For everything that’s happened in this process, in many ways what stuns me most is what Sen. Grassley is doing right now. He is again going back to this claim that the Democrats held the sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh “in reserve” for the last moment to spring on the helpless judge.
This week Ohr discussed that meeting with lawmakers in a private interview. From the AP: “Among the things Ohr said he learned from Steele during the breakfast was that an unnamed former Russian intelligence official had said that Russian intelligence believed “they had Trump over a barrel,” according to people familiar with the meeting.”
According to CNN, Michael Cohen says President Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting from Don Jr., approved the meeting in advance, was looking forward to getting the dirt. A little backstory on this. Cohen has been suggesting that he knows this and is willing to testify to that effect. CNN is apparently the first to get this solid enough to report.
You probably saw the news yesterday that just days before President Trump tweeted that he was intent on saving that sanctions-busting Chinese telecommunications company, China had agreed to loan $500 million to a major Trump-backed development in Indonesia
s we noted a few weeks ago, the Iron Law of Republican Politics is that the GOP moderates always cave. But the cave is never without a stage managed drama. And that appears to be the part of the story we’re now entering. Axios just reported that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is expressing concern over Medicaid cuts in the Senate Trumpcare bill. “I don’t look favorably on it, that’s for sure,” Capito told Axios. It’s been clear from the word go that taking an axe to Medicaid was the entire point of this exercise, indeed, an inevitable end point given the budgetary priorities.
Senate Republicans are driving at a breakneck speed to abolish Obamacare and throw more than twenty million people off their health insurance coverage. The damage will be far greater when you figure in the loss of protections for people with pre-existing conditions and those who’ve benefited from various other Obamacare regulations. Senate Republicans’ main weapon in this effort has been total secrecy, which has had the effect of killing debate and discussion since there’s actually nothing concrete – no specific CBO score or legislative text or even outline – to discuss.
The very latest reports out this morning have it that Jared Kushner was a major voice pushing to fire James Comey. And the President is “angry” over the backlash to his decision. A shadow of uncertainty must hang over every report like this. We’re hearing these details through interested parties, a yacht basin Lord of the Flies, with different faction leaders gouging each others’ eyes out as the executive branch descends into chaos.
There's a very good story out today from Bloomberg chronicling the flow of money from the former Soviet Union into real estate ventures built by or licensed with the name of Donald Trump. As we've discussed before, at some point in the earliest years of the new century Trump properties became a go-to place for people from the former Soviet Union to buy real estate. Some were citizens of those countries, others were American immigrants. We've already noted how Trump lawyer Michael Cohen first came to Trump's attention because he and his extended family from Ukraine was buying up a lot of units in Trump properties in New York and Florida. What this article makes clear is that there were a lot of Michael Cohen type families buying Trump properties in bulk. At least for this part of the tale, Cohen's is a microcosm of this larger story.
For political and moral reasons, it is important to remember that very little of what the President is now doing is possible without a compliant Congress. Executive orders in most cases fill in the blanks that legislation leaves to the President's discretion. So this isn't just a matter of the sway a Congress of the President's party can exercise over him, which is substantial. In many or most cases, Executive Orders and Actions can literally be overruled with new legislation.
Back in December I explained that Trump has a plan to break up the European Union. Trump and his key advisor Steve Bannon (former Breitbart chief) believe they can promise an advantageous trade agreement with the United Kingdom, thus strengthening the UK's position in its negotiations over exiting the EU. With such a deal in place with the UK, they believe they can slice apart the EU by offering the same model deal to individual EU states.
For all the criticism and intrigue about Rex Tillerson's ties to Russia, his lack of any conventional foreign policy experience (despite having contended with various world leaders) and status as an oil company executive, just why did Trump pick him? Article suggests that the only reasonable guess is his willingness to execute a friendly deal with Russia
For a number of years, Trump and his Argentine partners have been trying to build a major office building in Buenos Aires. The project has been held up by a series of complications tied to financing, importation of building materials and various permitting requirements. According to a report out of Argentina, when Argentine President Mauricio Macri called President-Elect Trump to congratulate him on his election, Trump asked Macri to deal with the permitting issues that are currently holding up the project.
Yesterday, Rick Wilson, a Republican operative who has now moved into dissident status as a vociferous Trump critic, suggested that journalists ask Trump the following question: "Do you, or any of your business units have outstanding loans with Russian banks or individuals? If so, how much?” Newsweek asked and got this answer from Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks: "Mr. Trump does not have any business dealings in/with Russia."