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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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1347 October 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1346 October 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1345 October 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1344 October 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1343 October 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1342 October 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1336 October 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1335 October 7, 2019

 Pronk Pops Show 1334 October 4, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1333 October 3, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1332 October 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1331 October 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1330 September 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1329 September 27, 2019

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Pronk Pops Show 1327 September 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1326 September 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1325 September 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1324 September 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1323 September 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1322 September 18 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1321 September 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1320 September 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1319 September 13, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1318 September 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1317 September 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1316 September 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1315 September 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1314 September 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1313 August 28, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1312 August 27, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1311 August 26, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1310 August 21, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1309 August 20, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1308 August 19, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1307 August 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1306 August 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1305 August 12, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1304 August 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1303 August 7, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1302 August 6, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1301 August 5, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1300 August 1, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1299 July 31, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1298 July 30, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1297 July 29, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1296 July 25, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1295 July 24, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1294 July 23, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1293 July 22, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1292 July 18, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1291 July 17, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1290 July 16, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1289 July 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1288 July 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1287 July 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1286 July 9, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1285 July 8, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1284 July 2, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1283 July 1, 2019

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

Malzberg | Bill Binney discusses his belief that the NSA has all of Clinton’s emails

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questions FBI Director Comey on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

Napolitano: Will NSA continue to spy on Americans?

NSA whistleblower on how the agency tracks you

How the NSA Spies on Americans (Jim Harper)

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

An effective alternative to mass surveillance | William Binney | TEDxBerlinSalon

A GOOD AMERICAN

Mr. President—Listen to Bill Binney. Russiagate is a Worse Hoax than You Thought

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All: The Program | Op-Docs | The New York Times

The Final Report: Watergate (National Geographic)

G. Gordon Liddy Recalls the Motives for the Watergate Break-In and His Doubts About It

Alexander P. Butterfield Testifies During the Watergate Hearings

“Cancer on the Presidency”: John Dean explains the origins of the Watergate break-in, March 21, 1973

The Watergate Scandal in 7 Minutes

 John Dean (Jun 25 & 26 1973)

President Nixon and H.R. Haldeman discuss the Watergate investigation, June 23, 1972

Watergate Hearings: Patrick J. Buchanan (Sep 26 1973)

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 

 

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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 —

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire delivers his opening statement

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WATCH: Rep. Devin Nunes’ full questioning of acting intel chief Joseph Maguire | DNI hearing

WATCH: Rep. Schiff’s full 2nd round of questioning of acting intel chief Maguire | DNI hearing

Sekulow: Whistleblower complaint form used to require firsthand information

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Meadows: The foundation of the whistleblower complaint is falling apart

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Gowdy believes House Dems want to punt impeachment to the Senate

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Former intelligence counsel discusses Maguire hearing, whistleblower complaint

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EXCLUSIVE: Trump Attacks Whistle-Blower in Private Meeting

Trump slams whistleblower as ‘almost a spy’

Gingrich: Pelosi’s impeachment push ‘makes no sense at all’

Nunes: Ukrainian whistleblower is no different than Russia hoax

Donald Trump warned not to retaliate against whistleblower amid impeachment probe| ITV News

Dems threaten to sue White House over access to whistleblower complaint

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Swamp Watch: The Biden family

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Ted Koppel calls out liberal media bias against Trump

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.

3
UNCLASSIFIED

Page 3

  • 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.

4
UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED

  • 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.

5
UNCLASSIFIED

Page 5

  • 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.”

6
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

7
UNCLASSIFIED

Page 7

  • 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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August 12, 2019

(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

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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

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Discount Rate and Federal Funds Rate

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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

Trump slams Obamacare at 2020 reelection rally

President Trump’s 2020 campaign kicks off with a rally in Orlando, Florida

Trump mocks Hillary at explosive re-election campaign rally

Trump campaign kickoff rally was “like we were throwing back the clock to four years ago”

WATCH: Vice President Mike Pence Speaks at President Trump’s Reelection Rally

WATCH: Donald Trump Jr. Delivers EXPLOSIVE Speech at Reelection Rally

LIVE 🔴 President Trump Rally in Orlando, Florida – June 18, 2019 – TRUMP 2020 RE-ELECTION RALLY

News Now Stream 2 6/18/19 (FNN)

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.

Trump meets fans after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Miami International Airport in Miami

Trump meets fans after stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Miami International Airport in Miami

Vice President Mike Pence, escorted in by Karen Pence, speaks before Trump takes the stage on Tuesday evening

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida to officially launch his 2020 campaign

Melania's spokesperson Stephanie Grisham speaks with White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway at the campaign rally

Melania’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham speaks with White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway at the campaign rally

President Trump said as he opened the event that he could feel the ‘magic’ in Orlando – a play on the name of the city’s professional basketball team.

He spoke to supporters in the same arena that the team plays in, which is a venue that can hold roughly 20,000 people.

‘You know, I said, “This is a very big arena for a Tuesday night.” I said, “You know, if we have about three or four empty seats, the fake news will say – headlines: he didn’t fill up the arena.” So I said maybe we shouldn’t take the chance, maybe we shouldn’t go to Orlando, maybe we should go someplace else,’ Trump said in his opening remarks. ‘I said, “No, I think we’ll go to Orlando.” And, not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests. That means you folks have come out very, very good.’

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 at Tuesday evening’s show.

Saundra Kiczenski, a Michigan native who works in retail, waited from 7am on Monday. She said she’d been to rallies in support of the president in 15 states. She spent Monday night on the pavement in a sleeping bag.

‘I took the hotel pillow and slept on the ground,’ she told DailyMail.com on Tuesday afternoon as she waited to get in.

