senate can take up the bill, even as he stressed it was unlikely.

Republicans are using the budget “reconciliation” process to pass their health care bill, which allows them to push legislation through the Senate with a simple majority. But that depends on the bill meeting certain requirements — and one of them is that it reduces the deficit by at least $2 billion over the next decade.

The trouble is that Republicans voted on their House bill without waiting for the Congressional Budget Office, the federal agency that evaluates legislation, to finish its projections, which will be released on Wednesday.

Bloomberg News reported Thursday and NBC News confirmed that House leaders have not formally sent their bill to the Senate on the chance that it fails to meet the deficit requirements.

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Mike Pence’s ‘Sergeant Schultz defense’ does not hold up to scrutiny

After the “bombshell” reporting this week about what the Trump administration knew about Gen. Michael Flynn and when they knew it, Trump transition chairman Vice President Pence has his aids anonymously leaking to the press the Sergeant Schultz defense — “I know nothing!” — in an effort to separate himself from the Trump scandals (and to preserve his status as next in line of presidential succession).

We are now all supposed to believe that Trump transition chairman Vice President Pence, who was named to that post because he was supposedly the adult in the room who could herd the crazy cats  Trump brought with him to Washington, was entirely kept out of the information loop about Gen. Michael Flynn. We are all supposed to believe that Trump transition team lawyers never notified their client, transition chairman Vice President Pence, of information they received about Flynn. Riiight.

We are aslo supposed to believe that Mike Pence never read a newspaper article or watched a television news report about Michael Flynn, which was widely reported in the news at the time.

NBC News reports, VP Mike Pence Was Never Informed About Flynn: Source:

Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s alleged wrongdoing, according to a source close to the administration, who cited a potential “pattern” of not informing the vice president and calling it “malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable.”

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Robert Mueller III appointed special counsel in Russia probe

When he was confirmed as deputy attorney general and became the acting attorney general for purposes of the Trump-Putin campaign investigation, Rod Rosenstein said he sees no need for a special prosecutor in Russia probe: “One source says Rosenstein isn’t inclined to make a change unless the FBI investigation appears to be imperiled.”

That was before Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and threw Rod Rosenstein under the bus by initially (falsely) asserting that he was acting on the recommendations of a memo prepared by Rosenstein. Trump blames everyone but himself for his problems. The Justice Department just blamed him. The Justice Department tacity admitted that:

[Trump] had badly damaged the credibility of the FBI’s Russia investigation by announcing the probe would now be handled by a special counsel, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III.

The bombshell revelation represents a startling admission of fault for the administration — if not the White House directly. This was a Justice Department decision about which the White House reportedly learned shortly before it was announced.

“What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

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What the Trump administration knew about Michael Flynn, and when they knew it

I have said from the beginning the White House cover story that Gen. Michael Flynn was fired for “misleading” Trump transition team chairman Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia and his being an undisclosed foreign lobbyist for Turkey smelled to high heaven of bullshit.

Then acting attorney general Sally Yates notified White House counsel that Flynn was under investigation by the FBI, and the White House did nothing for 18 days. It only became an issue after the Washington Post reported the story. If not reported by the media, Flynn would still be in his job.

Now we learn that the Trump transition team was informed by Gen. Michael Flynn himself that he was under investigation by the FBI even before Donald Trump named him as his mational securty adviser.

There is no credible scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence,  the Trump transition team chairman, was not also fully apprised of the facts by Trump transition team lawyers. Both Trump and Pence knowingly hired a man they knew was under investigation by the FBI and was compromised by his foreign entanglements. Mike Pence has some splainin’ to do under oath.

The New York Times reports that the Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House:

Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.

Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.

Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.

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Trump sharing ‘highly classified’ intel with Russians jeopardizes Israeli intelligence

Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians, in the oval office no less, and his Tea-Publican supporters who chanted “lock her up!” over the mere possibility that Hillary Clinton’s emails may have been intercepted by hackers or foreign goverments (there is no evidence this occurred), respond to Trump’s gratuitous sharing of highly classified intelligence with his Russian handlers with a ‘Seriously? This is Not News’:

President Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to Russian officials in a meeting last week, a government official said on Monday. The disclosure was not illegal, since presidents have the power to declassify nearly anything, but the sharing of sensitive intelligence provided by Israel, one of the United States’ most important allies in the Middle East, was disclosed without their permission.

Mr. Trump defended his disclosure on Twitter, saying it was his “absolute right” to do so.

Actually, it’s not so clear cut. As Steve Vladeck explains, Trump’s disclosures to the Russians might actually have been illegal.

While the sycophant conservative media entertainment complex Spins an Alternative Narrative About the Crises Around Trump to explain away his bizarre behavior, the release of classified intelligence could have very real and dangerous repercussions on national security and the global fight against terrorism, experts told ABC News. High stakes involved in Trump’s revelations to Russia:

Danny Yatom, the former director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, warns that even if Trump didn’t reveal the source — which McMaster said the president didn’t know at the time of the conversation with the Russian officials — or methods of how the U.S. obtained the intelligence, it could still put the source in danger.

“Sometimes damage is caused from the content of the revelation, even if he does not say the methods and sources,” Yatom told The Jerusalem Post.

“The fact that you have very high-quality sensitive intelligence can lead to revealing the source. Very few people in ISIS may know about this information. Once it is publicized, ISIS can do an investigation and find the source,” Yatom added.

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Comey’s Revenge?

Last Friday Donald Trump’s Tweet alleged secretly recorded “tapes” of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey.

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Tuesday night we learned that James Comey can say “I’ll see your alleged tape recordings, and raise you the contemporaneous memorandums of conversations that I maintain to cover my ass. And I want to testify in both public and private hearings before Congress.”

If Trump was bluffing about his “tapes,” now’s the time for him to fold. He’s about to lose this hand “bigly.”

The New York Times reported, Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation:

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

This is the basis for an obstruction of justice charge.

Mr. Comey created similar memos — including some that are classified — about every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the two people said. It is unclear whether Mr. Comey told the Justice Department about the conversation or his memos.

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