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Destiny

I have nothing pithy to say. I'm just tired. Someone, please, make it stop. 

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GreyhoundFan

More from the racist-in-chief: "Trump suggests Justice Department investigate Oakland’s Democratic mayor for tipping off immigrants"

Quote

President Trump referred to some undocumented immigrants as “animals” on Wednesday and suggested the Justice Department investigate the Democratic mayor of Oakland, Calif., for her role in tipping off the community about an impending federal enforcement raid in February.

Trump said Mayor Libby Schaaf’s decision to inform residents of Oakland ahead of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement action amounted to “obstruction of justice” because many of those who were targeted fled the area before federal agents arrived.

“They all fled, or most of them fled. The whole operation took a long time to put together,” he said during an immigration roundtable at the White House with administration aides and political leaders and law enforcement officials from California.

“You talk about obstruction of justice — I would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of Oakland, California, Jeff,” Trump continued, aiming his remarks at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was seated at the table. “She advises thousand people ... ‘Get out of here, the law enforcement’s coming.’ And you worked on that long and hard and you got there and there were very few people there.”

Trump also said: “Perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that, with respect to the mayor, because it’s a big deal out there, and a lot of people are very angry about what happened.”

During the roundtable, which focused on California’s role as a “sanctuary state” that allows local officials to withhold some information on immigrants from federal authorities, Trump said his administration was aggressively deporting those here illegally who commit violent crimes.

“We have people coming into the country — or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” Trump said. “These aren’t people. These are animals.”

Sessions has previously criticized Schaaf, stating her warning prevented authorities from making 800 arrests. That claim was disputed by an ICE spokesman, who said it was false and resigned in protest. In a March speech in California, Sessions directly blasted Schaaf.

“How dare you?” he said then. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open-borders agenda?”

Schaaf, whose warning to the community came in the form of a tweet, has defended her action, saying the warning was within the law. “I was sharing information in a way that was legal and was not obstructing justice,” she said a few days after the incident, “and it was an opportunity to ensure that people were aware of their rights.”

Trump’s move to encourage the nation’s top law enforcement officer to investigate a Democratic politician was viewed by some as an attempt to weaponize the Justice Department against his political opponents, with critics calling it an abuse of power.

Trump has sought to crack down on illegal immigration, a key campaign pledge, but the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally has spiked in recent months, angering the president ahead of the midterm elections this fall. The president reportedly berated his Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, over the issue, prompting her to consider resigning, according to news reports.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Trump told Nielsen that she is “doing a good job,” although he said she is hindered by immigration laws.

Trump's comments also might be a reflection of his frustration with the ongoing Russia probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which has included allegations that the president sought to obstruct justice.

 

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Cue the tweetstorm: "Rex Tillerson says ‘alternative realities’ are a threat to democracy"

Spoiler

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson warned Wednesday that deceptive leaders and “alternative realities” are a threat to democracy, an implicit critique of his former boss, President Trump.

In his first major address since leaving Washington after he was fired in March, Tillerson told graduates at the Virginia Military Institute to remember the importance of integrity and honesty. He never mentioned Trump by name, but his meaning was clear.

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom,” Tillerson said.

Truth, he said, is the “central tenet of a free society.”

“It is truth that says to our adversaries, ‘We say what we mean, and we mean what we say,’ ” Tillerson said.

Trump frequently distorts the truth, including about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which the president calls a “witch hunt.” He often refers to unflattering news coverage as “fake news,” a term that has been adopted by authoritarian and other populist leaders.

Tillerson did not give examples of the lack of truth. He had adopted a tougher public line on Russia than Trump.

“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth — even on what may seem the most trivial of matters — we go wobbly on America,” Tillerson said.

“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson had a troubled and at times distant relationship with Trump, who cut his first secretary of state out of some key decisions. The former ExxonMobil chief executive, who did not know Trump before interviewing for the job, was overruled by the president on several major policy issues, including the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the intent, clear long before Tillerson was fired, to leave the Iran nuclear deal. Trump pulled out of the deal last week, with support from his new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Tillerson’s successor hosted his first town hall with employees at the State Department on Wednesday.

The event was closed to the media, but two people in the room told The Washington Post that Pompeo revived his mantra that he wants to bring the State Department’s “swagger back,” a subtle dig at the low morale reported by employees during Tillerson’s tenure. In just a few weeks on the job, Pompeo has already reversed two heavily criticized Tillerson directives, ending a 16-month hiring freeze and reinstating a program that offers employment opportunities for the spouses of diplomats posted abroad.

