WTF Community

What The Fuck Happened Over The Weekend?


(David Bythewood) #445

Under Trump arms deal, high-tech U.S. bombs to be built in Saudi Arabia

Democrats in Congress say the administration should not hand the Saudis valuable weapons tech given the kingdom’s conduct in Yemen and its human rights record.

On a personal side note, only sort of here right now, sorry. Had some very personal news that is hitting me hard and need a few days to process.


#446

I’m so sorry to hear, take some time for yourself. I appreciate your work and please don’t feel any pressure to contribute if you don’t feel up to it.


#447

President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory that he and his lawyer were pursuing was “completely debunked” long before the president pressed Ukraine this summer to investigate his Democratic rivals, a former top adviser said on Sunday.

Thomas P. Bossert, who served as Mr. Trump’s first homeland security adviser, said he told the president there was no basis to the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, intervened in the 2016 election and did so on behalf of the Democrats. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Bossert said he was “deeply disturbed” that Mr. Trump nonetheless tried to get Ukraine’s president to produce damaging information about Democrats.

Mr. Bossert’s comments, on the ABC program “This Week” and in a subsequent telephone interview, underscored the danger to the president as the House moves ahead with an inquiry into whether he abused his power for political gain. Other former aides to Mr. Trump said on Sunday that he refused to accept reassurances about Ukraine no matter how many times it was explained to him, instead subscribing to an unsubstantiated narrative that has now brought him to the brink of impeachment.


#448

A little push back from Bossert.


#449
  • Working-level nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States have broken off, North Korea’s chief negotiator said on Saturday.

  • North Korea said on Wednesday it had successfully test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile.

North Korea’s top negotiator said late on Saturday that working-level nuclear talks in Sweden between officials from Pyongyang and Washington had broken off, dashing prospects for an end to months of stalemate.

The North’s chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, who spent much of the day in talks with an American delegation, cast the blame on what he portrayed as U.S. inflexibility, saying the other side’s negotiators would not “give up their old viewpoint and attitude”.

“The negotiations have not fulfilled our expectation and finally broke off,” Kim told reporters outside the North Korean embassy, speaking through an interpreter.

The most disturbing story here is that North Korea claims to have successfully launched a sub-based missile. This is an extremely hostile gesture because it means they are demonstrating an ability to hit almost any major city in the U.S. with nuclear bombs.

Is Kim Jong Un still Trump’s BFF?


(David Bythewood) #450

North Korea Rules Out Quick Resumption of ‘Sickening’ Talks with U.S.

North Korea said on Sunday that it had no desire to engage in “sickening negotiations” with the United States anymore, rejecting Washington’s suggestion that negotiators from both countries meet again in Stockholm in two weeks.



(David Bythewood) #451



Trump Just Opened the Way for Turkey to Invade Syria—and ISIS to Make a Big Comeback


(David Bythewood) #452

Separate post because this bears noting: apparently Trump already secretly began pulling us out of Syria!


#453

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by President Donald Trump in his effort to block a subpoena issued by the Manhattan district attorney’s office for eight years of Trump’s tax returns, rejecting the President’s “extraordinary” claim that any occupant of the White House enjoys "absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind."

Describing Trump’s argument as a “categorical and limitless assertion of Presidential immunity,” US District Court Judge Victor Marrero wrote in an opinion that it “would constitute an overreach of executive power.”

Lawyers for Trump have indicated they would appeal the ruling.

In September, after the lawsuit was filed, the district attorney’s office agreed not to enforce the subpoena for a period of time that was set to expire Monday at 1 p.m. ET.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, led by Cyrus Vance Jr., is examining hush money paid to two women who, during the 2016 presidential campaign, alleged having affairs with Trump a decade ago. Trump has denied having affairs with both women.

The DA’s office sent Trump’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, a grand jury subpoena seeking tax returns and related documents going back to 2011.

Prosecutors are looking at whether the Trump Organization violated any New York state laws – including potentially filing false business records – in its effort to reimburse Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, who paid some of the hush money on Trump’s behalf. Cohen is serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty in a federal case concerning the payments.

This is huge because now Trump can’t use his absurd claim in other lawsuits that "any occupant of the White House enjoys ‘absolute immunity’ from criminal process of any kind."

