Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- President Trump signed an executive order intended to combat anti-Semitism on college campuses that has triggered pushback from some Jewish groups and free speech advocates who warn it will punish valid criticisms of Israel, infringe on free speech rights and improperly label Judaism as a nationality.
- President Trump lashed out at climate activist Greta Thunberg after the 16-year-old was named Time’s “Person of the Year,” an honor Trump was on the shortlist for. Trump Tweeted: “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
- Trump’s campaign released a photoshopped Time Magazine “Person of the Year” cover with Trump’s head shopped onto Greta Thunberg’s body as a campaign fundraising promotion.
- President Trump’s reelection campaign tweeted an edited cover of Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” issue that had altered the photo to show the president’s head on the shoulders of 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg, and listed off his accomplishments with a call to support his reelection.
- Mongolian officials visited Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Palm Beach, FL resort, before retroactively granting the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., a rare hunting permit. Trump Jr. shot and killed an endangered sheep in Mongolia, receiving a permit from the Mongolian government after the fact.
- Over objections from Trump and Turkey, the Senate unanimously passed the Armenian genocide remembrance measure. Three previous attempts to raise the issue in the Senate, following the 405-11 House vote in October to recognize the Armenian genocide, were blocked by Republican senators.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to hold a vote to acquit President Trump should the president ultimately be impeached in the House rather than move to dismiss any articles of impeachment sent from the lower chamber. Two Republican senators, reported Thursday that the Senate GOP wants to have a vote for acquittal to try to clear the president of any wrongdoing stemming from his dealings with Ukraine rather than a majority vote to simply dismiss impeachment. The Constitution requires articles of impeachment to garner 67 votes in support in order to convict and remove Trump, and the GOP, which holds a 53-47 majority.
- The White House hosted an evangelical pastor who has said that Jews “can’t be saved” as part of the administration’s Wednesday Hanukkah celebration. Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas called Trump “the most pro-faith president in history.” During a 2011 interview on Trinity Broadcasting Network, he said the Bible claims “every other religion in the world is wrong.” “Islam is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of hell. Mormonism is wrong, it is heresy from the pit of hell,” Jeffress said. “Judaism — you know you can’t be saved being a Jew.”
- President Trump has been discussing with his campaign advisers the possibility of not participating in general election debates in 2020, with sources saying Trump doesn’t trust the group that runs debates.
- As the Senate prepares for a likely impeachment trial, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was spotted meeting with President Trump’s White House lawyer Pat Cipollone and are considering a relatively short trial with no witnesses.
- The Trump administration is proposing changes to Social Security that could terminate disability payments to hundreds of thousands of Americans, particularly older people and children. The new rule would change aspects of disability reviews — the methods by which the Social Security Administration determines whether a person continues to qualify for benefits.
- In roughly 33 months, Trump has Tweeted 11,000 times. In an analysis of the Tweets, the New York Times counted:
- 5,889 attacking someone or something
- 2,026 complimenting himself
- 1,710 promoting conspiracy theories
- 233 attacking our international allies
- 132 praising dictators
- During a private airing of grievances at the White House with more than a dozen UN ambassadors present, Trump repeatedly denigrated Canadian PM Trudeau behind his back and called French President Macron a “pain in the ass.”
- A federal judge has just rejected the Trump administration’s request to delay a lawsuit against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for defying congressional subpoenas as part of a probe into officials’ handling of the 2020 census.
- President Trump said he “wouldn’t mind” a more drawn out Senate trial if the House votes to impeach him, a break from some of his GOP allies who have said they hope to have a more abbreviated process. “I’ll do whatever I want. Look, we did nothing wrong. So, I’ll do long or short,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. Trump added that he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are “very much in agreement on some concept.” “I’ll do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t matter,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t mind a long process because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who’s a fraud.”
- The Justice Department has made public a series of internal memos that President Trump has used to justify his and staffers’ refusal to comply with subpoenas in the House impeachment inquiry, a move that could signal his planned defense in a Senate trial. The memos, written by legal advisers in the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, date as far back as the Nixon administration and supply legal arguments for a broad reading of presidential power in the face of congressional oversight.
