Since Germany’s as well as Europe’s security and affluence rest upon the current international order even as President Trump charts a different course for the United States, an increased responsibility falls to the European Union and its member state Germany to safeguard and strengthen the international order.
2. A president sui generis
It is impossible to ignore that President Trump was able to attract the support of 60 million voters. It is also true that unilateral foreign policy, protectionist moods, and periodic calls for “America First” policies have a long tradition in the United States. Still, Donald Trump is a president sui generis whose ideas about international order do not fit within the modern American politician tradition. These ideas are supported by few in the United States. His disdain for international alliances and institutions is not even shared by many in the government he leads, much less by those outside of government. Donald Trump’s positions on global order are outside the mainstream of the foreign policy expert community in the United States. It is unclear, maybe even unlikely, that his strategy of undermining the international order will ever succeed in the United States and become his country’s policy.
3. Dangerous consequences
Some analysts and political actors in Germany would like to draw far-reaching conclusions from this period of uncertainty about the direction of the United States. They endorse a strategic reorientation for Germany. Some strive to decouple Europe’s foreign and security policy from the United States. Others place their faith in a German-French mini version of Europe. Sometimes, European aspirations only disguise German nationalism as a response to American nationalism. Some recommend that Germany should focus on ad hoc coalitions or maintain equidistance between Russia and the United States. Some even recommend that Germany should go further, and align itself with Russia or China in the future.
All of these propositions are costly or dangerous — or both.
4. The United States remains indispensable
Turning away from the United States would bring insecurity to Germany and ultimately to Europe.
The bond with the United States was born from dependence, but it has long been in Germany’s core national interest. Today, no other actor in the world can offer the same advantages to Germany that it gains from its alliance with the United States. No other power takes on such far-reaching security guarantees and offers such comprehensive political resources.
As a liberal hegemon, the United States made European integration possible. The majority of the political establishment in the United States continues to see the country as a supporter of European integration – also because it suits its own interest. The country needs allies that share its values and interests.
If Germany wants to be an effective actor in Europe, it needs the United States. If the ties to the United States are cut, with them go the reassurance that other European countries need in order to accept a strong Germany in the center of the continent. The more leadership that Germany can and should take on, the closer the coordination must be with the United States.
Decoupling from the United States would fundamentally question one of the most important political and cultural achievements of the past 70 years: Germany’s integration in the West.
In aligning itself with the West Germany also committed itself to the values of freedom and democracy, and to cooperation with all those who stand for these values. Freedom is the precondition for human beings to lead a self-determined and dignified live. Germany has committed itself to this set of ideas in its constitution, the Basic Law. Its anchoring in the West gave Germany the steadfastness to resist the Communist regimes and make possible Germany and European reunification. A departure from this trans-Atlantic orientation will renew the threat of a special path (Sonderweg) of Germany, it will strengthen nationalists on the left and the right, and it will endanger the peaceful European order.
The West, even today, does not exist without the United States, neither as a concept, nor as a political subject America is the anchor of liberal universalism and the open world order. Even if Donald Trump’s presidency carries significant risks for the liberal order, these perils will not diminish if Germany puts its strategic partnership with the United States at stake. A strategic decoupling from the United States would ultimately endanger the liberal international order more than prudent cooperation with a United States whose leadership currently rattles this order. Autocracies such as China and Russia can be important ad hoc partners for single projects; the United States, however, must remain the strategic partner for a democratic and European Germany.
The relationship with the United States is a values-based partnership built on our democratic political systems. Even if the current U.S. president challenges significant elements of the political system, the United States remains a democracy. President Trump is not America, nor is the illiberal movement for which he stands a solely American phenomenon. In Europe too it has made its mark. What we see today is not a divergence between Europe and the United States; it is a conflict within the West unfolding on both sides of the Atlantic.
Finally, the economic, scientific, and cultural linkages with the United States are far stronger than with any other region in the world. The interplay with the United States remains a central element of Europe’s capacity for innovation.
5. Yet, no business as usual
So, how do we engage with the United States in times of Donald Trump?
Even if turning away from the United States is not a responsible option for Germany, business as usual is not an option with the current presidency either. It would be equally unhelpful to stay silent and look the other way, waiting until this presidency is finally over and a successor occupies the White House. Four or even eight years is too long to sit it out, especially since there will not be a return to the supposed good old times.
6. Ideas for a new U.S. Strategy
German policy now requires something that it did not need before: a U.S. strategy.
A responsible policy toward the United States must be long-term and build a bridge into the post-Trump age. This policy must look beyond an exceptional period of U.S. skepticism toward any multilateral commitment. However, Germany must not fall prey to the illusion that there will be a return to the status quo ante following the Trump Presidency. Several political trends in the United States will outlive Trump’s time in office — for example, the demand for more balanced burden-sharing between Europe and the United States within NATO. However, the end of the Trump presidency should be the end of the inner Western conflict about the fundamentals of the world order. Once this fundamental consensus is reestablished policy disagreements can be resolved or bridged more easily and more constructively.
This long-term goal must be the point of reference for Germany’s short-term engagement with the Trump administration.
In the short term, Germany must learn to distinguish between the problems that are solvable, those that are unsolvable, and those in between that require pragmatic management.
It goes without saying that the German government should double down on those policy areas where it finds common ground with the current U.S. administration. But successful relationship management in times of Donald Trump may also require to adjust an increasingly untenable position or — vice versa — to enter into a limited conflict. Finally, we will need to look for partners not only at the highest federal levels, but elsewhere in the administration, in the U.S. Congress, in the states, in civil society, and in business.
It will be more important than ever to manage differences responsibly. In its own long-term interest, Germany should attempt to handle these differences with the Trump administration in such a way that does not escalate them or allow them to spiral out of control.
Germany should not succumb to illusions: large scale joint projects with the Trump government will have little chance for success in policy areas that are central to President Trump’s populist agenda. Trying to do too much in these key policy areas will only cause new disagreements.
In short, Germany’s U.S. strategy must allow for multitasking: to actively pursue key national interests in collaboration with the United States, to moderate conflicts, to avoid unrealistic ambitions, and to thus build a bridge to a better future for trans-Atlantic relations.
This nuanced approach will have different consequences for the different policy areas.
7. Trade policy — aim only for conflict management
Soberingly, the signs are not favorable for larger projects in several policy areas that would actually be vital, such as trade policy. Despite all controversies, the strategic and economic reasons for a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement (TTIP) have not disappeared since November 2016. Some in Berlin and Brussels hope that one can resurrect TTIP in an adapted version. This idea is illusory, maybe even dangerous. A president who castigates all free trade agreements as unfair toward the United States will not easily compromise in international negotiations. A negotiating failure will be more devastating to the project than a long hibernation.
There are signs already that the United States and the European Union might be headed toward trade disputes. The European Union must react to punitive tariffs. But it should do so exclusively in a legal, proportional, and symmetrical manner. Everything else could trigger an unwanted escalation.
8. International refugee policy — no chance for a joint vision
Joint initiatives regarding international refugee policy do not look very promising either. The global system of protection, however, urgently needs to be reformed to cope with modern conditions. The rights of refugees need to be protected while illegal migration needs to be curtailed, organized trafficking should be combated so that the universal refugee regime is not undermined. Equally important will be a push toward new and improved United Nations’ resettlement programs. However, it appears difficult to imagine that the Trump administration will agree to such initiatives. Consequently, Europe must become active itself here — as best as it can.
