Stop The Donald Trump

He’s a fascist, authoritarian, racist, sexist, and your Republican President of the United States of America.

This site is a database of over 2,500 articles of every controversial statement made by Donald Trump and to help you when debating family, friends, and strangers on why this man is the most dangerous candidate and president this country has ever seen.

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Under “Rebuttals” you can also find in-depth articles reviewing the policies of Donald Trump and how they can help or (most likely) harm you.

Federal Judge blasted White House involvement in DOJ case like a ‘banana republic’

Justice Department attorneys struggled with mounting frustration and skepticism from a federal judge about producing documents related to the investigation of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, according to transcripts of closed-door conversations released in response to a lawsuit from a government watchdog group. 

The McCabe case—and President Donald Trump’s personal involvement in it—prompted federal judge Reggie Barnett Walton to call the government’s handling of it “disturbing,” a “mess,” and veering close to a “banana republic.”

“I think it’s very unfortunate,” Judge Walton told prosecutors as the case hung in limbo in late September. “And I think as a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.”

The comments were made in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) against the Justice Department.

Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for CREW, said the eventual release of the court transcripts on Friday, after a lengthy court battle, showed that the government was “trying to cover up the fact that they were stringing this [lawsuit] along while looking for a reason to indict McCabe.”

The court released the transcripts on Friday afternoon hours after McCabe’s lawyers released a letter from Justice Department officials saying they did not plan to charge McCabe with a crime. Two years ago, the DOJ’s top watchdog released a report finding that McCabe lacked candor when answering questions about leaks to the media. McCabe vehemently disputed the report’s findings. 

The CREW lawsuit sought material on how the Trump administration handled the criminal investigation into McCabe, who served as the acting FBI Director after Trump fired James Comey. In that capacity, McCabe helped oversee Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. He also became one of Trump’s top bête noires. The president has tweeted about him dozens of times, once accusing him of treason. McCabe, in turn, has vociferously pushed back. After Trump insinuated that McCabe deserved the death penalty, McCabe told CNN the comment was “quite honestly terrifying.” 

“It’s just a disgusting level of disrespect for the people who serve this country every day,” he said. 

Throughout the course of the CREW lawsuit, prosecutors appeared unable to predict when their investigation of McCabe would conclude, which would allow them to hand over documents related to the case through the Freedom of Information Act process.

In mid-September, McCabe’s attorneys wrote in an email to the Justice Department that they’d heard “credible” rumors that a grand jury investigating possible criminal charges against their client “had declined to vote an indictment.” They asked Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to drop the case but Rosen declined.

By the end of September, the transcripts released by the CREW lawsuit show the Justice Department had asked the court for another three months to decide whether to continue the McCabe case, calling it “an exceedingly difficult matter and situation.”  

That requested delay, as well as others in the months preceding it, created mounting frustration for Judge Walton as the government seemed unable to determine whether the case against McCabe would continue throughout the summer and fall of September 2019.

Walton chided prosecutors in late September, saying that their delays hindered CREW’s right to the documents and “from the standpoint of Mr. McCabe, he has a right to have the government make a decision and not hold his life in limbo pending a decision as to what’s going to happen.”

“I don’t know why it’s so difficult for a decision to be made. Either you have a case or you don’t,” he said.

Judge Walton also took issue with President Trump’s apparent personal involvement in the case. He told prosecutors that Trump’s comments about the case complicated the ability to receive a fair hearing in the FOIA lawsuit.

“[T]he public is listening to what’s going on, and I don’t think people like the fact that you’ve got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted,” Walton told prosecutors when they asked for another delay in late September. “I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably—even if not—influencing the ultimate decision. I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue, inappropriate pressure being brought to bear.”

As recently as December 10, prosecutors pushed back on the release of the transcripts showing Walton’s questions about the timing of prosecutors’ decisions in the McCabe case. They argued it would give the public an incomplete picture of the investigation and potentially compromise the case. 

“To understand the Department’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion in this case would necessitate a broader disclosure of internal deliberative information than contained in the staled ex parte hearing transcripts,” J.P. Cooney, a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., wrote in one filing obtained by the CREW lawsuit. Their release, he claimed, “risks unfairly calling into question the integrity of the investigation and any future decisions in the McCabe matter”.

