The Pronk Pops Show 1400, February 21, 2020, Story 1: Send in the Clowns — Mini Mike Bloomberg Busted High Hopes — My Way or The Highway — Videos — Story 2: Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Months in Prison For Lying To Congress in A Political Prosecution — Jury Foreperson Was Biased Trump Hating Democratic Activist — Miscarriage of Justice — Conviction Should Be Vacated — Videos — Story 3: The Real Threat Is Influenza Viruses Not Novel Coronavirus- Videos –Story 4: President Trump Holds Keep America Great Rally In Las Vegas — 500 Miles of Border Barrier in 2021 — Videos

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Bloomberg Booster StoolSee the source image

See the source imageNinety-nine per cent of cases have been in China, where tens of millions of residents are in lockdown to contain the escalating crisis. The COVID-19 virus has killed at least 1,873 peopleSee the source image

 

Story 1: Send in the Clowns — Mini Mike Bloomberg Busted High Hopes — My Way or The Highway — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageBloomberg The Farmer

Judy Collins Send in the Clowns

Send in the Clowns

Judy Collins

Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air,
Where are the clowns?
Isn’t it bliss?
Don’t you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can’t move,
Where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns?
Just when I’d stopped opening doors,
Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours
Making my entrance again with my usual flair
Sure of my lines
No one is there
Don’t you love farce?
My fault, I fear
I thought that you’d want what I want
Sorry, my dear!
But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here
Isn’t it rich?
Isn’t it queer?
Losing my timing this late in my career
But where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns
Well, maybe next year
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Stephen Sondheim
Send in the Clowns lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

The Democratic Debate in About a Minute

Tucker: Bloomberg paid to be humiliated

Ingraham: Why Bloomberg is failing

Ari Fleischer gives Bloomberg these debate tips

Everything Mike Bloomberg Said at the Las Vegas Democratic Debate | NBC New York

Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg spar at the open of the Democratic debate

Warren attacks Bloomberg over sexist comments and non-disclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg at Tonight’s Debate | Mike Bloomberg for President

Frank Sinatra — High Hopes

“High Hopes” Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra – My Way (Live At Madison Square Garden, 1974)

And now the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full,
I travelled each and every highway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it My Way.
Regrets, I’ve had a few,
But then again too few to mention
Did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
Planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this,
I did it My Way.
Yes there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it My Way.
I’ve loved,
I’ve laughed and cried,
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no not me
I did it My Way
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows
I took the blows –
And did it my way!
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Claude Francois / Gilles Thibaut / Jacques Revaux / Paul Anka
My Way lyrics © Warner Chappell Music France, Jeune Musique Editions, BMG Rights Management, Concord Music Publishing LLC

Calvin Harris – My Way (Official Video)

My Way

Calvin Harris

Why wait to say
At least I did it my way
Lie awake, two faced
But in my heart I understand
I made my move
And it was all about you
Now I feel so far removed
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way
My way
My way
Why wait to say
At least I did it my way
Lie awake, two faced
But in my heart I understand
I made my move
And it was all about you
Now I feel so far removed
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
You were the one thing in my way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
My way, oh way, oh way, oh way
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Calvin Harris
My Way lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Mike Bloomberg is declared the LOSER of the Democratic debate after his disastrous start and relentless attacks – while Warren and Sanders come away the winners

  • Pundits declared Bloomberg the loser of Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas 
  • Senators Warren and Sanders were declared the top two winners of the debate  
  • Warren attacked Bloomberg over the treatment of women at his company 
  • Sanders criticized the former NYC mayor over his past stop and frisk policy 
  • Pete Buttigieg was also declared a winner, while Biden and Klobuchar lost out 

 

Mike Bloomberg has been declared the loser of Democratic debate after Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders relentlessly attacked the former New York mayor over his past ‘racist’ policies and treatment of women.

Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg.

Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes of the debate.

What is becoming an increasingly bitter nomination fight, the Democratic presidential candidates focused their attacks on Bloomberg on the debate stage.

He has spent more than $400 million so far on advertising that in turn has given him strong standing in state and national polls.

Sanders recalled Bloomberg’s support of stop-and-frisk policing targeting minorities while Warren spoke about how Bloomberg had mocked women.

‘I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,’ Warren said.

Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser of Wednesday night's debate after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes

Pundits chose Bloomberg as the loser of Wednesday night’s debate after he became the object of scorn, ridicule and contempt within the first five minutes

Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg

Six candidates took the stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas to face-off for a 5-to-1 face-off that ended disastrously for Bloomberg

‘And no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.’

Amy Klobuchar also quipped that, ‘I don’t think you look at Donald Trump and say I think we need someone richer in the White House’.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Bloomberg condoned racist police practices, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said Bloomberg was trying to ‘buy out’ the Democratic Party.

But his biggest struggle came when Warren hammered him over allegations of sexism and mistreatment of women in his company.

Bloomberg attempted to defend his record and deflect the attacks on him by turning them into attacks on President Donald Trump.

And he effectively raised questions about whether Americans would embrace a socialist like Sanders.

CNN's Chris Cillizza compared Bloomberg's performance to that of a pro-wrestling match where 'everyone decided to gang up on a single wrestler in the ring - and that wrestler was totally and completely caught off-guard'

Cillizza also said the 'first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor' who was also the third most tweeted about candidate Wednesday night

Cillizza also said the ‘first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor’ who was also the third most tweeted about candidate Wednesday night

But the glare was harsh, and the attacks landed with force. Even if you are worth $60billion it is hard to win a 5-on-1 fight.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza said the ‘first hour of the debate was an absolute and total disaster for the former mayor’.

‘He looked lost at times – and those were the best times for him! Warren dunked on him repeatedly. Sanders slammed him. Biden bashed him,’ Cillizza wrote.

Cillizza compared Bloomberg’s performance to that of a pro-wrestling match where ‘everyone decided to gang up on a single wrestler in the ring – and that wrestler was totally and completely caught off-guard’.

ELIZABETH WARREN: RETURN OF THE FIGHTER (WINNER)

Warren rose to prominence in the Democratic field with a fighting spirit that defined the early months of her campaign. But her disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire left her campaign struggling.

But on Wednesday, Warren got back in the fight.

She slammed Bloomberg – which was no surprise as she’s been an antagonist of billionaires playing in politics for years.

But Warren also attacked Klobuchar, saying her health care plan was just a ‘Post-it note’.

She accused Buttigieg of being in debt to his rich campaign supporters and having a healthcare plan that was just a ‘PowerPoint’ designed by his consultants.

Warren rose to prominence in the Democratic field with a fighting spirit that defined the early months of her campaign. But her disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire left her campaign struggling. But on Wednesday, Warren got back in the fight

Warren rose to prominence in the Democratic field with a fighting spirit that defined the early months of her campaign. But her disappointing showings in Iowa and New Hampshire left her campaign struggling. But on Wednesday, Warren got back in the fight

Warren slammed also fellow liberal Sanders, accusing him of letting his supporters trash anyone with a plan. But it was her prosecutorial approach to Bloomberg over his company’s treatment of women that stood out.

She hit the former mayor hard when it came to his refusal to release women from the nondisclosure agreements with his company regarding complaints of a hostile working environment.

Warren was relentless, leaving the former mayor stumbling and fumbling for a response.

‘Anybody that does anything wrong in our company, we investigate it and if it’s appropriate, they’re gone that day,’ Bloomberg said.

‘Let me tell you what I do at my company and my foundation and in city government when I was there. In my foundation, the person that runs it is a woman, 70 per cent of the people there are women,’ he added.

She slammed Bloomberg - which was no surprise as she's been an antagonist of billionaires playing in politics for years. But Warren also attacked Klobuchar, saying her health care plan was just a 'Post-it note'

‘In my company, lots and lots of women have big responsibilities. They get paid exactly the same as men. In city hall, the top person, my deputy mayor was a woman and 40 per cent of our commissioners were women,’ he said.

Warren then hit him harder.

‘I hope you heard what his defense was. I’ve been nice to some women. That just doesn’t cut it. The mayor has to stand on his record. What we need to know is exactly what’s lurking out there,’ she said.

‘He has gotten some number of women, dozens, who knows, who sign nondisclosure agreements both for sexual harassment and for gender discrimination in the workplace.

Van Jones tweeted about Warren shortly after the debate, saying: ‘Elizabeth Warren needs Bloomberg like a “lion needs an antelope.” He is the human embodiment of everything she’s against. If @ewarren is effective at landing those blows, the air could very well come out of the Bloomberg bubble.’

BERNIE SANDERS: LEADING THE PACK (WINNER)

Sanders has continuously tried to cement himself as the Democratic frontrunner, and he may have just pulled that off, according to some pundits.

‘The ganging-up on Bloomberg was just fine for Sanders, who, in case you forgot, is the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination,’ Cillizza wrote.

Before Wednesday night, Sanders has been hammering Bloomberg for weeks for trying to buy the election, though at a CNN town hall Tuesday night he wouldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t take Bloomberg’s money, which the billionaire candidate promised to the Democratic nominee, should he not be chosen for the job himself.

‘I don’t think we’re going to need that money,’ Sanders eventually said.

Sanders has sprung to the lead for the nomination in the RealClearPolitics polling average on the race with Biden in second and Bloomberg in third.

Sanders has continuously tried to cement himself as the Democratic frontrunner, and he may have just pulled that off, according to some pundits

Sanders has continuously tried to cement himself as the Democratic frontrunner, and he may have just pulled that off, according to some pundits

Sanders and Bloomberg locked horns on political philosophy during the debate, arguing over who’s a communist and who’s a socialist.

Bloomberg was defending his net worth, pointing out he earned it through ‘hard work’ and that he was giving his money away when Sanders argued the workers helped make that money.

‘Mr Bloomberg, it wasn’t you who made all that money. Maybe your workers played some role in that as well,’ Sanders said.

‘And it is important those workers are able to share the benefits also. When we have so many people who go to work every day and they feel not good about their jobs.

‘They feel like cogs in a machine. I want workers to be able to sit on corporate boards as well so they can have some say over what happens to their lives.’

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: THE GIFTED DEBATER (WINNER)

Some pundits crowned Buttigieg as one of Wednesday night’s winners.

‘Buttigieg is, without question, the most naturally gifted debater in the Democratic field, meaning he is simply not going to turn in a clunker. He was steady if not spectacular in this debate,’ Cillizza said.

According Cillizza, Buttigieg spent parts of the night taking on Sanders, which is a  ‘clear effort to send a signal to voters that he is the most credible alternative to the Vermont senator’.

Buttigieg, who finished in the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire with Sanders, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Sanders.

Some pundits crowned Buttigieg as one of Wednesday night's winners. Buttigieg, who finished in the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire with Sanders, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Sanders

Some pundits crowned Buttigieg as one of Wednesday night’s winners. Buttigieg, who finished in the top two in Iowa and New Hampshire with Sanders, reserved some of his harshest criticism for Sanders

He warned that Democrats could wake up after more than a dozen states vote on Super Tuesday on March 3 and have only Bloomberg and Sanders left on the ballot.

Buttigieg then quipped that the party may want to nominate ‘someone who is actually a Democrat’.

The crowd inside the Las Vegas casino hadn’t yet finished chuckling and hooting when he continued by saying Sanders ‘wants to burn this party down’ and Bloomberg ‘wants to buy this party out’.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont and avowed democratic socialist, responded by saying that Buttigieg’s campaign has been too reliant on ‘billionaire’ big donors, kicking off another intense exchange.

Their back and forth continued through criticism of Sanders supporters who have frequently been accused of bullying behavior online.

Sanders said he personally had denounced such behavior. This prompted Buttigieg to say he believed the senator but, ‘What it is it about your campaign in particular that seems to be motivating this type of behavior?’

On this night, Buttigieg had the most at stake, with Sanders standing in Nevada polls well ahead of the man who has run even with him in the first two contests.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: WHERE’S THE  KLOBENTUM? (LOSER)

The last debate was rocket fuel for Klobuchar. Her strong performance vaulted her to a third-place finish in New Hampshire and onto Nevada.

But it may be hard for lightning to strike twice.

The Minnesota senator was often drowned out in the high-octane bickering Wednesday, or pulled down into the mud.

At one point she pulled from her supply of ready quips, saying of Sanders and Bloomberg as they argued over capitalism that there is ‘a boxing rematch in Vegas on Saturday and these guys should go down there’.

The last debate was rocket fuel for Klobuchar. Her strong performance vaulted her to a third-place finish in New Hampshire and onto Nevada. But it may be hard for lightning to strike twice

The last debate was rocket fuel for Klobuchar. Her strong performance vaulted her to a third-place finish in New Hampshire and onto Nevada. But it may be hard for lightning to strike twice

The most damaging exchange was between Klobuchar and Buttigieg, who have tangled before.

When asked about her embarrassing gaffe in forgetting the name of Mexico’s president, she had to fend off Buttigieg, who claimed it disproved her argument that her work in Washington has prepared her to be president.

She also alternately scrapped with and aligned with Warren.

‘Are you calling me dumb?’ Klobuchar asked Buttigieg incredulously. Later, she added: ‘I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.’

A little over a week ago in New Hampshire, Klobuchar clearly stood out. This time was much harder as everyone battled for survival.

FORMER VP JOE BIDEN: THE BYSTANDER (LOSER)

Another candidate in need of a big night to reverse perceptions that his campaign was struggling was Biden.

For a good portion of the debate, he receded. He joined in the attacks on Bloomberg, but largely avoided some of the more testy exchanges.

Biden called the stop and frisks ‘abhorrent’ and the former mayor admitted that it ‘got out of control’.

‘When we discovered – I discovered – that we were doing many, many – too many – stop and frisks, we cut 95 per cent of it out,’ Bloomberg asserted.

Another candidate in need of a big night to reverse perceptions that his campaign was struggling was Biden. For a good portion of the debate, he receded. He joined in the attacks on Bloomberg, but largely avoided some of the more testy exchanges

Another candidate in need of a big night to reverse perceptions that his campaign was struggling was Biden. For a good portion of the debate, he receded. He joined in the attacks on Bloomberg, but largely avoided some of the more testy exchanges

The former mayor said he is and was trying to ‘learn’ how to change policies to help continuing reduce crime in New York City.

Biden hit back at Bloomberg, claiming he couldn’t apologize it away and said it violated every right people posses.

‘Let’s get something straight. The reason that stop and frisk changed is because Barack Obama sent moderators to see what was going on. When we sent them there to say “this practice has to stop,” the mayor thought it was a terrible idea we send them there – a terrible idea,’ Biden said, invoking the name of one of the most famous Democrats.

‘It’s not whether he apologized or not, it’s the policy. The policy was abhorrent, and it was, in fact, a violation of every right people have,’ he said, claiming Bloomberg pushed back against stopping the policies.

‘He figured out it was a bad idea after we sent in monitors and said it must stop. Even then he continued the policy,’ Biden said on stage.

When Warren said that Biden was ‘in the pocket’ of Republican Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, Biden fought back.

He also tried to return to his ‘Middle Class Joe’ biography about his family’s financial struggles.

Biden did not offer voters any new rationale for voting for him.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8023581/Mike-Bloomberg-declared-loser-Democratic-debate.html

Story 2: Roger Stone Sentenced To 40 Months in Prison For Lying To Congress in A Political Prosecution — Jury Foreperson Was Biased Trump Hating Democratic Activist — Miscarriage of Justice — Conviction Should Be Vacated — Videos —

Trump: Jury forewoman in Roger Stone case was ‘totally tainted’

Trump speaks in Las Vegas at ceremony for former prisoners, says what happened to Roger Stone was unbelievable.

Gowdy: No one believes Russia prefers Trump over ‘comrade Sanders’

Robert Ray expects it will be months before Roger Stone’s fate is settled

ROGER STONE SENTENCED: Friend of President Trump Gets 3 Years in Prison

Napolitano explains why Roger Stone is ‘absolutely entitled’ to a new trial

‘The Five’ panel gets heated over Roger Stone trial

Roger Stone gets THREE YEARS and four months but will not go straight to prison while he asks for a retrial – as federal judge rejects prosecutors’ demand for nine years but savages Donald Trump for interfering and says Stone ‘covered up for the president’

  • Roger Stone, 67, arrived at Washington’s federal court with his wife Nydia for sentencing hearing Thursday
  • Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson said his punishment for lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction will be 40 months in prison
  • But because he is asking for a retrial over claims of bias by the jury foreperson, the sentence will not take effect
  • Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, said she had rejected prosecutors’ demand  for nine years on her – not because of outside pressure
  • That was a reference to Trump, who had raged about the initial demand – and for whom a 40 month sentence can be portrayed as a win
  • Judge issued a stunning rebuke not just of Stone but of Donald Trump himself for trying to interfere in the case
  • Case has plunged attorney general Bill Barr into crisis as he pleaded with Donald Trump to stop tweeting about it – and president refused
  • Within an hour of his arrival, Trump was tweeting again about the case this time suggesting the prosecution was unfair 
  • He claimed James Comey had lied to Congress but was not prosecuted 
  • Trump called himself the nation’s ‘chief law enforcement officer,’ and Barr was reported to be considering resigning 

Roger Stone swerved a federal prison cell Thursday despite a judge slapping the longtime Donald Trump ally with a 40-month sentence for lying to Congress – and savaging not just him but the president.

Stone was convicted last fall of lying to lawmakers over his efforts to procure stolen Democratic Party emails from WikiLeaks in 2016 to boost Donald Trump’s chances of becoming President.

The self-declared political dirty trickster was spared immediate incarceration Thursday while U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson decides whether or not to grant his request for a retrial.

The sentence was far below the nine years demanded by the prosecution before that was over-ruled in a political tumult and furious tweets by Trump.

ROGER STONE DID A LOT WRONG: WHAT HE WAS CONVICTED OF

Roger Stone was found guilty on all charges of:

1. Obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering by trying to get Randy Credico to lie to Congress. Sentenced to 40 months

2. Lying to Congress that he did not have emails or texts about Julian Assange. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

3. Lying when he claimed his references to being in touch with Assange were actually about a ‘go-between’ – Randy Credico. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

4. Lying that he didn’t ask his ‘go-between’ to communicate with Assange. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

5. Lying that he didn’t text or email the ‘go-between’ about WikiLeaks. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

6. Lying that he had never discussed conversation with his ‘go-between’ with anyone in the Trump campaign. Sentenced to 12 months concurrent with the first count

Instead she turned his sentencing hearing into a stunning rebuke not just of Stone but of the president himself, saying the prosecution was not brought by ‘political enemies,’ and that there was no ‘anti-Trump cabal’ at the hear of the case.

‘He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the president, he was prosecuted for covering up for the president,’ she said.

‘There was nothing unfair, phony or disgraceful about the investigation or the prosecution.’

Trump tweeted in rage against the prosecution accusing it of lacking ‘FAIRNESS’ as the hearing was under way in federal court in Washington D.C.

”They say Roger Stone lied to Congress.’ OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?’ the president tweeted.

It was unknown whether Berman Jackson was aware of his latest intervention but it came amid a case roiled by politics and mounting speculation Stone will be pardoned.

Even before she spoke, prosecutors staged their own revolt against the president calling the case ‘righteous’ and demanding a lengthy prison sentence despite their initial call for nine years being over-ruled by Attorney General Bill Barr in one of the main acts of an unfolding constitutional crisis.

Stone, 67, stood in silence as Jackson told a federal courtroom Washington, D.C. that he should spend 40 months -three years and four months – behind bars.

She had savaged him in his sentencing remarks – and rebuked the president himself, possibly for his tweet this morning which was during the first part of her hearing.

‘This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being prosecuted by his political enemies,’ Berman Jackson said.

She said Stone told ‘flat out lies,’ and that his conviction had nothing to do with whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

He was guilty of a ‘corrupt, unlawful,’ campaign to stop his lies being exposed when he threatened Randy Credico, who he named as his ‘go-between’ to Julian Assange, to stop Credico revealing the truth, that there was another go-between.

Stone was also guilty of withholding texts and emails from Congress, prompting Berman Jackson to again lash out at the president. 

Off home: Roger Stone left court to return to Florida

Free to go - for now: Roger Stone is escorted from the Washington D.C. federal courthouse after his sentencing. He remains gagged from speaking to the press

Happy outcome: A grinning Roger Stone left the court to get into a waiting car

On his way: Roger Stone steps out of the court and into the crowd after his sentencing

Not over: Roger Stone's case is not at an end because he has applied for a retrial, which the judge is considering. She went ahead with the sentencing and will rule later on his call for a fresh hearing

Crowd: Roger Stone walked through a crowd of waiting photographers and reporters as he left the court

Grinning: Roger Stone had shown no emotion as he was sentenced, and left the court building with a smile on his face

Grinning: Roger Stone had shown no emotion as he was sentenced, and left the court building with a smile on his face

Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice

Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice

Lightning rod: Federal judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Roger Stone in a case which has caused a crisis to engulf Bill Barr who pleaded with Donald Trump to let him do his job and stop the tweeting about his Department of Justice

And she pointed out that it was a Republican-led inquiry which he had initially defied.

Then she laced into the president, without naming him, saying it was right for sentencing to be done by a judge, ‘Not someone who has a longstanding friendship with the defendant, not someone whose political career was aided by the defendant.’

Stone was joined by a vast entourage led by his wife Nydia as he walked into the federal court, where his legal team has been bolstered by a Mafia lawyer who helped keep John Gotti Jr., head of the Gambino crime family and son of the ‘Teflon Don,’ out of prison.

Pro-Stone demonstrators brought a ‘pardon Roger stone’ banner which they held behind him when he arrived while counter-protesters tried to hurriedly erect an inflatable effigy of Trump as a rat as Stone arrived.

Hours before he arrived Trump launched another fusillade against Stone’s conviction, tweeting: ‘What has happened to Roger Stone should never happen to anyone in our country again.’

Trump’s tweets have plunged his own attorney general, Bill Barr, into a crisis over the rule of law, with the president declaring himself the ‘chief law enforcement officer,’ and demanding Barr ‘clean house.’

His wife Nydia was behind him in the courtroom as Stone, wearing a dark gray chalk stripe double-breasted suit, blue shirt with cutaway collar and sober gray tie, sat beside his attorneys.

Department of Justice attorneys had originally requested a far harsher punishment of seven to nine years only to see their recommendation ripped up by Attorney General William Barr, who drew praise from Trump for labeling it ‘excessive and unwarranted’.

The intervention sparked accusations of political interference, forcing Barr on the defensive as he denied bowing to White House influence and appealed for Trump to curb his explosive Twitter criticisms of Judge Jackson and the supposedly ‘tainted’ case against Stone.

More than 2,000 former justice department employees have since signed a petition calling on the Attorney General to resign.

The original prosecution foursome of Aaron Zelinsky, Jonathan Kravis, Adam Jed and Michael Marando were replaced for today’s proceedings at Washington, D.C. District Court, having all resigned in protest.

Stone’s sentencing got off to a rocky start when U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said that anyone in the court who did not have a medical reason to wear sunglasses should remove them. Stone had arrived in round sunglasses.

Jackson took the opportunity to grill prosecutors on why the Department of Justice decided last week to submit a second sentencing memorandum, a nod to Attorney General William Barr’s controversial decision to rip up the original seven to nine year recommendation submitted by his own attorneys.

It fell upon newly-assigned federal prosecutor John Crabb to apologize for the ‘miscommunication’, insisting that the original prosecution team – who resigned last week in protest – had acted in ‘good faith’.

Stone stood in silence as Jackson recalled the seven offences of which he was convicted: five counts of making false statements to Congress, a single count of obstructing a congressional proceeding and single count of witness tampering.

That final charge would be of particular significance as she warned Stone his sentence would likely be higher because it involved specific threats of violence.

Last November’s trial heard how Stone bullied the radio host Randy Credico into pleading the Fifth to avoid contradicting his 2016 testimony before Congress, branding him a ‘rat’ and threatening to take away his therapy dog.

Political point: An anti-Bill Barr protest was being made outside the federal court while Roger Stone was being sentenced - resulting in the advertising van being pulled over by D.C. cops

He's here: Roger Stone was accompanied by his wife Nydia and an almost 20-strong entourage as he arrived at federal court in Washington D.C. to be sentenced

In front of the protest: Roger and Nydia Stone walked past the inflatable Trump rat as they made their way into court

Grin and bear it: Roger Stone kept a fixed smile as he headed into court with his wife Nydia on his arm

Grin and bear it: Roger Stone kept a fixed smile as he headed into court with his wife Nydia on his arm

Raised a smile: Roger Stone's wife Nydia reacted positively to a group of supporters' banner calling for Donald Trump to issue the dirty trickster with a pardon

Raised a smile: Roger Stone’s wife Nydia reacted positively to a group of supporters’ banner calling for Donald Trump to issue the dirty trickster with a pardon

Arm-in-arm: Roger Stone wore a navy blue double-breasted topcoat with contrasting collar, blue cutaway collared shirt and sober gray tie, topped off with a black trilby as he arrived in court with Nydia, his second wife

 

Arm-in-arm: Roger Stone wore a navy blue double-breasted topcoat with contrasting collar, blue cutaway collared shirt and sober gray tie, topped off with a black trilby as he arrived in court with Nydia, his second wife

 

Asked if he had anything to say, Stone, dressed immaculately in a pinstripe suit, grey tie and suspenders, told Washington, D.C. District Court: ‘Your honor I choose not to speak at this time, thank you very much.’

