Tuesday, January 15, 2019

President Trump can't stop U.S. coal plants from retiring
By Scott DiSavino  Monday,1/14/2019
Quoted Excerpts
(Reuters) - More U.S. coal-fired power plants were shut in President Donald Trump's first two years than were retired in the whole of Barack Obama's first term, despite the Republican's efforts to prop up the industry to keep a campaign promise to coal-mining states.
In total, more than 23,400 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generation were shut in 2017-2018 versus 14,900 MW in 2009-2012, according to data from Reuters and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Trump has tried to roll back rules on climate change and the environment adopted during the Obama administration to fulfill pledges to voters in states like West Virginia and Wyoming.
But the second highest year for coal shutdowns was in Trump's second year, 2018, at around 14,500 megawatts, following a peak at about 17,700 megawatts in 2015 under Obama.
The number of U.S. coal plants has continued to decline every year since coal capacity peaked at just over 317,400 MW in 2011, and is expected to keep falling as consumers demand power from cleaner and less expensive sources of energy.
Link To Article

My Comments:
In 2016, then candidate Trump never told us that his environmental and energy plans included dismantling policies and taking us backwards into an energy time day that is going away.

Monday, December 17, 2018

My Opinions Regarding Trump's Border Security Brick Wall

Monday, December 17, 2018
My Opinions Regarding Trump's Border Brick Wall

In my opinion, the practical solutions, the truthful facts and the realities are what Trump and his supporters are refusing to accept.
Both parties agree upon the importance of security.
One can tunnel under, over and around and climb over a brick wall.
In my opinion, improving upon our existing structure and keeping the technology appears to be the better solution.
Trump wants to shut down the government over a $5 billion idea that will fail.

$5 billion for a brick wall plus the unknown expenses Trump and his administration will add onto the over $21 trillion national debt.
In the short amount of time Trump's been in office he and his administration added two trillion dollars onto the USA National Debt.
In 2016, then candidate Trump said he would lower the USA Debt.

National Debt Under Trump:
The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It
Current  12/13/2018
Debt Held by the Public
Intragovernmental Holdings
Total Public Debt Outstanding
Link To https://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current

Saturday, December 15, 2018

How Schumer united Dems against Trump’s wall

How Schumer united Dems against Trump’s wall
By Burgess Everett  Saturday,12/15/2018
Quoted Excerpts
The bottom line? Mexico isn’t paying for the border wall, and neither is Congress — even if there’s a Christmastime shutdown.
The Democratic unity is already having its desired effect: After digging in on Tuesday in a remarkable back and forth with Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a televised Oval Office debate, Trump is actively considering ways out of the wall fight to avoid a partial shutdown next Friday.
.....Simply put, there’s now very little incentive for Schumer or anyone in his conference to compromise with Trump, and even past olive branches are now being snapped.
.....Schumer is now offering Trump spending at current levels for border fencing, about $1.3 billion, and nothing more.
Schumer’s stance has also made House Republicans, who just lost their majority, less motivated to meet the president’s demands. Passing a $5 billion wall funding bill to try to pressure Democrats would just be a messaging exercise at this point, one that would be even less effective than usual given Trump’s willingness to embrace blame for a shutdown.
“Whether you pass it or not there’s no reason to believe that it’s going to move in the United States Senate,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
Trump has also shown little appetite to make a bipartisan compromise on immigration. He turned down a chance to get $25 billion for his border wall earlier this year after an extensive back and forth with Schumer and other senators. He later lobbied against a bill providing deportation protections for young undocumented immigrants and $25 billion in border wall funding because he wanted cuts to legal immigration as well.
The border funding question is so touchy that some Democrats have a hard time just giving him border security at current spending levels.
“I don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good. But certainly standing up to this president, who keeps putting forth things that are ridiculous and frankly not good for border security and not good for taxpayers’ money, is a very natural place to be for my state,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
But this time, even if congressional Republicans try to blame Schumer’s caucus for intransigence, the president has already contradicted them live on television.
“We were wondering if the president would accept responsibility for this shutdown,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “But what he said publicly at that meeting became a matter of record.”
James Arkin and Caitlin Emma contributed to this report.
Link To Article  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/how-schumer-united-dems-against-trump’s-wall/ar-BBQZ7I9?li=BBnb7Kz

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Trump says troops will use 'lethal force' at the border 'if they have to'

Trump says troops will use 'lethal force' at the border 'if they have to'
The president also said Thursday he will close entry at the border if he deems it necessary to prevent immigration.
Nov. 22, 2018 / 11:47 AM EST
By Jonathan Allen
Quoted Excerpts
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that U.S. troops he dispatched to the nation’s border will use lethal force to stop migrants attempting to enter the country “if they have to.”
Earlier this week, Trump authorized the military to use its rules of engagement, rather than those of domestic law-enforcement agencies, at the border.
“If they have to, they’re gonna use lethal force,” he said. “I’ve — I’ve given the okay. If they have to. I hope they don’t have to.”
Critics of Trump’s use-of-force policy have noted that it runs the risk of entering a thicket of federal statues, constitutional principles and international law - most notably the Posse Comitatus Act, which, with some exceptions, precludes the military from domestic law-enforcement activities.
“The Posse Comitatus Act keeps the President from using troops to enforce domestic policy. For all the obvious reasons.” Joyce White Vance, a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC contributor, wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “It was enacted in 1878. Only Trump would think to violate it & as all things with Trump, once you violate a norm, it’s a fast slide down the slippery slope.”
Trump said he will entirely close the border — to people and trade — if Mexico doesn’t stop migrants from trying to come into the U.S.
“We will close the border, and that means the Mexico’s not going to be able to sell their cars into the United States until it’s open,” he said Thursday. “But we’re going to need to have a border or we’re not. And when they lose control of the border on the Mexico side, we just close the border.”
Link To Article  https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-says-troops-will-use-lethal-force-border-if-they-n939321

In my opinion, Trump's emotional feelings over this yearly caravan are over the top.
There is no national security threat.
The USA is not under siege.
The USA is not being invaded.
How will Trump react next year, when another caravan arrives?

Trump has not done one thing to improve our existing immigration laws and policies.
His non-legal executive orders end up in court.
His brick wall is balderdash.
I do not understand why Trump feels the need to issue proclamations.
What are they going to accomplish?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban
By Nomaan Merchant Associated Press  November 20, 2018
Quoted Excerpts
HOUSTON — A federal judge barred the Trump administration on Monday from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally.
Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that said anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum. The regulations, which will remain in place for three months absent a court order, could potentially make it harder for thousands of people who enter the U.S. to avoid deportation.
‘‘Individuals are entitled to asylum if they cross between ports of entry,’’ said Baher Azmy, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights. ‘‘It couldn’t be clearer.’’
Trump has argued that the recent caravans are a threat to national security.
ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt said that some people seeking asylum cross between official ports because ‘‘they’re in real danger,’’ either in their countries of origin or in Mexico.
‘‘We don’t condone people entering between ports of entry, but Congress has made the decision that if they do, they still need to be allowed to apply for asylum,’’ he said.
Link To Article  https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2018/11/20/judge-bars-from-enforcing-trump-asylum-ban/DdckoU7VjCqdwIsF6Y8zEI/story.html#comments

My Comments:
It is easy to recall that when Trump first entered the White House he and his administration spent tax payer's money on illegal and poorly worded Muslim-Travel Bans.
Back then he insisted that Muslims were a threat to the USA's National Security.
The Muslims were not a threat to the USA's Naional Security.
Now we have Trump's illegal caravan and his insisting that these migrants are invading the USA.
The migrants have not been a threat to the USA's Natinal Security.
One of these days Trump will cry National Security threat and people will not believe him.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans haven't received GI Bill benefits for months due to ongoing IT issues at VA

Veterans haven't received GI Bill benefits for months due to ongoing IT issues at VA
"This is — to be kind — a train wreck,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Sunday, November. 11, 2018 / 12:00 PM ‎EST
By Phil McCausland
Link To Article  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/veterans-haven-t-receive-gi-bill-benefits-months-due-ongoing-n934696

Shelley Roundtree departed the U.S. Army in 2013 after seeing friends and fellow soldiers die in combat during his tour in Afghanistan. He was committed to transitioning to civilian life, and one of his first steps was to enroll in college with tuition and housing benefits he'd earned under the GI Bill.
Roundtree, 29, began studying marketing at Berkeley College in Midtown Manhattan. He dreams of working in the fashion industry, and he's close to graduating — but now there's a serious obstacle.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is suffering from a series of information technology glitches that has caused GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed or — in the case of Roundtree — never be delivered.
"I’m about to lose everything that I own and become homeless," Roundtree said. "I don’t want to be that veteran on the street begging for change because I haven’t received what I was promised."
Without the GI Bill's housing stipend, Roundtree was kicked out of his apartment and is now living on his sister's couch, miles from school, where he feels like a burden on his family. The new living situation required him to move all his belongings into a storage container, which he can no longer afford. Now all of his possessions are in danger of being auctioned off by the storage facility.
Roundtree said that because of his extremely strained finances, he is forced to choose between spending money on public transportation to get to his marketing classes or buying food — not both. At the end of the day, the veteran said he often makes himself go to sleep hungry.
"It’s just confusing," said Roundtree. "Who is there for us? Who is representing us? Who is helping us? Who is doing what they need to do to better the situation for veterans?"
There are many veterans, like Roundtree, across the country who are still waiting for VA to catch up with a backlog created after President Donald Trump signed the Forever GI Bill in 2017. The landmark piece of legislation greatly expanded benefits for veterans and their families, but it did not upgrade the VA's technical capabilities to account for those changes.
While it is unclear how many GI Bill recipients were impacted by the delays, as of Nov. 8, more than 82,000 are still waiting for their housing payments with only weeks remaining in the school semester, according to the VA. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been affected.
The cause of the difficulty lies within VA’s Office of Information Technology, which was tasked with implementing a change to how the housing allowance was calculated, the agency said. The Forever GI Bill required that housing would be based on the ZIP code of where a veteran went to school, not where he or she lived.
Issues that arose when VA attempted to stress-test their antiquated system, and a contract dispute over the new changes, meant VA waited until July 16 to tell schools to begin enrolling students, according to multiple veteran advocacy groups. Many colleges and universities waited, however, because VA told them that they would need to reenter their student veterans' certifying information either way.
“That’s when the floodgates opened,” said Patrick Murray, the deputy director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “With all the delays trying to get the upgrades in the ZIP code processing, they suddenly got all their enrollments, which usually come during the spring across the summer. Instead they all came a few weeks before the fall semester, and they couldn’t keep up.”
A VA spokesperson told NBC News over email that "further system changes and modifications are being made and testing is ongoing on the IT solution" to fix the delay in monthly stipend payments.
"These changes have led to processing issues," a VA spokesperson wrote, referring to the GI Bill changes, "and VA is committed to providing a solution that is reliable, efficient and effective."
At the end of August, Veterans Benefits Administration had nearly 239,000 pending claims — 100,000 more than at the same point in 2017. As school began, thousands of students faced dire circumstances and some faced eviction, getting kicked out of school or taking on loan or credit card debt.
As the problem appears to have no clear solution, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is holding a hearing on Wednesday to investigate the matter.
The contractor hired by VA to update its system for the Forever GI Bill, Booz Allen Hamilton, a multi-billion dollar information technology company, will be called to testify, a committee aide said. They will be joined by Under Secretary for Benefits Dr. Paul Lawrence and Director of the Education Service Robert Worley. A witness from the VA’s Office of Information and Technology will also be called.
"This is — to be kind — a train wreck,” said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “It’s  really frustrating the amount of money that Congress has appropriated for veterans, and this is the way VA has rolled it out. This discussion started over a year ago.”
Roe’s office recently visited VA’s regional processing office in Muskogee, Oklahoma, along with Democratic and Senate Committee staffers and Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.
In a Nov. 5 letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Roe said that employees at the processing center told the group that IT systems at the office froze and crashed so often that tasks that once took five minutes now required 45 minutes. Computers often suffered a “blue screen of death,” which required restarting machines, and “managers had to write off 16,890 man hours due to system crashes or latency issues.”
“While Committee staff never witnessed a ‘blue screen of death,’” the letter said, “they did witness the system crash no fewer than five times in a ten minute period.”
VA declined to share how much the IT system failures, overtime payments and the 202 additional workers hired to address these problems have cost taxpayers.
As some veteran advocates point out, this is not an issue that came as a surprise.
At the July 17, 2017, hearing in the House Committee on Veterans Affairs — before the bill was passed into law — Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity Curtis Coy highlighted this as his core worry in response to one of the few questions asked during the hearing.
“My biggest concern is two words: IT,” said Coy at the time. “We have an IT system in much or almost all of these sections that requires some degree of changes.”
After Coy retired earlier this year, VA cut his position and the Office of Economic Opportunity. Multiple Veteran Service Organizations said the loss of this role, as well as the office, meant that there was no one left at VA to communicate the issues to veterans or to lobby higher-ups about the GI Bill issues.
That’s not to mention the huge number of posts that remain unfilled at the agency. More than 45,000 jobs sit vacant at VA, according to the agency’s own numbers, and the department has not had a permanent chief information officer since LaVerne Council departed the office after Trump’s election.
"Right now Secretary Wilkie and Dr. Lawrence have only been on the jobs for months,” Murray said. “People have been coming in and out of the VA like it’s a revolving door, and this is another example where a lack of consistent leadership causes these problems.”
But veterans like Roundtree are less concerned about the leadership at VA — they just want to know if they can depend on the money they earned under the GI Bill.
And advocates are similarly concerned as it remains unclear if VA will be able to catch up before January, or if it will be inundated with new requests and fall behind for the spring and summer semesters.
“I don’t see that there is an immediate fix, and I don’t see how this is going to be addressed in the spring or summer semesters,” said Tanya Ang, the policy and outreach director of Veterans Education Success. “This needs to be something that has a greater focus on it for a lot longer."
Phil McCausland
Phil McCausland is an NBC News reporter focused on the rural-urban divide.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

In World War I remembrance, France’s Macron denounces nationalism as a ‘betrayal of patriotism’

In World War I remembrance, France’s Macron denounces nationalism as a ‘betrayal of patriotism’
David Nakamura, Seung Min Kim, James McAuley Sunday,11/11/2018
Quoted Excerpts
PARIS —In the shadow of a grand war memorial here, French President Emmanuel Macron marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by delivering a forceful rebuke against rising nationalism, calling it a “betrayal of patriotism” and warning against “old demons coming back to wreak chaos and death.”
Macron’s speech in French to more than 60 global leaders, including President Trump, aimed to draw a clear line between his belief that a global order based on liberal values is worth defending and those who have sought to disrupt that system.
Those millions of soldiers who died in the Great War fought to defend the “universal values” of France, Macron said, and to reject the “selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests. Because patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism.”
His words during a solemn Armistice Day ceremony under overcast, drizzly skies at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in the heart of the French capital were intended for a global audience but also represented a pointed rebuke to Trump, Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and others who were present.
Macron has attempted to stand as a vocal counterweight to Trump, who recently called himself a “nationalist” and has moved to set the United States apart from global treaties, including the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord and a U.N. program for refugees.
Yet Trump and Putin did not participate in the processions. The group, which had first gathered at the Elysee Palace, had come to the Arc on tour buses along the 230-foot wide boulevard. Bells at Notre Dame cathedral tolled at 11 a.m., marking the signing of the armistice of a war in which 10 million military troops perished.
But Trump and Putin took their own motorcades to the event and made separate entrances a few minutes after the main group. A White House spokeswoman said Trump arrived separately due to “security protocols,” though she did not elaborate.
Trump and Putin shook hands with members, now assembled on risers a the foot of the monument, and took their own positions. Trump and first lady Melania Trump took spots next to Merkel, while Putin stood next to Macron.
The relationship between Trump and Macron has soured as the U.S. president has promoted an “America First” foreign policy that has unsettled allies on trade and defense. Macron has sought to counter some of Trump’s agenda and he has organized a three-day Peace Forum that will begin Sunday afternoon, just as Trump heads home to Washington on Air Force One.
Link To Article  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/in-world-war-i-remembrance-france’s-macron-denounces-nationalism-as-a-‘betrayal-of-patriotism’/ar-BBPzzwp

Friday, November 9, 2018

Judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline

Judge blocks Keystone XL pipeline
By Timothy Cama - 11/08/18 10:10 PM EST
Quoted Excerpts
Morris’s ruling repeatedly faulted the Trump administration for reversing former President Obama’s 2015 denial of the pipeline permit without proper explanation. He said the State Department “simply discarded” climate change concerns related to the project.
The Trump administration had tried to argue that federal courts didn’t even have the right to review Trump’s approval, saying that it extended from his constitutional authority over border crossings. The court rejected that argument.
In rejecting the permit, Morris relied mainly on arguing that State, the agency that analyzed the project, didn’t properly account for factors such as low oil prices, the cumulative impacts of greenhouse gases from Keystone and the Alberta Clipper pipeline and the risk of oil spills.
The judge also said that State didn’t properly justify its switch from rejecting the pipeline in 2015 under the Obama administration to approving it in 2017 under Trump.
Such a change isn’t completely prohibited, Morris said, but State needs to better explain changes like its decision to disregard the climate change arguments it made in 2015.
“The department instead simply discarded prior factual findings related to climate change to support its course reversal.”
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Trump called the ruling a “political decision” and a “disgrace.”
Morris also ruled that State’s conclusions about the pipeline’s impacts on endangered species need updating, and that State may need to redo some cultural resource examinations along the pipeline’s route.
“The Trump administration tried to force this dirty pipeline project on the American people, but they can’t ignore the threats it would pose to our clean water, our climate, and our communities.”
Link To Article https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/415862-judge-blocks-keystone-xl-pipeline
Link To  https://thehill.com/

Saturday, November 3, 2018

U.S. top court rejects Trump administration bid to halt climate trial

U.S. top court rejects Trump administration bid to halt climate trial
By Lawrence Hurley  Friday,11/2/2018
Link To Article

Quoted Excerpts
WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected for now a bid by the President Donald Trump's administration to block a trial in a lawsuit filed by young activists who have accused the U.S. government of ignoring the perils of climate change.
Chief Justice John Roberts on Oct. 19 had temporarily put the case on hold while the court as a whole decided how to proceed.
The Supreme Court's three-page order noted that the administration may still have grounds to take its arguments to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch indicated they would have granted the administration's request. There was no indication how Trump's new Supreme Court appointee, conservative Brett Kavanaugh, voted on the issue.
In the lawsuit, 21 activists, ages 11 to 22, said federal officials violated their rights to due process under the U.S. Constitution by failing to adequately address carbon pollution such as emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
The lawsuit was filed in 2015 against former President Barack Obama and government agencies in a federal court in Eugene, Oregon. Both the Obama and Trump administrations have failed in efforts to have the lawsuit thrown out.
The administration has said a courtroom is not the appropriate venue for a debate on climate change policy.
"This suit is an attempt to redirect federal environmental and energy policies through the courts rather than through the political process, by asserting a new and unsupported fundamental due process right to certain climate conditions," Trump administration Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in court papers.
Francisco noted that the plaintiffs are seeking to hold the U.S. government liable for the cumulative effects of carbon dioxide emissions "from every source in the world over decades."
On July 30, the high court rejected an earlier application by the Trump administration, calling it premature.
Aiken said in an Oct. 15 ruling that although the case raised questions about the role of the judiciary delving into a matter of policy those concerns were not enough to warrant a dismissal of the entire case.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Israeli prime minister "heartbroken" by Pittsburgh synagogue attack

My Opinions:
The increasing anti-Jewish and other hate crimes, racism and violence has moved the USA backwards.
Laws do help make things a bit better.
Do not vote for people that have issues with anger and violence. 
Do not vote for people that are racist and promote hatred.

Israeli prime minister "heartbroken" by Pittsburgh synagogue attack
Link To Article  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/israeli-prime-minister-heartbroken-by-pittsburgh-synagogue-attack/ar-BBOYPka?ocid=st

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Kavanaugh hearing: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee won’t say whether presidents have to respond to subpoenas

Live Coverage from CBS News
Link To https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/video/live-news-coverage-from-cbs-news/ar-BBmYvYY?appwebview=true

Kavanaugh hearing: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee won’t say whether presidents have to respond to subpoenas
Seung Min Kim, Ann Marimow, Elise Viebeck Wednesday, 9/5/2018
Link To Article

Quoted Excerpts
10:33 a.m.: Kavanaugh won’t say whether presidents have to respond to subpoenas, calling it a 'hypothetical' question
Feinstein questioned Kavanaugh about his views on investigations involving a sitting president. In the 1990s, Kavanaugh was a member of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s team investigating President Bill Clinton. After subsequently serving in the Bush White House in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Kavanaugh said he came to believe that sitting presidents should not be distracted by criminal investigations or civil lawsuits.
Kavanaugh emphasized Wednesday that he had not taken a position on constitutional issues regarding presidential investigations. “They were ideas for Congress to consider. They were not my constitutional views,” Kavanagh said of his writing in a 2009 Minnesota Law Review article.
Feinstein also pressed Kavanaugh about whether a sitting president can be required to respond to a subpoena. The judge praised the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that forced President Richard M. Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes as a prime example of judicial independence. He declined, however, to answer the senator’s specific question.
“I can’t give you an answer on that hypothetical question,” he said.
9:49 a.m.: Kavanaugh says ‘no one is above the law’ in response to question about executive power
.....Grassley asked Kavanaugh whether he would have any trouble ruling against the man who appointed him as Democrats have suggested.
“No one is above the law,” the judge responded.
9:36 a.m.: Hearing gets underway
.....The first protesters’ voices could be heard at 9:37 a.m. as they were hauled out of the room.
8:24 a.m.: Grassley pushes back against Democrats
Grassley (R-Iowa) pushed back Wednesday morning on demands by Democrats to get access to more documents from Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s tenure in the George W. Bush White House.
“It’s irrelevant to his being a judge,” Grassley said during an interview on “CBS This Morning.”
Grassley said that senior Democrats have said in the past that “the best judge of whether a candidate should be on the Supreme Court are the cases they’ve already heard on lower courts” — and that the same standard should be applied to Kavanaugh.
On Tuesday, Grassley’s opening remarks were delayed for nearly an hour and a half as Democratic senators sought to cut off the hearings, raising an uproar over a last-minute document dump sent to the Judiciary Committee late Monday encompassing more than 42,000 pages from Kavanaugh’s tenure in the White House.
Grassley said the theatrics that played out on national television were not typical of the committee he chairs.
“We work in a more collegial way than what you’re seeing on television,” he said.
8:20 a.m.: What to watch for in today’s hearing
* Democrats will try to corner Kavanaugh on how he would rule on cases involving abortion access and the Affordable Care Act.
* Republicans will push back on Democrats’ attempts to squeeze specifics out of Kavanaugh by citing the example of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said in her confirmation hearing that she would give “no hints” as to how she would rule on future cases.
* Democrats will raise questions regarding Kavanaugh’s testimony more than a decade ago about the controversial detainee policies of the Bush administration.
Read more here. 
Read more coverage on Brett Kavanaugh:
[Issues for Brett Kavanaugh: the president who chose him and the Supreme Court he would change]
[The story behind the withheld documents of the Kavanaugh hearing]
[Read more at PowerPost]  Link To Power Post  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/?utm_term=.0d12b4686c22
Robert Barnes, Michael Kranish and John Wagner contributed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

No, the Trump Tower meeting was not 'totally legal'

My Opinion: It appears that Donald Trump is also guilty of different collusions.

No, the Trump Tower meeting was not 'totally legal'
Tuesday, AUGUST 07, 2018 | 4:00 AM
Link To Article http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-litman-lieberman-trump-tower-meeting-conspiracy-20180806-story.html#
Link To http://www.latimes.com/#nt=mastheadnavbar

Quoted Excerpts
So let’s do that. Meeting with a foreign power to get assistance with a presidential campaign is not totally legal; special counsel Robert S. Mueller III almost certainly could indict Donald Trump Jr. today for what is publicly known about the meeting; and the president should be deeply concerned about his own liability.

Mueller’s February indictment of the Internet Research Agency, and associated Russian entities and individuals, charged a conspiracy to influence the election to damage Hillary Clinton, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and support Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump — let’s call it an electioneering conspiracy. The indictment charged violations of 18 U.S. Code § 371 — conspiracy to commit an offense against, or to defraud United States. Under the “defraud clause,” as precedent and the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual make clear, the statute criminalizes “any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of any department of government,” even if the object of the conspiracy is not a criminal offense. According to Mueller’s indictment, the conspiracy sought to defraud the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice — the agencies charged with preventing foreign nationals from making contributions, donations or expenditures (which can include not just money, but any “thing of value”) that would influence U.S. elections. Conspiracy law, it’s important to note, punishes the act of agreeing to a forbidden goal regardless of whether that goal is achieved. So long as the government can establish that targets agreed to pursue the conspiratorial objective, they may be prosecuted as co-conspirators. Conspirators need only agree to help bring about the object of a conspiracy even if they are not aware of all the details of the conspiracy itself. For example, in “chain-conspiracies” usually involving narcotics, lower-level buyers and sellers are included in larger distribution conspiracy so long as they have some understanding of the existence of the larger plot. The Trump Tower meeting clearly fits established definitions of “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” In early June, Trump Jr. received an email explaining that a Russian government official wanted to provide his father’s campaign with incriminating documents and information about Clinton as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump." Trump Jr. replied, "if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” The June 9 meeting was confirmed two days earlier, on June 7. That night, Trump announced that he would “give a major speech” in the next week to discuss “all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” On the face of it, Trump Jr. was approached by a foreign government seeking to influence an American election. Trump Jr. welcomed the possibility of influence, and candidate Trump’s actions, while circumstantial, indicate that he intended to make use of that information. It is irrelevant, in conspiracy law, that Trump Jr. found the information ultimately worthless, or as Trump said, that “it went nowhere.” Michael Cohen’s allegations last week must have deeply terrified the president and those looking out for his legal interests. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer and “fixer,” reportedly is willing to tell Mueller that he was in the room when Trump heard about and approved the June 9 meeting. That would potentially place the president at the center of the decision to join the electioneering conspiracy. Trump’s later documented effort to dictate a false statement about the meeting looks like an attempt to cover up his culpability. A prosecutor and jury are entitled to view a cover-up as evidence of participation in the conspiracy. More than one year after telling the world that the June 2016 meeting was about adoptions, Trump and his eldest son stand stripped of their false cover. There is no more denying that the meeting sought to enlist the help of a hostile power to swing the election Trump’s way. The effort and the false statements about it were plainly deplorable. Whether they also were illegal turns on questions of law that Trump cannot obfuscate or control. They are what they are. Mueller already has laid the legal predicate for the Trumps’ guilt. Trump is at last playing in a legit game, and his hand is weak.

Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general, teaches constitutional law at UC San Diego. David Lieberman, a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general, is a lawyer with the Whistleblower Law Collaborative.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Trump says presidency is ‘more work than previous life’ and ‘thought it would be easier’

Trump says presidency is ‘more work than previous life’ and ‘thought it would be easier’ BY JESSA SCHROEDER 
Friday, April 28, 2017, 3:24 AM
Quoted Excerpts
“I thought it would be easier,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters that covered a variety of topics, such as his longing for life prior to the presidency as a business mogul and the possibility of a government shutdown.
The former billionaire tycoon conceded that he thought the presidency would be a much simpler task than that of his former work in real estate.
"I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life,” he said.
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