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Donald J. Trump Is The Greatest Threat To National Security and Our Democracy - Page 1

America has never faced a greater threat to national security than Donald J. Trump. Republicans called out Hillary for her handling of classified material but Trump is far worse than Hillary when it comes to national security. Our Allies cannot trust Trump the president of Untied States not to leak their secrets and expose their assets. Our Allies will not be open to sharing any secrets that could expose assets or methods and that could include secrets that could prevent harm to Americans or American assets.

You cannot blame them nobody who has a brain and sense god gave them trust Trump. Trump disclosed classified information to the Russians in his first 4 months of office. Trump discussed classified information provided by an U.S. ally during an Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, providing sufficient details that could be used by the Russians to deduce the identity of the ally. We cannot trust Trump will not to leak more secrets and possibly expose some of our assets. Trump has discussed sensitive information on unsecured cellphone that Chinese and Russian spies eavesdrop on his calls.

Trump has also tweeted classified photos.  We know what Trump has disclosed in public but we do not know what he has said in private. We do not know what classified secrets Trump may have given to the Putin or others in his private conversations and that should scare the hell out of you. Read below click the links to find out for yourself how great a threat to national security Donald J. Trump is.

Donald J. Trump (aka Don the Con, aka Don the Snake, aka Two face Donnie, aka The Don) is the most serious threat America has ever faced. Trump is attacking the free press, our Justice department our, Intelligence agencies, our Democracy and the rule of law in an attempt to protect himself from prosecution. Trump’s attacks will have long lasting and detrimental effects on America, Americans and Americas standing in the world. Trump praises Putin while attacking Americans, our Justice department our, Intelligence agencies, our Democracy and the rule of law. Trump believes what Putin says over what our Intelligence agencies have said about Russian interference in to ther2016 election. Trump refuses to accept our Intelligence agencies assessment that Russian interfered in the 2016 election.

Donald J. Trump is the greatest threat America has ever faced. Before the election Donald J. Trump claimed the election would be rigged and he claimed if he did not win, it was rigged. Because someone loses and election does not mean it is rigged only someone attempting to steal and election would say that. Donald J. Trump is the one who tried to rig the election first he tried to slow down the mail so that democratic votes would not be counted when that failed he tried to get the courts to overthrow the election and give it to him. When the courts refused to help him with his coup attempt Trump tried to get state governments to overturn the election. When the courts and the states refused to help in his coup attempt he tried to House and Senate members to help in him in his coup attempt. Some in the House and the Senate tried to help in in that coup attempt.

By Brad Reed | Raw Story

The final House Select Committee hearing on the January 6th Capitol riots is due to occur on Thursday, and CNN reports that it will place a heavy emphasis on claiming that the threat to the American public posed by former President Donald Trump is far from over.Specifically, CNN reports that the hearing "will seek to hammer home that former President Donald Trump remains a clear and present danger to democracy, particularly in the context of the upcoming 2024 presidential election." "This is not ancient history we’re talking about, this is a continuing threat,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) told CNN. "I think the single most urgent question is OK, what is the continuing clear and present danger we face now from the forces that Donald Trump unleashed." Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) framed the hearing in a similar manner.

A report from Republican Representative Jim Jordan has revealed transcripts of a former acting CIA Director saying he was "deeply concerned" by former President Donald Trump.

An array of former associates described Trump's treatment of government secrets.
By Katherine Faulders, Mike Levine, and Alexander Mallin

In the summer of 2019, only hours after an Iranian rocket accidentally exploded at one of Iran's own launch sites, senior U.S. officials met with then-president Donald Trump and shared a sharply detailed, highly classified image of the blast's catastrophic aftermath.

The image was captured by a U.S. satellite whose true capabilities were a tightly guarded secret. But Trump wanted to share it with the world -- he thought it was especially "sexy" because it was marked classified, one of his former advisers later recalled to special counsel Jack Smith's investigators, according to sources familiar with the former adviser's statements.

Worried that the image becoming public could hurt national security efforts, intelligence officials urged Trump to hold off until more knowledgeable experts were able to weigh in, the sources said. But less than an hour later, while at least one of those intelligence officials was in another building scrambling to get more information, Trump posted the image to Twitter.

Story by Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump allegedly held onto 70 boxes of classified documents while telling one of his staffers to claim that they were all returned.