- President Trump and China have announced that they had reached a “Phase One” trade deal that would see a reduction in tariffs from both sides and increase China’s purchases of US agricultural products.
- The Supreme Court has agreed to hear appeals from President Trump in three cases involving efforts to gain access to his financial records through subpoenas, setting up a landmark separation of powers showdown.
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- A federal judge in Texas blocked the Trump administration from using billions of dollars in Pentagon funds for the construction of the border wall. The ruling is a setback for the administration, which has sought to shore up money for the President’s signature campaign promise of a border wall, and marks yet another high-profile blow the courts have dealt Trump of late on key issues
- Attorney General Barr claims the FBI acted in ‘bad faith’ on Russia investigation, despite inspector general report’s findings to the contrary. The 434-page report rebutted conservatives’ accusations that top FBI officials were driven by political bias to illegally spy on Trump advisers as part of the probe into Russian election interference, but it also found broad and ‘serious performance failures’ requiring major changes.
- News that Christopher Steele knew Ivanka Trump personally, and had discussed working together on foreign business projects, seriously undercuts the claims of the US president and his supporters that the former MI6 officer was motivated by malice when compiling his explosive Russiagate dossier. The Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz found that the FBI considered Mr Steele himself credible, but gathered evidence in 2017 indicating that some of Mr Steele’s reports were not reliable. However, the inspector general also concluded that Mr Steele’s information played no role in the opening of the FBI investigation exploring Mr Trump and Russia in July 2016.
- After weeks of blaming Democrats for delaying President Trump’s renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would delay it further.
- At rally in Pennsylvania, Trump repeats disproven claim that his campaign was spied upon, then called FBI investigators “scum.”
- As part of the settlement regarding Trump’s misuse of funds from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka were ordered to undergo mandatory training “to ensure they do not engage in similar misconduct in the future.”
- The president paid $2 million in damages for misusing charitable funds “to buy portraits of himself, pay off his businesses’ legal obligations & help his 2016 campaign.”
- A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to toss out a lawsuit over missing notes documenting President Donald Trump’s face-to-face meetings with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. American Oversight and Democracy Forward, a pair of left-leaning nonpartisan watchdog groups, sued Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the State Department, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the archivist of the United States in June over the missing notes. The groups charge that Pompeo violated the Federal Records Act by allowing Trump to reportedly confiscate meeting notes prepared by State Department employees and for failing to preserve them.
- U.S. prosecutors asked a judge to return Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani indicted on campaign finance charges, to jail for lying about his income and concealing a $1 million payment he got from Russia in September, a month before he was charged.
- James Littlefair, who worked as an advance staffer for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, resigned earlier this month after his mother pleaded guilty in the national “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal. Karen Littlefair was charged Monday with one count of wire fraud conspiracy. She had agreed in November to plead guilty to the charge. Federal prosecutors say Karen Littlefair paid college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer $9,000 so that an employee of Singer’s would take four online classes for her son at Georgetown University and Arizona State University between 2017 and 2018.
- Donald Trump, Jr. used a seven-day hunting trip to Mongolia he purchased during a National Rifle Association charity auction before his father was elected to the White House to allegedly kill a rare sheep that’s been declared an endangered species.
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- Trump has routinely communicated with Rudy Giuliani and other individuals speaking on cell phones vulnerable to monitoring by Russian and other foreign intelligence services. US officials said it’s “guaranteed” that Russia monitored Giuliani calls with Trump/White House; Moscow may know more about Ukraine plot than impeachment investigators.
John Kelly and intelligence officials attempted to get Trump to use secure White House line, but when he realized that this enabled them to compile daily logs of his calls & the identities of those he was speaking to, Trump reverted to using his cellphone.
- The EPA has reauthorized the use of “cyanide bombs” to kill wild animals such as coyotes, foxes and wild dogs after adding restrictions in response to critics who blasted the proposal because “cyanide bombs” temporarily blinded a child in 2017 and killed family pets.
