Category Archives: Donald Trump

Orlando Sentinel snubs Trump campaign kickoff, announces 2020 endorsement: Not Trump

Orlando Sentinel announces 2020 endorsement: Not Trump

By Quint Forgey,  Politico, 06/18/2019 10:16 AM EDT

Donald Trump

The principal newspaper in Orlando, Fla., where the president is set to kick off his reelection bid Tuesday, has already announced its 2020 White House endorsement: anyone but Donald Trump.

“We’re here to announce our endorsement for president in 2020, or, at least, who we’re not endorsing: Donald Trump,” the editorial board of the Orlando Sentinel announced Tuesday, hours before Trump is set to appear in the city’s Amway Center to launch his campaign for a second term.

“Some readers will wonder how we could possibly eliminate a candidate so far before an election, and before knowing the identity of his opponent. Because there’s no point pretending we would ever recommend that readers vote for Trump,” the editorial board wrote.

“After 2½ years we’ve seen enough. Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption, and especially the lies.”

The Sentinel dubbed Trump’s “successful assault on truth” as “the great casualty of this presidency, followed closely by his war on decency” and said the commander in chief “has diminished our standing in the world.”

Though the Sentinel endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, the paper has a long history of favoring GOP candidates for the White House.

The paper supported Republican Mitt Romney over Democratic incumbent Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race, and with the exception of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, “the Sentinel backed Republican presidential nominees from 1952 through 2004,” the editorial board wrote.

But the Sentinel noted Tuesday that its “non-endorsement isn’t defaulting to whomever the Democrats choose” as their nominee to take on Trump in the general election. The editorial board said it would “eagerly” consider Romney, now a U.S. senator from Utah, or former Ohio Gov. John Kasich if they launched primary challenges to the president.

“Same if an independent candidate mounted a legitimate campaign,” the editorial board wrote.

“We’d even consider backing Trump if, say, he found the proverbial cure for cancer or — about as likely — changed the essence of who he is (he won’t),” the board continued. “The nation must endure another 1½ years of Trump. But it needn’t suffer another four beyond that. We can do better. We have to do better.”

In a competing op-ed in the Sentinel also published Tuesday, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel made the case for another four years of Trump in the Oval Office, arguing that the president’s “long list of promises made, promises kept has energized Americans in every part of the country to fight for his” reelection.

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    Full transcript & video of Mueller’s statement on Russia Investigation

    As published in the New York Times, May 29, 2019

    Full Transcript of Mueller’s Statement on Russia Investigation

    Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, made his first public comments on Wednesday about the Russia investigation that he took over two years ago.
    The following is a transcript of his remarks, as prepared by The New York Times.
    [Read our full coverage here.]

    _________________

    ROBERT S. MUELLER III, the special counsel: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for being here. Two years ago, the acting attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel and he created the special counsel’s office. The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

    Now, I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking out today because our investigation is complete. The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the special counsel’s office, and as well, I’m resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life. I’ll make a few remarks about the results of our work. But beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office’s written work speak for itself. Let me begin where the appointment order begins, and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election.

    As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who are part of the Russian military, launched a concerted attack on our political system. The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cybertechniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities and through the organization WikiLeaks.

    The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation, where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to influence an election. These indictments contain allegations, and we are not commenting on the guilt or the innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

    The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood. And that is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office. That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their government’s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.

    Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts, addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate. The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign’s response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy. And in the second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president.

    The order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation, and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.

    The introduction to the Volume II of our report explains that decision. It explains that under longstanding department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. A special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. The department’s written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report, and I will describe two of them for you.

    First, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president, because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.

    And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. And beyond department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.

    So that was Justice Department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated. And from them, we concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office’s final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president. We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general, as required by department regulations.

    The attorney general then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and to the American people. At one point in time, I requested that certain portions of the report be released and the attorney general preferred to make — preferred to make the entire report public all at once and we appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public. And I certainly do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.

    Now, I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter. There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress. In addition, access to our underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

    So beyond what I’ve said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress. And it’s for that reason I will not be taking questions today, as well.

    Now, before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the F.B.I. agents, the analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals who spent nearly two years with the special counsel’s office were of the highest integrity. And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American. Thank you. Thank you for being here today.

