In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/15

  • President Trump is taking his efforts to block the release of his tax returns to the Supreme Court, setting up a historic separation-of-powers test.
  • Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is being investigated by federal prosecutors for campaign finance violations and possibly breaking laws against bribing foreign officials.
  • Turkish media are seizing on President Erdoğan’s comments that President Trump had “no reaction” to his returning the American leader’s notorious letter to him, saying it shows a clear victory over Trump. A headline in Sabah Daily said that international media were reporting that Erdoğan returned the “scandalous” letter to Trump and the American president was “silent.” A headline in Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily quoted the Turkish leader talking about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I told him what he needed, he learned his lesson.”
  • The Justice Department inspector general’s office has told witnesses who are set to review draft sections of its long-awaited report on the FBI investigation of President Trump’s 2016 campaign that they will not be allowed to submit written feedback — one in a series of unusual restrictions that some fear could make the final document less accurate. As is the case in most inspector general probes, witnesses are being invited to review draft sections of the report and offer comments and corrections. But, unlike most cases, they are being told those comments must be conveyed only verbally.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a new commission that he said will decide which human rights are more important to U.S. foreign policy. Every member of the commission is an anti-LGBTQ activist.
  • Mark Sandy, a longtime career employee at the White House Office of Management and Budget is expected to testify Saturday in the House impeachment inquiry, potentially filling in important details on the holdup of military aid to Ukraine. Sandy  would be the first OMB employee to testify in the inquiry, after OMB acting director Russell T. Vought and two other political appointees at the agency defied congressional subpoenas to appear.
  • The US has warned Egypt of pos­si­ble sanc­tions over Cairo’s de­ci­sion to pro­ceed with a pur­chase of Russ­ian war­planes.A letter obtained by WSJ says the buy may “complicate future US defense transactions with and security assistance to Egypt.”
  • Trump is demanding that South Korea pay roughly 500% more in 2020 to cover the cost of keeping US troops on the peninsula. The price hike has frustrated Pentagon officials and deeply concerned Republican and Democratic lawmakers, according to military officials and congressional aides. It has angered and unnerved Seoul, where leaders are questioning US commitment to their alliance and wondering whether Trump will pull US forces if they don’t pay up.
  • President Trump on Thursday moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an aide to former national security adviser John Bolton seeking a ruling on whether he must comply with a congressional subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. In the filing, he sought to have a judge dismiss White House official Dr. Charles Kupperman lawsuit seeking guidance on whether he should comply with the subpoena or the president’s directive not to comply.
  • After news surfaced that President Trump’s phone call with U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was overheard by others in a restaurant in Ukraine, top former national security officials say Russian spies almost certainly overheard at least some of the president’s conversation.
  • The White House announced Friday that President Trump will attend the NATO leaders meeting in the United Kingdom early next month, where he is set to address shared costs between NATO member countries and attend a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • President Trump denigrated Marie Yovanovitch on Twitter even as she testified about how she felt threatened by him, leading Democrats to accuse him of trying to intimidate a witness in real time. While Ambassador Yovanovitch was testifying before the House, President Trump live Tweeted: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.” 
  • Roger Stone, the right-wing provocateur and longtime associate of President Trump, was convicted of 7 counts of lying to Congress and witness tampering. The verdict is another victory for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose legal team alleged that Stone had tried to conceal from Congress his contacts with the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.
  • President Trump complained of a historic “double standard” after his longtime associate Roger Stone was convicted on seven felony counts, including lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to feed the Trump campaign information on WikiLeaks in 2016.
  • President Trump claimed the identity of the whistleblower who first raised concerns about his relationship with Ukraine is known to everyone in D.C. Trump told “The Dan Bongino Show,” “Everyone in Washington knows who it is, by the way. The whistleblower is no great secret. Everybody knows who the whistleblower is, and [it] has to be revealed.”
  • In a historic move, President Donald Trump announced Friday that hospitals will be required to disclose the rates they privately negotiate with insurers. Part of a larger transparency push aimed at reducing health care costs, the controversial requirement has already raised the ire of the powerful industry. Four hospital groups quickly promised to file a legal challenge, arguing the rule exceeds the administration’s authority.
  • Trump said he watched some of Friday’s proceedings and said, “I thought it was a disgrace. When we have great Republican representatives…and they’re not allowed to even ask a question. They’re not allowed to make a statement.”

NOTE: Time to make statements and ask questions are allotted to both Democrats and Republicans equally. 

