America’s traitor sells out his country

Donald Trump sold out America Monday in a press conference before a stunned world, shocked American leaders and saddened aides.

“One of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” declared Vietnam war hero John McCain.

“Bizzare and flat-out wrong,” said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

“Shameful,” said GOP Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona.

“The Russians are not our friends,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.  “I’ve said that repeatedly, I say it again today.  And I have complete confidence in our intelligence community and the findings that they have announced.”

“There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Notes Mark Landler of The New York Times:

President Trump made one thing clear after his meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin on Monday: He is willing to take Mr. Putin’s word over those of his own intelligence agencies about whether the Russians tried to fix the 2016 election.

Such an admission by a president sworn to be the principal defender of the Constitution and America’s sovereignty in the world is extraordinary enough. But it was only one of several statements made by Mr. Trump, the likes of which no other American president has ever uttered on foreign soil.

He condemned the Justice Department’s investigation of his campaign’s ties to Russia as a “disaster for our country.” He suggested that the F.B.I. deliberately mishandled its investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee. And he labeled an F.B.I. agent who testified about that investigation before Congress as a “disgrace to our country.”

After a one on one meeting with Putin, who denied any Russian involvement in hacking servers, posting fake messages and using leaked materials to discredit Trump’s Democratic opponent in the 2016 election, Trump stood before the cameras in Helsinki and declared:

I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.

Former CIA director John Brennan responded quickly:

“Donald Trump’s news conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Adds McCain, a Republican stalwart fighting brain cancer:

No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.

As has become the norm among the spineless GOP that controls both houses of Congress, most Republicans sat quietly and let Trump debase America while applauding Putin.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was not quiet and said:

A single, ominous question now hangs over the White House: What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States? Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said even more:

This is a disgraceful moment. The president’s party knows better. I know they do. I served with many of them. America needs them to speak out with clarity and conviction not just in this news cycle, but until there’s common sense governing America’s foreign policy.

McCain, in a statement from his home in Arizona, said what other Republicans have no guts to say:

It is tempting to describe the news conference as a pathetic rout — as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.

No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are — a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad.

Trump’s actions Monday, called treasonous by an increasing number, even brought criticisms from his steadfast cheering section at Fox News:

Fox Business News host Neil Cavuto called Trump’s actions “disgusting.  I’m sorry, it’s the only way I feel.  It not a right or left thing to me, it’s just wrong.”

From Fox’s senior political analyst Brit Hume:

Because Trump is unable to see past himself, he sees the Russia meddling investigation as only about him and the collusion claim, and thus calls it a witch hunt.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper:

You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly than I’ve ever seen.

Editorial by The Washington Post:

In Helsinki, Mr. Trump again insisted “there was no collusion” with Russia. Yet in refusing to acknowledge the plain facts about Russia’s behavior, while trashing his own country’s justice system, Mr. Trump in fact was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power.

Republican Senator Bob Corker, retiring chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he “did not think this was a good moment for our country.”

Adds Ryan:

There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.

What Ryan did not say was that the best way to accomplish that is to remove Donald Trump, immediately, from the presidency and charge with the ultimate high crime: Treason and punish those crimes to the full extent of the law.

If Ryan and his other compliant Republican psychopaths don’t have the guts to do what needs to be done, they should stand trial for treason along with Trump.

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Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

 

Domino effect? Will Pruitt’s downfall also sink Trump?

Scandal-ridden EPA administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned Thursday amid at least 14 investigations into his sordid misuse of taxpayer funds and outright corruption, becoming the latest appointee exposed in the most corrupt presidential administration in modern times, if not the entire history of America.

Pruitt’s misuse of power, which continued unabated while Donald Trump and the Republican Congressional leadership looked the other way, has been called “a range of scandals not seen since the Teapot Dome affair.”

