Category Archives: Donald Trump

“Nobody Is Above the Law” Events

By Roger Straw, December 5, 2019
Nobody Is Above the Law. That’s why we’re calling on Congress to Impeach & Remove Donald Trump.  —   impeach.org

Groups all across the nation – including many here in the Bay Area – are planning to hold rallies on the evening before the announced HOUSE vote.  That’s coming up pretty soon.

Stay alert for the announcement of the vote and plan now to attend a nearby rally.  You can find details for nearby rallies and RSVP your intention at https://www.impeach.org/event/impeach-and-remove-attend/.

Roger Straw

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    5 Ways to Debunk the GOP’s Defense of Donald Trump – Attempted Crime Is Still a Crime

    Click for larger image. Source: MEME

    From The Nation: 5 Ways to Debunk the GOP’s Defense of Donald Trump…

    “…attempted crime is still crime, and Trump’s ineffectiveness is no defense for his actions. But here, it’s important to understand that the law makes no distinction between “attempted” bribery and bribery. The mere solicitation of the bribe is the crime itself, regardless of whether the bribe is paid. The law contemplates a public official who “directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value.”

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      Trump’s 10 Impeachable Offenses – UPDATED

      [Editor: This is an UPDATED listing including brief references to recent findings of Trump’s corrupt treatment in regards to Ukraine.  For some of us, this will serve as a good SUMMARY of the miserable daily onslaught of the last 3 years’ news reporting.  For ALL OF US, this is yet another alarm bell and maybe time to contact our elected representatives!  More on current IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS…  – R.S.]

      Repost from NEED TO IMPEACH

      TRUMP’S 10 IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES

      • The trail of evidence starts with Trump’s attempt to get James Comey, the FBI director responsible for overseeing the investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia during the 2016 election, to drop an investigation into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
      • When Comey refused, Trump fired him.
      • Trump made two more attempts at stopping the investigation by trying (unsuccessfully) to fire Robert Mueller, Comey’s predecessor. Then, Trump ordered White House Counsel Don McGahn to create a false record indicating that no attempts took place – McGahn refused.
      • Trump has repeatedly attempted to intimidate or influence witnesses in proceedings against him.
      • In all, Robert Mueller’s investigation revealed multiple instances where there was “very substantial” evidence that Trump had committed obstruction of justice.
      • Read more about Donald Trump’s obstruction here.
      • The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause prohibits the president from accepting personal benefits from any foreign government or official.
      • Trump has retained his ownership interests in his family business while he is in office.
      • Thus, every time a foreign official stays at a Trump hotel, or a foreign government approves a new Trump Organization project, or grants a trademark, Trump is in violation of the Constitution.
      • Trump has repeatedly pushed his properties as avenues to secure his favor, and multiple foreign officials have stayed at his properties while lobbying his administration.
      • Trump attempted to promote his club in Doral Florida for the 2020 G-7 Conference.
      • And every time he goes to golf at a Trump property, he funnels taxpayer money into his family business—violating the Domestic Emoluments Clause.
      • In the middle of the 2016 election, Trump’s son was invited to meet with a Russian national regarding “information that would incriminate Hillary and…would be very useful to” Donald Trump. Donald Trump Jr. was told it was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort took the meeting.
      • Federal law prohibits campaigns from soliciting or accepting anything of value from a foreign national.
      • Paul Manafort and Rick Gates met with Konstantin Kilimink, likely a Russian spy, multiple times in the summer of 2016 to provide him with internal campaign polling data detailing the Trump campaign’s midwestern strategy. Manafort lied about these meetings to the FBI even after pleading guilty to other crimes.
      • This relationship between the Trump team and multiple Russian nationals raises questions of whether the campaign aided a hostile foreign power’s active operation against the United States.
      • When Trump gave cover to the neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville and murdered a protester, he violated his obligation to protect the citizenry against domestic violence.
      • When Trump encouraged police officers to rough up people they have under arrest, he violated his obligation to oversee faithful execution of the laws.
      • Trump and his rhetoric have been cited in numerous criminal proceedings as being the inspiration and justification for political violence.
      • When faced with impeachment in the House, Trump has alluded to his supporters engaging in insurrection to keep him in power – a rallying cry readily picked up by his supporters.
      • President Trump threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine if its Prime Minister did not investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Using taxpayer dollars to manipulate an important ally against Russia and attack a political rival is a clear abuse of presidential power.
      • Furthermore, this administration tried to conceal the whistleblower complaint that brought this corruption to light and label the civil servant who filed it as partisan.
      • In addition, Trump’s decision to pardon Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for contempt of court after ignoring a court order that he stop detaining and searching people based on the color of their skin, amounted to an abuse of the pardon power that revealed his indifference to individual rights, equal protections, and the separation of powers.
      • Pardoning this conviction goes against the Fifth Amendment, which allows the judiciary to issue and enforce injunctions against government officials who flout individual rights.
      • High-ranking administration officials involved in foreign affairs have signaled that Trump does not have the capacity to make informed decisions in the event of a military crisis.
      • Even worse, his actions could spark a needless confrontation stemming from misunderstanding or miscalculation.
      • We see this in full effect every time Trump tweets or makes a public statement taunting and threatening the North Korean regime.
      • The president may be the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” but that does not give him the right to behave in reckless or wanton ways that put millions of lives at risk.
      • If he is unfit to perform his duties as Commander in Chief, he cannot be allowed to remain in the position.
      • President Trump has repeatedly pressured the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate and prosecute political adversaries like Hillary Clinton; now, the DOJ has reopened the Clinton email investigation in an attempt to scandalize his opponents.
      • This is not based in concerns with national security, law enforcement, or any other function of his office—it is an attempted power play, plain and simple.
      • Trump also pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden, his potential opponent in the general election, by leveraging US military aide to help his reelection prospects.
      • Trump and Attorney General Barr have asked foreign intelligence agencies to assist in an investigation to discredit Robert Mueller, hoping to undermine the credibility of the damning Mueller Report.
      • There’s no question that these actions constitute an outrageous and inappropriate abuse of executive branch powers and serve as clear grounds for impeachment.
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        Not just another Trump scandal – this one might actually bring him down

