Trump demands Justice Roberts dismiss ‘phony’ impeachment that ‘should not even be allowed to proceed’

President Donald Trump on Sunday suggested that Justice John Roberts should declare that impeachment charges against him are unconstitutional.

In an appearance on Fox News over the weekend, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani first made the suggestion that Roberts could kick off the president’s impeachment trial by dismissing it.

“Great idea,” Trump wrote Sunday morning as he tweeted out video of Giuliani’s appearance. “This phony Impeachment Hoax should not even be allowed to proceed. Did NOTHING wrong. Just a partisan vote. Zero Republicans. Never happened before!”

[Raw Story]


Trump hits Senate for giving impeachment ‘credibility’ by holding trial

President Trump on Sunday tweeted that Republicans risked lending credibility to the impeachment inquiry brought by the House by holding a trial in the Senate.

The president said any proceedings in the Senate would be based on “no evidence,” and appeared to urge Senate Republicans to reject the idea of holding a trial at all.

“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, “no pressure” Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” Trump tweeted.

Trump spent much of Sunday tweeting about the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, which, he wrote in one message, “should not even be allowed to proceed.”

“Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?” he added in another tweet. “Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before. House Republicans voted 195-0, with three Dems voting with the Republicans. Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have battled for weeks over the scope of the Senate impeachment trial, with Pelosi holding firm in her demands for McConnell to guarantee that witnesses will be called before she presents the Senate with the House-passed articles of impeachment.

Last week it was reported that McConnell had signed on to a measure that would allow the Senate to dismiss the House articles of impeachment without a trial.

[The Hill]

Trump Retweets Attack Article That Names Alleged Whistleblower

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account retweeted on Thursday a tweet by the president’s re-election campaign account, the official “Trump war room” that allegedly names the whistleblower whose complaint led Democrats to launch the impeachment inquiry. 

“It’s pretty simple. The CIA ‘whistleblower’ is not a real whistleblower!” says the tweet Trump retweeted, which includes a link to a Washington Examiner piece, published Dec. 3, the alleged whistleblower’s name in the headline.

While some right-wing news outlets have named the alleged whistleblower, no major news agency has and Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore of the United States Senate, has argued that the whistleblower’s name must remain private to protect his safety.

[Haaretz]

Trump criticizes California on homelessness, threatens federal involvement

President Donald Trump is blaming California’s governor for the state’s homeless crisis and threatening a federal government intervention.

In a Christmas Day tweet, Trump wrote, “Governor Gavin N has done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population in California. If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!”

This tweet came after cell phone video showed California Gov. Gavin Newsom telling reporters that the Trump administration was “not serious about this issue” and “they’re playing politics.”

This wasn’t the first time the president has chimed in on the issue. Earlier this year he had said he was considering creating a task force on the matter.

California has announced some changes to start solving homelessness. State lawmakers passed legislation that caps rent increases and the governor announced $1 billion in funding to help the homeless. But numbers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show California has more work ahead.

The annual data from HUD shows homelessness in California increased by 21,306 people. This is up 16.4% from last year. This is higher than the overall national increase of 2.7%.

Maria Foscarinis is the executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. She said affordable housing is the solution.

“It’s a matter of making this a priority and recognizing that this is something that needs a solution, it affects everybody. Homelessness obviously affects homeless people, but it affects entire communities,” said Foscarinis.

Local leaders in California also say that while housing is important in solving homelessness, it’s only part of it. They say there must be other services, such as addiction and mental health treatment.

That is the lesson that other states and cities are learning as they grapple with their own homelessness crises.

California is among the hardest hit by the homelessness crisis but it has affected communities up and down the West Coast. Oregon’s homeless population increased by more than 9% in 2019. And while Washington State showed a slight decline of 3.3%, Seattle continues to struggle to find solutions for its homeless population.

KOMO News recently reported on the intertwined crises of homelessness, drug addiction and restrictions on law enforcement in an extensive documentary, “Seattle Is Dying.” Reporters spoke to residents, business owners and police officers who expressed frustration as they have watched their city change for the worse in recent years.