Writes right-wing columnist Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post:

His corruption was astounding — from his order of a $43,000 soundproof booth to first-class air travel at taxpayers’ expense to a $50-a-night condo rental from a lobbyist’s spouse to his use of aides to run errands on government time to his pursuit of a cushy job for his wife, there seemed to be no item that was too small to snatch and no item too big to turn down. In any other administration, he would have been gone months ago.

She adds:

He has not divested himself of ongoing businesses which he continues to profit from. He continues to receive foreign emoluments, although multiple lawsuits seek to end what may be a constitutional violation. And the president has employed relatives who have their own conflicts, such as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, giving foreign governments the impression that they could use his financial situation to advance their interests with the U.S. government.

In other words, a perfect appointee for a corrupt president like Donald Trump.

She concludes:

The most dishonest and corrupt administration in about a century is only marginally improved by the departure of Pruitt. Only with serious oversight (which likely will come only from a Democratic majority in one or both houses) can we hope to fumigate the administration. In the meantime, Congress needs to beef up ethics reporting and enforcement, make disclosure of the president’s tax returns mandatory and stiffen penalties for violations of ethics rules. Only then will we restore a modicum of normalcy to the government, which has come to resemble a corrupt banana republic.

Norman L. Eisen, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Noah Bookbinder, executive director of that group and a former federal corruption prosecutor, say Pruitt’s problems could well be the start of the end of the corrupt reign of Trump.

They write in The New York Times:

Given the extent of Mr. Pruitt’s scandals and the damage he leaves behind, it is a wonder that he survived so long. Some may point to the fact that he doggedly pursued Mr. Trump’s environmental agenda, including the shredding of Obama-era commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions in the power and transportation sectors, but we are not convinced — after all, that effort didn’t work out as well as he had hoped.

A more likely explanation is that Mr. Trump did not want to let Mr. Pruitt go because the president was afraid of what it might mean for him. Mr. Trump too has endured in the face of mounting investigations and litigation. Between the Russia investigation, Michael Cohen’s potentially impending cooperation with the government, and a raft of civil cases, Mr. Trump surely knows that the legal flood around him is rising. Did he put off firing Mr. Pruitt because he was afraid to admit the taint of scandal on his administration?

Dana Milbank of The Post agrees:

While the media, and the Democrats, were getting all worked up about the mattress and the lotion and Chick-fil-A and Disneyland and the phone booth and the bulletproof seats and the rest of Pruitt’s penny-ante corruption, relatively little attention was going to the emoluments, which are of much greater value: Ivanka Trump’s trademarks and Jared Kushner’s investors and foreign governments pumping millions into Trump properties.

Now Pruitt is gone, and Trump is about to be caught with his tactical pants down.

We can hope.

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Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

 

 

 

Republicans call Trump out for latest lies

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump lied outright in his tweet that claimed Republicans applauded loudly when he mentioned his work against South Carolinian Mark Sanford, who lost his Congressional seat in last week’s state primary, say three Republicans members of the House at the meeting.

“Had a great meeting with the House GOP last night at the Capitol,” Trump claimed in a tweet Wednesday.  “They applauded and laughed loudly when I mentioned my experience with Mark Sanford.  I have never been  fan of his.”

Applause?  Nope.  Boos.  Yep.  The party of Trump booed him when he called Sanford “a nasty guy.”

Didn’t happen, said Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash.  He and other House Republicans were “disgusted” with Trump’s remarks.

“House Republicans had front row seats to @POTUS’s dazzling display of pettiness and insecurity,” Amash tweeted. “Nobody applauded or laughed. People were disgusted.”

Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania said no Republican cheered.

“Categorically false,” he tweeted after Trump’s latest lies.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee was another Republican who said Trump’s claims were wrong.

Normally, Republicans disgusted with Trump keep quiet when he lies but three came out after his gloated about any role he might have played in Sanford’s defeat to state Rep. Katie Arrington, who says she will be “more supportive” of Trump.

Costello is not seeking re-election this year, saying he is leaving Congress because of the “partisan political environment.”

