Donald Trump Impeachment

Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas Drops A New Year’s Eve Bomb On Donald Trump

2020 is turning out to be a very bad year for Donald Trump, and it hasn’t even started just yet.

The reason Trump will be singing the blues when the clock strikes midnight later this evening has everything to do with a court filing from Lev Parnas, the associate of Rudy Giuliani who played a key role in the Ukraine scandal.

Specifically, Parnas just made  it clear that he’s ready to sing (and sign loudly) when Trump’s impeachment moves to the Senate when Congress returns from its holiday recess in early January, the Daily Beast reports:

“Parnas’ lawyer Joseph Bondy said the Justice Department will share materials with his client on Tuesday that it seized from his home and at his arrest. The materials include documents and the contents of an iPhone. Bondy then asked Judge Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York to allow him to share those materials with the House Intelligence Committee; a court order currently bars him from sharing them with anyone.”

The Parnas court filing could not come at a worse time for Trump, who desperately wants a quick, rigged Senate impeachment trial to begin and end as soon as possible.

But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made it clear she will not send the articles of impeachment passed by the House to the Senate until she’s given guarantees from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that he won’t merely conduct a kangaroo court devoid of evidence such as documents and — more troubling for Trump — witness testimony from people such as Parnas, former National Security Adviser John Bolton, and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who has admitted that Trump did indeed hold up military aid to Ukraine for blatantly political reasons.

So where does this leave us as 2020 dawns? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Trump is facing a growing scandal that could wind up destroying both him and the GOP
  • More damaging evidence will continue to trickle out
  • The election will get closer by the day, as Trump’s poll numbers continue to tank
  • Trump will melt down on Twitter and possibly at the State of the Union address in February

2020 is looking like a nightmare for Donald Trump, no matter how you slice it. And the only person to blame for this massive political snafu is Trump himself.

Happy New Year everyone!

Donald Trump Impeachment The Trump Adminstration

It’s Beginning To Look Like Mick Mulvaney Is Ready To Flip On Trump

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is feeling the heat, and he’s desperately looking for a lifeboat.

Recently, the New York Times published an extensive investigative report about the six-week period when President Donald Trump was holding military aid to Ukraine hostage, demanding an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for the $391 million Congress had allocated to protect Ukraine from continued aggression coming from Russia and Trump’s BFF, Vladimir Putin.

As part of that Times report, there was this passage:

“Mr. Mulvaney is said by associates to have stepped out of the room whenever Mr. Trump would talk with [Rudy] Giuliani to preserve Mr. Trump’s attorney-client privilege, leaving him with limited knowledge about their efforts regarding Ukraine. Mr. Mulvaney has told associates he learned of the substance of Mr. Trump’s July 25 call [with Zelensky] weeks after the fact.”

What are we to make of the fact that the Times was able to get someone close to Mulvaney to proclaim his innocence as a way of protecting him from the firestorm that will result from an impeachment trial in the Senate?

According to Amanda Marcotte of Salon, the Mulvaney alibi suggests he’s fearful he’ll be left holding the bag for the Ukraine scandal and made a scapegoat by Trump and his defenders:

“The fact that Trump’s acting chief of staff is trying to build his lifeboat suggests that there’s at least still real fear in the White House that this is a sinking ship. McConnell’s scheme to rush toward a Senate acquittal without even pretending to hold a trial isn’t going quite as smoothly as he might have hoped, because it gave Speaker Nancy Pelosi a reason to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate. Meanwhile, Trump keeps committing the very crimes he was impeached for, such as witness intimidation.”

Marcotte also suggests that readers engage in a hypothetical: The 2020 election is over with, Trump has lost, and is out of office. At that point numerous jurisdictions — including the U.S. Department of Justice with a new attorney general appointed by a Democratic president — will start issuing subpoenas and indictments:

“If Trump is successfully defeated and removed from office in the 2020 election — which is a big if, still — there will be a reckoning not just for Trump and Giuliani, but for all the players involved in this scandal.”

If Mulvaney wants to save his own ass, he’d best start making it clear that he wants to testify before the Senate. Otherwise, Donald Trump is going to toss him under the bus any day now.

Donald Trump Social Safety Net

Trump Looking To Slash Social Security Benefits With A Controversial Executive Action

While it was established a long time ago that Donald Trump is a complete and utter asshole who only cares about himself and will screw over anyone to get his way, a new plan from the current president is perhaps the lowest he’s sunk so far.

Trump is about to cut Social Security benefits to millions of Americans, and he might be able to do so without getting the approval of Congress.

Salon reports that Trump will make his raid on Social Security via what’s known as the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI):

“Last week, the Trump administration revealed that it is planning to employ the so-called chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) in a way that does not need congressional approval. ‘Chained CPI’ might sound technical and boring, but anyone who has closely followed the Social Security debate knows better. It has long been proposed as a deceptive, hard-to-understand way to cut our earned Social Security benefits.”