During the question-and-answer portion, Pompeo addressed a range of inquiries from employees, including one about the strength of the U.S. response to Russian aggression. Pompeo said the United States needs to do more to combat Moscow, said an individual in the room.

The State Department published excerpts of Pompeo’s prepared remarks but did not allow access to the event for reporters.

VMI, a military college in Lexington, Va., had invited Tillerson to speak some months before he was fired via a presidential tweet. Tillerson said the VMI honor code helps students understand that “without personal honor, there is no leadership.”

“But a warning to you as you leave this place — a place where the person sitting on either side of you shares that understanding,” Tillerson said. “You will now enter a world where, sadly, that is not always the case. And your commitment to this high standard of ethical behavior and integrity will be tested.”

Tillerson appeared to say that his own integrity is intact, even as he made joking reference to what was widely seen as his humiliating treatment by Trump. Among the aphorisms he offered the graduates were these:

“Blessed is the man who can see you make a fool of yourself and doesn’t think you’ve done a permanent job. Blessed is the man who does not try to blame all of his failures on someone else. Blessed is the man that can say that the boy he was would be proud of the man he is.”

 

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AmazonGrace

Giuliani is a Pro boner atty

 

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fraurosena
8 hours ago, GreyhoundFan said:

Cue the tweetstorm: "Rex Tillerson says ‘alternative realities’ are a threat to democracy"

  Hide contents

Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson warned Wednesday that deceptive leaders and “alternative realities” are a threat to democracy, an implicit critique of his former boss, President Trump.

In his first major address since leaving Washington after he was fired in March, Tillerson told graduates at the Virginia Military Institute to remember the importance of integrity and honesty. He never mentioned Trump by name, but his meaning was clear.

“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom,” Tillerson said.

Truth, he said, is the “central tenet of a free society.”

“It is truth that says to our adversaries, ‘We say what we mean, and we mean what we say,’ ” Tillerson said.

Trump frequently distorts the truth, including about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which the president calls a “witch hunt.” He often refers to unflattering news coverage as “fake news,” a term that has been adopted by authoritarian and other populist leaders.

Tillerson did not give examples of the lack of truth. He had adopted a tougher public line on Russia than Trump.

“When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth — even on what may seem the most trivial of matters — we go wobbly on America,” Tillerson said.

“If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and among our leaders in both public and private sector — and regrettably at times even the nonprofit sector — then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson had a troubled and at times distant relationship with Trump, who cut his first secretary of state out of some key decisions. The former ExxonMobil chief executive, who did not know Trump before interviewing for the job, was overruled by the president on several major policy issues, including the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and the intent, clear long before Tillerson was fired, to leave the Iran nuclear deal. Trump pulled out of the deal last week, with support from his new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Tillerson’s successor hosted his first town hall with employees at the State Department on Wednesday.

The event was closed to the media, but two people in the room told The Washington Post that Pompeo revived his mantra that he wants to bring the State Department’s “swagger back,” a subtle dig at the low morale reported by employees during Tillerson’s tenure. In just a few weeks on the job, Pompeo has already reversed two heavily criticized Tillerson directives, ending a 16-month hiring freeze and reinstating a program that offers employment opportunities for the spouses of diplomats posted abroad.

During the question-and-answer portion, Pompeo addressed a range of inquiries from employees, including one about the strength of the U.S. response to Russian aggression. Pompeo said the United States needs to do more to combat Moscow, said an individual in the room.

The State Department published excerpts of Pompeo’s prepared remarks but did not allow access to the event for reporters.

VMI, a military college in Lexington, Va., had invited Tillerson to speak some months before he was fired via a presidential tweet. Tillerson said the VMI honor code helps students understand that “without personal honor, there is no leadership.”

“But a warning to you as you leave this place — a place where the person sitting on either side of you shares that understanding,” Tillerson said. “You will now enter a world where, sadly, that is not always the case. And your commitment to this high standard of ethical behavior and integrity will be tested.”

Tillerson appeared to say that his own integrity is intact, even as he made joking reference to what was widely seen as his humiliating treatment by Trump. Among the aphorisms he offered the graduates were these:

“Blessed is the man who can see you make a fool of yourself and doesn’t think you’ve done a permanent job. Blessed is the man who does not try to blame all of his failures on someone else. Blessed is the man that can say that the boy he was would be proud of the man he is.”

 

It's nice of him to take this stance now, but he was a willing and participating part of that lying, alternate reality spewing administration for 13 months. He only left when he was fired, otherwise he would still be a part of it. To me, this is him attempting to clean his slate a little. Sorry, not working for me.