- The U.S. economy gained 266K jobs in November, which was higher than expected. Unemployment had a slight downtick to 3.5%. Most gains in healthcare, technical & professional services. Average hourly wage grew by $.07, 3.1% for past 12 months.
- 520 law professors signed an open letter calling President Trump’s conduct impeachable the day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that committee chairmen should begin drafting articles of impeachment. The professors said in the letter posted to Medium that impeachment does not require a crime, but rather an abuse of the public trust. “There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress. His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution,” the professors wrote.
- After Pres. Trump previously complained that he wasn’t being given a chance to make a defense at the impeachment hearings, the White House has rejected the Judiciary Committee’s invitation to participate in the proceedings, instead demanding that the inquiry be ended,
- The President Tweeted: “All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations. Statutorily we are ready to do so. However, at the request of a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us, President Andres Manuel will temporarily hold off this designation and step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!
- The Supreme Court on Friday granted President Trump’s emergency request to temporarily block a congressional subpoena for his financial records from Deutsche Bank.
The court’s order came just hours after the president’s legal team asked for a temporary stay of an appellate court decision ordering Deutsche Bank to comply with subpoenas from the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees for a broad range of documents concerning Trump’s finances and his businesses.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who oversees the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, issued an administrative stay of that court’s decision that will be in effect until Friday, Dec. 13, while the court deliberates on whether to grant a longer stay and to give Trump’s lawyers time to prepare a formal appeal.
- The White House and Congress have reportedly reached a tentative agreement to grant 12 weeks of paid parental leave to all federal workers, in what would be a historic deal for the United States which does not currently have a federal parental leave policy.
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- Joseph Bondy, an attorney representing Rudy Giuliani’s indicted associate, Lev Parnas, asked that documents and recordings seized by feds seized during his client’s arrest be released to the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
- In another ruling against Trump, Judge Brown Jackson denies Trump request for stay in McGahn case and orders McGahn to abide by Congressional subpoena and appear for testimony. Judge Brown called the DOJ arguments “disingenuous” and an “unacceptable mischaracterization.”
- The Trump Administration has proposed tariffs “up to 100%” on certain French goods (about $2.4 billion worth) in retaliation for France’s digital services tax. Items include: Sparkling wine, Swiss, Gruyere, Pecorino and other cheeses, Handbags, and Various makeup products.
- France and the EU said they were ready to retaliate if President Trump acted on a threat to impose duties of up to 100% on imports of Champagne, handbags and other French products worth $2.4 billion.
- The Trump administration has released more than $100 million in assistance to Lebanon that had been on hold in recent months. A congressional aide also said the administration “has not provided any explanation of why it was held” in the first place
- President Trump on Monday questioned whether he and his allies could go to the Supreme Court to halt the House impeachment inquiry. Trump tweeted shortly after arriving in the United Kingdom for two days of NATO meetings that he had read House Republicans’ draft defense in which his allies insist there was no evidence of wrongdoing in Trump’s interactions with Ukraine. “Great job! Radical Left has NO CASE,” Trump tweeted. “Read the Transcripts. Shouldn’t even be allowed. Can we go to Supreme Court to stop?”
NOTE: Legal experts doubt the chances of the Supreme Court taking up such a case. They noted that the Constitution grants impeachment powers to the House and that Chief Justice John Roberts would be expected to preside over a Senate trial.
- With a 70-15 vote, the Senate confirmed Dan Brouillette to be President Trump’s second Energy Secretary replacing Rick Perry. He served as Deputy Energy Secretary since August 2017.
- Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump campaign.
- A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can hand over years of President Trump’s financial records in compliance with House subpoenas. The ruling in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals deals another loss in the courts for Trump, who has fought attempts to obtain his financial records, including his tax returns.The case is likely destined for the Supreme Court, where the president has already appealed two other lower court rulings requiring him to share his hidden financial documents.
- House Democrats on Tuesday released a 300-page impeachment report asserting that President Trump abused his power by trying to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election. The report said that Mr. Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States,” seeking to undermine American democracy and endangering national security.
