In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

12/2

  •  Frank Wuco, a former naval intelligence officer and conservative talk radio host who promoted fringe conspiracy theories in radio appearances, is now a senior adviser at the State Department Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance.
  • Trump says the U.S. will designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups for their role in trafficking narcotics and people. 
  • President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act despite protests from officials in Beijing, who complain that the legislation meddles in their domestic matters. The legislation imposes sanctions on individuals who commit human rights violations in Hong Kong and blocks them from entering the United States. It would also require the State Department to provide an annual report to lawmakers on whether Hong Kong remains “sufficiently autonomous” from China.
  • China’s government announced Monday that it would suspend visits from U.S. military ships and aircraft to Hong Kong, blaming the U.S. for supporting the pro-democracy protests that have rocked the city for months. China’s foreign ministry pointed to legislation signed by President Trump last week, which imposes sanctions on individuals suspected of committing human rights violations in the province, as evidence of U.S. interference in Chinese affairs.
  • Federal appeals court in DC has temporarily stayed a lower court’s ruling that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify to Congress while the court considers Trump administration’s appeal. Panel of judges will hear arguments January 3rd.
  • President Trump and the first lady traveled to Afghanistan Thursday to pay a surprise Thanksgiving visit to US troops. This is the president’s first trip to the country.
  • Newsweek has fired a writer assigned to cover President Trump and his family after she inaccurately reported that the president “spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan,”
  • President Trump announced the U.S. is talking to the Taliban and claimed they are eager to make a deal, less than three months after he suddenly called off official negotiations. It was unclear in what capacity the negotiations were taking place, and whether they amounted to official negotiations or back-channel meetings.
  • Despite President Trump’s announcement this week that Taliban officials want a cease-fire, the militant group pushed back and said its position has not changed since negotiations with the US were canceled in September.
  • Google and YouTube have taken down hundreds of video advertisements for President Trump in recent months, according to a new report from CBS News’s “60 Minutes.” A review of the Google and YouTube’s advertising archives found that more than 300 video advertisements for the president had been removed, primarily during the summer, for violating policies.
  • As lawmakers return from their Thanksgiving recess this week, the House is slated to move into its third phase of its impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. The House Judiciary Committee — the panel that holds jurisdiction over drafting any article or articles of impeachment — is gearing up to hold its first hearing, entitled “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment,” on Wednesday. The panel will hear from legal scholars as it weighs whether the evidence turned up in their weeks-long impeachment inquiry warrants the drafting of articles aimed at removing the president from office.
  • After repeatedly claiming that the impeachment process was violating his rights by not letting him participate, Trump is now declining to participate. The Trump White House on Sunday told the House Judiciary Committee that it will not participate in Wednesday’s impeachment inquiry hearing. 
  • President Trump announced Monday that his administration would immediately reimpose steel and aluminum tariffs on two South American countries, blaming the governments of Brazil and Argentina for devaluing their currencies and hurting the U.S. economy.
  • Rudy Giuliani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Former national security adviser John Bolton, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry continue to defy House subpoenas to testify.
  • Ukraine’s president says in a new interview that he never discussed a “quid pro quo” with President Trump, but criticized any blocking of U.S. security aid for his country at a time when it is at war with Russia. “I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Time published Monday. “I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war,” he said. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.”
  • Trump continues to pretend President Zelensky’s refusal to criticize their phone calls is an actual defense. Trump Tweeted: “Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls. If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!”
  • Trump’s Acting Commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency, Mark Morgan, broke federal ethics rules to fund happy hours, asking outside entities to pay for the social events even after being warned it was a violation.
  • Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who were Trump’s first endorsements from Congress, have now both pleaded guilty – Collins for insider trading and Hunter for misuse of campaign funds. When they were charged in mid-2018, Trump called them “very popular Republican Congressmen” and criticized Sessions for the timing of the indictments.
  • President Trump’s 2020 campaign announced Monday it will no longer allow reporters from Bloomberg News to obtain credentials to cover Trump campaign events.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will hear from four constitutional scholars about the “constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered” in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine when the next phase of its investigation begins.
  • Trump Tweeted: “In the 3 decades before my election, NATO spending declined by two-thirds, and only 3 other NATO members were meeting their financial obligations. Since I took office, the number of NATO allies fulfilling their obligations more than DOUBLED, and NATO spending increased by $130B!”

NOTE: 2019 is the 5th consecutive year collective defense spending among NATO members has gone up. They began spending more in 2014, when Obama was still president and NATO members agreed to work toward spending 2% of GDP on defense by 2024.