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Good grief. He should be wearing a tinfoil hat: "Trump marks Mueller anniversary by claiming FBI ‘spied’ on his campaign"

Spoiler

President Trump marked the first anniversary of the special counsel’s Russia investigation Thursday by repeating accusations that the FBI had a confidential informant inside his 2016 campaign and by calling the probe “disgusting, illegal and unwarranted.”

Trump tweeted: “Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI ‘SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.’ Andrew McCarthy says, ‘There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.’ If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”

Trump appeared to be reacting to recent news reports that there may have been a top-secret source inside the Trump campaign providing intelligence to the FBI as it began its investigation into Russia’s interference in the election process.

But claims by Trump allies that there was an informant embedded inside the campaign have not been substantiated.

Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, appeared on “Fox & Friends,” the Fox News Channel morning show that Trump regularly watches, shortly before the president’s tweet speculating about FBI informants inside Trump’s campaign.

Trump, his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and White House officials have seized on the matter in an effort to undermine the probe of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

In a second Thursday morning tweet, Trump said: “Congratulations America, we are now into the second year of the greatest Witch Hunt in American History . . . and there is still No Collusion and No Obstruction. The only Collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an Election despite the spending of far more money!”

And in a third tweet, Trump said: “Despite the disgusting, illegal and unwarranted Witch Hunt, we have had the most successful first 17 month Administration in U.S. history — by far! Sorry to the Fake News Media and ‘Haters,’ but that’s the way it is!”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded to Trump’s tweets in a speech from the Senate floor Thursday.

“I would say to the president, it’s not a ‘witch hunt’ when 17 Russians have been indicted,” Schumer said. “It’s not a ‘witch hunt’ when some of the most senior members of the Trump campaign have been indicted. It’s not a ‘witch hunt’ when Democrats and Republicans agree with the intelligence community that Russia interfered in our election to aid President Trump. Any fair-minded citizen, even the most ardent partisan, should be able to look at the facts and say that this investigation is not a ‘witch hunt.’”

Trump’s lawyers have been in negotiations with Mueller’s team for months about whether the president would sit for an interview.

Giuliani told The Washington Post and other news organizations Wednesday that the special counsel’s team informed the president’s attorneys recently that prosecutors do not believe they can charge a sitting president with a crime under Justice Department guidelines, signaling they would leave it to Congress to address any possible findings of wrongdoing by Trump.

During a Thursday interview on “Fox & Friends,” Giuliani, a former New York mayor, called for an end to the Mueller probe.

“I think the investigation should be thrown out,” Giuliani said. Going on to comment specifically on the allegations of an FBI informant, Giuliani said he was “shocked to hear that they put a spy in the campaign of a major-party candidate, maybe two spies.”

He added: “We’re going to have to look into whether we can challenge the legitimacy of the entire investigation. Maybe a special counsel, special prosecutor, never should have been appointed.”

Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager who now is a White House adviser, also appeared on “Fox & Friends” Thursday and said: “It looks like the Trump campaign in fact may have been surveilled. It looks like there was an informant there. As the president likes to say, we’ll see what happens.”

The top-secret intelligence source has been the subject of a showdown between key Trump allies in Congress and the Justice Department.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has sought classified documents from the Justice Department, saying he needs to review the records as part of his congressional oversight duties.

But, as The Post reported earlier this month, senior FBI and national intelligence officials notified Nunes that doing so could endanger a top-secret intelligence source and risk lives.

 

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"Trump voters warn him not to fire Mueller: ‘People would be suspicious’"

Spoiler

BROOKFIELD, Wis. — They see the Russia investigation as President Trump does, as a witch hunt that has expanded far beyond its initial mandate with the explicit aim of delegitimizing or perhaps even overturning his 2016 election victory.

Yet these most steadfast of Trump supporters, who were among those gathered here Tuesday night as part of a focus group evaluating public opinion, said the president should not fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a view shared by the Trump critics around the table.

“People would be suspicious,” said Betsy Novak, 55, a greenhouse worker who voted for Trump.

“It [would be] hiding something,” said Curt Hetzel, 48, a shipping and receiving manager who also voted for Trump.

“Politically, it would be a terrible idea,” said yet another Trump backer, Sam Goldner, 25, a warehouse manager.

These three were among the 12 men and women assembled for a two-hour focus group in this Milwaukee suburb, a perennial suburban swing area in a state that helped propel Trump to a surprise victory and is home to competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests this fall.

The opinions voiced here Tuesday night about Trump’s governing record and conduct in office — as well as the intensifying Mueller investigation — largely split along party lines, a vivid illustration of the deep divides across the country ahead of the November midterm elections.