Jackson slammed the 67-year-old defendant as an ‘insecure person who craves and recklessly pursues attention.’

‘This case did not arise because Roger Stone was being pursued by his political enemies,’ she added.

‘It arose because Roger Stone characteristically injected himself smack into the middle of one of the most significant issues of the day.’

Judge Jackson said Stone had interfered with matters of ‘grave national importance’ and repeatedly lied under oath. She characterized his defense as: ‘So what?’

‘Nothing about this case was a joke. It wasn’t funny,’ she cautioned.

‘This was not Roger being Roger. He lied to congress, he lied to elected representatives.’

The no-nonsense judge praised the ‘professionalism’ of the original four prosecutors, saying their recommendation was ‘true to the record’ and in line with Department of Justice guidelines.

However she agreed with Barr’s revision and said she was concerned seven to nine years would be ‘greater than necessary.’

She sentenced Stone to 40 months for obstruction, 12 months each for the counts of lying to Congress and 18 months for witness tampering, all sentences to be served concurrently.

He was also fined $20,000 and will have to serve two years’ probation. Federal rules means he has to give the court his tax returns.

Judge Jackson quizzed Crabb about how she came to receive two competing sentencing memorandums, noting that the original recommendation had never been formally withdrawn.

Crabb agreed and confirmed the prosecution was still asking for a substantial prison term for Stone, insisting the Justice Department had operated ‘without fear, favor or political influence’.

‘This prosecution was and is righteous,’ he said. ‘This confusion was not caused by the original trial team. There was nothing in bad faith about the prosecution team’s recommendation.’

Quizzed over who had ordered the new memorandum and why, Crabb replied: ‘What I understand is, there was a miscommunication between the Attorney General and the United States Attorney.’

Asked to explain who wrote the second memorandum, he repeatedly declined to say.

‘I cannot engage in discussions on internal deliberations,’ he said, to Judge Jackson’s obvious displeasure.

Ginsberg told the court that Stone had a history of ‘rough, provocative and hyperbolic language’ and that his threats to Credico should not influence his sentence, given that Credico and Stone went back decades and he knew Stone was ‘all bark and no bite.’

Judge Jackson disagreed, saying the sentencing seriousness level jumped from 14 to 27 because of Stone’s threats, witness tampering and efforts to disrupt justice.

‘The defendant refers to this as banter, which it hardly is,’ Jackson added, reeling off a list of insults Stone had directed toward Credico, including ‘rat’ and ‘c**sucker’.

She also slammed Stone over his repeated outbursts during last year’s prosecution, in particular his speaking out via InfoWars host Alex Jones to relay a message to Trump pleading for a pardon the night before he was found guilty.

That was in defiance of a gag order Judge Jackson had earlier slapped on Stone after he posted a mocked up photo of her face in rifle crosshairs online.

Jackson said Stone was deliberately trying to undermine proceedings and was stoking anger towards court officials, risking a scenario in which someone with ‘even less judgment’ could actually do something violent.

‘This is intolerable to the administration of justice. The court should not sit idly by, shrug its shoulders and say, that’s just Roger being Roger,’ she said.

Ratcheting up his sentencing level another two notches, she added: ‘It wasn’t an accident he had a staff that helped him do it. Using the new social media is his sweet spot.

‘He knew exactly what he was doing and in using Twitter and Instagram he deliberately magnified his message.’

Stone’s decades-long career on the shadier  margins of US politics appeared to be over last November after he was found guilty of five counts of making false statements to Congress and single counts of obstructing a congressional proceeding and witness tampering.

Jurors agreed the smooth-talking agent provocateur, who briefly served on Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, told a series of ‘whoppers’ when he testified before members of House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian collusion in the 2016 election.

Stone lied to lawmakers when he denied asking Julian Assange for the cache of Democratic Party messages stolen by Russian hackers and further lied about the identity of his go-between to the WikiLeaks founder.

He also concealed numerous texts, emails and telephone conversations in which he discussed WikiLeaks and Assange with then candidate-Trump and senior campaign figures including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, ex Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign official Rick Gates.

In he goes: Roger Stone took off his trilby to enter court, where he will be sentenced

Acknowledgment: Roger Stone gave a salute to supporters outside court

Acknowledgment: Roger Stone gave a salute to supporters outside court

Tailored: Roger Stone revealed he is wearing a double-breasted dark gray chalk stripe suit under his navy blue double-breasted overcoat as he got out of his car before going into court

Counter-protest: Anti-Trump activists put up an inflatable effigy of the president as a rat in time for Roger Stone's arrival

 

Counter-protest: Anti-Trump activists put up an inflatable effigy of the president as a rat in time for Roger Stone’s arrival

Publicity opportunity: The Stone spectacle has also been a magnet for a local tour company whose placard made a return to the entrance to court for the sentencing

Publicity opportunity: The Stone spectacle has also been a magnet for a local tour company whose placard made a return to the entrance to court for the sentencing

Ready for the walk: Nydia Stone grasped her husband's arm as they prepared to walk into court

Ready for the walk: Nydia Stone grasped her husband’s arm as they prepared to walk into court

Trump praises Bill Bar for ‘taking charge’ of Roger Stone case
The trial heard Stone was trying to procure the emails as a way to win favor with Trump and help him beat Hillary Clinton to the White House.

The net result of him lying ‘over and over and over again’ was that the House Intelligence Committee was impeded in its inquiries and its final report into Russian election inference was inaccurate because it didn’t mention Stone’s true intermediary, prosecutors said.

The tampering charge referred to his effort to bully the comedian and radio host Randy Credico into pleading the Fifth so he would avoid contradicting Stone’s sworn September 26, 2017 testimony.

Stone had told lawmakers that Credico was his ‘back channel’ to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi.

When Credico threatened to set the record straight, Stone branded him a ‘c**ksucker’, a ‘rat’ and urged the rattled comic to do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’, referencing a character in Godfather Part II who lies to a congressional committee to help the Corleone family before committing suicide.

He also took aim at Credico’s therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message: ‘I’m going to take that dog away from you.’

Prosecutors cited the threats of physical harm and Stone’s repeated media outbursts attacking Judge Jackson as aggravating factors against the former Nixon campaign adviser who has the disgraced former president’s face permanently tattooed on his back.

However Credico was among those who argued against incarceration, saying in a January letter to the judge: ‘I never in any way felt that Stone himself posed a direct physical threat to me or to my dog.’

Tomeka Hart, a former Memphis City Schools Board President, stoked the flames further when she outed herself last Wednesday as the jury forewoman in a Facebook post voicing support for the overruled prosecutors.

‘I have kept my silence for months. Initially, it was for my safety. Then, I decided to remain silent out of fear of politicizing the matter,’ Hart wrote.

Back channels: Stone had fraudulently told lawmakers that Randy Credico, a left-wing radio comedian, was his 'back channel' to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi (pictured)

Back channels: Stone had fraudulently told lawmakers that Randy Credico (pictured), a left-wing radio comedian, was his 'back channel' to WikiLeaks when it was actually the conspiracy theorist and author Jerome Corsi

Center of case: Roger Stone  also took aim at Randy Credico's therapy dog Bianca, a 13-year-old Coton de Tulear, writing in an text message: 'I'm going to take that dog away from you.'

‘But I can’t keep quiet any longer. I want to stand up for Aaron Zelinsky, Adam Jed, Michael Marando, and Jonathan Kravis – the prosecutors on the Roger Stone trial.

‘It pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors. They acted with the utmost intelligence, integrity, and respect for our system of justice.

‘For that, I wanted to speak up for them and ask you to join me in thanking them for their service.’

Hart, it further emerged, had unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012 and had participated in anti-Trump rallies and protests.

She had frequently denounced Trump on social media, calling the President and his supporters racists, and posted emojis of hearts and fist pumps after finding Stone guilty last November.

Hart had also re-tweeted a post by pundit Bakari Sellers dismissing Stone’s claims that the FBI used excessive force when they arrested him at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida home in January 2019.

Sellers had listed black victims of ‘police force’, including Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Eric Gardner, scoffing: ‘But Roger Stone!!! Think about that.’

Stone’s lawyers have already made one failed attempt to secure a re-trial, arguing that a completely different juror, an IRS employee who worked with the Justice Department on criminal tax cases, should have been struck.

The juror admitted reading news articles about Stone’s arrest but denied having any opinions about Stone when asked about it by Judge Jackson in court.

The defense had failed to demonstrate the ‘sort of inherent bias’ that would prompt a retrial, Judge Jackson ruled.

Stone entered the political arena in 1972 when he ditched his studies at George Washington University, supporting Nixon in his re-election campaign then landing a job on his administration.

In one of his first stunts he contributed $135 to one of Nixon’s Republican rivals in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance – then slipped the receipt to a journalist.

During congressional hearings into the Watergate scandal in 1973 it emerged Stone had recruited a spy to infiltrate the campaigns of several of Nixon’s Democratic rivals.

He was fired from his job with then-Senator Bob Dole but went on to work for several more presidential campaigns: those of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and, eventually, his longtime friend Donald Trump, who first hired Stone to lobby for his casino businesses in the 1990s.

The National Enquirer in 1996 revealed that Stone had placed ads on a swingers website seeking sex partners for himself and his second wife Nydia Bertran Stone, 72. Stone later referred to himself in an interview as ‘a libertarian and a libertine’ and a ‘trysexual – I’ve tried everything’.

The six Trump associates to be convicted in Mueller probe

GUILTY: ROGER STONE 

Convicted in November 2019 on seven counts including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks. Sentenced to 40 months in prison. 

Stone was a person of interest to Mueller’s investigators long before his January 2019 indictment, thanks in part due to his public pronouncements as well as internal emails about his contacts with WikiLeks.

In campaign texts and emails, Stone communicated with associates about WikiLeaks following reports the organization had obtained a cache of Clinton-related emails. 

According to the federal indictment, Stone gave ‘false and misleading’ testimony about his requests for information from WikiLeaks. He then pressured a witness, comedian Randy Credico, to take the Fifth Amendment rather than testify, and pressured him in a series of emails. Following a prolonged dispute over testimony, he called him a ‘rat’ and threatened to ‘take that dog away from you’, in reference to Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca. Stone warned him: ‘Let’s get it on. Prepare to die.’  

GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN 

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence

Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired. 

He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

GUILTY AND IN JAIL: MICHAEL COHEN

Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Pleaded guilty to further count of lying to Congress in November 2018. Sentenced to three years in prison and $2 million in fines and forfeitures in December 2018

Cohen was investigated by Mueller but the case was handed off to the Southern District of New York,leaving Manhattan’s ferocious and fiercely independent federal prosecutors to run his case. 

Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump. 

He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from  taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.

And he admitted lying to Congress in a rare use of the offense. The judge in his case let him report for prison on March 6 and  recommended he serve it in a medium-security facility close to New York City.

Campaign role: Paul Manafort chaired Trump's campaign for four months - which included the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016, where he appeared on stage beside Trump who was preparing  to formally accept the Republican nomination

GUILTY AND IN JAIL: PAUL MANAFORT

Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Sentenced to 47 months in March 2019. Pleaded guilty to two further charges – witness tampering and conspiracy against the United States. Jailed for total of seven and a half years in two separate sentences. Additionally indicted for mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney, using evidence previously presented by Mueller. That indictment was dismissed by the DA is appealing

 Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.

Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts in August 2018. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent due in September did not happen when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and witness tampering in a plea bargain. He was supposed to co-operate with Mueller but failed to. 

Minutes after his second sentencing hearing in March 2019, he was indicted on 16 counts of fraud and conspiracy by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., using evidence which included documents previously presented at his first federal trial. The president has no pardon power over charges by district and state attorneys.

GUILTY: RICK GATES 

Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence

Gates, a Trump campaign official, was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.

GUILTY AND JAILED: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS

Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Sentenced to 14 days in September 2018, and reported to prison in November. Served 12 days and released on December 7, 2018

 Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank. 

He agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation but is now highly critical of it.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8025217/Roger-Stone-sentenced-three-years-judge-rebukes-Donald-Trump-tweeted-spoke.html

‘The American people cared. And I care.’ Top lines from Judge Amy Berman Jackson during the Roger Stone sentencing

The Roger Stone Sentencing Fiasco

Some Justice Department personnel handled it questionably, but Trump’s reaction was worse.

The first thing to grasp about the Roger Stone sentencing fiasco is that Stone, even accepting the worst plausible gloss on his crimes, is a 67-year-old nonviolent first offender. If the criminal-justice “reform” fad were authentic, and not a stratagem of social-justice warriors who have taken Washington’s surfeit of useful idiots for a ride, then we could all agree that the original seven-to-nine-year sentence advocated by prosecutors was too draconian — even if it was, as we shall see, a faithful application of the federal sentencing guidelines as written.

But no. Like criminal-justice “reform,” the Stone prosecution is more politics than law enforcement. It was the Mueller probe’s last gasp at pretending there might be something to the Russia-collusion narrative – notwithstanding that, when the “gee, it sure feels like there could be some collusion here” indictment was filed, over a year and a half after special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed, it had long been manifest that there was no Trump–Russia conspiracy.

So, the Left has a quandary here: Do they hate Trump more than they love sentencing “reform”? We could have predicted the decision to go with hating Trump, and thus fomenting outrage over DOJ’s retraction of its original sentencing recommendation of about nine years’ imprisonment, now slashed to a far more reasonable range of four years or less. To be fair, though, Trump critics could not have been expected to resist the combination of DOJ missteps and Trump Twitter taunts that mark Stone’s sentencing, the combination that has managed to turn Mueller’s maulers into media martyrs.

Some background: In a ridiculously overblown, overcharged prosecution, Mueller slammed the ineffable Stone with seven felony counts of obstructing Congress’s Russia investigation. One of these involved tampering with a witness, left-wing radio host Randy Credico (through whom Stone sought a communications channel with WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange).

At a certain point, Credico let it be known that he intended to cooperate with investigators. A ballistic Stone, when not uttering lunatic references to Watergate and Frank Pentangeli (the Mafioso character goaded into suicide when a plot to take out the Don fails in Godfather II), warned the “stoolie” “rat” Credico to “prepare to die” and vowed to steal his pet dog. Even in context, these seem to be puerile ravings, not real threats. (Stone added that his lawyers were anxious to “rip [Credico] to shreds,” so any murder and dognapping was apparently going to await cross-examination.) And though Stone is patently guilty of witness tampering, Credico himself told the court that he did not take Stone’s threats seriously.

DOJ: We Overstepped By Keeping Tabs On Trump Campaign Adviser For Too Long

Stone being the sort of Einstein who commits his obstructions in writing (the Credico contacts were mostly text messages), the jury convicted him in nothing flat. That meant DOJ would give the court its take on how the sentencing guidelines applied to the case, as it does with every convicted defendant.

In Stone’s case, the guidelines worked a severe result. In tampering cases, a guidelines enhancement calls for a drastic increase in the sentence if the defendant threatened the witness with physical injury. This drove Stone’s “offense level” from 21 to 29 on the guidelines grid, so even though he is a first offender (offense history “Category I” in guidelines-speak), his recommended sentence zoomed to 90 to 108 months — instead of 37 to 46 months, as it would have been at offense level 21 (i.e., without the threats).

With Mueller’s shop closed down, the Stone prosecution was run out of the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. But it was still being overseen by two Mueller staffers, Aaron S. J. Zelinsky (on loan from the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, where he had worked for Rod Rosenstein, who, as Trump’s deputy attorney general, later appointed Mueller), and Adam C. Jed (an appellate lawyer from the Obama Justice Department who first came to public attention in 2013, arguing that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional). Also assigned to the case were Jonathan Kravis, a former associate White House counsel to Obama, and Michael Mirando, an experienced assistant U.S. attorney in the D.C. office.

This team of prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum on Monday, laying out the guidelines and advising Judge Amy Berman Jackson that they called for a prison sentence of about seven to nine years (i.e., the offense-level guidelines range of 90 to 108 months). Like the indictment itself, the memo is gross overkill.

As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross notes, the prosecutors tied Stone to “foreign election interference,” breathlessly framed as the “most deadly adversary of republican government,” even though he was never charged with any such crime — underscoring yet again that the deadliest adversary of republican government is actually domestic — viz., the politicized use of executive police powers. Far from offering any theory in mitigation of the 90-to-108-months range, the prosecutors pooh-poohed Credico’s perception that Stone’s threats were not serious, factitiously insisting that the guidelines enhancement is triggered by the threat, not whether the target is actually intimidated. Plus, prosecutors maintained, Stone’s crimes were exacerbated by his flouting of Judge Berman Jackson’s gag orders during the prosecution.

All that said, the prosecutors’ submission was an accurate (if extreme and unyielding) rendition of federal sentencing law. The enhancement that inflates Stone’s sentencing range does literally apply — even if he is not the kind of violent criminal that the guidelines commissioners had in mind when they wrote it. Prosecutors are not required to argue for clemency, though they should do so when the circumstances call for it. The Justice Department’s default position in criminal cases is that the guidelines should be applied as written, and that it is up to the court to decide whether to follow them.

While Stone awaited sentence, the prosecutors were supervised, at least nominally, by Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney for D.C. I say “nominally” because the Trump Justice Department has always been leery about being seen as interfering in Mueller-based prosecutions. Moreover, the D.C. office was in transition while court submissions pertaining to Stone’s sentencing were being prepared.

In December 2019, President Trump announced his nomination of Liu to become the Treasury Department’s undersecretary overseeing financial sanctions on terrorists. Liu continued running the U.S. attorney’s office, albeit with one foot out the door, until the end of January. With her Treasury confirmation hearing scheduled for February 13 (i.e., tomorrow), Attorney General Bill Barr appointed one of his top advisers, Timothy Shea (a well-regarded longtime prosecutor, litigator, and Capitol Hill staffer), to become acting U.S. attorney for D.C. on January 30. That was eleven days before the Stone team filed its sentencing submission.

How much participation Shea had in the recommendation is unclear. The New York Times reports that both he and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen opined that the seven-to-nine-year sentencing recommendation was too severe. Yet, it does not appear that they put their foot down and instructed the Stone prosecutors to ameliorate it before the government’s submission was filed on Monday.

As is his wont, the president went bonkers on Twitter upon learning of the recommendation, calling it “horrible and very unfair” and a major “miscarriage of justice” because “the real crimes are on the other side” — i.e., the Russia-probe investigators — yet “nothing happens to them.” While the Justice Department was obviously aware of the president’s tweet, as well as press reporting about the harshness of the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation, the DOJ and the White House have had no communications about the case, according to both the president and a spokeswoman for the attorney general.

Nevertheless, the DOJ made it known that the sentencing memo would be rescinded and a new one filed. That announcement prompted the recusals of all four prosecutors, some of whom are quitting the DOJ entirely and some apparently just stepping aside from the Stone case.

Late Tuesday, the DOJ filed a revised sentencing memo, which does not recommend a specific sentence but strongly suggests that a term calculated without the eight-point enhancement — i.e., between 37 and 46 months’ imprisonment — would be just. The new memo concedes that the prosecutors’ calculation in the original memo was “arguably” correct, but contends that it would be unreasonable under the circumstances. On that score, the memo relies on (a) Credico’s dismissal of the threat (though it acknowledges that this is not dispositive); (b) the fact that a sentence driven by the guidelines enhancement would be wildly out of proportion with prison terms imposed in cases similar to Stone’s; (c) Stone’s being a first-offender with no organized-crime or gang connections and thus not typical f the offenders the enhancement is meant to cover; and (d) Stone’s advanced age and failing health.

This is an entirely reasonable recommendation, even if the process of arriving at it has been a train wreck.

The Justice Department correctly observes that the sentence to be imposed is entirely up to the court. The DOJ’s recommendations are non-binding and frequently ignored by judges. Judge Berman Jackson has been thoroughly informed about what the non-binding guidelines say, as well as the cases for and against applying the enhancement.

Furthermore, let’s imagine that, instead of orchestrating a fiasco, DOJ had efficiently managed any internal disputes (which are not uncommon) and had filed a single memo recommending a 37-to-46-month sentence — a memo that explained both the enhancement for threatening witnesses and why applying it would be unreasonable under the circumstances. Does anyone doubt that such a recommendation would nevertheless have been panned as excessive by the president?

For now, while Trump has taken to attacking both the resigning prosecutors and Judge Berman Jackson on Twitter, it appears that former U.S. attorney Liu is taking the fall. Within hours of the prosecutors’ trumpeting their departures in grand Sally Yates style, the White House announced that the president had pulled Liu’s appointment to the Treasury Department position — even though her confirmation hearing was just two days away, and Barr had lavished praise on her upon appointing Shea as her replacement.

Liu certainly had a tumultuous tenure. Besides the thankless task of inheriting the Mueller cases against Stone and former national-security adviser Michael Flynn (the implosion of which is a story for another day), her office foolishly pursued a threadbare Mueller-generated prosecution of Greg Craig for false statements based on lobbying for Ukraine. Craig, former White House counsel to President Obama, was speedily acquitted by a jury last year. Meanwhile, there was also a mini-revolt on the Senate Judiciary Committee a few months back when the president floated the idea of elevating Liu to the No. 3 leadership slot at the DOJ — though she was vigorously defended by AG Barr, and suspicions that she lacked conservative bona fides appear overwrought (the fact that Liu may be pro-choice hardly means she would not enforce laws regulating abortion; and a claim that, 15 years ago, she opposed Justice Samuel Alito’s appointment to the Supreme Court appears to be false).

I would not suggest that Liu and others at the DOJ distinguished themselves in the Stone sentencing debacle. But at this point, the main fault lies with the president.

Yes, the Mueller probe was specious. But for his connection to Trump, Stone would never have been pursued in a collusion fever dream that Mueller’s prosecutors knew was bogus when they charged him. Yet his crimes, while exaggerated, were real. He was convicted by a jury and, under federal law, that presumptively warrants incarceration, though he could be spared by the judge (whom the president has picked a strange time to antagonize). If the president thinks that Stone and Flynn (among others) have been given a raw deal, the Constitution empowers him to pardon them, or at least commute their sentences.

If President Trump is afraid, in an election year, to take the political hit that a pardon for Stone would entail, that is understandable. But then he should bite his tongue and click out of Twitter. The Justice Department’s job is to process cases, including Mueller cases, pursuant to law. If the president wants to make those cases disappear, he has to do it himself and be accountable. His provocative running commentary only ensures that the DOJ will be accused of kowtowing to him. It also guarantees that, if the ongoing criminal probe of the Russiagate investigation eventually yields any indictments, they will be assailed as political persecutions rather than good-faith law enforcement.

 

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Worrying about coronavirus? This other virus is the real threat.

Worrying about coronavirus? This other virus is the real threat.

There’s a deadly virus spreading from state to state. It preys on the most vulnerable, striking the sick and the old without mercy. In just the last few months, it has claimed the lives of at least 39 children.

The virus is influenza, and it poses a far greater threat to Americans than the coronavirus from China that has made headlines around the world.

“When we think about the relative danger of this new coronavirus and influenza, there’s just no comparison,” said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “Coronavirus will be a blip on the horizon in comparison. The risk is trivial.”

To be sure, the coronavirus outbreak, which originated last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan, should be taken seriously. The virus can cause pneumonia and is blamed for more than 7,000 illnesses and more than 170 deaths.

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a global emergency requiring a coordinated international response after the number of cases spiked sharply over the last few days. But officials warn much remains unknown.

In the United States, at least six cases of the virus have been reported, including the first case of person-to-person infection. Public health workers are monitoring dozens of additional patients.

And yet, Americans aren’t particularly concerned.

Fewer than half of adults got a flu shot last season, according to the CDC. Even among children, who can be especially vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, only 62% received the vaccine.

If Americans aren’t afraid of the flu, perhaps that’s because they are inured to yearly warnings. For them, the flu is old news. Yet viruses named after foreign places — such as Ebola, Zika, and Wuhan — inspire terror.

“Familiarity breeds indifference,” Schaffner said. “Because it’s new, it’s mysterious, and comes from an exotic place, the coronavirus creates anxiety.”

Some doctors joke that the flu needs to be rebranded.

