With impeachment ending I’ll be resuming my normal digest updates. Some quick stories to catch up here.
- Per a recent book from Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, Trump attacked several top military leaders as “dopes and babies” for disagreeing with his Afghanistan policy. Trump was angry that the United States had not yet taken Afghanistan’s oil. He’s frequently expressed a desire to take oil from countries we have invaded. Doing so would explicitly be a war crime under multiple treaties. In the same book, a meeting is detailed where the president threw a tantrum when his campaign advisers sought to have him issue a retraction of his birtherism. Trump was furious and wanted to release a statement reaffirming the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
- According to John Bolton’s upcoming book, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was in the room when Trump instructed Bolton to get Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens. Cipollone was one of the lawyers presenting the president’s defense during the impeachment trial. This was wildly unethical and he may have broken the law, though a prosecution is almost certainly off the table under Barr’s justice department.
- The number of military personnel injured in Iran’s missile attack has reached sixty four. Both the White House and the Pentagon have lied about this multiple times with both initially saying there were zero injuries. The president has commented that concussions are merely headaches, angering some veterans’ groups.
- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the coronavirus outbreak in China would be good for creating American jobs. Nearly 500 people are dead as of today.
- Trump has rescinded the restrictions on the US military to use land mines. 160 countries have banned their use entirely as they maim and kill civilians decades after conflicts have ended. The United States is now moving to expand their use.
- Six countries have been added to Trump’s travel ban. Of particular note, Nigeria not only has the largest black population of any country in the world, Nigerian immigrants in the US are more educated than those from any other country. At least they were. Now they aren’t allowed to come here.
- Trump has placed John Bolton on a Nixonian enemies list and called for him to be criminally investigated over his upcoming book. Trump has often called for criminal charges against his critics without any actual crimes being committed or alleged.