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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14281 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-November-15, 16:55

Twitter Users Wonder Why Devin Nunes Keeps Bringing Up Rumored Trump Nude Photos

Quote

Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, at Friday’s impeachment hearing brought up the unproven allegation that Democrats have been trying to get pics of the president in the buff:

...

Nunes’ focus on the picture issue stems from the whispered stories ― never proven ― of a “pee tape” that allegedly showed Trump watching sex workers engage in “golden showers” in a Moscow hotel room.

A well known Manchurian President tactic is to try to blunt upcoming bad news by releasing it with a positive spin before the original story comes out. Would it be too much to ask for the photos to be from a Moscow hotel room? Das Vedanya Putin's puppet.
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#14282 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-15, 18:15

As the witnesses grow more and more compelling while the Trump defenses grow weaker and more lame, it makes me wonder what would happen to the vaunted base if Fox News turned against Trump. It might happen.
Black Lives Matter "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "- Martin Luther King
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#14283 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-15, 20:22

Laurence Tribe @tribelaw 2019-11-15 said:

The details are jaw-dropping: Zelensky “loves your ass,” Sondland tells Trump. And Trump doesn’t “give a *****” about Ukraine or Russia’s aggression— only about “big stuff” like sliming Biden. As I’m coming to see and say, Trump is the #Antipresident.

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#14284 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 09:26

Highly partisan and yet nonetheless food for considerable thought.
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#14285 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 09:27

Katie Benner at NYT November 15, 2019 said:

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday vigorously defended President Trump’s use of executive authority and suggested that House Democrats were subverting the will of voters by exploring whether to remove the president from office for abusing his power.

Mr. Trump campaigned on a vow to upend Washington, and voters were aware of his agenda when they elected him president, Mr. Barr said.

“While the president has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook and punctilio, he was up front about what he wanted to do and the people decided they wanted him to serve as president,” Mr. Barr said in a speech at a conference hosted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group influential in Republican politics.

Mr. Trump’s opponents “essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government,” Mr. Barr added.

His forceful defense of the president came after some of Mr. Trump’s allies have in recent weeks accused Mr. Barr of failing to vociferously back the president. Mr. Trump was said to be frustrated that Mr. Barr urged him to release a reconstructed transcript of the July call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine at the center of the impeachment case. The president also wanted Mr. Barr to hold a news conference to say the president had violated no laws, only to have Mr. Barr rebuff the request. Mr. Trump has denied that account.

Speaking for an hour at the upscale Mayflower Hotel a few blocks from the White House, Mr. Barr hit back at the president’s critics on an array of fronts as he argued that Mr. Trump, in his capacity as president, has not overstepped his authority.

While Mr. Barr never uttered the word impeachment, he castigated those he sees as stalling Mr. Trump’s agenda. He defended the president’s right to set policies, steer the country’s diplomatic and military relations and keep executive branch conversations confidential from congressional oversight.

“In waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in shredding norms and undermining the rule of law,” Mr. Barr said.

He noted that opponents labeled themselves “the resistance” immediately after Mr. Trump was elected and accused them of “using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration.

“Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power,” Mr. Barr said. He added that it connotes that the government is not legitimate. “This is a very dangerous and indeed incendiary notion.”

Mr. Barr spoke as the second public impeachment hearing wrapped up on Capitol Hill, where Democrats have accused Mr. Trump of abusing the power of his office for personal gain.

Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testified that she was the target of a smear campaign engineered to get Mr. Trump to remove her; she was recalled from Kiev in the spring. She said that her dismissal from the post put national security at risk by opening the door for Russia to further influence Ukraine, a strategic American ally.

She also said that she felt devastated and threatened to learn that Mr. Trump had vilified her to Mr. Zelensky, testimony that Mr. Trump underscored by attacking her on Twitter as she sat before lawmakers.

In his address, Mr. Barr suggested the president has acted within his powers and that his opponents were willing to bend the law to stop him.

Mr. Barr is known as an executive power maximalist and a believer in the unitary executive theory, which posits that the Constitution imbues the presidency with broad powers that are subject to relatively little oversight.