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he’d be appearing at in the evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour.

‘The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!’ he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

A cover band with aging rockers who call themselves ‘The Guzzlers’ revved up the crowd under a beating sun at a ‘festival’ the campaign held in an outdoor parking lot, where vendors sold a captive and cramped group sodas, snow cones and Trump umbrellas.

Sweltering heat that topped 87 degrees soon turned to pouring rain, giving the umbrellas a dual purpose for supporters like Richard Snowden who chose to remain.

A resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Snowden said he’d be ‘remiss’ to have skipped the kickoff. He told DailyMail.com from the comfort of a party-style tent his group had pitched that he’d attended 54 rallies since Trump announced his candidacy for office in 2015.

But even Snowden called himself a pragmatist and said of the president’s reelection odds, ‘I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk.’

‘The incumbency will help. He won’t catch them flat-footed this time,’ he observed, as he waited for the rally to begin. ‘And he won’t have the dislike of Hillary working in his favor,’ he said in remarks that proved to prescient.

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he'd be appearing at in the evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

 

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump are pictured stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida Tuesday

The US President and First Lady Melania Trump are pictured stepping off Air Force One upon arrival at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida Tuesday

Special advisor to the US president Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport

Michael Boulos and Tiffany Trump wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport in Orlando

Special advisor to the US president Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, and Michael Boulos and Tiffany Trump, right, wait for the arrival of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Orlando International Airport on Tuesday

Donald Trump is putting an advisory on his Orlando rally, saying the official launch of 2020 campaign will be 'wild,' after supporters camped out in tents to save their places in line like they were waiting in line for a free concert with Rihanna

Donald Trump is putting an advisory on his Orlando rally, saying the official launch of 2020 campaign will be ‘wild,’ after supporters camped out in tents to save their places in line like they were waiting in line for a free concert with Rihanna

Supporters of President Donald Trump wait in line hours before the arena doors open for a campaign rally Tuesday

Supporters of President Donald Trump wait in line hours before the arena doors open for a campaign rally Tuesday

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Determined: The early start was an attempt by the fanatical Trump backers to be at the front of the crowd for the campaign kick-off

Determined: The early start was an attempt by the fanatical Trump backers to be at the front of the crowd for the campaign kick-off

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7156179/Trumps-2020-kickoff-features-media-bashing-attacks-Joe-Biden-old-foe-Hillary-Clinton.html

 

Trump, in 2020 campaign mode, calls Democrats ‘radical’

today

President Donald Trump jabbed at the press and poked the political establishment he ran against in 2016 as he kicked off his reelection campaign with a grievance-filled rally focused more on settling scores than laying out his agenda for a possible second term.

Addressing a crowd of thousands at Orlando’s Amway Center on Tuesday night, Trump complained he was “under assault from the very first day” of his presidency by a “fake news media” and an “illegal witch hunt” that had tried to keep him and his supporters down.

He painted a disturbing picture of what life would look like if he loses in 2020, accusing his critics of “un-American conduct” and saying Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he said. Trump made only passing mention of any of the Democrats running to replace him even as he tossed out “radical” and “unhinged” to describe the rival party.

Trump has long railed against the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the ongoing probes by House Democrats in the aftermath of Robert Mueller’s report .

President Donald Trump officially kicked off his re-election campaign Tuesday with a grievance-filled Florida rally. "We're going to keep it better than ever before," he declared. (June 18)

The apocalyptic language and finger-pointing made clear that Trump’s 2020 campaign will probably look a whole lot like his run three years ago. Even after two-and-a-half years in the Oval Office, Trump remains focused on energizing his base and offering himself as a political outsider running against Washington.

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted Wednesday morning that Trump had raised $24.8 million in less than 24 hours for his reelection.

In his speech, Trump spent considerably more time focused on former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton than on his current 2020 challengers, even though she is not on the ballot.

Thousands of Trump supporters began gathering outside the arena on Monday.

“Trump has been the best president we’ve ever had,” said Ron Freitas, a retired Merchant Marine and registered Democrat from Orlando.

Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters clapped and took photos when a 20-foot (6-meter) blimp of a snarling Trump baby in a diaper was inflated. Some members of the far-right hate group Proud Boys were also spotted marching outside the rally.

Trump aides scheduled the kickoff near the four-year anniversary of the day when the former reality television star and New York tabloid fixture launched his longshot campaign for president with a famous escalator ride in front of a crowd that included paid actors.

Trump spoke fondly of his 2016 race, calling it “a defining moment in American history.” He said that in the years since, he had upended Washington, staring down “a corrupt and broken political establishment” and restoring a government “of, for and by the people.”

He never has really stopped running. He filed for reelection on Jan. 20, 2017, the day of his inauguration, and held his first 2020 rally in February, 2017, in nearby Melbourne. He has continued holding his signature “Make America Great Again” rallies in the months since.

Trump asked the crowd whether he should stick with “Make America Great Again” or upgrade his slogan. His new one — “Keep America Great” — was greeted with boisterous cheers.

Trump is hoping to replicate the dynamics that allowed him to take charge of the Republican Party and then the presidency as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. In 2016, he successfully appealed to disaffected voters who felt left behind by economic dislocation and demographic shifts. He has no intention of abandoning that mantle, even if he is the face of the institutions he looks to disrupt.

The president underscored that on the eve of the rally in must-win Florida, returning to the hardline immigration themes of his first campaign by tweeting that next week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”

That promise, which came with no details and sparked Democratic condemnation, seemed to offer a peek into a campaign that will largely be fought along the same lines as his first bid, with very few new policy proposals for a second term.