Libowitz said Friday that it was “not surprising that the announcement of no indictment [of McCabe] was timed along with the release of these transcripts.”

A 2018 investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility found McCabe had “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor—including under oath—on multiple occasions” about the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and handling of classified information. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018 just hours before his scheduled retirement date.

[The Daily Beast]

Barr appoints outside prosecutor to review criminal case against Michael Flynn

Attorney General William Barr has appointed an outside prosecutor to review the criminal case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, an official familiar with the matter said Friday.

Barr has tapped Jeffrey Jensen, the chief federal prosecutor in St. Louis, to conduct the review. Flynn and his attorneys have sought to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming the FBI and federal prosecutors engaged in misconduct.

Flynn’s case was one of the first brought by former special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

The development, first reported by The New York Times, caps off a controversial week for the Justice Department as the agency faces allegations it has succumbed to political pressure from President Donald Trump.

The Justice Department caused an uproar earlier this week after it intervened to reduce its recommended prison sentence for Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of Trump who was convicted of seven felonies, including lying to Congress. Career prosecutors who handled the case had asked for a sentence of seven to nine years in prison, which Trump said was a “miscarriage of justice.” 

The Justice Department overruled the attorneys, saying the prison recommendation was too harsh. The prosecutors withdrew from Stone’s case in apparent protest. One resigned from the Justice Department. 

In an interview with ABC News, Barr pushed back against criticism that he was doing Trump’s bidding. The president “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case,” he said. 

But the fast-moving developments have cast a harsh spotlight on the Justice Department’s leadership, primarily Barr, and have raised fresh questions about the department’s independence from the White House. 

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27. He pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his communication with Sergey Kislyak, a former Russian ambassador to the U.S., in the weeks before Trump took office.

Flynn’s case has been stalled in federal court for two years as his defense team alleges the former Army general was framed in a government conspiracy. Last month, Flynn withdrew his guilty plea, accusing prosecutors of acting in “bad faith” during their investigation. 

His defense team, led by conservative lawyer and Fox News commentator Sidney Powell, declared his innocence. Flynn’s attorneys accused the government of forcing him to admit to crimes he didn’t commit and hiding evidence that would’ve exonerated him. A federal judge has rejected those claims. 

Flynn’s attorneys did not respond to calls seeking comment.

The government initially recommended Flynn be sentenced to six months in prison, citing his attempts to “thwart” prosecutors and his “apparent failure to accept responsibility.” 

Federal prosecutors later softened their position, suggesting that probation is also an “appropriate” sentence for Flynn.

Barr’s decision to tap outside prosecutors to review Flynn’s case comes as the Justice Department conducts another politically charged inquiry into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. That probe led to the criminal charges against Flynn and cast a cloud over the first years of Trump’s presidency. 

That inquiry, which Barr launched last year, focuses on whether federal investigators abused their surveillance authority in the initial stages of the Russia investigation. John Durham, Connecticut’s chief federal prosecutor, is leading the investigation.

Also this week, the Justice Department decided not to file criminal charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, one of several former FBI officials who have been the target of Trump’s attacks. 

The investigation into McCabe stemmed from a Justice Department Inspector General’s report that found he improperly authorized a leak about a federal investigation into the Clinton Foundation in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. Investigators concluded he displayed a lack of candor when asked about the leak. 

[USA Today]

Trump Openly Claims Authority to Direct Attorney General To Investigate Anyone He Wants

President Donald Trump addressed the latest kerfuffle-cum-constitutional crisis in a Friday morning tweet following Attorney General Bill Barr’s apparent intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone.

Stone was found guilty of seven felony counts last November, including lying to Congress and witness tampering during the investigation into Russian intelligence and interference in the general election. As such, prosecutors recommended a seven to nine-year prison sentence, which Trump criticized vocally. Barr eventually intervened to recommend a lighter sentence, to which Trump tweeted his thanks.

In an interview with ABC News, Barr claimed that he would never be bullied by anyone (including the president) and criticized Trump’s tweets for creating a distraction. It is worth noting that, despite his claims otherwise, Barr appeared to do exactly what Trump had asked, eventually earning Trump’s praise. So that’s the context… still with me?

Ever one to jump on a news cycle, and get ahead of a story, Trump addressed this story obliquely, saying that he has the “legal right” to ask his attorney general to do anything in a criminal case.