He has argued, for example, that Congress cannot make it a crime for a president to exercise executive powers corruptly; and that presidents have authority over law enforcement investigations even when investigators are scrutinizing their activity.

On Friday, Mr. Barr hit back against criticisms of his view of executive authority.

“Some of you may recall when I was up for confirmation, all these Democratic senators saying how concerned they were about my adherence to the unitary executive theory,” Mr. Barr said.

“This is not new and it’s not a theory,” Mr. Barr said, calling his viewpoint a straightforward description of the powers that the Constitution gives the president. “Whatever the executive power may be, those powers must be exercised under the president’s supervision,” he said.

Mr. Barr’s assessment was a “highly contestable — and in my view, seriously mistaken — reading of history,” said Peter M. Shane, a former Justice Department official and Ohio State University law professor who specializes in the separation of powers.

“He over-reads the vesting of executive power, ignores the limitations on executive power implicit in other clauses, and ignores evidence of what voters in favor of ratification would have expected from the text,” Mr. Shane said. “He is, indeed, a maximalist.”

Surely Mr. Barr is joking if he thinks the broad powers imbued in the office of the president by the Constitution, whatever their limits, include using them for personal and political gain rather than the public good. The dude can blow some smoke.
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#14286 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 09:53

Here is why Amb. Yovanovitch was forced out of Ukraine:

Quote

....she told Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) that she would have opposed the summer 2019 suspension of $400 million in U.S. military aid and would never have asked Zelensky to pursue the conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.


Of course, the Republican coalition will try to claim that this was nothing other than a president exercising his lawful executive powers. While it is true that a president can remove an ambassador, that power cannot be used for corrupt purposes; a police officer has the lawful right to make a traffic stop - but if he makes that stop and threatens the driver's safety unless he takes the stand and lies in the cop's pending divorce trial, then the stop itself become an abuse of power.

Bill Barr does not seem willing to make this concession, and that makes him nothing but a partisan hack - Trump's personal Prosecutor General, certainly not the AG for the U.S.

Black Lives Matter "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "- Martin Luther King
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#14287 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 11:40

Essential reading for anyone with any interest in the current proceedings.
(-: Zel :-)

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#14288 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 16:53

Ben Siegel @benyc ABC said:

Jennifer Williams, an adviser to VP Pence who listened to the Trump - Zelenskiy call from the Situation Room, told lawmakers the mention of investigations on the call was "unusual" and "inappropriate." (pg. 149)

https://intelligence...with_letter.pdf

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#14289 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 17:10

This was hilarious. Someone hid my book at an Idaho library. So I’m bringing 10 of them to hide myself. (By Rich Reilly.)

Quote

Where does Hidaho stash the books that offend him? Sometimes they’re turned around so you can’t see the title on the spine. Sometimes they’re moved to sections where you’d never look for them. My book, which was supposed to be in Political Commentary at 973.933, was found days later by a staffer on its side behind the novelist Stuart Woods’s section (WOOD).

(Speaking of woods, did you know some Trump caddies carry four-inch green tees so they can hurry ahead and tee up his ball in the rough?)

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#14290 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 18:46

View Postcherdano, on 2019-November-16, 17:10, said:

Quote

(Speaking of woods, did you know some Trump caddies carry four-inch green tees so they can hurry ahead and tee up his ball in the rough?)



Sportswriter says Trump 'cheats like a mafia accountant' at golf


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"He cheats like a mafia accountant. He cheats crazy. He cheats whether you're watching or not. He cheats whether you like it or not," Rick Reilly told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" Tuesday.
...
Trump's caddies also allegedly know to accommodate his penchant, Reilly said -- "He kicks the ball out of the rough so many times, the caddies call him 'Pele,'" after the famous soccer player.

On a serious note, comparing the Golf Cheat in Chief to a golfer who's a Mafia member is probably libel against the Mafia. Many of the Mafia golfers were known to scrupulously adhere to the rules of golf when playing big money matches (and who wants to cheat when their opponent may be carrying a machine gun in their golf bag)
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#14291 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-16, 22:03

John Bel Edwards, the Democrat, has won the Louisiana governor’s race, according to the Associated Press.

