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"Seeking liberty and truth above suppression and mendacity!"
"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin.
Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it's called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums. Find out about Donald J. Trump’s time in the white house. Donald J. Trump is a crook, a con man and liar who uses alternative facts and projects himself on to other.


Donald J. Trump Administration Scandals and Corruption page 1


The Trump Administration will go down as the worse, most corrupt, comprised and dishonest administration in American history. Donald J. Trump has corrupted the white house, the DOJ, the state department and other government departments and agencies to protect and defend Donald J. Trump. Instead of putting America and the constitution first, they are putting Donald J. Trump first. Any government employee who puts Donald J. Trump before America and the constitution is not patriot. The oaths they have taking are to America and the constitution not to any individual. Any government employee who puts Donald J. Trump above America and the constitution is neither protecting nor defending America and the constitution. Moreover, they have broken the oath they have sworn to America and the constitution. This page is dedicated to tracking that corruption.


Donald J. Trump has committed abuse of power, high crimes and misdemeanors this page is dedicated to tracking the impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump.

Donald J. Trump used the powers of the presidency to bully Ukraine into digging up damaging information on a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden.

Donald Trump Administration Scandals (2017–present)
As of July 2019, President Donald Trump (R), his children, the 2016 Trump election campaign, the Trump Inaugural Committee and/or the White House were being investigated by 10 federal criminal, eight state and local, and 11 congressional investigations, according to the New York Times. This doesn't include investigations into administration officials or closed investigations led by Special Counsel for the Department of Justice Robert Mueller. The Mueller investigation resulted in 34 indictments, and seven convictions or guilty pleas. While adhering to Justice Department policy barring the indictment of a sitting president, the Special Counsel did pass on to Congress "numerous instances in which President Trump may have obstructed justice." more...

Donald Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp. Instead, he has  surrounded himself with family members, appointees and advisers who’ve  been accused of conflicts of interest , misuse of public funds , influence peddling , self-enrichment , working for foreign governments , failure to disclose information  and violating ethics rules . Some are under investigation  or facing lawsuits , others have resigned  and five have either been convicted or pleaded guilty , including three for lying to government officials . Scandals plague all administrations, but Trump’s is only two years old and the allegations keep on coming. more...

White House Insiders Describe an Administration in Chaos
by Tom Murse
It didn't take long for Donald Trump's presidency to become mired in scandal and controversy. The list of Donald Trump scandals grew long soon after he took office in January 2017. Some had their roots in his use of social media to insult or attack political enemies and foreign leaders. Others involved a revolving door of staffers and senior officials who either quick or were fired. The most serious Trump scandal, though, emerged from Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the president's efforts to undermine the investigation into the matter. Some members of Trump's own administration grew concerned about his behavior. Here's a look at the biggest Trump scandals so far, what they're about and how Trump responded to the controversies surrounding him. more...

There may be no one more crooked or corrupt than Donald J. Trump. Trump is using taxpayer money to prop up his properties and making a profit at the expense of the American taxpayer. Trump is greedy con man who does not care about America or the American people, but he does want their money. Trump only cares about himself and how much money he can put in his pockets. He does not care where the money comes from the American taxpayer or foreign money he just wants money. Now we know why he refused to divest, Trump wanted to use the power of the presidency to put money in his pockets. Below you can find some examples of how crooked and corrupt Trump is using taxpayer dollars to prop up his properties and accepting foreign governments spending at Trump properties wishing to gain favor with him. more...   

By Natasha Bach
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is racking up his lawsuits against the Trump administration. The state’s AG added yet another to his belt this week, challenging proposed legislation that would invalidate the Flores settlement, thereby enabling the administration to indefinitely detain undocumented children. President Trump and his administration have been sued by state attorneys general more times than any president since Ronald Reagan. As of late August, there are currently 88 ongoing multi-state lawsuits against the administration, according to the latest count from State Attorneys General Data, a database compiled by Dr. Paul Nolette, associate professor of political science at Marquette University. This represents more than double the next highest number, 38, which is the number of times the Obama administration was sued in the president’s second term. The lawsuits against the Trump Administration have been led mainly by Democratic AGs, while the lawsuits against the Obama Administration were mostly let by Republicans coalitions, according to the database. Nolette’s tally includes multi-state lawsuits against specific actions taken by various U.S. government departments. He defines multi-state lawsuits as those in which “multiple states filed an original complaint or petition,” instances in which “multiple states joined an existing non-state lawsuit as intervenors,” cases when “only one state appeared as a plaintiff...but a multi-state coalition filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the plaintiff state,” and “non-state cases in which a multi-state coalition sought to intervene, but the court denied the motion to intervene.” more...