Early Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said Trump’s politics are “all about dividing us” in ways that are “dangerous — truly, truly dangerous.”

Another leading Democratic contender, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said Trump had delivered “an hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total, absolute nonsense.”

But those involved in the president’s reelection effort believe his version of populism, combined with his mantra to “Drain the Swamp,” still resonates, despite his administration’s ties with lobbyists and corporations and the Trump family’s apparent efforts to profit off the presidency.Critics have pointed out his constant promotion for his golf courses, both at home and abroad, and note that this daughter, White House senior aide Ivanka Trump, made $4 million last year from her stake in the president’s Washington hotel, which has become a favored destination for foreign nationals looking to curry favor with the administration.

Advisers believe that, in an age of extreme polarization, many Trump backers view their support for the president as part of their identity, one not easily shaken. They point to his seemingly unmovable support with his base supporters as evidence that he is still viewed the same way he was as a candidate: a political rebel.

Trump tried to make the case that he had made good on his 2016 promises, including cracking down on illegal immigration and boosting jobs.

Near the rally’s end, Trump ran through a list of promises for a second term, pledging a new immigration system, new trade deals, a health care overhaul and a cure for cancer and “many diseases,” including eradicating AIDS in America.

https://apnews.com/947182a691e6498ca4488e9fc8f9e4b5

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.

 

A sunshine state of mind! Melania and Donald Trump gaze lovingly at one another as they leave the White House hand-in-hand and head to Florida for the president’s 2020 rally

  • Trump, 73, and Melania, 49, departed the White House together on Tuesday to fly to Florida
  • The President will be officially launching his 2020 campaign with a rally at the Amway Center
  • The first lady wore a summery $2,290 white eyelet Andrew Gin dress with a pair of red and white polka-dot heels
  • She grinned at her husband as they walked hand-in-hand to Marine One
  • Melania is not expected to speak at the event, which will include an estimated 20,000 people

Donald and Melania Trump had a rare romantic public moment on Tuesday as the two left the White House for Orlando, Florida.

The President and first lady walked hand-in-hand across the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on their way to Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff rally.

Cameras caught the couple sharing a warm smile as they held onto each other, Trump, 73, dressed in a navy suit and red tie and his 49-year-old wife took advantage of the June heat in a $2,290 summery white eyelet dress from Andrew Gin, and red polka-dot heels.

All smiles: Donald and Melania Trump held hands and beamed at one another as they walked across the White House lawn to begin their trip to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday

All smiles: Donald and Melania Trump held hands and beamed at one another as they walked across the White House lawn to begin their trip to Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday

Ready to get away! The 49-year-old first lady couldn't wipe the smile off her face as she and the president strolled across the South Lawn

Ready to get away! The 49-year-old first lady couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she and the president strolled across the South Lawn

On their way: They appeared to be in good spirits as they set out for Orlando, Florida+19

On their way: They appeared to be in good spirits as they set out for Orlando, Florida

Hands on: At one point, Trump clasped one of Melania's hands in both of his own+19

Hands on: At one point, Trump clasped one of Melania’s hands in both of his own

The couple isn’t typically much for PDA but shared an intimate smile as they walked passed photographers.

They held each other’s hands, with Trump stopping at one point in order to clasp Melania’s left hand in both of his own.

Melania beat the heat, which is hovering in the mid-to-high 80s in Washington, D.C. today, in a breezy but figure-flaunting white sleeveless dress, which featured a seasonally appropriate eyelet patter with floral cutouts on the top.

She accessorized with a pair of dark sunglasses and red and white pointy-toe pumps. while wearing her brown hair blown out around her shoulders.

The couple, who married in 2005, celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary in January, just one year less than he was married to his first wife Ivana.

The couple grinned as they boarded Marine One and then switched planes for Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

Hot out here: Melania wore a summery white eyelet dress for the occasion, as temperatures soared into the high 80s+19

Hot out here: Melania wore a summery white eyelet dress for the occasion, as temperatures soared into the high 80s

Protection: She shielded her eyes behind a pair of sunglasses+19

Protection: She shielded her eyes behind a pair of sunglasses

High heels: On her feet were a pair of red polka dot pointy-toe pumps+19

High heels: On her feet were a pair of red polka dot pointy-toe pumps

Ready to go: The well-coiffed first lady had her hair and nails done+19

Ready to go: The well-coiffed first lady had her hair and nails done

They’re flying down not to Mar-a-Lago but Orlando, where Trump is kicking off his 2020 presidential campaign at the Amway Center in front of an estimated 20,000 people.

Trump’s campaign is transforming the area outside the arena to have a festival-like atmosphere, with music and food trucks to help supporters pass the time.

The most coveted positions are not seats at all, but standing positions near the front of the stage. Backers of the president in that area are likely to get a handshake, a selfie or Trump’s autograph at the event that formally marks the beginning of his campaign for a second term.

All of Trump’s children and his wife Melania will be with him at the event, sources told DailyMail.com, as will the Mike Pence, the president’s running mate and the nation’s vice president.

The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said, but given the president’s tendency to call on people to speak, she could end up addressing the crowd.

Donald Trump, Jr., on the other hand is expected to give remarks before the rally.

