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"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 White House Page 33
By Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Washington (CNN) It was on White House letterhead. It read like a string of President Donald Trump's tweets. And it was just as dishonest. On Tuesday afternoon, Trump released a six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which -- employing his distinctive vocabulary and punctuation -- he blasted Democrats' push to impeach him, defended his dealings with Ukraine and touted his accomplishments in office. Like much of his previous rhetoric about Ukraine and impeachment, much of the letter was false or misleading.

Trump repeated multiple false claims that have been debunked on numerous occasions. He also delivered some new claims that were false, misleading or lacking in context. We're not finished going through all of Trump's claims in his letter, but here are some early fact checks.

Dealings with Ukraine
Trump decried "the so-called whistleblower who started this entire hoax with a false report of the phone call that bears no relationship to the actual phone call that was made."

Facts First: The whistleblower's account of Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been proven highly accurate. In fact, the rough transcript released by Trump himself showed that the whistleblower's three primary allegations about the call were correct or very close to correct. Trump claimed the whistleblower "disappeared" because "they got caught, their report was a fraud."

Facts First: There is no evidence the whistleblower has disappeared, let alone that they have vanished because they were shown to be inaccurate. Whistleblowers do not have an obligation to speak publicly after filing their anonymous complaints.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) On the eve of his impeachment by the House, President Donald Trump sent a blistering letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- airing his grievances with her and the broader Democratic Party while insisting that the actions taken on Wednesday will doom her to the dustbin of history.
I went through the letter -- which, from its first words, you can tell has the President's rhetorical fingerprints all over it -- and highlighted some of the most, uh, important lines. They're below.

1. "This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history."
So, two things. One, impeachment is built into the Constitution and two past presidents have been impeached by the House. Two, it's "Democratic lawmakers" not "Democrat Lawmakers." And away we go!

2. "You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!"
Like I said: You can clearly see Trump's involvement in the letter.

3. "By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy."
Wow. Lot to unpack here. Whether or not Trump likes it, the House is tasked with carrying out impeachment if a majority of members believe it is warranted. So, it's not "invalid." As for "declaring open war on American Democracy," well, Trump never pretended to be understated.

4. "You dare to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme?"
There's almost never a good time for the "how dare you?" construction.

By Jenni Fink

George Conway—husband of senior presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway—and several other Republicans launched a political action committee Tuesday to oust President Donald Trump and lawmakers that support him from office in 2020, even if it means a Democrat majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

"Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet," founders of the campaign wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.

George Conway, along with political strategists Steve Schmidt and John Weaver and media consultant Rick Wilson, announced the formation of the Lincoln Project in an op-ed for The New York Times Tuesday. Seeing Trump as both unfit for office and harmful to the Constitution, the project's goal is to defeat the president and "Trumpism" at the ballot box in November.

Using former President Abraham Lincoln as their guide, the co-authors of the op-ed wrote that America is at a point in its history reminiscent of Lincoln's time when its leader had to save the union and weave the nation back together.

"But those wounds can be bound up only once the threat has been defeated. So, too, will our country have to knit itself back together after the scourge of Trumpism has been overcome," the op-ed said.

Rudolph Giuliani said in an interview that he briefed the president “a couple of times” about Marie Yovanovitch, the envoy to Ukraine, setting her recall in motion.
By Kenneth P. Vogel

WASHINGTON — Rudolph W. Giuliani said on Monday that he provided President Trump with detailed information this year about how the United States ambassador to Ukraine was, in Mr. Giuliani’s view, impeding investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump, setting in motion the ambassador’s recall from her post.

In an interview, Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, described how he passed along to Mr. Trump “a couple of times” accounts about how the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, had frustrated efforts that could be politically helpful to Mr. Trump. They included investigations involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukrainians who disseminated documents that damaged Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The president in turn connected Mr. Giuliani with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information, Mr. Giuliani said. Within weeks, Ms. Yovanovitch was recalled as ambassador at the end of April and was told that Mr. Trump had lost trust in her.

by Sonam Sheth

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who's now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, confirmed in detail to The New Yorker his role in engineering the ouster of Marie Yovanovitch as the US's ambassador to Ukraine. Giuliani told The New Yorker's Adam Entous that he viewed Yovanovitch as an obstacle as he attempted to obtain politically damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election.

