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Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,637

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Trump is pushing a fake scandal once again. Don't buy it.

How is it possible that millions of Americans can believe in scandals that simply don’t exist?

Because of Donald Trump, Fox News, and the army of sycophants, bots, trolls and grifters that support Trump’s version of reality online, millions of Americans falsely believe that it was actually Joe Biden who did something dodgy in Ukraine. They can’t quite put their finger on it, perhaps, but something must have happened. After all, the president of the United States says so.

But there’s just one problem: That narrative is a lie. It’s not a false claim or misleading spin. It’s just a straight-up lie. The allegations against the former vice president are baseless. Nonetheless, Trump and his toadies have repeatedly and wrongly insinuated that Biden pressured a Ukrainian prosecutor to drop an investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the time. Every aspect of that claim is not just wrong; it’s a total inversion of the truth.

First, there never was an investigation into Joe Biden or his son in Ukraine. It simply never happened. It’s a figment of Trump’s imagination, a fever dream that he hopes will distract from the reality of his all-too-real scandal — a scandal that threatens to destroy his presidency.


The White House's Ukraine memo destroys Giuliani's attempts to frame the State Department

The president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has been claiming the State Department was the main driver behind his suspicious dealings with Ukraine’s leaders over the past few months. But the newly released White House rough transcript on President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirms Giuliani’s narrative is completely false.

Over the past few days, Giuliani has repeatedly insisted that the State Department asked him to meet with Zelensky’s advisers, whom he asked — as he admits — to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden and investigate how Paul Manafort’s Ukraine-related crimes were exposed in 2016. On Monday, Giuliani actually said he was on a mission from the State Department when he met with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Zelensky, in Madrid in early August.

“The State Department called me and said, would I take a call from Mr. Yermak,” he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “I was put together with Mr. Yermak. I talked to him. He gave me enormously important facts. I conveyed them all to the State Department. Unlike the media lies, fake news, I wasn’t operating on my own. I was operating at the request of the State Department.”

Last week, Giuliani told the Hill’s John Solomon the State Department actually “urged” him to talk to Yermak and that he reported back to two senior U.S. diplomats. “All of this was done at the request of the State Department,” he said. On Tuesday night, Giuliani claimed the State Department asked him to meet with Yermak “to facilitate a meeting between the president and Mr. Zelensky, to help them do that.” (Trump met Zelensky and several other world leaders this week in New York.) Giuliani named Ambassador Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine, as the State Department official who reached out.


The Trump-Zelensky readout is a devastating indictment of our president

The memorandum on President Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a devastating indictment of the U.S. president. In it, Mr. Trump presses the neophyte Ukrainian leader to join with his personal lawyer and the U.S. attorney general in investigating his potential opponent in the 2020 election, Joe Biden. He does so after underlining the support the United States provides for Ukraine and after complaining that Ukraine has not adequately reciprocated.

Mr. Trump and his amen chorus claimed Wednesday that there was no “quid pro quo” in the call. In fact, the memorandum — a partial transcript compiled from the notes of aides — strongly suggests otherwise. Mr. Trump first makes a request for a political investigation in direct answer to Mr. Zelensky’s statement that Ukraine wants to buy more U.S. antitank missiles. “I would like you to do us a favor though,” Mr. Trump says, “because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

An even more explicit exchange comes when discussion turns to Mr. Zelensky’s top priority at the time, which was obtaining a firm commitment to a meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House. The Ukrainian leader felt he needed a Washington visit to show his country and Russian President Vladi­mir Putin that he would continue to have U.S. support against Russian aggression, but Mr. Trump had been stalling in granting a date. Toward the end of the call, Mr. Zelensky raises the subject of a visit, then reiterates that “I also want to ensure you that we will be very serious about the case and will work on the investigation.”

Mr. Trump, who knew very well what Mr. Zelensky wanted, responds: “Good. . . . I will tell Rudy [Giuliani] and Attorney General [William P.] Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House, feel free to call.” The implicit trade-off could hardly have been more clear.


It Has Begun

It is truly wondrous and arresting to see the Constitution in action, to see its ultimate tool — impeachment — employed, to see this mechanism that the drafters of the document must have considered an 11th-hour alternative be called up out of necessity.

It is not a thing to be celebrated. It is a thing to be soberly considered. It is a sign that the character and behavior of the target — in this case the president — is being searched for deficiency (in this case already demonstrated) and the American electorate has been betrayed.

This is a funeral; it is not festive.

Still, it is awe-inspiring and reaffirming to see politicians put what is right above that which might be risky, to stand on principle in an area consumed by political expediency.


Rudy Giuliani -- World's Worst Best Friend

Rudy Giuliani is the Trump administration’s point man on Ukraine. Just remember that, and everything else will make a lot more sense. “I think it’s incredible the way he’s done,” the president of the United States said Wednesday about his personal lawyer, who specializes in going on television and babbling incoherently.

We don’t know precisely what Giuliani’s diplomatic role is, given the fact that he’s not a government employee. His job seems mainly to be finding some proof that when Joe Biden was vice president, he was up to some shady Ukraine business in order to help out his son, Hunter.

Rudy certainly has Donald Trump’s ear — and more clout than the beleaguered State Department. “Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man,” Trump told the president of Ukraine. “He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you.”

As mayor, Giuliani’s was most famous for his 9/11 performance, which was more impressive if you ignored the fact that he’d located the city’s emergency command at the World Trade Center, despite police warnings that the towers had previously been bombed by terrorists. In a way, he’s playing a similar role now — he’s assigned to deal with a crisis he’s helped create. How often did you worry about Ukraine before Rudy picked up the case?


White House Unveils Lightly Edited Memorandum Of U.S. Constitution That Declares Trump's Innocence

WASHINGTON—Seeking to exculpate the president from alleged wrongdoing, the White House released a lightly edited memorandum of the U.S. Constitution Wednesday that specifically declares Trump’s innocence.

“[The President of the United States of America] shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, can talk to whatever foreign official he wants about any subject whenever he wants, consequence-free,” read the memo, which White House sources indicated did not include the full text of the nation’s founding document but offered a summation of its important points such as “Congress has the power to shut up and stay out of the President’s way.”

“The President, Vice President, and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors, assuming they are Democratic officials. This impeachment process shall not hold in the event that the president is a former real estate developer whose party controls the Senate...Make America Great Again! Trump 2020!”

At press time, legal scholars had suggested that despite the edits, the memorandum contained over a dozen examples of the president breaking the law.


The rough transcript is devastating. How could Trump not know that?

At least Richard Nixon had the good sense to resist releasing the “smoking gun” tape until finally forced to do so by the Supreme Court. That is because Nixon, the worst criminal to occupy the Oval Office until now, at least had a modicum of moral sense and self-awareness. He knew what he had said was wrong — he was heard plotting to use the CIA to shut down the FBI investigation of Watergate — and he realized that the tape’s release would be devastating to him.

President Trump, by contrast, is so clueless — so lacking in even the most basic sense of right and wrong — that he could actually tweet this morning: “Will the Democrats apologize after seeing what was said on the call with the Ukrainian President? They should, a perfect call — got them by surprise!” Suffice it to say, there were no apologies after the release of the Memorandum of Telephone Conversation (TelCon) between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. This isn’t a verbatim transcript, and it’s always possible that it was doctored in some way, but what is revealed in its five pages is deeply damaging to Trump.

“The United States has been very very good to Ukraine,” Trump tells Zelensky with an undertone of menace. “I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very.good to Ukraine.” Eager to placate Trump, Zelensky thanks him “for your great support in the area of defense.” “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.” (The Javelin is an antitank missile.)

The very next words out of Trump’s mouth are: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.” Quid, meet quo. Trump is explicitly tying U.S. military aid to Ukraine to Ukraine’s willingness “to do us a favor.” He then makes clear that the “us” he is referring to is not the United States of America. It is the Trump campaign.


Tropical Storm Karen set to make dizzying turn, perhaps eyeing Bahamas, southeast U.S.

A day after lashing Puerto Rico with flooding rains and winds gusting over 40 miles per hour, Karen is continuing its trek northward. Still a tropical storm, Karen is expected to maintain strength or slowly strengthen, eventually stalling and possibly making a turn west. That makes Karen one to watch for residents in the Bahamas and southeast United States, where Karen’s long-anticipated tour of the west central Atlantic might bring it uncomfortably close.

Karen is a capricious storm. Less than 36 hours after being classified as a tropical storm Sunday morning, Karen weakened into a tropical depression, sparking doubts that the system would ever make it to Puerto Rico intact. Barely a day later, Karen intensified into a tropical storm once again as it drew near the island territory. The main impacts in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands weren’t from wind, however; the headaches stemmed from rain.

Just southwest of San Juan, 3.46 inches of rain fell, with 3.50 inches in Utuado along the island’s western half. A number of flash flood warnings were issued in the island’s mountainous terrain. Doppler radar indicates as much as half a foot fell in Juana Diaz and Villalba municipalities. It’s estimated that more than 14 inches fell just offshore.

Karen is sitting about 150 miles north-northeast of San Juan, with maximum central winds of 45 mph. Over the next day or two, the system will casually strut northward or slightly north-northeastward, as if heading out to sea. But then the storm slams on the brakes and throws it in park. Karen could stall over the open Atlantic for 12 to 24 hours from late Thursday into the latter half of Friday.


Cindy McCain says GOP no longer the 'party that my husband and I belonged to'

Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCain, said on a podcast released Wednesday that the Republican Party is "excluding people for the wrong reasons" and is no longer "the party that my husband and I belonged to."

When McCain was asked if Democrats have a chance to win Arizona in 2020, she said she "really can" see the southwestern state going blue.

"We have, on my side of the aisle, on the Republican side, we see a local party in Arizona that's not functioning well. And it's excluding people. And it's excluding people for the wrong reasons," McCain said in an interview for Politico's "Women Rule" podcast.

"If you're not walking the line, then you're out. That's just not right. That's not the party that my husband and I belonged to."


Well Cindy, today's GOP is the same party that your husband and you belonged to. It's just more in-your-face about it now.

Panicky Trump Orders Dozen New Sharpies Before Releasing Ukraine Phone Transcript

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—A reportedly panic-stricken Donald J. Trump ordered a dozen new Sharpies before releasing a transcript of his phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump was reportedly incensed after he discovered that aides had not replenished his supply of Sharpies after he used his last one diverting the path of Hurricane Dorian.

In New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Vice-President Mike Pence scoured stationery stores in midtown Manhattan to find the precious Sharpies, but came up empty.

While the quest for Sharpies continued, aides professed that the situation was “under control.” “President Trump has actually done some of his best work with crayons,” one aide said.

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