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Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Another Trump con job? You betcha

President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Donald Trump met with Republican members of Congress at the White House Wednesday to tell them to back off on attempts to scrap his attempts to help Chinese telecom firm ZTE, claiming his efforts to help the company is part of a “broader geopolitical negotiating strategy.”

Some close to Trump say his claims are just another lie.  He really wants to help ZTE to help Chinese president Xi Jinping, who in turn granted a profitable string of trademarks that mean millions in new business for daughter Ivanka.

In question too is Chinese government support of an Indonesian real estate development that will include several Trump-brand properties.  The Chinese government issued $500 million in loans to the project just a few days before Trump announced his support for ZTE.

Trump ordered the Commerce Department to water down sanctions and penalties against ZTE right after Ivanka Trump got the trademarks and after the Chinese boss lobbied him for help with ZTE.

David J. Apol, acting director and general counsel for the federal government’s ethic office says Trump’s business dealings “raise serious concerns” but adds that he does not have the power to launch any investigations.  Such investigations are the purview of Congress, which is controlled by the party of Trump.

ZTE is also believed to be heavily involved in hacking American government and business operations and was heavily fined and sanctioned by Congress.

The sanctions barred ZTE from buying American products, including semiconductors, for seven years as punishment for violating United States sanctions against Iran and North Korea but Commerce — under orders from Trump — decided to levy a $1 billion fine on the company along with orders to replace senior leadership and install American compliance officers.

Trump also wants to develop real estate properties in China and knows the penalties on ZTE could bring that effort to an unprofitable halt.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, high-ranking GOP leader in the Senate, says lawmakers are willing to compromise.

The House, which marches to any tune Trump issues, has already axed the penalty but the Senate can still leave it in place.

“We came to no conclusion that I could discern,” said Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin. “This type of meeting really isn’t one where you’d think you will really come to any conclusion.”

The decisions will be one where the Senate decides to serve the nation or fatten Trump’s bank account.

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Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

 

Steve Schmidt’s strong, needed words

Steve Schmidt was a “go-to” political strategist and consultant for Republicans.

Schmidt, “Smitty” to those who worked closely with him, served both President George W. Bush in the successful 2004 Presidential election and Sen. John McCain for his unsuccessful attempt to win the job in 2008.

In McCain’s campaign, Smitty talked the candidate into bringing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin into the fray as the vice presidential running mate.

Unleashing Palin onto the national political stage helped turn politics into even more of a carnival sideshow.

Smitty thought Palin, a “different type of candidate who upset the natural order of things” might upset the celebrity buzz that surrounded opponent Barack Obama.

For a while, it seemed to work.  McCain led the polls and Paliln was the focus of much media and voter attention.  She attracted the gun fanciers with tales of hunting big game in Alaska.  She seemed more she was — which soon became the problem.

In briefings, Palen turned out to be ignorant of policy and shallow when it came to general knowledge of how government worked.  She said incredibly stupid things, like claiming she could “see the coast of Russia” from Alaska.

She fell apart in a critical interview with Katie Couric and went rogue with statements and actions that showcased her ignorance and outright stupidity.

Palin brought McCain down but her presence on a national presidential ticket laid groundwork for other pretenders and wannabes — like Donald John Trump.

Smitty realized that Wednesday when he renounced his three decades as a Republican and urged voters to cast their ballots for Democrats in the midterm elections this November.

In a series of tweets on Twitter, Schmidt announced:

29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of The Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.

It is corrupt, indecent and immoral. With the exception of a few Governors like Baker, Hogan and Kasich it is filled with feckless cowards who disgrace and dishonor the legacies of the party’s greatest leaders. This child separation policy is connected to the worst abuses of humanity in our history. It is connected by the same evil that separated families during slavery and dislocated tribes and broke up Native American families. It is immoral and must be repudiated. Our country is in trouble. Our politics are badly broken. The first step to a season of renewal in our land is the absolute and utter repudiation of Trump and his vile enablers in the 2018 election by electing Democratic majorities. I do not say this as an advocate of a progressive agenda. I say it as someone who retains belief in DEMOCRACY and decency.