KOMO reporters also traveled to San Francisco, a city with one of the highest costs of living in the country and one of the largest homeless populations. The documentary looked into possible solutions that have worked in other cities, including medication-assisted treatment for addiction and rehabilitation programs for homeless persons who enter the criminal justice system.

[ABC News]

Trump goes after Pelosi in early morning tweets complaining about impeachment

President Trump assailed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a series of tweets early Thursday, saying she should “clean up” her “filthy” and “dirty” district and suggesting she should face a primary challenger in 2020.

Trump, who repeated his earlier characterizations of Pelosi as “crazy,” continued his theme of lashing out at Democrats roughly a week after the House voted largely along party lines to pass articles of impeachment accusing him of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.

Trump has taken particular issue with Pelosi over her decision to delay sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate until the rules for the impeachment trial in the upper chamber are made clear. Pelosi has expressed concerns that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not hold a fair trial.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats said they wanted to RUSH everything through to the Senate because ‘President Trump is a threat to National Security’ (they are vicious, will say anything!), but now they don’t want to go fast anymore, they want to go very slowly. Liars!” Trump, who is on a two-week stay at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., tweeted early Thursday.

Trump then went after Pelosi and Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, claiming the two had ignored problems in their state.

“Nancy Pelosi’s District in California has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere in the U.S. when it come to the homeless & crime. It has gotten so bad, so fast — she has lost total control and, along with her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom, it is a very sad sight!” Trump wrote.

“Crazy Nancy should clean up her filthy dirty District & help the homeless there. A primary for N?” the president added in a later tweet.

Pelosi, who has served in Congress for more than three decades, is facing three primary challengers in California’s 12th Congressional District, though all are believed to be long shots for the nomination.

Trump is hungry for a trial in the GOP-controlled Senate, which is widely expected to acquit him of accusations that he abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that could benefit his reelection campaign and obstructed the impeachment inquiry into his administration’s dealings with Kyiv.

Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles, however, has left the timing of a Senate trial up in the air. McConnell has said he will not acquiesce to Democrats’ demands that the Senate call witnesses such as acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify at the trial.

Trump has lashed out over impeachment several times in recent days, telling reporters Tuesday that he believed Pelosi would be “thrown out” as Speaker of the House over her decision to move forward with impeachment.

“She got thrown out as Speaker once before,” Trump told reporters following a video teleconference with members of the military.

“I think it’s going to happen again. She’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country, and she’s not doing a great job. And some people think she doesn’t know what she’s doing,” Trump added.

[The Hill]

Trump sides with Putin on impeachment in late Friday night tweet

President Donald Trump continues to side with Russia on questions of domestic politics.

On Friday, the commander-in-chief tweeted out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s views on impeachment, adding that it is “a total witch hunt.”

Trump has received a great deal of criticism for believing the Russian military intelligence conspiracy theory that it was actually Ukraine that interfered in the 2016.

The scandal is at the heart of the impeachment trial expected to start in January.

[Raw Story]

Bill Taylor, top US diplomat in Ukraine, to depart post ahead of Mike Pompeo’s visit

The veteran U.S. diplomat who was a key witness in impeachment hearings is departing his post in Ukraine, according to two State Department sources.

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv who was recruited by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to fill in after President Donald Trump abruptly recalled Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, will depart in early January.

Taylor was wrapped up in the efforts by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, in conjunction with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy allegedly announce investigations to benefit Trump politically. While that effort unfolded, Taylor pushed back, infamously writing that it was “crazy” to withhold security assistance to Ukraine in exchange for those investigations.

That made Taylor a key witness in the impeachment proceedings in the House, which come to a head Wednesday with a vote on two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Both sources said the departure is because Taylor’s temporary appointment expires on Jan. 8, limited by law under the Vacancies Act. A State Department official said he will leave Jan. 1, while the other source said he will hand over his responsibilities on Jan. 1 and leave on Jan. 2.

