Monday, January 21, 2019


Trump follows up his phony "compromise" offer with a series of tweets attacking Nancy Pelosi. So that's what it was about all along -- hoping to pry off a few Dem votes from the "radical" Dem leadership

“Trump’s management of the partial government shutdown — his first foray in divided government — has exposed as never before his shortcomings as a dealmaker. . . .The shutdown also has accentuated several fundamental traits of Trump’s presidency: His apparent shortage of empathy, in this case for furloughed workers; his difficulty accepting responsibility for a crisis he had said he would be proud to instigate; his tendency for revenge when it comes to one-upping political foes; and his seeming misunderstanding of Democrats’ motivations.”
“In the 24 hours since Trump offered his immigration proposal, not a single Democrat has publicly expressed openness to it . . . Senior White House officials told Axios their strategy — conceived largely by Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence — was to get Trump’s “compromise” immigration bill through the Senate with an overwhelming vote and then pressure House Democrats to break from Speaker Nancy Pelosi. . . . But the Democrats have a consensus: No immigration talks until the government is back open. Even the moderates who sometimes break with the party, including Sens. Joe Manchin and Chris Coons, are sticking with leadership on this, for now at least.”

[NB: Jared Kushner is like the anti-Midas, everything he has been involved with has failed. What does it mean for Trump that his influence has actually grown?]

VP Mike Pence admits that Trump's compromise offer was phony

GOP senator: Trump’s ‘straw man proposal’ not meant to become law

Mitch McConnell is clever. Evil, but clever
Senate Republicans plan to include $12.7 billion in disaster aid and government funding through the end of the fiscal year in their bill to advance President Donald Trump's immigration proposal. The president's plan will test Democrats’ solidarity, pitting border security funding against protections for young immigrants and refugees. Now, it will also force Democrats to vote against bipartisan funding levels, aid for disaster-hit communities and an extension of the Violence Against Women Act, according to a summary of the Senate plan, obtained by POLITICO. . . 

[Jan 3] U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell . . . "Let me say it again: The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature," McConnell said on the Senate floor. 

Yes, we all know how much Donald Trump treasures the legacy of MLK
Pence Compares Trump's Border Wall To The 'Life And Work Of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'  

I agree that Pelosi's uninvite to the State of the Union really BURNED Trump, and probably had more than anything else to do with him offering a "compromise." Now he seems to be hinting that he might just show up for the SOTU anyway

Trump is pouting that he isn't getting more praise for his "breakthrough" with North Korea -- a breakthrough that has produced NOTHING

Ha, ha, ha! Trump thinks climate change is funny! 

Much of what Trump has done can be reversed: but this is probably a lasting trend
Two years into Trump’s presidency, far-right extremism has surged
In Russia news . . .

Rudy does it again
President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that conversations about a potential Trump Tower deal in Moscow — conversations involving then-candidate Trump — occurred “as far as October, November” of 2016 . . .Giuliani disputed that the timeline meant Trump was lying when he repeatedly claimed to have “nothing to do” with Russia. . . .
The Trump Tower Moscow discussions were “going on from the day I announced to the day I won,” Mr. Giuliani quoted Mr. Trump as saying during an interview with The New York Times. . . . In late 2015, months after Mr. Trump announced his presidential candidacy, Mr. Sater sent an enthusiastic message to Mr. Cohen bragging about how he would tap his Russian connections for the tower project and “get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this.” “Buddy,” Mr. Sater wrote, “our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it.”
The new timeline doesn’t look good for Trump. . . [read on] 

[NB: So, not only do we now know that Trump lied repeatedly when he denied any dealings with Russia throughout the campaign, we know that Russia had the fact that he was lying to hang over his head. Even if you don't believe the pee tape story, THIS is the basis of potential blackmail. And he is negotiating this deal at the same time that Russia is interfering to help him win.]

Giuliani denied that Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the timeline of the deal, as BuzzFeed News recently reported, but acknowledged that “it could be true” that the former Trump fixer lied to Congress after consulting with Trump’s lawyers — Giuliani named John Dowd, Jay Sekulow, and Ty Cobb. Cohen was in a joint defense agreement with Trump at the time.

