T-Rump is vilifying everyone else in preparation for the Russian shoes to drop on him

Coming off a spectacularly horrendous week, Donald Trump got straight to work this week to put some points on the board, blasting the “very dishonest” media in a disgruntled diatribe, shaming a handful of Congressional Republicans, and preemptively undercutting lawmakers’ efforts to keep the government solvent.

This is leadership to Trump. It’s not about serving others or progressing toward a shared goal: it’s about satisfying his insatiable need to save face by belittling others. That’s a “win” to him. So instead of leading the way, Trump spreads the onus for failure liberally on all those around him so whatever happens, he can point fingers in every direction.

But Trump’s efforts this week stood out as particularly desperate in light of a series of conversations Trump has been having behind the scenes concerning one topic in particular: Russia.

Journalists turned up several key instances in which Trump dialed up key Republican lawmakers to either dissuade their efforts or chastise them.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has become the public face of Trump’s Capitol Hill shame campaign, with Trump declaring his “only problem” with McConnell was that he “failed!” on health care repeal and made “a mess” out of the effort to raise debt ceiling by the end of September.

But the real rub, of course, has the same roots as the one that sent Trump on an epic tear against his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In fact, Trump’s McConnell bashing really gained steam after a phone call earlier this month.

During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.

But that’s not the only call in which the topic of Russia “animated” Trump.

He placed two others to GOP Sens. Bob Corker and Thom Tillis in which he couldn’t even use other issues like health care as a fig leaf. In the Corker conversation, Trump tried to convince the GOP senator and Foreign Relations Committee chair to kill the Russia sanctions bill, which ultimately cleared both chambers late last month with overwhelming support.

Trump argued that the legislation was unconstitutional and said it would damage his presidency. Corker was unrelenting, these people said, and told Trump the bill was going to pass both houses with bipartisan support.

One source described Trump as “clearly frustrated” during that call. Trump was back at it on August 7, ringing up Sen. Tillis about a measure he was authoring with Democratic Sen. Chris Coons to shield special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation from tinkering by Trump.

Trump was unhappy with the legislation and didn’t want it to pass, one person familiar with the call said.

Absolutely every one of these calls fits into a pattern that dates back to the very beginning of Trump’s administration: him pressuring then-FBI Director James Comey to back off the Michael Flynn investigation; him demanding Comey’s “loyalty”; him seeking Comey’s public declaration that he wasn’t under investigation; him asking Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers to publicly deny the FBI’s collusion investigation; and, as far back as February, his team pressing GOP Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Devin Nunes to push back against reports about his campaign’s ties to Russia.

When it comes to the Don and Russia, nothing is coincidental anymore—including Team Trump’s efforts to dismiss former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as playing a “very limited role” in the election effort. On the heels of the FBI’s early-morning raid last month of Manafort’s home came the Friday news that special counsel Robert Mueller issued his first grand jury subpoenas in the Russia investigation—all business associates of Paul Manafort. In other words, Mueller is now putting the squeeze on Manafort’s circle of contacts.

Nor is it coincidental that Donald Trump went to Phoenix to deliver a speech billed as a “campaign rally” in which he devoted more energy to attacking the credibility of the media than to any other single issue.

He called reporters “sick people” who were stoking “division” in the nation because, in Trump’s estimation, “They don’t like our country. I really believe that.”

The translation is clearly that any reporter, journalist, or media outlet that doesn’t come down on Trump’s side is a traitor to our country. And just in case people weren’t sure exactly who Trump was implicating, he called them out by name: the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN. Again, not coincidentally, the Times and the Post have broken the vast majority of big Kremlin-related Trump stories.

“It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions,” he charged, adding, “They’re very dishonest people.”

Lest you think this well-trodded territory had no effect on attendees, the crowd broke into chants of “CNN sucks!” as Trump told them the outlet had cut its coverage of his event. It hadn’t. But Trump’s following took the bait, producing one of my favorites of the night.

The very rats who stand poised to rat Trump out on Russia to the American people. In fact, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meachum said on MSNBC Wednesday that watching the Phoenix speech he had a “sneaking suspicion” Trump was priming his supporters for a bombshell revelation on Russia that was not to be trusted when it broke.

On Friday night, Trump rounded out the week by giving his nativist base something it could really believe in: his commitment to pleasing them. A man who was convicted of defying the U.S. Constitution in pursuit of his racist goals is now above the law and transgender Americans who have pledged to give their lives for their country are now under scrutiny.

Trump may not have the attention span to sit through entire national security briefings, but he is laser focused when it comes to the Russia probe. It’s breathing down Trump’s neck and he’s working every angle to come out a survivor. But that won’t be a matter of public opinion or his base: it will be a question of whether he too is actually above the law. And with his indefensible pardon of former sheriff Joe Arpaio, Trump is signaling that he intends to do everything in his power to be just that.