Either way, he will be gone just ahead of Pompeo’s first trip to Ukraine in early January, according to the official — and after being attacked by Trump and Giuliani as a “Never Trumper.” Just last month, Giuliani accused Taylor of personally blocking visas for Ukrainians who have “direct evidence of Democrat criminal conspiracy with Ukrainians to prevent Donald J. Trump from being President,” he said in a letter to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

With Taylor gone, Pompeo avoids being seen with him in meetings in Kyiv, potentially angering Trump, whom Pompeo has fiercely defended throughout the impeachment proceedings. But it also leaves a leadership gap at a critical time in Ukraine, where U.S. support has been questioned by Trump’s efforts and amid an ongoing war with Russia in the country’s east.

Taylor, whose departure was first reported by NBC News, previously served as ambassador to Ukraine under George W. Bush and was brought in because of that expertise. But he was appointed and never confirmed by the Senate, and without a nomination for a new ambassador pending, he must depart after 210 days.

The State Department official said Pompeo is going to Kyiv at this time to show the administration’s support for Zelenskiy and for Taylor’s successor. Kristina Kvien, a career Foreign Service officer who arrived in Kyiv in May and has served as Taylor’s deputy, will become the top U.S. diplomat, known as the charge d’affaires.

The Trump administration’s potential nominee for the next ambassador to Ukraine is still in the vetting process, according to the official, who said Kvien could be the top diplomat for some time and it was important for her to be seen as having Pompeo’s backing by accompanying him during his upcoming visit.

But critics say making the visit after Taylor departs undermines Taylor and the embassy and sends the wrong message.

In a scathing letter Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, accused Pompeo of “unceremoniously recalling” Taylor “in a manner similar to” Yovanovitch, which, he said, “denigrate[s] the role of our frontline diplomats.”

After being asked to stay on for an additional year, Yovanovitch was recalled in May, months before her tenure was scheduled to end and after an effort by Giuliani and Ukraine’s former prosecutor general to trash her name with allegations that the State Department has called unfounded. Specifically, Giuliani told The New Yorker magazine that he “believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way” to get the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and the energy company Burisma, as well as the debunked theory of Ukrainian election interference to support Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Despite those false allegations, Pompeo never issued a statement of support for Yovanovitch and, amid similar allegations now by Giuliani against Taylor, has remained quiet on Taylor, too.

“I am extremely concerned that this suspect decision furthers the President’s inappropriate and unacceptable linking of U.S. policy to Ukraine to his personal and political benefit, and potentially your own,” Menendez wrote to Pompeo Wednesday.

In November, after both diplomats testified in the impeachment hearings, Pompeo declined to specifically defend them, saying instead, “I always defend State Department employees. This is the greatest diplomatic corps in the history of the world.”

Menendez and all Senate Foreign Relations Committee Democrats have called on Pompeo to recuse himself from matters related to Ukraine and the House investigation — something Pompeo rejected, while declining to turn over any department documents to the three House committees investigating the administration’s actions.

[ABC News]

Trump calls Christianity Today ‘far left magazine’ after editorial called for his removal from office

President Donald Trump, who has attacked many news organizations during his career in politics, found a new target Friday: Christianity Today, the faith-focused magazine founded by the iconic evangelical preacher Billy Graham.

Trump lashed out at the publication, calling it a “far left magazine” on Twitter the day after Christianity Today posted an editorial calling for him to be removed from office. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and faces possible removal in a Senate trial next year.

“Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President,” Trump said.

In an editorial posted on Thursday, Christianity Today said the House was justified in approving impeachment articles over allegations Trump pressured Ukraine into investigating political opponent Joe Biden.

“The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” the magazine said. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Christianity Today called on the Senate to convict Trump and remove him from office, calling it “not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

The Republican-run Senate is expected to acquit Trump in the trial.

In his harangue against Christianity Today, Trump said “no President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it’s not even close.”

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won 80% of the votes from whites who declared themselves born-again or evangelical Christians, according to exit polling.

While Billy Graham died in 2018, the magazine says it is still guided by his spirit. In its editorial calling for Trump’s removal, Christianity Today said that “we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear – always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love.”

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and a Trump supporter, tweeted that his father “knew @realDonaldTrump, believed in him & voted for him. He believed Donald J. Trump was the man for this hour in history for our nation.”

Other news organizations editorial boards have called for Trump’s conviction and removal, and been subject to presidential blowback – including USA TODAY.

On social media, critics of Trump noted that Christianity Today is a conservative publication and mocked the president for his criticism.