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      Adam Schiff delivers massive smackdown: Trump is “immoral,” “unpatriotic” and “corrupt”

      Repost from Salon

      Under attack from Trump and the ludicrous Devin Nunes, Intelligence Committee chair focuses on the real question

      By HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, MARCH 29, 2019 12:00PM (UTC)

      President Trump held his first rally since mid-February on Thursday in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sounding alternately buoyant and furious, he took a big victory lap and declared himself to have “won” against the witch hunt. In an extended rant right out of the gate he proclaimed:

      After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead. The collusion delusion is over. The Special Counsel has completed his report and found no collusion, no obstruction … Total exoneration, complete vindication. …

      The Russia witch hunt was a plan by those who lost the election to take power by framing innocent Americans — they suffered — with an elaborate hoax. They tried to destroy a movement like nobody has ever seen before. They did it because they refused to accept the results of the greatest presidential election results in American history … they perpetuated the single greatest hoax in the history of politics, they have to be — I’m sorry — they have to be accountable.”

      As we saw telegraphed as early as Monday, Trump wants revenge. His motto for years has been “get even” and he obviously thinks that wreaking vengeance on his political opponents will keep him in the White House past 2020. Even his decision to back the lawsuit repealing Obamacare, made against the advice of many Republicans, is really just a way for him to exact revenge on his most hated rival — who happens to be a dead man, John McCain.

      Trump went out of his way to crudely insult House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif.:

      He didn’t talk about the size of his own neck, thankfully.  But he did get a bit more rhetorically pungent, saying, “The Democrats need to decide whether they will continue to defraud the public with ridiculous bullshit.” (Yes, he said bullshit.)

      The attack on Schiff is obviously a specific strategy to try to shut down the Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into Trump and Russia. Earlier in the day Trump had tweeted out:

      When the House Intelligence Committee held a hearing later that day to hear Russia experts talk about how that country’s intelligence services infiltrate various aspects of American life, the committee’s ranking member and former chair, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., stepped up to make an opening statement:

      We should not be used as a platform to spread false information and bizarre conspiracies. We have unique capabilities and authorities to do crucial oversight work and now, frankly speaking, that is not being done.

      You read that right. Then Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, read a letter signed by all nine Republicans on the committee demanding that Schiff resign, claiming that he was promoting a demonstrably false narrative and had abused his position to knowingly promote false information about Russian collusion.

      This, coming from the same Republicans who contrived the ludicrous alternate universe around a “deep state” plot, culminating in the preposterous “Nunes memo,” could and perhaps should have resulted in convulsions of laughter in the hearing room. The idea of Nunes, the man who was caught red-handed, literally in the middle of the night, conspiring with the White House, accusing anyone else of conspiracy theories really cannot be taken seriously. He is a ridiculous person.

      But Schiff didn’t laugh. And he was right not to. This is a serious issue of national security, and he responded with one of the more memorable congressional speeches in a very long time:

      If you haven’t heard the whole thing I urge you to listen to it.

      The reason that was so important is because Schiff brought the issue back to where it rightfully belongs: in the Congress. The only thing we know right now about any criminal liability is that Robert Mueller’s investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

      But none of the events or behaviors Schiff cited are in dispute. Most of it happened right out in public. Whether it was legal or not, it was stupid and it was wrong and no president should be defended for behaving in such a craven, corrupt and unpatriotic way. What he did may not have been criminal conduct, but it was pathologically unethical. Anyone who didn’t find all that behavior suspicious has no business holding a responsible position in the United States government.

      Schiff’s speech explains something important that Trump and the Republicans fail to grasp. People know what they saw. That’s why the polls aren’t moving toward the president in the wake of Bill Barr’s letter and Trump’s triumphant victory tour. Whether the president was part of a criminal conspiracy, or was simply so ignorant and corrupt that he didn’t know or care about the ramifications of his actions, isn’t really the question. What Schiff did in that speech was to bring the subject back to the central question: Is this president acting in the interest of the people of the United States, or is he acting in the interest of Donald Trump? I think we know the answer. And it’s not OK.

      Some of the Republicans on the panel understood that what Schiff had said was a powerful indictment of their own lack of ethics and morals. After Schiff finished  and attempted to go on, one member demanded to be allowed to respond to his comments, insisting, “No one over here [on the Republican side] thinks that.”

      You don’t? Could have fooled us. At every step of the way the Republicans have acted as Trump’s accomplices, refusing even to suggest that he might have done something wrong in all this. They clearly don’t think he did.

      I’m willing to be generous and say that at the end of the day we may very well find that Trump is so dim-witted and narcissistic that he literally does not know right from wrong. That obviously makes him unfit for the presidency but it doesn’t make him guilty of conspiring with a foreign government. Fine. But all these Republicans who refuse to even acknowledge the outrageousness of his conduct definitely do know better.They are shameless and that’s hard to fight against, still less to defeat. But Adam Schiff laid out the real issue more successfully than anyone we’ve seen in recent times. Let’s hope it’s the first of many illustrative moments as the Democrats start to provide the serious oversight that has been lacking these past two years.

      HEATHER DIGBY PARTON

      Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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