Barr Deserts Sinking Ship Before Trump Can Push Him Off

Barr Deserts Sinking Ship Before Trump Can Push Him Off

On Monday, just minutes after Joe Biden secured the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to become president, Donald Trump announced that Attorney William Barr was leaving.

"Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job!" Trump tweeted. Barr will officially leave his post before Christmas, with Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen taking his place for the remaining month of the Trump administration.

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Donald Trump

WATCH: Highly Contagious, Trump Returns To White House — And Removes His Mask

Donald Trump returned to the White House Monday night, after spending three days at Walter Reed Medical Center to receive treatment for COVID-19. He left the hospital even though his medical team said he had not finished his treatment yet, and even his doctor made clear he should not yet be leaving the hospital.

Trump took to the balcony of the White House, removed his mask, posed for the cameras, and then after several minutes, walked inside — without his mask.

Trump has downplayed the virus — and specifically, the importance of wearing masks to reduce the spread of the disease that has killed nearly 210,000 Americans. Even while hospitalized, he has minimized the seriousness of the illness from which he is now personally suffering.

On Sunday, Trump took a joyride to drive by his fans outside the hospital, putting the Secret Service agents in the car with him at great risk. He insisted Monday that it would have been "rude" for him not to do so.

"I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 p.m.," Trump tweeted Monday afternoon. "Feeling really good! Don't be afraid of COVID. Don't let it dominate your life."

At least 11 people who work in the White House have tested positive in recent days, including his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany and several of her aides. Many other members of Trump's inner circle who attended the White House ceremony a week ago to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court have also tested positive.

On Monday, Trump's physician, Sean Conley, refused to say what the protocol will be to keep others safe as the virus continues to spread throughout the White House. It is also not clear what precautions Trump will take — if any — to avoid further infecting the people who serve him.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Donald Trump

How Trump Plans To Remain In Power: ‘Get Rid Of The Ballots’

Donald Trump has been escalating his attacks on voting ahead of the November election, but at Wednesday's press conference, he called for getting "rid of the ballots" altogether.

"Win, lose, or draw in this election, will you commit here, today, for a peaceful transferral of power after the election?" a reporter in the White House press corps asked.

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McConnell Got Pandemic Funds For Kentucky — But Opposes ‘Blue State Bailouts’

McConnell Got Pandemic Funds For Kentucky — But Opposes ‘Blue State Bailouts’

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked the federal government for emergency funding to help his state of Kentucky combat the coronavirus.

"As of March 24, 2020, Kentucky has confirmed 124 cases of COVID-19 and 4 fatalities," McConnell and the other members of Kentucky's congressional delegation wrote to Donald Trump.

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virus test shortages, inspector general, Donald Trump

Trump Threatens Inspector General Who Reported Virus Test Shortages

Donald Trump is attacking a report released Monday that found hospitals are the country are "unable to keep up with COVID-19 testing demands" and experiencing "severe shortages."

The Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services conducted phone interviews with administrators from 323 hospitals across 46 States to prepare its report.

Asked about the report's findings at his daily coronavirus press briefing, Trump immediately launched into an attack on report because it was prepared by an inspector general.

"It's just wrong," Trump said of the report's finding on testing shortages. "Did I hear the words 'inspector general'? Really? It's wrong. They'll talk to you about it. It's wrong."

When the reporter noted that the report came from Trump's "own government," Trump repeatedly demanded to know the inspector general's name.

"Give me the name of the inspector general," Trump said. "Could politics be entered into that?"

Last Friday, Trump fired another inspector general: Michael Atkinson, who had served as inspector general of the intelligence community and had notified Congress of the anonymous report detailing Trump's pressure on Ukraine that led to his impeachment. Over the weekend, Trump called Atkinson "a disgrace to IGs."

Later in the Monday briefing, ABC reporter Jon Karl did provide the inspector general's name: Christi A. Grimm. Trump then demanded to know when she was appointed. Told that she was appointed earlier this year, Trump was demanded further information about how long she had served in government.

When Karl confirmed that Grimm had served in the previous administration, Trump launched into a lengthy attack on Karl, calling him a "third-rate reporter" for not stating that Grimm had served in the Obama administration.