Therefore, trade and refugee policies fall in the category of currently difficult, hardly resolvable issues. The best we can expect is limited progress, but no large scale initiatives.
9. Security policy — strive for progress, also with President Trump
Security policy is a different matter. Without the United States there will be no security for and in Germany for the foreseeable future. This applies to territorial as well as alliance defense within NATO, but also to nuclear deterrence, to combating cyber crimes and money laundering, and finally to counterterrorism and the cooperation of intelligence agencies. No single European country, not Germany, not any other country, and not the European Union, can provide the necessary resources to guarantee the continent’s security. Therefore, the existing cooperation must be strengthened. Remaining committed to NATO also provides a way to integrate the United States into the structures of multilateral security policy and may dissuade Washington from going it alone.
Alliance defense is the most cost-effective form of defense. Germany should thus take seriously the call for fairer burden-sharing within the alliance. Acting against its own core interest, Germany has not done enough in this respect. Germany still has a long way to go until it’s NATO goals and commitments are met. To be clear: Germany agreed to increase its defense expenditures toward 2 percent of its GDP. Germany should keep its word. To present this commitment as a threat to the military balance in European is to get it backwards. It is precisely our European neighbors and partners that are asking for more German commitment within the NATO framework and within European defense policy.
It would be even better if Germany were to invest an extra percentage point of GDP into development assistance, international police operations, UN missions, conflict prevention, and diplomacy. With this linkage, nonmilitary aspects of security would also be upgraded. This would substantially strengthen European defense capabilities within the trans-Atlantic alliance. Germany would do something that is in its own interest and would stabilize the trans-Atlantic alliance at the same time. It would address concerns of the Trump administration and build good will for the time after Donald Trump. The chances of success for this strategy are high: Despite all of the skeptical rhetoric about NATO, the Trump administration has fulfilled America’s NATO commitments so far.
Security policy cooperation with the Trump government should be central to Germany and should also include security guarantees for the central and eastern European NATO members, support for an independent Ukraine, as well as the stabilization of the North African coast.
In the conflict over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the uncertainties around future Iran policy, a trans-Atlantic schism should be avoided. We should do whatever possible to convince the Trump administration of joint approaches.
10. Energy security policy — giving up Nord Stream 2 is in Germany’s interest
There is one more policy area in which the German government should reconsider its position to open the door for productive cooperation: energy security policy. The United States has identified Nord Stream 2, the planned pipeline running through the Baltic Sea to Russia, as a geostrategic project. They are correct. More important: This pipeline project is not in the joint European interest. Nord Stream 2 contradicts a policy of greater energy independence and undermines the envisaged European Energy Union. We should try to identify a joint approach with our European partners and the United States.
11. Climate, energy, and digital policy — manage conflicts responsibly
After having addressed the solvable issues and set aside the unsolvable issues for now, one will need to turn to those policy areas that require responsible conflict management. It would be useless to try to convince the U.S. administration of the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement, but it is equally wrongheaded to isolate President Trump on international climate and energy policy. Necessary criticism should not turn into dogmatism.
Instead, Germany should seek concrete steps forward in climate protection together with the United States. Germany does not need President Trump in order to engage with partners who are interested in climate policy cooperation. A number of states (not just California) and large cities are already rapidly reducing their CO2 emissions. Political, scientific, and technical cooperation with local partners is possible. There is no shortage of potent allies on climate policy in the United States, in the private sector as well as in civil society. Here, the key is to be proactive, to invest money, and to build networks that will endure and outlast the Trump administration.
Digital policy is another policy area where confrontation is possible — about regulatory questions as well as about market shares. It is important to identify points of contention as soon as possible and to avoid unnecessary escalation. Sealing off Europe’s and the United States’ digital markets from each other will seriously damage the outlook for jobs and growth on both sides of the Atlantic. European consumer and data protection standards might be able to be maintained globally if they have U.S. support, but certainly not without it.
12. Final point — more Europe within the Alliance
Making progress with the Trump administration wherever possible, moderating conflicts and avoiding escalation, expanding the spectrum of trans-Atlantic partners beyond the current U.S. administration — these are all core aims of a U.S. strategy that can preserve the trans-Atlantic partnership with and if necessary against this American President, and function beyond his time in office. The United States has proved its capacity for self-correction repeatedly. America remains the indispensable power for those countries that stand for freedom and democracy and strive for an open world order. But Europe — and thus Germany — must do more to support and preserve these values. More European self-reliance is imperative. It would be an error of historical proportions to play out “more Europe” against the trans-Atlantic alliance. The new German government’s foreign policy will be measured by how clearly it pursues this course.
• Deidre Berger, Ramer Institute, American Jewish Committee, Berlin
• James D. Bindenagel, Center for International Security and Governance, University of Bonn
• Ralf Fücks, Centre for Liberal Modernity, Berlin
• Patrick Keller, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Berlin
• Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Berlin
• Anna Kuchenbecker, Aspen Institute Deutschland, Berlin
• Sergey Lagodinsky, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Berlin
• Rüdiger Lentz, Aspen Institute Deutschland, Berlin
• Daniela Schwarzer, German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin
• Jan Techau, Richard C. Holbrooke Forum, American Academy, Berlin
• Sylke Tempel, German Council on Foreign Relations, “Internationale Politik” Magazine, Berlin
The text solely reflects the personal opinions of the authors.
It’s been a bleak decade since President Donald J. Trump put his hand on the Bible eight months ago. After the Charlottesville debacle, former Vice President Al Gore offered Trump a one-word piece of advice: “Resign.” Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal, claimed resignation would come before the end of the year. And Steve Bannon reportedly thinks Trump has just a 30 percent chance of finishing out his term.
While we wait for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into money laundering, bank fraud, foreign influence, election rigging, and hotel-mattress wetting, I asked eight TV and screenwriters and astute observers of human behavior to come up with two scenarios of how Trump will leave the Oval Office. I offered these examples:
Trump isn’t happy unless he’s humiliating someone so he’ll claim that his sons are doing a terrible job running the Trump Organization, fire them both, and say he’s stepping down to save the family empire.
The Trump presidency should end like the soap opera it is. The final scene starts with Donald and Jared arguing in Trump Tower. Jared takes off, but Donald pursues. (They both just stand on the escalator then pick up the chase at the bottom.) Jared runs out of the building but before he can get far, Donald pulls out a gun. Just like he bragged, Donald’s gonna shoot someone on Fifth Avenue . . . and it’s gonna be his son-in-law. Donald squeezes the trigger. Suddenly out of the crowd, Ivanka throws herself in front of the bullet intended for her husband. Her father watches in horror as his daughter takes the hit. She crumples to the ground—dead (but still incredibly put together.) Donald falls to his knees and cries in despair. What twist of cruel fate allowed him to kill the one thing he kind of, sort of loved?!
(a la Nixon’s “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” in 1962) America—you blew it, losers.
Here are their answers:
Executive producer, Modern Family, five-time Emmy Award winner. The president of the United States once tweeted at him: “Danny—you’re a total loser.”
I don’t think he’ll leave over collusion, conflicts of interest, or even the release of the pee-pee tape. (Although one can dream.) I think he will ultimately resign because the job is harder than he thought. He’s discovering that he can’t simply put a TRUMP sign on the White House and pretend to be president the way he puts one on a building and pretends to be a builder. He’ll say something like, “Over the last nine months, I took a country where the streets were literally full of sewage and crime and people with accents and turned it into a paradise kingdom that rivals heaven itself. Better than heaven, because we all have guns. So tremendous is my creation that it basically runs itself. No president can rule for more than eight years, and I’ve already squozen a decade’s worth of achievements into my first year—and it’s not even Thanksgiving. So, I’m leaving office to spend more time with my son . . . (Melania whispers in his ear) Barron.”
