US Politics in Trump era
After the bombshell news that emerged from U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor’s testimony, the network’s hosts and personalities took their spin to a new level, peddling absurd conspiracies about the diplomat and declaring reports on his testimony to be fake news.
Multiple news outlets reported on Monday that Barr’s Italy trip focused on urging the country’s officials to help his Justice Department investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation for an effort that appears aligned with long-festering conspiracy theories on the matter. The campaign to squeeze foreign countries for information that would discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation also extended to a July 29 meeting that Barr had in London with British officials.
How the hunt to find out who donated $325k to a pro-Trump Super PAC leads to Florida, Giuliani, and Ukraine. The story introduces a cast of characters from the intersection of Trumpworld, Giulianiworld, and Ukraineworld that provide a backdrop to the mystery of how the $325,000 wound up in GOP coffers.
Send them back. Hispanic invasion. If our country falls, it will be the fault of traitors. That’s language from the manifesto of Patrick Crusius. Crusius does not invoke President Trump in his manifesto, or in social media posts uncovered as of this writing. But TPM found some two dozen cases where the perpetrators or planners of far-right violence invoked Trump during their assault, or claimed whatever violent action they intended to commit was somehow aligned with his agenda. Since declaring his run for the Presidency in 2015, President Donald Trump has used racist rhetoric to fan feelings of hatred among those that support him.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday blasted Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for stonewalling bipartisan efforts to prevent election interference from foreign governments.
Before they were formally named to President Trump’s now disbanded voter fraud commission, two conservative activists emailed the commission’s vice chair Kris Kobach about “potential Democratic commissioners,” a federal judge revealed Thursday. The revelation came in a legal dispute over whether the Trump administration must turn over a batch of commission-related emails to a Democratic member of the panel, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.
By now, it’s pretty clear that Attorney General Bill Barr thinks there was nothing unusual — let alone potentially criminal — about President Trump’s intervention in the federal Russia investigation. Not the repeated pushes to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, not the public fuming about being the innocent victim of a federal “witch hunt,” not the tweeted threats to the family of his former personal attorney.
Evidence given by prosecutors to the defense team in the ongoing prosecution of a Russian troll farm accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was altered and posted online as part of a “disinformation campaign” to discredit the Russia probe, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team alleged in a court filing Wednesday.
An unnamed “senior official in the Trump administration” wrote in an anonymous Daily Caller op-ed Monday that the record-breaking 24-day partial government shutdown “is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.”
President Trump’s Justice Department is scrambling to stop two state attorneys general from procuring evidence about whether the President is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by filing an emergency appeal in the Fourth Circuit court.
Trump’s inaugural committee is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York over whether donors handed over cash in exchange for access to government officials and into whether funds were misallocated, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on Congress to rein in major government programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in order to slow America’s spiraling national debt on Tuesday, ignoring the fact the tax plan he recently passed has fueled further growth in that number.
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.
Republicans’ newly minted nominee to face Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) this fall recently defended gay conversion therapy, a deeply controversial practice of treating homosexuality and transgender identity as mental illnesses or addictions that can be cured.
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.”
This week brought an unwelcome turn in the spotlight for a notoriously under-the-radar fixture in President Trump’s inner circle: Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg. Weisselberg’s name first cropped up in a now-public audio recording of Trump and his former fixer Michael Cohen discussing a payment related to Trump’s alleged affair with a former Playboy playmate.
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.
As a meeting last August in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, President Donald Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the U.S. just simply invade the troubled country?
The Russian firm that special counsel Robert Mueller has charged with funding Russia’s election meddling on social media and is run by an oligarch known as “Putin’s chef” challenged Mueller’s legal authority in court filings Monday. Concord Management was among the defendants named in an indictment approved by Mueller’s grand jury in February. Mueller accused Concord Management of funding the organization of internet trolls who allegedly created fake social media accounts in the lead-up of 2016, and charged it with conspiracy to defraud the United States.
The one-year anniversary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has seen a shift in the GOP’s stance on the probe. Top Republicans are dropping the pretense that they want to give Mueller the time he needs, instead calling for him to wrap it up. As Republicans get bolder in calling for an end to the probe, a bill to protect Mueller, buoyed last month by some bipartisan momentum, languishes in procedural limbo.
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
With anti-gerrymandering efforts heading to the ballot box, Republicans in some states are mobilizing to protect their ability to continue rigging election maps.In late April, a Republican group backed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce sued to keep a popular redistricting reform measure off the state’s November ballot.
Wisconsin Republicans are going to remarkable lengths to avoid holding a pair of special elections for two vacant seats in the state legislature. After a district court ruled last week that Gov. Scott Walker (R) needed to schedule these races as soon as possible, state leadership called lawmakers back to the Capitol for an extraordinary session April 4 to change the law on how and when Wisconsin’s special elections are held. And Walker said he’d sign the legislation.