“Partisan America is alive and well in Wisconsin,” Peter D. Hart, a longtime Democratic pollster who led the focus group here on behalf of Emory University, said in reflection. “I felt that people are pretty frozen in place. The one thing they agreed with was Robert Mueller should not be fired. That’s about as close as they get to a unified position.”

The dozen people were selected as part of Emory University’s “Dialogue with America” focus group series because of their diverse backgrounds and because they make up a cross-section of political attitudes, though their statements are not a scientific representation of overall opinion.

Asked to name their favorite president in their lifetimes, half said Ronald Reagan, three said Barack Obama and one each said Trump, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Overall, they were pessimistic about the state of the country as Trump nears 500 days in office, with all but two saying the nation was more divided than it is united. They overwhelmingly used negative words to describe America today: “Frenetic,” “bad,” “tense,” “chaotic,” “uncivil” and “indecisive.”

“We’re constantly battling,” said Michael Ross, 36, a judicial assistant who supported Hillary Clinton over Trump.

Though the group was quick to give Trump credit for the steady economy, job growth and changes to the tax code, they also blamed the president for a host of national ailments — from racial unrest to a decline in credibility and an intentional blurring of the truth by disputing facts.

All 12 of the assembled voters said they were following news about the Mueller probe, and their views of the special counsel were colored by their feelings about the president. Those who oppose Trump described Mueller as “intelligent,” “respected,” “smart,” “diligent” and “unstoppable.” But Trump’s supporters called the former Marine Corps captain and FBI director “unethical,” “desperate,” “partisan” and “a liar.”

Meredith Legree, 36, a physician assistant who voted for Trump, said, “This investigation’s ongoing because people aren’t happy that Trump is in power and they’re looking for any way to get him out.”

But Michelle Price, 52, a medical research assistant who voted for Clinton, said Mueller must keep following the facts. Of Trump, she said, “his character is making me believe that [collusion] did happen. I want them to keep investigating and let me know for sure.”

Added Atanu Deb Baruah, 48, a marketing director who also backed Clinton, “Let the investigators continue. Let them do their job. Let’s not try to obstruct.”

Trump’s opponents delivered even scathing assessments, indicating that the president has significant work to do to expand his base of support. Two people called him “untrustworthy,” and others said he was “immoral,” “not credible,” a “liar” and “disgusting.”

Why disgusting?

“I have a daughter,” said Steven Midthun, 54, a public schools librarian who voted for Clinton.

But Trump’s backers said they saw the president as a bold innovator who has been misrepresented by the media.

“He’s not given a fair shot,” Novak said.

The focus group participants spoke with particular disdain for leaders in Congress. Asked to assess House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who represents a nearby district and is retiring at the end of the year, they were lukewarm, describing him as “a good person” and “smart” but “not the right personality for the job” and “done.”

Asked about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who could succeed Ryan as speaker should Democrats retake the House majority, 10 of the 12 people used negative descriptions. She was described as “hyperbolic” and “unethical,” and five people said she was either “too old,” “done” or “time to retire.”

Some of the Trump backers showed flashes of dissatisfaction with the president. Asked to describe him in one word, Hetzel chose “egotistical,” explaining, “He’s so used to just getting his way.”

Hetzel and other Trump backers agreed that their biggest disappointment in the president has been his tweets and decisions to engage on what they see as petty issues.

“It’s almost childish,” Hetzel said. “You’re a 70-something-year-old man and you’re president of the United States. You should be a little more mature and pick better subjects to be tweeting about.”

Another supporter of the president, Randy Cera, said Trump’s tweets make him vulnerable in the media.

“The tweets are fuel for the fire,” said Cera, 52, an insurance agent. “It helps validate the negativity.”

Despite their misgivings, however, these voters exhibited loyalty to Trump — going so far as to continue the president’s personal feud with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), even as he is at home battling brain cancer. McCain has tangled with Trump and opposed high-profile administration priorities, and this past week the White House has refused to apologize for communications aide Kelly Sadler joking in an internal meeting about McCain being irrelevant because “he’s dying anyway.”

While other focus group participants called McCain heroic or strong or patriotic, Cera said the Arizona senator was “petty.” And Stephen Rozmenoski, 66, a machinist, labeled him a “turncoat,” presumably because of his vote against the Republican health-care bill last year, for which Trump repeatedly has attacked McCain.

“If anybody has a doubt about how solid the Trump core is, come listen to this group,” Hart said. “They couldn’t even find a nice word to say about John McCain.”