[NB: I wonder how Dowd, Sekulos, and Cobb will feel about this, since it is the kind of thing that can get you disbarred.]
TAPPER: Did President Trump or anyone on the Trump team talk to Michael Cohen about his congressional testimony before he gave Congressional testimony or after he gave Congressional testimony?
GIULIANI: I can tell you, first of all, I wasn't the lawyer at the time. . . . As far as I know, President Trump did not have discussions with him. Certainly had no discussions with him in which he told him or counseled him to lie. If he had any discussions with him, they'd be about the version of the events that Michael Cohen gave them, which they all believed was true. I believed it was true. I still believe it may be true, because unlike these people who want to just believe him, I believe Michael Cohen is a serial liar. . . .
TAPPER: But you just acknowledged that it's possible that President Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony --
GIULIANI: Which would be perfectly normal! Which the president believed was true!
TAPPER: So it's possible that that happened, that President Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony?
GIULIANI: I don't know if it happened or didn't happen. And it might be attorney/client privilege if it happened, where I can't acknowledge it. But I have no knowledge that he spoke to him. . . . And so what if he talked to him about it. 

[NB: No, it's not "perfectly normal"
“It’s not ‘perfectly normal’ for subjects of or witnesses in a Congressional investigation to discuss testimony directly with each other. If witnesses or subjects are talking to each other, the government can always claim one is trying to influence the others’ testimony. That’s why lawyers counsel against doing it.”]

What we ALREADY KNOW about Trump directing others to lie
The NYT first reported that Trump floated pardons to Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort in March of last year and they also reported that Mueller had asked Trump about discussions with Flynn about his testimony by the same month. The entire story leading up to Flynn’s firing includes a series of lies, and like Cohen’s false claims about the Trump Tower story featured the kind of matching lies that require coordination (though Trump’s directions to Flynn probably did not include foreknowledge of his FBI interview, so legally the import is that he sustained Flynn’s lies). Manafort, under whatever expectation of a pardon, spent the two months leading up to the election perjuring himself about his ongoing work with Konstantin Kilimnik and communications with the White House, all while reporting back to Trump via his lawyer. Trump had Don McGahn craft a letter to Comey (who, after all, was part of the FBI when he received it) about his firing that hid that he did it because of the Russia investigation, after first writing a statement that acknowledged that clearly. And Trump himself dictated (probably in consultation with Vladimir Putin) a misleading statement about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, only part of which got cleaned up before Don Jr repeated the misleading comments before Congress. Trump’s current defense attorney Jay Sekulow even went on teevee last August to apologize for repeating a lie Trump told about the June 9 meeting; while he told that lie publicly, the statement Don Jr told to Congress retained part of that lie. Not all of those amount to suborning perjury, but some of them do, and they’ve been public for a long time. . .

Stop laughing!

Speaking about the president to Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani said “to answer your question, categorically, I can tell you his counsel to Michael Cohen throughout that entire period was: ‘Tell the truth.’ . .”

[NB: Yes, it is UNTHINKABLE that Trump would ever lie, or tell others to lie. But since Giuliani wasn't around during that period, as he keeps reminding us, how does he know this "categorically"?]

What, if any, legal significance is there between the following two scenarios?
A. President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
B. President Trump knew in advance that Michael Cohen was going to lie to Congress, and Trump gave Cohen his approval or encouragement. [read on]
Giuliani on obstruction
In an interview that aired on Meet the Press, Giuliani conceded to host Chuck Todd that presidents could be guilty of obstruction of justice -- but he insisted that Trump was not because he had used the word "please" with Comey before asking him to curb the Russia investigation. "A president firing somebody that works for him, if he does no other corrupt act other than just fire him, can't obstruct justice," Giuliani opined. "If, for example, a president said, 'Leave office or I'm going to have your kids kidnapped or I'm going to break your legs.'" "When the president said [to Comey,] 'Please, go easy on Flynn,' I know of no obstruction case that begins with the word 'please,'" he continued. "It goes something like this: 'If you don't go easy on Flynn, I'll break your knee caps.'" According to Giuliani, Trump simple made a legal "request" for Comey to reign in the Russia investigation before firing the FBI director.