“Trump just openly and explicitly stated that it’s perfectly within his authority to direct his Attorney General to open criminal investigations into anyone he wants,” offered Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, in as a pure expression of what many will see as an open flouting of checks and balances in the U.S. government.

This is the very point made Thursday night on CNN by Jeffrey Toobin following a Washington Post report about this very concept. “The idea [James Comey] committed a crime is absurd. The person in a really perilous condition right now is the CNN contributor Andrew McCabe, who is under investigation from the U.S. Attorney’s office right now. And, you know, has had his case dangling out there. The president obviously wants Andy McCabe prosecuted and it’s just grotesque that you have the President of the United States behaving this way with the power of prosecution exercised in this way.”

The attorney general IS appointed by the president, then confirmed by Congress. And it’s not unusual for the top law enforcement official to work hand in glove with the sitting president. Many might read Trump’s tweet, however, as a rather foreboding omen of what may come to Trump’s political foes.

If he feels that someone has done him wrong, and he can direct the AG to serve as his own personal henchman (of which there is an abundance of evidence) then what is to keep him from seeking investigations into those he feels might threaten his reelection? Oh wait, he’s already done that.

[Mediaite]

Trump contradicts past denials, admits sending Giuliani to Ukraine

Emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now openly admits to sending his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to find damaging information about his political opponents, even though he strongly denied it during the impeachment inquiry.

The reversal came Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who asked, “Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?” Trump responded, “No, not at all,” and praised Giuliani’s role as a “crime fighter.”

“Here’s my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy,” Trump said, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. Trump explained that he has “a very bad taste” of the US intelligence community, because of the Russia investigation, so he turned to Giuliani.

“So when you tell me, why did I use Rudy, and one of the things about Rudy, number one, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor,” Trump said. “But also, other presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was practically, you know, was totally involved with government. Eisenhower had a lawyer. They all had lawyers.”

Trump had previously denied that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine. Asked in November if he directed Giuliani to “do anything” in Ukraine, Trump said, “No, I didn’t direct him,” but went on to call Giuliani a “great corruption fighter.” Giuliani says he’s exposing legitimate corruption in Ukraine, even though his claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden have been widely debunked.

In the new interview, Trump defended the decision to “use” Giuliani, even though US diplomats previously testified that Giuliani had undermined long-standing US policy toward Ukraine.

Giuliani was a central player in the scandal that got Trump impeached, though the President was acquitted by the Senate last week. Multiple witnesses described how Giuliani met with former Ukrainian officials in search of dirt against Joe and Hunter Biden. Other key players described how Giuliani and his allies pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.

Trump’s past denials came in November, when the House of Representatives was investigating the President’s conduct with Ukraine. Multiple US diplomats and national security officials testified that Giuliani was a central figure in the pressure campaign to secure political favors from Ukraine. Trump also mentioned Giuliani in his phone call last summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the week since his acquittal, Trump has taken a series of bold steps to punish his opponents and reward his supporters. He fired several US officials who had testified against him in the impeachment inquiry, and he successfully lobbied the Justice Department to water down its request that his longtime adviser Roger Stone face as many as nine years in prison for lying to Congress.

[CNN]

Trump installs loyalists in top jobs after impeachment purge

President Donald Trump is surrounding himself with loyalists after a week of banishing staffers across the government in a post-impeachment revenge plot.

On Thursday, the White House confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s most trusted confidants, will return to the White House to work directly for the president’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, as a senior adviser after nearly two years away. Trump’s “body man” Johnny McEntee is also being promoted to run the office responsible for filling hundreds of top political jobs throughout the federal agencies, according to three senior administration officials, replacing Sean Doocey, who will move over to the State Department.

One senior administration official said the West Wing personnel changes are likely to continue in the coming weeks to prepare for both the 2020 campaign season and a potential second term.

Taken together, the moves have signaled a pattern of reinstating and promoting those closest to Trump after purging staffers Trump viewed as insufficiently loyal or part of the alleged “deep state” plot to get him. The last seven days have seen a makeover of White House and agency offices, driven partly by Trump’s desire for revenge post-impeachment and partly by his wish to staff the West Wing with people with whom he feels comfortable.