On Ronald Reagan’s grave are these words. “ I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.” He would be ashamed of McConnell and Ryan and all the rest while this corrupt government establishes internment camps for babies. Everyone of these complicit leaders will carry this shame through history. There legacies will be ones of well earned ignominy. They have disgraced their country and brought dishonor to the Party of Lincoln.

I have spent much of my life working in GOP politics. I have always believed that both parties were two of the most important institutions to the advancement of human freedom and dignity in the history of the world. Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values.

This Independent voter will be aligned with the only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies. That party is the Democratic Party.

Strong words but also ones that needed to be said.

Trump: Madman, threat, terrorist, traitor

Donald Trump: A traitor and threat to America.

Peevish little spoiled brat Donald Trump is complaining that he’s not getting enough credit for his stage, reality-show styled summit that wasn’t with North Korean Kim Jong Un.

Even his Republican lockstep followers offer — at best — lukewarm thoughts while Democrats, America’s shrinking number of allies around the world and the media at large call it vague and lacking of details and clear objectives.

Wake up Trumpie.  Your bluster and constant lies continue to make and more Americans realize that you are — at best — a blowhard con artist and — most likely — a traitor who threatens the future of this nation far more than the boyish leader of North Korea or any other enemy.

You flew off to Singapore after lambasting and insulting close allies at the G-7 meeting in Canada and praised a terrorist nation where its leader killed his brother to gain power and murdered thousands of his own countrymen.

You hugged Kim Jong Un, saluted his military and praised his “toughness” because you, as a wannabe despot, wants his kind of control over what is supposed to be a Democratic Republic here in America.

In Trump’s world, constant and unearned praise is demanded, even when it is not deserved — which is the case most often.

“He’s his own communications director. Once again his press team is trying to catch up to him,” GOP consultant Alex Conant told the Washington post. “He’s focused more on the optics than the policy, which is a trend we’ve seen throughout this presidency.”

Notes Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy and senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States:

Simply agreeing to the summit was a surrender of one of the United States’ greatest sources of leverage. When Trump walked across the stage to grasp Kim’s hand Tuesday against the backdrop of U.S. and North Korean flags, Kim won a recognition and status that he, his father and his grandfather had long sought.

Meanwhile, Kim has been treated as a cross of statesman and rock star — with gawking onlookers snapping photos of him as he toured Singapore and Singaporean officials posing for selfies with him out on the town, whitewashing the brutal dictator’s image.

And what did we get in exchange? A vague agreement that includes less favorable language on denuclearization than previous statements had — and no mention of how to verify that North Korea is complying; the resumption of POW/MIA remains recovery, which is an important humanitarian issue but will require working out additional details; and aspirational pledges, echoing previous agreements, on improving bilateral relations, developing a peace regime and providing security assurances. In remarks after the summit, Trump referred to several commitments the text doesn’t include at all, including the closure of a missile test site in North Korea (experts aren’t clear to what this refers) and the ending of “war games” with South Korea (to the surprise of South Korea and the Pentagon, and with an already evolving definition). It seems quite possible that on this or other issues — such as verification, which Trump danced around in his post-summit comments and interviews — Trump and Kim could come away with different understandings of these vague commitments, or Trump’s definitions could evolve, as has happened on other issues. Such a misunderstanding could blow up the talks and put both countries back on the path toward confrontation.

She adds that Trump’s ego is “not just misguided.  Trump’s one-man show does not equal diplomacy, and it pus the United States at significant disadvantage.”

Trump, of course, came out of the summit convinced that he is a great deal maker.  He always claims that everything he does is “the best” and “record-setting” and “something we have never done before.”

In reality, Donald Trump is a madman, a threat and a traitor to America.  He should be treated as such.

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Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue