October 9, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 8:17 PM


Trump Pressured Rex Tillerson to Help End DOJ Prosecution of Rudy Giuliani's Client: Report (Jerry Lambe, October 9th, 2019, Law & Crime)

President Donald Trump in 2017 reportedly pressured former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for his help in convincing the Department of Justice to drop a criminal case against one of Rudy Giuliani's affluent foreign clients, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg.

Trump allegedly requested Tillerson's help in convincing the DOJ to cease prosecuting Reza Zarrab, 34, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader. It reportedly happened during a meeting in the Oval Office in front of several witnesses. As part of his reported request, Trump asked Tillerson to speak with Giuliani about the case.

According to the report, which was sourced from three people familiar with the interaction, Tillerson rejected Trump's request and then promptly repeated his protestation to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly, explicitly stating that the president's request was illegal.

Posted by orrinj at 6:12 PM


Posted by orrinj at 6:03 PM


Two Weeks In, Impeachment Is Becoming More Popular (Nathaniel Rakich, 10/09/19, 538)

According to our average, 48.8 percent of people support impeachment, while only 43.6 percent don't support it.1 That's an increase even from last week, when the share of people who supported and opposed impeachment were roughly the same. What's changed? Early this week, we got a couple new, high-quality polls that showed a majority of Americans in favor of an impeachment inquiry. Most notably, a Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 58 percent of Americans agreed with the House's decision to start an impeachment inquiry, and only 38 percent disagreed with it. And an Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll found that 55 percent approved of the House's decision and 44 percent disapproved.

Posted by orrinj at 1:36 PM


Armed conspiracy group will defend Republicans at Minneapolis Trump rally (Pete Kotz, 10/09/19, City Pages)

The group was launched in 2009 after--not coincidentally--we elected a black president. Its beliefs roughly mirrored the conspiracy theories of the day: that the black guy was preparing to invoke martial law. That he would take away your guns. That he would relegate patriots to detention camps. [...]

The president of a suburban Cleveland chapter got 20 years for stockpiling bombs. Another member was imprisoned for tweeting violent threats about attacking the Oklahoma state government over taxes. Still another was convicted of raping his 7-year-old daughter.

The group has shown up heavily armed at the Ferguson, Missouri protests and Cliven Bundy's Nevada standoff with the federal government. So bringing them to Minneapolis is a bit like dumping lighter fluid on a national forest.

Posted by orrinj at 1:29 PM


By a 27-Point Margin, Voters Back Warren's Plan to Tax 'Excessive' Lobbying (MATT BRACKEN, October 9, 2019, Morning Consult)

Beyond the Massachusetts senator's specific strategy, general proposals to limit government lobbying enjoy broader -- and more bipartisan -- support.

A Morning Consult/Politico survey conducted among 1,991 registered voters from Oct. 7-8 -- just days after Warren unveiled her plan -- asked voters whether they would support the proposal, which calls for a tax on corporations that spend more than $500,000 per year to lobby the government in favor of their causes. A 49 percent plurality of respondents backed Warren's plan, while 22 percent said they were opposed. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points. [...]

Removing Warren -- and the specifics of her plan -- from the equation, however, resulted in stronger support across the board for anti-lobbying measures. Asked whether they supported or opposed proposals to limit government lobbying, 3 in 5 voters said they backed such plans.

There was essentially no difference in support for curbing lobbying based on party affiliation: Sixty percent of Republicans said they favored proposals to limit government lobbying, while 59 percent of Democrats and independents said the same. 

Just rewrite corporation law to ban lobbying.

Posted by orrinj at 1:22 PM


Donald Trump Allegedly Hid Behind a Tapestry to Grope a Woman at Mar-a-Lago in the Early 2000s: In an exclusive excerpt from All the President's Women, Karen Johnson, one of 43 women with new allegations against the president, tells her story. (Adrienne Westenfeld, 10/09/19, esquire)

If you thought the Access Hollywood tape was the opening salvo in the story of Donald Trump's transgressions against women, think again. In All the President's Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy draw on over 100 interviews, many of them exclusive, to craft a detailed history of Trump's relationships with women, stretching back to his childhood and education as well as his rise through real estate, entertainment, and politics. What emerges from the authors' reporting is a portrait of a predator who hides behind wealth and institutional power to frequently harass and abuse women.

While the president has publicly faced allegations from two dozen women, this book reveals another 43 allegations of alleged inappropriate behavior, including 26 instances of unwanted sexual contact. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Russian agents said 'we made America great' after Trump won presidency, Senate report reveals (Chris Baynes, 10/09/19, The Independent)

The Kremlin-directed Internet Research Agency (IRA) flooded social media with "false reports, conspiracy theories, and trolls" to exploit divisions in a bid to improve the Republican candidate's prospects, the report said.

Its activity was "overtly and almost invariably supportive of then-candidate Trump" and to the detriment of his opponent Hillary Clinton's campaign, Republican-led group concluded.

The committee said it had obtained communication in which an IRA "information warfare operative" spoke of having a "sleepless night" after the US went after polls on 8 November 2016.

The employee said: "When around 8am the most important result of our work arrived, we uncorked a tiny bottle of champagne ... took one gulp each and looked into each other's eyes.

"We uttered almost in unison: 'We made America great.'"

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Prague city council moves to axe partnership with Beijing (Reuters, 10/09/19) 

Prague city council voted on Monday to cancel a partnership agreement with Beijing after it failed to remove an article requiring it commit to the "one China" principle, which refers to China's stance that Taiwan and it both belong to one China. [...]

"For us this is also a gesture that we do not want to declare subservient attitude to the authoritarian regime in China."

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Justice Department labels Devin Nunes' claim on Russia a conspiracy theory (KEVIN G. HALL, OCTOBER 08, 2019, McClatchy)

A talking point used by some leading Republicans to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe has been labeled a conspiracy theory by Justice Department prosecutors. [...]

Nunes, Meadows, President Donald Trump and other conservative voices had alleged, without evidence, that the deal benefited Hillary Clinton and her family run Clinton Foundation. Clinton looked the other way and did not oppose the deal, they alleged, because of contributions made to the foundation. [...]

In the jury selection documents for Lambert's trial, made public Monday, Justice Department prosecutors proposed two subsections (V and VII) that each fall under the heading, "Unrelated Conspiracy Theories."

"Although this is a case involving an alleged criminal conspiracy with a Russian official, this case has nothing at all to do with the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or alleged collusion between the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign and Russia, or alleged Russian interference in U.S. elections. I repeat: that investigation has nothing at all to do with this case," reads one item in the lengthy jury instruction proposed by attorneys working for Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. He is a former deputy to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who oversaw Mueller's probe.

A subsequent proposed item of jury instruction noted, "This case also has nothing at all to do with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, or the approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (or "CFIUS") of the Russian government's acquisition of a company called Uranium One and certain uranium rights in the United States. I repeat: those issues have nothing at all to do with this case."

That Hur's office proposed these instructions under the label of conspiracy theories calls into doubt allegations that Lambert was tied in any way to the Uranium One deal.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Unpaid bills pile up in Trump rallies' wake (ANITA KUMAR and QUINT FORGEY, 10/08/2019, Politico)

In city after city, across the nation, Trump has failed to pay local officials who provide thousands of dollars' worth of security assistance to the president's campaign during his Make America Great Again rallies.

In total, at least 10 cities have complained that the campaign has not reimbursed them for services provided by local police and fire departments, totaling more than $840,000, according to a study by the Center for Public Integrity in June. [...]

It isn't the first time Trump, a businessman with a global real estate empire, has faced accusations that he didn't pay his bills. The complaints from local governments echo decades of accusations by private contractors who claim that Trump didn't adequately compensate them for their work before he was sworn into office.

At least 60 lawsuits and more than 200 liens detailed allegations that Trump and his companies failed to pay various businesses and scores of employees for their work, according to an investigation by USA Today in 2016. Those who claimed they were stiffed by the future president included bartenders, painters, real estate brokers and others.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Trump's biggest defenders in Congress reportedly knew nothing about move to block diplomat from testifying (The Week, October 8, 2019)

Not in the room where it happens.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Why This German State Says 'Jawohl' to Migrants (Alison Langley, OCT 09 2019, OZY)

Atiq Ur-Rahman did everything he was asked to do when he arrived in Germany as a refugee from Pakistan in 2015. He learned German and got a job working in a restaurant. But what he believes also helped him was that he was lucky enough to be assigned to the state of Baden-Württemberg.

When nearly a million immigrants crossed the German border that year, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel allocated each state a portion of refugees to share the burden. States took care of the migrants as they saw fit. But while in many other parts of Germany, the initial welcome toward refugees dissipated, Baden-Württemberg -- home to some of Germany's biggest manufacturing giants -- is turning the migrants into valuable engines for its economy.

Baden-Württemberg fine-tuned existing programs -- offering, for instance, women-only language classes with child care that also teach about German culture. Catholic charity Caritas runs refugee homes scattered across Stuttgart, the state capital. The organization, which receives funding from both the state and the city, also helps traumatized refugees settle in. Another of its projects supports victims who need protection.

And starting this month, the state is partnering with Deutsche Bahn, which for years has struggled to find train drivers, to teach the skill to asylum-seekers. Apprentices will earn $2,300 (2,100€) per month during their schooling with Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft, the local train and bus network in Karlsruhe, the state's second-largest city. Each class will include 15 migrants.

For an industrial hub like Baden-Württemberg -- home to auto majors Porsche and Mercedes and multinational corporations like Bosch, SAP and BASF -- the approach makes sense, says Gari Pavkovic, head of the Department for Integration Policy of Stuttgart. Aging Germany has an estimated shortage of more than a million skilled workers. [...]

"If people don't come, then companies like Porsche or Mercedes can't produce here," says Pavkovic. "It's not a humanitarian motive. It's a purely economic motive. We do well when we have an open dynamic business and export region."

The competition to lure immigrants is the future, not walls.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Syria's territorial integrity must be preserved: Russian ForMin (Reuters, 10/09/19)