Fade in: intelligence briefing. We are close on Trump’s bloated, porcine face, the kind of face that would immediately disqualify a person from judging others’ appearances. He yawns, wipes some KFC extra-crispy batter from his most northern chin. Then he gets an idea. A light-bulb moment. Not a bright light bulb—more like the bulb in that emergency flashlight you find buried in your junk drawer. He stands up and exclaims . . .
TRUMP: I quit.
INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Wah wah wah wah wah?
TRUMP: I SAID, I QUIT!
He races out of the briefing room and makes his way outside, where we see a HELMETED FIGURE on a motorcycle.
TRUMP: I did it! I QUIT.
The helmeted figure takes off the helmet and we see SARAH PALIN
SARAH PALIN: Good boy. Hop on.
Trump hops on the back of the hog and the two quitters drive off into the sunset. FADE OUT:
I’m moving outta here like a bitch.
Writer for The Good Place and Silicon Valley
Donald Trump will be impeached after evidence surfaces that he met with Russians clandestinely on multiple occasions specifically to sabotage Hillary’s run for president. This will occur approximately one week before the election in 2020. By then, cities won’t exist, and the average temperature in America will be 130 degrees Trump (the new nomenclature for Fahrenheit).
Donald Trump will resign after a secret Russian sex tape surfaces, one that involves Trump sexually harassing his daughter Ivanka. He will then brag that he was the “fastest president ever,” and that he can resign since he’s brought back “all of the jobs. Literally all of them. Look at them—they’re all back now.” He will spend the rest of his days doing exactly what he did in the presidency, playing golf and pretending to drive fire trucks.
“Ffffffffpllllplplplplplplplppppluuuuuuuuuuugggffffffff.” (This is the sound of Donald Trump publicly shitting himself at a rally, then trying to cover his butt with Mike Pence’s sweater, but the sweater isn’t big enough to cover his big butt, so he slips and falls and can’t get up ’cause he’s covered in his own shit, so he’s pulled off by the Secret Service, never to be seen again.)
Executive producer, The Last Man on Earth
I remember learning that when L. Ron Hubbard died, they announced to the rank-and-file Scientologists that he had merely “discarded his body” so he could continue his work on other planes of existence. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say I believe this is how Trump’s impeachment and resignation will go. I think he’ll call it something else, and Congress will happily play along. An impeachment will be called a “Constitutional Hearing,” or a “Congressional Adjustment,” or an “Unholy Witch Hunt.” A resignation will be called an “Executive Realignment,” or a “Presidential Ascension,” or simply a “Nothingburger.” So my most plausible scenario is that something happens that’s not an impeachment, and he does something that’s not a resignation. And he lives many more years acting like he is still president, and the whole country silently agrees to never talk about that one time we had a constitutional crisis and pretended we didn’t.
A second White House will be built a few blocks from the official White House, and Trump will stay there three days a week. This new White House will be a full replica, but five-times bigger and gold.
This one’s easy. The quote will be “I’m still president.”
I mean, that’s what the NYT headline will be. The full quote will not be so pithy.
“Am I resigning? No. Where did you hear that, by the way? That’s, if you believe that, I’ll sell you a bridge on top of the World Trade Center. Which, terrible deal by the way. Whoever built that, I like buildings that don’t collapse, O.K.? Terrible deal. They got a lot of things (garbled). It’s nuts. And I hear everyone asking “is he resigning, is he impeaching?” I’m not impeaching, O.K.? I’m president. They still call me president, don’t they? Everybody calls me President Trump. You hear it everywhere you go, President Trump this, President Trump that, President Trump, I love you, President Trump, don’t go. So I’m president. It’s silly. It’s dumb (garbled). Mike Pence is a helluva guy. Mike Pence, President Pence if you wanna call him that. Great guy, terrific guy. I also heard there’s gonna be a new vice president, which you can do. A lot of people don’t know that. You can bring the vice president up to president, I just learned this, a lot of people don’t know. And then he can bring up a guy. I don’t know who they’ll choose, but it should be my daughter. Not the ugly one. (Large applause). No, come on. Come on. You’re nasty. So I’m gonna travel and do great things. Dubai. Russia. China. And wherever I go, I’m the president there, too, they love me there and we’re only gonna make it bigger. Maybe I’ll do another TV show, would you like that? I’ll do a TV show, “where’s Hillary?” Has anyone seen her? She’s gone, maybe she’s in jail, I don’t know. They tell me (garbled) and all of this and that. But she’s not in jail and I’m gonna put her in jail. Maybe she’s with ISIS (huge applause). I beat ISIS. ISIS is no longer a threat because of me. But they’re still a threat and I’ll continue to beat them. But as to the question, who’s president? I’m president. They call Obama president and he was never even president. So believe me, I’m still president.”
Creator/executive producer/host of BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede; former head writer and correspondent of Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show
At the height of his paranoia, Trump will start accusing everyone in his administration of plotting against him. He will openly start leaking damning audio tapes of his conversations with Bannon, Sessions, Kushner, et al. and fire them one by one until no one is left. He will then declare the government “illegitimate” and return to private business, where he can “truly make a difference.” Oh, and he’ll find a way to blame Obama for it all.
Trump will spearhead the “New Civil Rights Movement” where he positions himself as this era’s Martin Luther King Jr. for rich white men. He will lead protests of “poor” areas and host “sit-ins” on golf carts on the country’s finest courses as his way of demanding more “white rights.” Convinced his mission is accomplished after only two weeks of this campaign, he will rename Martin Luther King Jr. Day “Donald J. Trump Day.”
I NEVER got credit for anything! I had women peeing on me WAY before R. Kelly!
Writer of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Men in Black, Now You See Me, and Steven Soderbergh’sMosaic (on HBO)
Trump will have to find a way to package his departure as a “win,” which means deciding the game is over and he’s walking away with the trophy. He’ll declare that the whole “four-year thing” is an arbitrary number—after all, there’s no set time frame for a C.E.O. to turn a company around, is there? And look—he did it quickly: he made America great in 16 months. Now that he’s “won” at politics, it’s time for him to give up his pro-bono work and go back to running his company (a company which, by the way, has tripled in value in the short 16 months he was the best president ever).
Donald’s day is slammed with meetings. Today it’s Jesus, and Rambo, and early-1980’s running-on-the-beach Bo Derek. Oh, and also Jamie Lee Curtis in that moment from Trading Places. Again. Followed by Hillary—coming to beg for a job—which he promises . . . and then rescinds. Again. And later? A rally! This one in the Grand Canyon—which he’s packed beyond capacity (there’s an overflow canyon—with a two-mile-long video screen—300 miles away at Bryce). As he flies there (he has his own wings now), he soars over Obama, who’s giving a sparsely attended speech outside a Fotomat in Tonopah. Barack looks up in envy as Donald waves with giant hands. As he approaches the canyon, he can hear the crowds singing the “Make America Great” song and we:
PULL BACK TO REVEAL:
Donald has never left his desk. His V.R. headset is permanently affixed to his face. He is fed liquid Kentucky Fried Chicken through a Heparin Lock. “What’s next?” he says. We don’t see what he’s seeing, but we DO see a big smile on his face. “I love you, too, dad.” He smiles, a single tear rolling down his cheek. “I love you so, so, so much, too. What’s next?” And now we:
PULL BACK FURTHER:
And realize that the desk is in fact in a giant plexiglass cube floating on a barge somewhere.
PULLING BACK EVEN FURTHER:
The barge is on a river flowing through a grayish, overcast city. Hard to know where we are, exactly, because the only signs are in Cyrillic.
It will be something like: “Fine—if the Fake News won’t let me tell the truth, we’ll have our own REAL News.” And thus begins TNN.
Author of Worst. Person. Ever.
The manner in which Trump leaves is not a big deal in his mind. I suspect he’ll probably just get bored and stop showing up for work, moving into second-term Reagan, phone-it-in mode before the 2018 races.
All White House staff members show up one morning wearing the exact same Claire Underwood pencil skirt but nobody’s sure why. An expression of solidarity? Ambition? Overly effective Nair lobbyists? Following an awkwardly quiet morning briefing comes a bathroom break, at which point staffers are deadlocked in a Tarantino multi-gun standoff: who—who!—will enter which bathroom? In an unexpected turn of events, everyone chooses the wrong bathroom and everyone gets fired. Donald huffs in disgust, saying that Melania is hotter than any of them, and who needs this? If you want me I’ll be in Scotland.
Hey, Mike Pence—you won’t see Melania wearing some spooky sister-wife dress.
Head writer of Late Night with David Letterman, winner of four Emmy Awards
When figuring out what he will say, you have to put yourself in the mind-set of a humiliated and rage-filled narcissist who has to retreat with his dignity intact but leave a wound. The real scenario, should it happen, will be, “I’m a billionaire. I didn’t need this job. The only reason I took it was a mandate from my fans to Make America Great Again. The fake-news media, Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats who are all determined to ruin this country refused to let me. #Sad.”
Donald Trump is forced by a mysterious angel to look at what life in the United States would have been like if he’d never been born or been elected. Hillary would be in the White House; there is Medicare for everyone, and the economy is booming as the U.S. leads the fight against climate change. None of his horrible sons would have been born, so wild animals in Africa would be safe. Ivanka would be sitting in a tower in another dimension, sewing shoes by hand as she stares longingly at the moon and waits to be born to someone who had a profitable tech start-up. Kellyanne Conway would be hanging around the greenrooms of morning-talk shows, waiting for someone to drop out at the last minute so she could give horoscope predictions. Melania would be preparing for her wedding to Sumner Redstone. Donald is so moved that he begins to sob and calls a press conference. “My fellow Americans,” he says, “I want to resign. I have been such a fool.” Then he and his family go to work to preserve the environment and save endangered species. In the last frame, they’d all be standing in line to volunteer for the Peace Corps.
Look, all I can say at this point is, and I’m leaving in a few minutes—but check my Twitter, and there will still be rallies. I can still hold my rallies, because as far as I know, we still have the First Amendment—they will be incredible rallies. My uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at M.I.T.; good genes, very good genes, very smart. Wharton School of Finance. And if I was a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican oh, do they do a number—but when you look at what’s going on with the Persians who are great negotiators, the Iranians who are great negotiators, and the North Koreans who have tremendous rallies, they hold those placards up, we will have rallies and we will do placards. Our rallies will be better attended than Kim Jong Un, even when it’s a birthday or an anniversary or whatever they do there. Wait and see.
Composer and lyricist for The Band’s Visit
Some version of “I have decided to resign because you’re all losers, and I quit.”
Trump announces that he can no longer serve as president of the United States of America because the pee tape that the Failing New York Times has finally uncovered and released is “obviously doctored” to give him a “much, much smaller penis than the really, actually big, some say very big, strong penis that I actually have.”
I’m suing all of you. You, your families, your fucking pets . . .
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“O.K., you, in the third row… Yes, you… I’m calling on you… Yes, that’s why I’m pointing… I’m pointing with my finger… My FINGER. This one… Why would you think I’m holding up a cocktail frank?”
Photo: By Justin Lane/EPA/Corbis.
In Iowa last January, Trump regales voters with a humanizing personal anecdote about how he once bit his right index finger after mistaking it for a half-eaten French fry.
Photo: By Jerry Mennenga/ZUMA Press/Corbis.
A wax figure of “Duke” Wayne looks on in disgust as Trump strains to reach his fingers all the way around daughter Aissa Wayne’s frankly rather petite shoulder. (Fun fact: you could load the barrel of Wayne’s pistol with 14 of Trump’s pinkies.)
Photo: By Tannen Maury/EPA/Corbis.
As Trump talks straight through a lunch-hour town hall in February, hungry New Hampshire voters appear mesmerized by the five chicken-tender-like appendages radiating from his sausage-patty-size palm.
Photo: From The Washington Post/Getty Images.
At this 2005 gala, Trump, thinking quickly, uses both hands to keep wife Melania from getting a good look at the size of a single Puff Daddy hand.
Photo: By Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images.
Trump’s delicate right hand is nearly crushed by his nine-year-old daughter Ivanka’s huge, burly mitt at a 1991 event.
Photo: From The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.
Presented without comment.
Photo: By Scott Olson/Getty Images.
US warship USS Cole was bombed in the Yemeni port of Aden on this day 17 years ago. Seventeen American sailors lost their lives in the suicide attack that almost sank the massive ship
Money to a mystery man
By the end of October 2000, the Yemeni authorities had arrested a man named Fahd al-Quso, writes Lawrence Wright in The Looming Tower. Quso had admitted that he and one of the suicide bombers had delivered money to “Khallad”
Bin Laden’s errand boy
Ali Soufan, a Lebanese-American FBI agent was in charge of the USS Cole bombing probe. His source from Afghanistan had described a fighter named Khallad with a metal leg who was in charge of a guesthouse in Kandahar. He called Khallad, Osama bin Laden’s “errand boy”. “That was the first real link between the Cole bombing and al-Qaeda,” Wright adds in his Pulitzer-winning book. Khallad was the mastermind behind the Cole bombing and was also part of the failed attempt to blow up USS The Sullivans in the Aden harbour
Connection to 9/11
Quso had also told Soufan he was supposed to meet Khallad in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. So the FBI agent sent an official request to the CIA asking if they had any information about Khallad or any al-Qaeda meeting in the region. But the agency did not respond
There was in fact a meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January that year and the CIA knew about it. The four men who had originally been selected for the 9/11 operation went to the city and among them were two Yemenis who adopted the name Khallad. “The meeting was not wiretapped, so the opportunity to discover the plots that culminated in the bombing of the USS Cole and the 9/11 attack was lost”
The Kremlin and President Donald Trump have each denied allegations that Russia and the Trump campaign colluded in the 2016 presidential election – but the probe into Russia’s meddling is forging ahead.
Donald Trump, Jr., the president’s oldest son, came under fire earlier this year when it was found that he took a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign after it was promised that she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee.
But that lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told Fox News that she would have met with Clinton, too, if she had believed that the former secretary of state could have helped her with her anti-sanctions push.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel tasked with investigating Russia’s influence in the election, impaneled a grand jury in August – widely seen as an indicator that his investigation is entering a new phase.
Mueller is also seeking to speak with White House staffers – but has not requested to speak to the president as of yet – sources told Fox News.
From the firing of the nation’s F.B.I. director to Trump’s oldest son’s meeting with a controversial Russian lawyer, here’s what you need to know about the Russian investigation so far.
Before Trump ever took office, tens of thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee and other officials connected to former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were leaked.