- Brian Barnard, who was a senior adviser to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, has left the administration to join Uber’s Washington office. He’ll be a senior manager of federal affairs at Uber and plans to register to lobby.
- President Trump on Tuesday claimed to not know Prince Andrew despite multiple pictures of the two men together taken over the years.
- President Trump’s long-standing pledge to revive American manufacturing through a muscular trade policy took another hit with new data showing that the sector continued to slow for a fourth straight month.
- Prosecutors say more charges are possible against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The pair have been indicted on charges related to alleged campaign finance violations.
- A damning part of the new House report is the newly disclosed phone calls between Giuliani and everyone else involved – Nunes staff, Parnas and Fruman, OMB, Bolton, and others. On the day Marie Yovanovitch was told to “be on the next plane home” Giuliani took part in 13 phone calls with the White House and the Office of Management and Budget.
- Lev Parnas’ attorney, Joseph Bondy, tells PBS correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor : “Everything that Mr. Parnas has been attempting to convey to Congress and the American public would appear to be validated by the existence of phone records for Devin Nunes, Rudy Giuliani, President Trump.”
- Lewis Lukens, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in London, claims that he was prematurely fired from his post in 2018 because he cited former President Obama in a speech, GQ magazine reports. According to GQ, Lukens asserts the reason he was fired was because he had told an anecdote about Obama in a speech he gave to a pair of British universities right before Halloween.
- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he is “1,000% confident” that Russia, not Ukraine, meddled in the 2016 US presidential election, breaking from President Trump and others in his party who have pushed the discredited conspiracy theory.
- Armed with never-before-seen phone records, Democrats on Tuesday accused President Trump’s allies of coordinating with a conservative journalist to peddle “false narratives” about Trump’s opponents as part of his multi-pronged pressure campaign on Ukraine. The House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report says the committee’s top Repubican, Rep. Devin Nunes, was linked to that effort. The records were subpoenaed from third-parties. “Mr. Solomon was not working alone,” the report said of conservative journalist John Solomon’s articles throughout 2019 that spread Trump-backed conspiracies about Ukraine.The phone records, which are labeled in the report’s endnotes as coming from AT&T, show a web of communications between Solomon, Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Ukrainian American businessman Lev Parnas, Nunes and the White House’s budget office.
- Trump’s obstruction of Congress included 12 witnesses prevented from testifying (10 defied subpoenas) and Executive branch agencies ignored subpoenas for documents.
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- 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.
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- At his rally Tuesday night, Trump opened with the absurd claim that, “Some people want to change the name Thanksgiving. They don’t want to use the term Thanksgiving. And that was true with Christmas. Now everybody is using Christmas again. Remember I said that?”
- President Trump told supporters at a Tuesday night rally that he pushed back against “the deep state” by pardoning and granting clemency to military members convicted of war crimes, appearing to refer to senior Pentagon officials as “the deep state” as they had raised concerns about Trump intervening.
- Two weeks before Trump released the Ukraine aid, White House lawyers briefed him on whistle-blower’s complaint, a key detail about what Trump knew when he made a critical decision at the heart of impeachment investigation.
- On Bill O’Reilly’s radio show, Trump disputed the Rudy Giuliani was acting under his direction in the Ukraine. O’Reilly asked Trump, “What was Rudy Giuliani doing in Ukraine on your behalf?” Trump responded, “Well, you have to ask that to Rudy, but I don’t even know, but I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he cancelled the trip. But, ya know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I’m one…” O’Reilly, speaking over Trump, “So, you didn’t direct him to go there on your behalf? You didn’t…” Trump, “No.”
NOTE: In the released summary of the Ukraine phone call, Trump says, “Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.”
- The internal watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security found that the Trump administration anticipated it would separate 26,000 children if the “zero tolerance” policy of 2018 had been allowed to continue, and that the agency knew it lacked the technology to track and reunite children with their parents.
Officials at Customs and Border Protection, the DHS agency responsible for separating families under the May-June 2018 policy, estimated in May of that year that it would separate more than 26,000 children by September, according to the report from the DHS Office of Inspector General, released publicly on Wednesday. After mounting pressure, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the policy on June 20, 2018.