[NB: This is absurd on many levels, but how about this: "Please . . .OR I WILL FIRE YOU!"]

Rudy's ongoing Senior Moment
Irony of ironies, this happened just after Giuliani told Tapper that there was nothing wrong with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort sharing polling data with the Ukrainians . . .

TAPPER: Why do you think he shared that information?
GIULIANI: I think he owed them money, a lot of money. And I think he was sucking up to them, sucking up to his clients, making them feel important. The sharing of polling information...
TAPPER: I think they owed him money. Right.
GIULIANI: Oh, I'm sorry, other way around.
TAPPER: They owed him money.
GIULIANI: So he wanted to get paid. So he wanted to get paid. You're correct. You're correct. They owed him money. And he wanted to get paid. They were -- had -- he had a personal relationship with them, independent of the campaign. Should he have done it? Absolutely not. Bad judgment? Yes. A crime? Sharing polling data? Give me a break. No way.
TAPPER: Well, we will see.
GIULIANI: People give out that internal polling data to -- people give out that internal polling data to impress people. . . .

TAPPER: Yes, I don't know why he did it. . .
GIULIANI: I don't -- I don't -- but go ask him. 
TAPPER: You told -- well, he's in prison.
GIULIANI: The president didn't know about it.   

We'll see how long it takes before he admits Trump did know about it, but it was okay if he did. [read on]

Did Mueller issue the BuzzFeed denial because the White House told DOJ to tell him to?

In other news . . .

Trump is at 31% among Independents, and down double digits among key GOP constituencies

"Out of control"
The New York Times got an early copy of Team of Vipers by former White House aide Cliff Sims. “The book, which will be published at the end of January, describes a nest of back-stabbing and duplicity within the West Wing, a narrative by now familiar from other books and news media reports. But Mr. Sims, who left last year after clashing with Mr. Kelly, is one of the few people to attach his name to descriptions of goings-on at the White House that are not always flattering to Mr. Trump, and many of the scenes are not particularly flattering to anyone, including himself.”

Donald Trump, TV critic

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Sunday, January 20, 2019


Trump has no idea how to deal with Nancy Pelosi. He hates strong women and he can't tolerate it when they stand up to him

Here's why Trump is offering a compromise on immigration and ending the shutdown: because Pelosi is winning 
A source close to the negotiations told Jonathan Swan “the inflection point for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the letter from Nancy Pelosi telling Trump not to deliver the State of the Union. . . . [A]fter Pelosi’s letter, it became clear to McConnell she was “never going to get off her position and some other spark needed to happen.” “McConnell told the president that it was his view that Pelosi was never going to move. She would and could not negotiate on border funding because her caucus, and Trump needed to be the one to put something forward he would sign so that McConnell would have the presidential backing to bring it to the floor.” 

Some "compromise"

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has pledged to bring this bill to a vote this week in the United States Senate,” Trump noted.
I don't know how long that speech was. I'm guessing eight minutes. But not once did Trump mention the federal workers who are either furloughed or on the job without pay. Not a single time.
[H]e will keep in place two programs (DACA and TPS) that courts have already prohibited him from ending. In return, he wants his wall money. . . . Even a negotiator as bad as Trump wouldn’t think he could dupe Nancy Pelosi into accepting something she already has in return for something she’s categorically said she’ll never give him?
Trump’s idea of dealmaking:
-Take away DACA
-Take away TPS
-Shut down the government
-Trade temporarily extending DACA and TPS in exchange for a border wall and funding the govt until October
Said Pelosi: Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government… Unfortunately . . . his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives.”

[NB: Here's how you know it's not a serious effort. (1) No Democrats were involved in developing this "compromise". (2) It does nothing to end the shutdown. (3) The DACA and TPS offers are only temporary. (4) It totally breaks the legislative process. (5) Trump is still conflating "border security" with the Wall™. 

Trump got used to governing in a Republican-only environment, and even after losing the House wants to pretend he can keep it that way.