Beat the heat: Melania kept breezy in the lightweight dress+19

It will likely also serve her well in the Florida heat+19

Beat the heat: Melania kept breezy in the lightweight dress, which will likely also serve her well in the Florida heat

Staying behind: The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said+19

Staying behind: The first lady does not plan to make formal remarks on Tuesday night, her office said

Change of plan? The couple's 13-year-old son Barron is also expected to be at the rally, but was not seen traveling with them+19

Change of plan? The couple’s 13-year-old son Barron is also expected to be at the rally, but was not seen traveling with them

Family affair: Trump's adult children — Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany — are also expected to be there+19

Family affair: Trump’s adult children — Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric, and Tiffany — are also expected to be there

Melania continued to smile at her husband as they switched planes at Joint Base Andrews+19

Melania continued to smile at her husband as they switched planes at Joint Base Andrews

See ya! Trump waved goodbye as they boarded the plane together+19

See ya! Trump waved goodbye as they boarded the plane together

The president’s eldest son is a frequent presence at campaign events — with and without his father — and often serves as a warm-up act for the president’s supporters. He’s also campaigned and raised money for other Republican candidates since his father entered politics.

His girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News personality, is also scheduled to be at the rally. She serves as a senior adviser to the president’s reelection campaign.

Senior advisers and family members to the president Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are also expected to be at the rally.

It’s unclear if Lara Trump, wife of Eric Trump, will be in Orlando. She serves as a senior adviser to the president’s campaign, but is also pregnant with the couple’s second child. She made a state trip to the UK in early June.

It will be 13-year-old Barron Trump’s first appearance at a campaign rally since his father took office.

Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany, who has been less involved than her older siblings in her father’s campaigns and administration, will also be there.

Orlando Trump supporters stakeout spots ahead of rally

Waiting for him: The rally will mark the official launch of 2020 campaign+19

Waiting for him: The rally will mark the official launch of 2020 campaign

Patience: Supporters waited in line hours before the arena doors opened on Tuesday+19

Patience: Supporters waited in line hours before the arena doors opened on Tuesday

Patriotic colors: Trump supporters came in red white and blue for the campaign kick-off

Wild: The Republican incumbent set the tone in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour

President Trump release his 2020 campaign ad for re-election

The Republican incumbent set the tone for the monster rally in Florida he’d be appearing at this evening in a morning tweet that bashed the media and compared the scene outside the Amway Center to a rock tour.

‘The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!’ he said.

Trump had apparently dropped a claim that ‘thousands’ turned up on Monday, with about 250 people camping overnight. But the numbers grew steadily as temperatures soared in Orlando Tuesday, reaching 87 degrees before an hour-long downpour that soaked a waiting crowd.

A new Quinnipiac poll showed Trump losing Florida to Democratic nemesis Joe Biden. The former vice president would beat Trump by nine points, 50 – 41 per cent, the newly-released survey 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

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7155853/Melania-Trump-smiles-warmly-husband-depart-Orlando-campaign-kickoff-rally.html

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1218, March 1, 2019, Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats Put Trump Impeachment Talk On Hold After Cohen Testimony — No Credible Evidence Against Trump — Reality — Videos — Story 2: Socialist Democrats Wanting To Save The Planet From Climate Change — American People Simply Do Not Believe Man Is The Primary Cause Of Climate Change — Computer Climate Models Cannot Predict Temperatures Decades Into The Future! — Videos

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Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats Put Trump Impeachment Talk On Hold After Cohen Testimony — No Credible Evidence Against Trump On False Russian Collusion Charges — Videos

How the Democratic Party Destroyed Itself and Handed #Election2020 to President Donald Trump

 

 

Dems look to steer clear of impeachment talk after Cohen testimony

A day after the former Trump lawyer’s public session on the Hill, more Republicans than Democrats were framing it as a significant step in a push to remove the president from office.
 / Updated 
By Rebecca Shabad

Leading congressional Democrats were still largely steering clear of impeachment chatter a day after President Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, alleged in public testimony that Trump had violated campaign finance laws and lied to the American public.

“I’m not going into that, I’m not going into that,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said at her weekly news conference Thursday, quickly dismissing talk of impeachment.

“We have two investigations, a Mueller report that we’re all anxiously awaiting” and a potential investigation by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, Pelosi added. “But again, impeachment is a divisive issue in our country and let us see what the facts are, what the law is and what the behavior is of the president.”

 

And so Republicans once again took the lead on impeachment chatter, describing the Cohen testimony as a sort of opening act in a looming drama.

“I think yesterday was all about Michael Cohen sort of laying the predicate for the Democrats and their crazy impeachment plans,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the Oversight Committee, told reporters at the conservative CPAC convention Thursday.

Rep. James Comer, R-Tenn., in an interview Wednesday on “PBS NewsHour,” said he believed that the Cohen hearing was “the first step in a process to try to impeach the president.”

“As far as an impeachable offense, I do not think the president has done anything wrong,” he said. “And I think that the Democrats are wasting a lot of political capital and their newfound majority on this investigation.”

But the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., like Pelosi, downplayed the idea that his panel’s seven-hour hearing had represented a significant leap forward on that front.

“I need to study the transcripts to see what we have. Keep in mind I want to proceed very cautiously,” Cummings told reporters after the hearing Wednesday, when asked if he had heard any evidence of impeachable offenses.

Asked Thursday whether the crimes alleged by Cohen would lead to impeachment, Cummings was circumspect. “I’m not there,” he said. “But I do find it interesting that there was not one Democrat that I remember even mentioning the word ‘impeach.’”

The vice chair of the Oversight panel, freshman Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., also said Thursday that an impeachment discussion was a bit premature. “I think we really need to let the process play out because while there are offenses that I think really could lead us down the road toward impeachment, this is something the public has to get on board with because we need to get to the two-thirds majority in the Senate and in the House,” she told CNN.

And Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee that is hearing closed-door testimony from Cohen on Thursday, sounded a similar note on Wednesday. “There’s growing evidence that an impeachment pleading can be made, but I think there’s more that needs to be evaluated,” she said.

Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Communications Committee, said that Democrats are proceeding cautiously for good reason — they would only have one chance to take the leap in the current Congress.