"I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way," Giuliani said. "She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody." To that end, Giuliani compiled a dossier of conspiracy theories about the Bidens and Yovanovitch that he sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year and was later shared with the FBI and The New Yorker.

Giuliani also began speaking out against Yovanovitch on news outlets like Fox News, while directing John Solomon, a self-described investigative journalist who traffics in conspiracy theories, to publish op-ed articles smearing Yovanovitch in The Hill.

Russian commentators note, rightly, that “sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power," and they’re already joking about offering Trump asylum.
By Julia Davis

Sometimes a picture doesn’t have to be worth a thousand words. Just a few will do. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov returned home from his visit with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office last week, Russian state media was gloating over the spectacle. TV channel Rossiya 1 aired a segment entitled “Puppet Master and ‘Agent’—How to Understand Lavrov’s Meeting With Trump.”

Vesti Nedeli, a Sunday news show on the same network, pointed out that it was Trump, personally, who asked Lavrov to pose standing near as Trump sat at his desk. It’s almost the literal image of a power behind the throne. And in the meantime, much to Russia’s satisfaction, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is still waiting for that critical White House meeting with the American president: the famous “quid pro quo” for Zelensky announcing an investigation that would smear Democratic challenger Joe Biden. As yet, Zelensky hasn’t done that, and as yet, no meeting has been set.

Russian state television still views the impending impeachment as a bump in the road that won’t lead to Trump’s removal from office. But President Vladimir Putin’s propaganda brigades enjoy watching the heightened divisions in the United States, and how it hurts relations between the U.S. and Ukraine. They’ve also added a cynical new a narrative filled with half-joking ironies as they look at the American president’s bleak prospects when he does leave office.

Appearing on Sunday Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, Mikhail Gusman, first deputy director general of ITAR-TASS, Russia’s oldest and largest news agency, predicted: “Sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power. The next term or the term after that, it doesn’t matter... I have an even more unpleasant forecast for Trump. After the White House, he will face a very unhappy period.”

IVANKA TRUMP and husband Jared Kushner’s secret meetings were exposed by Robert Mueller and almost used against them by Steve Bannon as “leverage”.
By Naomi Adedokun

President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, took a vacation in Croatia “with a Russian oligarch” and Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng. This is according the documents released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump administration’s corruption. The information was discovered by former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who planned to use it as “leverage” against the couple.

Ivanka and Jared took the Croatia vacation with a mystery 'Russian billionaire' and Ms Deng during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to Mueller’s documents, Mr Bannon raised questions about the vacation and wanted to use the knowledge to his advantage. A summary of an investigative interview with him read: “Bannon knew Kushner was on vacation off the coast of Croatia with a Russian Billionaire when Bannon took over the campaign.” Mr Bannon told friends in the intelligence community that he thought Kushner's choice of vacation company was 'questionable,' according to the interview summary.


Think about it. He won’t produce any information demanded by Congress. He won’t let anyone working for him talk to Congress.

More importantly, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is in a position where he could have the president acquitted almost immediately. Atty. Gen. William Barr won’t allow investigations aside from the ones that Trump wants. The judiciary is being stacked with judges who favor the president.

Our government is being turned into a rubber stamp for Trump.
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Allan Gerson, Encino

By Hannah Knowles

The headline the New York Times editorial board settled on was simple: “Impeach.” The same could be said of the “damning” case laid out against President Trump, the Times said Saturday, as it joined a growing roster of more than a dozen national and regional newspapers that argue that the Senate should take up convincing accusations of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The opinions of major publications are divided as the House prepares for a historic vote Wednesday, and a host of traditionally more-conservative editorial boards have yet to weigh in — including several that snubbed Trump in 2016 by conspicuously breaking from long histories of Republican endorsements.

Many papers backing impeachment have described a slow-building choice amid hearings into whether Trump abused his position to pressure a foreign power for personal political gain.