Edit: I wonder if this means Moscow Mitch won't be inviting the Antipresident to campaign with him in Kentucky (USA) next year.
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#14292 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-17, 06:22

Bill Barr is almost as smart as he is arrogant; too bad he's driven by his emotional need for a savior and a strong father figure.

Edit: I am beginning to think he weighs the same as a duck.

Black Lives Matter "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "- Martin Luther King
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#14293 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-17, 14:47

Nancy Pelosi said:

If the president has information that demonstrates his innocence in all of this, which we haven’t seen, if he has information that is exculpatory -- that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame -- then we look forward to seeing it.

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#14294 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-17, 18:41

Rebecca Ballhaus @rebeccaballhaus @WSJ White House reporter said:

“I talked to Zelensky just now. He is prepared to receive Potus’ call. Will assure him that he intends to run a fully transparent investigation and will ‘turn over every stone,’” Sondland wrote on July 19.

Mulvaney responded: "I asked NSC to set it up for tomorrow."

Rebecca Ballhaus @rebeccaballhaus @WSJ White House reporter said:

Emails reviewed by @WSJ show that in the lead-up to the Trump-Zelensky call, Sondland kept officials including Mulvaney apprised of the push for investigations. Mulvaney replied that he would schedule the call—which he then didn’t listen in on.

https://www.wsj.com/...od=hp_lead_pos3

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#14295 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-17, 22:19

David Leonhardt at NYT said:

To understand the courage that witnesses like Marie Yovanovitch have shown during the Ukraine investigation, it’s worth looking back on a couple of the other signature moments of the Trump era.

One was in the summer of 2016, when James Comey, then the F.B.I. director, faced an uncomfortable choice. He and his colleagues had concluded that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted for using a private email account to conduct government business. Her conduct was sloppy and inappropriate, but it was also fairly common and not close to being criminal.

Still, Comey knew that Republicans would vilify him for his decision not to prosecute. They would portray it as partisan, rather than what it was: a straightforward application of the law. And Comey prized his reputation for appearing to be above partisan politics.

So he looked for a way to dilute the criticism. Instead of simply closing the Clinton investigation, he gave a news conference blasting her. Doing so violated Justice Department policy, but also ensured that the subsequent criticism of Comey would come from both Democrats and Republicans. Comey, in short, put a higher priority on avoiding the appearance of partisanship than on doing the right thing.

Three years later, Robert Mueller faced his own uncomfortable choice. As special counsel, he helped uncover evidence that President Trump had repeatedly broken the law, including paying hush money to two women and interfering in the Russia investigation. But Mueller understood that clearly laying out his conclusions would subject him to vicious criticism as a partisan. Like Comey, he prized his reputation for floating above partisan politics.

Conveniently, he found a solution that protected his reputation. Mueller’s final report included a detailed recitation of facts, but its conclusions were deliberately obtuse, which meant they changed almost nobody’s mind. “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller cryptically said. Making matters worse, he then allowed the Trump administration to control — and spin — the report’s release.

Mueller, to be fair, has a stronger defense than Comey. Throughout, Mueller interpreted Justice Department guidelines in narrow ways: Those guidelines didn’t compel him to present clear conclusions — as Kenneth Starr had two decades earlier — and so Mueller didn’t do so. It’s possible that Mueller’s mistakes had more to do with naďveté than pride.

Yet the outcome was the same. Both Mueller and Comey preserved their nonpartisan images (only temporarily in Comey’s case, because he later engaged in a full-on fight with Trump), while the country suffered.

Comey’s unprecedented insertion of the F.B.I. into the final stages of a presidential campaign may have decided the outcome. And Mueller’s convoluted report was a gift to Trump. Mueller’s long investigation uncovered extensive evidence of a president who had broken the law and abused his power, but Mueller did almost nothing to hold the president accountable.

Now let’s return to the Ukraine case — and contrast the approach of Comey and Mueller with the very different decisions by Yovanovitch, Alexander Vindman, Bill Taylor, George Kent and, above all, the whistle-blower.

