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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: trump russia

Trump Asks Putin For ‘Dirt’ On Hunter Biden

Only the Republican Party is capable of continuing to make this noxious irrelevant windbag still relevant. Donald Trump is out with a new "exclusive" interview in Just The News (i.e. couldn't get a real outlet to bite) in which he calls on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release damaging information about Hunter Biden's financial dealings in Eastern Europe.

Trump cited a 2020 claim by Senate Republicans that Hunter, President Joe Biden's son, received a $3.5 million payment in 2014 from a Russian oligarch. The younger Biden has denied the claim and neither Senate Republicans nor Trump have ever provided evidence indicating such a payment would have been corrupt or illegal, according to CNN.

But who cares about the facts—it sounds seedy. So why not just go ahead and solicit dirt on the sitting President of the United States from a U.S. adversary making war on the West, not to mention the very notion of American democracy. I mean, it's not like Trump is orchestrating a coup or anything, even though a federal judge has concluded he "likely" did orchestrate a coup on January 6.

In the Just The News interview, Trump questioned why the alleged payment was made.

"I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Trump, the guy who was impeached for trying to extort Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for dirt on Hunter Biden, wants answers... from Putin!

Um, just for context, there's a war going on. Putin launched it. And after a series of epic strategic missteps, he's mostly getting his ass handed to him by a heroic but much smaller and less-resourced Ukrainian military along with thousands of brave civilian fighters who picked up a gun to defend their country. So Putin may be a tad preoccupied right now. Perhaps he'll find a few moments down the road to humor Trump.

Honestly, could Trump be any smaller and more irrelevant at this moment in history? Putin's not a "genius" and his invasion wasn't "a great negotiation" that went bust. Putin's a maniac who is so removed from reality he blundered his way into making Russia an international pariah with a crippled economy and a disgraced military.

Read the room, Trump.

Good god, Trump cannot remain in power (to borrow a phrase)... except in the Republican Party, where irrelevance and stupidity reign supreme.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Asked About Ukraine, Trump Answers With Weird Rant Against ‘Windmills’

There’s only one thankful aspect to Russia’s horrific and illegal invasion of Ukraine: Failed one-term President Donald Trump isn’t leading the U.S. as it happens.The orange monster recently sat down with the bros from the Ultimate Fighting Championship podcast Full Send, and although it’s anyone’s guess what they expected, what they got was an off-the-rails answer to the war in Ukraine.

Trump initially began with the usual, talking about how great his leadership was, that “Putin would not have done it [invaded Ukraine],” and if he’d been in office there’d be “no war.”

Side note: Somehow the twice-impeached dolt seems to have completely forgotten about his illegal phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pressuring him to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe into then-candidate Joe Biden’s son.

After being asked about how the Ukraine conflict would look in the future, whether or not it would drag on for some reason, Trump launched into a bizarre rant about—wait for it—windmills?

“I said this a long time ago, if this happens we are playing right into their hands—green energy,” he said, adding: “The windmills, they don’t work. They’re too expensive, they kill all the birds, they ruin your landscapes.

“And yet the environmentalists love the windmills. I’ve been preaching this for years … the windmills are the most expensive energy you can have and they don’t work.”

Trump went on to say: “By the way, they last a period of 10 years and by the time they start rusting and rotting all over the place nobody takes them down. They just go onto the next prairie or land and destroy that.”

Trump has long proffered weird and false claims about wind energy. In 2019, he claimed windmills “killed all the birds.” He added that windmills cause cancer.

Meanwhile, former failed Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen went to the Ukrainian border, asking for thoughts and “prayers” for Ukrainian refugee families and donations to the relief organization @SamariansPurse, a “non-denominational evangelical Christian organization” that provides worldwide aid.

Trump’s full interview here, if you can stomach it:

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

#EndorseThis: Watch Kimmel Shred 'Capt. Bone Spurs' For Adoring Putin

Once again, former defeated President Trump is droning on at the insane asylum in Mar-A-Lago about how much of a "stable genius" he is and how the invasion of Ukraine (something Trump laid the groundwork for during his clownish time in office) would've never happened during under his watch, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin had an "affinity" for him. It was the other way round: Trump was a useful patsy for Putin to prepare his aspirations to seize the sovereign land of Ukraine.

In this video Jimmy Kimmel wonderfully mocks Trump, noting that he can’t help but lie about himself and Putin, whom he has consistently praised over the years.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly interested in hearing Capt. Bone Spurs’ thoughts on war when his only military credentials are leading an attack on his own vice president at the Capitol,” Kimmel said. “Be an American for one minute and shut up. Even the clown from ‘It’ took a few years off between terrorizing children.”

Watch The Entire Segment Below:

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist. Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

Ron Johnson Blasted As ‘Witting Russian Agent’ After Blaming Democrats For Ukraine Crisis

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), already a well-known as a far right wing conspiracy theorist, is coming under strong criticism after falsely claiming top Democrats weakened Ukraine by impeaching Donald Trump.

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) responded by calling Johnson “confused,” and saying, “Sit this one out, Senator.”

“It was Trump who withheld military aid from Ukraine. It was Trump who demanded a ‘favor’ from Zelenskyy in exchange for the aid. It was Trump who weakened Ukraine. And it was Senator Johnson who voted to acquit.”

Johnson dared to double down with more falsehoods, claiming Schiff had no “Russian collusion evidence.”

Ukraine wishes you would have sat 2017-2020 out when you appeared over 467 times for over 57 total hours lying bold faced to America and the world about Russian collusion evidence you never had.

You helped weaken and make Ukraine vulnerable.

Attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa went after Johnson:

Noted political scientist Norman Ornstein jumped in, declaring Johnson “Putin’s favorite senator. A Putin lickspittle. A useful idiot to Russia. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ron Johnson!”

Others blasted Johnson as well.

Some reminded the Wisconsin Republican he (and other GOP Senators) infamously “celebrated American independence in Russia,” and called him “a Russian sympathizer and a traitor.”

Former Lincoln Project Executive Director Fred Wellman:

Journalist and former staff writer at The New Yorker James Surowiecki:

And veteran journalist Dan Rather asked the most important question:

Five Major Pro-Putin, Anti-Ukraine Things Trump Did To Stoke Crisis

As Ukraine and its people continue to face Russian aggression and attacks, citizens in the West and Russia itself watch in horror at what one megalomaniac gone mad is doing to a sovereign land and its innocent people. America and its European allies stand together and are doing everything to stop Putin from continuing his naked aggression and tyrannical aspirations. Well, except for the Biden-hating traitors at Fox News and in the Republican party.

Hours before Putin ordered his forces into Ukraine, Fox News’ Tucker Carson (or Putin's cuck boy) was still heaping praise and worship on the Russian autocrat. Putin’s belligerent threats towards Ukraine and build-up of roughly 190,000 troops on the country’s border, was, according to Carlson, a mere “border dispute”. Carlson placated Putin and went so far as to play into Kremlin talking points by declaring that Ukraine was “not a democracy” in a sickening attempt to humanize the evil scumbag.

Maybe We Need To Freeze This Russian Asset

Tucker Carlson loves Putin

Meme by Michael Hayne

And while slimy and feckless Republicans look to score cheap political points by attacking President Biden ahead of midterms, it's vital to remind these disingenuous Trumplicans just how much Trump was pro-Putin and anti-Ukraine.

1. Trump Hired Pro-Russian Criminal To Run His 2016 Campaign

Manafort was hired by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a controversial pro-Russia politician who was ousted from power twice. After Yanukovych was elected president in 2010, Manafort reportedly stayed on as an adviser and worked on other projects in Eastern Europe, including the Party of Regions political party (Politico)

In early 2016, Manafort became Trump's campaign chairman. Manafort’s resignation from the campaign was announced on August 19, 2016, after The Times reported that he'd received $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments from Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party between 2007 and 2012. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. She reportedly was said to have damaging information on Trump’s campaign rival, Hillary Clinton, which was "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump." (Fox News)

2. Trump Rewrote 2016 Campaign GOP Platform To Make It Anti-Ukraine

The Trump campaign convinced the platform committee to change GOP Platform committee member Diana Denman's proposal of bulking up security for Ukraine. It went from calling on the U.S. to provide Ukraine "lethal defensive weapons" to the more benign phrase "appropriate assistance." (NPR) Oh, and who can forget the decidedly anti-Ukraine act of threatening to withhold security assistance from the country unless it helped smear Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election. You know, the very thing that spawned impeachment number 1.

3. Trump Gave Classified Intel To Russia

Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russia’s foreign minister about a planned Islamic State operation, two U.S. officials revealed, plunging the White House into controversy just months into Trump’s term. (Reuters)

4. Trump Refused to Impose New Sanctions On Russia

In 2018, The Trump administration announced it wouldn't impose additional sanctions on Russia, despite Congress passing a law allowing the President to do so. (Independent)

5. Trump Attacked And Weakened NATO At Every Chance

Trump repeatedly unleashed attacks on the major western alliance in existence since the end of World War II, threatening to withhold money and even calling NATO "obsolete” and “unfair, economically, to … the United States.” Worse yet, it seems that Trump was aiming to leave NATO altogether if he somehow won reelection.

We all know today's GOP is totally immune to facts and reality, but it's imperative to make sure that those of us still residing in Reality Town know the truth behind every vile and hypocritical smear a desperate and power-hungry GOP makes.

Michael Hayne is a comedian, writer, voice artist, podcaster, and impressionist.Follow his work on Facebook and TikTok

As GOP Tries To Blame Biden, Remember Trump’s Extortion Of Ukraine

There are 46 Republicans in the Senate today who in 2020 voted against convicting Donald Trump for withholding military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to get President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to dig up or manufacture dirt against a political opponent Trump feared. (Fifty-two Republican senators voted to acquit Trump, but six are no longer in the Senate.) The specifics here are important as we consider how those Republicans are responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine—and how they are characterizing President Joe Biden’s response.

During a 2019 phone call, Zelenskyy said, “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost. ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.” Javelins are an anti-tank weapon and have been essential in Ukraine’s defense against Russia. All you really need to know about Trump’s response is that it began, “I would like you to do us a favor though ...”

Trump froze $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as he made his extortion attempt, only unfreezing the aid months later after a whistleblower complaint about it. That frozen aid, coupled with his “I would like you to do us a favor, though,” as a direct response to Zelenskyy’s ask for more Javelins were at the center of Trump’s first impeachment, on which Mitt Romney was the only Republican senator to vote guilty.

Romney voted guilty, and Sens. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama were not in the Senate at the time. Every other Republican in the Senate—along with all 195 Republicans who voted in the House—voted against holding Trump responsible. (And Hagerty, Lummis, Marshall, and Tuberville absolutely would have voted not guilty given the chance.)

Trump has praised Vladimir Putin as Russia invaded Ukraine, and insisted that the invasion would not have happened if he had been in office. Trump is now claiming credit for NATO’s strength (after he threatened to pull the U.S. out of NATO) and for U.S. military aid to Ukraine, all part of his campaign to insist that this would not be happening if he were in the White House. In reality, what Putin would or wouldn’t be doing if Trump was in the White House is a mystery, but what we absolutely know is that if Putin invaded Ukraine, a Trump-led United States would not be taking a leading role in a major international diplomatic response.

Republicans, meanwhile, have largely either dodged answering whether they’re with him on his view of Putin or have tacitly supported Trump’s stance.

The Republican talking points are much more focused on blaming Biden than on blaming Putin. “Vladimir Putin’s decision to launch a renewed invasion of Ukraine is reprehensible,” House Republican leaders said in a group statement last week, before moving directly to their real interest. “Sadly, President Biden consistently chose appeasement, and his tough talk on Russia was never followed by strong action.” These are people who literally voted against impeaching Donald Trump for withholding military aid to try to create a scandal that would harm Biden’s chances in 2020. Many House Republicans followed their leaders in blaming Biden more than they blamed Putin, and the same is true in the Senate.

And no wonder. Once Trump got Republicans to back him in attempting to extort elections help from Ukraine, where wouldn’t they go with him?

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Watch Ukraine Ambassador Tell Russian War Criminals To "Go Straight To Hell"

We're now into day two of brutish and tyrannical Russian President Vladamir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, and the harsh sanctions imposed by President Biden and the European Community don't seem to be stopping Putin from advancing his goals of reclaiming Ukraine even if Moscow's momentum has slowed.

While human Trump footstools such as Republican Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) do their best at echoing the defeated and disgraced president's admiration for Putin, the rest of the civilized world--including many Russian citizens--are aghast at the naked tyranny and murderous megalomania of Putin.

Ukraine's UN ambassador, however, appeared to do what Republicans at home can't do.

Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya delivered a blistering speech on Wednesday condemning Russia for launching a military operation against his country and ended the meeting with a sharply-worded parting shot.

"There is no purgatory for war criminals," Kyslytsya said to the Russian ambassador at the end of the meeting. "They go straight to hell"

Bravo, Ambassdor!

How The Republican Party Became A Wholly-Owned Asset Of The Kremlin

On Monday, Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) warned that his office was getting calls from Fox News watchers whose reliance on Tucker Carlson had led them to argue that the United States should be supporting Russia. Not just supporting Vladimir Putin in his plans to invade a sovereign nation, but supporting Russia’s “reasonable” position in their arguments that NATO is somehow the aggressor.

It’s not just Democratic lawmakers getting these calls. As Axios made clear on Thursday, Republicans are also hearing from their base. And, in the modern Republican tradition, those Republicans are doing what they always do when confronted by extremists in their own party — rolling over.

“Leery of the base, they are avoiding—and in some cases, rejecting—the tough-on-Russia rhetoric that once defined the Republican Party. GOP operatives working in 2022 primary races tell Axios they worry they'll alienate the base if they push to commit American resources to Ukraine or deploy U.S. troops to eastern Europe.”

Strangely enough, Axios gets through the whole article about Republicans being afraid to offend Vladimir Putin, without mentioning one little thing: The whole reason that this is happening, is because Russia interfered in U.S. elections to support Donald Trump.