By David Smith

As the GOP counter-offensive runs on fake news and conspiracy theories, critics say truth itself is under attack “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four,” George Orwell wrote in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. “If that is granted, all else follows.” The pro-Donald Trump industrial complex has not yet denied basic arithmetic. But as impeachment looms, his allies appear to be waging an increasingly frantic political and media counter-offensive that puts truth itself in the dock.

A bewildering array of fake news, warped facts and conspiracy theories have been propagated in the past week by conservative media, Republican politicians, White House officials and the president in his own defence. It is, commentators say, a concerted disinformation war, intended to crowd out damaging revelations as the House of Representatives prepares its ultimate sanction.

“The more facts come out, the more desperate they get,” said Kurt Bardella, a former spokesman and senior adviser on the House oversight committee. “They know in a debate centred on facts, truth and reality, they lose. Their only mechanism to survive is to muddy the waters, distort, distract and hope if they repeat lies often enough, they become real.”

But Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, said: “I’m not surprised at Ted Cruz being sycophantic to Trump. Trump broke Ted Cruz a long time ago. The Republicans have the worst political Stockholm syndrome we’ve ever seen. “These guys are all in an abusive relationship with Trump. I don’t mean that in a flippant way. They behave the way you see victims of domestic violence behave. But they’ve got culpability in this thing: they’re not just victims, they’re enablers.”

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the President's phone calls with foreign leaders since his July 25 call with Ukraine's President was revealed and became the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry, according to multiple White House sources in a new CNN report.

The latest

On to the House -- The House Judiciary Committee voted on party lines Friday morning to refer two articles of impeachment to the full House of Representatives, which is expected to vote to impeach Trump next week. The House Rules Committee will consider them Tuesday and Trump could be impeached Wednesday. Read Maeve Reston's analysis.

Long time coming -- Trump said, during an appearance next to the President of Paraguay in the Oval Office, impeachment will give him a political boost. He said the impeachment effort might have been underway even before he announced his presidential campaign in 2015. "Impeachment is a hoax. It's a sham," he said.

By Alex Marquardt, Zachary Cohen and Pamela Brown, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump's senior aides have further restricted the number of administration officials allowed to listen to the President's phone calls with foreign leaders since his July 25 call with Ukraine's President was revealed and became the centerpiece of the impeachment inquiry, according to multiple White House sources.

Transcripts of Trump's calls with world leaders are also disseminated to a far smaller group of people inside the White House, those administration sources say, continuing an effort to limit the number of people with insight and information about the conversations. It amounts to a concerted effort to prevent Trump's conversations -- which officials have said sometimes veer off into unguarded or undiplomatic territory -- from becoming known to even those inside the administration.

"Nobody is allowed on the calls," a White House official said, describing the new effort to limit those with access to the calls to only the President's senior-most aides, barring some senior and mid-level career staff from listening in. "The barn door officially closed after the horse escaped." Earlier in the administration, and during past presidencies, a larger number of officials would be allowed to listen to phone calls with foreign leaders. That includes aides with specific expertise in the countries being phoned or officials focused on an issue set being discussed on the call.

Now, when the President speaks on the phone with world leaders, he's joined on the call by just a handful of others appointed by Trump to the highest level of the administration, multiple White House officials say. The list is signed off on by national security adviser Robert O'Brien, who will often join the call himself along with a rotating roster of officials including his deputy Matt Pottinger, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and his deputy Rob Blair.

by Jesse Pound

Nearly 100 Fortune 500 companies effectively paid no federal taxes in 2018, according to a new report. The study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank, covers the first year following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act championed by President Donald Trump, which was signed into law in December 2017.

The report covers 379 companies from the Fortune list that were profitable in 2018 and finds that 91 paid an effective federal tax rate of 0% or less. Those companies come from a wide range of industries and include the likes of Amazon, Starbucks and Chevron. The new tax law lowered the statutory corporate tax rate to 21%, but the companies in the report paid an average rate of 11.3%. Fifty-seven companies paid effective rates above 21%. The report was first covered by The Washington Post.

The lower average rate means that the federal government brought in about $74 billion less in corporate taxes than if all the companies had paid the statutory rate, according to the report.

Giuliani actually admitted it on a phone call.
By Alex Ward

President Donald Trump’s entire impeachment mess began over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s family and Democrats with the help of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. But even as an impeachment vote in the House Judiciary Committee loomed, both men continued to coordinate on Giuliani’s Ukraine efforts on behalf of his powerful client.

Giuliani recently returned from a trip to Kyiv this month in which he interviewed local officials to learn more about Hunter Biden — Joe’s son — and his time on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. He also wanted to prove the conspiracy theory both he and Trump believe — that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

After landing in New York last Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal, the president called his attorney while the plane was still taxiing. “What did you get?” Trump asked, according to the Journal’s Friday interview with Giuliani. “More than you can imagine,” the former New York City mayor replied, noting he would be putting his findings in a 20-page report.

One almost has to respect (while remaining appalled at) how brazen Giuliani’s admission is here. He’s openly telling the Wall Street Journal that his anti-Biden investigation in Ukraine continues, and that Trump is still interested in knowing about it.

Choosing to treat Trump-related cases as normal, even when there are signs of a national emergency, is a choice.
By David A. Graham

At its simplest level, the impeachment of President Donald Trump looks like a collision between the legislative and executive branches of government. In that fight, each side is trying to defend its prerogatives as it sees them: For Congress (or at least the Democratic-led House), this includes the power to appropriate foreign aid, and the power to conduct oversight; for the executive branch, this means the power to make foreign policy as it sees fit, and to protect its internal deliberations.

What is missing from this portrait is the crucial role of the third branch of government, the judiciary, which has powerfully shaped the impeachment process by declining to exercise its prerogatives, rather than defending them. By choosing to treat the current moment as business as usual, federal courts have effectively removed themselves from the process. In effect, that has dictated what arguments can be mounted in the impeachment fight and what witnesses Congress, and the public, can hear—narrowing and obscuring the case against Trump.

None of this absolves Democrats of the decisions they’ve made. The House majority could have chosen to fight in court to compel testimony from current and former administration officials, especially former National Security Adviser John Bolton. Those fights would not have been resolved in time to hold an impeachment vote before Christmas, but that deadline is self-imposed and politically motivated. Democrats could have waited, or they could have pursued the court battle while also charging ahead.

By Thomas Franck

President Donald Trump said Friday that as part of the U.S.-China trade deal, Washington will not charge Beijing with any new tariffs and will slightly reduce existing ones.

He also said that at Beijing’s request, “phase two” talks with China will begin immediately rather than waiting until after the 2020 election.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative confirmed that the U.S. will be maintaining 25% tariffs on approximately $250 billion of Chinese imports while reducing tariffs on $120 billion in products to 7.5%.

In a tweet, the president wrote: “We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China. They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more. The 25% Tariffs will remain as is, with 7 1/2% put on much of the remainder ...

″...The Penalty Tariffs set for December 15th will not be charged because of the fact that we made the deal,” he added. “We will begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election. This is an amazing deal for all. Thank you!”

The House Judiciary Committee voted over Republican objections to advance two articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
By Nicholas Fandos

WASHINGTON — A fiercely divided House Judiciary Committee pushed President Trump to the brink of impeachment on Friday, voting along party lines to approve charges that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress.

After a fractious two-day debate steeped in the Constitution and shaped by the realities of a hyperpartisan era in American politics, the Democratic-controlled committee recommended that the House ratify two articles of impeachment against the 45th president. In back-to-back morning votes, they adopted each charge against Mr. Trump by a margin of 23 to 17 over howls of Republican protest.

The partisan result and the contentious debate that preceded it were harbingers of a historic proceeding and vote on the House floor, expected next week, to impeach Mr. Trump, whose nearly three-year tenure has exacerbated the nation’s political divisions. Mr. Trump, who insists he did nothing wrong, is now only the fourth American president in history to face impeachment by the House of Representatives for “high crimes and misdemeanors” and possible conviction and removal from office by the Senate.

The charges ratified on Friday arise from a House Intelligence Committee investigation that concluded this fall that the president has manipulated his administration to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his political rival, and a theory that Democrats conspired with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. He did so, Democrats allege, using as leverage nearly $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine’s fight against Russia and a coveted White House meeting for its president.

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