Here is what's weird about this. The Dems will support funding for border security that includes renovation and some new construction/replacement of barriers -- they already have. Trump can call that his Wall™ -- in fact, he is ALREADY claiming that the Wall™ is being built:
“We’re making a lot of progress,” Trump said. “You know, we’re building wall as we speak. Nobody covers that.”
Trump Says 'A Lot Of Wall Has Been Built'

Given that he will present any deal as a win on the Wall™ -- whether truthfully or not -- what is the fight all about?] 

Should the Dems have made at least a partial effort to reopen discussions?
Republicans were nonplussed by Democrats’ swift refusal. According to multiple GOP lawmakers and aides, party leaders are newly confident that blame for the shutdown—which polling thus far has shown sits mostly with the president—will shift to Democratic leaders. The way Republicans see it, the White House is attempting to engage in good-faith negotiations with a party whose members still refuse to come to the table (quite literally, they point out, reiterating that moderate House Democrats all rebuffed Trump’s lunch invitation to discuss the shutdown last week). The onus, they said, is now on Democrats either to advance Trump’s proposal or counter it with their own—simply rebuking it, they feel, is no longer politically viable.
President Donald Trump is trapped. He shut the government to impose his will on the incoming Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. That plan has miserably failed. Instead, Trump has found himself caught in the trap he supposed he had set for his opponents. Now he is desperately seeking an exit. . . . [read on]

Oh, and by the way, Ann Coulter and the Right HATE the proposal. Looks like a lose/lose for Trump

Trump Divides Republicans with New Border Proposal

George Lakoff
"The wall Trump desires isn’t made of concrete or steel. It’s made of hate." [read on]

Trump needs a map
President Trump “boasted to reporters about how well San Antonio’s border wall is working. But the Texas city is 150 miles from the Mexican border and has no wall,” the HuffPost reports.

What the hell is going on with that BuzzFeed story?
BuzzFeed News “has doubled down on their bombshell report” on President Trump purportedly directing Michael Cohen to lie to Congress . . . “As we’ve re-confirmed our reporting, we’ve seen no indication that any specific aspect of our story is inaccurate. We remain confident in what we’ve reported, and will share more as we are able.”
Trump And Allies Gleefully Seize Upon Mueller’s Denial Of Buzzfeed Reporting


[NB: From the drama of the initial report, a big let-down. The only real answer now: we are going to have to wait for Mueller's indictments or his report to find out what is really going on. I don't read his denial as an overall refutation of the BuzzFeed news, but it is clear that Mueller wants to tell this story his own way, in his own time, with a fuller account of the facts. Maybe things will be more ambiguous than Trump personally and directly ordering Cohen to lie -- but we do know that Trump was at the very least aware of Cohen's plans to lie. 

From December 12:
Lanny Davis, an attorney representing Cohen in his ongoing legal battles with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, told Bloomberg Radio’s “Sound On" that while Trump did not direct Cohen specifically to lie to Congress, he knew his lawyer's plans and did not direct him to tell the truth.

Until then, we are going to have to tolerate more chest-thumping about fake news and the deep state:
@newtgingrich just stated that there has been no president since Abraham Lincoln who has been treated worse or more unfairly by the media than your favorite President, me! At the same time there has been no president who has accomplished more in his first two years in office!

What a bizarre combination of inflated self-aggrandizement and whiny self-pity.]

In other news . . . 

MAGA-wearing youths confront Native American protestor (and military vet) at the Indigenous People's March Just look at these goons, and watch the video. These are the people Trump has inspired

DHS Sect'y Nielsen called out for perjury
After whistleblower documents revealed the existence of a written child separation policy, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has called for the FBI to Investigate DHS Secretary Nielsen's lies during sworn Congressional testimony...
Texas Border Towns’ GOP Rep: Trump’s Border ‘Crisis’ Is A ‘Myth’ 

Dr. Magoo is a ridiculous fraud as head of HUD. Now the person who actually runs it has quit over the refusal to fund redevelopment in Puerto Rico

The Right is out to get "immoral Democrat women"

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***