By Brian Naylor
While Congress mulls whether President Trump's phone call soliciting help from the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son is an impeachable offense, Trump's action raises another question. Did the president's requests violate campaign finance law? The Department of Justice doesn't think so. DOJ officials and career prosecutors in the department's public integrity section examined the text of the July 25 phone call and concluded there was not a potential campaign finance violation, according to senior Justice Department officials. The facts did not provide a basis for a predicated investigation, they said. In part, it depends on whether the president solicited a "thing of value" and how that term is defined. Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, believes there was a violation of the law. He says that "there is a long list" of examples of the Federal Election Commission finding that "intangible items like opposition research can constitute a thing of value for purposes of campaign finance law." Fischer noted that when looking into Russia intervention in the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller investigated whether Donald Trump Jr. violated campaign finance law with his apparent willingness to accept dirt about Hillary Clinton. Mueller couldn't determine whether Trump Jr. knew that what he was doing violated the law, Fischer says, and furthermore, the information being solicited "appeared to be nonexistent." For a criminal prosecution, the worth of the "thing of value" must be more than $25,000 for a felony and $2,000 for a misdemeanor. The chair of the Federal Election Commission, Ellen Weintraub, tweeted the day after the transcript of Trump's phone call was released last month that "the Commission has recognized the 'broad scope' of the foreign national contribution prohibition and found that even where the value of a good or service 'may be nominal or difficult to ascertain,' such contributions are nevertheless banned." Former FEC senior counsel Dan Weiner says the question of whether intangibles such as opposition research is a thing of value is "fairly well-settled." He says because the FEC is the agency charged with interpreting and administering federal campaign finance law, getting the agency involved in this question "is crucial." There's only one problem: The FEC currently lacks a quorum and cannot take up any new investigations until additional commissioners are nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Fischer at the Campaign Legal Center isn't sure that even if there were a quorum, the FEC would act. The alleged violation, he says, "arose in the course of the president carrying out his foreign policy responsibilities and the president has wide latitude to conduct diplomacy. I would be very surprised if the FEC were to issue civil penalties against the president or his campaign." more...

By Kevin Breuninger
The Treasury Department’s internal watchdog is investigating how the department handled House Democrats’ requests for President Donald Trump’s tax returns, CNBC confirmed Friday. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., asked acting Inspector General Rich Delmar in a Sept. 30 letter to investigate how the Treasury handled the House panel’s request to hand over tax returns for Trump and his businesses. “I want to be assured that Treasury, including the Internal Revenue Service ... is enforcing the law in a fair and impartial manner and no one is endeavoring to intimidate or impede government officials and employees carrying out their duties,” Neal wrote. Delmar told CNBC that Neal asked his office to “inquire into the process by which the Department received, evaluated, and responded to the Committee’s request for federal tax information.” “We are undertaking that inquiry,” Delmar said. more...