Grimm has served in various roles in the federal government for more than two decades, under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Trump never addressed the substance of the inspector general's report about the shortage of testing around the country.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation

Biden Tells Trump: ‘Do Your Job, Stop Personalizing Everything’

Biden Tells Trump: ‘Do Your Job, Stop Personalizing Everything’

During a CNN town hall on Friday night, former Vice President Joe Biden had a stern message for Donald Trump about his attacks on governors pleading for help from the federal government.

“This is not personal,” Biden said. “It has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump. Nothing to do with you. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything.”

Trump has repeatedly lashed out at Democratic governors who have criticized the federal government’s slow response to the coronavirus. On Twitter, in interviews, and during his daily press briefings, he has said that some governors — he often does not bother to name them — complain too much, have not done enough, and have not demonstrated sufficient appreciation for his efforts.

During a Thursday night phone interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump targeted Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, though he apparently could not remember her name.

“She’s not stepping up,” Trump said to Hannity. “All she does is sit there and blame the federal government. She doesn’t get it done. And we send her a lot.”

He added that she is “a new governor, and it’s not been pleasant.”

During his Friday press briefing, Trump was asked specifically what more he thinks certain governors should be doing for their states.

“I want them to be appreciative,” Trump said.

He said that he had also instructed Vice President Mike Pence not to even return phone calls from governors Trump considers insufficiently appreciative, including Whitmer and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

“If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Sen. Ernst Admits GOP Aiming To Harm Biden Candidacy

Sen. Ernst Admits GOP Aiming To Harm Biden Candidacy

Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, and many of his staunchest allies, have repeatedly argued that he was not really trying to pressure to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden for the purpose of damaging his presidential election chances — it’s just that Trump is really concerned about corruption.

But on Monday evening, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) seemed to suggest that in fact the entire point was indeed to turn off Democratic voters.

“Iowa caucuses, folks, Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening,” Ernst said to reporters. “And I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?”

Much of Trump’s defense team spent Monday’s Senate impeachment trial focusing on the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden, trying to argue that Trump was justified in seeking investigations into the Biden family because of their alleged corrupt and nefarious acts. Despite many insinuations by Trump and his allies, there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims about the Bidens.

And despite the Trump team’s defense, plenty of evidence — including a Sunday bombshell from former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming book — shows that Trump was indeed focused on the Biden family in particular.

Neither Trump nor anyone in his administration has offered any evidence to show that Trump has a general interest in rooting out corruption. Asked in October whether he had asked any foreign leaders to investigate “corruption” of anyone who was not a political opponent, Trump couldn’t name a single example.

“You know, we would have to look,” he said.

It certainly looks as if Trump wanted to damage Biden, who numerous polls show has a good chance of beating Trump in November if he becomes the Democratic nominee for president.

Now Ernst is making clear that the message she thinks voters should take from Trump’s impeachment trial isn’t about Trump, but about the baseless accusations against Biden.

It’s reminiscent of an infamous moment when Republican Kevin McCarthy, now House minority leader, admitted that the purpose of the endless Benghazi investigations in 2015 was to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential chances.

“Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy asked during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

Now it seems Ernst has made a similar blunder — suggesting that the real motivation of Trump’s Ukraine dealings was not to combat corruption but to damage Biden with voters.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Rep. Hunter Will Resign ‘After The Holidays’

Rep. Hunter Will Resign ‘After The Holidays’

Days after pleading guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) announced he will resign “shortly after the holidays.”

Prosecutors accused the Republican congressman of using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to subsidize a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family, including a family vacation to Italyprivate school tuition for his kids, and even flying the family’s pet rabbit across the country.

Hunter also allegedly used campaign cash on extramarital affairs with multiple women, some of whom were congressional staff members.

His wife, Margaret, who had been his campaign manager, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of criminal conspiracy and agreed to testify against her husband.

Hunter is the second House Republican to plead guilty to federal crimes this year. Former Rep. Chris Collins of New York resigned from Congress in early October before pleading guilty to charges related to insider trading.

Collins and Hunter were the first and second members of Congress to endorse Donald Trump during the 2016 election cycle.