Can anyone weigh in on a crucial procedural point? :question::question::question:

The article says the White House will appeal, but I believe that the bottom line is they have lost in a de facto way because by the time they appeal, all the documents will have been turned over. I believe that the documents are legally supposed to be turned over starting at 4pm ET today – but I’m just recalling what I’ve read elsewhere last month.

:dancer: :man_dancing:


#454

Can anyone weigh in on a crucial procedural point?

The article says the White House will appeal, but I believe that the bottom line is they have lost in a de facto way because by the time they appeal, all the documents will have been turned over. I believe that the documents are legally supposed to be turned over starting at 4pm ET today – but I’m just recalling what I’ve read elsewhere last month.

So here’s what I recall reading from Sept. 26:

This is a clear directive – it says that if Trump’s injunction fails (which it has) then Mazars must turn over the documents starting at 4pm Oct. 7 which is today. Am I reading this correctly? If so, then I believe Trump has run out of legal means to stop the subpoena from being enforced and the documents will be turned over today. If Trump appeals, and later wins that appeal, it’s really a moot point because the “cow has left the barn.” True?

The only loophole I can see is that the directive gives a “starting” time. So I guess Mazars could turn over a couple inconsequential documents starting at 4pm and then drag their feet on the rest.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has agreed not to enforce a subpoena for President Donald Trump’s tax returns until a federal court rules on the office’s motion to dismiss Trump’s suit to block the subpoena and an injunction sought by the president.

In a letter to federal Judge Victor Marrero today, attorneys in the DA’s office said they “reached a temporary arrangement” with Trump’s attorneys to delay enforcement of the subpoena until 1 p.m. two business days after Marrero rules or until 1 p.m. Oct. 7, whichever comes first.

In the meantime, Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, “will resume gathering and preparing all documents responsive to the subpoena,” according to the letter, which was also signed by the president’s attorneys and lawyers for Mazars, which is a defendant in the case.

Unless the court orders otherwise, Mazars will begin “a rolling production” of the tax documents “immediately upon the expiration of this agreement,” with the first delivery by hand on 4 p.m. that day.


#455

His legal team appealed. :neutral_face:

But moments after the ruling Monday, Trump’s private attorneys asked the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to temporarily put the case on hold.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-rules-trump-must-turn-over-his-tax-returns-to-manhattan-da-but-trump-has-indicated-he-will-appeal/2019/10/07/29e1fda6-e8a4-11e9-85c0-85a098e47b37_story.html

Here’s the “stay”


(David Bythewood) #456

Trump’s former ISIS envoy, Brett McGurk, offers scathing critique of his Syria decision — and entire management style

And then there’s THIS, in which Trump arrogantly claims to know best, lies about wanting to end all war, and in the same breath threatens Turkey with more extortion.


Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen & murders Khashoggi.
Trump: sell them weapons & nuclear tech!

North Korea tests missiles & nukes.
Trump: let’s be friends!

Russia attacks our elections.
Trump: Yes sir Mr. Putin sir!

What would be “off limits” for Turkey, & will the Kurds survive it?




#457

Damnation to Hell! Goddammit he pisses me off!

OK. I just needed to vent. Deep breath. Go to my happy place. :relaxed: :desert_island:

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance is temporarily barred from enforcing subpoenas previously served on President Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA, an appeals court ruled Monday.

The order followed a whirlwind morning in which a Manhattan federal judge tossed Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block enforcement by Vance’s office — prompting the president’s lawyers to file an emergency appeal.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Monday granted the request for a temporary stay pending “expedited review” of the case.

Vance’s office is seeking financial records — including tax returns — dating back to 2011 for Trump, his corporate entities and other individuals as part of a grand jury probe.


#458

@Windthin first posted about this explosive news above. I’m posting again here since the initial reactions were simply ones of disbelief and head shaking. Now the anger and cries of alarm are mounting. Suffice it to say that this is just an insane move that virtually no one – Democrats or Republicans – agrees with. Trump is stabbing a crucial ally in the back (the Kurds) while threatening another (Turkey) and, at the same time, benefiting Russia. Tump’s abetting of Putin’s goal of global domination through a divide and conquer strategy continues unabted. … Plus, the whole “my great and unmatched wisdom” thing is just crazytown.