After three consecutive plans to address the DACA program went down in flames Thursday afternoon, Republicans who signed onto the bipartisan compromise bill that came closest to passage tore into the Trump administration for lobbying against it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi staged a marathon, daylong filibuster Wednesday in an attempt to force a House vote on protections for the “Dreamer” immigrants — and to prove to an increasingly angry wing of progressives and activists that she has done all she could.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) got points for honesty Tuesday while advocating for Republicans’ tax bill to slash the corporate tax rate and eliminate the estate tax, among other things. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Collins said. According to the Hill, Collins made the comment while speaking to reporters after a House GOP conference meeting.
On Tuesday morning, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled new criteria for evaluating pitches from states. Whereas in the past states had to prove that proposed changes would “increase and strengthen” health coverage of their low-income population, that requirement is gone, replaced with language that welcomes proposals for work requirements, drug tests and other hurdles that experts predict would reduce the Medicaid rolls by hundreds of thousands of people.
Congressional Democrats are whipping their GOP counterparts in fundraising heading into the 2018 elections, a key sign that a wave election may be building.In both the Senate and House, Democrats are pulling money hand-over-fist in many of their most important races, according to campaign finance reports recently filed with the Federal Election Commission. Many Republicans are struggling to keep up — including some key incumbents in both chambers.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his son-in-law are engaged in an ugly legal battle that escalated last week with the son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, alleging that Manafort was part of a conspiracy to mislead a federal bankruptcy court.
President Donald Trump is “seriously considering” killing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, according to multiple reports. The exact timing remains uncertain, though immigration advocates are treating a decision as potentially imminent, perhaps as early as Friday. DACA has since 2012 extended legal status and work permits to more than 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Ending the program would make this population, known as the DREAMers, vulnerable to deportation.
Dire predictions of Obamacare’s collapse appear to be premature, as insurers have moved in to to provide coverage in almost every single “bare” county in the nation, including dozens of areas that until recently had no health insurance companies slated to sell plans on the individual market next year.
A wide array of groups that partnered for several years with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House to promote open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act say this year has brought a deafening silence from the Trump administration, with no sign the partnerships will continue. Both representatives of the former partner groups and former HHS officials say the relationships with gig economy companies, youth organizations, churches, women’s groups, and African American and Latino civil rights non-profits were critical to keeping Obamacare’s markets functioning, and their termination is a clear example of sabotage.
During a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said the event is in line with President Trump’s “promises.” “This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back,” Duke said. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
President Donald Trump is suggesting that the Senate’s top Republican should step aside if he can’t pass Trump’s legislative agenda. Trump says, “You can ask the question” about whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should remain in his position if he cannot pass a plan to repeal and replace health care, change the tax code and move an infrastructure proposal.
In December 2015, an Associated Press reporter asked Donald Trump why he had appointed Felix Sater, a man who’d been convicted for stock raud, his senior advisor. “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” Trump told the AP. “I’m not that familiar with him.” The feeling is not mutual.
The United States punished Iran on Friday for launching a satellite-carrying rocket into space by hitting six Iranian entities with sanctions targeting the country’s ballistic missiles program. The sanctions hit six Iranian subsidiaries of the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, described by the Treasury Department as “central” to Iran’s ballistic missiles program. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin cast the sanctions as part of an ongoing U.S. effort to aggressively oppose Iran’s ballistic missile activity, including what he called a “provocative space launch” carried out by the Islamic Republic on Thursday.
The Indiana Republican Party on Monday asked Facebook users to send in their “horror stories” about Obamacare in a post that readers instead flooded with stories about the legislation’s positive effects.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson clashed with senior White House aide Stephen Miller last week, according to a report published Friday by Politico, in his second reported confrontation with a senior staffer in President Donald Trump’s administration. Politico reported Friday, citing four unnamed sources familiar with Tillerson’s and Miller’s exchange in the West Wing, that Miller wanted Tillerson to take a tougher tack to immigration and modify State Department-controlled programs.
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.
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.
Marc Kasowitz, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, has boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to four people familiar with the conversations.
The Justice Department asked a court to dismiss the lawsuit brought by a watch dog group alleging that President Trump is in violation of the Constitution’s Emolument clause. The filing from the federal government on Friday argued that neither the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), nor the businesses that have joined the lawsuit, have the standing to bring the legal challenge, while asserting that the Emoluments clause does not apply to the sort of profits Trump is benefiting from through his businesses while in office.
John Kelly, National Security advisor claims the only thing Jared Kushner is interested in is helping America. Simply click on the "Jared Kishner" tag in this article to follow all the reports on Kushner and his family to see if you agree!
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.
While the latest Comey allegations have forced reluctant Republican leaders to initiate some oversight of Trump, and at least two GOP lawmakers have raised the possibility of impeachment, most members are standing by their man. Here are the some of the arguments GOP members made to reporters as to why Trump’s pressure on Comey to let Flynn off the hook does not constitute an obstruction of justice.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday said that President Donald Trump’s administration has “looked at” changing the law so that Trump can sue the press, though Priebus offered few details. ABC News’ Jon Karl questioned Priebus on “This Week” about Trump’s suggestion in March that he might “change libel laws” in order to go after the New York Times.
Republicans may now hold the House, the Senate and the White House, but their failure to mobilize early and follow through on long-held campaign pledges has political observers wondering: can a unified GOP government actually govern?
The Trump administration has ceased disclosing to the public when U.S. troops are deployed on the ground in Iraq and Syria, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Obama administration made a practice of announcing all conventional force deployments, letting the public know when it was sending U.S. service members into harm's way. But Trump, who campaigned on promises to rely on "the element of surprise" in warfare, has in his two months in office already dispatched hundreds of Marines and paratroopers to active war zones in the Middle East without informing the public or Congress.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) is staying mum. On Tuesday, he said he would “never” comply with requests to disclose the source of his allegations that communications involving the Trump transition team were “incidentally” collected by U.S. intelligence agencies. “Will you share your sources?” an ABC reporter who confronted Nunes in a Capitol Hill hallway asked. “We will never reveal sources,” he replied. “Even to the other members of the committee?” “Nope,” he said. “Never.”
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.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted Friday that the Congressional Budget Office will likely estimate that millions of people would lose health insurance under the GOP's proposed health care bill. But he said that the the bill wasn’t meant to address the “beauty contest” of increasing coverage.
President Donald Trump implied Friday that a replacement for Obamacare would cover more people than the law currently does. “Obamacare covers very few people. And remember, deduct from the number all of the people that had great health care that they loved, that was taken away from them,” he said. “Millions of people were very happy with their health care. They had their doctor. They had their plan.”
To riff on the bard, a Muslim ban by any other name is still a political and legal problem for President Donald Trump. Trump, in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network almost immediately after signing the order, said that one of its purposes was to make it easier for Christians to enter the United States. "It seems to me the soft underbelly of the legal defense is this business about Christians, because not only is that subject to Equal Protection and Establishment Clause [questions] on its own, but it suggests that this is a Muslim ban,” said Michael Meltsner, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law.
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.
The federal Office of Government Ethics has accused Senate Republicans of speeding confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees. OGE director Walter Shaub Jr. told top Senate Democrats in a Saturday letter that the stacked hearing schedule has left his office unable to complete ethics reviews on several nominees, which he called a matter of “great concern.”
The thousands of telecommunications jobs President-elect Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that he was bringing back to the United States were part of a previously announced investment deal between Sprint and its main funder, SoftBank. "5,000 jobs announced today are part of the 50,000 jobs that [SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son] previously announced. It will be a combination of newly created jobs and bringing some existing jobs back to the U.S," a Sprint spokeswoman said in a statement to Politico, after Trump made his announcement to the press.
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
Some journalists suggest that the hundreds of conservative millionaires and billionaires organized by Charles and David Koch lost relevance this time – because the two brothers personally refused to endorse Trump and their donor network cut back originally projected spending from almost a billion to a “mere” $750 million. But we beg to differ.
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.
The jewelry company run by Ivanka Trump apparently saw the new first family’s inaugural television interview on CBS' “60 Minutes” as an opportunity to reach new customers. In an email sent to New York Times reporters, Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry’s vice president of sales, Monica Marder, shared a photograph of the President-elect’s eldest daughter wearing a gold bracelet from the brand’s “Metropolis Collection" priced at more than $10,000.
A super PAC run by close allies to President-elect Donald Trump is under FEC scrutiny for discrepancies in a filing it made during the presidential campaign, drawing renewed attention to a watchdog group's complaint alleging it funneled improper payments to Steve Bannon, Trump's campaign CEO and now his chief strategist.
The transition team–the entity tasked with hiring staff, assembling Trump's cabinet and laying out the blue print for Trump's first 100 days– is like Trump's campaign itself: leaner than past operations and far more unconventional with an estimated 100 individuals working on it full time, according to CNN. Leading the team is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former competitor. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a loyal foot soldier for Trump whose vision of border wall brand of immigration reform became a central theme in Trump's campaign, is also closely involved.
Julian Assange released a statement Tuesday pushing back on accusations that WikiLeaks is interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "Our organization defends the public’s right to be informed," Assange wrote in the statement published on WikiLeaks' website. "This is why, irrespective of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election, the real victor is the US public which is better informed as a result of our work."
The New York Times and the AP reported that the emails were uncovered after the FBI seized electronic devices owned by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). The devices were seized as part of its investigation into Weiner's alleged sexting with a 15-year-old girl. They contained emails from Clinton's private email server, according to the New York Times.
A series of interviews conducted in 2014 reveal Donald Trump’s unrelenting focus on fame, and his belief that “most people aren’t worthy of respect.” The interviews which the New York Times reported spanned more than five hours and constitute the last extensive biographical interviews Trump gave before his presidential bid, were conducted by Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer and Pulitzer Prize winner.
As an invited guest to the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 1993, Donald Trump spent the entire evening ogling - and making lewd comments about - women at the event, at one point moving a fellow guest stuck seated next to him nearly to tears. The guest was a runway model who told a friend that Trump was the most vulgar man she ever met.
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."