After learning that Trump was pressuring a foreign country to investigate American citizens, the whistle-blower took the extraordinary step of filing a formal complaint against the president. He had to have understood the risks of doing so. He could lose his job and his career. He could become a Fox News boogeyman. Any part of his background could be subjected to public scrutiny. His life might never be the same.

And yet he put a higher priority on doing the right thing than on avoiding accusations of partisanship.

Since then, Yovanovitch, Vindman, Taylor and Kent have made similar decisions. Despite the personal risks, they have testified forthrightly about Trump’s actions. Sure enough, Trump apologists have smeared them. Conservative pundits suggested Vindman was a traitor, and a House Republican lamely tried to link Yovanovitch to a Democratic operative. Trump has publicly insulted the witnesses. They have been portrayed as partisan hacks rather than what they are: Americans willing to pay a price for their country.

The radicalization of the Republican Party means that other people are going to face versions of this dilemma. Not just Trump, but many members of Congress, have chosen to depict anything other than partisan hackery for their own side as partisan hackery for the other side. Just look at Adam Schiff, the House Democrat who — though like every human being makes occasional missteps — has run a fair, rigorous impeachment inquiry and whom Republicans have painted as a vindictive villain.

The situation is even more difficult for people who pride themselves on their nonpartisanship. This group includes Mueller, Comey, diplomats, law enforcement agents, journalists, national security officials, Federal Reserve officials and more. Many of them may be faced with a miserable choice, in which they can’t both do the right thing and preserve their reputation for doing the right thing.

Mueller and Comey are decent men who have served their country honorably for decades. Yet when confronted with this test, even they failed it. Which should make us all the more grateful for Yovanovitch, Vindman, Taylor, Kent and the whistle-blower.

https://nyti.ms/2qdsCNC

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#14296 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-18, 07:23

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Early in his presidency, one of the few things Donald Trump did well was to selectively use rallies to help other Republicans running for office. Trump seemed careful to only go all-out for candidates who were likely to win, thus doing his best to build a reputation as an effective advocate for his party.

Well, that’s over with. In the 2019 off-year election cycle, Trump campaigned hard in three gubernatorial contests held in three very Trump-friendly states: Kentucky, which he won by 30 percentage points in 2016; Louisiana, which he won by 20; and Mississippi, which he won by 18. Now the verdict is in — and it’s not good for the president. Democratic candidates for governor won both Kentucky and Louisiana, and came within 6 points in Mississippi. What’s more, as Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur says, Trump “put impeachment front and center” in his rallies in all three states.

Did the president’s visits backfire? Maybe. Democratic operatives in Louisiana seem to think so. And Trump’s overall lack of popularity certainly hurts Republican candidates everywhere, even in places where he remains popular. But it’s also possible that this is a typical case of political winners looking savvy after the fact and losers looking guilty of poor electioneering choices. It’s more likely that the rallies had little or no direct effects.

What matters to Trump’s reputation, however, is what Republican party actors believe. It’s possible they’ll believe his outlandish and evidence-free boasts about these elections — that, for example, he single-handedly rescued Kentucky’s Republican governor from a huge polling deficit and managed to help him to a narrower-than-expected loss. More likely, however, they’ll be more skeptical about his reputation for electoral clout.

It’s not all bad. Trump’s willingness to work for fellow Republicans may be seen as a sign of loyalty to the party, even if his efforts turned out to be ineffective or even harmful. That said, Trump’s rallies are invariably about himself and his personal grievances, including about impeachment, which surely limits Republicans’ appreciation to some extent, especially when the events don’t seem to work out very well.

In retrospect, the real surprise is that Trump was ever good at targeting the contests where he could do himself the most good. There’s really no White House political office to speak of; as Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report, Trump basically goes where his whims take him, rather than following a coherent political strategy. No, that’s no way to run a campaign — or a White House.

https://www.bloomber...ing-republicans

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#14297 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-18, 10:23

David A. Fahrenthold and David A. Fahrenthold @WaPo said:

Secret Service agents had identified four U.S. sites as finalists for next year’s Group of Seven summit — but then they were told to add a new finalist: President Trump’s Doral resort, according to an internal Secret Service email released late Friday.