- In a bizarre Tweet, President Trump posted a picture of his head Photoshopped onto Rocky Balboa’s body.
- President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, called the president this week to reassure him that he had been joking when he told media outlets he had “insurance” if Trump turned on him in the Ukraine scandal, Giuliani’s lawyer said on Wednesday. The attorney, Robert Costello, said Giuliani “at my insistence” had called Trump “within the last day” to emphasize that he had not been serious when he said he had an “insurance policy, if thrown under the bus.”
- Rudy Giuliani privately sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from Ukrainian officials while trying to get dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
- The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Trump’s campaign in 2016 as agents investigated whether his associates conspired with Russia’s election interference operation, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report said.
The finding also contradicts some of the most inflammatory accusations hurled by Mr. Trump and his supporters, who alleged not only that F.B.I. officials spied on the Trump campaign but also at one point that former President Barack Obama had ordered Mr. Trump’s phones tapped. The startling accusation generated headlines but Mr. Trump never backed it up.
- President Trump signed an Executive Order establishing a task force on missing and murdered Native Americans and natives of Alaska.
- The Trump administration has moved to substantially cut its contribution to NATO’s collective budget according to several US and NATO officials, a symbolic move that comes as many continue to question President Donald Trump’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance as he prepares to attend a summit to mark its 70th anniversary in London next week.
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- Joseph A. Bondy who represents Lev Parnas, the recently indicted Soviet-born American who worked with Giuliani to push claims of Democratic corruption in Ukraine, says his client is willing to testify that Rep. Devin Nunes met with an ex-Ukraine official to get dirt on Joe Biden. Bondy revealed that Devin Nunes is so deeply involved in the Ukraine bribery & extortion plot that he planned to travel there in the spring, but canceled at the last minute to hide it from Adam Schiff.
- The State Department released nearly 100 pages of documents showing repeated contacts between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, debunking The White House claim that Gordon Sondland’s testimony that everyone was in the loop regarding the Trump-Giuliani extortion scheme.
- The Center for Security Policy, a far-right group that alleges that Islamic extremists are infiltrating the U.S. government, held a banquet this weekend at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. The group’s leaders have spread the lie that former President Obama is a Muslim and have also falsely alleged that Muslim organizations in the United States have anti-American beliefs.
- Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, one of the president’s longest-tenured employees, who now runs the family’s business with Eric & Donald Trump Jr. is being scrutinized by prosecutors in New York in connection to payments to Stormy Daniels.
- President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani tweeted Saturday that his “insurance” if the president “throws him under the bus” is a safe containing alleged evidence against former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. Giuliani Tweeted: “TRUTH ALERT: The statement I’ve made several times of having an insurance policy, if thrown under bus, is sarcastic & relates to the files in my safe about the Biden Family’s 4 decade monetizing of his office. If I disappear, it will appear immediately along with my RICO chart.
- First lady Melania Trump was booed while delivering remarks at a youth opioid awareness event in Baltimore on Tuesday. Mrs. Trump was “greeted with some cheers but also a resounding chorus of loud boos, which lasted for about one minute” from the crowd of more than 1,000 middle and high schoolers.
- Trump’s repeated involvement in the case of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher has prompted concerns about how it’s affecting US standing around the globe. Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus says, “You can’t spin this in a good way. Throw accountability out the window, throw military justice out of the way, dishonor the tens of thousands of Americans who have served in both these theaters.”
- The Judiciary Committee has announced its first impeachment hearing for next week, on Wednesday, on the formal definition of high crimes and misdemeanors. Trump and his lawyers are invited to attend.
- The Office of Management and Budget’s first official action to withhold $250M in aid to Ukraine came on the evening of July 25—the day of the now-infamous call between Trump and Ukrainian president Zelensky.
- The CIA must adequately respond to Buzzfeed Inc.’s Freedom of Information Act request for information about payments to Syrian rebels because President Donald Trump already acknowledged them in a tweet, a federal district court ruled.