Hunter faces a prison sentence of up to five years as well as a fine of $250,000 fine when he is sentenced March 17, according to KGTV.

On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee sent a letter to Hunter warning him not to cast any more votes in Congress after his guilty plea.

“This provision of House Rules was promulgated to preserve public confidence in the legislative process when a sitting Member of Congress has been convicted of a serious crime,” Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) wrote.

“We emphasize in the strongest possible terms that if you violate the clear principles of this provision [by casting a vote], you risk subjecting yourself to action by this Committee, and by the House, in addition to any other disciplinary action that may be initiated in connection with your criminal conviction,” the letter stated.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

President Rants About Toilets Flushing ’10, 15 Times’

President Rants About Toilets Flushing ’10, 15 Times’

On Friday, Donald Trump hosted what the White House described as “a roundtable on small business and red tape reduction accomplishments.”

He used the time to express concerns about a number of things, including energy-efficient lightbulbs, which he said make him look orange.

“I don’t want to look orange,” he said.

He also went on a rather lengthy diatribe about overly regulated water systems that require people to flush toilets “10 times, 15 times” — something he said he was having the EPA look into.

“We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms, where you turn the faucet on in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it. And you don’t get any water. You turn on the faucet — you don’t get any water. They take a shower, and water comes dripping out, it’s dripping out very quietly, dripping out,” Trump said.

“People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion. You go into a new building or a new house or a new home, and they have standards where you don’t get water. You can’t wash your hands, practically, there’s so little water comes out of the faucet. And the end result is you leave the faucet on, and it takes you much longer to wash your hands. You end up using the same amount of water.”

Trump went on. “So we’re looking at, very seriously, at opening up the standard, and there may be some areas where we’ll go the other route. Desert areas. But for the most part, you have many states where they have so much water that it comes down — it’s called rain — that they don’t know what to do with it,” he said.

“So we’re going to be opening up that, I believe. And we’re looking at changing the standards very soon. And that’s a little bit like the lightbulb. Where you get a bulb that’s better for much less money. We go back but you have the other alternative. And you’ll keep the other alternative with sinks and showers et cetera too. But that’s been a big problem.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Georgia’s Sen. Isakson To Retire, Improving Democratic Chances In 2020

Georgia’s Sen. Isakson To Retire, Improving Democratic Chances In 2020

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia announced Wednesday that he will resign at the end of the year because of “mounting health challenges” related to his Parkinson’s disease.

“I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve,” he said in a statement.

Isakson will step down at the end of the year, and Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, will name his replacement until the state holds a special election, likely next year.

Isakson’s retirement has huge implications for the fate of the Senate, with Republicans having to defend 22 of the 34 Senate seats up in 2020. Isakson’s seat open makes it 23. With Democrats needing to pick up three or four Senate seats — depending on who wins the White House — this gives Democrats another opportunity to take back control of the Senate from the GOP and from the self-described “Grim Reaper”of popular legislation, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

David Perdue, Georgia’s other Republican senator, is also up for reelection next year, and he’s a top target for Democrats. It’s an uphill battle for Democrats in Georgia, but there have been signs in the last year that it’s not impossible. Stacey Abrams nearly defeated Kemp in last year’s gubernatorial race, and Lucy McBath picked up Georgia’s 6th Congressional District — a seat Republicans had held for decades.

As Jeff Singer of Daily Kos Elections writes, “A Democratic victory in one of the Peach State’s two seats would go a long way toward helping Team Blue turn its 53-47 deficit in the Senate into a majority, and it now has the tantalizing possibility of taking both.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Trump Brands American Jews ‘Disloyal’ For Supporting Democrats

Trump Brands American Jews ‘Disloyal’ For Supporting Democrats

Trump took his attacks on American Jews to a new low Tuesday when he accused them of being “disloyal” for supporting the Democratic Party.

“I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

Trump has a long and ugly record of anti-Semitic remarks and behavior, though certainly his most infamous was his insistence in 2017 that rioting neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were “very fine people.”

He regularly conflates American Jews with Israeli politics, insisting that American Jews should support him because of his support for Israel’s right-wing prime minister. In April, while addressing a group of Jewish Republicans, he referred to Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister.”