“No one would call Christianity Today ‘progressive’ but you. Sad!” tweeted Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of international politics with The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

[USA Today]

Trump Screams ‘PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT’ On Twitter the Day After Impeachment

President Donald Trump got on the Twitter machine to rail against “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” and “the greatest Witch Hunt in American history,” now that he has been impeached in the House of Representatives.

Here’s what Trump had to say on Thursday morning:

“I got Impeached last might [sic] without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call! The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!”

Trump’s first two tweets refer to how House Speaker Nancy Pelositold reporters on Wednesday that even though the House of Representatives approved the articles of impeachment against the president, she won’t send them to the senate just yet. As Pelosi invoked recent comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, she questioned whether the senate’s impeachment hearing will be fair, and suggested that the transfer of the articles could be delayed until certain assurances and rules for the trial are agreed upon.

“We will make our decision as to when we are going to send it when we see what they are doing on the Senate side,” Pelosi said. “So far, we have not seen anything that looks fair to us.”

[Mediaite]

Trump implies that the late Rep. John Dingell is ‘looking up’ from hell

President Donald Trump attacked Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell and her late husband, Rep. John Dingell, during a rally on Wednesday, implying the former congressman was “looking up” from hell.

“Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty,” Trump said of the congresswoman, noting he was watching her on television during impeachment proceedings.

Trump said that he gave the family the “A-plus treatment” after John Dingell died, and that the congresswoman, who now holds his seat in the House, told Trump during an emotional call following John Dingell’s funeral that her husband would have been “thrilled” by the respect shown for him during his funeral and “he’s looking down” on the ceremonies.

“Maybe he’s looking up,” Trump said, drawing some moans and groans from those in Battle Creek, Michigan, about two hours away from Debbie Dingell’s district. “Maybe, but let’s assume he’s looking down.”

Trump’s comment about John Dingell, the longest ever serving congressman, fell mostly flat on a crowd in an important swing state that has long revered the former dean of the House. John Dingell was an iconic figure in Michigan who was admired across party lines, and was one of the most popular political figures in the state during his lifetime.

Michigan was key to Trump’s election in 2016 and appealing to Midwestern voters like those in the Great Lakes State will be important in his quest to hold onto the White House.

Debbie Dingell responded on Twitter to Trump’s attacks on Wednesday, accusing him of sharpening her grief going into the holidays without her husband.”Mr. President, let’s set politics aside,” she tweeted. “My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service. I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.

“Dingell’s fellow Michigan representative, Republican Rep. Fred Upton, said late Wednesday night that “there was no need to ‘dis’ him in a crass political way. Most unfortunate and an apology is due.”Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning, Debbie Dingell again emphasized her desire to not politicize her husband’s death but insisted she wasn’t going to let Trump’s attacks intimidate her.

“I’m going to keep doing my job,” she told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “If he thinks he’s going to keep me from doing my job, I’m going to be right back at it when I leave here.

“Asked about Trump’s comments on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday morning, White House press secretary said she felt sorry for Debbie Dingell’s loss, but when asked to explain Trump’s attack, she replied, “you’d have to talk to the President about that.””He was at a political rally,” Grisham explained. “He has been under attack and under impeachment attack for the last few months then just under attack politically for the last 2 1/2 years. I think as we all know the President is a counterpuncher.

“Trump’s rally insults marked the second time in five days that he has mentioned John Dingell’s funeral while disparaging the congresswoman, who has supported impeachment.

“The last time I spoke to Debbie Dingell was her call thanking me for granting top memorial and funeral service honors for her then just departed husband, long time Congressman John Dingell,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “Now I watch her ripping me as part of the Democrats Impeachment Hoax. Really pathetic!”Dingell told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Monday that she was “really hurt” by Trump’s tweet.”It really felt awful, you want to know the truth,” she said, her voice becoming briefly emotional. “I’m already missing him.”She added that she hadn’t wanted her husband’s funeral “to become political.”

“I was very grateful for his call, he really did care about my loss,” Dingell said of Trump. “And so it really hurt. To say to you that that didn’t shake me and didn’t bother me would be a lie.”

[CNN]

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