The Justice Department should have shared a campaign-finance investigation with the Federal Election Commission.
By Neal K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer
One of the first things new prosecutors at the Justice Department learn is that cover-ups are rarely singular. There is often a cover-up of the cover-up. Allegations of one cover-up, then another, emerged last week. Officials in the Trump administration tried to “lock down” the phone call memo between President Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine (the first cover-up), and then officials in the executive branch made efforts to keep this information from reaching Congress (the second cover-up). Now we have discovered what may be a third cover-up. In its handling of the investigation and a potential campaign-finance violation, the Department of Justice appears to have ignored a rule that a matter under investigation must be referred to the Federal Election Commission. Critically, if the department had followed the rule, the Ukraine affair would have been disclosed to the American public. Were it not for the efforts of the whistle-blower, everything about this would have been hidden from the F.E.C. and the American people. Here’s how the Justice Department failed to follow the rule. As part of the scramble in the executive branch caused by the whistle-blower’s complaint, the Justice Department secretly investigated Mr. Trump for a potential campaign-finance violation. The department reportedly cleared him because the contributions solicited from a foreign government to his campaign were not quantifiable “things of value.” That’s the key phrase in one of the most important campaign-finance laws. Remember that Mr. Trump’s own intelligence community inspector general — a former federal prosecutor — determined that the whistle-blower complaint was an “urgent concern.” Further, the complaint set out facts suggesting that Mr. Trump had indeed violated the federal statute that criminalizes soliciting any “thing of value” from a foreign citizen in connection with an election. A thorough investigation seemed warranted. more...

Don’t get confused: This is about Trump co-opting the powers of the presidency for personal gain.
By Zack Beauchamp
It’s been roughly a week since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and the underlying Ukraine scandal keeps spiraling in new directions. Recent reports about Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s contact with leaders in Australia, Italy, and the UK have created a sense of sprawling mess, making it seem like a tough-to-follow meta-scandal akin to the Trump-Russia morass. But despite the new developments — which involve Trump and Barr attempting to enlist foreign leaders’ help in investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe — the scandal remains straightforward. President Trump has turned American foreign policy into an extortion racket, abusing his powers to goad foreign leaders into persecuting his domestic rivals and improve his political standing. The proof for this in the case of Ukraine is irrefutable. The other news stories are supporting evidence that Trump has systematically twisted US foreign policy into a tool for furthering his 2020 reelection bid. The elegant simplicity of this narrative, the way in which it neatly encapsulates so many things wrong with the Trump presidency, is what gives these allegations the potential to bring this administration down. It is important not to let the seeming complexity and international breadth of what’s happening get in your way, in part because confusion and apathy are the White House’s best hope for containing the fallout from recent revelations. Don’t let the flurry of news confuse you: This a clear, straightforward, and politically devastating scandal. Eye on the ball: We know that President Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden on the basis of a debunked nonsense allegation during a July phone call — and then tried to cover it up. We know this because of a federal whistleblower complaint, citing testimony from a number of officials who heard the call and witnessed the White House’s attempts to hide it by moving the call transcript to a server designed for classified information. We know the whistleblower is correct because of a call summary released by the White House, as well as a White House statement admitting the call transcript was transferred to a classified server. These basic facts are all you really need to know to understand the Ukraine scandal: The president of the United States asking for “a favor” (his words) from a foreign leader — an intervention in the 2020 US election on his behalf. His administration then hid this fact by using powers of classification that were designed to protect state secrets, not politically damaging information. This is an abuse of power, and we know it happened. more...

By Meg Wagner, Amanda Wills and Mike Hayes, CNN
Fact check: Maguire’s rationale for not sending the whistleblower complaint to Congress within 7 days. During the hearing, Democratic members have pressed Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire on why he did not provide the whistleblower complaint to the committee within the seven-day period required by law. As the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 states, if the Inspector General determines that the complaint is credible and of urgent concern then the DNI “shall, within 7 calendar days…forward such transmittal to the intelligence committees.” The IG determined the complaint was credible on August 26. Yet Maguire didn’t provide it to Congress until Wednesday night, September 25 -- almost a month later. Maguire claimed that because the complaint involved the President, he was required to work with the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel to determine if there was content protected by executive privilege in the complaint. "It appeared that it also had matters of executive privilege," Maguire told the committee. On September 24, the OLC issued an opinion refuting the IG’s determination that the whistleblower’s complaint was of urgent concern. Maguire said that while the complaint was forwarded to the FBI, he was attempting to work out executive privilege concerns. But the law says nothing about the President or the OLC having authority to stop or slow the complaint from being sent to the intelligence committees. more...