Repeatedly, the Axios article comes close to spilling the beans. Republicans who are still willing to be critical of the idea that Russia should be allowed to swallow whole Europe’s second-largest nation while the U.S. cheers from the sidelines are described as “still making statements that sound more at home in the pre-Trump GOP.” This shift in the Republican base is attributed in part to “President Donald Trump's warmer posture toward Russia.”

But let’s go to the tape. Or, in this case, to the five-volume report on Russian interference in the 2016 election prepared by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee, and finally released just three days after the 2020 election.

What does that report have to say about Russia’s actions in 2016?

  • “The Committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian
    effort to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak
    information damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president. Moscow's intent was
    to harm the Clinton Campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the U.S. democratic process.”
  • “The Committee found, that the [Russian intelligence operation] IRA sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton's chances of success and supporting Donald Trump”
  • "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency"
  • “Russia's targeting of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was part of a broader, sophisticated, and ongoing information warfare campaign designed to sow discord in American politics and society”
  • “The Russian government ‘aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him’”
  • “[Russian] social media activity was overtly and almost invariably supportive of then-candidate Trump, and to the detriment of Secretary Clinton's campaign”
  • “Posing as U.S. political activists, IRA requested-and in some cases obtained-assistance from the Trump Campaign in procuring materials for rallies and in promoting and organizing rallies”
  • “IRA employees were directed to focus on U.S. politics and to ‘use any opportunity to criticize Hillary”
  • “[S]tories about Democratic emails might have mentioned that their release was part of a Russian influence campaign and that Donald Trump's repeated references to the releases, his stated adoration of WikiLeaks, and his solicitation of Russian assistance were taking place in the context of an ongoing influence campaign to assist him.”
  • “Manafort hired and worked increasingly closely with a Russian national, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik is a Russian intelligence officer. … Prior to joining the Trump Campaign in March 2016 and continuing throughout his time on the Campaign, Manafort directly and indirectly communicated with Kilimnik, Deripaska, and the pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine.”
  • “On numerous occasions, Manafort sought to secretly share internal Campaign information with Kilimnik.”
  • “The Committee obtained some information suggesting Kilimnik may have been connected to the GRU's hack and leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election.”
  • The Russians who Manafort and Donald Trump Jr met with at Trump Tower had “significant connections to Russian government, including the Russian intelligence services.” This included Natalia Veselnitskaya, whose connections to the Kremlin “were far more extensive and concerning than what had been publicly known.”

What Russia got for the few million it expended is priceless: Not just Trump in the White House for four years, defending Moscow’s interests from Ukraine to the Middle East, not just a greater-than-ever gap in American society, but a fundamental shift in the Republican base, and in right-wing media, that turned them into an extension of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.

In 2012, Mitt Romney took heat for the vehemence of his antipathy toward Russia. Romney’s warnings about Russian aggression drew scorn at the time, though soon after the election the Utah Republican actually got apologies from Democratic officials and candidates as Russia massed its forces on the border of Ukraine and staged an invasion with the assistance of Republican insider Paul Manafort.

Romney’s position wasn’t unusual at the time. In fact, most of the heat he took from his anti-Russia stance was based on the idea that the presidential candidate wasn’t putting any thought into his response. He was simply continuing a long Republican tradition of using the threat from Russia as an excuse to bolster U.S. military spending.

From the Cold War right up through the Obama administration, Republicans didn’t just maintain a solid front when it came to the danger represented by Russia, they built their foreign policy around that threat.

It should be noted that this isn’t the first time Putin has been handed a gift by the radical right. In 2014, with the invasion of Crimea underway, Mitch McConnell stood in the way of passing a bill considered vital for Ukraine. Why? As Politico explained at the time: “McConnell faces a tea party primary opponent in May.”

“Twenty, 25 years ago, if you told me McCain would be the leader of the Republicans on foreign policy and McConnell [would be] on the sidelines, I would never have believed you,” said one veteran of President George H.W. Bush’s administration. “Mitch was one of our go-to guys.”

Yeah, well, Mitch is always willing to go … wherever the wind blows him. When it looked like a Tea Party candidate might challenge him, McConnell threw away his “beliefs”

Republicans have been riding the whirlwind since those Tea Party days, banking on an anything-goes faux populism that champions hurting fellow Americans over anything else. They stayed on that whirlwind even when they knew their candidate was being backed and bankrolled by Moscow. And now they have a party that’s urging them to surrender an ally to Putin, arguing that the U.S. should just ignore military aggression from an expansionist authoritarian empire and it will go away. Because that’s worked so well in the past.

Putin bought Trump. Cheap. Now he owns the power-base of an American political party, with GOP candidates falling all over themselves to prove how much they don’t care about Russia tearing a chunk out of Europe.

It’s almost as if the Republican tough-on-Russia position was never real, to begin with, but just something they were doing to bolster donations from defense contractors and create the impression that they had a serious position on foreign policy.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos