WTF Community

Day 1008


(Matt Kiser) #1

1/ House Democrats could take impeachment inquiry public as soon as mid-November. The move of the largely private inquiry toward the public spotlight comes as the Trump administration has tried to block witnesses and withhold documents while his allies have cast the closed-door investigation as a smear campaign against Trump. House Republicans delayed proceedings for more than five hours when about two dozen of them entered and refused to leave a secure room where Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper was set to testify about what happened to the military aid Trump ordered withheld from Ukraine. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://whatthefuckjusthappenedtoday.com/2019/10/24/day-1008/

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
#2

White House trade adviser declines to say whether investigating Bidens was mentioned during China trade talks

This is highly, highly suspicious. Jim Sciutto doggedly asks Navarro over and over if he mentioned investigating the Bidens during trade talks with China (kudos to Sciutto of his perseverance). Navarro ducks and dodges and deflects and never once answers the question – Why won’t he just say, “Absolutely not”? That’s a simple answer and puts the issue to bed. Something really stinks here, IMO. If Trump extorted Ukraine for a “show investigation” into the Bidens, why wouldn’t he do the same with China? It perfectly aligns with his M.O. Plus he publicly asked China to investigate the Bidens, why wouldn’t he do so in private as well?

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Thursday declined to answer questions about whether China opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son has come up during trade talks with the US.

“Did you bring up investigating the Bidens as part of the negotiations?” CNN’s Jim Sciutto asked Navarro at the CITIZEN by CNN conference in New York.

“It’s not an appropriate question in my judgment, OK,” Navarro replied.

“It’s an easy one for you to say no,” Sciutto said, to which Navarro responded: “But you’re asking me to violate a principle here.”

“I’m not going to talk about that stuff. If I answer that question then you’ll ask me another question,” he added.

Navarro was also pressed by Sciutto on the matter earlier this month during an interview on CNN, but dodged his questions, saying he will “never talk about what happens inside the White House – not confirm or deny (reports).”

Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, said in a tweet on Thursday that Navarro declining to answer the questions “is exactly why I called weeks ago for the White House to release transcripts of Trump’s calls with Xi Jinping.

"Americans deserve the truth about whether he’s pressuring more foreign leaders for political help," Harris wrote in the tweet.

To add insult to injury, throughout the interview as Navarro refuses to answer a simple question, he keeps whining about “anonymous sources,” but OMG this is the guy who actually made up a source out of thin air and then quoted that source in his book!!


📝 Must Read Op-Ed and Profiles
Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019
(David Bythewood) #3

“Trade advisor” is being generous with this clown.


#4

Maria Butina headed back to Russia soon

IMO, her sentence was way too lenient, but that’s water under the bridge. With Butina comfortably back in the arms of the Motherland (or maybe in a Siberian prison – who knows), I wonder if we’ll ever be able to find the source of all those millions and millions in dark money that the NRA used to finance Trump’s campaign in 2016:

And dark money is still alive and thriving at the NRA:

This recent Senate report paints a damning picture of how the NRA betrayed our country:


(Pamela) #5

I’m really pissed about how weak the reporting is on the House Republican’s actions yesterday. It was a tantrum. It was infantile and I don’t feel the message is getting out how inappropriate and off the rails this is. The fact that it was ostensibly choreographed by Trump makes it all the more insane.


(Pamela) #6

Why can’t even one news outlet or editorial call what the yesterday’s House Republican stunt what it is? A tantrum. A hissy fit. :rage::rage::rage:I’m waiting for them to wet their pants.


#7

______________________________________________

POLITICO

National Archives probes Wilbur Ross’ use of private email

By JOSH GERSTEIN

10/24/2019 05:10 AM EDT
______________________________________________

The National Archives and Records Administration has launched an investigation into Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ use of private email for official business, according to a letter made public this week.

The inquiry was triggered by an unflattering profile of Ross last month in The Washington Post, which cited government-related emails the watchdog group Democracy Forward received from Ross’ private account. The group obtained the messages through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has become aware of a potential unauthorized disposition of U.S. Department of Commerce records,” Archives official Laurence Brewer wrote in an Oct. 9 letter to Jennifer Jessup, Commerce’s chief information officer.

Brewer, who holds the title of chief records officer of the U.S. government, cited The Washington Post article and noted that it asserted Ross “used personal email for official business.”

Since Trump said Hilary Clinton should do prison time for using a private email server, I’m confident that he will soon take to Twitter and declare of his Commerce Secretary, “Lock him up!” … NOT!


#8

A federal judge on Thursday held Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in contempt for violating an order to stop collecting loan payments from former Corinthian Colleges students.

Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco slapped the Education Department with a $100,000 fine for violating a preliminary injunction. Money from the fine will be used to compensate the 16,000 people harmed by the federal agency’s actions. Some former students of the defunct for-profit college had their paychecks garnished. Others had their tax refunds seized by the federal government.

Wait…$100,000 split between 16,000 individuals is only $6.25 each. How can that make up for having your wages garnished? This judgement isn’t even a slap on the wrist for the Department of Education and basically does nothing ($6.25 is pretty darn close to nothing) to compensate the victims. No wonder DeVos breaks the law so flagrantly – she knows there are no consequences – I imagine this ruling will only serve to further embolden her. :angry:


#9

Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation

The move is likely to open the attorney general to accusations that he is trying to deliver a political victory for President Trump.

The move also creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into itself.

Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice.

It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

WTF? The justice department is now investigating itself for investigating the Trump campaign.


(David Bythewood) #10

Bill Barr’s Injustice Department for you.


(David Bythewood) #11

Ben Carson Admits HUD Intentionally Withheld Funds From Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria

The Trump regime refused to help Puerto Rico because the island is allegedly “corrupt”.


(David Bythewood) #12

I just added over a dozen stories to the final post in the Immigration thread. Here is the cross-post. I can’t add any further right now, but it really needs to be maintained.


#13

Feds blow door off safe, issue subpoenas as probe into Giuliani associates escalates

The cast of characters grows…

Nothing like a good “blowing-the-door-off-a-safe” to start a morning. :boom: :smile:

Federal prosecutors in New York have subpoenaed the brother of one of the recently indicted associates of Rudy Giuliani, according to two people familiar with the matter, as they escalate their investigation in the campaign-finance case.

The subpoena to Steven Fruman is the latest indication of prosecutors’ actions since the rushed arrest two weeks ago of his brother, Igor Fruman, and another defendant, Lev Parnas, at a Washington-area airport. Since then, investigators have doled out multiple subpoenas and conducted several property searches, in one case blowing the door off a safe to access the contents, sources tell CNN.

Federal prosecutors told a judge this week that they are sifting through data from more than 50 bank accounts. In addition, they’ve put a filter team in place as they examine communications obtained via search warrant and subpoena, sensitive to material that could be subject to attorney-client privilege because Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, counted Parnas as a client. A filter team is a separate set of prosecutors who are assigned to examine evidence and set aside material that is privileged. …

It’s not clear why prosecutors are interested in Steven Fruman, or what specifically agents sought from the safe. Steven Fruman is listed in US Security and Exchange Commission filings as the vice president of FD Import & Export, the same company his brother ran.

As they pursue an ongoing investigation into Igor Fruman, Parnas and their co-defendants, prosecutors are also investigating Giuliani’s Ukranian business dealings


(David Bythewood) #14

I bet Geraldo wasn’t there for this one.


(David Bythewood) #15

Exactly. Betsy Devos was not punished.

It was a 100k fine to the department itself, not her.

She’s a billionaire.

This is a slap on the wrist. Not even that, since these people are TRYING to defund and dismantle these departments!


#16

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee issued a subpoena to the General Services Administration on Thursday for documents concerning the Trump International Hotel’s lease of its building in downtown Washington, DC.

GSA – the agency which supervises the lease of the Old Post Office building to the Trump Organization – has refused to fully comply with the committee’s document requests, according to the committee.

"Political appointees at the GSA are trying to hide behind a pathetic excuse that Congress – a co-equal branch of the Federal government tasked with conducting oversight – can’t have key documents regarding a federally-owned property currently leased by the President," Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, said in a statement.

"The American people have a right to know whether the President of the United States, who is serving as both the landlord and tenant of the Old Post Office Building, is violating the Emoluments Clauses of the US Constitution to enrich himself," he added.

Here’s hoping that Trump will finally be held accountable for his flagrant emolument violations which began three years when he first took office. It’s amazing that this in-your-face corruption by our President has gone unchecked.


(David Bythewood) #17

The VA’s silencing of whistleblowers

An office established by the Trump administration in the Department of Veterans Affairs to protect internal whistleblowers ended up alienating “the very individuals it was meant to protect,” according to a VA Office of Inspector General report released Thursday.

Why it matters: Creating a permanent Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection was a key campaign promise of President Trump’s, who said he wanted more accountability on veteran’s care.

  • Instead, the office “engaged in actions that could be considered retaliatory [against whistleblowers]” and “likely diminished the desired confidence of whistleblowers and other potential complainants in the operations of the office,” the report said.

What they’re saying, per a VA spokesperson: “VA appreciates the inspector general’s oversight and has been encouraging the IG to complete this work for some time, but it’s important to note that this report largely focuses on OAWP’s operations under previous leaders who no longer work at VA.”

‘Apprentice’ contestant says new documents support Trump assault allegations

Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” says new documents support her allegations that President Trump sexually assaulted her in 2007.

Zervos said in court documents, as part of her defamation lawsuit against President Trump, that his itinerary from 2007 and emails from the Trump Organization corroborate her allegations, Variety reported Thursday.

Zervos has said Trump repeatedly kissed and groped her without her consent in 2007 after she appeared on his reality show. One of those incidents, according to Zervos, occurred when she visited Trump’s bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Her attorney, Marriann Wang, says Trump’s itinerary from that period indicates he stayed at the hotel Dec. 21-22, showing the two “were exactly where she said they were exactly when she said they were there,” Variety reported.

The former contestant has also said Trump invited her to the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes the morning after the alleged hotel incident, and his itinerary reportedly confirms he was scheduled to go there on Dec. 22.

Variety reported that Wang is requesting the judge in the defamation case allow the release of nine pages of discovery records that she says will further support Zervos’s allegations.

Zervos sued Trump in 2017 after he denied her claims of sexual assault in October 2016, saying he never met her in a hotel or touched her inappropriately.

The Hill reached out to the White House, Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz and Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten for comment.

Wang declined to comment to The Hill.

Trump has been ordered to sit for a deposition in the the case by Dec. 6, according to Variety.

Former VA Secretary David Shulkin says a ‘shadow’ group of political appointees undermined his every move and left an email planning his ouster on the printer

  • Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is speaking out for the first time about a “shadow government” he says he undermined him at every turn, and ultimately ousted him in April 2018.
  • In a new book, “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country,” Shulkin paints a troubling picture of a “toxic, chaotic and subversive” work environment.
  • Shulkin says that a group of political appointees within the VA went over his head to hold their own meetings with White House officials on policy issues, and ultimately succeeded in ousting him from his job.
  • Specifically, Shulkin blames those political appointees for leaking his travel schedule and lodging an allegation that he used government funds to pay for his wife’s travel to vacation in Europe.

As the Trump administration faces allegations that it undermined career State Department officials amid the ongoing impeachment inquiry, a former cabinet official is speaking out about a “shadow government” he says he undermined him at every turn.

In a new book, “It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Serve Your Country,” former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin paints a troubling picture of a “toxic, chaotic and subversive” culture in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to NPR.

Unlike many of Trump’s other cabinet officials, Shulkin had extensive experience in government, previously serving as the Undersecretary for Health in the VA under President Barack Obama’s administration. Shulkin holds a medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania.

In the interview, Shulkin says that while the time after Trump’s inauguration was very productive, “there were a couple of events that made me question and wonder whether there was a dual path of decision making in the White House.”

Shulkin says he ultimately came to realize that “there were clearly two paths when it came to veterans issues: the one that came from me, and the ones that were coming from other people,” naming the “other people” as political appointees within the VA that went over his head, and held their own meetings with White House officials.

In August of 2018, the investigative journalism outlet ProPublica reported that not just political appointees, but wealthy members of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, were involved in VA affairs and gave direction to VA employees on key policy issues despite not working in the government.

Shulkin said that the largest schism between himself and the political appointees and outside forces influencing veterans’ policy was over the extent to which VA services should be taken over by the private sector. The VA is the country’s largest integrated health care system, with an annual budget of $220 billion.

While those appointees pushed for vast privatization of VA, Shulkin argued for a more measured approach.

“I was in agreement that every veteran should get a choice about where they get their care, but I wanted to do this in a way that would not destroy the current VA system, because I believe the VA is doing things the private sector is not doing well,” Shulkin explained, worrying that privatizing too quickly or widely would undermine the quality of care.

“That was the issue I fought hardest for, and the one that ultimately ended up costing me my job,” Shulkin said, arguing that those political appointees ultimately determined Shulkin needed to be pushed out, and as he tells it, “perfected the art of the leak.”

Specifically, Shulkin blames those political appointees for leaking his travel schedule and lodging an allegation — which Shulkin vehemently disputes — that he used government funds to pay for his wife’s travel to vacation in Europe.

In reality, Shulkin says, he and his wife, who are both doctors, had both been invited to a Five Eyes security conference in Italy and their travel plans were approved by ethics officials. But the allegation that he misappropriated taxpayer funds was enough to cast a cloud over his job.

Then one day, Shulkin recalled, his deputy security brought him an email he found on a copy machine from one political appointee to other appointees outlining a plan to remove him, his deputy secretary, other senior officials, and “put in place people who agree with us.”

Even when Shulkin tried to fire the political appointees trying to destroy his career, he says the White House stepped in and prevented them from being removed.

And even after assurances from Trump himself and former White House chief of staff John Kelly that his job was secure, Trump blindsided Shulkin in April 2018 by ultimately firing him in a tweet.

“I think it’s a duty to share what one’s learned in government,” Shulkin said. “I am not trying to throw mud at anybody or make criticisms of any particular political party. I’m trying to be transparent about my experience so that we can learn from it…I am very concerned about the future of public service.”


#18

Just like a little kid, Trump gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar and thinks if he pulls it out, it’s like it never happened. Yes, Mr. President, we still demand the financial records that were just subpoenaed and, yes, we will hold you accountable for the 3 years you violated the emoluments laws.

The Trump Organization is considering selling its three-year-old hotel in downtown Washington, DC, that’s been a focus of ongoing complaints that Donald Trump is profiting off his role as President.

Eric Trump, the President’s son and executive vice president of The Trump Organization, said the company has hired real estate firm JLL to assist the possible sale of the Trump International Hotel.


(Matt Kiser) closed #19

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