McConnell, Graham, and Cruz are spitting mad. Just read their words in the NBC article below. Reap what you sow, guys. You knew Putin was his BFF and you knew he was the King of Kaos – so this is what you get.

President Trump on Monday doubled down on his unexpected decision late Sunday night to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, leaving America’s Kurdish allies to fend for themselves against ISIS and an imminent attack from Turkey. Despite widespread backlash for the snap decision—even from a Fox & Friends host—Trump declared his inimitable forethought and threatened to destroy Turkey’s economy if they attack the U.S. military’s Kurdish allies, as they intend to do.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over… the captured ISIS fighters and families,” Trump tweeted. The president then reiterated his claims that the U.S. has taken out “100% of the ISIS Caliphate.” Trump also claimed caliphate obliteration in the official White House press release, but left Turkey to manage the aftermath. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States,” reads the press release. “It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory,” Trump tweeted Monday

A long list of Republicans — including several top allies of President Donald Trump — lined up in vehement opposition Monday to the president’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the northern border of Syria and allow a Turkish operation there.

The announcement marked a major blow to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which the U.S. relied upon heavily as the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State militant group in Syria — and prompted outrage among GOP lawmakers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement that "a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime."

“And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup,” he added. “I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners."

In a lengthy tweetstorm, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a fierce Trump loyalist, tore into the decision, calling it a “disaster in the making.”

Graham predicted the move “Ensures ISIS comeback,” “Forces Kurds to align with Assad and Iran” and “Destroys Turkey’s relationship with U.S. Congress,” and called it a “stain on America’s honor for abandoning the Kurds.”

“I feel very bad for the Americans and allies who have sacrificed to destroy the ISIS Caliphate because this decision virtually reassures the reemergence of ISIS. So sad. So dangerous,” Graham tweeted. “President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us,” he added.

In a series of tweets, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said it would be "DISGRACEFUL if we sat idly by while Turkey slaughters the Kurds, as public reports suggest that Turkish leader Erdogan explicitly told President Trump he intends to do."


(David Bythewood) #459

The “great and unmatched wisdom” thing got “Wizard of Oz” trending, but I think it’s more important to note that thus far Saudi Arabia bombing Yemen and murdering Khashoggi, North Korea effectively murdering Otto Warmbier and launching ballistic missiles, and Russia attacking our elections have all gone ignored, leading one to wonder what “line” Turkey would have to cross for Trump to take any sort of action.


(David Bythewood) #460

It begins.

Turkey starts bombing Kurds in Syria as US pulls out – report

While we get angry and outraged, the Kurdish genocide has resumed.

EDIT: In a strange twist, the headline for the article above has changed to “US denies Syrian media report that Turkey has begun anti-Kurd offensive”.

To say this worries me is putting it mildly.

Exclusive: Official Who Heard Call Says Trump Got ‘Rolled’ By Turkey and ‘Has No Spine’

Donald Trump got “rolled” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a National Security Council source with direct knowledge of the discussions told Newsweek

Trump did not endorse any Turkish military operation against Kurdish Forces, but also did not threaten economic sanct ions during the phone call if Turkey decided to undertake offensive operations.


(David Bythewood) #461

Trump is pulling us out of the Open Skies Treaty!




#462

Yes, many of the captured and imprisoned ISIS fighters have now escaped. Reports are that about 18 were recaptured.

NBC reporter

Hundreds of ISIS Supporters Flee Detention Amid Turkish Airstrikes

The attacks caused about 700 Islamic State families to escape a Kurdish-run camp. The American defense secretary also said the U.S. would pull about 1,000 troops from the area.

AKCAKALE, Turkey — Hundreds of relatives of Islamic State fighters fled a Kurdish-run detention camp on Sunday morning after Turkish airstrikes hit the surrounding area, deepening the crisis prompted by the Turkish-led invasion of northern Syria.

The escapes came hours before the United States military said it would withdraw its remaining troops from northern Syria in the coming weeks, despite a likely resurgence of the Islamic State amid chaotic efforts by Turkish-led troops to wrest the region from Kurdish control.

A Kurdish official also said that the flag of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, had been raised in the countryside between the camp in the Kurdish-held town of Ain Issa and the Turkish border, another indication of how the Kurdish authorities were losing control of a region they had freed from the extremists only months ago.

