Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 2/14/2020

  • Barr will be testifying before the House at the end of March. This is notably after the release date of John Bolton’s book. It is however very likely that Barr will refuse to answer several questions.
  • The president ranted from the White House about the Roger Stone conviction saying no one even knew what he had been convicted of. Stone was convicted of seven felonies – 1 count of obstruction, 1 count of witness tampering, and 5 counts of lying to Congress. These counts are all detailed and publicly available. The president was lying. He is also attacking the jury foreman because they are a Democrat. Belonging to a political party does not mean a person is so biased as to require they not sit on a jury.
  • John McEntee was fired from the White House after failing to obtain a security clearance because of a massive gambling habit and allegations of financial crimes. McEntee is returning to the White House and will be in charge of vetting all White House personnel.
  • Trump introduced a worker during the state of the union address he said was the beneficiary of a tax break signed into law by Trump. He lied. The same thing happened with a student Trump said was in a failing government school. She is not.
  • After all four prosecutors in the Roger Stone case resigned over Trump and Barr’s interference with their sentencing recommendation, the president said they resigned because they were “caught in the act by me.”

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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 1/14/2020

  • The president recently said Saudi Arabia paid $1 billion to the US for us to station troops there. The president for years has argued countries with a US military presence must pay us for the “privilege.” This would turn the US military into a mercenary force. Thankfully, like several of his recent claims about the military, the president was lying.
  • Lev Parnas is the indicted Ukrainian-American who was working for Giuliani on Trump’s shadow foreign policy. Since his arrest Parnas has been publicly lobbying for permission to turn over important materials to congress which was granted. Today, Democrats in the House released some of those documents. Giuliani wrote a letter to the Ukrainian government asking to meet personally with president-elect Zelensky. Giuliani wrote that this was at the president’s request and he was acting as the president’s personal lawyer. Giuliani has publicly said both that he was acting on behalf of the State Department and that he was acting as a personal lawyer. Both can’t be true. But this also removes deniability that Trump had no idea what Giuliani was doing.
  • Parnas took handwritten notes during a phone with Giulani while in Vienna. These notes show Parnas was tasked with getting Zelensky to announce an investigation into the Biden’s to help Trump win the election. They also mention Dmitry Firtash, who is connected to the Russian mafia. The notes talk about “getting rid of (nicely)” Firtash’s lawyer right next to the names of lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova. Indeed, Firtash fired Davis and replaced him with Toensing and diGenova who also worked with Giuliani and informally advised the president. Giuliani told Firtash if he assisted in finding dirt on the Bidens, the State Department could help him with his numerous legal issues.
  • Also from the Parnas documents are text messages from Robert Hyde, a Republican donor and congressional candidate, and Yuriy Lutsenko, a former Ukrainian prosecutor. Mr. Hyde told Parnas he had Ambassador Yovanovich under surveillance, including her electronic devices. He said he knew some people who could help with her for a price. Ambassador Yovanovich was recalled due to unnamed threats. It appears those threats were coming from men working with the president’s lawyer. Lutsenko told Parnas he was working on getting information on the Biden’s but said it was a problem the couldn’t get rid of Yovanivich.
  • Mitch McConnell does not want any of this information being brought up during Trump’s Senate trial.
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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 12/17/19 Impeachment Eve

  • Trump sent a long rambling letter to Pelosi complaining about impeachment. White House lawyers have come out to deny being involved in its drafting but we know Steven Miller was. The White House characterized the letter as “trolling” Pelosi because the United States elected a president who trolls the Speaker of the House. This New York Times annotation of the letter points out all of the lies it contains.
  • In a brief camera appearance, Trump again argued that you can’t impeach a president who has accomplished so much and listed several things he’s done including passing the Veterans’ Choice bill. The Veterans’ Choice bill was signed into law by Barack Obama. Trump has lied about it dozens of times now and typically receives no pushback.

By this time tomorrow, assuming only a moderate amount of stalling from Republicans, president Donald Trump will be impeached.

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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 12/10/19

  • Democrats in the House have drafted two articles of impeachment. Philip Bump’s analysis is so good I’m not doing my own here. You can read his annotated copy of the articles here and his analysis here.
  • Prosecutors in the case against Rick Gates, who worked on the Trump campaign, are recommending zero prison time due to his extensive cooperation. They note that he was pressured to not cooperate and even offered payment to remain silent. We do not know who made these offers.
  • Trump lashed out at FBI director Christopher Wray after Wray accurately pointed out there were no political biases involved in starting the Russia investigation and that the investigation had sufficient cause. Attorney General Barr has publicly attacked the Inspector General report making these conclusions. This follows the Republican response to the IG report which is to simply lie about it.
  • Trump, who claims to be incredibly concerned about corruption, has now paid the $2 million fine for his corrupt charity. That’s not to be confused with the settlement he had to pay for his corrupt university.
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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 11/27/19

  • Giuliani told the Ukrainians they needed a lobbyist in order to secure a meeting with William Barr. Giuliani suggested himself and a contract was drawn for him to act as a lobbyist and help the Ukrainian government recover assets.
  • Don McGahn lost his court case this week regarding being required to testify to Congress. The government appealed and a hearing will not take place until January. The Trump administration knows they are going to lose the cases over administration members testifying, but the goal is to delay long enough so that the impeachment process has already concluded.
  • The phone call Sondland recounted during his testimony where Trump said “No quid pro quo” does not appear to have taken place. A blogger/podcaster first noticed this discrepancy shortly after Sondland’s testimony. Sondland had to amend his testimony twice to avoid a perjury charge. It appears he may have to do so a third time.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who observe it! I won’t be publishing tomorrow assuming a slow news day.

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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 11/27/19

  • In an interview, Trump said that people would have to talk to Rudy Giuliani to find out what he was doing in Ukraine. Not only has Rudy said he was working on behalf of the president, the president told multiple people in the US government and Ukrainian president Zelensky to contact Giuliani over US foreign policy. The idea that Giuliani was acting on his own is complete nonsense.
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Trump Daily 11/25/19

Including several items from the weekend here.

  • Lev Parnas, the indicted Giulani associate who worked on his shadow foreign policy, says that Devin Nunes met with disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin in order to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Nunes threatened to sue the media for reporting this but did not deny the meeting. During the impeachment hearings, Nunes pushed a baseless conspiracy theory that’s been supported by Russian intelligence in order to frame Ukraine for the 2016 election interference.
  • I want to stress the prior two stories are sourced from Parnas and may not be reliable. This item, however, does not rely on his word. Parnas has given a large number of documents to the House, including audio and video concerning Giuliani’s activities in Ukraine.
  • The Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, resigned this weekend over issue related to Trump’s pardon of Eddie Gallagher, a Navy Seal who was targeting civilians in Iraq. The Navy has taken actions to remove Gallagher from the Seals, in opposition to the president. There are competing narratives over Spencer’s resignation. Mark Esper, the Secretary of Defense, says Spencer offered to rig the outcome of the Gallagher investigation. Spencer denies this and claims he was fired for standing up to the president.
  • Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, posted an extensive list of wrongdoing by the president. I dare not summarize it. You can read it here. (If you aren’t comfortable with Twitter, use this link.)
  • The Manhattan DA who was investigating Trump’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, was told to stand down by federal prosecutors who said they were handling the case. The federal prosecutors concluded their case after a year with no communication to the DA. They may have been acting to delay the prosecution as to run out the statute of limitations. The DA has since resumed the investigation. The investigation is focusing in part on Allen Wiesselberg, accountant to the Trump Organization.
  1. Obstruction of justice
  2. Money laundering
  3. Conspiracy to defraud the US
  4. Making false statements to federal investigators
  5. Failure to register as a foreign agent
  6. Mail fraud
  7. Straw campaign donations
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Trump Daily 11/22/19

I’m again not including the recent impeachment testimony as that’s extensively covered and easy to find. not to mention hard to fit into a short summary.

  • The intelligence community has been briefing congress on the fact that the Russians are behind pushing the conspiracy theories that Ukraine was involved in interfering in the 2016 election. This means that the Republicans have been knowingly pushing Russian propaganda for weeks in an effort to defend Trump. The president most recently echoed one of these Russian conspiracy theories this morning, saying that the DNC refused to turn over their server to the FBI (a lie) and that they gave “the” server to a Ukrainian owned company (a lie).
  • The Inspector General report into the origins of the Russia investigation and the FISA warrant for Carter Page is finished. A minor and inconsequential alteration was made to an email, but the Page surveillance was valid and the Russian investigation was opened due to proper evidence. This destroys several Republican conspiracy theories regarding why the investigation was begun. Among other things, the baseless claim that the Steele dossier started the investigation is now demonstrably false.
  • We learned this week that Nunes was working with Lev Parnas, the indicted Giuliani associate, to organize Ukraine meetings. One of those meetings was with disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was fired in an anti-corruption effort. Republicans claim Shokin was fired for investigating Burisma, the company Hunter Biden was on the board for. This is a lie. Shokin was not investigating Burisma. Nunes was working with him to find dirt on Joe Biden. He failed to mention this throughout the entire impeachment process. Nunes has also been meeting with Giuliani, Parnas, journalist John Solomon, and lawyers Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing. The latter two represent Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch linked to the Russian mafia.
  • The Navy appears to be continuing the process to expel recently pardoned Eddie Gallagher from the SEAL program. This is despite Trump’s tweet demanding this not happen. Throughout his administration, whether the president’s Tweets constitute official orders has been in dispute with the administration itself claiming at times they are and other times they are not.
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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 11/14/19

  • Trump brought up Crowdstrike in the call to Zelensky. He gets that from an insane conspiracy theory that Russia didn’t hack the DNC and Crowdstrike helped them hide the evidence by spiriting the physical server away to Ukraine, where their founder was from. Crowdstrike’s founder isn’t Ukrainian, there were dozens of DNC servers containing their email, and we know Russia was behind the hack. The president wanted a foreign head of state to investigate this anyway. Zelensky as it turns out had no idea what the hell the president was talking about and they had to look it up.
  • The president is looking to increase the payment South Korea provides the United States to six times its current amount. He’s long said other countries need to pay the US for protection, turning the US military into mercenaries.
  • I didn’t write a piece on the Taylor / Kent testimony as we learned very little which was new. Taylor however said one of his aides was having lunch with Ambassador Sondland in a Ukrainian restaurant when Sondland called Trump. Trump could be heard on the other end of the call asking about the requested investigations into Biden and Clinton. (In addition to more evidence of the extortion, this is a massive security risk.) The Associated Press is reporting that a second witness was there in the restaurant and also heard Trump’s call. David Holmes, Taylor’s aide who overheard the call, will be testifying tomorrow in a closed session.
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Daily Summaries

Trump Daily 11/1/19

  • The Ukrainian president, Zelensky, scheduled a CNN interview during which he planned to announce investigations into the Bidens and Hillary Clinton. After exposure from the whistleblower, the aid Trump had been holding over Zelensky’s head was released.
  • The Ukrainian government was concerned early on that Giuliani’s efforts to have Ukraine open an investigation into the Bidens would lead to withholding military aid.
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