  • A report by the Republican controlled Senate panel cleared Ukraine of election interference. Some Republican senators recently questioned whether Kyiv tried to sabotage Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. But the GOP-led Intelligence Committee looked into the theory, and found no evidence to support the claim.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/13

  • The Trump Organization agreed to pay nearly $300,000 to the government of Scotland following an unsuccessful attempt by the company to block construction of an offshore wind farm within view of one of the organization’s golf courses.
  • Jared Kushner and other senior Trump administration officials are planning to set up webcams to live-stream construction of Trump’s border wall, going against objections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. The Army Corps and CBP have told Kushner that construction contractors do not want their proprietary techniques visible to competitors.
  • Mina Chang, a senior Trump admin. official, has embellished her resume with misleading claims about her professional background, raising questions about her qualifications to hold a top position at the US State Department.
  • Trump has reportedly been threatening to fire acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney for weeks over recent missteps amid the House’s impeachment investigation. 
  • Trump has complained about Acting White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney’s appearance at an Oct. 17 press conference in which he admitted military aid to Ukraine was withheld to pressure Kyiv to launch investigations into alleged 2016 election meddling and former Vice President Joe Biden. Senior aides have reportedly advised that firing Mulvaney at such a pivotal moment during the House’s impeachment inquiry could be risky, particularly given Mulvaney’s role in the decision to temporarily freeze the aid and the chaos that would ensue in trying to find a replacement for him.
  • Ignoring bi-partisan requests to not do so, Trump hosted Turkish President Erdogan at the White House. Several GOP senators were invited for the unusual meeting with Erdoğan to “clear the air.”
  • During Erdogan/Trump meeting, Turkish forces launched fierce attacks on predominantly Christian town of Til Temir, causing massive displacement of the residents, in clear violation of the cease-fire agreement.
  • In a private speech to Morgan Stanley’s largest hedge fund clients,Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton said that the president made a foreign policy decision in Turkey based on his own business interests. Bolton said he believes there is a personal or business relationship dictating Trump’s position on Turkey because none of his advisers are aligned with him on the issue.
  • Trump Tweeted that William Taylor and George Kent, the public witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry, are “Never Trumpers.” They both denied the claim while under oath.
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent and United States Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor testified in the first publicly aired impeachment hearing.

NOTE: For a recap of the day’s Impeachment report, visit The Hill. There is just too much to include here and their reporting is unbiased. http://bit.ly/2pfOW8B

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/8

  • The Trump administration has made it easier to sell U.S. firearms outside the United States, including assault rifles and ammunition. The proposed rule changes, which would move oversight of commercial firearm exports from the U.S. Department of State to the Department of Commerce, could be enacted as soon as the end of this year, the sources said late on Wednesday.

NOTE: While the State Department is primarily concerned with international threats to stability and maintains tight restrictions on weapons deals, the Commerce Department typically focuses on making it easier for U.S. companies to sell products overseas.

  • In his new book, Don Jr writes about a visit to Arlington National Cemetery before his father’s inauguration and compares the sacrifice of the soldiers buried there to his. “In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family, and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed — voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals.”
  • The White House sent its nomination for outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s replacement to the Senate. Nominee Dan Brouillette currently serves as the deputy secretary at the Department of Energy.
  • Jennifer Williams, an aide to VP Pence who listened to the call between Trump and the Ukrainian President told impeachment inquiry investigators that she found the conversation to be unusual because it was political in nature.
  • A lawyer for the Ukraine whistleblower has sent the White House a cease and desist letter to stop Trump’s attacks. “Your client, the President of the U.S., is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client and their family in physical danger.”
  • Trump’s Acting Chief Of Staff Mick Mulvaney ignored a subpoena to appear before House committees for a closed-door deposition.
  • President Trump says they’re going to impose a 21 year old age limit for vaping. He says it’s coming next week.
  • Trump refutes China’s claim the 2 sides have reached a deal to slowly rollback tariffs. The President says he has not agreed to such a deal at this point, negotiations are continuing and China ‘wants a deal more’ than the US.
  • After weeks of Republicans demanding that Schiff open up the doors and allow the public to see the impeachment proceedings, Trump says this morning: “They shouldn’t be having public hearings.”
  • Trump says he’s considering visiting Russia in May. He told reporters that Vladimir Putin invited him to a May Day parade.
  • Trump tweeted: “I will be announcing the winners of the #MAGACHALLENGE and inviting them to the @WhiteHouse to meet with me and perform. Good luck!”

NOTE: The MAGA Challenge is a Twitter challenge among Trump supporters, in which they upload Trump-friendly raps to the internet.

  • Trump will host the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov at the White House later this month, the White House announced Friday. The two leaders plan to discuss security in the Black Sea region, energy and “countering malign influence,” Grisham said.
  • The House committees running the impeachment inquiry into Trump released the transcript of their closed-door deposition with the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert Alexander Vindman and Deputy Assistant to the President, Fiona Hill.
  • Months before Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman – both Giuliani clients who are currently awaiting trial – urged then-Ukrainian President Poroshenko to announce those investigations in return for a state visit to DC.
  • White House counsel Pat Cipollone told top NSC lawyer John Eisenberg in July to talk to Trump about NSC aides’ concerns that Ukrainians were being unduly pressured. Eisenberg never did that nor reported the complaints to DOJ.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/7

  • President Trump was more personally involved in his campaign’s effort to obtain Democratic emails stolen by Russian operatives in 2016 than was previously known, phone records introduced in federal court suggested.
  • Rudy Giuliani Tweeted, “The investigation I conducted concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption, was done solely as a defense attorney to defend my client against false charges, that kept changing as one after another were disproven.”

NOTE: As Republicans are espousing that investigating the Bidens was of legitimate state interest, Rudy steps in to confirm that the requests he and the State Dept were making of Ukraine were simply to advance Trump’s personal interests.

  • It was reported that Trump wanted Attorney General Barr to hold a news conference declaring that Trump had broken no laws during a phone call in which he pressed the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, though Barr ultimately declined to do so. The request for the news conference came sometime around Sept. 25, when the administration released a rough transcript of the president’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.

NOTE: In response, Trump Tweeted: “Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine. The story was a Fake Washington Post con job with an “anonymous” source that doesn’t exist. Just read the Transcript. The Justice Department already ruled that the call was good. We don’t have freedom of the press!”

  • Pam Bondi, a former Florida attorney general and more recently a lobbyist at a firm with extensive ties to Trump, will join the White House communications staff temporarily to help with messaging during the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
  • The Trump administration has sued Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company that sells H.I.V.-prevention drugs, accusing it of earning billions from research funded by taxpayers without paying taxpayers back
  • Trump repeated the false claim that a large liquified natural gas project in Louisiana couldn’t get approval under Obama and that he had it approved almost immediately. The plant got its final federal go-ahead June 2014.
  • Republicans intend to subpoena the government whistleblower to testify in the House’s impeachment investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.
  • Interviews in Kiev have revealed high-level Ukrainian officials ultimately decided to acquiesce to Trump’s request for a public announcement about investigations, because the need for aid was so great. By a stroke of luck, they never had to follow through.
  • Trump has had talks of having a post-presidency reality show. One of the ideas kicked around was shooting a new version of The Apprentice, tentatively titled ‘The Apprentice: White House,’ and to produce it shortly after the president leaves office.
  • Trump Tweeted: “It was just explained to me that for next weeks Fake Hearing (trial) in the House, as they interview Never Trumpers and others, I get NO LAWYER & NO DUE PROCESS. It is a Pelosi, Schiff, Scam against the Republican Party and me. This Witch Hunt should not be allowed to proceed!”

NOTE: Trump hasn’t been charged with a crime and impeachment isn’t a legal proceeding, so he doesn’t have any of the rights, including due process, associated with a criminal case. As a matter of law, a president has essentially no claim to any kind of participation in the impeachment process. 

  • A federal judge has ruled the Trump administration must provide mental health services to migrant families that have undergone trauma as a result of being separated from their families at the border.
  • A NY state judge has ordered Trump to pay $2 million to a collection of non-profit organizations as part of a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office to resolve a civil lawsuit that alleged “persistent” violations of charities law.

NOTE: In 2018 Trump Tweeted: “The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!”

  • R&B singer, Ray J, in talks to meet with the Trump administration to get Suge Knight pardoned for manslaughter conviction.
  • Roger Stone’s trial has begun and prosecutors are citing evidence that Trump lied to Special Counsel Mueller.
  • In the released transcript, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent confirms Ambassador to the European Union Sondland was told by Trump to seek quid pro quo: “Gordon [Sondland], had talked to the President, POTUS in sort of shorthand, and POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton.”
  • Kent corroborates that Sondland told Ambassador to Ukraine Yovanovitch to send a supportive tweet about Trump to save her job.
  • The House Impeachment Committee is moving on from their efforts to obtain testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton. Though Bolton was scheduled to voluntarily testify Thursday, he did not. A lawyer for Bolton threatened to file a lawsuit if their client was subpoenaed.
  • The Government Accountability Office is looking into the Trump administration’s hold on nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to see if the freeze, which is at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, was illegal.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

11/6

  • At his rally in Kentucky Monday night, Trump said that Matt Bevin losing “sends a really bad message” and pleaded with his fans, “you can’t let that happen to me!”

NOTE: Blevin lost to Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear.

  • Fox News is now spreading Trump’s lie that Bevin was losing by 20 points in Kentucky before Trump went there are rallied for him.

NOTE: Bevin was ahead 5 points in a poll released November 1st.