Trump has repeatedly tried to turn American Jews against the Democratic Party, even though they are overwhelmingly Democratic and liberal. A poll earlier this year found that just 25 percent of American Jews identify as Republicans.

That poll also found that 71 percent of American Jews disapprove of how Trump has handled the rise of anti-Semitism, while nearly 60 percent say Trump “bears at least some responsibility for the shootings at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, [California].”

“The Jewish American electorate remains overwhelmingly opposed to President Trump, motivated largely by the Jewish community’s positions on domestic policy issues,” the Jewish Electorate Institute wrote in a summary of its poll findings. “These include immigration and health care, as well as concerns about rising anti-Semitism, gun violence, and rise of white nationalism, which respondents partially attribute to President Trump.”

Trump has never taken any responsibility for, or even addressed, the rise in anti-Semitic attacks during his time in office. He has made it quite clear that the only issue he thinks American Jews care about is Israel, and that his embrace of Netanyahu’s policies means American Jews should be supporting him.

But now, he’s gone a step further and accused his fellow Americans of disloyalty, though it’s not clear to whom he thinks American Jews should be loyal. To Israel? To Trump? To the GOP?

Accusing American Jews of insufficient loyalty is an outrageous claim for any politician to make, but it’s especially audacious coming from a man who regularly gives a wink and a nod to anti-Semitic white supremacists and has called the very people who riot against Jews “very fine people.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

White House Says Trump ‘In Meetings’ As He Posts Enraged Tweets

White House Says Trump ‘In Meetings’ As He Posts Enraged Tweets

While the country continues to reel from two mass shootings that claimed the lives of more than 30 people over the weekend, Trump has other things on his mind.

White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley told reporters Tuesday afternoon that Trump has no public events on his schedule for the day because he’s “meeting with staff on a wide range of policies, having conversations in prepping for his trip to these communities.”

Trump is planning to visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, later this week — the two cities devastated by deadly shootings, although in his carefully scripted statement Monday, Trump referred to “those who perished in Toledo.”

“This is a very, very serious moment in our country’s history,” Gidley said Tuesday. “This president recognizes the gravity of this moment. You saw that manifest in his speech in the Diplomat Room.”

But as Gidley was insisting to reporters that Trump was focused on, and aware of, the gravity of the moment, Trump was rage-tweeting about Google’s involvement in the 2016 election and accusing it of “very illegal” behavior.

Trump claimed that Google CEO Sundar Pichai assured him “that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in the 2016 Election, and that they are NOT planning to illegally subvert the 2020 Election despite all that has been said to the contrary.”

Trump’s citation for this allegation is Fox host Lou Dobbs, whom Trump frequently quotes on Twitter. Trump also cited Peter Schweizer, the right-wing author of the widely debunked book Clinton Cash, tweeting that Schweizer “stated with certainty that they suppressed negatives stories on Hillary Clinton, and boosted negative stories on Donald Trump. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!”

As Matt Gertz of Media Matters noted, Trump’s baseless theories about Google — which he was tweeting about earlier in the morning but for some reason decided to tweet again in the middle of the day — come from watching Dobbs on Fox.

“The Trump-Fox feedback loop is particularly salient in giving the president targets for his ire, and the network’s obsession with tech platform bias has repeatedly resulted in angry Trump tweets,” Gertz explained. “This is at least the third time Trump has responded to Fox segments by tweeting that his administration would take action against Google.”

It’s bad enough that Trump is baselessly accusing companies of “very illegal” behavior just because he saw it on Fox News. But for the White House to insist that Trump is in fact spending his day having conversations that show he understands the “gravity of the moment” — when that is demonstrably not true — is insulting to the American people and to those communities Trump is supposedly thinking about.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Obama: Reject Language And Leaders That ’Normalize Racist Sentiments’

Obama: Reject Language And Leaders That ’Normalize Racist Sentiments’

Even out of office, President Obama continues to play the role of comforter in chief to a nation grieving after multiple mass shootings.