“I think everyone wants to be careful that we recognize you have one occasion to proceed with impeachment, and we ought to do it when we have gathered all of the evidence that would support it,” he told CNN Thursday. “If you are asking me if it seems more likely that the president could be removed from office based on what we know, is it more likely today than it was on Tuesday, I think the answer to that is yes.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/democrats-look-steer-clear-impeachment-talk-after-cohen-testimony-n977736

Michael Cohen Makes History

There’s no precedent for such an attack on the essential nature of an American president.

Michael Cohen testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27.
Michael Cohen testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27. PHOTO: MELINA MARA/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

Michael Cohen is, famously, a lowlife and screwball who’s made his living as an enforcer, liar and thug. He is going to prison essentially for these things. He has taken to implying his turning on Donald Trump is linked to an inner moral conversion, which may be true but is conveniently timed: He has nothing to lose and some form of leniency to gain.

But I found his testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee credible overall, and I suspect most everyone in America did, because no one, friend of the president or foe, love him or hate him, thinks Mr. Trump has a high personal character or an especially admirable back story. And that was Mr. Cohen’s subject.

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Michael Cohen Testifies
Michael Cohen testifies against Trump on Capitol Hill.
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Democrats say the purpose of the hearing was to get at the truth, Republicans say it was to disrupt the Trump presidency, and both are correct. But history, which is a real and actual thing, was also at the table, and this is what history was told by a man who was for 10 years the president’s personal lawyer and confidante, an intimate who was present at the creation:

Mr. Cohen implied the president’s Russian policies are not and never have been on the up-and-up: “Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump-Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign, and lied about it. He lied because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real-estate project.” Mr. Cohen said he came to see the president’s true character: “Since taking office he has become the worst version of himself. . . . Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation—only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, the campaign is going to be the ‘greatest infomercial in political history.’ He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign—for him—was always a marketing opportunity.”

None of these charges were new, precisely. They have been made in books, investigations and interviews both on and off the record. What is amazing though is that such a rebuke—such an attack on the essential nature of a president, and by an intimate—has no equal in our history. I don’t think, as we talk about Mr. Cohen’s testimony, we fully appreciate this. John Dean said there was a cancer growing in the presidency. He didn’t say Richard Nixonwas the cancer. He didn’t say the president was wicked and a fraud.

This is bigger than we think, and history won’t miss the import of this testimony.

Were the hearings step one in an ultimate impeachment attempt? We’ll see. The 7½ hours came across like the artillery bombardment before the charge. Older Democrats will counsel that the way forward is to spend the next year weakening the president—2020 is coming, a move to impeach will cause grave national trouble. Will they prevail?

Everyone focuses on the always-upcoming Mueller report, but the action seems to be in Manhattan. When Mr. Cohen was asked if there were any illegal acts regarding Donald Trump that hadn’t come up in the hearings, he said yes. “Those are a part of the investigation that’s currently being looked at by the Southern District of New York,” meaning the U.S. attorney there. What did the president or one of his agents communicate to Mr. Cohen the last time they had contact? “This topic is actually something that’s being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York.”

The Southern District of New York sure sounds busy. They’ve granted immunity to the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, and they’re not limited by a specific mandate. They can look into any crime that took place within their jurisdiction. They took down the Mafia using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Performance by the new committee members was uneven. When the professionally fiery Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) made a speech implying that Republican member Mark Meadows was racist, Chairman Elijah Cummings defused the situation and Ms. Tlaib retreated, suggesting she was sorry she was misunderstood, by which she seemed to mean she was sorry she’d been comprehended. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, under criticism back home for her role in dooming the Amazon jobs deal, shrewdly played against type, eschewing a showy speech and instead asking carefully targeted questions.

OPINION LIVE EVENT

Join us on March 4 as WSJ Opinion’s Paul Gigot leads a “State of TV News” panel discussion including Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, CBS’s Christy Tanner and “Network” actor Tony Goldwyn. Included in your admission to the event is a ticket to see “Network” on Broadway at a subsequent date.

Mr. Cohen didn’t always seem to be telling the whole truth. At least in one instance he appears to have misremembered or been untruthful. That is when he claimed he hadn’t wanted a job in the White House. Reporters who were there remember it differently. Dana Bash: “All of us, by people in and around the process, real time [were told] he very much wanted a job in the White House.”

Mr. Cohen insisted he had been offered a job, in White House counsel Don McGahn’s office, and rejected it. But that was the tell: Such jobs traditionally go to bright young people with impeccable credentials and good social skills. The president’s 50-year-old personal lawyer and fixer would have wanted a bigger role and title. If he felt dissed by such an offer it’s because he was.

I want to return to the subject of the president’s character. I texted this week with a great Trump supporter in Georgia, with whom I’d talked often during the 2016 campaign. “We do not care what Trump did before he became our president,” she said. “He has kept his promises to us.”

She was saying essentially that he has a high political character.

She does not trust those who’ve been around the president, calling them “liars, leakers and backstabbers.” I asked why he would have appointed bad men and women as aides. “He hired bad people in error,” she said. “They were bad actors, disloyal people. He was betrayed by them.”

She feels Mr. Trump has come through, from the courts to the economy. And when he got to Washington he didn’t go native—he still hates all the right people. She has also become protective of him. She sees him clobbered every day in every way throughout media. It has made him not only a sympathetic figure but an endearing one.

We close with Mr. Cummings, in his 23rd year in the House. He put a fair-minded face on the hearing. His closing remarks were powerful and humane, and seemed targeted not only at Mr. Cohen but perhaps at the newer members of Congress.

We are here to improve our democracy, he said.