By Naomi Jagoda
The Manhattan district attorney's office on Thursday blasted the Department of Justice (DOJ) for siding with President Trump in a lawsuit over a subpoena for the president's tax returns. The DOJ on Wednesday filed a court document that agreed with Trump that the lawsuit belongs in federal court. The DOJ also called for enforcement of the subpoena to be temporarily blocked if necessary while the court considers Trump's constitutional claims. But the district attorney's office said in its new filing that DOJ's document "ignores the reality" underlying Trump's lawsuit. "In short, the Plaintiffs only goal in this litigation, now supported by the DOJ itself, is to obtain as much delay as possible, through litigation, stays, and appeals," prosecutors with the district attorney's office wrote. The district attorney's office in late August issued a subpoena to Trump's accounting firm for the president's personal and business tax returns and financial records. The subpoena is part of a grand jury investigation into payments made ahead of the 2016 presidential election to women who claim they had affairs with Trump. In September, Trump's personal lawyers filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (D) and the president's accounting firm, Mazars USA, in an effort to block the subpoena. The DOJ weighed in Wednesday. In its filing on Thursday, the district attorney's office argued that it could be harmed by delaying enforcement of the subpoena because any postponement "will likely result in the expiration of the statutes of limitation that would apply to some of the transactions at issue in the grand jury investigation." The district attorney's office also took issue with the DOJ's argument that Trump should receive interim relief to prevent him from being irreparably harmed. The New York prosecutors argued that Trump wouldn't be harmed if asked to comply with the subpoena, because there's no risk that his tax returns would be published under grand jury secrecy rules and because there's isn't anything "sacrosanct" about a president's tax returns. The district attorney's office also disputed the DOJ's arguments that the case belongs in federal court. The New York prosecutors reiterated that they think the case should be dismissed and that a legal challenge to their subpoena should be brought in state court. Trump's personal lawyers argue in the president's lawsuit that Trump can't be criminally investigated while in office. The DOJ didn't say in its filing Wednesday whether it agreed with that position.  However, the district attorney's office argued that through its filing, the DOJ "has elected to insert itself into this private lawsuit to support the Plaintiffs extravagant claim that, given his current position, he and all of his prior business associates and related companies are immune, not just from prosecution, but from any routine grand jury inquiry into transactions undertaken before he was a government employee." more...

How deeply is Bill Barr entangled in Ukraine mess? Has he forgotten the rule that whatever Trump touches dies?
By Sophia Tesfaye
It’s hard to recall anything that Donald Trump has touched which initially looked bad but eventually turned out to be nothing. With Trump, things are always worse than they appear. Throughout his recent career, that has usually ended up hurting those closest to Trump more than the president himself. If that pattern holds true in the growing Ukraine scandal, then several top members of Trump’s administration should be worried right now. This is likely to get real messy before it ends. While attempting to defend himself from accusations that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid during at least one phone call — a reconstructed transcript, or "memo" of which was released on Wednesday — Trump gratuitously dragged his vice president into the middle of his mess. "I think you should ask for VP Pence's conversation because he had a couple of conversations also," Trump told reporters during a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations summit. "I could save you a lot of time. They were all perfect. Nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations." Of course, Trump previously described his own call with Zelensky as "perfect.” An aide to the Ukrainian president has since told ABC News that “it was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case.” Earlier this month, Pence met with Zelensky and promised to relay to Trump just how hard Ukraine was working to fight corruption — a term Trump has repeatedly used to explain his interest in getting Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was formerly employed by a Ukrainian gas company. When Pence was asked if U.S. aid was being held up over Ukraine’s failure to investigate Biden, he acknowledged that “as President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.” A week after Pence met with Zelensky, U.S. military aid was finally released to Ukraine. more...

by Jacob Pramuk
The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released a redacted version of the whistleblower complaint that has embroiled President Donald Trump in an impeachment inquiry and clouded his political future.The nine-page document details an “urgent concern” that the president is “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” It not only details Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president during which he asked his counterpart to investigate the Biden family, but also alleges administration efforts to “lock down” records of the conversation. The complaint, based on the accounts of more than half a dozen U.S. officials, implicates more than Trump. It calls his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani a “central figure” in the effort and says Attorney General William Barr “appears to be involved as well.” Concerns that the document would show Trump trying to get a foreign state to investigate one of his chief political rivals — and accusations that the White House improperly stonewalled efforts to see it — led House Democrats to accuse the president of abusing his power. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the chamber would start impeachment proceedings into Trump, alleging a “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of integrity of our elections.” Shortly after the document’s release, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified about the complaint at the House Intelligence Committee. Members of congressional intelligence panels had a chance to review the document Wednesday. In a statement Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “Nothing has changed with the release of this complaint, which is nothing more than a collection of third-hand accounts of events and cobbled-together press clippings—all of which shows nothing improper.” She said the president released a memorandum summarizing the call Wednesday “because he has nothing to hide.” more...