The new hires and promotions like Hicks and McEntee also happen to be close with Kushner, who is overseeing the reelection campaign and has his own influential power center within the White House.

“POTUS is surrounding himself with people who believe in him and his policy agenda,” said Jason Miller, a former top communications adviser on the 2016 campaign who applauded Hicks and McEntee’s return to the West Wing.

Trump’s vengeance campaign has claimed people across the government.

At the White House, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top National Security Council Ukraine staffer, was escorted off the premises as retaliation for damaging testimony during the House impeachment hearings. His twin brother, an NSC lawyer, was also booted from his job. Both have returned to the military, where they worked before being detailed to the White House.

At the State Department, Trump fired Gordon Sondland, the now-former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, after he also took a turn on the witness stand. Elsewhere, Trump pulled the nomination of former U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu for a top position at the Treasury Department because of her role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political confidant who was convicted on charges of lying to Congress.

McEntee’s new position atop the White House personnel office will be critical for staffing up across the government in 2020 and into a potential second Trump term. The office has long been seen as a weak spot within the administration, given the huge number of vacancies across agencies and a lack of vetting of several top officials that led to fallen nominees and embarrassing headlines. Trump even once said he was simply outsourcing his vetting process to the media instead of doing it in-house.

Donors and the business community have also been frustrated by the lack of responsiveness from the personnel office, according to one Republican close to the White House — not to mention the office’s reputation for frat boy antics inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Over in the West Wing, Hicks will work in her new role under Kushner as a counselor to the president and senior adviser, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed, calling Hicks “one of the most talented and savvy individuals I have come across.” Hicks departed the White House in March 2018 after working as communications director for Trump. She then moved to Los Angeles to work in a senior communications role at Fox Corporation.

“There is no one more devoted to implementing President Trump’s agenda than Hope Hicks,” Kushner said in a statement. “We are excited to have her back on the team.”

Hicks’ return to the White House gives Trump an ally who’s adept at translating his wishes to the broader staff.

Hicks was always well-liked among the communications and press staff, getting along well with the competing factions from the 2016 campaign and the Republican National Committee. Since leaving the White House, she has also remained close with Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, visiting them at the president’s Bedminster resort. McEntee is also extremely close with the entire Trump family.

Hicks will likely start her new position early next month, though the exact details are still being worked out, according to a senior administration official.

Hicks, Doocey and McEntee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Politico]

Trump says John Kelly must ‘keep his mouth shut’ after ex-chief of staff said Vindman did the right thing

President Donald Trump blasted his former chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday after the ex-top aide said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman did the right thing in reporting his concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump tweeted. “Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.”

“His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you,” Trump continued. “Wrong!”

Trump was responding to comments Kelly made during a 75-minute speech and question-and-answer session at a Wednesday night event before students and guests at Drew University in New Jersey, which The Atlantic reported.

The retired Marine Corps general, who also served as Trump’s Homeland Security secretary prior to taking on his job as chief of staff, said Vindman was simply following his military training in reporting concerns about Trump’s call.

That phone call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats, led to Trump’s impeachment. Last week, the Senate acquitted the president on two charges, although it was the first time in history a member of a president’s own party— Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah— voted to convict.

Vindman “did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

Vindman, who was the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and testified in the House impeachment inquiry, was escorted out of the White House last week. Trump later attributed Vindman’s removal to the impeachment.

Kelly said Vindman was right to flag the call because it marked a huge change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine and suggested the content of that call was akin to hearing “an illegal order.”

“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said, according to The Atlantic. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”

“We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss,'” Kelly added.

Kelly, who departed the administration in late 2018, was also critical of other areas of the Trump presidency. He said Trump “tried” to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons “but it didn’t work.”

“I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively,” Kelly said.

In announcing Kelly’s impending departure in 2018, Trump told reporters: “John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.”’

“But, he’s a great guy,” Trump continued.

[NBC News]

Trump congratulates Barr for ‘taking charge’ of Stone case

President Donald Trump praised Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday for “taking charge” of the federal case against Roger Stone — a maneuver that has provoked outrage from congressional Democrats and appeared to prompt the withdrawal of four government prosecutors.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment on the president’s social media post.

Trump’s tweet comes amid escalating tensions at the Justice Department, which ramped up Tuesday after the department backed off a previous sentencing recommendation for Stone, a longtime informal political adviser to Trump.