Those emails – released in July 2016 ahead of the Democratic National Convention – purportedly showed the party favoring Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and led to the resignation of party chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
But more than just ousting Wasserman Schultz, intelligence officials concluded that those responsible for leaking the emails were connected to the Russian government. In its assessment of the hack, the CIA concluded that Russia intervened in the election in order to help Trump secure the presidency.
Before he handed over the White House to Trump, former President Barack Obama sanctioned Russiafor its alleged involvement in the election – a move that would eventually come back to dismantle one of Trump’s senior aides.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also got the administration into hot water for his own actions during the campaign.
Trump Jr. confirmed in July 2017 that he took a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign as she was supposed to have damaging information about Clinton.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” an email about the meeting said in part.
Trump Jr. maintained that the Veselnitskaya, did not have any information to share and instead wanted to discuss other matters.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, were at the meeting as well. The two are also being investigated.
Michael Flynn’s tenure as Trump’s national security adviser was short but rife with controversy that still bedevils the administration. But Flynn didn’t come without a warning.
Only a few days after the November election, Obama met with Trump to share his concerns about Flynn, a retired lieutenant general. Flynn had served under Obama as head of military intelligence until he was fired in 2014 following reports of insubordination and questionable management style.
Then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during a White House press briefing. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Still, Trump ignored Obama’s apparent apprehensions and selected Flynn as his national security advisor. Not a month later, Trump accepted Flynn’s resignation.
As Obama issued the sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the election, Flynn reportedly called the Russian ambassador to discuss the move. Flynn initially denied speaking to the ambassador, but when intelligence officials revealed proof, he said he just didn’t remember speaking on that topic.
Flynn resigned under harsh scrutiny for misleading the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his ties to and conversations with Russian officials.
He remains under multiple investigations by congressional committees and the Pentagon’s inspector general. Mueller has included Flynn in his probe, and his investigators are reportedly trying to determine if he was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the campaign, the New York Times reported in August.
Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department in March 2017.
Firing the FBI director
Trump sacked F.B.I. Director James Comey on May 9 – less than two months after Comey publicly proclaimed that the agency was investigating ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
The White House maintained that Comey was relieved from his duties due to his handling of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure of secretary of state. But days later, Trump alluded that he had considered the Russian investigation when he fired Comey.
Comey told a Senate intelligence committee in June that he was concerned about the “shifting explanations” that came from the White House regarding his firing.
He also claimed that Trump had asked for the F.B.I. to drop its investigation into Flynn during a February meeting. The White House has denied that Trump was attempting to influence the F.B.I. director.
Before the committee, Comey confirmed that he had reassured Trump repeatedly that he was not under investigation by the F.B.I.
Russians in the Oval
In the wake of Comey’s dismissal, the Trump administration was rocked with reports of the president’s own controversial dealings with Russian officials in the Oval Office.
A White House television plays a news report on President Donald Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian officials. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
The Washington Post reported on May 15 that Trump shared classified information regarding ISIS threats with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time. The information was reportedly given to the U.S. from Israel and not meant to be shared.
Later that week, the New York Times reported that Trump told those officials the day after firing Comey – who he allegedly called a “nut job” – that the personnel change took “great pressure” off of him.
Special counsel called
The Department of Justice announced the appointment of former F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the federal investigation into Russia’s alleged influence on the election on May 17.
The appointment followed a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to handle the probe.
Mueller was given wide berth to carry out his investigation, and he expanded the probe to look into whether Trump obstructed justice with Comey’s firing.
Trump has criticized Mueller’s friendship with Comey as “very bothersome.” The two were former colleagues at the Justice Department.
Mueller has reportedly impaneled a grand jury to continue the investigation. A grand jury gives prosecutors the ability to subpoena documents and gather on-the-record witness testimonies. It doesn’t necessarily mean criminal charges will be sought.
Trump faces Putin
Trump finally met with Putin for the first time face-to-face at the G-20 summit in June.
He immediately pressed his Russian counterpart on the allegations of election meddling – which Putin denied, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Germany in July 2017. (Reuters/Carlos Barria)
Lavrov told reporters after the meeting that Trump had accepted Putin’s assurances that Moscow was innocent of interfering in the election.
Trump Tower Moscow
While Trump was actively running for president, his business attempted to secure a new real estate development in Moscow, according to records reviewed by the Washington Post.
The Trump Organization pursued building a Trump Tower in Moscow from late 2015 to early 2016, according to the paper. And Russian-born real estate developer Felix Sater was hoping to bring Trump himself to the country.
Sater reportedly urged Trump to come to Moscow to promote the business venture and promised that he could get Putin to say “great things” about the Manhattan business mogul, sources told the Washington Post.
A top executive with Trump’s real estate company also emailed Putin’s press secretary in 2016 for help to expedite the project, according to an email obtained by Fox News.
“Over the past few months, I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower-Moscow project in Moscow City,” Michael Cohen, the company’s executive vice president and Trump’s special counsel at the time, said in a Jan. 14, 2016 email. “Without getting into lengthy specifics, the communication between our two sides has stalled. As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance.”
Cohen later told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the project was “similar” to other business ideas “contemplated years before any campaign.”
“The Trump Tower Moscow proposal was not related in any way to Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign,” Cohen said.
“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance.”
Trump never went to Russia, and the project was abandoned in January 2016.
Anyone else under investigation?
Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign manager in August 2016 amid questions regarding his business dealings in Ukraine.
The special counsel has taken over a criminal investigation into Manafort’s financial dealings, which began even before the 2016 election, according to The Associated Press. F.B.I. agents raided Manafort’s Virginia home in July, taking with them documents related to the Russia investigation.
Manafort has been the subject of multiple investigations into his financial dealings and lobbying work. He has denied any colluding with Russia.
In June 2017, Manafort officially registered as a foreign agent for work he did with a Ukrainian political party from 2012 to 2014.
Kushner, too, has been under F.B.I. scrutiny.
Kushner, married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, may possess substantial information relevant to the Russian investigation, officials told NBC in May.
He also held private meetings with lawmakers regarding the controversial meeting Trump Jr. set up with the Russian lawyer. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who is leading the House intelligence committee’s probe into Russia’s involvement in the election, said Kushner was “straightforward, forthcoming [and] wanted to answer every question we had.”
Kushner has denied colluding with Russia or knowing anyone who did so.
Social media, too, is the subject of congressional investigations as Facebook, Twitter and Google executives have said advertisements linked to Russian operatives were bought during the election.
Facebook said about $100,000 in ad purchases connected to “inauthentic accounts” that violated its policies were uncovered as well as another $50,000 on “potentially politically related ad spending” that were in Russian. Twitter said a group with “strong links to the Russian government” spent $274,000 in ads, and the social media site suspended almost two dozen accounts that were possibly linked to Russian officials.
As for Google, Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on YouTube, Google Search products and Gmail regarding the election, Fox Business reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.
PinkNews–Jun 23, 2017
HuffPost–Jun 23, 2017
Gay Times Magazine–Jun 23, 2017
Highly Cited–Papermag–Jun 23, 2017
Newsweek–Oct 10, 2017
Opposing Views–Oct 10, 2017
The Hill–Oct 10, 2017
<a href=”http://kgw.com” rel=”nofollow”>kgw.com</a>–Oct 10, 2017
The FBI and Justice Department have turned down or ignored every request since March from the House Intelligence Committee seeking information about the controversial anti-Trump dossier, according to a review of congressional records by Fox News.
Records show the committee has made eight such requests, including subpoenas, in that time period.
Congressional investigators have met “a lot of resistance,” committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told Fox News.