How deeply is Bill Barr entangled in Ukraine mess? Has he forgotten the rule that whatever Trump touches dies?
By Sophia Tesfaye
It’s hard to recall anything that Donald Trump has touched which initially looked bad but eventually turned out to be nothing. With Trump, things are always worse than they appear. Throughout his recent career, that has usually ended up hurting those closest to Trump more than the president himself. If that pattern holds true in the growing Ukraine scandal, then several top members of Trump’s administration should be worried right now. This is likely to get real messy before it ends. While attempting to defend himself from accusations that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid during at least one phone call — a reconstructed transcript, or "memo" of which was released on Wednesday — Trump gratuitously dragged his vice president into the middle of his mess. "I think you should ask for VP Pence's conversation because he had a couple of conversations also," Trump told reporters during a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations summit. "I could save you a lot of time. They were all perfect. Nothing was mentioned of any import other than congratulations." Of course, Trump previously described his own call with Zelensky as "perfect.” An aide to the Ukrainian president has since told ABC News that “it was clear that Trump will only have communications if they will discuss the Biden case.” Earlier this month, Pence met with Zelensky and promised to relay to Trump just how hard Ukraine was working to fight corruption — a term Trump has repeatedly used to explain his interest in getting Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, who was formerly employed by a Ukrainian gas company. When Pence was asked if U.S. aid was being held up over Ukraine’s failure to investigate Biden, he acknowledged that “as President Trump had me make clear, we have great concerns about issues of corruption.” A week after Pence met with Zelensky, U.S. military aid was finally released to Ukraine. more...

by Jacob Pramuk
The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released a redacted version of the whistleblower complaint that has embroiled President Donald Trump in an impeachment inquiry and clouded his political future.The nine-page document details an “urgent concern” that the president is “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” It not only details Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president during which he asked his counterpart to investigate the Biden family, but also alleges administration efforts to “lock down” records of the conversation. The complaint, based on the accounts of more than half a dozen U.S. officials, implicates more than Trump. It calls his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani a “central figure” in the effort and says Attorney General William Barr “appears to be involved as well.” Concerns that the document would show Trump trying to get a foreign state to investigate one of his chief political rivals — and accusations that the White House improperly stonewalled efforts to see it — led House Democrats to accuse the president of abusing his power. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the chamber would start impeachment proceedings into Trump, alleging a “betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of integrity of our elections.” Shortly after the document’s release, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified about the complaint at the House Intelligence Committee. Members of congressional intelligence panels had a chance to review the document Wednesday. In a statement Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “Nothing has changed with the release of this complaint, which is nothing more than a collection of third-hand accounts of events and cobbled-together press clippings—all of which shows nothing improper.” She said the president released a memorandum summarizing the call Wednesday “because he has nothing to hide.” more...

By MARY CLARE JALONICK and LISA MASCARO
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration plunged into an extraordinary showdown with Congress over access to a whistleblower’s complaint about reported incidents including a private conversation between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader. The blocked complaint is “serious” and “urgent,” the government’s intelligence watchdog said. The administration is keeping Congress from even learning what exactly the whistleblower is alleging, but the intelligence community’s inspector general said the matter involves the “most significant” responsibilities of intelligence leadership. A lawmaker said the complaint was “based on a series of events.” The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Thursday that at least part of the complaint involves Ukraine. The newspapers cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The Associated Press has not confirmed the reports. The inspector general appeared before the House intelligence committee behind closed doors Thursday but declined, under administration orders, to reveal to members the substance of the complaint. The standoff raises fresh questions about the extent to which Trump’s allies are protecting the Republican president from oversight and, specifically, if his new acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, is working with the Justice Department to shield the president from the reach of Congress. Trump, though giving no details about any incident, denied Thursday that he would ever “say something inappropriate” on such a call. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he was prepared to go to court to try to force the Trump administration to open up about the complaint. “The inspector general has said this cannot wait,” said Schiff, describing the administration’s blockade as an unprecedented departure from law. “There’s an urgency here that I think the courts will recognize.” Schiff said he, too, could not confirm whether newspaper reports were accurate because the administration was claiming executive privilege in withholding the complaint. But letters from the inspector general to the committee released Thursday said it was an “urgent” matter of “serious or flagrant abuse” that must be shared with lawmakers. more...

Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, The Washington Post
President Donald Trump told his Ukrainian counterpart to work with the U.S. attorney general to investigate the conduct of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and offered to meet with the foreign leader at the White House after he promised to conduct such an inquiry, according to a newly released transcript of the call. Those statements and others in a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were so concerning that the intelligence community inspector general thought them a possible violation of campaign finance law. In late August, intelligence officials referred the matter to the Justice Department as a possible crime, but prosecutors concluded last week that the conduct was not criminal, according to senior Justice Department officials. The administration's disclosures underscore how the president's phone call has consumed the federal government in recent days, and how the White House is now scrambling to defuse the situation by offering more details of what the president said. White House officials said the transcript does not show the president seeking an investigation of Biden's son in exchange for providing aid to Ukraine. When the president reminds Zelensky of how the United States helps Ukraine, Zelensky responds that he appreciates the tough sanctions the United States has imposed on Russia. On Wednesday, the administration released a White House transcript of the call and detailed behind-the-scenes discussions about how to handle the accusations. As public reports emerged about the call and pressure mounted to impeach the president, prosecutors quietly considered whether they should again investigate whether the president committed a crime. They declined to do so. The call begins with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his election victory, but quickly devolves into the president pressing for an investigation of his political rivals and endorsing an apparent conspiracy theory. He seems to suggest Hillary Clinton's private email server is in Ukraine and asserts that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation started with that country. "I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it," Trump says, according to the transcript. He adds later: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. . . . It sounds horrible to me." Zelensky replied that "my candidate" for the prosecutor job "will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue." At the outset of the call, Trump also asks for Ukraine's help in finding the location of the Democratic National Committee server that U.S. officials say was hacked by Russian intelligence in the run-up to the 2016 election. "The server, they say Ukraine has it," Trump says according to the transcript. "I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it." more...

By Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Kevin Liptak and Manu Raju, CNN
(CNN) - The White House and the Justice Department have advised the nation's top intelligence agency that a controversial complaint involving President Donald Trump isn't governed by laws covering intelligence whistleblowers, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The revelation is the first known evidence of the White House's involvement in the standoff between Congress and the intelligence agency. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said he didn't know whether the White House was involved. So far, the director of national intelligence has not allowed lawmakers access to the complaint, which earlier a source familiar with the case said was prompted by communication Trump had with a foreign leader. Trump responded to the reports Thursday, tweeting he would never "say something inappropriate" on a phone call with a foreign counterpart. The episode -- with its potential for explosive information about the President -- has created new resentments between the administration and Capitol Hill, and cast a sense of mystery about the precise nature of the complaint across Washington. In a closed-door briefing Thursday, the intelligence inspector general suggested that the whistleblower had concerns about multiple actions, sources familiar with the briefing told CNN. The watchdog did not say specifically all the acts of concern involved the President, the sources indicated, with one saying the IG referenced "a sequence of events" and "alleged actions" that took place. The White House Counsel's office and Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel have both been involved in discussing the complaint with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which has refused to reveal the nature of it to Congress. In explaining their position, ODNI has suggested there is a question of privilege. The agency wrote in a letter to lawmakers on September 13 the complaint "involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community." The letter ends by noting the agency would work toward "protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests." The refusal to provide the information to lawmakers has enraged Democrats, who emerged from a closed-door briefing with the agency's watchdog on Thursday accusing the administration of suppressing potentially damaging information. "There is an effort to prevent this information from getting to Congress," Schiff said. The California Democrat and other lawmakers said neither the nature nor the specific details of the complaint were revealed during the closed session. Previously, the White House has cited longstanding precedent in refusing congressional requests for documents related to Trump's meetings with foreign leaders, including his Russian counterpart. "It is settled law that the Constitution entrusts the conduct of foreign relations exclusively to the Executive Branch, as it makes the President 'the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations,' " White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Democrats in May. The complaint had spurred a standoff between Congress and Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence. more...