Federal prosecutors had urged Monday that Stone be sent to prison for seven to nine years for impeding congressional and FBI investigations into connections between the Russian government and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But after the president blasted that proposal Tuesday as a “horrible and very unfair situation,” the Justice Department submitted a revised filing that offered no specific term for Stone’s sentence and stated that the prosecutors’ recommendation “could be considered excessive and unwarranted.”

Trump also took shots Tuesday targeting former special counsel Robert Mueller’s squad of federal prosecutors — two of whom served on Stone’s prosecution team — as well as U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was scheduled to sentence Stone and has overseen several other Mueller-related cases.

By the end of the day, the quartet of attorneys who had shepherded Stone’s prosecution had either resigned or notified the court that they were stepping off the case. Trump reprised his attack on their initial sentencing filing Wednesday, suggesting it was perhaps the product of “Rogue prosecutors.”

“Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign),” the president tweeted, making apparent reference to a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide who pleaded guilty in 2018 for lying to the FBI. “Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!”

Trump claimed Tuesday that he had not asked the Justice Department to change the sentencing recommendation, and Hogan Gidley, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, repeated that denial Wednesday — asserting that neither the president nor anyone at the White House pressured the attorney general or other department officials to reduce Stone’s sentence.

“Unequivocally no,” he told Fox News, adding that the president “did not interfere here with anything.”

“Look, he’s the chief law enforcement officer. He has the right to do it. He just didn’t,” Gidley said of Trump. “He didn’t make any comment — didn’t have a conversation, I should say, rather, with the attorney general, and that’s just ludicrous. It’s just another scandal that the Democrats are trying to push forward.”

A senior Justice Department official said Tuesday that the decision to alter the prosecutors’ filing was unrelated to the president’s venting on social media and came before Trump issued his critical tweet. Instead, the official said, department leaders were “shocked” by the proposal, which “was not the recommendation that had been briefed to the department.”

Still, Democratic lawmakers quickly denounced the department’s intervention in the Stone case, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling Tuesday for an investigation by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz into the reversal.

Democrats’ condemnation continued Wednesday, as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) demanded Barr’s resignation.

“I think that Attorney General Barr has no choice but to follow these dedicated prosecutors out the door,” he told MSNBC. “Because he’s acting simply as a henchman — a political operative — of the president, who’s always wanted the attorney general of the United States to be his Roy Cohn, his personal attorney.”

Blumenthal, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said he had not heard back from that panel’s leader, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), regarding his request to probe the Justice Department’s actions.

Like Schumer, Blumenthal asked for Horowitz “to conduct an immediate, intensive investigation — because this kind of political interference is exactly the abuse of power, the dictatorial interference that we all ought to resist.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also had harsh words for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

“Bill Barr is demonstrating that he is not the attorney general for the people of the United States,” he told CNN. “He swore allegiance to the Constitution, not to one president, and I suspect it’s a tough day for a lot of career prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice. This is a critical moment for rule of law in our country.”

[Politico]

Trump suggests military should consider additional discipline for Vindman

President Trump on Tuesday suggested the military should consider additional disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who provided damaging testimony against Trump in the impeachment inquiry and was reassigned from his White House job last week.

“We sent him on his way to a much different location, and the military can handle him any way they want,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Gen. Milley has him now. I congratulate Gen. Milley. He can have him.”

Gen. Mark Milley is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Asked specifically if the Pentagon should pursue further action against Vindman, Trump said it would be “up to the military.”

“But if you look at what happened, they’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that,” he said.

The president’s comments on Tuesday signaled he was open to additional punishment for officials who testified against him in the impeachment inquiry. Some of his allies have sought to cast the ouster of witnesses like Vindman as justifiable reassignments rather than retribution.

Trump added that there were more departures to come, but it was unclear if he was referring specifically to impeachment witnesses.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday signaled there would be no punishment for Vindman, saying the Pentagon protects service members from retribution. 

“We protect all of our persons, service members, from retribution or anything like that. We’ve already addressed that in policy and other means,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon during a press conference with his Colombian counterpart.

Vindman had been working temporarily at the White House as a member of the national security council when he was dismissed. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was fired later the same day.