But the GOP lawmaker seemed to indicate public scrutiny and congressional pressure may spur movement on the issue. “These are crucial questions related to Congress’ oversight responsibilities. … We hope we’ll soon be on the path to getting the information we need,” he said.
Asked for comment, the Justice Department’s principal deputy director of public affairs, Ian D. Prior, said: “The materials requested involve extremely sensitive law enforcement information. We have been working with the committee and have had a productive dialogue with an aim towards ensuring it gets what it needs while addressing our concerns.”
The FBI and Justice Department are led by Trump appointees Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, respectively. But officials at the departments have refused to provide information about the dossier’s sources, who paid for it and whether the FBI used the unverified dossier to obtain surveillance warrants. The document, along with its salacious allegations, emerged earlier this year in the press and was roundly rejected by President Trump and his allies. Investigators on Capitol Hill have been trying to unlock the document’s origins ever since.
Sources close to the matter say that Gregory Brower, a former U.S. attorney, is now the gatekeeper to such information as head of the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs. Brower is said to be close to former director James Comey, who named him to the job in March, two months before Comey was fired and during a tense period in Comey’s relationship with Trump. Sources told Fox News that Brower has turned down requests, citing the special counsel investigation led by former FBI director Robert Mueller.
While Nunes has stepped aside from the broader investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign, he remains chairman of the intelligence committee and has pressed for information on the dossier as well as the “unmasking” of Trump associates by the Obama administration.
The powerful Senate Intelligence Committee leadership told reporters last week that their investigators also had run into roadblocks on the dossier, which was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele at the direction of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm based in Washington, D.C.
“As it relates to the Steele dossier, unfortunately the committee has hit a wall,” Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., explained. “We have on several occasions made attempts to contact Mr. Steele, to meet with Mr. Steele, to include personally the vice chairman and myself as two individuals making that connection. Those offers have gone unaccepted. The committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it? Who are your sources and sub-sources?”
The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, wrote to the FBI last week stating there are “material inconsistencies” in the bureau’s responses about the dossier and how it was used. Grassley highlighted that the dossier was shared by Steele with the U.K. government, according to court records in a defamation suit.
“Mr. Steele’s dossier allegations might appear to be ‘confirmed’ by foreign intelligence, rather than just an echo of the same ‘research’ that Fusion bought from Steele and that the FBI reportedly also attempted to buy from Steele,” Grassley wrote.
To date, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson has not revealed sources and payments for the dossier to congressional investigators, even refusing to answer questions from Senate Judiciary Committee staff during a closed-door session.
Fusion GPS Lawyer Joshua Levy did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
President Donald Trump Thomson Reuters
The opposition research firm that produced the explosive dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia has claimed in new court filings that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed, which published the document in full in January.
The filings were part of Fusion GPS’s efforts to quash a subpoena issued in late August by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian tech executive whom the dossier accused of targeting Democratic Party leadership with malware and “botnets.” Gubarev is now suing both BuzzFeed and the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele.
Steele, a former British spy who spent decades on MI6’s Moscow desk, was hired by Fusion to research Trump’s purported ties to Russia.
In their initial attempt to quash Gubarev’s subpoena, Fusion said it would be willing to provide any “pre-publication communications” it had with BuzzFeed about the dossier prior to its publication.
Court documents filed on Tuesday, however, included a September 12 email from a lawyer with the firm representing Fusion informing Gubarev’s attorney that “we have found no pre-publication communications” between the firm and BuzzFeed.
From the filings:
Fusion’s attorneys wrote in the court filings that Gubarev’s attempts to “open the door to wide-ranging discovery” of the firm were “unpersuasive” because Fusion “did not create or author the December memo, and did not give it to BuzzFeed.”
Evan Fray-Witzer, an attorney for Gubarev, said during a discovery hearing on September 28 that “the one thing that [Fusion] have told us is BuzzFeed didn’t get the dossier from them. BuzzFeed went to them and tried to get the dossier from them and they refused to give it to BuzzFeed.”
A spokesperson for Fusion GPS repeated that claim on Wednesday.
“While there may have been a request by BuzzFeed, no documents were shared,” the spokesperson told Business Insider.
BuzzFeed issued the following statement: “As we’ve stated time and again, the dossier was circulating at the highest levels of government, among numerous media outlets, and is the subject of multiple federal investigations. The only group that had yet to see the dossier when we published it was the public.”
Indeed, the dossier had been making its way around Washington, DC, for months leading up to its publication. Numerous reporters revealed after it was published that they had been approached to write about the dossier and its allegations.
Mother Jones’ David Corn reported on some of the dossier’s allegations in October after speaking with Steele and “his associates at the American firm” that hired him. Neither Steele nor Fusion GPS were named in Corn’s story. Their identities were only revealed later, well after BuzzFeed published the dossier in full.
Corn reported, however, that Steele had approached the FBI “without the permission of the US company that hired him” in July after spending a month collecting information about Trump’s alleged Russia ties. Steele forwarded the FBI additional memos in August, at which point they began communicating regularly, Corn reported.
Fusion GPS was therefore not the only entity with access to the dossier. The document was reportedly obtained by former State Department official David Kramer, who then passed it along to Republican Sen. John McCain. McCain then provided it to former FBI Director James Comey.
The FBI had reportedly already used the dossier’s allegations to bolster its case for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against early Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Fusion over the summer but dropped the request when the firm’s cofounder, Glenn Simpson, agreed to a closed-door interview.
This may be Trump’s most insulting scam yet
THE MORNING PLUM: There is probably no better illustration of the scam President Trump’s tax plan would perpetrate on working- and middle-class people than its provision repealing the estate tax. Getting rid of it would benefit a tiny slice of high …
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Los Angeles Times
Rep. Devin Nunes signs subpoenas for firm behind Trump-Russia dossier
Los Angeles Times
A political research firm behind a dossier of allegations about President Trump‘s connections toRussia has been subpoenaed by the House intelligence committee. Joshua Levy, a lawyer for Fusion GPS, said in a statement Tuesday that the subpoenas were …
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Nunes signs off on new subpoenas to firm behind Trump-Russia …CNN
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Business Insider –NBCNews.com
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The impeachment process is a thousand steps, and this is merely Step One, but it officially happened today. Congressman Al Green has introduced articles of impeachment against Donald Trump today, reading them aloud on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. What may be most important here is that no one else in the House is even trying to interrupt him.
To be as clear as possible, a majority vote in the House is required just for impeachment hearings to begin – and there is absolutely no indication that enough House Republicans are currently willing to side with the Democrats in order to start those hearings. But while Al Green’s articles of impeachment are not likely to lead to any imminent impeachment hearings, this is a major symbolic step in the process. The most important aspect in this process may be that Green’s speech is airing live on CSPAN and will receive airtime on various cable news networks. From a strategic standpoint, Green’s timing is perfect.
This comes just three days after Republican Senator Bob Corker stated for the record that he believes Donald Trump is going to get us all killed because he’s too psychologically unstable for the job. Because Corker is from Trump’s own party, that kind of thing goes a long way toward convincing the American middle – which already largely doesn’t support Trump – that it is indeed time for him to be ousted. Al Green’s articles of impeachment will receive significant attention from the media and the public because the discussion is already underway as to whether Trump is mentally unfit for office.
Congressman Al Green has been threatening to introduce these articles of impeachment for some time, and he appears to have been waiting for when he could land the most impact in the court of public opinion. Going forward, the question on the minds of the public may now be why the Republicans are refusing to impeach Donald Trump.