T-Rump’s pardon of Arpaio presages a Constitutional crisis that we have not faced since the Civil War

Donald Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio marks the real beginning of the coming constitutional crisis in America.

Trump started tweeting trial balloons about this a month ago —“all agree the US President has the complete power to pardon”– and he has even asserted the unlitigated idea that he can pardon himself. But what he did yesterday puts his presidency on a whole new plane: a Category 5 political hurricane. By pardoning a man convicted of criminal contempt for direct violation of a Federal order, Trump is now flaunting his eagerness to overturn the rule of law in America.

I have never seen anyone who has acted more obviously guilty than Donald Trump has almost every single day since he became president. From his tete-a-tete with James Comey, in which he asked the FBI director to end his investigation of Michael Flynn, to his firing of the same man when he failed to heed that warning, to his newly-reported phone call to North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis to complain about a bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s independence, the president has engaged in one blatant attempt to obstruct justice after another.

Here is the most logical way to view his pardon of Sheriff Arpaio: it is the latest and gravest step he has taken in his continuing efforts to undermine the rule of law. Obviously Trump delighted in fueling the racism of Arpaio’s supporters by pardoning this convicted criminal –he made that clear earlier this week during his repellent speech in Phoenix. But I am certain that is not the main reason for this heinous act.

For many weeks, Washington has been swirling with rumors that Mueller already has secured the cooperation of Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort in his investigation of the president. And Trump undoubtedly is more vulnerable to the testimony of these two men than he is to that of any other players in this fearful drama. Therefore, Trump must feel compelled to send this message through Arpaio’s pardon: the president is eager and willing to do the same thing for anyone who might be pressured into testifying against him.

What we are now experiencing is exactly what incipient fascism looks like. The combination of Trump’s relentless assaults on the free press, his open encouragement of Nazis — which is the only honest description of his initial refusal to condemn them — and now a pardon without even pretending to go through the normal channels of the Justice Department — these are all the acts of man who is blatantly defying his sacred pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Like the men and women of Vichy France who began their collaboration with the Nazis seventy-seven years ago, from now on, every senator and House member of either party who continues to remain silent about this president’s unconstitutional acts is directly complicit in the high crimes and misdemeanors of Donald Trump.

Very serious students of American justice already were convinced last night that the pardon of Arpaio has fatally undermined Robert Mueller’s investigation by killing the incentive for anyone to testify against this president. Personally, I am not yet that pessimistic.   I still believe that any pardon of Flynn or Manafort or Jared Kushner will produce a large enough firestorm to end Donald Trump’s presidency, either through impeachment or the 25th amendment to the Constitution, which would allow his removal by a majority vote of his cabinet.

But if there is a majority of Republican senators and House members who wish to avoid a full-blown constitutional crisis worse than anything we have seen since the secession of the Confederate states, they must speak loudly and act clearly right now. They must immediately pass the bill introduced by Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Senator Tillis of North Carolina that would shore up the independence of the special prosecutor, and they must pass it with veto-proof majorities.

Senator Lindsay Graham already has said that the firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions would mean the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency. It is long past time for all of Graham’s colleagues in both houses to declare that the same thing will be true if the president dares to repeat the horrific abuse of his pardon power that we witnessed last night.   Otherwise, America is destined for an era of violence and darkness unlike any we have ever witnessed since the end of the Civil War, one hundred and fifty-two years ago.

Meanwhile, the truth behind the Steele Dossier is revealed little by little . . .

Now that the ‘Steel Dossier’ is getting a second read — largely due to the recent 10 hour testimony to the Senate Intel Committee by the report’s sponsor — I thought it would be worth taking a second look, into that “mother of all” Trump-Russia reports.  Especially, at some of its “finer details” — that did not make the ‘salacious headlines’ news-feeds, the first time around …

10 key Donald Trump allegations from the classified Russia dossier

Mr Trump calls the memo ‘fake news’  

by Adam Withnall and Kim Sengupta, www.independent.co.uk — 12 January 2017

Russia has been “cultivating” Trump for at least five years

Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian foreign ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump for at least 5 years. Source asserted that the Trump operation was both supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This is a big deal.  In so many ‘divided’ Loyalty-oath ways.  And it may help explain why Trump has never uttered a harsh word about his overseas ‘sponsor’ Vlad.

— — —

Russia admitted it was responsible for the DNC email hacks

Inter alia, Source E, acknowledged that the Russian regime had been behind the recent leak of embarrassing e-mail messages, emanating from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to the WikiLeaks platform. The reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability” and the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team. In return the Trump team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.

This is a big deal.  Isn’t this what so many Trump-Russia Investigation’s are trying to prove — a direct Quid-pro-Quo.

— — —

Mr Trump’s attorney had a secret meeting with Kremlin officials in Prague in August 2016

[Michael] Cohen had been accompanied to Prague by three colleagues and the timing of the visit was either in the last week of August or the first week of September. According to [redacted], the agenda comprised questions on how deniable cash payments were to be made to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign and various contingencies for covering up these operations and Moscow’s secret liaison with the Trump team more generally.