Without getting too far into the weeds, here’s how using Chained CPI works:

“Social Security’s modest benefits are automatically adjusted to keep pace with inflation. If not adjusted, those benefits will erode, slowly but inexorably losing their purchasing power over time. These annual adjustments are already too low, but they are better than no adjustment at all. The chained CPI would make these adjustments even less adequate.”

However, while Trump thinks he can get away with this clear cutback to Social Security and other social welfare programs (the CPI change would also impact Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance), his end run around Congress may not be accomplished if all of us let our representatives know we won’t stand for this kind of blatant stealing from both retirees and those who are most in need of assistance to afford the basics of food and shelter. That might cause such a ruckus that Trump will back down, especially with an election just months away.

If we don’t act, millions of Americans are about to see a drastic cut in their benefits. And then Trump and his GOP allies can use your money to help pay for the tax cut they gave to themselves and their rich friends.

Crime Russia Investigation

Former U.S. Atty. Predicts The Trump Organization Will Be Charged Under The RICO Statute

While most of the attention over the past couple of years has been focused on the investigation into the 2016 election being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it’s starting to look like the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) will be the team of prosecutors that winds up causing the greatest legal headache for President Donald Trump.

Last year, the SDNY issued subpoenas related to the 2016 Trump inaugural committee. Among the crimes mentioned in the subpoenas were conspiracy against the United States, false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and violations of campaign finance and inaugural committee laws. CNN is even reporting that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are interested in speaking with executives from the Trump Organization.

And those crimes, former U.S Attorney Joyce Vance notes in an article she wrote for The Daily Beast, suggest the SDNY is looking to charge Trump’s company under the racketeering statutes found in federal law. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO, she explains:

“Makes it a crime for any person associated with an enterprise to participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of the enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity.

“The penalties for violating RICO are heavy–up to 20 years in prison and forfeiture of the proceeds of the racketeering activity.”

Translation: Donald Trump and other top executives in the Trump Organization (i.e. Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka) would be facing 20 years in prison and the entire company could be seized by the feds and sold, with the proceeds going to the government in recompense for the crimes committed.

In the past, Vance goes on to note, she was skeptical when legal experts raised RICO in connection with Trump or his company, but the SDNY subpoenas have changed her mind:

“Now that the Trump inaugural committee or the Trump Organization may be targets of SDNY’s investigation, however, the theory does not seem so far-fetched. Either one of those Trump entities could potentially be considered an “enterprise” for purposes of a RICO charge, if the evidence supported it.”

And while it may not be possible to indict a sitting president, Vance concludes, that restriction doesn’t apply to his company:

“Even if SDNY follows the Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted, nothing prohibits the Trump Organization or Trump’s associates from being indicted.”

Imagine it for a second: Trump leaves office flat broke. His company has been seized and sold off, with the funds going to the U.S. Treasury. And once he’s no longer president, he too can be indicted, tried, and placed in prison.

So if Trump thought things were bad with Mueller on his trail, they just got much worse.

Donald Trump Impeachment

Some GOP Senators Are Already Breaking With Mitch McConnell On His Sham Impeachment Trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) insistence that Donald Trump won’t be found guilty when his impeachment moves to the upper chamber of Congress may sound like he’s sure of his ability to stack the deck in a way that will assure Trump’s full exoneration, but according to a former top Senate staffer, it’s actually a sign that some Republican senators are already pushing back on McConnell.

Jim Manley is the former chief spokesman for Senator Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate for many years before he retired, and he says McConnell’s crowing on Fox News that he has his caucus in line suggests just the opposite:

“The fact that he’s still hedging his bets and the fact that he made these comments to Fox that are apparently boomeranging a little bit gives me pause about actually where his caucus is.

“I think that there’s still a handful of folks that are really concerned about getting tied to Donald Trump on all of this,especially when news is breaking day in, day out about, you know, different facets of the case.”

Manley then added:

“The interesting dynamic to watch is the fact that, if McConnell would have had this thing sewn up, if he would have had his caucus on board, he would have moved very quickly to try and get this thing up and organized.”

Just yesterday, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) said she was “disturbed” by McConnell bragging that he was planning “total coordination” with the White House when it came to the Senate trial:

“When I heard that, I was disturbed.”

There are also rumblings that other Republicans are uncomfortable with a sham Senate trial, including Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado, both of whom face uncertain reelection efforts in states that are trending blue as 2020 approaches. Mitt Romney of Utah has also suggested that a trial should be fair and not just a kangaroo court such as McConnell wants to see take place.

The current 53-47 majority held by Senate Republicans is much narrower than it appears, because if only four GOP senators disagree with McConnell and insist that a fair trial must be held, that would shift the balance of power to 51-47 in favor of the Democrats. That would mean witnesses, documents, and all sorts of other things McConnell and the White House are terrified of.

After Congress returns from its holiday recess, keep an eye on Murkowski, Collins, Gardner, and Romney. They may be the ones who force McConnell to do what he fears most: Play fair.