Thursday 4th of June 2020

when the democrats turn into kaos....

get trump

US President Donald Trump’s embarrassing leaked phone call with then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull led to a regime of severe restrictions on access to transcripts, a former White House official says.

The admission could worsen Mr Trump’s impending impeachment battle over the White House’s handling of the President’s calls with foreign leaders.

A recent call with the leader of Ukraine is at the heart of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, that seeks to remove the President from office.

A whistleblower alleges the White House tried to “lock down” Mr Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s new president because officials were worried about his request for help investigating Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The anonymous whistleblower alleges the White House also tried to cover up the content of other calls by moving memos onto a highly classified computer system.

A former White House official told the Associated Press that other calls were concealed, while casting the decision as part of an effort to minimise leaks, not an attempt to hide improper discussions.

In the early days of Mr Trump’s presidency he was particularly enraged by leaks that disclosed tough conversations with Mr Turnbull on abiding by an Obama administration deal on asylum seekers and with the leader of Mexico on paying for a border wall.

The Trump administration curtailed the number of people who had access to phone call transcripts in contrast to previous administrations.

Mr Turnbull told Mr Trump that Australia would take any refugee the US nominated – including “not very attractive” ones – if the President honoured the asylum seeker relocation deal brokered with Barack Obama, according to the sensationally leaked transcript of their infamous 2017 first phone call.

The classified transcript of the conversation between the two leaders was published by The Washington Post, along with the contents of another call between Mr Trump and the Mexican President Peña Nieto.

“Putin was a pleasant call,” Mr Trump told Mr Turnbull during the conversation. “This is ridiculous.”

Former administrations had kept the details of calls private, but not on the highly classified computer system unless sensitive national security information was discussed.

Meanwhile, a former US ambassador to NATO caught in the middle of the whistleblower complaint resigned from his post as special envoy to Ukraine on Saturday.

The move followed disclosures that Kurt Volker had connected Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani with Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden and his family over allegedly corrupt business dealings.


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Graham to protect trump from getting a parking ticket...

Senator Lindsey Graham, once among Donald Trump’s harshest critics, is set to lead the charge to defend him in the court of public opinion as Democrats make the case for impeachment.

The Republican senator from South Carolina has rejected the allegation that Trump betrayed America’s national security interests by pressing the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate political rival Joe Biden days after freezing some military aid to the country.

Graham and other allies of the president have sought to fight back by arguing that a whistleblower who raised the alarm was not on the call between Trump and Zelenskiy but based his complaint on officials’ recollections of it.

“In America you can’t even get a parking ticket based on hearsay testimony,” Graham tweeted on Saturday. “But you can impeach a president? I certainly hope not.”

The senator played golf with Trump, as well as professionals Gary Player and Annika Sörenstam, at the president’s club in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday morning, according to a White House pool report. It seemed likely Trump and Graham had plenty of time to strategise how to reclaim the political narrative.


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proving edward snowden right...

Responding to news of a whistleblower’s complaint at the center of an impeachment inquiry filed against President Trump this week, famed whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks about his own decision to leak classified documents in 2013. The House Intelligence Committee has released the declassified whistleblower complaint, which details a July phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president. The White House is trying “to make the conversation not about the allegations,” Snowden told Democracy Now! “They want to talk about the whistleblower rather than the government’s own wrongdoing.”


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, the HuffPost ran an article headlined “The Trump whistleblower Scandal Is Proving Edward Snowden Right.” In the piece, Nick Baumann writes, quote, “Now, a whistleblower inside the intelligence community is trying to do what Snowden claimed he couldn’t. So far, that person has been effectively silenced by the Trump administration’s refusal to provide the complaint to Congress as required by law. It’s possible that the administration will eventually comply with its legal obligations. But the political system has already sent a clear signal: Even intelligence community whistleblowers who follow the law can’t be confident their concerns will be heard.” Can you respond to this, and the decision you made to go a very different route, Ed?

EDWARD SNOWDEN: How best do we inform the public, whether we are government employees, whether we are contractors working in the intelligence community, whether we are ordinary citizens who witness serious wrongdoing? What can we do? And particularly, what happens when we start being burdened by all of these nondisclosure agreements?

This case that we see before us today is, I think, actually quite clear-cut. It’s one of the simplest cases and simplest controversies we’ve seen in a while, because we’re talking about what appears to be, at least as alleged in the press so far, is a single exchange, a single complaint, about a particularized thing, and it doesn’t threaten the institutions of power broadly. This is about the activities of an individual.

And what we see in the system that’s been built today for whistleblowing is you’re told there are proper channels that you go through, and you’ll be safe if you do this. You will be heard, and your complaints will be investigated, and any improprieties that are borne out by the facts will be corrected.

We know historically this is not the case. There have been academic articles published for years — and there was actually one just published today — looking back through previous cases of, for example, NSA whistleblowers who did go through this process, and they had their lives destroyed. They lost their careers, they lost their homes, in some cases they lost their families, because of the stress and retaliation and consequences they face. Some of them lost their freedom. Chelsea Manning right now is sitting in prison. We have had so much mistreatment of whistleblowers here.

And the question that we have to ask is: Why? Don’t we need, as a public, to understand what the government is doing? And does not the press require access to sources and evidence of what the government is actually doing behind closed doors, which it might not think is comfortable for the public to know, but certainly it serves the public interest for the people to know?

And so, in this context — right? — we now have someone who’s coming forward. And the reason I say this is so clean-cut is, more than any other factor, what academics find when they look at what’s wrong with the whistleblowing process in the United States today is your outcome is entirely determined by the centers of power and how they respond to it.

Now, we have three branches in our government, as everyone knows: You’ve got the White House, you’ve got the Congress, and then you’ve got the judiciary. Well, in my case, in the case of most of the consequential whistleblowers of the last decades, even going as far back, actually, as Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, they have been reporting failures that cross the branches. It’s not about an individual; it’s about policy, broadly, that was put forward by the executive, it was backstopped or ignored by Congress, and the courts refused to evaluate the legality of it.

In this case, it’s quite different. And this is the reason I think, although this whistleblower is absolutely being mistreated by this White House, and this White House is doing absolutely everything it can to stop this person from communicating what the public needs to know to the public in a meaningful way, so that we can evaluate it — I do not think they will succeed, because in this case the White House is in isolation and, in a meaningful way, in opposition to the Congress that feels their prerogatives are being stepped on by this. And that’s quite unusual in the context of whistleblowing. Typically, we see all three branches of government aligned against the whistleblower. In this case, because the at least alleged bad behavior is so bright-line clear, and because the White House is trying to deny Congress access to the complaint, more so than the public itself, I think there are enough people who will go to bat for whoever this person is, that they will end up all right. And that’s actually a wonderful thing. It’s not enough, and whistleblowers are today and will remain, unfortunately, a vulnerable class, until we fix the broader system.

But the most alarming part of what we see in the treatment of this person today by the White House is what every White House does. They try to make the conversation not about the allegations. They try to make the conversation about the source of the allegations. They want to talk about the whistleblower rather than the government’s own wrongdoing. And we need to have access to the facts, and we need to hear this person out, because it doesn’t matter the provenance of an allegation. What matters is the proof of it. Is what this person is alleging to be true in fact true? And if it is, what are we going to do about it? Who they are does not matter. Whether or not the allegations they are leveling are true matters absolutely.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: What’s your perspective on the raging debate in Europe over the right to be forgotten, the privacy — greater privacy protections that the European Union is attempting to institute?

EDWARD SNOWDEN: So, these — it’s called the GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, in Europe, that is a major step forward in that we now have advanced democracies that are trying to recognize, essentially, a kind of ownership right in records about us. Now, it’s crude, it’s simplistic, it’s too parochial. It doesn’t work in a meaningful way yet. But, theoretically, it holds the potential for enormous fines for the internet giants in the world if they misbehave and abuse the public as a class.

As you say, one of the primary sort of ideas behind this is a right to be forgotten, which is, you can demand from a company, basically, an understanding of all the records they have on you, and you can demand that they delete them, in some cases. And this actually is a tremendously beneficial thing.

The problem is, and where the hard — the sharp end of this conflict comes into view is: Well, what about public figures? What if this is someone who is engaged in corruption? What if this is a politician who is trying to bury a scandal? Can they go to a newspaper and go, “You have to remove this article about me”? Of course, they cannot and they must not be able to do that. That is still a legal struggle in Europe today, to figure out where to find that line.

But I think we, as average people, understand quite well the difference between a private citizen and a public official. These terms mean something to us. We are supposed to know everything about the people who wield the most power in society. And they are supposed to know very little about us, who have very little influence over the direction of the future, because privacy is about power. It’s about influence.

And this is what we have been robbed of over these last decades. The government increasingly has tried to change this paradigm, and this is the ultimate result of systems of mass surveillance, by which I mean sort of this dragnet interception of everyone’s communications, regardless of whether you’re actually suspected of any wrongdoing or you’re simply getting caught up with everyone else. And this is that governments are increasingly aggressive in asserting different kinds of secrecy privileges, whether it’s the actual state secrets doctrine, which they use to defend classified information, or what we see in this case of the whistleblower who’s the talk of the town this week, which is, the government actually does not seem to be especially concerned about classified information here. Of course, they nod toward that. But if you look at the analysis, they’re actually arguing — they’re more concerned about executive privilege. This is where internal White House deliberative processes don’t need to be shared externally. They can say, “We can guard these from public view.”

But the bottom line of this is, increasingly, we’re living in a time where, whether we’re talking about governments or whether we’re talking about Google and Facebook, the institutions of greatest power in the world today are increasingly able to shelter their behaviors from our view, at the same time they know more about us, our families, our communities and our societies than any government has in any previous time.

AMY GOODMAN: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, speaking from his home in Moscow, Russia. His memoir, Permanent Record, is out. We’ll be back with him in a minute.


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The interesting part of this saga is WHO advised or informed Trump about the Biden so-called misbehaviour in Ukraine? Someone had to give Trump the dirt on Biden. Who? The CIA? Someone reading The Intercept? 


The major difference between this case and Snowden's revelations is that the whistleblower of the Trump/Biden affair HAS NO DOCUMENTARY PROOF of the alleged conversation.

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when the rich take over the satire, it's not funny...

I shoudda known... it was the ruskies again...

In the article above, I ask the question:

The interesting part of this saga is WHO advised or informed Trump about the Biden so-called misbehaviour in Ukraine? Someone had to give Trump the dirt on Biden. Who? The CIA? Someone reading The Intercept? 

I should have known better:


The server, they say Ukraine has it,” Trump told Zelensky, in reference to the DNC server. “There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. 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.”


Russian media monitor Julia Davis writes in the Daily Beast that this is the exact same conspiracy theory that Russian TV hosts have been pushing on their programs for months.


For example, Davis notes that “Dmitry Kiselyov, the host of Russia’s most popular Sunday news program… urged Trump to keep digging in Ukraine for ‘the sweetest’ kompromat of all: ‘Proving that Ukraine — not Russia — interfered in the U.S. elections.'”

And that’s not all — Davis also found that “pro-government experts on the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev have been openly rooting for the supposed scandal in Ukraine to ‘kill Biden’ politically, and allow Trump ‘to disprove’ Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, and destroy the heart of the Democratic Party in the process.”


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who is going to crush zelensky — biden or trump?...

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky has become one of the most talked-about politicians in the media lately. He has recently reminded the world of his existence by signing the bill on impeachment of the head of state. He then deprived members of the Ukrainian parliament of immunity, but that was not all. Zelensky has exploded the world media with a story of his mysterious relationship with US President Trump.

Of course, Zelensky is trying to give good face and proudly declares that no one, except for his little son, exerts any pressure on him. However, those behind the political curtain know, on which side bread is buttered. Zelensky's former colleague, "Kvartal 95" actor Evgeny Koshevoi said that Zelensky was a little tired of his heavy burden. Vladimir Zharikhin, deputy director of the Institute of the CIS countries, expressed his opinion on the subject of what has been happening to Mr. Zelensky lately in a brief interview with Pravda.Ru.

"Stripping MPs of their immunity was more like a whip in the hands of the president, because he controls the Prosecutor General's Office, which, in fact, initiates criminal proceedings. But I think that deputies will fight for their rights. As for impeachment, the law has been adopted, but in a form tougher than was previously stipulated in the draft. Now, in order to launch impeachment, one needs 347 votes. Previously, a simple majority would be enough. Given the structure of the Ukrainian parliament today, it is hard to imagine that Zelensky can be impeached.

"The president of Ukraine now has many other problems to deal with. He has found himself between the upper and nether millstone — Trump and Biden. To add more fuel to the fire, Zelensky is deeply connected with the Soros team, specifically with those who manipulates the Democrats now. One can see that the relationship between the US administration and the Ukrainian leadership has been cooling down. I actually predicted it four months ago that the Ukrainian story would be in the center of this standoff.

Trump is ready to take revenge for Manafort - not just because he likes Paul, but because he was the chief of his headquarters, and Trump was forced to replace him at the peak of the election campaign. It all came from Ukraine: they used incriminating evidence against Manafort to make problems for Trump. The President of the United States can not yet make the Ukrainians give him the materials to take advantage of the incriminating evidence against Biden. We know why: because Zelensky remains under their [Democrats?] control."


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the CIA at work with dirty tricks...

biden is sunk...

Back in 2016, former Vice President Joe Biden publicly admitted to having threatened Ukrainian authorities with pulling $1 billion in US loan guarantees if Kiev did not fire the prosecutor in charge of the case against his son.

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General stated Friday that Hunter Biden and Burisma energy exploration and production company may be linked to around 15 criminal cases.

"Judging by what we see, there are around 15 [cases] to which Burisma, or Biden, or Zlochevsky, or Kurchenko may be linked. But I cannot say that these are all the proceedings that we see or that we currently understand. Work on audit or proceedings revision continues," Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka said at a briefing, as aired by Nash broadcaster.

He also denied facing any pressure from Ukrainian and foreign politicians.

In late-September, Donald Trump found himself in the center of a scandal as House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against him, accusing the US president of trying to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to restart an investigation into the potentially illegal activities of former Vice President Joe Biden's son. 

Trump denies any wrongdoing and has accused Democratic lawmakers of engaging in another "witch hunt" as they move forward on an impeachment inquiry on the matter.

Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic Party presidential nomination for the 2020 election, publicly admitted in 2016 to having threatened Ukrainian authorities with pulling $1 billion in US loan guarantees if Kiev did not fire the prosecutor in charge of the case against his son.

Besides Ukraine, Trump has also called on China to investigate any corrupt business dealings during Joe Biden's tenure that involved his son.


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he never left...

And you thought Bannon had gone in disgrace... He never really left. He went to play submarine for Trump, preparing the grounds for the next rounds of fist-fights against the in-fighting democrats — Kaos...



Depending on your perspective, they’re insiders’ outsiders or outsiders’ insiders.

Nearly every morning—working weekends would seem an afterthought for this set—during this frigid Washington winter, Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s notorious ex-guru; Raheem Kassam, longtime consigliere to Bannon and Brexit mastermind Nigel Farage; and Jason Miller, chief spox on Trump’s 2016 campaign, gather in Bannon’s bunker. It’s the basement of an equally notorious Capitol Hill row house rented by Bannon, “the embassy,” formerly the headquarters of Breitbart News.

The trio have started a radio show and podcast, “The War Room,” named for the opposition research hub featured in most modern campaigns, and lifting from the “#WAR” mentality Bannon made famous at Breitbart. That Bannon’s newest venture—the podcast, assorted websites, and a confusing web of radio shows, co-hosted with and filled in for old allies—mixes what still passes for journalism with the gloss of a modern campaign is no accident. I’ve visited the show twice since it launched in the fall, and it’s developed speed, reasonably well-watched, well-attended, and well-financed. Its architect certainly has, as the ever-caffeinated Bannon is raring to go by 9 a.m.

On a recent visit, Bannon regaled his motley crew, including Virginia political kingmaker John Fredericks and the veteran operative Jack Maxey, with stories about how it’s antebellum politics all over again. The pre-Civil War era clearly weighs on the strategist’s mind. Revolutionary moments, generally, are an idee fixe. “I’m a Leninist,” Bannon infamously once told historian Ronald Radosh at a party in Washington. The Baby Boomers—its leadership class, at least—are the worst generation in American history, Bannon has said to me.

For the assembled, the project is nothing less than a political beachhead. For “The War Room,” it’s the best of times and it’s the worst. The core troika—Bannon, Kassam, and Miller—delivered Trump to power four short years ago, but they are not, officially at least, in power themselves. Miller missed out on becoming White House communications director in the midst of a brutal personal scandal with fellow Trump campaign official A.J. Delgado, with whom he fathered a child. Kassam, a British national, is ineligible for government service, but nonetheless departed Breitbart in recent years after his own clashes with the post-Bannon leadership. He also had a short-lived tenure helming the rebooted Human Events. And Bannon’s complicated relationship with Trump—he was labeled “Trump’s brain,” to the president’s obvious displeasure—is the stuff of legend.

Yet on any given day, the radio show still attracts a king’s court of Republicans: Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney; Mark Meadows, the House Freedom Caucus frontman; Representative Matt Gaetz. Counterfactuals are for suckers, but to argue that a Trump decoupled from Bannon’s populist-nationalist vision, Kassam’s cross-pollination with Brexit Britain, and Miller’s moxie, would have triumphed, I think, is to truly miss the moment. Celebrity alone didn’t allow Trump, for good and ill, to transform American society. It was his operative set that utilized asymmetric warfare to take out the country’s two leading dynasties, first the Bush brahmins, and then clan Clinton.


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See toon at top... (It was reposted from about a year before...)