They said it's 'outside intelligence activities'
By: Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, Kevin Liptak and Manu Raju, CNN  
(CNN) - The White House and the Justice Department have advised the nation's top intelligence agency that a controversial complaint involving President Donald Trump isn't governed by laws covering intelligence whistleblowers, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The revelation is the first known evidence of the White House's involvement in the standoff between Congress and the intelligence agency. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said he didn't know whether the White House was involved. So far, the director of national intelligence has not allowed lawmakers access to the complaint, which earlier a source familiar with the case said was prompted by communication Trump had with a foreign leader. Trump responded to the reports Thursday, tweeting he would never "say something inappropriate" on a phone call with a foreign counterpart. The episode -- with its potential for explosive information about the President -- has created new resentments between the administration and Capitol Hill, and cast a sense of mystery about the precise nature of the complaint across Washington. In a closed-door briefing Thursday, the intelligence inspector general suggested that the whistleblower had concerns about multiple actions, sources familiar with the briefing told CNN. The watchdog did not say specifically all the acts of concern involved the President, the sources indicated, with one saying the IG referenced "a sequence of events" and "alleged actions" that took place. The White House Counsel's office and Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel have both been involved in discussing the complaint with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which has refused to reveal the nature of it to Congress. more...

The president’s latest attempt to keep his tax returns hidden is a novel one.
By Bess Levin
As you may or may not have heard, Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns while running for president, claiming, falsely, that an audit prevented him from doing so but that the public would see them just as soon as he got the green light. Two years and 242 days after moving into the White House that, of course, has not happened. Instead, Trump has sicced his Treasury secretary, attorney general, and various personal lawyers on anyone attempting to get their hands on the information, in a manner suggesting the details within could make a person look quite bad. Typically, Trump’s attorneys have argued that such requests, like the ones from various House committees, constitute “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” or supposedly lack “a legitimate legislative purpose.” On Thursday, though, they came up with a novel new argument: It’s illegal to investigate a sitting president for any crimes he may have committed. In a lawsuit filed today against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed eight years of Trump’s tax returns to determine if the Trump Organization falsified business records relating to Stormy Daniels payments, the president’s lawyers claim such a request is unconstitutional because the founding fathers believed sitting presidents should not be subject to the criminal process. “The framers of our Constitution understood that state and local prosecutors would be tempted to criminally investigate the president to advance their own careers and to advance their political agendas,” the suit reads. “And they likewise understood that having to defend against these actions would distract the president from his constitutional duties.” Strangely, actual legal experts aren’t entirely convinced of this argument. “Even assuming that the president cannot be indicted while in office, it does not follow that his business and associates are likewise immune from investigation,” Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor, told Bloomberg. “The complaint makes light of the idea that ruling in their favor would elevate the president above the law, but it certainly seems as if the president views himself as above the law.” Vance, who agreed not to enforce the subpoena—issued to Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA—until a scheduled September 25 hearing, is investigating if executives at the Trump Organization filed false business records concerning hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claim to have had affairs with Trump, charges he, naturally, denies. The president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, admitted to arranging the hush money payments and released audio of him discussing the Daniels payment with Trump. more...