  • David Hale, the under secretary of State for political affairs, arrived in the Capitol to testify in the impeachment investigation, bucking a White House that has vowed to offer no cooperation in the fast-moving inquiry. Hale  is expected to provide insights into the campaign by Trump and some of his allies to remove Marie Yovanovitch from her post as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron took a dig at Trump over climate pact exit, “When China, the European Union and Russia commit to [the Paris Agreement], the isolated choice of this or that [country] isn’t enough to change the course of things.”
  • House Intel Chair Adam Schiff confirms first impeachment open hearings are set for next week: “Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves … but also to learn first-hand about the facts of the President’s misconduct.”
  • Melania Trump’s visit to Boston Medical Center was met by medical professionals out in protest. 
  • A federal judge in New York struck down a Trump administration rule that would allow doctors to refuse services that conflict with their religious beliefs
  • Lindsey Graham, “What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent, it depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.”

NOTE: Republican defense of Trump has shifted from:

  1. The president did nothing wrong.
  2. The process the Dems are using is unfair..
  3. The president may have done something wrong, but it’s not impeachable.
  4. The president might have done impeachable stuff, but we just don’t care.
  5. The president’s bumbling Ukraine policy was so incoherent, they couldn’t properly execute a crime.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

10/30

  • In rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump, The House approved sanctions against Turkey over its offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish forces. The measure passed 403-16, with 176 Republicans voting in support and just 15 opposing the bill. The sanctions offer a rare bipartisan rebuke of President Trump’s policies while underscoring the growing divide between Congress and a NATO ally.
  • Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, testified that President Trump’s demand for political dirt from Ukraine was so damaging to US National Security that he had a “duty” to relay his objections up the chain of command.
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told House investigators that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, including a reference to Burisma, and that his attempts to restore them failed.
  • Vindman was instructed not to debrief Trump on Zelensky’s inauguration because Trump’s advisers were worried it might confuse him. Nunes ally Kash Patel had “misrepresented” himself as NSC’s Ukraine expert, despite no relevant experience, Vindman testified. Trump believed that Kash Patel, a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February and had no discernible Ukraine experience or expertise, was actually the NSC’s top Ukraine expert instead of Vindman.
  • EU Amb. Gordon Sondland now tells Congress that there was a quid pro quo involved with Ukraine after previously denying it, Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos who pleaded guilty last year for lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia-linked officials and served 12 day in prison has launched a congressional campaign to run for the House seat vacated Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.). 
  • EU Amb. Gordon Sondland now tells Congress that there was a quid pro quo involved with Ukraine after previously denying it, Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Trump said “over the last 2 years, the number of murders in America and America’s major cities has dropped, unlike (Chicago), by more than 10%.” 

NOTE: Chicago has seen murders this year decrease by 27% than it had at this time two years ago.

  • The number of uninsured children grew by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018, an unprecedented decline in health coverage for the youngest Americans.
  • For the 12-month period ending September 2019, Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies totaled 580 filings, up 24% from the prior year and the highest level since 676 filings in 2011.
  • U.S. economy slowed to a modest growth rate of 1.9% in the summer, above some expectations but far below the 3%-plus increases Pres. Trump has set as a benchmark.

NOTE: Regarding the 1.9% Growth, Trump Tweeted: “The Greatest Economy in American History.”
NOTE: In May 2012 when growth rate was exactly the same, Trump Tweeted: “Q1 GDP has just been revised down to 1.9%. The economy is in deep trouble.” 

  • The Federal Reserve announced that it will cut interest rates for the third consecutive time this year as the U.S. economy continues to slow. Trump has pressured for further cuts.
  • Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton will testify next week in the impeachment inquiry.

In The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

10/29

  •  Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, tells House impeachment investigators that he was so troubled by Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s President that he reported his concerns to a superior, “I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine…I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
  • More from Alexander Vindman’s opening statement: “In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy.”

NOTE: With no evidence, Trump attacked Vindman just before the official was to tell House impeachment investigators he raised alarms about what Trump told Ukraine’s president during a July phone call.

  • Five senior Trump administration officials who watched in real time told The Daily Beast that they had no idea where Trump got the “whimpering and crying and screaming” Baghdadi detail.
  • Officials cringed as Trump spilled sensitive details about the al-Baghdadi raid. A few details he revealed are inaccurate, others are classified or tactically sensitive. Officials say they worry about what to put in briefings for a man with no filter.
  • Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House.
  • Murray Energy, the largest privately owned coal company in the US, has become the 8th coal company in a year to file for bankruptcy protection.
  • Federal Court Bars Use of Entangling Nets in Vital North Atlantic Right Whale Habitat. The Trump administration tried to expand the gauntlet of fishing gear that can harm & kill these whales without considering how it would affect the population.