“We should rename influenza; call it XZ-47 virus or something scarier,” said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

 

Measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has killed 5,000 people in the last year — more than twice as many as Ebola. Yet UNICEF officials have noted that the measles, which many Americans no longer fear, has gotten little attention. Nearly all the measles victims were children under 5.

Because the Wuhan virus is new, humans have no antibodies against it. Doctors haven’t had time to develop treatments or vaccines.

The big question, so far unknown, is just how easily the virus is transmitted from an infected person to others. Officials warn much remains unknown, but each patient with the new coronavirus appears to be infecting about two other people.

By comparison, patients with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, spread the infection to an average of two to four others. Each patient with measles — one of the most contagious viruses known to science — infects 12 to 18 unvaccinated people.

Health officials worry that the new coronavirus could resemble SARS — which appeared suddenly in China in 2002 and spread to 26 countries, sickening 8,000 people and killing 774, according to the WHO.The U.S. dodged a bullet with SARS, Schaffner said. Only eight Americans became infected and none died, according to the CDC. Yet SARS caused a global panic, leading people to shutter hotels, cancel flights, and close businesses.

Coronaviruses can be unpredictable, said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. While some patients never infect anyone else, people who are “super-spreaders” can infect dozens of others.

At Seoul, South Korea’s Samsung Medical Center in 2015, a single emergency-room patient infected 82 people —patients, visitors, and staff — with a coronavirus called MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The hospital partly shut down to control the virus.

“This is one of the finest medical centers in the world, on par with the Cleveland Clinic, and they were brought to their knees,” Osterholm said.

Yet MERS has never posed much of a threat to the United States.

Only two patients in this country — health-care providers who had worked in Saudi Arabia — have ever tested positive for the virus, according to the CDC. Both patients survived.

Hotez, who is working to develop vaccines against neglected diseases, said he worries about unvaccinated children. Most kids who die from the flu haven’t been immunized against it, he said. And many were previously healthy.

“If you’re worried about your health, get your flu vaccination,” Hotez said. “It’s not too late.”

https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus-infection-death-risk-influenza-20200129.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadly coronavirus ‘kills 15 PER CENT of patients over 80’ and the never-before-seen strain is ‘up to 20 TIMES more infectious than SARS’

  • Chinese health officials carried out the biggest ever study on the coronavirus
  • Results showed SARS-CoV-2 virus posed the greatest threat to older patients 
  • It is also dangerous for those with underlying conditions, such as heart disease
  • More than 73,000 cases have been recorded, with up to 99% of them in China 
  • Do you have a study about coronavirus? Email sam.blanchard@mailonline.co.uk 

The deadly coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world kills up to 15 per cent of patients over the age of 80, scientists have revealed.

Chinese health officials carried out the biggest ever study on the never-before-seen strain of the virus, using data from 72,000 cases.

Results showed the SARS-CoV-2 virus posed the greatest threat to older patients and those with underlying conditions, such as cancer and heart disease.

Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention researchers also found 80.9 per cent of infections are mild. Less than five per cent are critical.

More than 73,000 cases have been recorded worldwide, with 99 per cent in China. Almost 1,900 patients have already died.

Residents walk through a disinfection channel set up as a protective measure against the coronavirus at the entrance to their compound in Tongzhou, east of Beijing

Residents walk through a disinfection channel set up as a protective measure against the coronavirus at the entrance to their compound in Tongzhou, east of Beijing

A child wearing a face mask plays near a slide at a commercial and residential complex in a residential complex in Beijing

A child wearing a face mask plays near a slide at a commercial and residential complex in a residential complex in Beijing

A police officer wearing a face mask patrols in front of the Sunwill factory in Foshan, China

A medical worker takes a swab for testing from a Chinese paramilitary police officer in Shenzhen, Guangdong province

 

A medical worker takes a swab for testing from a Chinese paramilitary police officer in Shenzhen, Guangdong province

Cases of a mysterious pneumonia-causing virus first emerged in the now-deserted Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Researchers blamed a seafood market in Hubei city that illegally sold wild animals for being the source of the virus.

The virus has no known cure and most patients who are struck down recover within a couple of weeks without needing medical treatment.

Those who develop more serious infections in their lungs, such as pneumonia, need expert medical care to stop their illness turning deadly.

They looked at 72,314 confirmed, suspected, clinically diagnosed, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 illness across China as of February 11.

COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by the virus, which has effectively been named as SARS-2 by the World Health Organization.

Results showed the overall case-fatality ratio – the percentage of patients who die – was just 2.3 per cent.

Ninety-nine per cent of cases have been in China, where tens of millions of residents are in lockdown to contain the escalating crisis. The COVID-19 virus has killed at least 1,873 people

And more than 73,000 patients have been struck down with the deadly SARS-CoV-2 infection, including nearly 1,000 outside of China

And more than 73,000 patients have been struck down with the deadly SARS-CoV-2 infection, including nearly 1,000 outside of China

Almost 1,900 people have now died from the killer coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world

Almost 1,900 people have now died from the killer coronavirus rapidly sweeping the world

In comparison, SARS – which only infected a fraction of patients during the 2002/03 epidemic – killed around 10 per cent.

While the death rate for MERS, another type of coronavirus that was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, is even higher (34 per cent).

One of the world’s deadliest diseases, Ebola, kills around half of all patients it strikes. Ebola is not caused by any type of coronavirus.

When data for the SARS-CoV-2 infection was broken down, researchers found over-80s had the highest fatality ratio at 14.8 per cent.

The likelihood of death was just eight per cent of patients aged between 70 and 79, and 3.6 per cent for those in their sixties.

The case-fatality ratio was less than 1.5 per cent for patients in their fifties, and less than 0.5 per cent for everyone else – meaning roughly one in 200 will die.

There were no deaths among children aged up to nine, despite at least two cases of newborn babies infected through their mothers.

In contrast, the death rate for flu is around 0.1 per cent, according to the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC).

Older adults have weaker immune systems, meaning it is harder for the body to fight off a virus such as SARS-CoV-2 or flu.

Patients with heart disease were most likely to die from the virus, followed by those with diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and hypertension.

CCDC academics also found 80.9 percent of infections were classified as mild, 13.8 percent as severe and only 4.7 percent as critical.

And men are more likely to die (2.8 per cent) than women (1.7 per cent). But experts have yet to work out why men are more vulnerable.

Nearly 86 percent of those who have contracted the illness either lived in or travelled to Wuhan.

British cruise ship passenger David Abel and his wife Sally (pictured in their cabin on the Diamond Princess) have tested positive for coronavirus in Japan

David Abel believes he is going to test negative for coronavirus

Steve Abel (pictured today) said his parents David and Sally Abel were 'not getting any communication' from Whitehall and were 'feeling very unloved'

The Diamond Princess (pictured today) remains in lockdown and hundreds face a longer spell in quarantine even after the official incubation period ends tomorrow

American passenger details life on Diamond Princess ahead of evacuation

SON OF BRIT COUPLE WITH CORONAVIRUS ON CRUISE SHIP BEGS GOVERNMENT TO RESCUE THEM

The son of a British couple who caught coronavirus on a cruise ship in Japan has today savaged the government’s ‘appalling’ handling of the case.

Steve Abel said his parents David and Sally were ‘not getting any communication’ from Whitehall and were ‘feeling very unloved’ despite repeated pleas for help.

The British couple were among 88 people who tested positive for the virus in Japan today, taking the number of infections on board the ship to 542.

They are now being taken into a further quarantine on the mainland just a day before their stay on board the Diamond Princess was due to end.

The Abels will also be unable to join an evacuation flight which the British embassy is preparing today amid growing pressure after the US evacuated 340 of its citizens.

And 3,019 health workers have been diagnosed and five had died as of February 11, the report said.

The epidemic, which has seen cases in almost 30 countries, reached its ‘first peak’ between January 24 and 26, the report said.

It suggests there is has been a ‘downward trend’ in the overall epidemic curve since February 11 – meaning the spread of the disease was slowing.

A separate group of scientists published their findings about the virus on bioRxiv – an archive of papers before they have been peer-reviewed.

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin found SARS-CoV-2 was 20 times more likely to bind to human cells than its original predecessor.

South China Morning Post reports the team said the virus shares the same host-cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), with SARS.

The researchers wrote: ‘Compared with SARS-CoV, 2019-nCoV appears to be more readily transmitted from human to human.

‘The high affinity of 2019-nCoV for human ACE2 may contribute to the apparent ease with which 2019-nCoV can spread from human to human.’

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE DEADLY CORONAVIRUS IN CHINA?

Someone who is infected with the coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.

Over 2,000 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 75,000 have been infected. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be as high as 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases.  Here’s what we know so far:

What is the coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The virus itself is called SARS-CoV-2.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.

Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died. 

By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.

By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.  

By February 5, there were more than 24,000 cases and 492 deaths.

By February 11, this had risen to more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths. 

A change in the way cases are confirmed on February 13 – doctors decided to start using lung scans as a formal diagnosis, as well as laboratory tests – caused a spike in the number of cases, to more than 60,000 and to 1,369 deaths. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus has almost certainly come from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent similar to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.

There is now evidence that it can spread third hand – to someone from a person who caught it from another person.

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

However, experts say the true number of patients is likely considerably higher and therefore the death rate considerably lower. Imperial College London researchers estimate that there were 4,000 (up to 9,700) cases in Wuhan city alone up to January 18 – officially there were only 444 there to that date. If cases are in fact 100 times more common than the official figures, the virus may be far less dangerous than currently believed, but also far more widespread.

Experts say it is likely only the most seriously ill patients are seeking help and are therefore recorded – the vast majority will have only mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions do become more severe, there is a risk of developing pneumonia which can destroy the lungs and kill you.

Can the virus be cured?

The COVID-19 virus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?

The outbreak is an epidemic, which is when a disease takes hold of one community such as a country or region.

Although it has spread to dozens of countries, the outbreak is not yet classed as a pandemic, which is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.

The head of WHO’s global infectious hazard preparedness, Dr Sylvie Briand, said: ‘Currently we are not in a pandemic. We are at the phase where it is an epidemic with multiple foci, and we try to extinguish the transmission in each of these foci,’ the Guardian reported.

She said that most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8015951/Most-coronavirus-infections-mild-says-Chinese-study.html

 

Virus cases balloon in S. Korea as outbreak shifts, spreads

 Schools were shuttered, churches told worshipers to stay away and some mass gatherings were banned as cases of a new virus swelled Friday in South Korea, the newest front in a widening global outbreak.

The country said two people have died and 204 have been infected with the virus, quadruple the number of cases it had two days earlier, as a crisis centered in China has begun strongly reverberating elsewhere.

The multiplying caseload in South Korea showed the ease with which the illness can spread. Though initial infections were linked to China, new ones have not involved international travel.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1347, October 29, 2019, Story 1: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman Testifies on Trump Call To Ukraine on July 25, 2019 — Wanted Edits That Do Not Change Substance of Conversation — Big Nothing — Not Vindman’s Job — Videos — Story 2: Democrat New Procedures Resolution on Impeachment Inquiry of Trump — Losing American People With Single Party Behind Closed Doors Star Chamber Kangaroo Court — Fundamentally Unfair and Lacks Due Process — Videos — Story 3: Imperial Presidency of Donald J. Trump — Beyond The Rule of Law — Videos —

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President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a 'sham,' adding: 'Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call'

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Story 1: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman Testifies on Trump Call To Ukraine on July 25 — Wanted Edits That Do Not Change Substance of Conversation — Big Nothing — Commander in Chief Trump — Stay Out of Politics Vandman The President Did Nothing Wrong — No Evidence of Any Wrongdoing — Videos —

WATCH: ‘Every single Republican’ will vote against impeachment resolution, Rep. Jordan predicts

Moment Shep Smith replacement talks Alexander Vindman telling all – Trump Impeachment

Graham: Impeachment inquiry is being run by ‘sore losers’

National security official says he tried to correct summary of Trump call with Ukraine

President Trump questions credibility of Vindman and other ‘never Trumpers’

DEBATE: Does WH leaker deserve espionage charge?

Rep. Bera on Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman’s Deposition

WH National Security Official Testifies Trump’s Ukraine Call ‘Concerned’ Him | NBC Nightly News

NSC official tells lawmakers he was ‘concerned’ by Trump’s Ukraine call: report

Fox panel play TRAITORS After their FOOLISH Attack on Vindman’s testimony

Impeachment hearing erupts into shouting match

Liz Cheney condemns attacks questioning Alexander Vindman’s loyalty to US

Fox Attacks War Hero Who Testified Against Trump

WH official gives explosive testimony on Trump l ABC News

House releases impeachment inquiry procedures amid new testimony

NSC official tells lawmakers he was ‘concerned’ by Trump’s Ukraine call: report

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

Foreign Affairs Issue Launch With Joe Biden

Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign work

How Joe Biden Made His Millions

Ukraine Prosecutor To Review Past Cases, Some Involving Hunter Biden Employer | NBC News

“Not a single foreign or Ukrainian official or politician has called me or tried to influence my decisions,” insisted Ukraine’s new chief prosecutor Ruslan Riaboshapka.

NSA Whistleblower William Binney interviewed by Richard Grove | Tragedy and Hope

Whistle-blower: Trump likely surveilled for some time

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Confirmed: NSA Spying is as Bad as You Thought

DNI Clapper tells Wyden the NSA does not collect data on millions of Americans

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

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Army official claims several edits left out of Trump-Ukraine call transcript

The national security official who testified Tuesday before House lawmakers in the Trump impeachment probe revealed how key words and phrases were omitted from the transcript of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, a report said.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, also told lawmakers that his bid to completely restore the omissions failed, three people familiar with his testimony told the New York Times.

But some of the decorated Army officer’s edits were in fact amended, he said Tuesday.

It’s unclear why the two edits were never made and Vindman didn’t testify about a motive, but the Times notes the omissions don’t alter lawmakers’ interpretation of the call.

The two exclusions regarded Trump’s contention of the presence of a tape with former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukraine corruption — and a mention by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky of the company whose board Hunter Biden sat on, Burisma Holdings.

The Biden video reference is reflected in a third ellipsis present in the call’s transcript when the president is speaking, Vindman told investigators.

The president, the Times reports, was likely referring to Biden’s January 2018 remarks about his effort to get Ukraine to oust its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.

It’s possible Vindman’s two transcript edits weren’t made since the document was placed into a secure server, preventing further corrections, the report said.

The transcript wasn’t derived from a recording, but instead from note-takers listening in and voice recognition software.

During hours of questioning Tuesday, Vindman also said he “did not think it was proper”for Trump to ask Zelensky to investigate his Democratic political foe.

https://nypost.com/2019/10/29/army-official-claims-several-edits-left-out-of-trump-ukraine-call-transcript/

 

Colonel testifies he raised concerns about Ukraine, Trump

By LISA MASCARO, MARY CLARE JALONICK and COLLEEN LONG

Defying White House orders, an Army officer serving with President Donald Trump’s National Security Council testified to impeachment investigators Tuesday that he twice raised concerns over the administration’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden.

Alexander Vindman, a lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and later as a diplomat, is the first official to testify who acwith new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He reported his concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel, he said in his prepared remarks.

His arrival in military blue, with medals , created a striking image at the Capitol as the impeachment inquiry reached deeper into the White House.

“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman said, according to his testimony obtained by The Associated Press. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

Vindman, a 20-year military officer, added to the mounting evidence from other witnesses — diplomats, defense and former administration officials — who are corroborating the initial whistleblower’s complaint against Trump and providing new details ahead of a House vote in the impeachment inquiry.

Youtube video thumbnail

“Every person has put it in higher resolution,” said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., during a break in the daylong session.

“That’s the story: There’s not like a new headline out of all of these,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J. “Every single witness, from their own advantage point, has corroborated the central facts of the story we’ve heard.”

The inquiry is looking into Trump’s call, in which he asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” — to investigate Democrats — that the Democrats say was a quid pro quo for military aid and could be an impeachable offense.

With the administration directing staff not to appear, Vindman was the first current White House official to testify before the impeachment panels. He was issued a subpoena to appear.

Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to denounce the probe as a “sham,” adding: “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER!”

Vindman, who arrived in the United States as a 3-year-old from the former Soviet Union, said that it was his “sacred duty” to defend the United States.

Some Trump allies, looking for ways to discredit Vindman, questioned the colonel’s loyalties because he was born in the region. But the line of attack was rejected by some Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, who said it was “shameful” to criticize his patriotism.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah called the slams on Vindman “absurd, disgusting and way off the mark. This is a decorated American soldier and he should be given the respect that his service to our country demands.”

The testimony came the day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would vote on a resolution to set rules for public hearings and a possible vote on articles of impeachment.

Thursday’s vote would be the first on the impeachment inquiry and aims to nullify complaints from Trump and his allies that the process is illegitimate and unfair.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the resolution merely “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote,”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he and other GOP lawmakers will review the resolution to see if it passes a “smell test” of fairness to Trump.

The session Tuesday grew contentious at times as House Republicans continued trying to unmask the still-anonymous whistleblower and call him or her to testify. Vindman said he is not the whistleblower and does not know who it is.

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio acknowledged Republicans were trying to get Vindman to provide the names of others he spoke to after the July 25 phone call, in an effort to decide whom to call to testify. “He wouldn’t,” Jordan said.

In his prepared remarks, Vindman testified that in spring of this year he became aware of “outside influencers” promoting a “false narrative of Ukraine” that undermined U.S. efforts, a reference in particular to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

He first reported his concerns after a July 10 meeting in which U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stressed the importance of having Ukraine investigate the 2016 election as well as Burisma, a company linked to the family of Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Vindman says he told Sondland that “his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push.”

That differs from the account of Sondland, a wealthy businessman who donated $1 million to Trump inauguration and testified before the impeachment investigators that no one from the NSC “ever expressed any concerns.” Sondland also testified that he did not realize any connection between Biden and Burisma.

For the call between Trump and Zelenskiy, Vindman said he listened in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and Vice President Mike Pence’s office. He said he again reported his concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel.

He wrote, “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

Vindman served as the director for European affairs and a Ukraine expert under Fiona Hill, a former official who testified earlier in the impeachment probe. Hill worked for former national security adviser John Bolton.

He told investigators that Ukraine, in trying to become a vibrant democracy integrated with the West, is a bulwark against overt Russian aggression.

Vindman attended Zelenskiy’s inauguration with a delegation led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and he and Hill were both part of a Ukraine briefing with Sondland that others have testified irritated Bolton at the White House.

“I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics,” wrote Vindman, who was wounded in Iraq and awarded a Purple Heart.

“For over twenty years as an active duty United States military officer and diplomat, I have served this country in a nonpartisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations,” he wrote.

https://apnews.com/c45cb728edf84d96adf9a88e98979c51

‘Our mother died so we came here’: How Ken Burns doc filmed 10-year-old Alexander Vindman six years after he arrived from the Soviet Union in 1985 – as his allegiance to America is questioned

  • A 1985 documentary featuring Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as a 10-year-old boy from the former Soviet Union has been unearthed by the Washington Post
  • A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burn’s documentary The Statue of Liberty shows Vindman and his twin brother shortly after arriving to the U.S. 
  • ‘Our mother died, so we went to Italy,’ one of the Vindman boys says, ‘And then we came here’
  • Vindman testified the White House omitted key words and phrases from the transcript of Trump’s call with President Zelensky of Ukraine
  • Vindman, who is a Purple Heart holder and  National Security Council official, has been questioned on his allegiance to the U.S. by pro-Trump pundits 
  • Director Ken Burns tweeted Tuesday, ‘I remember the Vindman boys fondly. Theirs is the story of America at its best’ 

Decades before the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified about what he heard in Trump’s controversial phone call with the Ukrainian president, he appeared as a 10-year-old boy in a documentary about immigrants in America.

A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’ Academy-Award nominated 1985 documentary The Statue of Liberty has been unearthed by the Washington Post and features a 10-year-old Vindman with his twin brother, Yevgeny.

The boys are seen sitting on a bench in Brighton Beach, New York, when one tells the camera they’re from Russia and the other says they’re from Kyiv, now the capital of Ukraine.

‘Our mother died, so we went to Italy,’ one of the Vindman boys says, ‘And then we came here.’

This comes as Vindman – a Purple Heart veteran and White House official – is being questioned over his allegiance to the U.S. in the wake of his testimony about the call.

UNUMKenBurns@UNUMKenBurns

As @pbump of @washingtonpost unearthed today, Army Lt. Col. Vindman, who is testifying before Congress today, was featured as a young boy in the @KenBurns Academy Award-nominated doc “The Statue of Liberty” in 1985.

Watch the full clip on UNUM here: https://to.pbs.org/2Ns6HJQ 

 

1,999 people are talking about this
A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns' documentary The Statue of Liberty shows Vindman and his twin brother shortly after arriving to the U.S.

A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’ documentary The Statue of Liberty shows Vindman and his twin brother shortly after arriving to the U.S.

Vindman testified the White House omitted key words and phrases from the transcript of Trump's call with President Zelensky of Ukraine

Director Ken Burns tweeted Tuesday the Vindmans' story is 'America at its best'

Director Ken Burns tweeted Tuesday, ‘I remember the Vindman boys fondly. Theirs is the story of America at its best.’

The Vindmans were three years old when they arrived from the former Soviet Union to the U.S. and have since dedicated their lives to serving America, with Vindman declaring in his opening statement Tuesday that it is his ‘sacred duty’ to defend the United States.

'Our mother died, so we went to Italy,' one of the Vindman boys says in the documentary, 'And then we came here'

‘Our mother died, so we went to Italy,’ one of the Vindman boys says in the documentary, ‘And then we came here’

According to the Washington Post, both Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman ended up working for the White House under President Trump, served in the U.S. Army, and now work for the National Security Council.

But that hasn’t stopped right wing political pundits from questioning Vindman’s loyalty to the U.S. as he now appears to be a new threat to President Trump.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show Tuesday night, suggesting he is un-American.

‘Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interests, and usually they spoke in English,’ Ingraham said. ‘Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on the story?’

Her guest John Yo, who worked in the George W. Bush administration went as far as to call it ‘astounding’ and ‘espionage’.

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a ‘sham,’ adding: ‘Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER!’

Fox and Friends’ host Brian Kilmeade painted Vindman as a Ukraine sympathizer. ‘We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, immigrated with his family, young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine,’ he said.

CNN commentator Sean Duffy suggested Vindman has an ‘affinity’ for Ukraine, saying: ‘He speaks Ukrainian. He came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.’

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a 'sham,' adding: 'Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call'

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a ‘sham,’ adding: ‘Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call’

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show Tuesday night, labeling him un-American

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show Tuesday night, labeling him un-American

Vindman insists Zelensky specifically mentioned Burisma Holdings, telling investigators he tried to have the White House's transcript changed to include the missing reference

Vindman insists Zelensky specifically mentioned Burisma Holdings, telling investigators he tried to have the White House’s transcript changed to include the missing reference

Vindman was the first current White House official to testify before the impeachment panels, after being issued a subpoena.

He said in his opening statement: ‘My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night.

‘He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American Dream.

‘I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.’

He went on to tell House impeachment investigators that the White House transcript of the July call between Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words or phrases that he tried, but failed, to restore.

Dressed in his dark blue Army uniform with military medals displayed proudly across his chest, Vindman didn’t suggest a motive behind the editing process during his more than 10-hour testimony Tuesday, though his claims will likely prompt investigators to further scrutinize how officials handed the call

Dressed in his dark blue Army uniform with military medals displayed proudly across his chest, Vindman didn’t suggest a motive behind the editing process during his more than 10-hour testimony Tuesday, though his claims will likely prompt investigators to further scrutinize how officials handed the call

Such omissions, Vindman said, included Trump’s proclamation that there were recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukrainian corruption, and the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, directly mentioning the energy company who employed Hunter Biden to its board, Burisma Holdings

Such omissions, Vindman said, included Trump’s proclamation that there were recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukrainian corruption, and the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, directly mentioning the energy company who employed Hunter Biden to its board, Burisma Holdings

The omissions, Vindman said, included Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky mentioning by name the energy company that once employed Hunter Biden to its board, Burisma Holdings.

‘He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue,’ the White House’s transcript quotes Zelensky saying.

However, Vindman insists Zelensky specifically mentioned Burisma, telling investigators he tried to have the White House’s transcript changed to include the missing reference but the amendment was never made.

The rough transcript also contains ellipses in three instances where Trump is talking, which again Vindman says he tried to amend. He told investigators the third set of ellipses relates to Trump speaking about alleged recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden boasting about illegal Ukraine funding.

Vindman, who was listening in on the call from the White House Situation Room along with other members of Vice President Pence’s staff, said he was so ‘concerned by the call’ — and the idea the president’s request could be seen as ‘a partisan play’ that could ‘undermine U.S. national security’ — that he reported it to the NSC’s lead counsel.

‘I was concerned by the call,’ Vindman said. ‘I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.’

REFUGEE WITH A BRILLIANT MILITARY CAREER: LT. COL VINDMAN’S COMBAT SERVICE

Army Lt. Col Alexander Vindman has a long military career as an infantry officer who has seen combat and diplomatic service.

Born in Ukraine, his mother died before he was three and his father took his older brother, his twin Eugene and his grandmother to the U.S. to escape persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union. They settled in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York, an area known as Little Odessa.

He and his twin featured in the Ken Burns documentary, America, in a picture emblematic of the immigrant dream. 

Alexander Vindman joined the Army in 1998, after graduating from the State University of New York, and was commissioned the next year from Cornell University.

After basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia, he was deployed first to South Korea as a junior infantry and anti-armor officer.

He saw combat in 2003 and was wounded, gaining the purple star. Other foreign deployments include to Germany and he has a series of medals for his service.

Fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, he has a degree from Harvard in Eastern European Studies and since 2008 has held diplomatic posts for the Army.

Here is what his Army Service Uniform shows about what he has achieved. 

On the left of his uniform he wears awards given to him as an individual: 

Top row of ribbons: Purple Heart, awarded in 2003 after being wounded in an IED attack in Iraq. 

Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf. For distinguishing himself in non-combat operations; awarded twice.

Second row: Meritorious Service Medal – given to officers ranked major and above for outstanding service; can be awarded for combat but unknown if Vindland’s was. 

Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaves – for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service; Vindland has been awarded it four times.

 Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf – for meritorious service as a junior officer. Awarded twice.

Third row: National Defense Service Medal – for honorable service since September 11, 2001.

Global War On Terror Expeditionary Medal – given for being deployed to Iraq.

Global War On Terror Service Medal – given for support duty to combat operations in Iraq or Afghanistan, or both. 

Fourth row: Korean Defense Service Medal – for serving in Korea as an infantry officer in 2000. Army Service Ribbon – for completing training as an officer. Army Overseas Service Ribbon – for having served abroad.

Below (left): Ranger tab –  meaning he completed the tough 61-day Ranger School course in small-unit infantry fighting.

Below (right): Parachutist wings: Is qualified to go into action in airborne operations.

Badge of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Vindman works for the Joint Chiefs in the National Security Council.

On the right of his uniform, Vindman wears decorations awarded to units he has served in:

First row of ribbons: Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Equivalent to the Defense Superior Service Medal for an individual.

Second row of ribbons (from left): Valorous Unit Award. Equivalent to the Silver Star for an individual. 

Navy Unit Commendation – suggests that he was attached to a Navy unit during his career. 

Unknown. 

Commander in Chief

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 1

Teacher’s Companion Lesson (PDF)

Few constitutional issues have been so consistently and heatedly debated by legal scholars and politicians in recent years as the distribution of war powers between Congress and the President. As a matter of history and policy, it is generally accepted that the executive takes the lead in the actual conduct of war. After all, a single, energetic actor is better able to prosecute war successfully than a committee; the enemy will not wait for deliberation and consensus. At the same time, the Founders plainly intended to establish congressional checks on the executive’s war power. Between these guideposts is a question of considerable importance: Does the Constitution require the President to obtain specific authorization from Congress before initiating hostilities?

Article II, Section 1, Clause 1, vests the entirety of the “executive Power” in a single person, the President of the United States. By contrast, under Article I Congress enjoys only those legislative powers “herein granted.” Scholars generally agree that this vesting of executive power confers upon the President broad authority to engage in foreign relations, including war, except in those areas in which the Constitution places authority in Congress. The debate, then, is over the extent of Congress’s constitutional authority to check the President in matters of war.

Article II, Section 2, expressly designates the President as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Presidential power advocates argue that this provision confers substantive constitutional power upon the executive branch to engage military forces in hostilities. The executives throughout British history as well as in the colonial governments and several of the states prior to the Constitution generally enjoyed such power. In contrast, the Articles of Confederation did not provide for a separate executive branch and thus gave “the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war” to Congress.

The presumption of presidential initiative in war established by these two provisions of Article II appears to be bolstered by other constitutional provisions. Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, expressly prohibits states from “engag[ing] in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay” unless they have obtained the “Consent of Congress.” By contrast, no such limitation on engagement in war by the President can be found in Article II. Although Article II expressly authorizes the President to engage in other foreign relations powers (such as the making of treaties and the appointment of ambassadors) only with the consent of Congress, it imposes no such check with respect to the use of military force.

The lack of an express consent requirement for executive initiation of hostilities is particularly meaningful in light of preconstitutional American practice. America’s earliest years were haunted by fear of executive tyranny, following the recent experience of living under British rule, and that fear was reflected in several of the legal charters preceding the United States Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States could not “engage in any war” absent the consent of nine states. The constitution of South Carolina expressly provided that the state’s executive could neither “commence war” nor “conclude peace” without legislative approval. Other states limited executive war power differently through a variety of structural limitations, such as frequent election, term limits, and selection of the executive by the legislature. In one extreme example, Pennsylvania replaced its single governor with a twelve-person executive council. Problems arising out of weak executive authority soon brought about a reversal in the trend, however. New York established a strong executive, vested with the authority of commander in chief and free of term limits or consent requirements, and Massachusetts and New Hampshire soon followed suit. The text of the Constitution suggests a continuation of, rather than a departure from, this newer trend of enhancing executive authority.

Any power to initiate hostilities would be useless, of course, without the resources necessary to engage in hostilities. Under our Constitution, the power to provide those resources is unequivocally vested with Congress. Under Article I, it is Congress, not the President, that has the power to “lay and collect Taxes” and to “borrow Money,” to make “Appropriations” and “provide for the common Defence,” to “raise and support Armies” and “provide and maintain a Navy,” and to “call[] forth the Militia.” Thus the President may be Commander in Chief, but he has nothing to command except what Congress may provide. As a result of Congress’s authority over the purse, the President is unable as a practical (if not constitutional) matter to engage in hostilities without Congress.

Based on these provisions of the Constitution, some originalist scholars have concluded that Congress’s war power is limited to its control over funding and its power to impeach executive officers. They contend that the President is constitutionally empowered to engage in hostilities with whatever resources Congress has made available to the executive.

Advocates of stronger congressional war power, by contrast, contend that Congress not only has the power to deprive the executive of military resources, but also to control the President’s authority to initiate hostilities. They typically locate the textual hook for their argument in Article I, Section 8, which vests the powers to “declare War” and to “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal” in Congress, not the President. Congressionalists argue that these two powers exhaust the entire range of possible hostilities and that their vesting in Congress must mean that the President cannot initiate hostilities without prior congressional authorization.

Presidentialists contend that the power to “declare War” is only a power to alter international legal relationships. In their view, placing the power to declare war in Congress does not affect the President’s domestic constitutional authority to engage in hostilities. Notably, Article I provides that states may not, “without the Consent of Congress,…engage in War,” and Article III defines treason as “levyingWar” against the United States—suggesting that the power to “declare War” is a lesser power that does not include the ability to control the actual initiation and conduct of war. Presidentialists also argue that the Marque and Reprisal Clause vests Congress only with the power to authorize private citizens to engage in hostilities for private, commercial gain.

A final textual clue should be noted. Congressionalists generally contend that, although the President may not initiate hostilities, the Declaration of War Clause leaves the President with the authority as Commander in Chief to repel invasions without prior congressional approval. According to his own notes of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison successfully moved to replace the phrase “make” war with “declare” war, “leaving to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks.” Congressionalists read this power to repel attacks as exhaustive, rather than merely illustrative, of presidential authority. On the other hand, Article I expressly provides that states generally may not engage in war without congressional consent “unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay”; there is no such language, by contrast, governing the President. In addition, Article I vests authority with Congress to “call[] forth the Militia to…suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”

In summary, the argument for executive initiative rests on the background understanding that the vesting of “executive Power” and the “Commander in Chief” designation together constitute a substantive grant of authority to the President to conduct military operations. The argument also rests on the absence of explicit provision for congressional incursion into that power, other than through its express powers over funding and impeachment. Under this view, the contrary position—that congressional consent is required before the initiation of hostilities—suffers from a lack of strong textual support.

Accordingly, congressionalist scholars frequently turn to other authorities. First, they cite statements from various Founders, both before and after the Framing period, in support of broader congressional power. For example, they frequently quote James Wilson, who had urged limits on presidential power during the Constitutional Convention, and who argued during the Pennsylvania ratifying convention that “[t]his system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large: this declaration must be made with the concurrence of the House of Representatives: from this circumstance we may draw a certain conclusion that nothing but our national interest can draw us into a war.”

Presidentialists respond that Wilson’s statement must be placed in context. They claim that Wilson was simply responding to concerns that exercise of the treaty power alone could start a war. They further note that nowhere in Wilson’s reference to declarations of war did he ever deny the President’s authority to initiate hostilities without a declaration.

Presidentialists also focus attention on the ratification debates in the battleground state of Virginia, where Anti-Federalists launched a feverish campaign against, among other things, excessive executive power to wage war. Notably, the Federalist effort to ease concerns rested largely on congressional control of the purse—not the Declaration of War Clause. Presidentialists also cite James Madison’s statement that “the sword is in the hands of the British King. The purse in the hands of the Parliament. It is so in America, as far as any analogy can exist.”

Congressionalists and presidentialists also disagree about the proper interpretation of numerous post-ratification statements by Founders and later prominent American figures, as well as early American practice under the Constitution. For example, congressionalists cite the limited, defensive-oriented approach taken by President Thomas Jefferson during the Tripolitan War (1801–1805) and by others in the nation’s earliest hostilities. Presidentialists respond by noting Alexander Hamilton’s sharp criticisms of Jefferson as well as the broader theory of presidential power urged by Jefferson himself when he was Secretary of State. More generally, presidentialists note that, out of only five declarations of war in our nation’s history, the first did not take place until the War of 1812. Presidentialists also contend that early Congresses exerted significant control over hostilities not by refusing to exercise its powers under the Declaration of War Clause, but by denying the President a large, peacetime, standing military force through its control of the purse. In their view, early references to presidential subservience to Congress merely reflected Congress’s ability to deny funding to presidential initiatives, and little else. Finally, presidentialists generally criticize the usefulness of post-ratification statements as little more than the self-interested assertions of politicians caught in the heat of partisan conflict, and not as good faith endeavors to ascertain original meaning.

The modern debate over the allocation of war powers between Congress and the President was triggered largely by the establishment of a large United States peacetime military force in the wake of World War II.

United States intervention in Korea in 1950 began with congressional support but without a formal declaration of war. When the war stalemated, executive power was challenged. President Harry S. Truman responded by claiming independent constitutional authority to commit troops without congressional authorization. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon undertook military operations of breathtaking breadth in Vietnam, armed with only the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Congressional criticism of that protracted campaign led not only to funding restrictions, but also to the 1973 enactment of the War Powers Resolution, over President Nixon’s veto. The Resolution substantially limits the President’s ability to engage U.S. forces in hostilities for more than sixty days, absent a declaration of war or specific congressional authorization, and requires the President to consult with Congress about military deployments.

The War Powers Resolution has proven largely impotent in practice. President James Earl Carter did not consult with Congress before attempting to rescue Iranian hostages. President Ronald Reagan refused formal compliance (instead claiming “consistency”) with the terms of the Resolution when he deployed American military forces in Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, and the Persian Gulf. Before Desert Storm, President George H.W. Bush publicly declared that he had constitutional power to initiate war unilaterally. Congress responded by authorizing him to use force. President William Jefferson Clinton followed these precedents in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, the Middle East, and Kosovo.

Members of Congress have periodically filed suit to enforce the War Powers Resolution and the congressionalist interpretation of the Declaration of War Clause, but courts have generally avoided ruling on the merits by dismissing such cases on a variety of procedural grounds. In Campbell v. Clinton (2000), for example, the D.C. Circuit unanimously dismissed a congressional challenge to President Clinton’s airstrikes campaign in the former Yugoslavia, albeit under a panoply of competing theories arising out of the legislative standing, mootness, and political question doctrines. In O’Connor v. United States (2003), the court dismissed a challenge to President George W. Bush’s intention behind the war in Iraq because it posed a nonjusticiable political question and “there are no judicially discoverable standards that would permit a court to determine whether the intentions of the President in prosecuting a war are proper.”

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John Yoo

Executive Order 12333

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Executive Order 12333 was signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 4, 1981.

Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was an Executive Order intended to extend powers and responsibilities of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S. federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information.[1] This executive order was titled United States Intelligence Activities.

It was amended by Executive Order 13355: Strengthened Management of the Intelligence Community, on August 27, 2004. On July 30, 2008, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13470[2] amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).[3][4]

Part 1[edit]

“Goals, Direction, Duties and Responsibilities with Respect to the National Intelligence Effort” lays out roles for various intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Treasury.

Part 2[edit]

“Conduct of Intelligence Activities” provides guidelines for actions of intelligence agencies.

Collection of Information[edit]

Part 2.3 permits collection, retention and dissemination of the following types of information along with several others.

(c) Information obtained in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, international narcotics or international terrorism investigation

. . .

(i) Incidentally obtained information that may indicate involvement in activities that may violate federal, state, local or foreign laws[1]

Proscription on assassination[edit]

Part 2.11 of this executive order reiterates a proscription on US intelligence agencies sponsoring or carrying out an assassination. It reads:[5]

No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

Previously, EO 11905 (Gerald Ford) had banned political assassinations and EO 12036 (Jimmy Carter) had further banned indirect U.S. involvement in assassinations.[6] As early as 1998, this proscription against assassination was reinterpreted, and relaxed, for targets who are classified by the United States as connected to terrorism.[7][8]

Impact[edit]

Executive Order 12333 has been regarded by the American intelligence community as a fundamental document authorizing the expansion of data collection activities.[9] The document has been employed by the National Security Agency as legal authorization for its collection of unencrypted information flowing through the data centers of internet communications giants Google and Yahoo!.[9]

In July 2014 chairman David Medine and two other members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government oversight agency, indicated a desire to review Executive Order 12333 in the near future, according to a report by journalist Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian.[9]

In July 2014, former State Department official John Tye published an editorial in The Washington Post, citing his prior access to classified material on intelligence-gathering activities under Executive Order 12333, and arguing that the order represented a significant threat to Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.[10]

In the movie Get Smart, Agent 23 tells Maxwell Smart,”assassinations are prohibited by Executive Order 1-2-333.”

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b Ronald Reagan, “Executive Order 12333—United States Intelligence Activities,” US Federal Register, Dec. 4, 1981.
  2. ^ “Executive Order 13470”. Fas.org. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  3. ^ “Bush Orders Intelligence Overhaul”, by Associated Press, July 31, 2008
  4. ^ Executive Order: Further Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence ActivitiesWhite House, July 31, 2008
  5. ^ “Executive Orders”. Archives.gov. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  6. ^ CRS Report for Congress Assassination Ban and E.O. 12333: A Brief Summary January 4, 2002
  7. ^ Walter Pincus (February 15, 1998). “Saddam Hussein’s Death Is a Goal, Says Ex-CIA Chief”The Washington Post. p. A36. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  8. ^ Barton Gellman (October 21, 2001). “CIA Weighs ‘Targeted Killing’ Missions: Administration Believes Restraints Do Not Bar Singling Out Individual Terrorists”The Washington Post. p. A01. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  9. Jump up to:a b c Spencer Ackerman, “NSA Reformers Dismayed after Privacy Board Vindicates Surveillance Dragnet: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Endorses Agency’s So-called ‘702’ Powers, Plus Backdoor Searches of Americans’ Information”, ‘The Guardian (London), July 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (August 20, 2014). “Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower”Ars Technica.

Further reading[edit]

Full text

External links[edit]

Story 2: Democrat New Procedures Resolution on Impeachment Inquiry of Trump — Losing American People — Videos

Rep. Doug Collins calls upcoming Trump impeachment vote a ‘sham’

Rep. Jim Jordan: House impeachment vote won’t change anything

Mike DeBonis

House Democrats unveiled new procedures for the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Tuesday, responding to Republican demands for due process by setting out rules for future public hearings delving into whether Trump should be removed from office.

The resolution backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hands the lead role to the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who would have broad latitude to organize extended questioning of potential public witnesses. Two other committees that have so far participated in the closed-door investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform — would not be permitted to directly participate in the open proceedings under the legislation.

It also sets out for the first time the ability of House Republicans to make their own requests for testimony and documents, though those requests will be subject to a vote of the Democratic-majority committee — a practice that matches the minority powers in the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure Thursday, according to Democratic aides who were not authorized to comment publicly. The House Rules Committee will debate and potentially amend the measure at a panel meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Tuesday the resolution “outlines the next steps in this inquiry, including establishing the procedure for public-facing hearings conducted by the Intelligence Committee and the process for transferring evidence to the Judiciary Committee once they are completed.”

“The president’s Republican allies in Congress have tried to hide the president’s conduct, but the American people will now see the facts firsthand,” he said.

Speaking ahead of the resolution’s release Tuesday, House Republican leaders blasted the Democratic tactics, arguing that the impeachment process was fatally flawed from the beginning and cannot be redeemed with the adoption of new procedures.

“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “Due process starts from the beginning.”

By confining the public hearings to the Intelligence Committee and excluding the other two panels that have participated in the closed-door interviews, Democrats are in effect sidelining several of the GOP’s most aggressive and outspoken defenders of Trump. They include Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Mark Meadows (N.C.), who serve on the Oversight panel, as well as Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who have led the public pushback to the Democratic impeachment effort in the House.

Jordan said Tuesday that Democrats were “trying to put a ribbon on an already terrible process.”

“It’s complete garbage,” he said. “They can’t undo what they’ve done thus far. All the abuse of due process, all of the unfairness — they can try to dress it up, have a fancy resolution on the floor. But it does nothing. It’s still a sham process.”

Pelosi announced plans to vote on the resolution in a letter to Democratic members Monday, and, according to three House aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions, she kept a tight leash on the process of drafting the measure — excluding the rank and file and even other Democratic leaders.

Addressing reporters Tuesday morning, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said he had not yet scheduled a vote on the resolution — contradicting Pelosi, who pledged to hold one this week.

“I have not read it yet; the members have not read it yet,” Hoyer said, showing some frustration at a meeting with reporters. “We’re going to have to consider whether or not it’s ready to go on Thursday. I hope that is the case.”

Committee Chairman Adam Schiff(D-Calif.) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct. 8.© Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post Committee Chairman Adam Schiff(D-Calif.) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct. 8.The resolution was released hours later, and Democrats quickly fell in line — including some of those who might be sidelined by Pelosi’s decision to have Schiff and the Intelligence Committee take the lead.

“Nobody is looking for their five minutes of glory,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary and Oversight panels. “We’re looking for an impeachment process that has serious integrity.”

Besides setting out procedures for public hearings in the Intelligence Committee, the resolution would also authorize that panel and four other committees investigating Trump to publicly release interview transcripts and transfer their investigative materials to the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to draft articles of impeachment based on the other panels’ findings.

The Judiciary Committee would also have the power to hold public hearings under similar procedures to those given to the Intelligence Committee.

Under the resolution, both panels could engage in extended questioning of witnesses in rounds of up to 45 minutes, alternating between the two parties, before beginning the traditional five-minute rounds extended to panel members under existing rules. Both lawmakers and staff would be authorized to question witnesses.

Republicans have raised questions about Trump’s right to be personally represented by attorneys during the impeachment proceedings, noting that Clinton had lawyers present during the House’s consideration of articles in 1998. Responding to those concerns, the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued a three-page summary of procedural safeguards for the president.

They include the right of the president or his counsel to recommend additional testimony or evidence for the committee’s review, to attend all hearings and question any witnesses who testify, and generally to respond to the allegations against him “orally or in writing as shall be determined by the chair.”

But Democrats included a significant caveat: Should Trump “unlawfully refuse” to comply with subpoenas issued by the investigating committees, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) would “have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies” — including the denial of Trump’s requests to call or question witnesses.

Democratic leaders have been careful not to characterize the measure as authorizing the impeachment inquiry, something they say has been underway already for weeks without a House vote.

“We have an inquiry looking at whether articles of impeachment are justified by the facts,” Hoyer said. “We’ve been doing that. We are doing it. We’re going to continue to do it. This is about process as to when we move to out of the investigatory phase, which we’ve been in, into a phase where we have public hearings. That’s what it is. No more. No less.”

Several Democrats said Tuesday they believed the vote would undermine Republicans, who for weeks have raised objections to the process Democrats have undertaken and have called for a formal vote on launching impeachment proceedings.

“The message this week is going to be: You asked for it, you got it,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.).

Several members who attended a caucus meeting held at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday morning said they were ready to vote to formalize the next step in the impeachment investigation — including some in swing districts where the vote could be a political liability.

“I have no qualms about taking a vote,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a freshman running in a district Trump won by seven points in 2016. “We’ve been clearly in an impeachment inquiry, and laying out the plans for the next step, I think, is a helpful thing to do for the American people to understand the parameters of the public hearings.”

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a veteran lawmaker whose district voted for Trump by five points, also said he planned to support the measure: “We fully support a thorough investigation, and we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing.”

But at least one Democrat has said he planned to vote no, citing the upcoming presidential election.

“It’s not that I’m friends with the president. It’s not that I believe he should be protected. I don’t mind if he’s investigated,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.). “But what’s going to happen in my mind, it’s going to happen here in the House; it will go over to the Senate, and then he will believe that he has been exonerated. He will still be the president, and he will still be the candidate — a candidate who has been exonerated by the Senate.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/democrats-unveil-procedures-for-trumps-impeachment-inquiry-rebutting-gop-attacks/ar-AAJy7it

Story 3: Imperial Presidency of Donald J. Trump — Beyond The Rule of Law — Videos

See the source image

What is IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY? What does IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY mean? IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY meaning

Is expanding presidential power inherently bad for democracy?

The imperial presidency in the age of Trump | LIVE STREAM

Andrew Jackson: The First Imperial President

 

Trump Attorneys Assert Immunity From Broad Sweep of Law

Legal filings and lawyers’ statements show attempt to put president beyond legal reach while in office

President Trump and his attorneys argue he is outside the purview of lawsuits, judicial orders, criminal investigations and congressional probes. PHOTO: JIM BOURG/REUTERS

WASHINGTON—Over his nearly three years in office, lawyers representing President Trump have made numerous legal arguments that, taken as a whole, would give the president sweeping immunity—even if he were to commit murder.

An extensive review of correspondence, court documents, legal opinions and public statements from lawyers representing Mr. Trump shows the president’s attorneys have consistently pushed to put him beyond the reach of any other institution in federal, state or local government—immune to civil lawsuits, judicial orders, criminal investigations or congressional probes.

Those arguments have become even more aggressive as Mr. Trump faces numerous legal threats, including a possible impeachment in Congress, a New York state prosecutor who has subpoenaed his tax records as part of a criminal probe and a welter of civil lawsuits.

One lawyer for the president recently even suggested that Mr. Trump could shoot someone on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and not be investigated by local authorities, echoing a statement the president made during his 2016 campaign in which he said he wouldn’t lose any voters over such an action.

A longstanding Justice Department legal opinion says a president can’t be federally prosecuted while in office, but says nothing about being investigated, and in any case doesn’t apply to state and local efforts to enforce their own laws. Mr. Trump’s lawyers say he is beyond any such actions.

“This administration has articulated a view of presidential power in which the president is above the law,” said Erica Newland, who served in the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel during both the Obama and Trump administrations.

PRESIDENTIAL POWER

Some positions that lawyers representing Mr. Trump, the White House or the Department of Justice have argued since January 2017 in court or in other legal documents:

Lawyers representing the president either in his personal or institutional capacity have argued that law enforcement can’t investigate the president at all; that he can shut down investigations into himself or his associates; and that obstruction-of-justice laws don’t apply to the president. (Nobody argues that presidents aren’t subject to all laws once they are out of office.)

At the same time, since Democrats took over Congress in January, Mr. Trump’s government and personal lawyers have fought numerous legal battles over congressional oversight—arguing that close aides don’t have to testify even if subpoenaed, that all congressional investigations must serve a “legislative purpose,” that cabinet secretaries can disobey subpoenas and that a congressional impeachment inquiry is invalid.

Further, they have argued that federal courts can’t transmit evidence of presidential wrongdoing obtained by a grand jury to Congress for possible consideration of impeachment. In some instances, Trump administration attorneys have contended that courts have no right to stop the president from taking official actions.

Some of the claims are contradictory: Mr. Trump’s personal attorneys have argued he can be held accountable only by Congress, while his White House lawyers fought efforts to hold him accountable in Congress.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Should the president be able to end Justice Department investigations into himself? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

The White House, the Justice Department and an attorney representing Mr. Trump personally didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

To some extent, Mr. Trump’s lawyers are just doing their job: taking aggressive, legal positions in the best interests of the client, and hoping for the best. Lawyers for previous presidents have made similarly aggressive claims about powers and immunities to defend the president personally or the long-term authority of the office.

But scholars of presidential power say what is different about the Trump administration is its unwillingness to acknowledge the legitimacy and interests of other institutions.

“Mr. Trump has taken the position that the [Constitution’s] Article II powers of the president give him absolute authority. What makes his case different is that he is not even recognizing the legitimacy of countervailing powers” such as Congress, said Mark Rozell, a dean at George Mason University. “He is deeming them as politically motivated and not legitimate in their inquiries and therefore to be obstructed at every turn.”

Executive Privilege: What Are the Limits?

Executive Privilege: What Are the Limits?
Executive privilege refers to the president’s right to keep certain things confidential. But how far can it be stretched? WSJ’s Shelby Holliday looks at past uses of executive privilege and explains how it could factor into the impeachment inquiry. Photo: Getty

The issue gets even more complicated in investigations like impeachment because overlapping legal teams are defending the president in both his capacity as an individual and his capacity as the president.

Government lawyers are supposed to defend the president’s institutional powers—not his or her personal interests.

The Justice Department, the White House counsel and Mr. Trump’s personal legal team are defending the president on a cornucopia of lawsuits around the country.

John Yoo, a former Bush administration official known for supporting expansive presidential power, said many of the most extreme legal positions taken by the Trump lawyers have come from his personal attorneys trying to defend him by invoking the powers of the presidency, while those taken by the government’s lawyers are in line with previous practices.

“When it comes to where he’s making the arguments on behalf of the office of the presidency, in his official capacity, I think he’s gone just as far as other presidents have,” Mr. Yoo said. “In the areas where the president has been defending himself as an individual rather than the office, he has made arguments that have gone beyond what past presidents have set out.”

Mr. Yoo added: “I think that Trump has been under unprecedented assault—constitutionally, legally—from his critics too. I can see why his lawyers are bringing out these arguments which are usually reserved for times of real crisis.”

Mr. Trump isn’t the first to provoke a legal showdown over his powers and immunities. But rarely did the attorneys representing other presidents deny that other institutions also had legitimate interests.

Richard Nixon sparked a major legal battle over his refusal to turn over tapes of Oval Office conversations to prosecutors and Congress. But he also offered numerous compromises, such as turning over transcripts, because he and his attorneys recognized that Congress and prosecutors had legitimate interests in accessing the materials as part of their inquiries.

During a yearslong independent counsel investigation and later impeachment, President Bill Clinton also fought legal battles over his privileges and immunities, but frequently argued before courts that they needed to balance the interests of the presidency against those of Congress or law enforcement. Mr. Clinton, for instance, agreed to testify before a grand jury in exchange for independent prosecutor Ken Starr dropping a subpoena.

President George W. Bush fought back against a congressional investigation to keep his top aides from testifying about the firing of federal prosecutors for what critics said were political reasons, but allowed voluntary interviews and turned over documents to Congress.

Few of those legal positions have ever been blessed by courts.

Earlier this month, Justice Department lawyers argued that a court couldn’t give Congress evidence that was gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller if it was obtained using a grand jury—going so far as to say that a federal judge was wrong in 1974 to give Congress materials from the grand jury investigating the Watergate break-in.

“Wow, OK,” U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell said in response to that argument. “The department is taking extraordinary positions in this case.”

She ruled against the Justice Department last week, writing that her decision was motivated in part by the White House’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators.

The administration said Monday it would appeal.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-attorneys-assert-immunity-from-broad-sweep-of-law-11572346801

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1328, September 26, 2019, Story 1: Partisan CIA “Whistle-blower” Betrays President Trump with Allegations Based on Secondhand Hearsay — This Is Not Covered Under Intelligence Whistle-blower Law — Democrat Organized Smear Campaign and Coup Against Trump Falling Apart! — Videos — Story 2:  Unbelievable Adam Schiff: Pathological Prevaricator Pervert Parody of Whistle-blower Blow Job Does Not Come Out As Expected — Videos –

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Story 1: Partisan CIA “Whistle-blower” Betrays President Trump with Allegations Based on Secondhand Hearsay — This Is Not Covered Under Intelligence Whistle-blower Law — Democrat Organized Smear Campaign and Coup Against Trump Falling Apart! — Videos —

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UNCLASSIFIED

August 12, 2019

The Honorable Richard Burr
Chairman
Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Senate
The Honorable Adam Schiff
Chairman
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States House of Representatives

Dear Chairman Burr and Chairman Schiff:

I am reporting an “urgent concern” in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is UNCLASSIFIED when separated from the attachment.

In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. 1This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals. The President’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.

  • Over the past four months, more than half a dozen U.S. officials have informed me of various facts related to this effort. The information provided herein was relayed to me in the course of official interagency business. It is routine for U.S. officials with responsibility for a particular regional or functional portfolio to share such information with one another in order to inform policymaking and analysis.
  • I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.

I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order” that “does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters,” consistent with the definition of an “urgent concern” in 50 U.S.C. §3033(k)(5)(G). I am therefore fulfilling my duty to report this information, through proper legal channels, to the relevant authorities.

  • I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.

1
UNCLASSIFIED

The Whistle-Blower Complaint: Page 1

  • 1 In the complaint, the whistle-blower said he had heard from other officials that Mr. Trump, in his July 25 call, urged the Ukrainian president to work with Attorney General William P. Barr in investigating the Bidens.

UNCLASSIFIED

To the best of my knowledge, the entirety of this statement is unclassified when separated from the classified enclosure. I have endeavored to apply the classification standards outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13526 and to separate out information that I know or have reason to believe is classified for national security purposes.1

  • If a classification marking is applied retroactively, I believe it is incumbent upon the classifying authority to explain why such a marking was applied, and to which specific information it pertains.

I. The 25 July Presidential phone call

Early in the morning of 25 July, the President spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. I do not know which side initiated the call. This was the first publicly acknowledged call between the two leaders since a brief congratulatory call after Mr. Zelenskyy won the presidency on 21 April.

Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:

  • initiate or continue an investigation2 into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;
  • assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstrike,3 which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’s networks in 2016; and
  • meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem.

1 Apart from the information in the Enclosure, it is my belief that none of the information contained herein meets the definition of “classified information” outlined in EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.1. There is ample open-source information about the efforts I describe below, including statements by the President and Mr. Giuliani. In addition, based on my personal observations, there is discretion with respect to the classification of private comments by or instructions from the President, including his communications with foreign leaders; information that is not related to U.S. foreign policy or national security—such as the information contained in this document, when separated from the Enclosure—is generally treated as unclassified. I also believe that applying a classification marking to this information would violate EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.7, which states: “In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; [or] (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”

2 It is unclear whether such a Ukrainian investigation exists. See Footnote #7 for additional information.

3 I do not know why the President associates these servers with Ukraine. (See, for example, his comments to Fox News on 20 July: “And Ukraine. Take a look at Ukraine. How come the FBI didn’t take this server? Podesta told them to get out. He said, get out. So, how come the FBI didn’t take the server from the DNC?”)

2
UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

The President also praised Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Mr. Yuriy Lutsenko, and suggested that Mr. Zelenskyy might want to keep him in his position. (Note: Starting in March 2019, Mr. Lutsenko made a series of public allegations—many of which he later walked back—about the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials’ purported involvement in the 2016 U.S. election, and the activities of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. See Part IV for additional context.)

The White House officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call.2 They told me that there was already a “discussion ongoing” with White House lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood, in the officials’ retelling, that they had witnessed the President abuse his office for personal gain.

The Ukrainian side was the first to publicly acknowledge the phone call. On the evening of 25 July, a readout was posted on the website of the Ukrainian President that contained the following line (translation from original Russian-language readout):

  • “Donald Trump expressed his conviction that the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve Ukraine’s image and complete the investigation of corruption cases that have held back cooperation between Ukraine and the United States.”

Aside from the above-mentioned “cases” purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 U.S. election, I was told by White House officials that no other “cases” were discussed.

Based on my understanding, there were approximately a dozen White House officials who listened to the call — a mixture of policy officials and duty officers in the White House Situation Room, as is customary. The officials I spoke with told me that participation in the call had not been restricted in advance because everyone expected it would be a “routine” call with a foreign leader. I do not know whether anyone was physically present with the President during the call.

  • In addition to White House personnel, I was told that a State Department official, Mr. T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, also listened in on the call.
  • I was not the only non-White House official to receive a readout of the call. Based on my understanding, multiple State Department and Intelligence Community officials were also briefed on the contents of the call as outlined above.

II. Efforts to restrict access to records related to the call

In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple U.S. officials that senior White House officials had intervened to “lock down” all records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced—as is customary—by the White House Situation Room.3 This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.

  • White House officials told me that they were “directed” by White House lawyers to remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored for coordination, finalization, and distribution to Cabinet-level officials.

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  • 2 In a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, Mr. Trump brought up American aid to that country — without explicitly mentioning that he had just frozen a military aid package of hundreds of millions of dollars — and then pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate Mr. Biden. White House officials believed they had witnessed Trump abuse his power for personal political gain.
  • 3 The whistle-blower writes that White House lawyers “directed” White House officials to remove records of the July 25 call from the system where such documents are normally stored and place it instead in a system for storing highly classified information, like files related to covert actions, even though it did not meet the criteria, in order to limit the number of officials who could see it.

UNCLASSIFIED

  • Instead, the transcript was loaded into a separate electronic system that is otherwise used to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature. One White House official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.

I do not know whether similar measures were taken to restrict access to other records of the call, such as contemporaneous handwritten notes taken by those who listened in.

III. Ongoing concerns

On 26 July, a day after the call, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker visited Kyiv and met with President Zelenskyy and a variety of Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various U.S. officials, Ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to “navigate” the demands that the President had made of Mr. Zelenskyy.

I also learned from multiple U.S. officials that, on or about 2 August, Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Madrid to meet with one of President Zelenskyy’s advisers, Andriy Yermak. The U.S. officials characterized this meeting, which was not reported publicly at the time, as a “direct follow-up” to the President’s call with Mr. Zelenskyy about the “cases” they had discussed.

  • Separately, multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelenskyy advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.4
  • I do not know whether those officials met or spoke with Mr. Giuliani, but I was told separately by multiple U.S. officials that Mr. Yermak and Mr. Bakanov intended to travel to Washington in mid-August.

On 9 August, the President told reporters: “I think [President Zelenskyy] is going to make a deal with President Putin, and he will be invited to the White House. And we look forward to seeing him. He’s already been invited to the White House, and he wants to come. And I think he will. He’s a very reasonable guy. He wants to see peace in Ukraine, and I think he will be coming very soon, actually.”

IV. Circumstances leading up to the 25 July Presidential phone call

Beginning in late March 2019, a series of articles appeared in an online publication called The Hill. In these articles, several Ukrainian officials — most notably, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko — made a series of allegations against other Ukrainian officials and current and former U.S. officials. Mr. Lutsenko and his colleagues alleged, inter alia:

4 In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019, and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelenskyy adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir.

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  • that they possessed evidence that Ukrainian officials — namely, Head of the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine Artem Sytnyk and Member of Parliament Serhiy Leshchenko — had “interfered” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, allegedly in collaboration with the DNC and the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv5;
  • that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv — specifically, U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s organization for its poor record on fighting corruption — had allegedly obstructed Ukrainian law enforcement agencies’ pursuit of corruption cases, including by providing a “do not prosecute” list, and had blocked Ukrainian prosecutors from traveling to the United States expressly to prevent them from delivering their “evidence” about the 2016 U.S. election;6 and
  • that former Vice President Biden had pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in 2016 to fire then Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in order to quash a purported criminal probe into Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the former Vice President’s son, Hunter, sat.7

In several public comments,8 Mr. Lutsenko also stated that he wished to communicate directly with Attorney General Barr on these matters.9

The allegations by Mr. Lutsenko came on the eve of the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on 31 March. By that time, Mr. Lutsenko’s political patron, President Poroshenko, was trailing Mr. Zelenskyy in the polls and appeared likely to be defeated. Mr. Zelenskyy had made known his desire to replace Mr. Lutsenko as Prosecutor General.4 On 21 April, Mr. Poroshenko lost the runoff to Mr. Zelenskyy by a landslide. See Enclosure for additional information.

5 Mr. Sytnyk and Mr. Leshchenko are two of Mr. Lutsenko’s main domestic rivals. Mr. Lutsenko has no legal training and has been widely criticized in Ukraine for politicizing criminal probes and using his tenure as Prosecutor General to protect corrupt Ukrainian officials. He has publicly feuded with Mr. Sytnyk, who heads Ukraine’s only competent anticorruption body, and with Mr. Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist who has repeatedly criticized Mr. Lutsenko’s record. In December 2018, a Ukrainian court upheld a complaint by a Member of Parliament, Mr. Boryslav Rozenblat, who alleged that Mr. Sytnyk and Mr. Leshchenko had “interfered” in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing a document detailing corrupt payments made by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych before his ouster in 2014. Mr. Rozenblat had originally filed the motion in late 2017 after attempting to flee Ukraine amid an investigation into his taking of a large bribe. On 16 July 2019, Mr. Leshchenko publicly stated that a Ukrainian court had overturned the lower court’s decision.

6 Mr. Lutsenko later told Ukrainian news outlet The Babel on 17 April that Ambassador Yovanovitch had never provided such a list, and that he was, in fact, the one who requested such a list.

7 Mr. Lutsenko later told Bloomberg on 16 May that former Vice President Biden and his son were not subject to any current Ukrainian investigations, and that he had no evidence against them. Other senior Ukrainian officials also contested his original allegations; one former senior Ukrainian prosecutor told Bloomberg on 7 May that Mr. Shokin in fact was not investigating Burisma at the time of his removal in 2016.

8 See, for example, Mr. Lutsenko’s comments to The Hill on 1 and 7 April and his interview with The Babel on 17 April, in which he stated that he had spoken with Mr. Giuliani about arranging contact with Attorney General Barr.

9 In May, Attorney General Barr announced that he was initiating a probe into the “origins” of the Russia investigation. According to the above-referenced OCCRP report (22 July), two associates of Mr. Giuliani claimed to be working with Ukrainian officials to uncover information that would become part of this inquiry. In an interview with Fox News on 8 August, Mr. Giuliani claimed that Mr. John Durham, whom Attorney General Barr designated to lead this probe, was “spending a lot of time in Europe” because he was “investigating Ukraine.” I do not know the extent to which, if at all, Mr. Giuliani is directly coordinating his efforts on Ukraine with Attorney General Barr or Mr. Durham.

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  • 4 A widely criticized Ukrainian prosecutor piqued Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Giuliani’s interest by floating allegations to The Hill — but then backtracked. In the July 25 phone call, Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Mr. Lutsenko when he told the Ukrainian president that, “I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.”

UNCLASSIFIED

  • It was also publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had met on at least two occasions with Mr. Lutsenko: once in New York in late January and again in Warsaw in mid-February. In addition, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani had spoken in late 2018 to former Prosecutor General Shokin, in a Skype call arranged by two associates of Mr. Giuliani.10
  • On 25 April in an interview with Fox News, the President called Mr. Lutsenko’s claims “big” and “incredible” and stated that the Attorney General “would want to see this.”

On or about 29 April, I learned from U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the situation that Ambassador Yovanovitch had been suddenly recalled to Washington by senior State Department officials for “consultations” and would most likely be removed from her position.

  • Around the same time, I also learned from a U.S. official that “associates” of Mr. Giuliani were trying to make contact with the incoming Zelenskyy team.11
  • On 6 May, the State Department announced that Ambassador Yovanovitch would be ending her assignment in Kyiv “as planned.”
  • However, several U.S. officials told me that, in fact, her tour was curtailed because of pressure stemming from Mr. Lutsenko’s allegations. Mr. Giuliani subsequently stated in an interview with a Ukrainian journalist published on 14 May that Ambassador Yovanovitch was “removed…because she was part of the efforts against the President.”

On 9 May, The New York Times reported that Mr. Giuliani planned to travel to Ukraine to press the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations that would help the President in his 2020 reelection bid.

  • In his multitude of public statements leading up to and in the wake of the publication of this article, Mr. Giuliani confirmed that he was focused on encouraging Ukrainian authorities to pursue investigations into alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged wrongdoing by the Biden family.12
  • On the afternoon of 10 May, the President stated in an interview with Politico that he planned to speak with Mr. Giuliani about the trip.
  • A few hours later, Mr. Giuliani publicly canceled his trip, claiming that Mr. Zelenskyy was “surrounded by enemies of the [U.S.] President…and of the United States.”

On 11 May, Mr. Lutsenko met for two hours with President-elect Zelenskyy, according to a public account given several days later by Mr. Lutsenko. Mr. Lutsenko publicly stated that he had told Mr. Zelenskyy that he wished to remain as Prosecutor General.

10 See, for example, the above-referenced articles in Bloomberg (16 May) and OCCRP (22 July).

11 I do not know whether these associates of Mr. Giuliani were the same individuals named in the 22 July report by OCCRP, referenced above.

12 See, for example, Mr. Giuliani’s appearance on Fox News on 6 April and his tweets on 23 April and 10 May. In his interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani stated that the President “basically knows what I’m doing, sure, as his lawyer.” Mr. Giuliani also stated: “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do… There’s nothing illegal about it… Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy – I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.”

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UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

Starting in mid-May, I heard from multiple U.S. officials that they were deeply concerned by what they viewed as Mr. Giuliani’s circumvention of national security decisionmaking processes to engage with Ukrainian officials and relay messages back and forth between Kyiv and the President.5 These officials also told me:

  • that State Department officials, including Ambassadors Volker and Sondland, had spoken with Mr. Giuliani in an attempt to “contain the damage” to U.S. national security; and
  • that Ambassadors Volker and Sondland during this time period met with members of the new Ukrainian administration and, in addition to discussing policy matters, sought to help Ukrainian leaders understand and respond to the differing messages they were receiving from official U.S. channels on the one hand, and from Mr. Giuliani on the other.

During this same timeframe, multiple U.S. officials told me that the Ukrainian leadership was led to believe that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani. (Note: This was the general understanding of the state of affairs as conveyed to me by U.S. officials from late May into early July. I do not know who delivered this message to the Ukrainian leadership, or when.) See Enclosure for additional information.

Shortly after President Zelenskyy’s inauguration, it was publicly reported that Mr. Giuliani met with two other Ukrainian officials: Ukraine’s Special Anticorruption Prosecutor, Mr. Nazar Kholodnytskyy, and a former Ukrainian diplomat named Andriy Telizhenko. Both Mr. Kholodnytskyy and Mr. Telizhenko are allies of Mr. Lutsenko and made similar allegations in the above-mentioned series of articles in The Hill.

On 13 June, the President told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information on his political rivals from a foreign government.

On 21 June, Mr. Giuliani tweeted: “New Pres of Ukraine still silent on investigation of Ukrainian interference in 2016 and alleged Biden bribery of Poroshenko. Time for leadership and investigate both if you want to purge how Ukraine was abused by Hillary and Clinton people.”

In mid-July, I learned of a sudden change of policy with respect to U.S. assistance for Ukraine. See Enclosure for additional information.

ENCLOSURE: Classified appendix

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  • 5 The State Department saw Mr. Giuliani’s rogue outreach to Ukraine for Trump as a threat to national security. The whistle-blower recounts the struggles by the senior United States diplomats to deal with the confusion created by the president dispatching his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to pressure Ukrainian officials to develop dirt against the Bidens, both in the run-up to the July 25 call and its aftermath.

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(U) CLASSIFIED APPENDIX

(U) Supplementary classified information is provided as follows:

(U) Additional information related to Section II

(TS/■■■■■■■■■) According to multiple White House officials I spoke with, the transcript of the President’s call with President Zelenskyy was placed into a computer system managed directly by the National Security Council (NSC) Directorate for Intelligence Programs. This is a standalone computer system reserved for codeword-level intelligence information, such as covert action. According to information I received from White House officials, some officials voiced concerns internally that this would be an abuse of the system and was not consistent with the responsibilities of the Directorate for Intelligence Programs. According to White House officials I spoke with, this was “not the first time” under this Administration that a Presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive—rather than national security sensitive—information.

(U) Additional information related to Section IV

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(S/■■■■■■■■■) I would like to expand upon two issues mentioned in Section IV that might have a connection with the overall effort to pressure the Ukrainian leadership. As I do not know definitively whether the below-mentioned decisions are connected to the broader efforts I describe, I have chosen to include them in the classified annex. If they indeed represent genuine policy deliberations and decisions formulated to advance U.S. foreign policy and national security, one might be able to make a reasonable case that the facts are classified.

  • (S/■■■■■■■■■) I learned from U.S. officials that, on or around 14 May, the President instructed Vice President Pence to cancel his planned travel to Ukraine to attend President

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  • Zelenskyy’s inauguration on 20 May; Secretary of Energy Rick Perry led the delegation instead. According to these officials, it was also “made clear” to them that the President did not want to meet with Mr. Zelenskyy until he saw how Zelenskyy “chose to act” in office. I do not know how this guidance was communicated, or by whom. I also do not know whether this action was connected with the broader understanding, described in the unclassified letter, that a meeting or phone call between the President and President Zelenskyy would depend on whether Zelenskyy showed willingness to “play ball” on the issues that had been publicly aired by Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Giuliani.
  • ( S/■■■■■■■■■) On 18 July, an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official informed Departments and Agencies that the President “earlier that month” had issued instructions to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Ukraine. Neither OMB nor the NSC staff knew why this instruction had been issued. During interagency meetings on 23 July and 26 July, OMB officials again stated explicitly that the instruction to suspend this assistance had come directly from the President, but they still were unaware of a policy rationale. As of early August, I heard from U.S. officials that some Ukrainian officials were aware that U.S. aid might be in jeopardy, but I do not know how or when they learned of it.

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Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998,[1] amending the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 and the Inspector General Act of 1978, sets forth a procedure for employees and contractors of specified federal intelligence agencies to report complaints or information to Congress about serious problems involving intelligence activities.

Under the ICWPA, an intelligence employee or contractor who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information of “urgent concern” involving an intelligence activity may report the complaint or information to their agency’s inspector general or the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG). Within a 14-day period, the IG must determine “whether the complaint or information appears credible,” and upon finding the information to be credible, thereafter transfer the information to the head of the agency. The law then requires the DNI (or the relevant agency head) to forward the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees, along with any comments he wishes to make about the complaint, within seven days. If the IG does not deem the complaint or information to be credible or does not transmit the information to the head of the agency, the employee may provide the information directly to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. However, the employee must first inform the IG of his or her intention to contact the intelligence committees directly and must follow the procedures specified in the Act.

The Act defines a matter of “urgent concern” as:[2]

  1. a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters;
  2. A false statement to Congress, or a willful withholding from Congress, on an issue of material fact relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity; or
  3. An action constituting reprisal or threat of reprisal in response to an employee’s reporting an urgent concern.

ICWPA doesn’t prohibit employment-related retaliation and it provides no mechanism, such as access to a court or administrative body, for challenging retaliation that may occur as a result of having made a disclosure.[3] In 2006 Thomas Gimble, Acting Inspector General, Department of Defense, stated before the House Committee on Government Reform that the ICWPA is a ‘misnomer‘ and that more properly the Act protects the communication of classified information to Congress.[4] According to Michael German with the Brennan Center for Justice, the ICWPA, “provides a right to report internally but no remedy when that right is infringed, which means that there is no right at all.”[3]

According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, from 1999-2009, 10 complaints/disclosures were filed under this law, four of which were found to be credible by the relevant Inspector General. In three of these ten cases the whistleblower claimed that s/he was retaliated against: two CIA cases and one DOJ case. Subsequent investigations by the CIA and DOJ failed to find evidence of retaliation in any of these cases.[3][5]

Additional protections for national security whistleblowers are provided through Presidential Policy Directive 19 and the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.[3] For more information about whistleblowers protections that apply to the intelligence community see the “national security protections” subheading under Whistleblower protection in the United States.

References

  1. ^ Title VII of Public Law No: 105-272
  2. ^ Goss, Porter J. (1998-10-20). “Text – H.R.3694 – 105th Congress (1997-1998): Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999”http://www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2019-09-20.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. Jump up to:a b c d “Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security and Free Expression” (PDF). PEN America. November 10, 2015. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 14, 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  4. ^ “Statement on National Security Whistleblower Protection” (PDF)Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  5. ^ “Letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence” (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. March 8, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2015.

 

Story 2:  Unbelievable Adam Schiff: Pathological Prevaricator Pervert Parody of Whistle-blower Blow Job Does Not Come Out As Expected — Videos —

Schiff slammed for ‘parody’ of Trump call transcript

Jeanine Pirro: Dems don’t have a case for impeachment

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full opening statement on whistleblower complaint | DNI hearing

Fmr. Intel Official: Trump Aides Could Face Criminal Exposure | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Gowdy goes after Schiff for ‘making stuff up’ at DNI hearing

Adam Schiff Makes Up His Own Version of the Trump Transcript I White House Brief

Donald Trump rages against Adam Schiff reading a parody version of his Ukraine phone call demanding he resign for ‘fraud’ – and accuses CNN of dropping the ‘hyphen’ from insulting Schiff as ‘Liddle’ Adam’

  • Donald Trump erupted on House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff for reading a ‘parody’ of the president’s call with Ukraine at a Capitol Hill hearing
  • Schiff did not characterize it as such at the time of the reading
  • Trump said that Schiff should resign from the House of Representatives  
  • Still raging against Schiff some two hours later, he said Schiff ‘totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions’
  • ‘He must resign and be investigated,’ Trump tweeted. ‘He is a sick man!’
  • The president was on the warpath against Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the ‘hyphen’ in his attack on ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff
  • ‘I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff,’ he argued in a tweet in which he misspelled ‘describing’
  • His assault immediately trended on Twitter as users pointed out that he meant to claim the network had dropped his apostrophe in the nickname not a hyphen
  • Schiff told Trump in a response tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught – caught engaging in a ‘shakedown’ and a ‘cover up’ of the call
  • ‘But you’re right about one thing — your words need no mockery. Your own words and deeds mock themselves,’ the Democratic lawmaker charged

Donald Trump erupted on House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff on Friday for reading what the congressman later described as a ‘parody’ of the president’s call with Ukraine at a Capitol Hill hearing without characterizing it as such at the time.

Trump said that Schiff should resign from his California seat in the House of Representatives.

He wrote: ‘HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!’

Still raging against Schiff some two hours later, the president claimed the Democratic congressman is deranged.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions. He must resign and be investigated. He has been doing this for two years. He is a sick man!’ he said.

The president was on the warpath against Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the ‘hyphen’ in his attack on ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff.

‘I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff,’ he argued.

The president is on the warpath against House Intel Chair Adam Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the 'hyphen' in his attack on 'Liddle' Adam Schiff.

The president is on the warpath against House Intel Chair Adam Schiff and CNN, which he accused of dropping the ‘hyphen’ in his attack on ‘Liddle’ Adam Schiff.

Trump said that Schiff should resign from his California seat in the House of Representatives

Trump said that Schiff should resign from his California seat in the House of Representatives

Schiff also told Trump in a response tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught – caught engaging in a ‘shakedown’ and a ‘cover up’ of what happened in his call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.

‘You engaged in a shakedown to get election dirt from a foreign country. And then you tried to cover it up. But you’re right about one thing — your words need no mockery. Your own words and deeds mock themselves. But most importantly here, they endanger our country,’ he stated.

Schiff angered Trump during a Thursday hearing where lawmakers pressed the acting Director of National Intelligence to explain why the administration attempted to ‘lock down’ the transcript of a call between Trump and the Ukranian president, according to a whistleblower complaint.

‘I have a favor I want from you,’ Schiff read aloud without disclosing that he was about to read from a parody of the call. ‘And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.’

Trump did ask for a favor but he did not use the phrasing in a rough transcript the White House released that Schiff went on to use as he mocked him while reading from a piece of paper that led some to believe he was sharing verified information.

‘Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty,’ the president on Friday morning charged.

He said at another point his assault on Schiff that he intentionally calls him ‘Liddle’ instead of ‘Little’ as he responded to commentary he’d apparently been watching on CNN.

‘To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!’ he stated.

Schiff told Trump in a tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught - caught engaging in a 'shakedown' and a 'cover up'

Schiff told Trump in a tweet that he that the president was the one who got caught – caught engaging in a ‘shakedown’ and a ‘cover up’

Trump zeroed in on Schiff on Thursday after the president's acting Director of National Intelligence testified at an open hearing on Capitol Hill. He's seen making a statement at a photo op where he delcined to take questions on the White House's South Lawn

Trump zeroed in on Schiff on Thursday after the president’s acting Director of National Intelligence testified at an open hearing on Capitol Hill. He’s seen making a statement at a photo op where he delcined to take questions on the White House’s South Lawn

In that tweet, he did spell a word wrong – ‘describing’ – leaving out the e and replacing it with an errant i.

He sent out corrected versions of his Schiff tweets as Twitter users ribbed him for mistakes while complaining about his coverage.

Trump zeroed in on Schiff on Thursday after the president’s acting Director of National Intelligence testified at an open hearing on Capitol Hill. The president told traveling press that he caught some of the hearing before he left his New York City penthouse.

‘We’ve done so many things that are so incredible with tax cuts and regulations. And I have to put up with Adam Schiff on a per- — on an absolutely perfect phone call to the new President of Ukraine. That was a perfect call,’ the president said on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews after landing near Washington.

The president declined to take reporters questions – he only wanted to rail against his Capitol Hill nemesis.

Trump said that Schiff should be investigating payments that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son received from a Ukrainian company while it was under investigation.

‘But Adam Schiff doesn’t talk about Joe Biden and his son walking away with millions of dollars from Ukraine, and then millions of dollars from China. Walking away — in a quick meeting, walking away with millions of dollars,’ he fumed.

‘He doesn’t talk about Joe Biden firing a prosecutor, and if that prosecutor is not fired, he’s not going to give him money from the United States of America. They don’t talk about that.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7512109/Donald-Trump-demands-Adam-Schiff-resign-fraud-revives-Liddle-attack.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1278, June 20, 2019, Part 1– Story 1: President Trump: “Iran made a very big mistake” — Option A: Strong Message and Done , Option B: One Missile Attack and Done, Option C: Total War With Iran and World Recession Due To Spike in Oil and Gas Prices — Videos — Story 2: Federal Reserve Board Votes To Keep Federal Funds Target Range of 2.25% to 2.5% Waiting For July 2019 Jobs Report and Second Quarter Real GDP Growth Rate Number — Videos — Story 3: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey Joey Biden in Praise of Civility of Democrat Segregationist Senators — Radical Extremist Democrats (REDS) Attack Biden — Videos — Part 2– Story 4: President Trump Pushes All The Right Buttons in 2020 Stump Speech in Orlando, Florida — Boom Boom Boom — Send Them Home — MAGA MAGA MAGA — Lock Them Up — Four More Years — Keep America Great — Win Win Win — Videos

Posted on June 20, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Abortion, Addiction, Addiction, Agenda 21, American History, Applications, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Canada, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, City, Climate Change, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Coal, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Consitutional Law, Corey Booker, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Diet, Disasters, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Drugs, Eating, Economics, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, Eugenics, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Genocide, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hardware, Health, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Drugs, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Legal Immigration, Life, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Lying, Media, Medicare, Medicine, Mental Illness, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, Movies, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Obesity, Oil, Oil, People, Pete Buttigieg, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Private Sector Unions, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Public Sector Unions, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Religion, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Security, Software, South Korea, Space, Spying, Spying on American People, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP_, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Tax Fraud, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, U.S. Dollar, U.S. Space Program, Unemployment, Unions, United Nations, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Space Force, United States Supreme Court, Venezuela, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Pronk Pops Show 1278 June 20, 2019 

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Story 1: President Trump: “Iran made a very big mistake” — Option A: Strong Message and Done, Option B: One Missile Attack and Done, Option C: Total War With Iran and World Recession Due To Spike in Oil and Gas Prices — Videos —

Tucker: Washington is war-hungry

Pentagon releases footage of US drone being shot down by Iran

LIVE: President Trump first comments after Iran shoots down US Drone | June 20th 2019

US is bringing the Iranian economy to its knees: Nile Gardiner

Oil prices rise after Iran shoots down US drone

40% Chance of 2020 U.S.-Iran Military Conflict: Eurasia CEO

Iran shoots down US drone as tensions escalate

Video shows Iran shooting down US drone

Iran says it shot down US drone ‘violating Iranian air space’ amid growing tensions

Iran Shot Down U.S. Drone to Disrupt Trade in Persian Gulf, Senior U.S. Military Official Says

President Trump makes first comments after Iran shoots down U.S. Drone | ABC News Special Report

Iran says it’s ‘ready for war’

Iran shoots down US military spy drone | DW News

Iran says it will breach nuclear deal ‘in days’ as its uranium stockpile limit nears

Is The U.S. Going To War With Iran? | AJ+

Iran’s foreign minister accuses US, Mideast of provoking conflict

Iran’s Zarif thrashes Trump, “US driven by pathological obsession” (Munich Security Conference 2019)

Can air strikes take out Iran’s nuclear facilities?

Did Trump Just Blink or Bluff in Standoff With Iran?

Anthony Halpin

Bloomberg

Was it all a bluff? After news leaked that President Donald Trump approved and then called off U.S. airstrikes on Iran last night, it emerged he’d warned Tehran about an imminent attack while insisting he was against a war.

Today, as airlines began re-routing flights away from the Strait of Hormuz, Iran’s Foreign Ministry called in the Swiss ambassador, who also represents U.S. interests, for talks.

Was the outreach why Trump abandoned the strikes? Or was this the latest example of the whipsaw approach from a president who’s twice attacked Syria but also backed away from using force after lashing out at Iran and North Korea?

The leak of Trump’s about-face also speaks volumes about the battle for influence in the White House. Hardliners clearly thought they’d convinced him to back a tough response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. Navy drone. Yet Trump was elected on a pledge to pull out of Middle East wars.

The president, who governs with the cliffhanger style of his Apprentice TV show, thrives on keeping supporters hooked on dramatic twists.

But as his 2020 re-election campaign gains steam, the stakes now include the prospect of armed conflict and instability in a region that supplies a third of the world’s oil.

Global Headlines

Biden’s burden | Democratic front-runner Joe Biden is encountering the same pitfalls as other seasoned politicians who’ve found their experience and record can be a liability. The former Delaware senator’s struggles to defend his remarks this week about finding common ground with two segregationists is an early sign of the trouble he could have explaining a complicated voting record and his nostalgia for a Washington collegiality that has steadily diminished since he was first elected in 1972.

Border control | Trump praised Mexico’s efforts to crack down on migrants crossing the border into the U.S. after the two countries entered an agreement aimed at stemming the flow of people entering Mexico from Central America. Mexico will take greater control of its southern border and ask foreigners to register their arrival.

Osaka drama | Before Trump, Group of 20 summits were dull if worthy affairs. This year’s gathering in Osaka, Japan next week promises to be anything but, as the U.S. president holds talks with China’s Xi Jinping after threatening to escalate their trade conflict. The best-case scenario would be a pause in new U.S. tariffs and a resumption of negotiations that broke down in May. The worst-case would be a new Cold War between the two largest economies.

Favorites flushed | European Union leaders cast aside the candidates who’ve dominated the race to head the next EU Commission and will start from scratch less than two weeks before a self-imposed deadline. The decision at a summit in Brussels extends gridlock that has left investors in the dark over a series of critical posts including the next president of the European Central Bank.

Bad air | As climate change tops political agendas from Washington to New Delhi, there’s no solution in sight for the bad air choking Europe’s poorest countries. While the EU has focused mostly on stability in the volatile Balkans, health problems and lost productivity from air pollution cost the continent more than 10 billion euros a year. Obsolete coal plants and cars spew smog and hundreds of thousands of people burn tires, wood and trash to stay warm.

What to Watch

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will go head-to-head in the contest to become the U.K.’s next prime minister as they seek votes from the Conservative Party’s 160,000 grassroots members over the next month. Ukraine’s Constitutional Court threw out a challenge to a decree by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy ordering early parliamentary elections. The ruling confirmed a vote will take place next month and a new government should be in place by the fall. Turkey reruns the election for mayor of Istanbul on Sunday, pitting former prime minister and ruling AK Party candidate Binali Yildirim against opposition challenger Ekrem Imamoglu, who was stripped of his narrow victory in the March 31 ballot.

And finally…The U.K. is poised to generate more energy from low-carbon sources than from fossil fuels for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Wind, solar, hydro and nuclear plants provided 48% of the nation’s power in the first five months of this year. The U.K. has gone without burning coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, for the equivalent of 80 days so far in 2019, including one stretch of 18 days in a row.

–With assistance from Kathleen Hunter and Daniel Ten Kate.

https://news.yahoo.com/did-trump-just-blink-bluff-100815556.html

Trump says Iran made ‘big mistake’ by taking down US drone

today

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Washington. Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” in shooting down a U.S. drone but suggested it was an accident rather than a strategic error. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Thursday that “Iran made a very big mistake” by shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz but suggested it was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation of the tensions that have led to rising fears of open military conflict.

Asked about a U.S. response, the president said pointedly, “You’ll soon find out.”

The downing of the huge, unmanned aircraft , which Iran portrayed as a deliberate defense of its territory rather than a mistake, was a stark reminder of the risk of military conflict between U.S. and Iranian forces as the Trump administration combines a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Iran with a buildup of American forces in the region.

The drone — which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737 — entered Iranian airspace “despite repeated radio warnings” and was shot down by Iran, acting under the U.N. Charter which allows self-defense action “if an armed attack occurs,” Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a letter to the U.N. secretary-general.

Donald Trump is playing down Iran's downing of an American drone, saying that it might have been a mistake executed by someone just being "loose and stupid." He said it was a "new wrinkle" in escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. (June 20)

Trump, who has said he wants to avoid war and negotiate with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, appeared to play down the significance of the shootdown.

He cast it as “a new wrinkle … a new fly in the ointment.” Yet he also said that “this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”

Shortly before Trump spoke, Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of U.S. Central Command air forces in the region, took a more pointed view of the shootdown in an area where Trump has blamed Iran for attacking shipping vessels.

“This attack is an attempt to disrupt our ability to monitor the area following recent threats to international shipping and free flow of commerce,” he said.

The Trump administration has been putting increasing economic pressure on Iran for more than a year. It reinstated punishing sanctions following Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of an international agreement intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from earlier sanctions.

The other world powers who remain signed on to the nuclear deal have set a meeting to discuss the U.S. withdrawal and Iran’s announced plans to increase its uranium stockpile for June 28, a date far enough in the future to perhaps allow tensions to cool.

Citing Iranian threats, the U.S. recently sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

The first U.S. reaction was Trump’s Thursday morning tweet of six forceful words: “Iran made a very big mistake.”

But later, while meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump said, “I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.

He said the American drone was unarmed and unmanned and “clearly over international waters.” It would have “made a big, big difference” if someone had been inside, he said.

“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”

Taking issue with the U.S. version of where the attack occurred, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that his country had retrieved sections of the military drone “in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.” He said, “We don’t seek war but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters.”

U.S. Gen. Guastella disputed that contention, telling reporters that the aircraft was 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the nearest Iranian territory and flying at high altitude when struck by a surface-to-air missile. The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

One U.S. official said there was a second American aircraft in the area that was able to get video and imagery of the drone when it was shot down.

Congressional leaders came to the White House for an hour-long briefing in the Situation Room late Thursday with top national security officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Army Secretary Mark Esper, whom Trump has said he’ll nominate as Pentagon chief.

The Senate’s top Democrat called the downing of the American drone “deeply concerning” and accused the administration of not having an Iran strategy and keeping Congress and the rest of the nation in the dark.

“The president needs to explain to the American people why he’s driving us toward another endless conflict in the Middle East,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she didn’t think Trump wanted war with Iran and the American people have “no appetite” for it either. She said the U.S. needs to be “strong and strategic” about protecting its interests but “cannot be reckless.”

Talking tougher, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called Iran a “murderous regime” and said, “If they’re itching for a fight they’re going to get one.”

“We’re a lot closer today than we were yesterday, and only God knows what tomorrow brings,” said Graham, a Trump ally who talked with the president by telephone.

The senator also focused on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, saying its leaders have refused to negotiate after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the international agreement to limit Iranian development of nuclear weapons.

Graham said it’s imperative that the U.S. clearly tell the Iranians that any attempt to increase uranium enrichment will be seen as a “hostile act against the United States and our allies in Israel and will not go unanswered.”

Another factor: This all comes as Trump is launching his re-election campaign. He ran for president promising to bring American troops home from the Middle East and Afghanistan and has repeatedly said he wants to keep America out of “endless wars.”

Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for President George W. Bush, cautioned against thinking about politics when weighing any response to Iran.

“I suspect a successful limited counter-strike, such as taking out the missile battery that fired at the drone or the sinking of an unmanned Iranian vessel, would be seen as a well-calibrated show of resolve and discipline,” Fleischer said in an interview. He added that “if we do nothing, Iran may strike again thinking it has impunity.”

https://apnews.com/84ad15edb7324472bb867852059a0a7a

Iran shoots down US surveillance drone, heightening tensions

29 minutes ago

In this Oct. 24, 2018, photo released by the U.S. Air Force, members of the 7th Reconnaissance Squadron prepare to launch an RQ-4 Global Hawk at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk on Thursday, June 20, 2019, amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal with world powers, American and Iranian officials said, though they disputed the circumstances of the incident. (Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan/U.S. Air Force via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a U.S. surveillance drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, marking the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The two countries disputed the circumstances leading up to an Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 737 jetliner and costing over $100 million.

Iran said the drone “violated” its territorial airspace, while the U.S. called the missile fire “an unprovoked attack” in international airspace over the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf and President Donald Trump tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!”

Trump later appeared to play down the incident, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he had a feeling that “a general or somebody” being “loose and stupid” made a mistake in shooting down the drone.

AP Graphic

The incident immediately heightened the crisis already gripping the wider region, which is rooted in Trump withdrawing the U.S. a year ago from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran. Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be on pace to break one of the deal’s terms by next week while threatening to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if Europe doesn’t offer it a new deal.

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.

“We do not have any intention for war with any country, but we are fully ready for war,” Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised address.

The paramilitary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone at 4:05 a.m. Thursday when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is about 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Hossein Salami. (Sepahnews via AP)

The drone took off from the southern Persian Gulf and collected data from Iranian territory, including the southern port of Chahbahar near Iran’s border with Pakistan, the Guard said in comments that appeared aimed at showing it could track the aircraft.

The U.S. military has not commented on the mission of the remotely piloted aircraft that can fly higher than 10 miles in altitude and stay in the air for over 24 hours at a time.

Iran used its air defense system known as Third of Khordad to shoot down the drone — a truck-based missile system that can fire up to 18 miles (30 kilometers) into the sky, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Iranian state TV later broadcast video it described as the moment the Guard launched the surface-to-air missile that struck the U.S. drone. Chants of “God is great!” could be heard as a fireball appeared in the darkened sky.

Typically, militaries worldwide call out to errant aircraft entering their airspace before firing. It’s unclear whether Iran gave any warning before opening fire. The U.S. military says Iran fired on and missed another drone last week near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of all global oil moves.

The U.S. has been worried about international shipping through the strategic waterway since tankers were damaged in May and June in what Washington has blamed on limpet mines from Iran, although Tehran denied involvement.. On Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Navy showed fragments of mines that it said bore “a striking resemblance” to those seen in Iran

The RQ-4 Global Hawk was at least 34 kilometers from Iranian territory when it was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, commander of the U.S. Central Command. He said it was an attempt to disrupt U.S. efforts to monitor the Persian Gulf region.

But Salami, speaking to a crowd in the western city of Sanandaj, described the American drone as “violating our national security border.”

“Borders are our red line,” the Revolutionary Guard general said. “Any enemy that violates the borders will be annihilated.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said the drone entered Iranian airspace, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted it would take its case to the U.N. He later tweeted that Iran retrieved parts of the drone in its territorial waters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin urged caution, warning any war between Iran and the U.S. would be a “catastrophe for the region as a minimum.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged support for U.S. efforts to halt what he called escalating Iranian provocations.

“In the last 24 hours, Iran has intensified its aggression against the United States and against all of us,” he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern and urged all parties to “avoid any action that could inflame the situation,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

America stations some RQ-4 Global Hawks at the Al-Dhafra Air Base in the UAE, near the capital of Abu Dhabi. Associated Press journalists saw the drones on the base’s tarmac during a March 2016 visit by then-Vice President Joe Biden. The U.S. military occasionally publishes images from there of the drones, which have a distinctive hump-shaped front and an engine atop the fuselage.

Iran has claimed to have shot down U.S. drones before. In the most famous incident, in December 2011, Iran seized an RQ-170 Sentinel flown by the CIA to monitor Iranian nuclear sites after it entered Iranian airspace from neighboring Afghanistan. Iran later reverse-engineered the drone to create their own variants.

Elsewhere in the region Thursday, Saudi Arabia said Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels fired a rocket at a desalination plant in al-Shuqaiq, a city in the kingdom’s Jizan province. The state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying it caused no damage or casualties.

The Yemeni rebel Al-Masirah satellite news channel earlier said the Houthis targeted a power plant in Jizan, near the kingdom’s border with Yemen, with a cruise missile.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, has been battling the Houthis since March 2015 in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation now pushed to the brink of famine by the conflict. In recent weeks, the Houthis have launched a new campaign sending missiles and bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

https://apnews.com/e4316eb989d5499c9828350de8524963

 

 

Story 2: Federal Reserve Board Votes To Keep Federal Funds Target Range of 2.25% to 2.5% Waiting For July 2019 Jobs Report and Second Quarter Real GDP Growth Rate Number — Videos

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Trump slams Fed over interest rate policy

Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks to media following interest rate decision – 06/19/2019

Sen. Tillis Says Fed Made Mistake in December, Defers to Trump on Powell Demotion

The Federal Reserve didn’t cut rates, but does the rally need the Fed?

Steve Keen Says U.S. Heading for 2020 Recession

Cramer: Stocks would probably rise if Trump removed Powell as Fed chair

Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks on monetary policy – 06/04/2019

Fed wary of economic clouds, but leaves interest rates unchanged for now

Goldman Sees Fed ‘Not Likely to Cut’ Rates in July, Kostin Says

The Federal Fund Rate in 4 Minutes

Macro 4.1- Money Market and FED Tools (Monetary Policy)

Discount Rate and Federal Funds Rate

What is the Yield Curve, and Why is it Flattening?

Why Investors Are Obsessed With the Inverted Yield Curve

Here’s what experts are saying about the inverted yield curve

Trump expected Powell to be a ‘cheap-money’ Fed chairman

S&P 500 closes at new record as Wall Street bets Fed will lower rates, Dow surges nearly 250 points

VIDEO02:12
The S&P 500 just closed at a record high — Here’s what four experts say to watch

Stocks rallied on Thursday, led by strong gains in tech and energy shares, as Wall Street cheered the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next month.

The S&P 500 surged 1% to 2,954.18, a record close. The broad index also hit an intraday record of 2,958.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 249.17 points higher at 26,753.17. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% to end the day at 8,051.34.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell below 2% for the first time since November 2016. Investors cheered the decline in the benchmark for mortgage rates and corporate bonds.

The energy sector rose more than 2% to lead all 11 S&P 500 sectors higher as oil prices jumped. Tech gained 1.4% after shares of Oracle surged more than 8% on stronger-than-forecast earnings. General Electric’s 2.8% rise pushed the industrials sector up more than 1.6% on the day.

“Markets are based on numbers and perception. If the perception is rates are getting cut, that’s going to drive markets higher,” said Kathy Entwistle, senior vice president of wealth management at UBS. “UBS’ stance up until yesterday was we wouldn’t see any rate cuts this year. Now we see a much larger chance of a 50-basis-point cut.”

The Fed said Wednesday it stands ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks as they took stock of intensifying trade tensions and growing concerns about inflation. Most Fed policymakers slashed their rate outlook for the rest of the calendar year by approximately half a percentage point in the previous session, while Chairman Jerome Powell said others agree the case for lower rates is building.

Policymakers also dropped “patient” from the Fed’s statement and acknowledged that inflation is “running below” its 2% objective.

Market participants viewed the overall tone from the U.S. central bank as more dovish than expected. Traders are now pricing in a 100% chance of a rate cutnext month, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

With Thursday’s gains, the market has now erased the steep losses recorded by the major indexes in May, which were sparked by trade fears. The S&P 500 and Dow both fell more than 6% while the Nasdaq lost 7.9% last month. The three indexes were up more than 7% for June.

China and the U.S. hiked tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods in May. Stocks turned around this month as traders bet the rising trade tensions, coupled with weaker economic data, would lead the Fed to ease its monetary policy stance.

The Fed’s message on Wednesday sent the 10-year Treasury yield to as low as 1.974% before ending the day around 2.02%. The yield stood at 2.8% in January.

“The FOMC reinforced the market’s conviction,” said Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, in a note. “Barring a dramatic turnaround in the data, the next move is a cut – perhaps even a 50bp reduction.”

The dollar also took a hit against other major currencies. The dollar index dropped 0.5% to 96.65, led by a 0.6% slide in the euro. The yen and Canadian dollar also rose against the U.S. currency.

Energy shares got a boost from higher oil prices. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) climbed 2.2% as shares of Exxon Mobil gained 1.7%. Oil prices surged 5.4% after a U.S. official said a drone was shot down over Iranian airspace.

Meanwhile, Slack shares surged more than 40% in their first day of trading. The stock closed above $38 after setting a reference price of $26.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/stock-market-dow-futures-higher-after-fed-raises-rate-cut-hopes.html

Federal Open Market Committee

About the FOMC

Recent FOMC press conference

June 19, 2019

FOMC Transcripts and other historical materials

The term “monetary policy” refers to the actions undertaken by a central bank, such as the Federal Reserve, to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 gave the Federal Reserve responsibility for setting monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve controls the three tools of monetary policy–open market operationsthe discount rate, and reserve requirements. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is responsible for the discount rate and reserve requirements, and the Federal Open Market Committee is responsible for open market operations. Using the three tools, the Federal Reserve influences the demand for, and supply of, balances that depository institutions hold at Federal Reserve Banks and in this way alters the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions lend balances at the Federal Reserve to other depository institutions overnight.

Changes in the federal funds rate trigger a chain of events that affect other short-term interest rates, foreign exchange rates, long-term interest rates, the amount of money and credit, and, ultimately, a range of economic variables, including employment, output, and prices of goods and services.

Structure of the FOMC

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of twelve members–the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Nonvoting Reserve Bank presidents attend the meetings of the Committee, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the Committee’s assessment of the economy and policy options.

The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings per year. At these meetings, the Committee reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth.

For more detail on the FOMC and monetary policy, see section 2 of the brochure on the structure of the Federal Reserve Systemand chapter 2 of Purposes & Functions of the Federal Reserve System. FOMC Rules and Authorizations are also available online.

2019 Committee Members

Alternate Members

Federal Reserve Bank Rotation on the FOMC

Committee membership changes at the first regularly scheduled meeting of the year.

2020 2021 2022
Members New York
Cleveland
Philadelphia
Dallas
Minneapolis
New York
Chicago
Richmond
Atlanta
San Francisco
New York
Cleveland
Boston
St. Louis
Kansas City
Alternate
Members
New York
Chicago
Richmond
Atlanta
San Francisco
New York
Cleveland
Boston
St. Louis
Kansas City
New York
Chicago
Philadelphia
Dallas
Minneapolis

 †For the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the First Vice President is the alternate for the President. Return to table

For additional information, please use the FOMC FOIA request form.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/fomc.htm

 

Fed holds rates steady, but opens the door for a rate cut in the future

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

The strong majority for this month’s decision contrasted with a sharp difference of opinion on what happens next.

The committee provided an important nod to those worried about slower growth: It dropped the word “patient” in  describing its approach to policy. The characterization was a key part of the Fed “pivot” earlier this year that signaled to the market a more dovish approach to rates.

“The Fed didn’t surprise investors with the decision to maintain rates, but the split vote tells us that a cut is on the way and it’s increasingly likely that will be in July, as bond markets have been hoping,” said Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Asset Management.

“This was probably the compromise decision — it wasn’t shocking and should offer some reassurance,” Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, said in a note. “The FOMC will still want to closely monitor the stress fractures from the bond market, middling housing and auto sales numbers, and an increasingly uncertain global economic landscape in the coming months.”

The statement also changed wording to concede that inflation is “running below” the Fed’s 2% objective. In their forecast for headline inflation this year, officials slashed the estimate to 1.5% from March’s 1.8%. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is likely now to be 1.8% from March’s 2%, according to the quarterly summary of economic projections also released Wednesday.

‘In light of these uncertainties’

The committee changed language from its May statement to indicate that economic activity is “rising at a moderate rate,” a downgrade from “solid.”

In their baseline scenario, FOMC members said they still expect “sustained expansion of economic activity” and a move toward 2% inflation, but realize that “uncertainties about this outlook have increased.”

“In light of these uncertainties and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion, with a strong labor market and inflation near its symmetric 2 percent objective,” the statement said. The “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” language mirrors a statement from Powell in early June.

Very reasonable to think Fed will cut rates twice this year: Strategist

The committee characterized the labor market as “strong” with “solid” jobs growth, despite May’s disappointing nonfarm payrolls growth of 75,000. The statement further said that household spending “appears to have picked up from earlier in the year.”

The changes came amid what appeared to be little consensus among the committee about where rates go next.

Divided Fed

According to the “dot plot” of individual members’ expectations, eight members favor one cut this year while the same number voted in favor of the status quo and one still wants a rate hike. Bullard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari have led the public discussion about the potential for rate cuts, while other members have been less firm.

Into 2020, the Fed consensus was a bit stronger, with nine members wanting a cut to a funds rate around 2.1%. The direction changes, though, in 2021, with indications of an increase of about a quarter-point, culminating in an expected long-run value of 2.5%. The funds rate most recently was trading at 2.37%.

Traders in the thin and volatile funds market had been pricing in a 26% chance of a cut at this week’s meeting. Later in the year, though, the probability for a July easing rose to 82.5% and the chances of a second cut in December were most recently at 60.4%. The market expects a third cut to come around March of 2020.

While the statement language offered some significant changes, estimates in the summary of economic projections, other than inflation, moved little from March. GDP growth is still expected to be 2.1% for the year – it was 3.1% in the first quarter, and the Atlanta Fed is forecasting a 2% gain in the second quarter. The unemployment rate is now expected to hold at a 50-year low of 3.6%, against the March forecast of 3.7%.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/19/fed-decision-fed-leaves-rates-unchanged.html

10-year Treasury yield drops below 2% for first time since November 2016

Federal funds rate

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Federal Funds Rate compared to U.S. Treasury interest rates

2 to 10 year treasury yield spread

Inflation (blue) compared to federal funds rate (red)

Quarterly gross domestic product compared to Federal Funds Rate.

Federal Funds Rate and Treasury interest rates from 2002-2019

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate. The target rate is chosen in part to influence the money supply in the U.S. economy[3]

Contents

Mechanism

Financial institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accountsNOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007–2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves.[5] The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[6] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[7]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[8]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of 19 December 2018 the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 2.25–2.50%.[9] This represents the ninth increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015.[10]

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%. The target rate remained at 5.25% for over a year, until the Federal Reserve began lowering rates in September 2007. The last cycle of easing monetary policy through the rate was conducted from September 2007 to December 2008 as the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00–0.25%. Between December 2008 and December 2015 the target rate remained at 0.00–0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history, as a reaction to the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 and its aftermath. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[11]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, the price of borrowed funds – the federal funds rate – falls. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the federal funds rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, the interest rate will normally rise.[12]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[13] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the federal funds rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[14][15]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [16][17][18]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[19][20][21]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[22]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[23]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25–0.50[24]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50–0.75[25]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75–1.00[26]
  • Jun 14, 2017 — 1.00–1.25[27]
  • Dec 13, 2017 — 1.25–1.50[28]
  • Mar 21, 2018 — 1.50–1.75[29]
  • Jun 13, 2018 — 1.75–2.00[30]
  • Sep 26, 2018 — 2.00–2.25[9]
  • Dec 19, 2018 — 2.25–2.50[31]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and housing fell.[32]

International effects

A low federal funds rate makes investments in developing countries such as China or Mexico more attractive. A high federal funds rate makes investments outside the United States less attractive. The long period of a very low federal funds rate from 2009 forward resulted in an increase in investment in developing countries. As the United States began to return to a higher rate in 2013 investments in the United States became more attractive and the rate of investment in developing countries began to fall. The rate also affects the value of currency, a higher rate increasing the value of the U.S. dollar and decreasing the value of currencies such as the Mexican peso.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  2. ^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions(PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. August 24, 2011. p. 4. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  3. ^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. January 30, 2008. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved January 30, 2008.
  4. ^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. ^ Stefan Homburg (2017) A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics, Oxford University Press, ISBN978-0-19-880753-7.
  6. ^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  7. ^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s”(PDF)Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  8. ^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on February 16, 2007.
  9. Jump up to:ab “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement” (Press release). Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. December 19, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Tankersley, Jim (March 21, 2018). “Fed Raises Interest Rates for Sixth Time Since Financial Crisis”The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  11. ^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012.
  12. ^ David Waring (February 19, 2008). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  13. ^ “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  14. ^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. ^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. ^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. ^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. ^ “$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. ^ “$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. ^ “$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  21. ^ “$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  22. ^ “$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  23. ^ “Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  24. ^ “Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  25. ^ “Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016.
  26. ^ Cox, Jeff (March 15, 2017). “Fed raises rates at March meeting”CNBC. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  27. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 14, 2017.
  28. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 13, 2017.
  29. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. March 21, 2018.
  30. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 13, 2018.
  31. ^ “Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 19, 2018.
  32. ^ Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007). “The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  33. ^ Peter S. Goodman, Keith Bradsher and Neil Gough (March 16, 2017). “The Fed Acts. Workers in Mexico and Merchants in Malaysia Suffer”The New York Times. Retrieved March 18,2017Rising interest rates in the United States are driving money out of many developing countries, straining governments and pinching consumers around the globe.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_funds_rate

The Impact of an Inverted Yield Curve

The term yield curve refers to the relationship between the short- and long-term interest rates of fixed-income securities issued by the U.S. Treasury. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates.

From an economic perspective, an inverted yield curve is a noteworthy event. Below, we explain this rare phenomenon, discuss its impact on consumers and investors, and tell you how to adjust your portfolio to account for it.

Interest Rates and Yield Curves

Typically, short-term interest rates are lower than long-term rates, so the yield curve slopes upwards, reflecting higher yields for longer-term investments. This is referred to as a normal yield curve. When the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates narrows, the yield curve begins to flatten. A flat yield curve is often seen during the transition from a normal yield curve to an inverted one.

Normal Yield Curve

Figure 1 – A normal yield curve

What Does an Inverted Yield Curve Suggest?

Historically, an inverted yield curve has been viewed as an indicator of a pending economic recession. When short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates, market sentiment suggests that the long-term outlook is poor and that the yields offered by long-term fixed income will continue to fall.

More recently, this viewpoint has been called into question, as foreign purchases of securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have created a high and sustained level of demand for products backed by U.S. government debt. When investors are aggressively seeking debt instruments, the debtor can offer lower interest rates. When this occurs, many argue that it is the laws of supply and demand, rather than impending economic doom and gloom, that enable lenders to attract buyers without having to pay higher interest rates.

Inverted Yield Curve

Figure 2 – An inverted yield curve: note the inverse relationship between yield and maturity

Inverted yield curves have been relatively rare, due in large part to longer-than-average periods between recessions since the early 1990s. For example, the economic expansions that began in March 1991, November 2001 and June 2009 were three of the four longest economic expansions since World War II. During these long periods, the question often arises as to whether an inverted yield curve can happen again.

Economic cycles, regardless of their length, have historically transitioned from growth to recession and back again. Inverted yield curves are an essential element of these cycles, preceding every recession since 1956. Considering the consistency of this pattern, an inverted yield will likely form again if the current expansion fades to recession.

Upward sloping yield curves are a natural extension of the higher risks associated with long maturities. In a growing economy, investors also demand higher yields at the long end of the curve to compensate for the opportunity cost of investing in bonds versus other asset classes, and to maintain an acceptable spread over inflation rates.

As the economic cycle begins to slow, perhaps due to interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve Bank, the upward slope of the yield curve tends to flatten as short-term rates increase and longer yields stay stable or decline slightly. In this environment, investors see long-term yields as an acceptable substitute for the potential of lower returns in equities and other asset classes, which tend to increase bond prices and reduce yields.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Consumers

In addition to its impact on investors, an inverted yield curve also has an impact on consumers. For example, homebuyers financing their properties with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) have interest-rate schedules that are periodically updated based on short-term interest rates. When short-term rates are higher than long-term rates, payments on ARMs tend to rise. When this occurs, fixed-rate loans may be more attractive than adjustable-rate loans.

Lines of credit are affected in a similar manner. In both cases, consumers must dedicate a larger portion of their incomes toward servicing existing debt. This reduces expendable income and has a negative effect on the economy as a whole.

The Formation of an Inverted Yield Curve

As concerns of an impending recession increase, investors tend to buy long Treasury bonds based on the premise that they offer a safe harbor from falling equities markets, provide preservation of capital and have potential for appreciation in value as interest rates decline. As a result of the rotation to long maturities, yields can fall below short-term rates, forming an inverted yield curve. Since 1956, equities have peaked six times after the start of an inversion, and the economy has fallen into recession within seven to 24 months.

As of 2017, the most recent inverted yield curve first appeared in August 2006, as the Fed raised short-term interest rates in response to overheating equity, real estate and mortgage markets. The inversion of the yield curve preceded the peak of the Standard & Poor’s 500 in October 2007 by 14 months and the official start of the recession in December 2007 by 16 months. However, a growing number of 2018 economic outlooks from investment firms are suggesting that an inverted yield curve could be on the horizon, citing the narrowing spread between short- and long-dated Treasuries.

If history is any precedent, the current business cycle will progress, and slowing in the economy may eventually become evident. If concerns of the next recession rise to the point where investors see the purchase of long-dated Treasuries as the best option for their portfolios, there is a high likelihood that the next inverted yield curve will take shape.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Fixed-Income Investors

A yield curve inversion has the greatest impact on fixed-income investors. In normal circumstances, long-term investments have higher yields; because investors are risking their money for longer periods of time, they are rewarded with higher payouts. An inverted curve eliminates the risk premium for long-term investments, allowing investors to get better returns with short-term investments.

When the spread between U.S. Treasuries (a risk-free investment) and higher-risk corporate alternatives is at historical lows, it is often an easy decision to invest in lower-risk vehicles. In such cases, purchasing a Treasury-backed security provides a yield similar to the yield on junk bondscorporate bondsreal estate investment trusts (REITs) and other debt instruments, but without the risk inherent in these vehicles. Money market funds and certificates of deposit (CDs) may also be attractive – particularly when a one-year CD is paying yields comparable to those on a 10-year Treasury bond.

Inverted Yield Curve Impact on Equity Investors

When the yield curve becomes inverted, profit margins fall for companies that borrow cash at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, such as community banks. Likewise, hedge funds are often forced to take on increased risk in order to achieve their desired level of returns.

In fact, a bad bet on Russian interest rates is largely credited for the demise of Long-Term Capital Management, a well-known hedge fund run by bond trader John Meriwether.

Despite their consequences for some parties, yield-curve inversions tend to have less impact on consumer staples and healthcare companies, which are not interest-rate dependent. This relationship becomes clear when an inverted yield curve precedes a recession. When this occurs, investors tend to turn to defensive stocks, such as those in the food, oil and tobacco industries, which are often less affected by downturns in the economy.

The Bottom Line

While experts question whether or not an inverted yield curve remains a strong indicator of pending economic recession, keep in mind that history is littered with portfolios that were devastated when investors blindly followed predictions about how “it’s different this time.” Most recently, shortsighted equity investors spouting this mantra participated in the “tech wreck,” snapping up shares in tech companies at inflated prices even though these firms had no hope of ever making a profit.

If you want to be a smart investor, ignore the noise. Instead of spending time and effort trying to figure out what the future will bring, construct your portfolio based on long-term thinking and long-term convictions – not short-term market movements.

For your short-term income needs, do the obvious: choose the investment with the highest yield, but keep in mind that inversions are an anomaly and they don’t last forever. When the inversion ends, adjust your portfolio accordingly.

Story 3: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey, Joey Biden in Praise of Civility of Democrat Segregationist Senators Eastland (Mississippi) and Talmadge (Georgia) Who Got Things Done — Radical Extremist Democrats (REDS) Attack Biden — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers and Big Lie Media Playing Identity Politics and Divide and Conquer — Videos —

Biden’s ties to segregationist senator spark campaign tension

Biden’s ties to segregationist senator spark campaign tension

SUSAN WALSH / AP

Joe Biden was a freshman senator, the youngest member of the august body, when he reached out to an older colleague for help on one of his early legislative proposals: The courts were ordering racially segregated school districts to bus children to create more integrated classrooms, a practice Biden opposed and wanted to change.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attemptingto bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977.

The recipient of Biden’s entreaty was Sen. James Eastland, at the time a well-known segregationist who had called blacks “an inferior race” and once vowed to prevent blacks and whites from eating together in Washington. The exchange, revealed in a series of letters, offers a new glimpse into an old relationship that erupted this week as a major controversy for Biden’s presidential campaign.Biden on Wednesday night described his relationship with Eastland as one he “had to put up with.” He said of his relationships with Eastland and another staunch segregationist and southern Democrat, Sen. Herman Talmadge of Georgia, that “the fact of the matter is that we were able to do it because we were able to win — we were able to beat them on everything they stood for.”

But the letters show a different type of relationship, one in which they were aligned on a legislative issue. Biden said at the time that he did not think that busing was the best way to integrate schools in Delaware and that systemic racism should be dealt with by investing in schools and improving housing policies.

The letters were provided Thursday to the Washington Post by the University of Mississippi, which houses Eastland’s archived papers. They were reported in April by CNN.

Biden’s campaign late Thursday issued a statement saying that “the insinuation that Joe Biden shared the same views as Eastland on segregation is a lie.”

“Plain and simple. Joe Biden has dedicated his career to fighting for civil rights,” the statement said.

The controversy over Biden’s comments this week have continued to reverberate at a crucial time in the campaign, with matters of race dominating the political discussion ahead of several prominent gatherings, including the first presidential debate next week and a multicandidate event before black voters in South Carolina on Friday. It has emerged as a complex political problem for Biden, who has been trying to campaign as a civil rights champion while explaining past views that are out of step with today’s Democratic base.

Biden’s Wednesday remarks sparked one of the sharpest intra-Democrat exchanges of the campaign, when Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of his black 2020 rivals, criticized both Biden’s work with segregationists and the language that he used in describing it.

On Wednesday, Biden called Booker. Biden’s campaign also distributed talking points to supporters, emphasizing that Eastland and Talmadge “were people who he fundamentally disagreed with on the issue of civil rights.”

Late Thursday, the former vice president met with a small group that included black members of Congress, one of the participants said.

Divisions also emerged in Biden’s campaign over how he should handle such situations. Aides alternately argued that he simply misspoke in telling the anecdote, that he shouldn’t be telling it at all or that his remarks demonstrate his ability to work with those with whom he disagrees and the words were being purposefully twisted for political gain.

The letters show that Biden’s courtship of Eastland started in 1972, before he had taken office, and that he wrote to the older senator listing his top six committee assignment requests, with Foreign Relations and Judiciary at the top. A few weeks later, Biden thanked Eastland, writing that he was “flattered and grateful” for his help. He also referred to the December 1972 car crash that killed his wife and daughter and injured his two sons.

“Despite my preoccupation with family matters at this time, I intend to place the highest priority on attending to my committee responsibilities,” Biden wrote.

Biden supporters have repeatedly pointed to his efforts on civil rights issues to cast him as a champion of equality. Not only did he share an eight-year partnership with the first black president, he also worked alongside black leaders throughout his career on extending the Voting Rights Act, amending the Fair Housing Act and creating the holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.et in the debate over the merits of busing as a solution to greater integration, Biden’s avowed stance against it put him at odds with some civil rights leaders.

 

 

It was in that context that he courted the support of Eastland — at the time the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee — as well as other senators.

In one letter, on March 2, 1977, Biden outlined legislation he was filing to restrict busing practices.

“My bill strikes at the heart of the injustice of court ordered busing,” he wrote to Eastland. “It prohibits the federal courts from disrupting our educational system in the name of the constitution where there is no evidence that the governmental officials intended to discriminate.”

“I believe there is growing sentiment in the Congress to curb unnecessary busing,” he added. The Senate two years earlier had passed a Biden amendment that prohibited the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare from ordering busing to achieve school integration.

 

“That was the first time the U.S. Senate took a firm stand in opposition to busing,” Biden wrote. “The Supreme Court seems to have recognized that busing simply cannot be justified in cases where state and local officials intended no discrimination.”

In later letters to Eastland, Biden continued pushing his legislation.

“I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attempting to bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote on June 30, 1977.

The next year, he continued to push for antibusing legislation and again wrote to Eastland.

“Since your support was essential to having our bill reported out by the Judiciary Committee, I want to personally ask your continued support and alert you to our intentions,” Biden wrote on Aug 22, 1978. “Your participation in floor debate would be welcomed.”

After Biden’s remarks at the Wednesday night fund-raiser, advisers played down his comments about Eastland as a garbled rendition of a familiar Biden anecdote. In particular, they sought to excuse Biden for saying that Eastland didn’t refer to him as “boy” — an insult leveled at black men — but as “son.”

“He just misspoke,” said one Biden adviser. “The way Biden usually tells the story, he says Eastland didn’t call him ‘senator,’ he called him ‘son,’ ” the adviser said. “Eastland called him ‘boy’ and ‘son’ also. This was Eastland’s way of diminishing young senators.”

In the campaign statement Thursday, Biden’s national press secretary, Jamal Brown, said Biden’s “strong support for equal housing, equal education and equal job opportunities were clear to all Delawareans in the 1970s.”

Biden sought to ensure that black students received “the resources necessary to deliver the quality education they deserved,” he said.

Brown added that throughout his public life, Biden “fought the institutional problems that created de facto segregated school systems and neighborhoods in the first place: redlining, school lines drawn to keep races and classes separate and housing patterns and discrimination.”

Almost the entire Democratic field is set to attend a fish fry Friday night hosted by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a leading black figure in the state and one who has remained supportive of Biden.

It would be the first public appearance Biden is making with the same Democratic presidential hopefuls who have heaped criticism on him for the comment.

In demanding an apology, Booker said Wednesday that Biden’s “relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people, and for everyone.”

Asked about Booker’s remarks by reporters, Biden declined to offer an apology and instead demanded one from Booker. The two men later spoke privately.

“Cory shared directly what he said publicly — including helping Vice President Biden understand why the word ‘boy’ is painful to so many,” said Sabrina Singh, a Booker campaign spokeswoman. “Cory believes that Vice President Biden should take responsibility for what he said and apologize to those who were hurt.”

Biden’s campaign would not elaborate on the call, but it is clear the topic could linger over the coming days.

Biden has scheduled a sit-down interview with MSNBC, his campaign has been sending out talking points to surrogates, and some black supporters are eager to hear the former vice president offer a fuller explanation.

“I think he’s got to address it head on and show people what his line of thinking was,” said Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist in South Carolina who is close with Biden’s team. “I don’t think they need to get off course with their strategy. I just think they have to address it as it comes up and move on.”

Other Biden supporters, however, think he’s taking just the right approach and standing by his long-held beliefs.

I encouraged campaign staff that I know to say: ‘Don’t back off on this. This is precisely why you’re the right guy in the right place at the right time.’ And I was glad to see that he didn’t,” said Dave O’Brien, a longtime Biden supporter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“You know that some of the other issues, he’s got to evolve with the times, which he has,” O’Brien added. “But there are points where you need to make a stand, so I was very glad to see him not back off on this issue.”

https://www.inquirer.com/politics/nation/joe-biden-james-eastland-segregation-democratic-primary-20190621.htmlPosted: June 20, 2019 – 10:59 PM

Biden not apologizing for remarks on segregationist senators

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Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks at the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress presidential forum in Washington, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Joe Biden refused calls to apologize Wednesday for saying that the Senate “got things done” with “civility” even when the body included segregationists with whom he disagreed.

His rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, including the two major black candidates in the contest, roundly criticized Biden’s comments. But Biden didn’t back down and was particularly defiant in the face of criticism from New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who said the former vice president should apologize for his remarks.

Biden countered that it was Booker who should apologize because the senator “should know better” than to question his commitment to civil rights.

“There’s not a racist bone in my body,” Biden said. “I’ve been involved in civil rights my whole career.”

Speaking on CNN, Booker responded: “I was raised to speak truth to power and that I shall never apologize for doing that. And Vice President Biden shouldn’t need this lesson.”

The firestorm is quickly becoming one of the most intense disputes of the Democratic presidential primary, underscoring the hazards for Biden as he tries to turn his decades of Washington experience into an advantage. Instead, he’s infuriating Democrats who say he’s out of step with the diverse party of the 21st century and potentially undermining his argument that he’s the most electable candidate in the race.

The controversy began at a New York fundraiser Tuesday when Biden pointed to long-dead segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia to argue that Washington functioned more smoothly a generation ago than under today’s “broken” hyperpartisanship.

“We didn’t agree on much of anything,” Biden said of the two men, who were prominent senators when Biden was elected in 1972. Biden described Talmadge as “one of the meanest guys I ever knew” and said Eastland called him “son,” though not “boy,” a reference to the racist way many whites addressed black men at the time.

Yet even in that Senate, Biden said, “At least there was some civility. We got things done.”

A pile on from Biden’s rivals quickly ensued. Booker said he was disappointed by Biden’s remarks.

“I have to tell Vice President Biden, as someone I respect, that he is wrong for using his relationships with Eastland and Talmadge as examples of how to bring our country together,” said Booker, who is African American.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow Democratic presidential candidate and a white man who is married to a black woman, tweeted: “It’s 2019 & @JoeBiden is longing for the good old days of ‘civility’ typified by James Eastland. Eastland thought my multiracial family should be illegal.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a black presidential candidate, said Biden was “coddling” segregationists in a way that “suggests to me that he doesn’t understand … the dark history of our country” — a characterization Biden’s campaign rejects.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, another 2020 candidate, said, “For the vice president to somehow say that what we’re seeing in this country today is a function of partisanship or a lack of bipartisanship completely ignores the legacy of slavery and the active suppression of African Americans and communities of color right now.”

The tumult comes at a crucial point in the campaign. Biden is still recovering from controversy he sparked earlier this month when he angered many Democrats by saying he didn’t support federal taxpayer money supporting abortion. He later reversed his position.

He’s among the more than 20 candidates who will descend on South Carolina this weekend to make their case to black voters at a series of Democratic events.

Meanwhile, most Democratic White House hopefuls will again gather in Miami next week for the first presidential debate of the primary season. Biden will almost certainly come under fire there for his comments this week.

He sought to defuse the tension on Wednesday by saying he was trying to argue that leaders sometimes have to work with people they disagree with to achieve goals, such as renewing the Voting Rights Act.

“The point I’m making is you don’t have to agree. You don’t have to like the people in terms of their views,” he said Wednesday. “But you just simply make the case and you beat them without changing the system.”

He has received support from some black leaders. Cedric Richmond, Biden’s campaign co-chairman and former Congressional Black Caucus chairman, said Biden’s opponents deliberately ignored the full context of his argument for a more functional government.

“Maybe there’s a better way to say it, but we have to work with people, and that’s a fact,” Richmond said, noting he dealt recently with President Donald Trump to pass a long-sought criminal justice overhaul. “I question (Trump’s) racial sensitivity, a whole bunch of things about his character … but we worked together.”

Likewise, Richmond said, Biden mentioned Jim Crow-era senators to emphasize the depths of disagreements elected officials sometimes navigate. “If he gets elected president, we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate” to overcome filibusters, Richmond noted. “He could be less genuine and say, ‘We’re just going to do all these things.’ But we already have a president like that. (Biden) knows we have to build consensus.”

Biden also drew a qualified defense from Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black senator from his party. Scott said that Biden “should have used a different group of senators” to make his point but that his remarks “have nothing to do with his position on race” issues. Scott said the reaction reflects an intense environment for Democrats in which the desire to defeat Trump means “anything the front-runner says that is off by a little bit” will be magnified.

https://apnews.com/5b57473cfcda44e4b35c8a40759a26fc

The gloves come off in the Democratic primary

This was the week that the battle for the nomination got real.

The tenor of the Democratic presidential primary has verged on courteous from the start: To the extent that Democrats went after Joe Biden, it was usually not by name. And Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren kept their rivalry decidedly civil.

This week, with the first debates of the election season days away, the gentility came to an end.

Biden’s remarks at a New York fundraiser that “at least there was some civility” when he worked with segregationists in the Senate unleashed a torrent of criticism from his rivals and the left. And a story in POLITICO about centrists coming around to Warren as an “anybody but Bernie” alternative set off Sanders and his allies.

“We knew the primary wouldn’t be all puppies and rainbows forever,” said Ben LaBolt, a former adviser to Barack Obama. “And as the debates approach you can see a new dynamic emerging.”

The reaction from Biden’s rivals to his comments was fierce.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose wife is African American, noted that one of the segregationists Biden invoked, James Eastland of Mississippi, would have outlawed his marriage. Sen. Cory Booker, who is black, took offense that Biden seemed to make light of Eastland calling him “son” but not “boy.”

“You don’t joke about calling black men ‘boys’,” Booker said.

Booker called on Biden to apologize but Biden took a different path. Outside a fundraiser Wednesday night, a defiant Biden said he had nothing to be sorry for and that it’s Booker who should apologize for questioning someone without “a racist bone in my body.”

“He knows better,” Biden said.

The crossfire marked some of the most direct and intense exchanges so far of the 2020 primary campaign. And it signals that with less than a week until the first televised debate, the field is done tiptoeing around.

“Running for president is no tea party. It’s a battle. And it is customary for candidates to begin to engage at this stage. The polite preliminaries are over,” said Democratic strategist and former Obama hand David Axelrod. “And since there is generally broad agreement on issues, if not solutions, the disputes necessarily turn on other things.”

In a separate episode, Sanders dispatched a tweet that was viewed as a sideswipe of Warren.

“The cat is out of the bag. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie,’” Sanders wrote on Twitter, sharing a POLITICO storyheadlined: “Warren emerges as potential compromise nominee.”

Sanders faced his own backlash over the remark.

“If we had a multi-party parliament, it’d be pretty normal for Sanders and Warren to campaign against each other for leadership in a Social Democratic Party. That said, I still find this move pretty dissapointing [sic] and unnecessary. Draw contrasts if you want, but not like this,” tweeted Waleed Shadid, communications director of the progressive group Justice Democrats.

Shadid later noted that Sanders on CNN said his remark was targeted at the moderate think tank Third Way, and not Warren.

Still, the escalating tensions come as Warren is gaining on Sanders in polls. She leapfrogged him in recent surveys in Nevada and California. And a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed Warren and Sanders virtually tied for second, with Warren, at 15 percent, gaining five points in one month. Biden still led the field at 32 percent.

“Biden’s numbers have held up higher than expected and a number of challengers are going after his gaffes more aggressively than before,” LaBolt said. “Warren has begun eating into Bernie’s numbers and he is trying to fend her off.”

Still, one Democratic veteran of the 2016 campaign, ex-Sanders adviser Mark Longabaugh, said the current tangles are nothing like what he experienced in that campaign. There’s plenty of time for it to get there, but it hasn’t happened yet.

“I don’t know if the gloves are off. I think the gloves may be getting a little loose — pulling out the fingertips to take the gloves off.” Longabaugh said. “Having been through the 2015-16 experience, I gotta tell ya, that was much more combative than anything you’ve seen in this race — not anything close.”

Not far from anyone’s mind are the first debates in Miami on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

“While this type of engagement is expected,” LaBolt said, “candidates should be careful not to cross any lines that could significantly damage potential nominees for the general.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/20/2020-election-democratic-primary-1373202

 

 

Part 2– Story 4: President Trump Pushes All The Right Buttons in 2020 Stump Speech in Orlando, Florida –Send Them Home — Lock Them Up — Four More Years — Videos

TRUMP 2020: President Trump Re-Election Campaign Rally – FULL SPEECH

What To Take Away From President Trump’s Re-Election Rally In Florida

FOX and Friends *6/19/19 | URGENT!TRUMP BREAKING News June 19, 2019

Orlando Fl Trump Rally CROWD FOOTAGE June 18th 2019

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Rep. Matt Gaetz: Trump’s Campaign Is An Inclusive Movement

FULL RALLY: President Trump Holds MASSIVE Rally in Orlando, FL

Trump supporters call speech ‘fantastic’

Anti-Trump Protesters Gather Outside Trump’s 2020 Kickoff Rally in Orlando

The Ingraham Angle 6/18/19 | Laura Ingraham Fox News June 18, 2019

Sean Hannity 6/18/19 | Fox News Today June 18 2019

Tucker Carlson Tonight 6/18/19 | Fox News Today June 18 2019

With Florida rally, Trump aims for a 2020 campaign ‘reset’

Trump to launch 2020 re-election bid in Florida

Orlando preps for huge crowds for Trump rally

Crowds grow for Trump rally in Orlando

People are lining up for President Trump’s event on Tuesday

THE PRESIDENT IS BACK: President Trump Returns From MASSIVE Orlando Rally

The Memo: Can Trump run as an outsider?

President Trump is running for reelection as an outsider candidate. But it’s a knotty challenge for someone who holds the world’s most powerful office.

Trump’s speech in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, which officially launched his 2020 bid, was rife with rhetoric portraying himself — and by extension his supporters — as victims of nefarious elites.

The president said that he and his allies were besieged by a “permanent political class” and “an unholy alliance of lobbyists and donors and special interests.”

“Our patriotic movement has been under assault from the very first day,” Trump insisted at one point. Moments before, he told the crowd, “the swamp is fighting back so viciously and violently.”

It’s the kind of language that makes Democrats roll their eyes. Trump, they note, is a billionaire property developer, born into wealth, who won the presidency on his first attempt — yet he portrays himself as the tribune of “the forgotten men and women of our country” whom he invoked in his January 2017 inaugural address.

But Trump’s unconventionality might, in itself, help him retain some kind of outsider cachet in a way that is unusual for an incumbent president.

“For any other president, yes, it is a challenge,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the 2016 presidential primaries.

“But Trump is unlike any other president. Trump has been at war with the establishment since the moment he set foot in the White House,” he said.

It is certainly true that Trump was viewed with suspicion by the Republican Party from the time he began his presidential run — and that his language and attitudes are viewed with distaste by much of the Beltway political class.

But dislike for Trump’s personal antics is hardly confined to D.C. elites.

A Pew Research Center poll in March showed pluralities of the public believing that he was not “trustworthy,” “even-tempered” or “well-informed.”

For all Trump’s supposed concern with less affluent Americans, 56 percent of the respondents in the Pew poll said they did not believe he cared about “people like me,” whereas just 40 percent said he did care.

The GOP has largely made peace with him, with former rivals including Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) becoming enthusiastic supporters, congressional dissenters such as former Rep. Mark Sanford(R-S.C.) having been defeated in primaries and Trump now in firm control of the party apparatus.

Skeptics also point to both policies and personnel — from the steep cut in the corporate tax rate in 2017 to the 16-month run of the ethically challenged Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency — as evidence that the swamp has remained undrained under Trump.

But Trump allies are insistent that the president’s feel for the cultural mores of blue-collar America remains a potent and underrated political weapon.

“He is certainly an outsider to the political establishment. They still don’t get him and he is not coming around to their way of thinking,” said Barry Bennett, who worked as a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “He may live inside the gates but he does not live inside the establishment. … I don’t know anyone who believes he has become some kind of Georgetown socialite.”

Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump friend, insisted, “I have never ever met anyone, any Trump supporter, who believes anything else besides the fact that he’s an outsider.”

There is clearly a political dividend to be gained if Trump can hold onto his outsider image.

In the recent past, voters in presidential elections have often chosen the candidate seen as less steeped in the ways of Washington.

Former President Obama won election twice as a change agent, initially winning the White House as the first black president and then securing a second term over GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the personification of a genteel Republican establishment.

Former President George W. Bush had only a tenuous claim to outsider status, given he was the son of a president — yet his campaign was able to paint then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as a creature of Washington in the 2004 presidential election.

Before that, former President Clinton used his down-home Arkansas image as a weapon against an incumbent president, Bush’s father, George H.W Bush, and then won a second term over another GOP establishment favorite, then-Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.).

Independent observers acknowledge that Trump’s style, divisive though it is, could help him be seen as much more of a disruptor even than these recent predecessors.

“It’s almost impossible for an incumbent to run as an outsider, but Trump has held onto that credential,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor who specializes in political communications. “He is parlaying that into how he sees himself — running against the Democrats, the media, the elites.”

Republicans, meanwhile, argue that Trump’s outsider image could be especially useful if Democrats pick former Vice President Joe Biden as their nominee.

Biden, in their telling, is much easier to brand as a creature of Washington given his decades in the Senate. There will be a different challenge if Democrats instead choose one of Biden’s rivals who is a fresher face on the national political scene, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); or more radical, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.).

Trump, billionaire Manhattanite though he may be, has long used the idea that he is sneered at by a snobbish elite to his own advantage.

On Tuesday, he told his supporters that Democrats “want to destroy you.”

It was a stark and visceral remark even by Trump’s standards.

But, after his 2016 victory, even his critics can’t be so sure it won’t work.

https://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/449436-the-memo-can-trump-run-as-an-outsider

A Second Term for What?

Trump can’t win by relitigating 2016 and playing only to his base.

President Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign on June 18.PHOTO: MANDEL NGAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

President Trump announced his campaign for a second term at a rally in Orlando on Tuesday evening that recounted his first-term record and 2016 victory before thousands of rapturous supporters. The only thing missing was an agenda for 2020.

The most striking fact of his speech was how backward looking it was. Every incumbent needs to remind voters of his record, Mr. Trump more than most because the media are so hostile.

Donald Trump Launches Campaign

The President is also right that his opponents have refused to recognize the legitimacy of his election. House Democrats may still try to impeach him for not obstructing an investigation into what wasn’t a conspiracy with Russia. His sense of “grievance,” to quote the media meme about his speech, on that point is entirely justified.

Yet Mr. Trump is asking for four more years, and his preoccupation with vindicating 2016 won’t resonate much beyond his core supporters. Most voters have moved on from 2016, which is why a majority opposes impeachment in every poll. They don’t much care about Mr. Trump’s greatest hits about Hillary Clinton, who alas for the President will not be on the ballot in 2020. They want to know why they should take a risk on Mr. Trump and his volatile character for another term.

This is all the more important given the way his first term has evolved on policy. One paradox is that his main policy successes have come from pursuing a conventional conservative agenda. The failures have been on the issues like trade and immigration that are the most identified with Trumpian disruption.

The economy’s renewed growth spurt came from tax reform, deregulation, liberating energy production and ending the anti-business harassment of the Obama years. His remaking of the judiciary and rebuilding of the military unite Republicans of all stripes. Criminal justice reform was the result of years of spade work on the right and left.

Mr. Trump deserves credit for pursuing all of this despite often ferocious opposition that might have intimidated a different GOP President. That’s true in particular of his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, where U.S. Democratic and media opinion is aligned with Europe’s elites.

On immigration, however, the President missed a chance to strike a deal trading more border security (including his wall) for legalizing Dreamers. He must now confront the asylum crisis at the border with no help from Democrats. On trade, Mr. Trump has disrupted global rules but has put nothing new and stable in their place. Asking voters to believe he’ll do better on these issues in a second term isn’t likely to turn many swing voters his way.

The other paradox of the Trump Presidency is his low approval rating despite a stronger economy. The polls show his approval rating on the economy is above 50% but his overall approval is 44.3% in the Real Clear Politics average. The difference is best explained by Mr. Trump’s polarizing behavior, which has alienated in particular college-educated voters and Republican women. In the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, Mr. Trump is underwater with white college-educated women by a remarkable 20 percentage points.

Mr. Trump may figure he can persuade some of those skeptics by making the Democratic nominee even more unpopular than he is. If the Democrats oblige by nominating Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, that might be possible. But that is making a bet on the other party’s mistake, and a re-election campaign is typically a referendum on the incumbent.

Which is all the more reason to offer voters something more for a second term. He could put Democrats on the spot for high housing prices and homelessness by talking about restrictive zoning for elites and high property taxes. He could offer to reform higher education by making schools responsible for some of the debt of students who can’t repay loans, or invigorate vocational education to help young people who can’t go to college.

He could package health-care proposals to expand choice, reduce prices and make insurance portable; his administration has already proposed some of them. He could advance his theme of “draining the swamp” by offering ideas to reform the civil service. We’d include entitlement reform, but then Mr. Trump has shown no interest and we don’t believe in political miracles.

This is far from an exhaustive list, and Mr. Trump won’t win as a policy wonk in any case. But Mr. Trump also won’t win by relitigating the 2016 election or playing only to his political base. He needs more than he offered voters on Tuesday night.

Opinion: Countering Trump With Reliability, Not Bold Agenda

Opinion: Countering Trump With Reliability, Not Bold Agenda
A Fox News poll has found that Democrats prefer a “steady” candidate to a “big agenda” candidate. But going up against the scale of Donald Trump will be tough, so how do frontrunners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren compare? Image: Getty

‘This election is about you. Your family, your future & the fate of YOUR country’: Trump lays it on the line at 20,000-strong Orlando rally as he kicks off 2020 re-election campaign with his entire family and obligatory digs at ‘Crooked Hillary’

  • The president spent the first half-hour of a Tuesday night rally hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton 
  • Trump said his team wondered if it should hold the rally in a venue which can hold 20,000 people
  • ‘Not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests… Congratulations!’ the president said to cheers
  • The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, invited the criticism when she wound up an arena of supporters
  • Husband Eric, who spoke after her, had a crowd of more than 20,000 screaming, ‘CNN Sucks!’ 
  • ‘He loves this country and we, as a family, love this country. We’re going to fight like hell,’ Eric said 
  •  Donald Trump Jr. mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours
  • ‘He gets up on the stump. It’s so stupid,’ he said, claiming the ex-VP has four-person crowds 

President Trump spent a Tuesday night rally he’d advertised as a 2020 kickoff hammering his old foe Hillary Clinton for acid washing her emails and failing to deliver on her pledge to beat him, while Democrats vying for the party’s nomination now escaped his wrath.

Noting that he’s under constant media scrutiny, Trump said that he’d be sent to the slammer if he ordered aides to destroy potential evidence.

‘But, can you imagine if I got a subpoena, think of this, if I got a subpoena for emails, if I deleted one email like a love note to Melania, it’s the electric chair for Trump,’ he claimed in a campaign speech in Orlando.

Trump said subpoenas he’s receiving are not about Democratic claims that his campaign may have colluded with Russia.

‘The Democrats don’t care about Russia, they only care about their own political power. They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I’ve ever known or worked with,’ he argued. ‘But they are really going after you. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about us, it’s about you. They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.’

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage to formally kick off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando. He kicked off first official 2020 rally by claiming 120,000 people submitted requests to attend

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on stage to formally kick off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando. He kicked off first official 2020 rally by claiming 120,000 people submitted requests to attend
First lady Melania Trump speaks as Trump looks on. Trump's first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended - with his audience chanting 'Lock her Up!' in a slam on former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton

First lady Melania Trump speaks as Trump looks on. Trump’s first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended – with his audience chanting ‘Lock her Up!’ in a slam on former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton

Trump's campaign turned the area outside the arena that can seat 20,000 people into a festival-like atmosphere with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time

Trump’s campaign turned the area outside the arena that can seat 20,000 people into a festival-like atmosphere with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time

Michael Boulos, Tiffany Trump, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Donald Trump Jr. arrive at a rally for US President Donald Trump

FLOTUS Melania introduces her husband at Trump 2020 rally

The president said, ‘They wanted to deny you the future you demanded and the future that America deserved and that now America is getting. Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable, it’s not going to happen. Not gonna happen.’

Trump claimed that Democrats as a party would use the ‘power of the law to punish their opponents’ if they’re handed the reigns to the country.

‘Imagine if we had a Democrat president and a Democrat Congress in 2020. They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents – which they’re trying to do now anyway – they’ll always be trying to shield themselves,’ he claimed. ‘They will strip Americans of their Constitutional rights while flooding the country with illegal immigrants in the hopes it will expand their political base and they’ll get votes someplace down the future. That’s what it’s about.’

Broad attacks on the Democratic Party and ‘radical socialism’ were the most stringent assaults that Trump would levy all night.

He said, ‘More than 120 Democrats in Congress have also signed up to support “Crazy Bernie Sanders” socialist government takeover of health care.

‘He seems not to be doing too well lately,’ the president said as an aside. ‘They want to end Medicare as we know it and terminate the private health insurance of 180 million Americans who love their health insurance. America will never be a socialist country.’

It was his only mention at the rally of one of his most formidable opponents. Former Democratic President Joe Biden was also a footnote in the speech, earning two mentions, as a part of the ‘Obama-Biden’ duo that Trump said ruined American foreign policy and drove down the nation’s economy.

‘Remember the statement from the previous administration? Would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing? Well, tell “Sleepy Joe” that we found the magic wand. That’s a sleepy guy,’ the president added.

Trump outlined his vision tweeting: ‘Don’t ever forget – this election is about YOU. It is about YOUR family, YOUR future, & the fate of YOUR COUNTRY. We begin our campaign with the best record, the best results, the best agenda, & the only positive VISION for our Country’s future! #Trump2020’

The Trumps said their family has been under attack since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Jared Kushner, left, Ivanka Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign

The Trumps said their family has been under attack since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015. Jared Kushner, left, Ivanka Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, left, and Donald Trump Jr. pictured

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking leading Democratic candidate Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president. Kimberly Guilfoyle, left, and Donald Trump Jr. pictured

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center

Senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, watch as President Donald Trump speaks at his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center

Trump rails against Democrats, Mueller and ‘fake news’ at 2020 rally
Trump’s first official campaign rally of 2020 opened much the way his 2016 candidacy ended – with his audience chanting ‘Lock her Up!’ in a slam on former Democratic opponent Clinton.

The president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, invited the criticism first. She wound up an arena of supporters with a claim that the media was saying Clinton was going to be the 45th President of the United States days before the election. ‘They have always been wrong,’ she declared.

Attacks on the media as ‘fake news’ and ‘dishonest’ from Lara and her husband Eric, who spoke after her, had a crowd of more than 20,000 screaming ‘CNN Sucks!’ minutes later.

The Trumps said their family has been under attack from one group or another since the family patriarch declared his candidacy for president in 2015.

‘He loves this country and we, as a family, love this country. And guys we are going to fight like hell – our family is going to fight like hell for this country. We will never ever stop fighting, and we will never ever, ever stop winning,’ the president’s son said. ‘And guys, we love you very much. We’re all going to be spending a lot of time in Florida. We’re going to be spending a lot of time in Florida. So we’re going to see you.’

Donald Trump Jr. channeled his attacks to his father’s current opponents, mocking Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited in the heat and rain for hours, and days in some cases, to see the sitting president.

‘I don’t know about you, but I look around this room and when Joe Biden’s putting about seven people in an audience, I’m saying, “I think they may be a little wrong with the polling.” But what they hell do I know?’ he said.

National polls show Biden beating Trump in a general election. A Quinnipiac University survey that came out Tuesday found that the former vice president would beat Trump by nine points, 50 – 41, the newly-released poll showed.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would win by a similar margin, 48 – 42, while other top Democrats would perform in the poll’s margin of error.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told DailyMail.com inside the rally that Quinnipiac is ‘c**p’ in response to the latest poll showing bad news in a critical swing state for the controversial president.

Trump had already warned the public that this official launch of 2020 campaign would be 'wild,' after supporters camped out in tents for more than 30 hours to save their places at the front of a massive line that would ensure them floor seats

US First Lady Melania Trump greets US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump set the tone for the monster rally in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

US First Lady Melania Trump greets US Vice President Mike Pence. Trump set the tone for the monster rally in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

Lara Trump takes to the stage before her father-in-law United States President Donald Trump arrives on stage to announce his candidacy for a second presidential term at the Amway Center

Lara Trump takes to the stage before her father-in-law United States President Donald Trump arrives on stage to announce his candidacy for a second presidential term at the Amway Center

Donald Trump Jr. throws hats to supporters at the rally. He mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited for hours

Donald Trump Jr. throws hats to supporters at the rally. He mocked Joe Biden before the rowdy crowd that waited for hours

Trump attacks Democrats at his Orlando rally
Don Jr. brushed off the threat from Biden, 76, as he campaigned for his father, 73, on Tuesday in Orlando. He called Biden and his competitors a ‘clown show’ and gave the Democrat a new nickname. ‘Sloppy Joe,’ he called him, as he hit Biden for flip-flopping.

‘He gets up on the stump. It’s so stupid,’ he said. ‘To his group of about four people in the audience, “Government has failed you.” Usually, as he’s groping someone. It ain’t pretty, but there’s something off with that guy.’

The president’s son said he agrees that government is broken and it’s a problem. ‘The problem is Joe, you’ve been in government for almost 50 years. If government failed you, maybe you’re the problem Joe Biden,’ he said. ‘It’s not rocket science.’

Trump warned the public that the campaign rally would be ‘wild,’ and Don Jr. helped him deliver on the pledge.

He mocked Biden’s pledge to cure cancer, asking, ‘Why the hell didn’t you do that over the last 50 years, Joe?’

Don Jr. blamed the media for giving Biden a pass. ‘Why did not one of them say, “Well, Joe, how exactly are you going to do that?” And why didn’t you do that in the last eight years as vice president and the prior 40 years in government and the Senate?’

His father later claimed that he’d cure cancer in remarks that followed. ‘We will push onward with new medical frontiers. We will come up with the cures to many, many problems, to many, many diseases, including cancer and others and we’re getting closer all the time,’ he said.

Attacks on Clinton and media were a common theme throughout the night, with Trump pausing and waiting for his supporters to cheer, ‘CNN SUCKS!’ and ‘Lock her Up!’ as he talked about the former secretary of state’s acid-washed emails and her loss to him in the last election.

‘It was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of our election, spy on our campaign, which is what they did,’ he complained.