The president has reportedly told staff he’ll just pardon them.
By Bess Levin
As you might have heard once or twice, Donald Trump kicked off his bid for the presidency by proclaiming that he was going to build a wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it. Unfortunately for the supporters who voted for him based on that pledge, construction on the barrier hasn’t exactly panned out as the president promised, in that virtually none of it has been built, due to a combination of factors like Mexico shockingly declining to finance the thing, Democrats refusing to provide the billions in funding, environmental concerns, and logistical issues like people living where Trump wants the fencing to go. Sure, the president could just lie about the wall being built already, which he has many times. But he really wants to make good on an ineffectual passion project that the base can point to like a beacon of hope for racists. So he’s got a new plan to get it done in time for 2020: Break the law. Honestly, it’s so simple he’s probably kicking himself for not having thought of it sooner. The Washington Post reports that the president has “directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land, and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.” In the coming weeks, Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to approve the White House’s request to reroute $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to the project, money that the president decided to divert from apparently less important Defense Department projects after lawmakers refused to pony up $5 billion. When staffers have nervously suggested that Trump’s demands are unworkable or illegal, the president has apparently told them not to worry because he’ll pardon everyone who helps him get this thing done, and has “waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying ‘take the land,’” according to officials who sat in on the meetings. more...

By Matthew Chapman
On MSNBC Saturday, former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah laid out all the ways that President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani could be breaking federal law with their apparent scheme to push Ukraine into digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. “Extortion, conspiracy to engage in extortion, and violating federal election law,” said host Alex Witt. “Do you agree with all those premises?” “I do, Alex, and I would add one to that, which is federal bribery,” said Rocah. “Here, Trump essentially was trying to get the Ukrainian president to bribe him, give him information about his political opponent in exchange for aid to the country. So, that is soliciting a bribe. And you know, look, we can get into this more. Obviously, this is my area of expertise, whether something violates federal criminal laws, but I do worry that we’re going down a path that we went down with the Mueller investigation, because for the president of the United States, that is not the standard.” “I think Rudy Giuliani should be investigated,” she continued. “I don’t know if this Department of Justice is independent enough to do that. He is a private citizen, though. He can be prosecuted. The president we know cannot be prosecuted, but this is something that Congress must take action on now. And one other point with respect to what you were saying in the prior conversation with the other panelists.” “You know, this isn’t about what Joe Biden’s son did or didn’t do,” added Rocah. “There are avenues to investigate United States citizens through a process known as mutual legal assistance treaties. The Department of Justice does it all the time. If there is reason for a U.S. citizen to be investigated and the aid of another country is needed, there are proper channels to do that through, and they don’t include the president of the United States calling up the leader of another country and demanding it in exchange for foreign aid. I think we’re going down a rabbit hole there.” “What kind of hot water could Rudy Giuliani be in for having gone over, and potentially at the president’s behest, have these conversations with the Ukrainian president and leadership?” Witt pressed her. more...

The president supposedly dangled millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for Kiev investigating Joe Biden. That looks a lot like old-fashioned corruption.
By Barbara McQuade
If the latest allegations about President Donald Trump’s conversations with the leader of Ukraine are true, his conduct may constitute a garden-variety public corruption crime: extortion and bribery. The Washington Post has reported that the subject of an intelligence community whistleblower’s complaint relates to a “promise” made by Trump in a conversation with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. Further reporting indicates that the conversation amounted to a threat to withhold $250 million in military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky investigates the family of Joe Biden, who is of course running to unseat Trump in 2020. more...

By NATASHA KORECKI
DES MOINES, Iowa – An angered Joe Biden on Saturday accused President Donald Trump of “using every element of his presidency to try and smear me,” and called for an investigation into Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. “You should be asking him the question: why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader?” Biden told reporters. “This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. To get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me and imply things … this is outrageous. You have never seen anything like this from any president.” The Biden campaign is pushing back strongly against the president's claims that as vice president he demanded Ukraine fire a state prosecutor who was investigating a gas company where Biden's son held a board position. Multiple news organizations this week reported that Trump had repeatedly pressed Ukrainian authorities to investigate the allegations in a phone call. "Any article, segment, analysis and commentary that does not demonstrably state at the outset that there is no factual basis for Trump’s claims, and in fact that they are wholly discredited, is misleading readers and viewers," the campaign said in a statement. During the gaggle, Biden grew irate, pointing his finger at a reporter who asked the former vice president if he had ever spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings. Biden said he hadn’t. “You should be looking at Trump,” Biden said. “Everybody looked at this and everybody who’s looked at it said there’s nothing there. Ask the right question.” Biden briefly spoke to whether the episode was a possible preview of a general election battle against Trump. more...   


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