        The New York Times, by Nicholas Fandos, Eileen Sullivan, Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg, Sep 19, 2019

        Watchdog Refuses to Detail Whistle-Blower Complaint About Trump

        The complaint, being discussed in a closed meeting with House lawmakers, addresses a commitment that President Trump was said to have made to a world leader.
        Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said none of the previous directors of national intelligence had ever refused to provide a whistle-blower complaint to Congress. Credit Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

        WASHINGTON — The internal watchdog for American spy agencies declined repeatedly in a briefing on Thursday to disclose to lawmakers the content of a potentially explosive whistle-blower complaint that is said to involve a discussion between President Trump and a foreign leader, members of Congress said.

        During a private session on Capitol Hill, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, told lawmakers he was unable to confirm or deny anything about the substance of the complaint, including whether it involved the president, according to committee members.

        The complaint, which prompted a standoff between Congress and Mr. Trump’s top intelligence official, involves a commitment that Mr. Trump made in a communication with another world leader, according to a person familiar with the complaint. The Washington Post first reported the nature of the discussion. The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to give the complaint to Congress, as is generally required by law, the latest in a series of fights over information between the Democratic-led House and the White House.

        Few details of the whistle-blower complaint are known, including the identity of the world leader. And it is not obvious how a communication between Mr. Trump and a foreign leader could meet the legal standards for a whistle-blower complaint that the inspector general would deem an “urgent concern.”

        Under the law, the complaint has to concern the existence of an intelligence activity that violates the law, rules or regulations, or otherwise amounts to mismanagement, waste, abuse, or a danger to public safety. But a conversation between two foreign leaders is not itself an intelligence activity.

        And while Mr. Trump may have discussed intelligence activities with the foreign leader, he enjoys broad power as president to declassify intelligence secrets, order the intelligence community to act and otherwise direct the conduct of foreign policy as he sees fit, legal experts said.

        Mr. Trump regularly speaks with foreign leaders and often takes a freewheeling approach. Some current and former officials said that what an intelligence official took to be a troubling commitment could have been an innocuous comment. But there has long been concern among some in the intelligence agencies that the information they share with the president is being politicized.