We are facing very fierce attacks and we’re forced to decrease numbers of guards,” said the official, Ciya Kurd, of the Kurdish-led regional authority, who confirmed the break from the displacement camp after the Turkish strikes.

As The Washington Post’s Liz Sly and Missy Ryan reported, “U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the evolving U.S. strategy in Syria, said the Pentagon did not have enough forces to oversee the prisons if those facilities were left unguarded, nor a mandate to do so.”

In addition to the detention for facilities, there are camps holding the wives and children of suspected fighters, some of whom are themselves members and supporters of the organization.


#463

Sen Paul trying to insinuate that a Dem letter sent by three Senators Sens. Robert Menendez (N.J.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.) to Ukraine also threatened to withhold military funds.

Time will tell…

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday called for an investigation into the Democratic senators who sent a letter in 2018 to the prosecutor general of Ukraine requesting information on investigations into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Paul dodged questions from Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on whether President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s interactions with foreign governments to get information on former Vice President Joe Biden bothered him.

“If anything’s consistent here, both parties have tried to involve themselves in Ukraine,” Paul said.

“If you’re going to condemn Trump, you need to condemn the Democratic senators,” he added. “It shouldn’t just be one-sided.”

The 2018 letter Paul referred to was sent by three Democratic senators — Sens. Robert Menendez (N.J.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — to Ukraine’s prosecutor general, asking for the country’s assistance in the Mueller investigation. The letter was sent after a New York Times report found the investigations into Manafort in Ukraine had stalled.

Paul asserts the Democratic senators threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine in the letter if the country did not cooperate in the Mueller investigation.

The Kentucky senator said the Democratic senators’ sending of the letter needs to be examined.

That’s a threat and that’s the same kind of stuff they’re accusing Trump of,” he said.


#464

Should go under Impeachment - Document request for Fiona Hill, who is testifying this week. Axios is saying this is the exact roadmap for impeachment process - T’ request from Ukraine for help getting dirt on Bidens and Obstruction of Justice

Ahead of this week’s subpoenas and depositions, new documents obtained by Axios show how Democrats are taking the impeachment inquiry in two tightly focused directions: Ukraine and obstruction of justice.

Why it matters: There are new temptations for Democrats to broaden the scope of their inquiry after developments last week including President Trump’s gift to Turkey, new questions about coordination with the Chinese over Hunter Biden, and the dramatic airport arrests of two of Rudy Giuliani’s associates with Eastern European backgrounds and their indictments on campaign finance violations.

  • But for now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be sticking with her instincts to keep the probe tight and as simple as possible for Americans to understand.

Driving the news: If the document request for Trump’s former Russia adviser Fiona Hill, reviewed by Axios, is a road map for what Dems plan to ask Trump administration officials this week — and committee sources tell me that it is — then the inquiry remains focused on Ukraine and has not yet branched out into other countries.

Below are some of the key areas of interest to the committees, as outlined in their Oct. 9 letter to Hill:

  • All transcripts, notes, recordings, summaries, prep sessions and communications around Trump’s April and July calls with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
  • Efforts to restrict access to or limit distribution of documents referring to calls with foreign leaders; policies surrounding the practice of moving politically damaging documents to a special electronic system.
  • Interagency meetings relating to foreign assistance of any kind.
  • A meeting on or around May 21 in Kiev, Ukraine, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, Ukrainian officials and representatives of the Ukrainian energy sector.
  • A White House meeting on or around May 23 involving Trump, Volker, Perry or Sondland.
  • A dinner in Brussels on or around June 4 involving Jared Kushner, Zelensky, Sondland and Perry.
  • A White House meeting on or around July 10 with Ukrainian officials and former national security advisor John Bolton, Volker, Perry, Sondland — and possibly Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Efforts by Rudy Giuliani or associates to pressure Ukrainian government officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Paul Manafort, the DNC, Hillary Clinton and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
  • Potential attempts by Trump administration officials to influence Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz.
  • Ukraine’s acquisition of Javelin missiles from the U.S. and the decision to stop investigating Manafort and cease cooperation with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
  • Efforts by Trump administration officials to retaliate against the whistleblower or dispose of documents relating to the Ukraine investigation.

Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019