Both officials were among those who testified about Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine during House impeachment inquiry hearings last year. The House ultimately impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, alleging he withheld security aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals.

The Senate acquitted Trump last week in a party-line vote.

Vindman proved to be one of Democrats’ most memorable witnesses. A Purple Heart recipient, Vindman testified that he believed Trump’s conduct on a July 25 call with the Ukrainian president was inappropriate and that he reported it to his superior.

Trump has mocked Vindman for wearing his military uniform during the hearing and complained about the contents of his testimony.

On Tuesday, the president accused Vindman of leaking and going outside the chain of command

[The Hill]

Trump pulls nomination of former US attorney in charge of Roger Stone case

President Trump pulled the nomination of a former US attorney who oversaw the prosecution of Roger Stone for a top position in the Treasury Department, according to a report.

The withdrawal of Jessie Liu’s nomination was revealed hours after four federal prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case — when the Justice Department overruled them and said it would seek a more lenient sentence for the longtime Trump ally, Fox News reported late Tuesday.

The prosecutors had been seeking a sentence of up to nine years in prison.

Liu, a former US attorney for Washington, DC, also supervised the case of one-time White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was found guilty of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials while working for the Trump campaign.

She was scheduled to begin her confirmation hearing in the Senate on Thursday.

If confirmed, Liu, 46, would have served as undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes.

Trump previously had considered nominating her as associate attorney general, the No. 3 slot in the Justice Department, but she withdrew her name last March.

[New York Post]

Trump lashes out with a dangerous lie at the federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case

President Donald Trump lashed out Tuesday night at Amy Berman Jackson, a federal judge who has overseen several key cases that arose from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. She is currently presiding over the case against longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, who is due to be sentenced soon after being found guilty of lying to Congress and attempting to impede its Russia investigation.

In response to a tweet naming Jackson, Trump tweeted: “Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”

Judge Jackson did send Manafort to prison ahead of his trial in the summer of 2018, finding that he had violated the terms of his release. But judges do not determine the conditions prisoners are kept in; those decisions are made by the prisons and jails that house inmates.

And despite his lawyer’s claims that Manafort was in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his conditions as far more accommodative than is usually imagined when the term is invoked. As Vox reported, a filing from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team said his conditions included:

  • Manafort “is not confined to a cell”
  • Between 8:30 am and 10 pm, Manafort “has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys and legal team”
  • He has “his own bathroom and shower facility”
  • He has “his own personal telephone,” which he can use more than 12 hours a day
  • Those calls are limited to 15 minutes each, but when they cut off, he can just call the person back immediately
  • He’s made nearly 300 phone calls in the last three weeks
  • He has a personal laptop he can use in his unit to review materials and prepare for his trial
  • He was provided an extension cord to let him use his laptop in either his unit or his workroom
  • He’s not allowed to send emails, but he “has developed a workaround” for even that — his legal team brings in a laptop, he drafts the emails on that laptop, and they send them out after they leave.
  • He’s being treated like a “VIP,” according to his own account on a monitored phone call.

Jackson noted at one hearing that Manafort was later moved to another jail in Alexandria, Virginia, because of his team’s complaints. CNN explained:

She said Manafort “realized the tactic had backfired immediately.” He was in a self-contained (“VIP”) suite in Northern Neck, Jackson added.

“I’m not going to split hairs over whether the word solitary was accurate because he had a room of his own,” Jackson said.

What Manafort’s detention quarters looks like now: Now he’s in protective confinement, not technically solitary. He has a window, radio, newspapers and view of TV. He’s released for a few hours a day to walk around and be with other people

“Mr. Manafort, I don’t want to belittle or minimize the discomforts of prison for you. It’s hard on everyone, young and old, rich or poor,” she said.

In short, Trump’s attack on Jackson was a lie.

It was also extremely dangerous. Jackson’s high-profile cases have already left her vulnerable to public threats; Stone himself posted a disturbing image of the judge ahead of his trial. And Trump’s efforts to attack a judge online are at least an order of magnitude worse. His fans have been known to target the subjects of his public rebukes before, most notably in the case of Cesar Sayoc, who sent pipe bombs to Trump’s perceived enemies. The fact that he is tossing out such inflammatory attacks ahead of his friend’s sentencing in another extreme assault on the rule of law.

[Alternet]

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