        Andrew P. Bakaj, a former C.I.A. and Pentagon official whose legal practice specializes in whistle-blower and security clearance issues, confirmed that he is representing the official who filed the complaint. Mr. Bakaj declined to identify his client or to comment.

        Mr. Trump denied wrongdoing on Thursday, explaining that he would not “say something inappropriate” on calls where aides and intelligence officials from both sides routinely listen in.

        But whatever Mr. Trump said was startling enough to prompt the intelligence official to file a formal whistle-blower complaint on Aug. 12 to the inspector general for the intelligence agencies. Such a complaint is lodged through a formal process intended to protect the whistle-blower from retaliation.

        Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been locked in the standoff with Mr. Maguire over the complaint for nearly a week. He said Mr. Maguire told him that he had been instructed not to give the complaint to Congress, and that the complaint addressed privileged information — meaning the president or people close to him were involved.

        Mr. Schiff told reporters after the briefing that he still did not know the contents of the complaint and had been unable to get an answer to whether the White House had been involved in suppressing it.

        “I don’t think this is a problem of the law,” he said. “I think the law is written very clearly. I think the law is just fine. The problem lies elsewhere. And we’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is, to make sure that the national security is protected and to make sure that this whistle-blower is protected.”

        Mr. Schiff said he would explore potential recourse with the House’s general counsel to try to force the release of the complaint, including potentially suing for it in court.

        Mr. Schiff has said that none of the previous directors of national intelligence, a position created in 2004, had ever refused to provide a whistle-blower complaint to Congress. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena last week to compel Mr. Maguire to appear before the panel. He briefly refused but relented on Wednesday, and is now scheduled to appear before the committee in an open hearing next week.

        Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, said on Thursday that he and the committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, also expected both the inspector general and acting director to brief them early next week and “clear this issue up.”

        Mr. Maguire and Mr. Atkinson are at odds over how the complaint should be handled. Mr. Atkinson has indicated the matter should be investigated, and alerted the House and Senate Intelligence committees, while Mr. Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, says the complaint does not fall within the agencies’ purview because it does not involve a member of the intelligence community — a network of 17 agencies that does not include the White House.

        [Read a pair of letters from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about the complaint.]

        The inspector general of the intelligence community “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent, and that it should be transmitted to Congress under the clear letter of the law,” Mr. Schiff, Democrat of California, said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

        Senator Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said the law is “very clear” that the whistle-blower complaint must be handed over to Congress.

        “The Inspector General determines what level of concern it is,” said Mr. King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Once the determination is made,” he added, the director of national intelligence “has a ministerial responsibility to share that with Congress. It is not discretionary.”

        “This is based upon the principle of separation of powers and Congress’s oversight responsibility,” Mr. King said.

        Mr. Maguire was named the acting director in August, after the president had announced that the previous director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, would be stepping down. Mr. Trump had planned to nominate Representative John Ratcliffe, Republican of Texas, a Trump loyalist without an extensive background in intelligence. But the president dropped the plan after lawmakers from both parties raised concerns about Mr. Ratcliffe’s qualifications and possible exaggerations on his resume.

        The reports about the whistle-blower complaint touched off speculation about what Mr. Trump said and to whom.

        In the weeks before the complaint was filed, Mr. Trump spoke with President Vladimir V. Putin of RussiaPrime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan and the prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte.

        And current and former intelligence officials have expressed surprise that during his first few months as president, Mr. Trump shared classified information provided by an ally, Israel, with the Russian foreign minister.

        Such disclosures are not illegal, but Mr. Trump flouted intelligence-sharing decorum by sharing an ally’s intelligence without express permission.

        Mr. King expressed some doubt about how serious the underlying complaint might be.

        “I am a little concerned it is being overblown,” Mr. King said. “On the other hand, it may be significant. But we won’t know that for a few days.”


        Charlie Savage contributed reporting.  Matthew Rosenberg, a Washington-based correspondent, was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump and Russia. He previously spent 15 years as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Nicholas Fandos is a reporter in the Washington bureau covering Congress.  Eileen Sullivan is the morning breaking news correspondent in Washington. She previously worked for The Associated Press for a decade, covering national security and criminal justice.  Julian E. Barnes is a national security reporter based in Washington, covering the intelligence agencies. Before joining The Times in 2018, he wrote about security matters for the Wall Street Journal.
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