 

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A good one from Jennifer Rubin: "Trump’s team underestimates the extent of his exposure"

Spoiler

Surely among the worst attorneys ever to represent the president of the United States, Rudolph W. Giuliani asserted that there is nothing wrong with looking for dirt on political rivals, “Even if it comes from a Russian, a German, an American, doesn’t matter.” Wrong!

Let’s be clear. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III does not need to prove “collusion.” There is an array of crimes that might result from trying to get valuable information from a foreign entity or official. For instance, it violates federal law for “a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make . . . a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.” Likewise, it is illegal to “solicit, accept or receive” such help from a foreign national. That doesn’t require an ongoing, coordinated plot to tip the election. It would be sufficient if Donald Trump Jr., George Papadopoulos or anyone else asked, say Russian officials, to provide opposition research. We know how valuable that stuff is; after all, a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and, before that, the conservative Free Beacon paid money to get “dirt,” if you will, on then-candidate Donald Trump.

“Giuliani is apparently as unfamiliar with this part of campaign-finance law as he is with the section that prohibits candidates from accepting undisclosed loans,” said Matthew Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman. “The bottom line is that it is illegal to accept a thing of value from a foreign government, and though there could be debates about whether information qualifies as a thing of value, the Trump campaign’s eagerness to accept foreign help shows just why this matter is under investigation.”

Former White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen agreed: “As seems to be the case almost every time [Giuliani] opens his mouth, he is wrong.  It has long been recognized that providing opposition research is an in-kind contribution.”

In short, there is a case, based solely upon the Trump Tower meeting, that federal campaign law may have been violated. (Whether that applies to Trump Jr. only, or to his father as well, may depend on whom Trump Jr. called on that blocked phone number.) Of course, if bribery — such as money or assistance in exchange for a change in a party’s platform or a promise to relax sanctions — can be shown, that is a crime as well.

And anyone who insists Mueller must find evidence of “collusion” (a noncrime of uncertain definition) is misguided or intentionally misleading the public.

Last October, a white paper produced for the Brookings Institution by Eisen, Noah Bookbinder and Barry Berke laid out the kind of problematic conduct that can arise out of election chicanery:

Attempts to stop an investigation represent a common form of obstruction. Demanding the loyalty of an individual involved in an investigation, requesting that individual’s help to end the investigation, and then ultimately firing that person to accomplish that goal are the type of acts that have frequently resulted in obstruction convictions, as we detail. In addition, to the extent conduct could be characterized as threatening, intimidating, or corruptly persuading witnesses, that too may provide additional grounds for obstruction charges. . . .

Here, such actions may include fabricating an initial justification for firing [FBI director James B.] Comey, directing Donald Trump Jr.’s inaccurate statements about the purpose of his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the president’s campaign, tweeting that Comey “better hope there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations,” despite having “no idea” whether such tapes existed, and repeatedly denouncing the validity of the investigations.

These are not minor or subsidiary matters. It bears repeating that President Richard Nixon was never shown to have plotted or known in real time about the Watergate break-in. Trump’s “no collusion” defense is as silly as a “no conspiracy to commit burglary” defense would have been during Watergate.

We haven’t even touched on non-Russia-related matters, including Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s payment of hush money to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels. If, as Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti has claimed, there are other women and other unreported hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf, we would be presented with an unprecedented attempt to conceal information (both the alleged affairs and the non-reporting) from voters.

In sum, we know a fraction of the information the special counsel’s team has assembled. Even looking simply at public information, there is a wealth of evidence that might be the basis for charging Trump and/or his inner circle with crimes. We’ll have to wait. In the meantime, however, no one should repeat the nonsense coming from Trump and his allies that Mueller must find “collusion.” The special counsel is looking for violations of law (as well as conducting a national security investigation) — and that can take many forms.

Moreover, Mueller’s charge is not only to find whether the president broke the law, but whether others did. As Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Thursday morning:

The investigation has already yielded multiple indictments and guilty pleas. Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a bipartisan manner, confirmed that Russia sought to interfere with our elections, to sow discord, and tip the scales towards Donald Trump and against Secretary Clinton. The Trump administration itself has even taken punitive action against Russia’s actors named in Mueller’s investigation, and I salute the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, the Republican senator form North Carolina, for being straightforward about this. Not so many on the other side of the aisle are.

Yet, again this morning, President Trump called the investigation a “disgusting, illegal, and unwarranted witch hunt . . . the greatest witch hunt in American history.” It’s amazing the rhetoric this man uses.

I would say to the president: It’s not a witch hunt when seventeen Russians have been indicted. It’s not a witch hunt when some of the most senior members of the Trump campaign have been indicted.

It’s not a witch hunt when Democrats and Republicans agree with the intelligence community that Russia interfered in our election to aid President Trump. Any fair-minded citizen, even the most ardent partisan, should be able to look at the facts and say that this investigation is not a “witch hunt.” The FBI Director Christopher Wray, appointed by President Trump — a Republican — said as much yesterday.

A final reminder: Under any circumstances, Trump himself is unlikely to be indicted. The question remains whether the evidence that Mueller turns up is so damning as to prompt a serious effort at impeachment — or perhaps a lesser punishment (e.g., censure). It’s a political question that voters, in part, will answer in November.

 

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AmazonGrace
18 hours ago, fraurosena said:

It's nice of him to take this stance now, but he was a willing and participating part of that lying, alternate reality spewing administration for 13 months. He only left when he was fired, otherwise he would still be a part of it. To me, this is him attempting to clean his slate a little. Sorry, not working for me.

"The greatest memory of all time"

Agreed about Tillerson. He sat there and kissed presidential ass with the rest of The cabinet

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Oh, Dumpy is going to have a hissy about this, even though Lyan will try and quash it:

 

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formergothardite

It makes all of them look very bad when they don't want tax payers to see how much tax money is going to Trump businesses. What good excuse is there to keep that hidden? There isn't one. 

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8 kids died huh. Many  people are saying it's not so good but who knows. Thoughts and prayers!

 

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"Bill Gates draws laughs at Trump’s expense, says president confused HIV with HPV"

Spoiler

While taking questions at a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation event, Microsoft founder Bill Gates had the crowd in stitches as he talked about President Trump and recounted stories from past meetings the two have had, according to footage aired Thursday by MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.”

In a video of the session, Gates revealed that at two separate meetings Trump needed help distinguishing HIV, short for human immunodeficiency virus, and HPV. The latter, human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted infection that is responsible for causing genital warts or cervical cancer.

“Both times he wanted to know if there was a difference between HIV and HPV, so I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other,” Gates said as the audience laughed.

According to the show’s host, Chris Hayes, Gates had been speaking to Gates Foundation staff at a meeting earlier this week. The foundation could not be reached for comment.

During the meetings, Trump also asked “if vaccines weren’t a bad thing because he was considering a commission to look into ill effects of vaccines,” Gates said.

The philanthropist, whose foundation has long supported and funded vaccine research, was quick to respond.

“I said, ‘No, that’s a dead end. That would be a bad thing, don’t do that,’” Gates recalled.

In the three-minute-long video, Gates also discussed a time when Trump met his daughter, Jennifer Gates, at a “horse show thing” in Florida. Jennifer is an “accomplished equestrian,” according to Business Insider.

About 20 minutes after talking to Jennifer at the event, Gates said, Trump reappeared in style, flying in on a helicopter to the same place he had just been.

“So clearly he had been driven away, but he wanted to make a grand entrance in a helicopter,” Gates said, mimicking the flight path of Trump’s helicopter with his hand, eliciting another round of laughs.

Gates added that his daughter came up in conversation when the pair first talked.

“It was actually kind of scary how much he knew about my daughter’s appearance,” Gates said. “Melinda didn’t like that.”

At the end of the clip, Gates couldn’t resist poking a little fun at the president’s habit of referring to himself in the third person.

He described the first sentence Trump said to him when he walked into their meeting.

“He said, ‘Trump hears that you don’t like what Trump is doing,’ and I thought, ‘Wow, but you’re Trump,’” said Gates, pointing his finger at an imaginary Trump, a perplexed look on his face.

As the video of Gates circulated on social media, many perceived his comments to be a roast of the president.

On Twitter, one user wrote “Bill Gates out there owning Donald Trump like he was headlining the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”

Another called it “one epic takedown,” adding that the video was “brutally funny.”

In an interview last month with STAT News, Gates talked about meeting with Trump in March and bringing up the need for a White House science adviser. The president responded by offering Gates the job, he said.

Gates said he wasn’t sure if Trump was serious or if he was just “being friendly,” but he turned down the offer.

“That’s not a good use of my time,” Gates remembered telling Trump.

Ewww, how creepy that Dumpy commented on Gates' daughter's appearance.

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candygirl200413

The Gates' daughter is only 22, why is this orange man so disgusting?!

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Cartmann99
12 minutes ago, candygirl200413 said:

The Gates' daughter is only 22, why is this orange man so disgusting?!

Trump probably thought that Bill would be flattered if Trump expressed an interest in making Bill's daughter his fourth wife or mistress. :puke-front:

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GreyhoundFan

"Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon, other firms"

Spoiler

President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double the rate the Postal Service charges Amazon.com and other firms to ship packages, according to three people familiar with their conversations, a dramatic move that probably would cost these companies billions of dollars.