The post Congressman introduces Articles of Impeachment against Donald Trump on House floorappeared first on Palmer Report.
Trump: If Tillerson called me a moron, ‘we’ll have to compare IQ tests’
Donald Trump does not believe that his secretary of state called him a “moron,” the president told Forbes in an interview published Tuesday morning, but if he did “we’ll have to compare IQ tests.” “I think it’s fake news, but if he did that, I guess we …
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Trump threat to NFL over ‘massive’ tax breaks
US President Donald Trump has called for the National Football League (NFL) to be stripped of tax advantages. In a tweet he complained the league had received “massive” tax breaks, while some of its players had been “disrespecting” the national anthem.
President Trump tries to sell policy agenda with Twitter attacks on NFL, Congress, Dems, CorkerUSA TODAY
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CBSSports.com –Politico –Newsweek
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Trump’s fiery, furious threats to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea might just work
President Donald Trump’s bold approach to North Korea has horrified many and raised the issue of nuclear war into everyday conversation, but the unconventional tactic may work in a roundabout way, an expert on US-China relations and North Korea says.
Trump may visit demilitarized zone in South Korea to send a ‘significant message’Fox News
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Trump says ‘only one thing will work’ with North KoreaReuters
“Doomed”: even Donald Trump’s allies admit that his latest meltdown is destroying him
Even Trump’s allies think he’s at an end
Trump ‘likely obstructed justice’ in Comey firing, could be impeached, Brookings Institution says
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Facebook, Google, Twitter: How tech giants are involved in the Russia investigation
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the social media platform turned over to Congress 3,000 political propaganda ads tied to Russian accounts which were used during the2016 election. Here’s a breakdown of the complicated relationship …
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Laying out a comprehensive case that Trump obstructed justice
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The Case For Impeaching Donald Trump is Real and Serious. Here’s Why.
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Expert Opinions, Episode 3: Looking at Luxury Real Estate’s Money Laundering Role
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The New Yorker (satire)
Trump Knocked Out in First Round of White House IQ-Test Tournament After Losing to Betsy DeVos
The New Yorker (satire)
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an I.Q.-test tournament devised by Donald Trump to determine the smartest person in his Administration, Trump suffered a humiliating defeat on Tuesday, getting knocked out in the first round by Education Secretary …
Trump Obstructed Justice in Russia Investigation and Could Be Impeached, New Think Tank Report Claims
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Google uncovers Russia-backed ads used to meddle in 2016 US election
The Japan News
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Donald Trump announces he has a high IQ, then immediately makes a dumb error that proves otherwise
This is embarrassing, even by Trump’s standards
The deafening silence that’s destroying Donald Trump
This is hurting him more than anything that’s being said
Political research firm behind Trump-Russia dossier subpoenaed by House intelligence committee
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Yet another high profile Donald Trump campaign adviser has announced that he’ll be invoking the Fifth Amendment in order to try to avoid testifying before Congress about his role in the Trump-Russia scandal. While this will deprive the viewing public of getting to watch what might have been explosive testimony, it’s a sign of just how explosive the scandal has become for Donald Trump behind the scenes.
The latest Trump campaign adviser to plead the fifth is Carter Page, in response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s request that he show up and testify (link). In return the committee can subpoena him anyway, and if a judge agrees, he can be legally compelled to come in for questioning. At that point Page would either be arrested for contempt of Congress, or he could show up and simply answer every question by saying he’s invoking the Fifth Amendment. But how the Senate side of this plays out is less important than what this means for the overall investigation – specifically the one being run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In legal terms, if you invoke the Fifth Amendment, it’s not an admission or indicator of guilt. Instead you’re saying that if the government wants to build a case against you, it’ll have to do so without your help. Perhaps you consider yourself to be innocent, and you believe you’re going to be maliciously prosecuted. But in practical terms, this is likely an indicator that Carter Page believes he’s going to be prosecuted for crimes related to the Russia scandal. That’s where this becomes a big deal.
Robert Mueller is already in the process of pursuing criminal prosecution against Donald Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, in order to pressure them into flipping on Trump. What we’re seeing today is an indicator that Mueller is probably pursuing (or about to pursue) something similar against Carter Page. Mueller only has to get one of these guys to flip on Trump. The more he adds to the mix, the more explosive this gets for Trump himself.
The post Donald Trump adviser Carter Page pleads the fifth as Trump-Russia scandal explodesappeared first on Palmer Report.
Donald Trump adviser Carter Page pleads the fifth as Trump-Russia scandal explodes
This is the worst news possible for Trump
President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Forbes Magazine Editor Randall Lane and Chief Product Officer Lewis D’Vorkin in the Oval Office on Friday, October 6th. White House Communications Director Hope Hicks also sat in. This is the unedited transcript from the interview, which lasted 50 minutes.
Randall Lane: You’ve always talked about having fun as a key to business. Are you having fun?
Donald Trump: I am having fun. I’m enjoying it. We’re accomplishing a lot. Your stock market is at an all-time high. Your jobs, your unemployment is at the lowest point in almost 17 years. We have fantastic numbers coming out. And I think we’ll have, over the course of the next, fairly short period of time, and more importantly over a long period of time, we’re going to have great numbers coming out of our country.
Lewis D’Vorkin: What’s your personal thought?
Trump: I enjoy success. And we’re having tremendous success, as a country. We have some difficulties with respect to North Korea, the Middle East. I inherited– and I’ve said it often–I inherited a mess. The country was having many different problems. Among them, the Middle East, ISIS, which we’ve done more with respect to ISIS in nine months than we’ve done in nine years. But we have really done, we have done, I would say eight months in eight years, to be specific. But we have done a really, really good job with the military. We’re building up our military. We just had an over $700 billion budget, which will be approved. We’re, you know, there’s been few times where the military was more important than what it is right now. And, in addition to that, which is by far the overriding element, it’s lots of jobs in the United States. So, what the country is doing, we’re doing very well. And on an economic front, we’re doing very well.
Photo credit: Jamel Toppin for Forbes
Lane: Now that we’re almost a year from the big upset and the big win, do you think your business background prepared you for this job? And were you ready, now that you have a year in?
Trump: Well, I think it helped. It’s certainly a different kind of job than, really there is anywhere. Because you have so many skills necessary. But certainly the campaign was successful. What people don’t realize is that I spent much less money than Hillary Clinton. So right there, perhaps that’s business. You know, if you look at the numbers it’s astronomically different.
Trump: I don’t think anybody’s ever written that. You know, in the old days, if you spent less money and won, that was supposed to be a good thing. Today nobody talks about it. But I spent much less money and won. I think that’s–so we start off there–I think that was good. I also think that, yes, being in–just last night I had dinner with all of our generals and admirals, at the highest level. You probably saw that.
Lane: Yeah, I saw the picture right here. Yeah.
Trump: It was lovely. It was fantastic. But I talked about business. I said, “Your equipment is coming in too slowly and at too great a cost.” And I actually got involved in negotiating, as an example, the F-35 fighter with Lockheed. You may call Marillyn [Hewson], the head of Lockheed, who you know, I think.
Trump: And she’s a terrific person. But I developed a bidding system between Boeing and Lockheed. And I was able to reduce the price of the Lockheed by billions of dollars. By billions of dollars. And this took me, actually, a very small amount of time. And I read a story, and this when I was president-elect, had not come here yet. And I called the military. I said, “What’s the problem?” We met with the generals. I then met with Lockheed. I then–the generals were unable to get anything off the price. And in fact, they wanted to raise the price and claim extras. And I met with Marillyn [Hewson], from Lockheed. I then went and had a very frank discussion with her. I then met with Boeing, and I said, “Well, we’re going to come out with a competing plane.” And then went back to her. And I went back and forth. And the end result is billions and billions of dollars have been taken off the cost of the plane.