“Our original itinerary included Hawaii, Utah, California and North Carolina,” a Secret Service official wrote, describing a trip that a team of Secret Service personnel took in July to examine the finalists. “By departure, they had already cut two (California and North Carolina) and added Miami on the back end.”

“Miami” meant President Trump’s resort near the Miami airport, which hadn’t been among the original 10 sites that the Secret Service team had vetted. Although vetting of possible sites had begun in late May, the official wrote on July 12 that “yesterday was the first time we put eyes on this [Doral] property.”

The official’s email was released to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which made a public-records request and then sued when government agencies did not comply.

It sheds light on the process that led to Trump’s short-lived decision last month to award the Group of Seven summit — a gathering of top world leaders — to his own business.

The official was identified in the email as serving in the dignitary protective division, but the official’s name was redacted.

The email does not make clear what the agents thought of Doral as a possible site. It includes the phrase “Although the property does present some challenges.” The remainder of the evaluation is also redacted.

The Secret Service planned to present Trump with the results of its examinations in mid-July and then let him make the final decision, the email said.

Doral was announced as the site of the summit on Oct. 17. Trump canceled that plan two days later, after a bipartisan outcry.

At the time, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the Doral site had been selected after a thorough search process. “It became apparent at the end of that process that Doral was, by far and away — far and away — the best physical facility for this meeting,” Mulvaney said.

In a news conference, Mulvaney described a long search process that began with 12 sites, then whittled the list down to four, including Doral.

He said Trump had been the one to suggest his own resort: “What about Doral?” But Mulvaney gave no indication that this addition had come so late in the process.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A Secret Service spokeswoman declined to answer questions about the vetting process, saying the service “does not discuss our protectees or our protective means and methods.”

The Doral resort has fallen into financial decline since Trump got into politics, according to documents that the Trump Organization submitted to Miami-Dade County in an effort to lower their property tax valuations. The resort’s profits fell 69 percent in two years, from 2015 to 2017.

Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for the watchdog group that obtained the email, said it appeared Trump had intervened in the process to steer business to himself.

“We now know that Doral was added for consideration at the last minute and the Secret Service had reluctance about holding it there,” Libowitz said.

No new site has been announced for next year’s Group of Seven summit, a massive event that involves many world leaders and hundreds of diplomats, media and security personnel. One official close to the search, who was not authorized to speak about it publicly, described it as a “mad scramble” to find another site.

https://wapo.st/35cqmor

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#14298 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-18, 10:59

It has recently occurred to me that the U.S.A. owes reparations to the family of Al Capone because Elliot Ness was a Never Capone-er. In fact, all criminals should be exonerated as the entire criminal justice system is rigged and biased against criminals - Never Crime-ers.

Much like the GOP is Never Logic-ers.
Black Lives Matter "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "- Martin Luther King
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#14299 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-November-18, 23:31

Trump’s weekend hospital visit draws a skeptical reaction

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Jamieson said there is a set of expectations about how a president’s annual exam is handled, which includes the advance public notice that the Trump White House provided for his first two exams. She said the reasonable question is: “If this is routine, why was it not handled in a routine manner?”

I have a couple of questions.

Why hasn't the results of a psychiatric assessment been released to the public?

Was this done because the Criminal in Chief misplaced his bone spurs?
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#14300 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-19, 09:15

Here is how in this administration the propaganda machinery works:

Quote

Beyond his relationship with Solomon, Trump, and Giuliani, Finkelstein was Solomon's direct supervisor at The Hill and created the conditions which permitted Solomon to publish his conspiratorial stories without the traditional oversight implemented at news outlets.


Just this morning in the impeachment inquiry hearing, Devin Nunes in his opening statement was pushing Soloman's propaganda as truth while attacking the press as enemies who create fiction.

These are incredibly troubling times and regardless of the outcome of the 2020 elections the problems will not be solved easily by the results of one election cycle.

Black Lives Matter "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "- Martin Luther King
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