Brennan has so far resisted Trump’s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission, the three people said. She has told the president that the Amazon relationship is beneficial for the Postal Service and gave him a set of slides that showed the variety of companies, in addition to Amazon, that also partner for deliveries.

Despite these presentations, Trump has continued to level criticism at Amazon. And last month, his critiques culminated in the signing of an executive order mandating a government review of the financially strapped Postal Service that could lead to major changes in the way it charges Amazon and others for package delivery.

Few U.S. companies have drawn Trump’s ire as much as Amazon, which has rapidly grown to be the second-largest U.S. company in terms of market capitalization. For more than three years, Trump has fumed publicly and privately about the giant commerce and services company and its founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post.

Trump alleges that Amazon is being subsidized by the Postal Service. He has also accused The Post as being Amazon’s “chief lobbyist” as well as a tax shelter — false charges. He says Amazon uses these advantages to push bricks-and-mortar companies out of business. Some administration officials say several of Trump’s attacks aimed at Amazon have come in response to articles in The Post that he didn’t like.

The three people familiar with these exchanges spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the White House’s internal deliberations.

Brennan and Trump have met at the White House about the matter several times, beginning in 2017, and most recently four months ago, the three people said. The meetings have never appeared on Trump’s public schedule. Brennan has spent her career at the Postal Service, starting 32 years ago as a letter carrier. In 2014, the Postal Service’s Board of Governors voted to appoint her as postmaster general.

Clouding the matter even further, Trump’s aides have also disagreed internally about whether Amazon is paying enough to the Postal Service, with some believing the giant commerce company should be paying more, while others believe that if it weren’t for Amazon, the Postal Service might be out of business, according to the three people.

Trump has met with at least three groups of senior advisers to discuss Amazon’s business practices, probing issues such as whether they pay the appropriate amount of taxes or underpay the Postal Service, according to the three people.

These groups include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, then-National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Domestic Policy Council Director Andrew Bremberg. Bremberg has served as a key liaison with Brennan.

One of Amazon’s biggest defenders within the White House was Cohn, who had told Trump that the Postal Service actually made money on the payments Amazon made for package delivery. Cohn announced his departure from the White House in March.

The White House, the Postal Service and Amazon — as well as Bezos, via an Amazon spokesman — declined to comment for this report.

While Trump has leveled a variety of criticisms at Amazon, his efforts to increase the company’s shipping and delivery costs stand as the only known official action he’s taken to go after the company.

The company, meanwhile, has tread carefully around Trump. It has dramatically expanded its spending on lobbying in the past few years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, but Amazon officials have not been directly engaged with White House officials about the review, according to the three people familiar with the White House deliberations as well as others familiar with Amazon’s approach.

The company has, however, hosted more than a dozen lawmakers and governors at numerous Amazon facilities across the country to impress upon them the company’s economic footprint and job creation potential.

On March 7, when the company announced that it would be building a new fulfillment center in Missouri and hiring 1,500 employees, it alerted the state’s two U.S. senators on Twitter, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt.

Trump has berated Amazon and The Post on social media, briefly driving down Amazon’s stock price. And he has said publicly that he doesn’t believe the information he has been presented by some of his advisers and Brennan herself regarding the Postal Service’s contract with Amazon.

“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” he tweeted on April 3. “Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourn by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!”

Details of Amazon’s contract with the Postal Service are secret, making it difficult for financial experts to assess claims about the relationship. Amazon has said that publicly releasing the contract, which contains detailed information on the company’s delivery systems, would give competitors an unfair advantage.

Amazon primarily uses the Postal Service for the “last mile” of its deliveries. It brings the packages to the post office closest to the final destination, and then the Postal Service takes it from there. The Postal Service says other companies also have “last-mile” agreements with it but declined to name them.

Amazon is the leading player in e-commerce but competes with other retail giants such as Walmart, Macy’s and Costco to offer fast and inexpensive delivery of products. The Postal Service competes with UPS, FedEx and others for delivery.

Amazon said it spent $21.7 billion on shipping costs in 2017, a figure that includes sorting, delivery center and transportation costs. Roughly 40 percent of its packages are delivered by the Postal Service, according to some analysts, a figure neither Amazon nor the Postal Service have confirmed. It is not known how much Amazon pays the Postal Service each year and what percentage of its items are shipped via the Postal Service.

The Postal Service, meanwhile, reported shipping and package income of $19.5 billion last year, an 11.8 percent increase from one year before. This increase wasn’t enough to stop the Postal Service from losing money for the eleventh straight year. That’s largely because of the continued decline in first-class mail, and expensive health benefit costs that the Postal Service must set aside for future retirees, according to data released by the agency.