While Trump insisted Monday that video games and mental illness, but “not the gun,” are to blame for the two shootings that have claimed the lives of 31 people and counting, the former president condemned the refusal of those in power to do anything at all to restrict access to guns in this country.

“Every time this happens,” Obama wrote in a statement posted to Facebook, “we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.”

While in office, Obama repeatedly called on the GOP-controlled Congress to take action to prevent further mass shootings. But even bills supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans — including Republican voters and even gun owners — were blocked by Republicans in Congress.

The former president also condemned the racist rhetoric and ideology that appears to have fueled the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.

“Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy,” Obama said. “Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.”

While the former president did not call out Trump by name, he called on Americans to reject the kind of hateful language and ideas that Trump regularly spouts on social media and at his MAGA rallies.

“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people,” Obama said.

“Such language isn’t new — it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans,” Obama continued. “It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Fearing Mueller Report Release, Trump Resumes Smear Campaign

Fearing Mueller Report Release, Trump Resumes Smear Campaign

Trump was feeling great about Attorney General William Barr’s very short summary of the Mueller report when Barr first released it last month. Trump even declared that the Mueller report, which he has not seen, was a “complete and total EXONERATION” — despite Barr’s summary stating that the report “does not exonerate” Trump.

Since then, however, Trump’s confidence has been steadily crumbling before our eyes. Now, with the Justice Department announcing a redacted report will be released Thursday, Trump is launching a desperate attack on the report he once bragged about.

“The Mueller Report, which was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax,” he tweeted Monday. “Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place! Answer – Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!” he added.

Trump initially praised Mueller when the report was turned over to Barr’s office, agreeing that Mueller acted “honorably” in his two-year investigation of Trump and his campaign. He even said it wouldn’t “bother” him “at all” for the report to be released to the public.

But almost immediately, Trump started backtracking and coming up with excuses for why the report shouldn’t be released after all.

“The problem is, no matter what the Radical Left Democrats get, no matter what we give them, it will never be enough,” he declared on March 29, in the midst of demands from Congress and the American people to see the full report and not just Barr’s summary. “Just watch, they will Harass & Complain & Resist (the theme of their movement). So maybe we should just take our victory and say NO, we’ve got a Country to run!”

Trump also started to claim — without any evidence whatsoever — that Democrats were turning on Mueller because they were not satisfied with the results of the not-yet-released report.

“Now that the long awaited Mueller Report conclusions have been released, most Democrats and others have gone back to the pre-Witch Hunt phase of their lives before Collusion Delusion took over,” he tweeted April 1. “Others are pretending that their former hero, Bob Mueller, no longer exists!”

Trump also started claiming — again, without any evidence whatsoever — that there was no way to satisfy the demands of Congress to see the full Mueller report, and that there was thus no point in letting them see anything.

“No matter what information is given to the crazed Democrats from the No Collusion Mueller Report, it will never be good enough,” he tweeted, also on April 1.

“NOTHING WILL EVER SATISFY THEM!” he all-caps tweeted the next day, citing “Fox & Friends.” Later that morning, he insisted again that Democrats were somehow ignoring Mueller — “a God-like figure to the Democrats, until he ruled No Collusion” — even as they continued to demand that Barr turn over the full report, without redactions. “Now the Dems don’t even acknowledge his name, have become totally unhinged, and would like to go through the whole process again,” he added.

Minutes later, Trump insisted it was “time to focus exclusively on properly running our great Country!”

But instead of taking his own advice, Trump went on and on, on Twitter and to the press, repeating his demands that the country — and Congress in particular — stop caring about the contents of the Mueller report he had been so certain was great news for him.

But the last few weeks have suggested Trump isn’t quite as confident as he’s pretending to be. He has ramped up his racist attacks on immigrants in recent days, reportedly in an attempt to distract from the report.

Last week, he delivered an extended rant about the Mueller investigation, calling it “phony” and smearing it as “crooked” and “illegal.”

And now Trump is once again invoking his same old smears on Mueller and his team — falsely claiming they are all Democrats and “Trump Haters” — in a transparent attempt to undermine the report.

Maybe Trump’s advisers have warned him that the report isn’t quite as good for him as he’d hoped. A report earlier this month that members of Mueller’s team were upset by Barr’s summary, saying it did not paint an accurate picture and that their conclusions were far more damning than Barr indicated.

Or maybe Trump has taken note of polling that shows the majority of Americans think he’s probably a criminal.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that Trump is not eager for the American people to see the full 400-page report on his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia and his attempts to obstruct that investigation. If Trump were really so certain that it is a “complete and total exoneration,” he wouldn’t be so nervous about its release.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

Graham Urges Appointment Of Special Counsel To ‘Look At’ Clinton, Comey

Graham Urges Appointment Of Special Counsel To ‘Look At’ Clinton, Comey

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most vociferous defenders in the Senate, has declared that he will use his power as chair of the Judiciary Committee to pursue his greatest obsession: Hillary Clinton’s emails. But that’s not enough for the senator. He wants Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, to join in his obsession.

“I know Bill Barr pretty well, and he’s pretty upset about the way all this was handled,” Graham said in a Sunday interview on Fox News. “I don’t know if he’s going to have a special prosecutor to look at the probability of criminal misbehavior.”

Graham’s “evidence” of suspicious behavior is that “nobody in the Clinton investigation went to jail for lying about the process because there was no process.” That doesn’t suggest to Graham that Clinton and her campaign were innocent, as the exhaustive investigations of her concluded.

Instead, it suggests something far more nefarious at the FBI. That’s why Graham also wants to talk to former FBI Director James Comey to see if Comey was “in the tank for Clinton and gave her a pass.”

The “pass” Clinton got was a very public announcement, just two weeks before the 2016 election, that the FBI was reopening its investigation of her emails — a move that, as many analysts have observed, may have cost Clinton the election. That’s some “pass.”

But because special counsel Robert Mueller thoroughly investigated Trump and his campaign and the serious allegations of collusion and obstruction, Graham thinks Clinton deserves a fresh round of investigations too.

“I’m going to look at what happened from an oversight role,” Graham said. “But I hope there’s a special counsel appointed to look at DOJ corruption and political bias, you know? Because Mueller did his job against Trump.”

This is the kind of petty retribution Trump has often talked about, mostly on Twitter. Because he and his campaign have been investigated, he thinks “the other side” — Clinton, her campaign, various congressional Democrats, career FBI workers, and sometimes even President Obama — should be investigated as well.

Graham, who holds himself out as a serious person with great respect for the rule of law, is now pursuing this Trumpian pettiness. He has made no secret of his desire to be “relevant,” and he’s willing to do and say just about anything to for Trump to be “good” to him so he can have “influence.” That apparently includes using his authority to chase Trump’s revenge fantasies and to call on the nation’s top law enforcement official to do the same.

Barr hasn’t made any public statements about reinvestigating Clinton since he became attorney general. But before he got the job, Barr said there was a stronger case for investigating Clinton than for investigating Trump’s collusion with Russia. While Barr has made his objections to the investigation of Trump abundantly clear, it’s less clear whether he thinks Clinton should face a whole new round of scrutiny.

But it is indisputable that Trump and his enablers want revenge. They think the investigation — which resulted in several convictions and guilty pleas of top Trump advisers — was a “hoax” and they want someone to pay.

So Graham will be spending taxpayer dollars to yet again investigate Clinton, and he’s very strongly suggesting he wants the attorney general of the United States to do the same.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Senate Vote Thursday: Will Republicans Reopen The Government?

Senate Vote Thursday: Will Republicans Reopen The Government?

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.


For more than a month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has helped Trump keep the government shutdown — and held the paychecks of 800,000 workers hostage.

But on Tuesday, McConnell finally caved to the enormous and growing pressure to at least hold a vote on one of several bills passed by the Democratic House to end Trump’s shutdown, reopen the government, and finally pay all those workers.

On Thursday, the Senate will vote on two separate bills: one that would give Trump the $5.7 billion he has demanded to build a wall the majority of Americans oppose, and one that would reopen the government and fund it through Feb. 8, without paying Trump’s ransom.

Either bill would need 60 votes to pass the Senate. While a handful of the more vulnerable Republicans have voiced their desire to end the shutdown, even without giving Trump his wall money, unless McConnell gives his caucus permission to vote against Trump’s wishes, there probably won’t be enough votes to actually reopen the government on Thursday.