To Mr. Cohen: “If I hear you correctly, it sounds like you’re crying out for a new normal—for us getting back to normal. Sounds to me like you want to make sure our democracy stays intact.”

Then, more broadly: “The one meeting I had with the president, I said, ‘The greatest gift we can give to our children is making sure we give them a democracy that is better than the one we came upon.’ ” He hoped all of us can get “the democracy we want,” and pass it on to our children, “so they can do better than we did.”

Amen.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-cohen-makes-history-11551397848

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Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

Jay Inslee is someone who in the past would be a naturally formidable presidential candidate. He’s a veteran politician with the kind of executive experience that comes from being a governor of a mid-sized state.

At a small session at the liberal Netroots Nation conference last August, the 68-year-old Inslee displayed a low-key confidence and command of the issues, with the kind of self-deprecating wit that can be effective disarming critics. He won’t light up a stage like Senator Cory Booker or potential candidate Beto O’Rourke, but he’s a comfortable public speaker.

This isn’t your father’s Democratic Party, of course, and with a diverse range of candidates already in the race, Mr Inslee will be pressed to find breathing room for his campaign.

His answer is to fashion himself as the environmental candidate.

With the Green New Deal getting traction among progressives, Mr Inslee is touting his work addressing climate change in Washington state. He’s launching his presidential bid at a solar panel factory whose success he attributes to his policies as governor.

If Mr Inslee gets the attention of Democratic voters with his environmental pitch, he can then pivot to talking about his efforts to fight the Trump administration’s immigration policies, expand healthcare in his state, raise the minimum wage, enact paid family medical leave, end capital punishment and pardon Washington residents previously convicted of now-legalised marijuana drug offences.

It’s a record of progressive accomplishment that the half-dozen senators already in the race, having toiled in the minority since 2014, can’t match.

Presentational grey line

Who is Jay Inslee?

Jay Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian, born and raised in Seattle.

He is a former prosecutor and former congressman who represented the state of Washington in the House of Representatives for several terms in the 1990s.

His father was a high school science teacher who helped spark his love of nature.

Mr Inslee won the governorship in 2012, defeating a Republican and replacing Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire. He took the seat after winning only eight counties out of the state’s 39, losing the rural vote to his conservative opponent, according to the New York Times.

He was the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in 2018, helping with campaigning efforts across the country.

In December, he compared his presidential hopes with those of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, saying both former presidents were “unknown governors of small states” before winning the presidency, the Seattle Times reported.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47418955

 

John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor, expected to announce White House bid

John Hickenlooper, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, is expected to announce plans next week to enter the Democratic primary for president, Fox News has learned.

Hickenlooper’s team has been granted a city permit to hold an event at Denver’s Civic Center Park on Thursday, according to paperwork filed with the city. Andy Boian, an informal adviser to Hickenlooper, told Fox News the event will be a presidential announcement.

WASHINGTON GOV. JAY INSLEE ANNOUNCES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID

Still, a Hickenlooper spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, told Fox News on Friday that Hickenlooper “has not made a decision yet.”

“It’s not secret that he’s been thinking about it and that we’ve been pulling together various pieces in case he gets to yes, but he has not decided yet,” Hitt said.

There is symbolism in the event site: it sits smack between his former offices of mayor of Denver and governor of Colorado.

Hickenlooper, who served as governor from 2011 to 2019, teased a future announcement on Thursday night by posting a throwback picture and quipping, “Unreleased John Folkenlooper EP dropping soon.”

Should he enter the race, Hickenlooper, who lacks the national recognition of others in the contest, would join a crowded Democratic primary battling for the chance to take on President Trump in 2020.

Hickenlooper prides himself on reaching across the aisle, and has worked together on issues with former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican. He was on 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential shortlist before she chose Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

HICKENLOOPER MAKING MOVES TOWARD 2020 RUN

Stoking speculation about his plans, Hickenlooper has traveled to early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. A former brewpub owner, the former govenor has served up beers and appeared at breweries on recent trips.

“The more and more I travel, I see that there is an appetite for a leader who not only talks about progressive policies, but who has a proven track record of enacting them,” Hickenlooper said in a statement to Fox News last month.

Earlier Wednesday, another Democratic governor, Jay Inslee of Washington State, announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination, saying he would put the issue of climate change at the center of his campaign.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 934, July 24, 2017, Breaking — Breaking — Story 1: Pence Breaks Tie — Senate Will Debate How To Proceed With Obamacare Repeal and Replace — Videos — Story 2: Congress Overwhelming Passes New Sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea — Long Overdue — Videos — Story 3: Trump Again Critical Of Attorney General Sessions Apparently For Not Prosecuting Leakers and Going After Clinton Foundation Crimes — What about Obama Administration’s Spying On Trump — An Abuse of Power Using Intelligence Community for Political Purposes — Will Trump Dump Sessions? If He Does Trump Will Start To Lose His Supporters in Talk Radio and Voter Base — Direct Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein To Fire Mueller — If He Won’t Fire Him — Fire Both Mueller and Rosenstein —  Punish Your Enemies and Reward Your Friends President Trump! — “In Your Guts You Know He is Nuts” — Videos

Posted on July 25, 2017. Filed under: American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Crime, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, James Comey, Law, Medicare, National Interest, News, People, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Breaking — Story 1: Pence Breaks Tie — Senate Will Debate How To Proceed With Obamacare Repeal and Replace — Videos —

Senate votes to start debate on health care bill

Senate Dems Stage Strange Protest During ObamaCare Vote

Protesters Chant “Kill The Bill! Don’t Kill Us!” At Senate Debate Vote To Repeal Obamacare | TIME

Senate to vote on Obamacare repeal today

Senate Vote On Health Care Debate In Yet Another Effort To Repeal And Replace Obamacare | TIME

 

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, at the Capitol on Tuesday.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted narrowly on Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but hours later, Republican leaders suffered a setback when their most comprehensive plan to replace President Barack Obama’s health law fell far short of the votes it needed.

The Tuesday night tally needed to reach 60 votes to overcome a parliamentary objection. Instead, it fell 43-57. The fact that the comprehensive replacement plan came up well short of even 50 votes was an ominous sign for Republican leaders still seeking a formula to pass final health care legislation this week.

For Republicans, the failure ended the day on a sour note, hours after a more triumphant scene on the Senate floor. Lawmakers from both parties had risen to their feet in the afternoon and applauded when Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, showed up in the chamber despite his diagnosis of brain cancer. He cast a crucial vote in favor of opening what promises to be a freewheeling, hard-fought debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act.

The 51-50 vote to start debate, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a tie, came only a week after the Republican effort to dismantle a pillar of former President Barack Obama’s legacy appeared all but doomed. It provided an initial win for President Trump, who pushed, cajoled and threatened senators in recent days to at least begin debating the repeal of the health care law.

But the victory could be fleeting: Senate Republicans still have no agreement on a repeal bill that they can ultimately pass to uproot the law that has provided health insurance to millions of Americans.

How Each Senator
Voted on Full Obamacare
Repeal-and-Replace

Republican leaders brought the first of several expected amendments to a vote Tuesday night.

The Senate is now moving ahead with debate, amendments and ultimately a final vote in the coming days on legislation that would have a profound effect on the American health care system — roughly one-sixth of the United States’ economy. But it is entirely possible that by week’s end, they will have passed nothing.

“Now we move forward towards truly great health care for the American people,” Mr. Trump said from the White House Rose Garden, where he was holding a news conference with the visiting prime minister of Lebanon. “This was a big step.”

Only two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted against the procedural motion, though at least several other Republicans had been seen as possible holdouts. No Democrats voted in favor of the motion.

The Tuesday night vote was on a comprehensive amendment that included disparate proposals calculated to appeal to conservatives and moderates in the Republican caucus.

One proposal, offered by Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, would have allowed insurers to sell stripped-down health plans, without maternity care or other benefits required by the Affordable Care Act, if they also sold plans that included such benefits.

“You shouldn’t have to buy what the federal government mandates you must buy,” Mr. Cruz said. “You should choose what meets the needs for you and your family.”

Three major proposals are being discussed.

The amendment also included money to help pay out-of-pocket medical costs for low-income people, including those who buy private insurance after losing Medicaid coverage as a result of the Senate bill. This proposal was devised by Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and other senators from states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

But nine Republicans, spanning the party’s ideological spectrum, voted against the package.

The debate to come will have broad implications for health care and households in every state, and emotions are high.

Before senators voted to start the debate in midafternoon, protesters in the Senate gallery chanted, “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” and “Shame, shame, shame!”

Despite his vote to move ahead, Mr. McCain offered harsh words for the secretive process by which Senate Republican leaders came up with their bill to repeal and replace the health law, and he delivered a pessimistic take on its chances.

“Asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition — I don’t think that’s going to work in the end, and probably shouldn’t,” Mr. McCain said, adding that it “seems likely” that the current repeal effort would end in failure. Still, Mr. McCain voted with Republican leaders in favor of the comprehensive replacement plan on Tuesday night.

Arizona is one of the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and Mr. McCain’s remarks could reflect concerns of other senators from states that expanded Medicaid, including the junior Republican senator from his state, Jeff Flake.

 

Senator John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, spoke to the Senate after casting his vote to begin debating legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Photo by Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »“We are ground zero for the failure of the exchanges, but we are also an expansion state,” Mr. Flake said. “I think all of us are concerned that we don’t pull the rug out from people.”

Just before the Senate vote, the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, made an impassioned plea to Republicans.

“We know that A.C.A. is not perfect,” Mr. Schumer said. “But we also know what you’ve proposed is much worse. We can work together to improve health care in this country. Turn back now before it’s too late and millions and millions and millions of Americans are hurt so badly in ways from which they will never, ever recover.”

Given the divisions within their caucus, Senate Republican leaders were considering a new approach to keeping their repeal quest alive: They could try to reach agreement on a slimmed-down bill that would repeal a few major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, like the penalties imposed on people who go without insurance and businesses that do not offer insurance to their employees. Republican leaders would not intend for such a bill to become law, but they believe that it could win approval in the Senate.

That “skinny” bill could then be a basis for negotiations with the House.

Republican leaders in Congress have struggled all year to fulfill their promise of repealing the 2010 health care law. By a vote of 217 to 213, the House approved a repeal bill in early May, but only after Republicans overcame their own difficulties in that chamber.

Mr. Trump kept up pressure on the Senate on Tuesday with Twitter posts. After the procedural vote, he applauded the Senate, but was cutting toward Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski: “We had two Republicans that went against us, which is very sad, I think. It’s very, very sad for them.”

Majority needed to pass YES NO
Republicans 51 2
Democrats 0 48
Total 51 50

The successful procedural vote was also a moment of redemption, at least temporarily, for Mr. McConnell, who just last week appeared to have failed in his effort to put together a health bill that could squeak through the narrowly divided Senate.

That said, it remained far from certain whether Republicans would be able to agree on a bill in the days to come — and what exactly the contents of that bill would be. Mr. McConnell promised an “open amendment process” in which members of both parties could propose changes.

“This is just the beginning,” Mr. McConnell said. “We’re not out here to spike the football.”