This is important.  It shows the direct coordination between Trump representatives and the “inner workings” (and compensating) of the Russian sponsored hackers.

It kind of puts those Trump repeated debate claims of “Not Putin’s Puppet” — in a completely different light. Someone was pulling his strings, while those very denials were being over-emphatically and vehemently made.

 

These important “claims” (among 7 others) should NOW gain some new credibility considering that:

• “Glenn Simpson, a former WSJ reporter who was head of a company called Fusion GPS” … “was apparently commissioned by a group of wealthy Republicans to dig up damaging opposition research on Donald Trump”.

• “Christopher Steele, a form MI6 agent with British intelligence who has a strong reputation for detailed knowledge of the workings of Russian intelligence” … “has also given the Committee a list of his sources, that he used to compile his dossier report”.

This is important because the Trump crew has routinely dismissed the Dossier as ‘something funded by Hillary Clinton’.  Also they have on the other hand claimed, that the report ‘lacked credibility because Steele used unnamed sources’.

Well NOW the Senate Committee has those source names A-Z.   Let the Verification and Subpoenaing begin.

  

abcnews.go.com

“Mr. Simpson told Congress the truth and cleared the record on many matters of interest to congressional investigators,” Simpson’s attorney Josh Levy told reporters after the marathon session concluded.

He said the firm remains “proud” of the work and “stands by it.”  [Simpson’s private research firm Fusion GPS]

[…]

“This investigation into Mr. Simpson began as a desperate attempt by the Trump campaign and its allies to smear Fusion GPS because of its reported connection to the Trump dossier, which Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste and others have said is a ‘roadmap for an investigation,’” Levy said.

Well then — Let the “road trip” to the treacherous truth begin …

T-Rump pardons criminal cop . . . the T-Rump administration is on the way out

In a statement late Friday, the White House announced that President Donald Trump granted a presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio. The move comes just weeks after Trump equated white supremacists with counter-protesters.

The White House said “Arpaio’s life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service. After serving in the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas, NV and later served as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), formerly the Bureau of Narcotics. After 25 years of admirable service, Arpaio went on to lead the DEA’s branch in Arizona.”

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in a racial profiling case and was expected to serve no more than six months in prison.

The office began preparing pardon documents earlier this week, according to reports. In the past, Arpaio has credited InfoWars’ Alex Jones for being able to reach Trump and convince him of the pardon.

“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough knocked Trump last week saying that Trump will likely enrage every judge in the nation simply to please white nationalists.

Arpaio was the crusader that took up Trump’s “birther” conspiracy, and searched for President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to invalidate his presidency.

Nazi leaves the White House

Embattled Presidential Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka has resigned from his post in the White House, The Federalist reported.

In his resignation letter, Gorka cites “forces” at odds with the “Make America Great Again” dream as the reasoning behind his exit.

“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka’s resignation reads. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”

Gorka has been linked to racist anti-Semitic groups in his home country of Hungary, causing much of the media and Internet backlash against him.

The Nazi Richard Spencer stayed at Trump’s DC hotel before initiating the Charlottesville riot and murder

Richard Spencer stayed at Trump’s D.C. hotel while he planned the Charlottesville rally

Richard Spencer, a noted white nationalist and supporter of President Donald Trump, is one of many frequent guests at the new Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., according to a New York Times report published Friday.

Spencer was spotted at the hotel in early August, the Times reported, along with Evan McLaren, who works at Spencer’s white nationalist think tank, the National Policy Institute.

McLaren declined to answer Times’ reporter Katie Rogers’ request for comment at the time about his visit to the hotel because he said he was “too busy planning a rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia. That rally, where white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters, left one dead at the hands of an apparent white supremacist.

http://www.businessinsider.com/richard-spencer-stayed-at-trump-dc-hotel-while-planning-charlottesville-rally02017-8

Rooms at Trump’s DC hotel start at $600 a night.  Drinks are $35 and up.  Where did the unemployed Spencer get the money to pay for his stay — or did he pay at all?  Maybe Trump let him stay for free — you know, professional courtesy.

T-Rump mouthpiece Laura Ingraham posts photo of Cleveland, OH, crowd, claims it was Trump’s Phoenix crowd

You know how conservatives are constantly screaming “FAKE NEWS” every time they see something they don’t like? It’s interesting that they have no problem sharing “news” that is demonstrably fake given their professed distaste for it.

This is what Trump Nazi Laura Ingraham’s website looks like as I type this sentence:

BULLSHIT.  And again, I say:  “BULLSHIT!!!”

This image has nothing to do with Trump’s rally in Phoenix.  The image has been used by several rightwing dingbats who want to  lie about Trump’s crowd size. This photo is, IN FACT,  the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers victory parade.  As with almost everything else, it attracted more people than Trump’s inauguration.