And that is unlikely to happen, as long as Trump insists he will veto any bill that doesn’t give him $5.7 billion.

Of course, the Senate could override such a veto. A bill to keep the government funded, without money for Trump’s wall, passed unanimously in the Senate before the shutdown. McConnell could easily call upon his fellow Republicans to do it again, and to serve the wishes of the American public instead of the petulant demands of the hostage-taker in chief.

As the shutdown drags on into its second month, and the American public becomes even more anxious about the immediate and longterm consequences of Trump’s tantrum, the will among Republicans — especially those up for re-election in 2020 — to actually fix the problem might grow stronger.

And it is up to Republicans to fix the problem of their own creation. Before Trump shut down the government in December, he said he would be “proud” to take responsibility for doing it. Since then, he’s tried to shift blame to Democrats, but Americans aren’t buying it.

The Democratically controlled House has passed bill after bill to reopen the government, and voters know it’s Trump’s fault that the government remains closed.

Trump and his party made this mess. It’s up to Trump and his party to clean it up. They will have the chance to do so on Thursday. The question is whether they will, for once, actually do the right thing.

Published with permission of The American Independent.


In ‘Major Announcement’, Trump Mostly Repeats His Wall Demand

In ‘Major Announcement’, Trump Mostly Repeats His Wall Demand

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.


On Saturday, Trump delivered what was billed as a “major announcement,” supposedly to address the ongoing crisis he created by shutting down the government in December.

Instead, Trump delivered what was essentially the same boring prime-time speech he gave earlier this month, in which he demanded — for the zillionth time — that Congress give him $5 billion to build his wall.

Like his first speech, he spouted absurd and baseless claims about drugs and crime, going so far as to suggest that his wall could cut the crime rate in the United States in half. And he continued to attack Democrats, while at the same time demanding that they work with him to end his shutdown.

“The radical left can never control our borders. I will not let it happen,” Trump said.

The new part of Trump’s Saturday speech was an offer of temporary relief to Dreamers — those young Americans brought to this country by their families when they were children.

Of course, those young Americans already had protection under DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. But in 2017, the Trump administration announced it was terminating the program, for no reason other than to try to use those 800,000 young lives as bargaining chips, throwing their lives into chaos as they faced the threat of deportation.

Now, Trump once again is callously treating those immigrants, whose lives he couldn’t care less about, as bargaining chips to extort billions of dollars from American taxpayers. Taxpayers, by the way, who do not support his wall and most definitely do not support his shutdown, which he has continued for almost a month.

Trump’s “compromise” is already dead on arrival. House Democrats have passed several bills to reopen the government, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to even hold a vote on any of them. Trump has insisted he would veto any bill to reopen the government that does not address his $5 billion ransom demand.

But Democrats have made clear they are not going to give Trump money for a wall most people don’t support and that will in no way provide real immigration reform.

“Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-need discussion to protect the border,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement just before Trump’s speech.

But Trump’s proposal, Pelosi said, “is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”

That Trump is offering only a three-year reprieve for Dreamers, rather than a permanent solution, is one of several reasons his “compromise” is unacceptable.

Pelosi also noted that the House will pass yet more bills next week to reopen the government.

“The President must sign these bills to re-open government immediately and stop holding the American people hostage with this senseless shutdown,” Pelosi said. “Each day he prolongs this needless crisis, Coast Guardsmen, FBI agents, border patrol officers, TSA agents, and hundreds of thousands more workers are forced to live without knowing how they can feed their families or pay their bills.”

Nearly 1 million federal workers have had to go without pay and are about to miss yet another paycheck soon if Trump continues to keep the government shut. Those workers are becoming increasingly desperate, forced to rely on donations and food banks to support themselves and their families.

The solution to the problem entirely of Trump’s making is clear. Both the House and Senate have voted for bills to reopen the government. It is up to Trump — the same man who insisted, during his campaign, that when it comes to America’s problems, “I alone can fix it” — to do his job.

Trump “has taken pride in shutting down government,” Pelosi said. “Now, he must take action to open up government.”