Lane: Well, again, you’re negotiating with them. You have obviously a lot of negotiation skills that you bring.
Trump: And that’s one thing. There are many, many things that I was too late into the game for the President Gerald Ford aircraft carrier. But it took too long to build, and it was way over budget. And you know, those things, we’re being much more conscious as a country about things such as that.
D’Vorkin: So you’ve had pain points in business, obviously.
Trump: Well, I don’t know.
D’Vorkin: If you–
Trump: Pain points?
D’Vorkin: In other words, obstacles that you have to overcome.
Trump: Oh, sure. You always have obstacles.
D’Vorkin: So, if you take away the politics of being president, and what you’re trying to do with the economy, what are the obstacles that you are finding that you necessarily didn’t find in your business life?
Trump: Well, you have Congress. That’s a big obstacle in many cases. You have, in some cases, well-meaning people in Congress that truly feel strongly about something. And I understand that and actually don’t mind that. And then of course you have grandstanders and others that want to try and make a point or want to do something that really isn’t necessarily in the best interests of the country. And those people I fight. And what people don’t know is that I’ve had just about the most legislation passed of any president, in a nine-month period, that’s ever served. We had over 50 bills passed. I’m not talking about executive orders only, which are very important. I’m talking about bills. We’ve had a tremendous amount of legislation passed. Like VA accountability, which nobody could get passed. Meaning people are accountable now, because before you couldn’t do anything if you caught people who worked there doing very bad things. But many, many bills have been passed. And now we’re going for taxes. I will get health care. I’m one vote short of health care. I’ll get health care. And I think block-granting it back to the states is going to be a great thing to do. I think it’ll be great for the people. Smaller government, great for the people. They’ll be able to handle it better. But we’re one–
Lane: Are you talking about the Graham-Cassidy bill?
Trump: Yeah, I like it very much. I do. I like it. It’s block-granting. It’s granting the money back to the states.
Lane: Right, right.
Trump: And you have a smaller form of government that’s going to be able to do–if they do a proper job–that will be able to do. There are certain states where they are very well run. And I could name them. I could name certain states where they really–they will do miracles with that money, in terms of health care. It’ll be far better than it is. Because Obamacare has failed, badly. So I’m working on that now. But we actually, I would say, I either have the votes or I’m one vote short. And I believe we’ll get health care done sometime prior to the election.
Lane: With Obamacare, until you come up with something different, don’t you feel there’s a lot of things going on with Obamacare right now, where, don’t you feel you need, as CEO of America, an obligation to make it run as good as it can while it’s still the law of the land?
Trump: Well, that’s an interesting, that’s a very interesting question. It’s a failed concept. It’s thousands and thousands of pages. It’s been amended by additional thousands of pages. It’s a total mess. The premiums are going up, you know.
Lane: But while it’s still the law, don’t you think, you know, we’re cutting back on advertising, we’re shrinking the window of signing up, so–
Trump: Well, we’re actually, what we’re doing is trying to keep it afloat, because it’s failing. I mean the insurance companies are fleeing and have fled. They fled before I got here. But with that being said, no, Obamacare is Obama’s fault. It’s nobody else’s fault. In fact, if you go back to–
Lane: Yes, but now it’s your administration’s responsibility.
Trump: Yes. But I’ve always said Obamacare is Obama’s fault. It’s never going to be our fault. With that being said, I think the Democrats want to make a deal. At the same time, I think I have a deal with the Republicans. So I have the best of both worlds. That’s business to a certain extent–
Trump: –when you asked the business question. And as you have noticed, I’m very able to make deals with Democrats if I have to.
Lane: Who have you found so far are better deal-making partners, the Ryan-McConnell set or the Pelosi-Schumer set?
Trump: Well, the Republicans have something called the filibuster rule. Which is a disaster. And if they don’t get rid of that, it’s always going to be very tough for them. You know what that is.
Lane: Yes, well, of course.
Trump: The filibuster rule is–
Lane: It’s a disaster when you’re in the majority. It’s a friend when you’re in the minority.
Trump: Well, you need eight Democrat votes every time. I mean, they literally need eight Democratic votes. And, they keep it for the sake of history. But history is that, in 1789, when it all began, what it actually, when they started voting, it was 1789, the first votes, that was a simple majority. And we should go back to a simple majority. If we had the filibuster rule, if we had the 60 votes for Justice Gorsuch, he would not be sitting on the bench right now because for the judges that has been taken off. And part of my plan is that the Democrats would take it off in two minutes. And the Republicans–
Lane: Well, they didn’t when they had a majority.
Trump: Well, they were going to. Well, they did it for the judge. Don’t forget, 95 percent of that work was done before we got there. So I think the filibuster rule is very bad. At the same time, I think if we pass taxes, I think we’ll have health care and taxes before. I believe we’ll have a great infrastructure bill before, which is easiest of all of them. In fact, I think I’ll have more Democrat votes for infrastructure than I will Republican votes. And I also have another bill that I think will be very–an economic development bill, which I think will be fantastic. Which nobody knows about. Which you are hearing about for the first time. But I’m going to do that. But before–
Lane: What is that? What does that mean?
Trump: Economic development incentives for companies. Incentives for companies to be here. Incentives for companies to do things.
D’Vorkin: What kind of incentives?
Trump: And it’ll be a great bill. It’s something I’ve had. I just don’t want to do it before I do health care–
Lane: So business, like Carrier? Business incentives to create jobs, keep jobs?
Trump: So that when companies leave our country, they get penalized severely. So that when companies stay in our country, they’re incentivized. But there won’t be any more companies, and it’s really stuck. I hope you have seen–again, this is an interview where I am doing the talking, I guess–but I hope you’ve seen that companies are moving back into our country. You saw Toyota, five plants. Other companies, car companies are moving back into our country. They are expanding their plants.
Lane: So is it a carrot–
Trump: We have a lot of–
Lane: So is it a carrot to get companies to stay and/or grow? Or is it a stick that you penalize?
Trump: It’s both. It’s both. It’s both a carrot and a stick. It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so–if you leave, it’s going to be very tough for you to think that you’re going to be able to sell your product back into our country.
Lane: How comfortable are you, as a businessperson, having the government involved in a business decision about where a company wants to locate? And where a company wants to put jobs.
Trump: Very comfortable, because there’s no tax if you stay. There’s no tax. We have to protect our companies. And if you looked at what’s happened, they’ve been ravaged by the stupidity of politics and, frankly, the stupidity of politicians. They’ve been ravaged. And we have to protect our companies. We have to protect our workers. And the only way you’re going to do that is you have to create rules. I mean, when you talk about, Randall, when you talk about fairness, do you think it’s fair that some countries charge us 100% tariff, or tax, to sell a product in their country? And yet the same product coming out of that country coming into our country comes into our country for no tax. See, that makes it unfair for our companies. And what I want to do is reciprocal. See, I think the concept of reciprocal is a very nice concept. If somebody is charging us 50 percent, we should charge them 50 percent. Right now they charge us 50 percent, and we charge them nothing. That doesn’t work with me.
Lane: You are also taking steps with the corporate tax rate. Which I think there’s a lot of consensus on that.