Delivering packages has been a financial boon to the Postal Service in an otherwise tumultuous time, but experts say it is an open question whether Amazon’s arrangement fully compensates the Postal Service for its range of expenses. While the Postal Service is legally prohibited from charging a shipper less than it costs to deliver a package, the Postal Service is not required to include in its costs things such as retiree benefits.

David Vernon, an analyst at Bernstein Research, estimates that Amazon pays the Postal Service roughly $2 per package for each delivery, about half of what Amazon would pay United Parcel Service or FedEx. He based this estimate on broader data released by the Postal Service.

The Postal Service has tried to rapidly adjust its business model to take on more package delivery, but he said it would be better suited if it delivered fewer packages at a higher rate.

“In my business judgment, there’s too much ‘package’ in the postal network,” he said in an interview. “If you doubled the price, you would have fewer of them, but you would make money off what is left.”

Still, Postal Service officials, both in meetings with Trump and publicly, have insisted that they are making money off their arrangement with Amazon.

In January, Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer wrote an op-ed in the Hill newspaper pushing back against calls for it to raise package rates.

“Some of our competitors in the package delivery space would dearly love for the Postal Service to aggressively raise our rates higher than the marketplace can bear — so they could either charge more themselves or siphon away postal customers,” he wrote.

“The Postal Service is a self-funding public institution that generates its revenue from the sale of postal products and service, we compete for every customer across all of our product categories, and we exist for the benefit of American businesses and consumers.”

Because the Postal Service has lost money for 11 straight years, it has had to repeatedly borrow funds from the Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank, totaling $15 billion. Its reliance on taxpayer funds has allowed Mnuchin — one of Trump’s closest advisers — to gain a foothold in its future.

One of Mnuchin’s counselors, Craig Phillips, is leading Trump’s review of the Postal Service, along with Kathy Kraninger, associate director for general government at the Office of Management and Budget. It is due in July.

The review group is tasked with reviewing the package delivery market, the Postal Service’s role in that market and the decline in first-class mail volume, among other things. It is required to recommend changes to the White House and Congress.

The Postal Service is overseen by a board of nine governors, which pick the postmaster general and the deputy postmaster general. Currently, there are no governors serving on the board, though Trump has nominated three individuals who are awaiting Senate confirmation. The Postal Service, led by the postmaster, works out contracts with private companies that are approved by an independent federal agency, the Postal Regulatory Commission, which also assesses each year whether the contracts are in compliance with the law. Amazon has a multiyear contract with the Postal Service, and it is not clear how quickly it could be changed.

Trump’s attacks on Amazon date to 2015, when he accused Bezos of using The Post as a tax shelter to allow Amazon to avoid paying taxes, a false accusation. (Amazon is a publicly traded company, and The Post, wholly owned by Bezos, is private. The companies’ finances are not intermingled. The Post’s editors and Bezos also have declared that he is not involved in any journalistic decisions.)

Bezos responded to Trump’s 2015 attack with a tweet.

“Finally trashed by @realDonaldTrump. Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospace,” Bezos, who owns a space company, tweeted in December 2015.

This angered Trump, who at the time was fighting for credibility during the GOP primary.

“Trump takes everything personally,” said Steve Moore, a former economic adviser to Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Moore says he has told White House officials that Amazon is paying the Postal Service plenty for its services and in fact helping the agency survive.

But others say Trump sees one company exploiting the government for a competitive edge. Amazon’s stock price is up close to 70 percent in the past year, and a growing list of competitors have complained that they have a hard time competing with the giant company on everything from delivery to its cloud computer business.

“I think this particular issue is one that he comes at from his business background and understanding the dynamics of cost and delivery and overhead,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said of Trump’s approach to the postal issue with Amazon. “And so . . . when you put all those components in there, it allows him to probably have a position on this that is deeper rooted in an understanding of a business model than perhaps some other presidents.”

 

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GreyhoundFan

I needed a little juvenile humor today:

 

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AmazonGrace

 

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Cartmann99

In addition to the comments he made about various women, those outakes supposedly include Trump using racial slurs, and insulting one of his sons until he cries. Republicans could have picked a safe choice like Jed!, but the voters and the media decided to hitch their respective wagons to a rusty boat anchor, so at least let me enjoy watching McConnell and Ryan squirm as Trump sets their messaging on fire again. :twisted:

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formergothardite

What are the chances that we will get to see these tapes? I bet a lot of nasty things were said that will be hard for the GOP to explain away. 

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