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Profile Information

Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 52,691

About Me

Since 1995, a year after I was forced into a very early retirement due to Multiple Sclerosis, I have owned and operated a daily newsgathering service out of my home, for a clientele comprised of TV newscasters, Op-Ed columnists, book authors, a national wire-service and some online publications. I post many of the news articles I gather, here on DU. I also post news articles and Op-Eds written/reported/authored by my list of subscribers/clientele.

Journal Archives

Trump May Still Be Learning About His Own Decisions Through TV

11:15 P.M.

By Matt Stieb

Considering that the president watches a reported eight hours of television on a good day, it shouldn’t be surprising that he learns a great deal from his screen time. There’s the noted Fox & Friends feedback loop, in which the morning show discusses a statistic on crime or immigration, and, uncannily, Trump posts about the same detail, usually within the hour. Among White House officials, there’s also the tested strategy of appearing on television to get the president’s ear, a method reportedly preferred to an Oval Office chat. But, two years into the job, Trump is still learning about his own decisions and policy through TV.

On Thursday, CNN reported that Trump “was startled Tuesday as he watched television coverage” of his attorney general nominee William Barr, as he described his close, first-name basis with special prosecutor Robert Mueller. “I told him how well I knew Bob Mueller and that the Barrs and Muellers were good friends and would be good friends when this was all over,” Barr said on his first day of testimony. “Bob is a straight-shooter and should be dealt with as such.” According to three sources who spoke with CNN, that friendship surprised the president, who complained to his aides that he didn’t realize how close they were, despite Barr’s testimony that he told Trump about his Mueller connection.

The president has a notable history of learning about what he did on TV after the fact. In a damning report on his reading comprehension, Trump realized how critical Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation letter was only after it was discussed on TV. (Mattis, for what it’s worth, has supposedly said Trump has the understanding of “a fifth or sixth grader.”) And in 2017, Trump allegedly learned through watching TV that his plan to cut taxes on the middle class would have exactly the opposite effect.

Regardless of his friendship with Mueller or his allegiance to the president, Barr states that he would allow the special counsel to remain independent, and would not be “bullied” into bias toward either camp. Of course, he’s also written an unsolicited 20-page memo arguing against an obstruction of justice charge for the president, so we probably know where he stands.



Buzzfeed News Reporter Jason Leopold Says He's Seen Documents Supporting Bombshell Report

by Ken Meyer | Jan 18th, 2019, 11:37 am

BuzzFeed News Reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier have an explosive story out claiming Michael Cohen was directed to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower Moscow by President Donald Trump. The report claims Cohen told Robert Mueller about the president’s order, corroborating other evidence reportedly in the possession of federal investigators.

When Cormier appeared on CNN Friday morning to talk about the scoop, he was asked if he has seen any of the reported evidence for himself. Cormier answered “No, I’ve not seen it personally,” but insisted that his sources are “fully, 100 percent read-in to that aspect of the special counsel’s investigation.”

Cormier continued to defend his piece throughout the interview, even as Alisyn Comerota noted that his co-author, Leopold, has a history of false reporting.

“My sourcing on this goes beyond the two on the record. It’s 100 percent. I am the individual who confirmed and verified that it I am telling you our sourcing goes beyond the two I was able to put on the record. We were able to gather information from individuals who know this happened.”

Shortly after, Leopold gave an interview of his own to MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson, and she asked him “how confident are you that [Mueller’s documents] actually exist?”


Greatest dealmaker in history is getting "crushed" -- and his fans are starting to notice

Is the public finally learning that Trump's "art of the deal" was always hot air? Right now he's trapped and alone


JANUARY 18, 2019 1:00PM (UTC)

If you look at polling during the Trump era, it becomes clear that researchers have discovered that many voters are misinformed about the president. Many actually believe that Donald Trump is a massively successful self-made billionaire. His lifelong penchant for hype and the exposure he got from the scripted reality show "The Apprentice" convinced many people that he was a tremendously gifted businessman.