For full coverage of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, visit The Hill http://bit.ly/2Qo4tyc

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/14

  • A California board voted to enact tougher energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs, pushing back against a rollback from the Trump administration of Obama-era environmental rules.
  • The jury has entered deliberations in the trial of Roger Stone, veteran political operative and longtime friend of President Trump.
  • Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said he is confident the president will remain loyal to him as an impeachment inquiry unfolds in which the former New York mayor has become a central figure. But, Giuliani joked that he had good “insurance” in case Trump did turn on him, amid speculation Republicans will seek to frame him as a rogue actor.
  • A second official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine overheard U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland’s call with President Trump about the need for an investigation by Ukraine. Ambassador William Taylor testified Wednesday that someone on his staff overheard a July 26 call between Trump and Sondland during which Trump asked Sondland “about the investigations.” Sondland replied that “the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.” “Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine,” Taylor said. “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
  • President Trump’s political appointees inappropriately retaliated against a career civil servant at the State Department in part because of her ethnic background, her perceived political views, and the fact that she was in government during prior administrations, a federal watchdog says. State Department Inspector General Steve Linick recommends that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo consider disciplining officials found to have violated policies that require they use merit-based factors in determining where to place career staffers.
  • Mark Morgan, the head of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters that the Trump administration has still not completed construction of a single mile of new border wall.
  • Trump tweeted: “@RepRatcliffe asked the two ‘star’ witnesses, ‘where is the impeachable event in that call?’ Both stared straight ahead with a blank look on their face, remained silent, & were unable to answer the question. That would be the end of a case run by normal people! – but not Shifty!’ 

NOTE: Ambassador Taylor attempted to respond as to his reason for testifying, but was unable to get a word in with Ratcliffe speaking over him. Finally, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff suspended the time and allowed Taylor to speak. Taylor said he and Kent were not there to decide on anything having to do with impeachment. “That is not what either of us are here to do. That is your job.”

  • Trump was viewed in the Oval Office having an “animated conversation” with Attorney General William Barr and White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Trump was scheduled to leave the White House at 4:10PM for a rally in Louisiana, but he could be seen through the window of the Oval Office talking to Barr and Cipollone.
  • The Trump administration is preparing paperwork to begin taking over private land to build the president’s long-promised border wall as early as this week, according to two officials familiar with the process.
  • The ratings for the first day of televised Impeachment hearings contradict claims from some of the president’s allies, including his son, Eric, who said on Fox News that “no one was watching it. No one cares.” FoxNews and MSNBC ratings were double what they receive on a typical day.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

(And the weekend, too)

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/11

  • John Bolton has knowledge of “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine pressure campaign that House impeachment investigators do not yet know about, his lawyer told lawmakers.
  • Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs, Fiona Hill: “[H]e told me, and this is a direct quote from Ambassador Bolton: You go and tell [John] Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up on this, and you go and tell him what you’ve heard and what I’ve said.”
  • Trump said he will release the transcript of another phone call with the President of Ukraine “probably” on Tuesday — this communication having taken place in April before the July conversation at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
  • Over the span of about an hour, Trump retweeted 17 messages hammering Democrats over impeachment, with his early-morning tweetstorm coming days before the inquiry is set to enter a new, public phase.
  • The Trump Administration is proposing to become one of just four countries in the world to charge a fee for asylum
  • A lawyer representing Lev Parnas says that his client warned Ukrainian officials that the Trump administration would freeze military aid to Ukraine unless Kiev announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Parnas is planning to tell House Democrats that he traveled to Ukraine to warn top officials that military aid would be frozen and that Vice President Pence would not attend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration were the announcement not made.
  • At an event promoting his book, Don Jr said to the audience, “Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus.” Soon after, he was heckled off stage by far right attendees, because the expected Q&A with him was cancelled. 
  • A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is asking Trump to rescind his White House invitation to Turkish President Erdoğan. Erdoğan is scheduled to visit the White House on Wednesday. But, the lawmakers expressed “deep concern” at the planned trip, citing Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria.
  • Two political backers of Energy Secretary Rick Perry landed a lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from Ukraine’s government shortly after Perry reportedly included one of the two men in a list of suggested potential advisers to Ukraine’s new president.
  • Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley claims Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly repeatedly tried to get her to go behind Trump’s back to “save the country.”
  • A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by President Trump trying to stop the House Ways & Means Committee from using a New York law to get his state tax returns.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/5

  • Lev Parnas, one of two Ukrainian-American associates of Rudy Giuliani who were indicted last month, is now prepared to comply with the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, his lawyer says.
  • Former State official Michael McKinley in sworn testimony says he spoke with Secretary of State Pompeo three times about a public statement for Yovanovitch, including on Sept. 26 when Pompeo offered no response. Pompeo, to ABC in Oct., says he “never heard” McKinley say a “single thing about his concerns.”
  • Former National Security Advisor John Bolton will testify as part of the impeachment probe this Thursday, per an official working on the inquiry.
  • Trump says there is “nothing wrong” with a quid pro quo, because “it is not an impeachable event.”

NOTE: Bribery is impeachable. It’s actually one of the only two specified offenses listed as impeachable.

  • Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Sen. Rand Paul demanded the news media print the whistleblower’s name as he delivered a speech at Trump’s rally in Kentucky.

NOTE: Under Federal Law, an intelligence whistleblower is protected from retaliation so long as he or she follows the protocol when filing a complaint.

  • Trump Tweeted, “The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable!”

NOTE: Trump provided written answers to the Mueller investigation that were incomplete and misleading.

  • Trump said the US is ready to “wage war” on the drug cartels and “wipe them off the face of the earth” after at least 10 members of a prominent Mormon family, including three women and seven children, were killed in an ambush attack near the US-Mexico border.
  • Trump offered Putin aid to fight forest fires in Siberia while threatening to withhold aid from California.
  • House impeachment investigators asked Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to appear for a deposition later this week
  • Jennifer Williams, a senior adviser to Vice President Pence, is likely to comply with a request to testify on Thursday in front of the committees leading the impeachment inquiry.
  • Trump has set the lowest refugee cap in history despite record numbers of refugees globally.

NOTE: America was conceived as a haven of refugees, people fleeing repression and persecution.

  • The Justice Department opened a new front in the legal battle between congressional impeachment investigators and the White House by announcing that Congress must allow government attorneys to accompany executive branch witnesses who testify about Trump’s relations with Ukraine.
  • Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland says he told Ukraine that aid was conditioned on announcing an investigation that would help Trump politically
  • Ambassador Kurt Volker texted to a top Ukrainian official the script they wanted Zelensky to read to announce the Burisma (i.e. Biden)/2016 election investigations.
  • Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he won’t read any of the transcripts, and dismissed Sondland’s testimony. “I’ve written the whole process off … I think this is a bunch of B.S.”

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

10/24-10/25

  • Kellyanne Conway told Washington Examiner reporter, Caitlin Yilek, it was improper to write about her husband and threatened to investigate Yilek’s personal life in a conversation she thought was off the record. It wasn’t. Conway, “Listen, if you’re going to cover my personal life, then we’re welcome to do the same around here.”
  • A U.S. Justice Department review of the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is now a criminal investigation. It’s unclear when it changed from an administrative review or what alleged crimes they are investigating. 
  • Trump continues to Tweet about the whistleblower. “Where is the Whistleblower, and why did he or she write such a fictitious and incorrect account of my phone call with the Ukrainian President? Why did the IG allow this to happen? Who is the so-called Informant (Schiff?) who was so inaccurate? A giant Scam!”
  • Trump nominated former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to join the Fulbright Scholarship Board.
  • Trump Tweeted, “COMING HOME! We were supposed to be there for 30 days – That was 10 years ago. When these pundit fools who have called the Middle East wrong for 20 years ask what we are getting out of the deal, I simply say, THE OIL, AND WE ARE BRINGING OUR SOLDIERS BACK HOME, ISIS SECURED!”
  • The Pentagon will send tanks and armored units to eastern Syria to protect the oil fields. The tanks will come from a unit already in Mideast. This would require hundreds of additional US troops to Syria, US officials.
  • The federal government is shutting down a surveillance program for dangerous animal viruses that someday may infect humans, in a move that worries many public health experts.
  • A federal judge issued a $100,000 fine on the Department of Education after finding Secretary Betsy DeVos violated a preliminary injunction when the department continued to collect loan payments from Corinthian Colleges students
  • Mike Pence chief of staff promoted the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign was entrapped by the Obama DOJ and intelligence agencies.
  • Impeachment investigators have negotiated with former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s lawyer about a date for him to be deposed. Bolton is considered a “star witness” and his testimony is expected to be devastating for Trump and his crew.
  • The White House threatened a veto of a bill backed by House Democrats aimed at stopping foreign interference in US elections.
  • Trump accuses Obama of treason for ‘spying’ on his 2016 campaign. He ratched up his claim that the Obama White House spied on his 2016 campaign, charging in a new book that it was a “treasonous” act by the former Democratic president. “What they did was treasonous, OK? It was treasonous.”
  • White House Advisor Tim Morrison will not only corroborate Chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor’s testimony, he will have his own specific details of first hand interactions that further implicate Trump in a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
  • The US deficit hit $984 billion in Fiscal Year 2019, an increase of nearly 70% from when Trump took office.

NOTE: Trump promised to eliminate federal debt in 8 years. Instead, it has been growing in his tenure

  • Trump dismissed the need for a bolstered team to defend him against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. “Here’s the thing. I don’t have teams. Everyone’s talking about teams. I’m the team. I did nothing wrong,”
  • Trump accepted the 2019 Bipartisan Justice Award for his signing of the First Step Act!
  • Trump continued criticism of Never Trumpers in DC, even asking reporters for a list of the ones working in his administration. He spoke with reporters, “Who are they? Tell me. Tell me who the Never Trumpers are because I’m not a fan of the Never Trumpers.”
  • A judge ruled the Justice Department must turn over Mueller’s grand jury evidence to the House.
  • The Trump Organization is considering selling its three-year-old hotel in downtown Washington, DC, that’s been a focus of ongoing complaints that Trump is profiting off his role as President.
  • Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is lobbying the president & White House hard against strict vaping rules, offering polls, suggestions and critiques, and saying they will suppress votes.
  • Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter and is heard discussing need for cash and trashing Bidens.