For weeks, Mr. McConnell has been promoting and revising a comprehensive bill that would repeal the health law while also replacing it, but he has struggled to nail down the support needed to pass that measure. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has yet to assess the most complete version of that legislation, which includes the proposals by Mr. Cruz and Mr. Portman.

Without that assessment, the measure needed 60 Senate votes, and it failed that test on Tuesday night.

The Senate is also expected to vote on a measure that would repeal the health law without putting in place any replacement, but that approach does not appear to have enough support to pass, either.

That proposal resembles a bill passed by the Senate in 2015 and vetoed by Mr. Obama in early 2016. But it would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 32 million in 2026, the budget office said.

Mr. Portman had anguished for weeks over provisions of Mr. McConnell’s repeal bill that would make deep cuts in projected Medicaid spending and roll back the expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Portman voted to move ahead with the debate on Tuesday after being assured that the Senate would vote on his plan to provide financial assistance to people moving from an expanded state Medicaid program to private health insurance.

States could have used the money, totaling $100 billion, to help low-income people pay deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs when they receive medical care.

Mr. Portman worked on the plan with the Trump administration and with several other Republican senators from states that have expanded Medicaid, including Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Dean Heller of Nevada.

Mr. Heller voted Tuesday to open the debate, but he made no commitment to vote for the repeal bill itself.

“If the final product isn’t improved for the state of Nevada, then I will not vote for it,” Mr. Heller said. “If it is improved, I will support it.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/25/us/politics/senate-health-care.html

 

Senate Passes Vote to Begin Debate on Obamacare Repeal

Image: Senate Passes Vote to Begin Debate on Obamacare Repeal

By Todd Beamon   |   Tuesday, 25 Jul 2017 03:06 PM

The Senate voted Tuesday to begin debate on the plan to repeal Obamacare outright and replace it within two years — after Vice President Mike Pence voted to break a 50-50 tie and an ailing Arizona Sen. John McCain returned to slam the chamber’s secretive process.

“On this vote, the yeas are 50 and the nays are 50,” Pence said. “The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the motion is agreed to.”

Moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against the motion, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky proposed after two previous versions of a healthcare bill failed to attract enough votes.

Several senators switched their positions after saying as recently as last week that they would not support a complete Obamacare repeal without replacement.

They were Sens. Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio and Dean Heller of Nevada – considered the party’s most vulnerable incumbent going into next year’s congressional elections.

McCain, 80, who was diagnosed with brain cancer after undergoing surgery 11 days ago, returned to the Senate to vote for the procedural motion.

He was the first to speak on the floor during debate.

“I voted for the motion to proceed to allow debate to continue and amendments be offered,” McCain said. “I will not vote for this bill as it is today.

“It’s a shell of a bill right now. We all know that.”

He called for both parties to work together to bring forth legislation that would improve healthcare for all Americans.

“We keep trying to win without help from the other side of the aisle,” McCain said. “We are getting nothing done, my friends, we’re getting nothing done.

“All we’ve managed to do was make more popular a policy that wasn’t very popular,” he said, referring to Obamacare.

“The administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress without any opposition a program that brought forth social and economic change as massive as Obamacare.

“And we shouldn’t do the same with ours.

“If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let’s return to regular order,” McCain said.

“What a great honor, an extraordinary opportunity it is to serve in this body,” he concluded. “It’s a privilege to serve with all of you. I mean it.

“I hope to impress on you again that it is an honor to serve the American people in your company.”

McCain’s comments were greeted with a standing ovation.

President Donald Trump afterward thanked McCain for coming from Arizona to cast his vote to move the healthcare motion forward, calling him a “very brave man.”

“He made a tough trip to get here and vote,” Trump said at the start of a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in the White House Rose Garden. “We want to thank Sen. McCain and all of the Republicans.

“We passed it without one Democrat vote,” the president added. “And that’s a shame, but that’s the way it is. And it’s very unfortunate.

“But I want to congratulate the American people, because we’re going give you great healthcare.”

The Senate last voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015, but it was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama. The House has voted more than 50 times to end the healthcare program.

President Trump has vowed to sign any bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act.

Before the procedural vote, McConnell encouraged Republicans to take action to end Obamacare after promising to do so for seven years.

“We have a duty to act,” he said. “The president’s ready with his pen.

“The House has passed legislation. Today, it’s the Senate’s turn.

“That starts with a vote we’ll take momentarily. The critical first step in that process, the motion to proceed.

“It’s the vote that determines whether this debate can proceed at all,” McConnell said. “Whether we’ll even take it up.”

But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pleaded with Republicans to reject the procedural vote and work with his party – saying that beginning debate on the repeal motion would eventually lead to the end of Obamacare.

“The best the majority leader’s been able to cook up is a vague plan to do whatever it takes to pass something — anything — to get the bill to a House and Senate conference on healthcare,” the New York Democrat said before McConnell spoke.

“My colleagues, plain and simple, it’s a ruse,” Schumer continued. “The likeliest result of a conference between the House and Senate is full repeal of the Affordable Care Act or something very close to it.”

He slammed Republicans for crafting the healthcare plan under “much cloak-and-dagger legislating” and for locking Democrats out of the process.

“Their plan all along was to keep their bill hidden for as long as possible, evade scrutiny, hide the truth from the American people, and then jam the bill through in the dead of night on a party line,” Schumer said.

McConnell emphasized that the motion opens the debate on repealing Obamacare – and that any legislation could be amended during the debate process.

“President Obama vetoed what we passed before,” he said. “President Trump will sign what Congress passes this time.

“All we have to do today is to have the courage to begin the debate with an open amendment process and let the voting take us where it will.”

http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/senate-passes-healthcare-vote/2017/07/25/id/803717/

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