- The CIA must adequately respond to BuzzFeed’s Freedom Of Information request for information about payments to Syrian rebels because Trump’s Tweet acknowledged some payments. the CIA can’t avoid responding to Buzzfeed’s request by saying it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a covert program to arm the rebels.
- The Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked the House’s attempts to gain access to President Trump’s financial records. “The court instructed Trump’s lawyers to file a petition by December 5th stating why it should accept the case for full briefing and oral argument. If the petition is eventually denied, the lower court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case likely will be heard this term, with a decision before the court adjourns at the end of June.
- While performing the ceremonial pardoning of a turkey Trump quipped, “I expect this pardon will be a very popular one with the media. After all, turkeys are closely related to vultures.”
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, ending a stunning clash between President Trump and top military leadership over the fate of a SEAL accused of war crimes in Iraq. In letter submitted by Spencer as he left office, he wrote, “Unfortunately it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline,” he added. “I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
- President Trump signed the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act on Monday. The bill directs the Treasury Department to issue $1 coins honoring the history of the women’s suffrage movement. This is in preparation for next year, which will mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.
During the signing ceremony for the bill, Trump claimed credit for the bill’s passage, saying “they’ve been working on this for years and years. And I’m curious, why wasn’t it done a long time ago, and also — well, I guess the answer to that is because now I’m President, and we get things done.”
NOTE: Trump is taking credit for something timed to a specific date — the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. There were no failed efforts to pass similar legislation under previous presidents because the anniversary isn’t until next year.
- The House Oversight Committee filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for blocking its probe into the administration’s failed efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, calling their actions a “brazen obstruction of Congress.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Oversight chief, said she filed the lawsuit in a federal district court in Washington because the two departments have refused to hand over key documents as part of its probe into the origins of the now-scuttled citizenship question.
- A new watchdog report has found that acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan, while working for the FBI, violated federal ethics rules by seeking sponsors to buy alcohol for agency happy hours.
- President Trump signed a bipartisan bill that, for the first time, makes acts of animal cruelty a federal crime punishable with fines and up to 7 years in prison.
- The Washington Post reports that a confidential White House review of Trump’s decision to put a hold on aid to Ukraine “has turned up hundreds of documents that reveal extensive efforts to generate an after-the-fact justification for the decision and a debate over whether the delay was legal.”
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- Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said that the evidence presented in the impeachment proceedings against President Trump is “overwhelming” and that it is sufficient “to justify about three or four articles of impeachment.”
- Trump called into on Fox & Friends and spoke for fifty-three minutes.
- President Trump repeated his debunked claim that Ukraine is connected to a hacked Democratic server from the 2016 election one day after a former Russia expert in his administration, Fiona Hill, chastised Republicans for giving air in the impeachment hearings to conspiracy theories that Ukraine, and not Russia, was behind it. “A lot of it had to do, they say with Ukraine. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company,” Trump said of Crowdstrike.
NOTE: Crowdstrike is the US company hired to investigate the hack of Democratic servers.
- Trump says he likes Nikki Haley but will stick with Mike Pence as his running mate in 2020. “He’s my guy, he’s my friend.”
- In a flub that some may see as a Freudian slip, when referring to Ukraine undertaking investigations in exchange for a White House visit, Trump said, “”I do want always corruption.”
- President Trump said he would like a full Senate trial if the House votes to impeach him.
- Trump condemns former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch for purportedly refusing to hang up his picture in her office. “This ambassador that everyone says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy. This was not an angel, this woman, okay? And there were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like.” He also complained that Republicans didn’t attack her enough during impeachment hearings and said they only refused to do so because of her gender.
- Trump blames White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for her husband’s criticisms of his presidency. “She must’ve done a number on him,” Trump said, referring to the Conways. “She must’ve done some bad things to him, because that man’s crazy.”
- Trump takes sole credit for China not turning Hong Kong into a nuclear wasteland. “If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would’ve been obliterated in 14 minutes,” the president claimed, before adding, “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi.”
- President Trump suggested that he might veto legislation designed to support anti-government protesters in Hong Kong — despite its near unanimous support in the House and Senate — to pave the way for a trade deal with China. The president said that he was balancing competing priorities in the U.S.-China relationship. “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi, he’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible gu. I’d like to see them work it out, ok?” the president said. “I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do, but we are also in the process of making one of the largest trade deals in history. And if we could do that it would be great.”
- The CEO of Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz told Time he is ready to give evidence to U.S. federal prosecutors probing the business dealings of President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. “I will with a high likelihood be invited to testify in this case,” Andriy Kobolyev said, adding that he “would be willing to come and testify” if he were summoned. Naftogaz is reportedly connected to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two men who allegedly worked with Giuliani to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Parnas and Fruman allegedly tried to use their political connections to replace the leadership at Naftogaz, which resisted the two men’s efforts for a gas deal.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hand-delivered a plan to the Saudi royal family to help the crown prince get away with ordering the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a bombshell new report. Citing a senior Saudi source, Middle East Eye reported Monday evening that Pompeo devised a plot to help shield Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”) from the fallout following the highly publicized murder of Khashoggi, who was brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2.
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- Statement from attorney for Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, “Mr. Parnas is prepared to testify completely and accurately about his involvement in the President and Rudy Giuliani’s quid pro quo demands of Ukraine.”
- EPA has finalized a rule that it argues “reduces unnecessary regulatory burdens” at chemical plants by undoing some Obama administration safety regulations and parts of a major chemical disaster rule that was implemented in response to an explosion that left 15 dead. Opponents warn it could put low income communities at risk to chemical explosions and oil spills.
- California’s highest state court has struck down a state law that would have required President Trump to hand over his tax returns as a condition to appearing on the state’s ballot for the Republican primaries.
- President Trump’s much-scrutinized pick to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Barry Myers, has withdrawn from consideration, citing health concerns. Myers has faced criticism from Democratic lawmakers over sexual harassment allegations made against AccuWeather while Myers served as the company’s CEO.
- President Trump made an unexpected trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Thursday to receive the remains of a fallen service member.
- Trump has signed a temporary spending bill to fund federal agencies through Dec. 20, averting a possible government shutdown.
For full coverage of the Impeachment hearings visit The Hill at the following link. http://bit.ly/37uFeAn
Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- The White House released a note from President Trump’s physician dismissing speculation about his physical state after he made an unannounced trip to Walter Reed for exams: “Despite some of the speculation, the President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues.”
- A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing to get legislation enacted that would change a provision of President Trump’s 2017 tax law that raised taxes on spouses and children of service members killed in action or veterans who died as a result of their military service. The House-passed bill has faced obstacles in the Senate because a handful of GOP senators want votes on amendments unrelated to the issue impacting military families.
- The defense ministers of South Korea and China have agreed to develop their security ties to ensure stability in north-east Asia, the latest indication that Washington’s long-standing alliances in the region are fraying. The defense agreement comes on the heels of Trump’s angering of Seoul with a demand for $5 billion troop payment.
- Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria following Donald Trump’s order for US forces to pull back aided Islamic State and damaged ties with Kurdish-led militias, according to a new assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The DIA’s assessment, part of a quarterly report, concluded that Islamic State “exploited the Turkish incursion and subsequent drawdown of U.S. troops to reconstitute capabilities and resources within Syria and strengthen its ability to plan attacks abroad.”
- During a Cabinet meeting at the White House, President Trump threatens higher tariffs on China if the two sides can’t come to a trade agreement. The President said, “If we don’t make a deal with China, I’ll just raise the tariffs even higher.”
- US officials confirmed this week that they are prepared to move Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and his family to a secure location if they are found to be in danger following his public testimony Tuesday in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
- EPA is proposing to increase the allowable amount of atrazine in the waterways. The European Union banned the widely used pesticide back in 2004, and public health organizations like The Natural Resources Defense Council have called for its ban in the United States for decades. But, as per usual, Trump’s EPA has proposed upping the allowable amount of atrazine in waterways.
Four witnesses testified over the course of the day in the Impeachment hearings. For full coverage, visit The Hill at the following link.