As the New York Times reported in its massive exposé of the Trump family business going back to the 1960s, Trump was a millionaire before he was out of diapers -- and his repeated failures in business were all because of his lack of business acumen. Researchers discovered that had voters known about this, it would have changed the minds of a meaningful percentage of those who voted for Trump.

He gets a 5 percent boost in public approval when people believe he came from humble roots because they conclude he must have empathy toward people like them. When people learn that isn't true, there's a big shift:

[A]ttitudes toward Trump may be polarized along party lines, but this information does have noticeable and statistically significant effects on evaluations of Trump’s character. For Democrats, who already see Trump as lacking empathy, this information makes them think of him as even less empathetic. But among Republicans, the information is even more damning, reducing perceptions of empathy by more than 10 percentage points.

Perceptions of Trump's business acumen, which are fairly high among voters of both parties, are also subject to a significant shift. When they find out that his daddy bailed him out his whole life, Republicans reduce their admiration for his skills by 9 points and Democrats by 6. These are small differences, but considering how close the election was in 2016, it's something worth thinking about
for 2020.


Michael Cohen's got the receipts -- but impeachment is still a big gamble

Possible new evidence against Trump is more damning than ever. But Republicans don't care whether he's guilty


JANUARY 18, 2019 5:25PM (UTC)

Late on Thursday night, BuzzFeed News dropped a bombshell report alleging that, finally, there's documentary evidence of Donald Trump committing a crime.

"President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter," reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier write.

They also claim that Trump worked with Cohen to set up a personal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to make the Moscow Trump Tower deal happen.

Perhaps most important, Leopold and Cormier report that there are text messages, internal memos and emails to prove this — throwing a wrench in Trump's legal strategy of writing Cohen off as a liar and turning the issue into a "he said/he said" standoff.

Talk of impeaching Trump has already been on the rise in the past month, as Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives and now have the ability to file articles of impeachment. A new cover story in The Atlantic, published before the latest revelation, features senior editor Yoni Appelbaum arguing that the Democratic House majority "must immediately open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump."


Aides Including Mulvaney Goaded Trump To Ground Pelosi's Flight In Retaliation

By Kate Riga

January 18, 2019 7:58 am

Some of President Donald Trump’s staffers—including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney—had a thirst for revenge after reading House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) State of the Union letter.

According to a Thursday New York Times report, Mulvaney and the other disgruntled aides goaded Trump to knock her down a peg especially after her proclamation about the legislature being a coequal branch of the government.

The team thought that grounding her was the easiest way to get revenge, and were reportedly gleeful when Trump acted on their suggestions.



John Yoo on Fox News: If Buzzfeed Report on Trump is True, it 'Could Be the Smoking Gun'

by Aidan McLaughlin | Jan 18th, 2019, 1:07 pm

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo said on Fox News that if the bombshell Buzzfeed News report that President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress is true, it could be a “smoking gun.”

“Two points,” Yoo said. “One is of course Michael Cohen has already pled guilty to lying to Congress. So he has severe credibility problems. But suppose it’s true. This could be the smoking gun that Trump’s critics have been looking for.”

“You recall that back in the day when President Clinton was impeached, the grounds for that impeachment was perjuring himself, but also trying to suborn perjury, exactly what Trump is accused of doing here,” he continued.

Yoo pointed out that this crime would have been committed while Trump was president, and that it would qualify as obstruction of justice — as William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, pointed out in his Senate hearing this week.

“That is obstruction of justice,” he said. “You may recall that was one of the grounds that was given for articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. So this is actually much more serious than what we have seen in the past about claims of Trump-Russia collusion.”


Rudy Giuliani: 'Categorically False' that the 'President Counseled Michael Cohen to Lie'

Source: Mediaite

by Colby Hall | Jan 18th,

Rudy Giuliani is flatly denying claims that President Donald Trump directed Micahel Cohen to lie to Congress. This is the clearest denial since the Buzzfeed News report was published Thursday night.

In a statement first reported by CNN, Giuliani claims:

“Any suggestion from my source that the president counseled Michael Cohen to lie is categorically false. Michael Cohen is a convicted criminal and a liar. To quote the prosecutors, he has traded on a pattern of lies and dishonesty over an extended period of time, and for that he is going to pay a very, very serious price. Today’s claims are just more made-up lies born of Michael Cohen’s malice and desperation, in an effort to reduce his sentence.”

Since Thursday night’s bombshell report that President Trump allegedly directed his former
attorney Cohen to lie to Congress about a potential Trump Tower Moscow, Trump surrogates have replied with the classic non-denial denial.2019, 12:50 pm

Read more: https://www.mediaite.com/tv/rudy-giuliani-categorically-false-that-the-president-counseled-michael-cohen-to-lie/


Kellyanne Conway Refuses to Deny Trump Directed Michael Cohen to Lie to Congress

by Ken Meyer | Jan 18th, 2019, 12:22 pm

Kellyanne Conway gave an interview to Fox Business on Friday, during which, she did not deny the report that President Donald Trump told Michael Cohen to lie before Congress about the timeline for his plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

The White House special counselor responded to the report by accusing Buzzfeed’s sources, two federal law enforcement officials, of leaking information from ongoing investigations. Conway also attacked Buzzfeed’s credibility while deferring to Trump’s latest Twitter attack against Cohen.

“[Fox News reporter] Kevin Corke was characterizing Michael Cohen’s past testimony and also talking about some problems that he’s had testifying under oath,” said Conway. “I’m going to leave it at that because I come here every day to work on policy.”

Bill Hemmer interviewed White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley earlier today, and while Hemmer didn’t allow Gidley to skirt around questions about this, Charles Payne declined to challenge Conway’s non-denial in their chat.

“We know he has lied under oath in the past and Michael Cohen is headed toward prison,” Payne said. “By the way, Democrats are demanding an investigation. We’ve got so many of them, I think you would agree it will be great once Mueller’s investigation is wrapped up.”


'Same Bull. Same Bully.': Iran FM Trolls Bolton With '10-Year Challenge' Meme

Source: Talking Points Memo/The AP

By Associated Press

January 18, 2019 11:04 am

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister has mocked the U.S. national security adviser’s calls for a strike on Iran, in a play on the viral 10-year challenge meme on social media.

In a tweet Friday, Mohammad Javad Zarif posted the titles of two separate articles by John Bolton from 2009 and 2019, both calling for strikes on Iran. “Same bull. Same bully. Same delusion,” Zarif wrote.


Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Bolton asked the Pentagon in September to prepare military options for attacking Iran after attacks on U.S. diplomatic sites in Iraq.

Social media users taking the 10-year challenge are comparing their profile photos from 2009 and 2019.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/iran-foreign-minister-john-bolton-10-year-challenge-meme

Consumer Confidence Plunges To Lowest Level In Trump Era As Shutdown Grinds On

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Cameron Joseph

January 18, 2019 12:05 pm

A key index of consumer confidence dropped to its lowest point since before President Trump’s election on Friday, the latest sign that the ongoing government shutdown, market instability and Trump’s trade wars are dragging on the economy.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, a highly respected survey and monthly economic indicator, found that consumers’ confidence in the economy fell sharply in the last month amidst the partial government shutdown, which is now the longest in U.S. history. The index fell to 90.7 this month, down from 98.3 in December. Economists had been expecting this month’s measure to be above 96.

“Consumer sentiment declined in early January to its lowest level since Trump was elected. The decline was primarily focused on prospects for the domestic economy, with the year-ahead outlook for the national economy judged the worst since mid 2014,” Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economists, said in a statement explaining the dip. “The loss was due to a host of issues including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in financial markets, the global slowdown, and the lack of clarity about monetary policies.” The hit in consumer confidence is just the latest sign that the government shutdown is taking a toll on the economy — and the longer it lasts, the more damage it will do.

New York Federal Reserve President John Williams warned in a speech Friday morning that he and other policymakers were “seeing some emerging headwinds to growth from the partial government shutdown in the United States and elevated geopolitical uncertainties abroad.”

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/consumer-confidence-plunges-to-lowest-mark-in-trump-era-as-shutdown-grinds-on
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