In a Thursday filing in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach, the Department of Justice opposed Trump staffer Walt Nauta’s motion to “suppress evidence”.

The prosecutors noted that Mr Nauta “had been a valet in the White House during Trump’s administration” and that he “previously held a high-level security clearance and received training in handling classified documents”.

“During his presidency, Trump used dozens of boxes to accumulate and store records in an informal filing system,” they added. “At the end of his presidency in January 2021, around 85 to 95 of these boxes were removed from the White House and transported to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida, where they were later placed in a storage room.”

Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon joins Nicolle Wallace on Deadline White House with a look at the threat that a second Donald Trump presidency could have on America’s national security, and whether allies would trust the United States to handle classified information.

Opinion by Frank Figliuzzi

We learned Friday that multiple sources had confirmed to CNN that in the final hours of Donald Trump’s term as president, a 10-inch thick binder of unredacted classified U.S. intelligence on Russia went missing. As far as anyone knows, the highly sensitive material is still in the wind. The intelligence community considered the loss significant enough that, a year later, intelligence officials felt it necessary to brief leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the potential compromise.

The mystery around the binder’s whereabouts is yet another reminder of the Trump administration’s dangerous disregard for national security and of the ongoing lack of accountability for the former president’s mishandling of classified documents. The scandal also foretells what we can expect if Trump gets elected.

Trump remains a clear and present danger to the security of our nation for a host of reasons, including his track record on safeguarding America’s secrets. During his tenure, Trump revealed classified data to two top Russian officials visiting the White House. He ignored repeated admonitions to stop using personal, unsecure cellphones that could be easily intercepted by our adversaries. Most infamously, Trump squirreled away over 300 highly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort where members and their guests attended all manner of events.

Story by Julia Shapero

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok claimed on Saturday that the new charges brought against former President Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case highlight “the danger that he poses to national security.” “This indictment just gets much worse for Trump,” Strzok said on MSNBC. “It highlights the danger that he poses to national security, and it really shows what he was doing to try and undermine the judicial process.”

The Justice Department (DOJ) filed a superseding indictment against the former president on Thursday, accusing him of attempting to delete surveillance footage at Mar-a-Lago and adding another Espionage Act count over a military document that he boasted of having at a 2021 meeting. Strzok pointed to the document, which was marked as top secret and not releasable to foreign nationals, in arguing that the former president poses a threat to national security.

Story by By David Cohen

Painting him as a security risk, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday added his voice to those critical of former President Donald Trump for his handling of classified information after his presidency. Esper, who served in Trump's Cabinet, said: "People have described him as a hoarder when it comes to these type of documents. But clearly, it was unauthorized, illegal and dangerous."

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Esper compared Trump's legal case — he was recently indicted on 37 charges related to his post-presidency handling of secret documents — to that of Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guard member accused of posting secret and sensitive military documents on social media. Teixeira was indicted Thursday.

Story by David McAfee

Donald Trump is a danger to every single American citizen because of the way he mishandles classified misinformation, according to former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn.

Horn, who previously wrote an op-ed excoriating her party for its loyalty to Trump, appeared on MSNBC on Saturday. The host was asking Horn about reports that Trump allegedly mishandled classified information while he was president, in addition to after he lost the 2020 election.

"Just how big of a threat of a dangerous that this country?" the host asked. Horn replied: "Well, it's an extraordinary danger," she said, adding that she thinks it's "really important that were very direct and clear that Donald trump is dangerous."

Story by Malik Graystone

Former aide to Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, unveils a jaw-dropping revelation about ex-president Donald Trump’s alleged exhibition of classified documents without proper security clearances. In an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Alex Witt, Grisham divulged a separate incident that sheds light on Trump’s disregard for protocols and respect for classified information. Get ready for an eye-opening account of a dining room spectacle at Mar-a-Lago that exposes Trump’s audacious behavior.

Breaching the Boundaries: Trump’s Reckless Display of Classified Material
Grisham, who served as the Communications Director and Press Secretary for the Trump administration, did not hold back when questioned about Trump’s handling of classified documents. Revealing her personal experience, she recounted witnessing Trump showcasing classified material to individuals at Mar-a-Lago’s dining patio. This shocking display of carelessness raises serious concerns about the ex-president’s commitment to national security.

Story by Colby Hall

Stephanie Grisham revealed that she witnessed her former boss, former President Donald Trump, show classified documents to people at his Florida residence Mar-a-Lago. Grisham served as both Communications Director and Press Secretary under the Trump administration and appeared Saturday on MSNBC’s Alex Witt Reports, and was asked to comment on Trump’s second indictment surrounding his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Witt: Look, you know, Donald Trump, is it plausible Trump was showing classified documents to people in private meetings? Grisham: The short answer is yes. I watched him show documents to people at Mar a Lago on the dining room patio. So he has no respect for classified information. Never did. You know, listening to that exchange every time, it just makes me so angry. He he talks specifically that he should have declassified it, but he didn’t. So there, I think, is proof. I believe also there’s a portion of that audio where he says, you know, this is off the record.

By Morgan Phillips, Politics Reporter and Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com

The FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents from Mar-a-Lago during their raid on Monday, according to a report released Friday. Some of the documents were marked 'top secret' and are meant to be kept in specialized government facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported after seeing a copy of the search inventory. Agents recovered 20 boxes in total from the Florida estate, according to the report, with the rest including handwritten notes, photo binders, the grant of clemency of Roger Stone and a file with 'information on the President of France'. The warrant is believed to have given FBI agents permission to search in Trump's office and all storage areas on the premises, and states four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents were retrieved. Trump's attorneys now also claim former President Trump declassified the documents before he left office. A president has the power to declassify any document, but there is a strict federal procedure for doing so.

In breaching the former president's residency Monday, the FBI was looking for Top Secret and 'compartmented' documents dealing with intelligence 'sources and methods,' government sources told Newsweek on Friday. 'Compartmented' documents would pertain to 'classified information concerning or derived from intelligence sources, methods, or analytical processes, which is required to be handled within formal access control systems established by the Director of National Intelligence.' Only a very small circle of people would be allowed to know what was on such documents, which could mean that a warrant or a receipt would not reveal much information about what was taken. Intelligence sources say that Trump would not have the capability to declassify such documents.

Potential criminal violations could be more severe than simple breach of records law
John Bowden Washington DC

The FBI search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida has left both supporters and critics of the ex-president alike questioning why the Justice Department would take such an unprecedented step. Adding to the speculation is the total silence (so far) from the DOJ as well as the refusal from Mr Trump himself to produce a copy of the warrant and show publicly what the stated reasoning was for the search.

One possibility that has begun to be discussed by analysts familiar with presidential records procedures is the potential that the investigation involves not just a simple breach of the Federal Records Act but is actually focused on an alleged breach of the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law most known for dealing with the theft of information that could harm national security.

While the law typically is thought to involve acts of spying against the United State (hence the name), it also contains one provision that could very well deal with the situation that has arisen at Mr Trump’s resort home: the handling of classified documents related to US defence policy or capabilities, and the punishments for negligent management of such files.


The former president was the most dangerous person in the world when he held power, and he never had respect for the rule of law. This week we have been forcefully reminded that Donald Trump was, and is, a national security risk unlike any the United States has ever faced. The FBI search of Trump’s Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, and the revelations of details of his war with America’s generals as detailed in a preview of a new book from the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser and New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker, underscored yet again that Trump, as president, posed a unique threat. The flaws in his character, his ignorance of and contempt for our laws and institutions, and his dubious loyalties made him the most dangerous and powerful man in the world. And that threat remains, as he seems likely to run for president for a third time. In many ways, it’s even more grave as Trump and his supporters grow increasingly brazen in their embrace of ideas that could render the nation unable to protect itself against him in the future.

by Jordan Williams

A former Trump administration official is calling the Republican Party the “No. 1 national security threat.” Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, made the comment during a Thursday interview on MSNBC’s “The Reid Out.” “I’ve spent my whole career not as a political operative. I’ve never worked on a campaign in my life other than campaigning against Trump. I’m a national security guy. I’ve worked in national security against ISIS, al Qaeda and Russia,” Taylor said. “And the No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 security national security threat to the United States of America,” he said.

Taylor further warned that the House would become a “haunted House” if the GOP regains control of the lower chamber. He added that if Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) became Speaker, it would represent former President “Trump’s hand on that Speaker’s gavel.” “If Kevin McCarthy continues to pay homage to a twice-impeached presidential loser, I think should give all Americans pause and make them worry about the future of this country and national security,” Taylor concluded.

By John Bellinger

In December 2015, I wrote a post for Lawfare entitled “Donald Trump Is a Danger to Our National Security,” in which I argued that Trump not only lacked “the qualifications to be president, he is actually endangering our national security right now by his hate-filled and divisive rhetoric.” I concluded “Donald Trump not only would be a dangerous president, he is making us less safe as a candidate.” At the time, I may have been the first national security official to write publicly that Trump was and would be a threat to the United States. Tragically, more than five years later, Trump is still a danger to our national security.

Eight months after my Lawfare post, in August 2016, I joined with 49 other former Republican administration national security officials to issue a statement arguing that “Trump would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.” We said: “Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.” We concluded that if Trump were elected, “he would be the most reckless President in American history.” My former colleague Bob Blackwill persuaded me to add the statement that Trump’s erratic behavior, impetuousness and lack of self-control were “dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.” At the time, I resisted this statement, which I thought was melodramatic. I could not imagine that any president would brag about the size of his “nuclear button.”

insider@insider.com (John Haltiwanger)

Fomer Defense Secretary Mark Esper in his new memoir depicts former President Donald Trump as a brash, petulant leader consumed by personal vendettas, whose approach to being commander-in-chief posed a national security risk. The book — "A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times" — opens with Esper recounting an Oval Office meeting in which Trump asked why the US military couldn't "just shoot" George Floyd protestors in Washington, DC. "I couldn't believe the president of the United States just suggested the US military shoot our fellow Americans in the streets of the nation's capital," Esper wrote, adding, "The moment was surreal, sitting in front of the Resolute desk, inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red faced and complaining loudly about the protests under way in Washington, DC."

ABC News

George Stephanopoulos interviews Brian Murphy, the former DHS acting under secretary for intelligence, on "This Week." video...

CNN political analyst and renowned Watergate reporter, Carl Bernstein, calls former President Donald Trump "the most evil force in the White House that we have ever seen." video...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) A burst of new disclosures exposing the extraordinary efforts by ex-President Donald Trump to steal power after his election defeat constitute a grave warning about the future and his potential bid to recapture the White House. The audacity of the former President's attempts to subvert the law by weaponizing the Justice Department not only underscores how close the United States came to a full blown constitutional crisis this year. It also emphasizes that any attempt by Trump to use a war chest already worth $100 million to try to recapture the White House in 2024 would represent a mortal threat to democracy and the rule of law from a leader who was undeterred even by his own first impeachment. New revelations emerging from Senate testimony, about a Trump Justice Department loyalist's alleged behind-the-scenes efforts to call into question elections in states the ex-President lost, also render the continued GOP whitewashing of history about Trump's crimes against the Constitution even more blatant and dangerous. more...

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin said Sunday that former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen revealed in testimony this weekend "frightening" information about what had occurred at the Justice Department during the waning days of the Trump administration. "He told us a lot, seven hours of testimony. And I might quickly add: this was done on a bipartisan basis -- Democratic staff and Republican legal staff asking questions during this period of time," Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" of the panel's interview with the former DOJ official. "It really is important that we ask these questions, because what was going on in the Department of Justice was frightening from a constitutional point of view," he added. "To think that (former Attorney General) Bill Barr left, resigned after he announced he didn't see irregularities in the election, and then his replacement was under extraordinary pressure -- the President of the United States, even to the point where they were talking about replacing him, that pressure was on." more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) Donald Trump now has a $100 million weapon to wield against US democracy. The defeated and disgraced ex-President's huge war chest, nearly all amassed within six months of leaving office, was built on his ravenous calls for cash from supporters bought into his delusional lie that the 2020 election was stolen. It is the latest sign, along with trips to win his favor by GOP candidates and his party's incessant efforts to wipe the history of his crimes against the Constitution, that Trump's threat to basic political freedoms is far from over. more...

Trump faces a single charge — "incitement of insurrection" - after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — Poised to impeach, the House sped ahead Monday with plans to oust President Donald Trump from office, warning he is a threat to democracy and pushing the vice president and Cabinet to act even more quickly in an extraordinary effort to remove Trump in the final days of his presidency. Trump faces a single charge -- "incitement of insurrection" - after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating Wednesday.

At the same time, the FBI warned ominously on Monday of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, Jan. 20. In a dark foreshadowing, the Washington Monument was being closed to the public amid the threats of disruption.

It all adds up to stunning final moments for Trump's presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare that he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob that violently ransacked the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. "President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government," reads the four-page impeachment bill. "He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office," it reads. more...

Online extremists started planning the chaos of January 6 months ago.
By Rebecca Heilweil and Shirin Ghaffary

Ali Alexander, a far-right activist and conspiracy theorist, posted a video to YouTube on Christmas Day, urging people to come to Washington, DC, on the day that Congress would finalize Joe Biden’s election to the US presidency. With a triumphant soundtrack, the video features President Trump at a rally declaring, “We will never give in. We will never give up, and we will never back down. We will never ever surrender.” It urges people to register to attend on a website, WildProtest.com, directing them to get to the Capitol building by 1 pm on the day of the event. The website even offered to help people find rides to get there.

This was just one of a slew of efforts from online communities that came together for the insurrection at the United States Capitol on Wednesday that left at least five people dead and many more injured. Many of these groups had been building enthusiasm online for such an event for years. They planned Wednesday’s event on social media and, as it was happening, gleefully livestreamed the destruction.

The events represent a turning point for the nation in its reckoning with the impact of online extremism. While misinformation researchers have warned for years of the growing influence of groups like QAnon, the Proud Boys, and neo-Nazis, Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol was the clearest evidence yet that these movements threaten to destabilize American democracy. more...

Utah members report they are safe amid melee.
By Lee Davidson

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was furious after protesters — fired up by President Donald Trump at a rally saying he was robbed in the elction — stormed the U.S. Capitol and managed to stop the official count of the Electoral College vote,. “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection,” he told New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin after senators arrived at a secure location. Reporter David Freedlander with Politico tweeted that Romney earlier yelled in the Senate chamber, “This is what you’ve gotten” to Ted Cruz and his colleagues who raised objections to the electoral vote counts.

Protesters managed to gain entrance eventually into the Senate chamber, and even pose in senators’ chairs. Television pictures showed protesters firing tear gas, and carrying weapons. Members of Congress were evacuated by police reportedly to secure locations. Sen. Mike Lee urged the Senate to continue the electoral count, and not let protesters stop it. “Congress was elected to govern. We need to get back on the floor and gavel in the Senate as soon as possible,” he tweeted. Lee added, “Whether we get back in the chamber or convene in a different location, the Senate should continue the work of the American people immediately. This outrage cannot be allowed to disrupt that work for a minute longer.” more...

The Kentucky Republican characterized Wednesday’s vote as the most important he’d ever cast in his 36 years in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is leading the charge against President Donald Trump and a dozen Senate Republicans’ efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In a floor speech following the first objection to Arizona’s election results, McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that the effort to object to certifying the Nov. 3 election, if successful, would spur U.S. democracy into a “death spiral.”  “The voters, the courts and the states have spoken,” McConnell said. “If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever.”

The Kentucky Republican characterized Wednesday’s vote as the most important he’d ever cast in his 36 years in the Senate. “I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing,” McConnell said. “I will vote to respect the people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.” McConnell’s remarks come as more than a dozen Senate Republicans are planning to object to the certification of a handful of states, following Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is leading one effort, is calling for the establishment of a ten-day electoral commission to investigate fraud allegations, which he acknowledged Tuesday is “extraordinarily uphill.” more...

The events of the past few weeks suggest the principles animating modern conservative constitutionalism are merely arguments of convenience.
By Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law

There are any number of reasons to criticize the dozens of congressional Republicans who have vowed to object to duly certified slates of presidential electors Wednesday, when Congress meets to ratify President-Elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Among other things, there remains no substantiated evidence that the results in any states were inaccurate. Nor is that for lack of trying; in some states (including Georgia) there have been multiple audits of the final tallies using paper receipts, each of which has confirmed the results. As with any election, there have been infinitesimal discrepancies at the margins, but none of them come close to overcoming Biden's margins of victories in the tipping-point states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and some have only increased his margins.

Rather, the goal seems to be to try to appease and appeal to the president's supporters — to whom no amount of contrary evidence and/or rejections of these claims in court have sufficiently established that 81 million Americans voted for the other guy. In the process, these objections will serve only to perpetuate conspiracy theories and delegitimize the clearly legitimate election of our country's 46th president. Worse still, they may also set the stage for similar machinations four years from now — when they might be sufficient to overturn narrower election results.

Wednesday's antics aren't just dangerous political theater; they are also a betrayal of two of the foundational legal principles conservative Republicans have pushed for decades: The first of these is "originalism" — the theory that any debate over the meaning of specific constitutional provisions should be conclusively resolved by how those provisions would have been understood when they were adopted. The second, related principle is a particular understanding of "federalism" — the division of power between state and federal governments — through which our founding charter preserves the regulatory primacy of states over most topics, including federal elections. more...

*** Trump is still trying to steal the election. Trump lost he should man up get over it, move on and admit he is a sore LOSER. ***

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) Desperate, deluded and dangerous, President Donald Trump drove America deeper into a political abyss on Monday night in his zeal to steal an election he lost and to destroy faith in the democracy that fairly ejected him from office. The President spewed lies, conspiracy theories and nonsensically false claims of vote fraud before an angry crowd in Georgia on a trip scheduled to help two Republicans in toss up run-offs Tuesday set to seal the Senate balance of power. But as usual, and as it has been for the last four years, including during the fast-worsening pandemic that he ignored, the outgoing President's primary concern was himself. "By the way, there is no way we lost Georgia, that was a rigged election," Trump said in the first, inaccurate words out of his mouth after disembarking from his Marine One helicopter, before broadening his disinformation to the November 3 election as a whole.

"When you win in a landslide and they steal it and it's rigged, it is not acceptable," Trump said in an embittered screed, rooted in false claims that he prevailed in an election President-elect Joe Biden won 306-232 in the Electoral College. Though he often wove GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue into his remarks -- and warned of the dangers of a Democratic monopoly of power in Washington if they lost -- the President's appearance was essentially a wild, on-stage prime-time TV version of Saturday's call in which he leaned on Georgia state officials to conjure votes out of thin air in order to discredit Biden's already certified Peach State victory -- a flagrant and possibly unlawful abuse of power. The President's rants on Monday night contrasted sharply with the stunning point-by-point denunciation of his case by a top GOP election official who used facts and evidence to dismiss false claims of electoral corruption. "This is all easily, provably false. Yet the President persists," Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia secretary of state's office, said in a calm, reasoned news conference on Monday. more...

Trump’s effort to interfere with the Electoral College count will fail — this time. But it's dangerous because it provides a blueprint for next time.
Chris Truax

You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. President Donald Trump is sparking the biggest reexamination of the nuts and bolts of our democracy since the Constitutional Convention in 1787. How many of us had contemplated the ins and outs of the Vacancies Act or the proper scope of presidential power during a national emergency before Trump came along? Unfortunately, all this is missing some of the dignity of the original discussion, and we’ve ended up with a sort of tabloid version of The Federalist Papers in which those of us concerned about American institutions don’t so much engage in learned debate as in frantically attempting to head off the next pending scandal.

Which brings us to the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Until a few weeks ago, this was one of the most obscure pieces of legislation on the books. The ECA governs how Electoral College votes are counted. In short, during a joint session of Congress, the vice president opens the envelopes containing each state’s Electoral College votes and hands them to two tellers from the House and two tellers from the Senate who read the votes aloud. Once all the votes have been read, the tellers add them up and announce the result. In 2013, the entire process took 23 minutes. more...

*** Trump is the greatest threat that our country has ever faced. ***

Nicholas Reimann Forbes Staff

President Donald Trump reportedly inquired about an idea raised by his former (and now pardoned) national security adviser, Michael Flynn, that the U.S. military be deployed to overturn the results of the presidential election—a claim shot down by his advisors at a meeting where the president appeared to embrace increasingly fringe notions about his election loss. New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman reported Saturday that the president asked about Flynn’s idea, as senior officials are reportedly becoming very unsettled by Trump’s escalating interest in crackpot plans during his last days in power.

On Thursday, Flynn said that Trump could deploy the military to swing states he lost to President-elect Joe Biden in order to “rerun” the presidential election. During the meeting, Trump also floated naming the conspiracy-theorist attorney Sidney Powell—who has pushed a baseless theory that long-dead Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez rigged voting machines—as special counsel to investigate voter fraud. Axios reported Saturday that even some of Trump’s long-loyal top officials have been dismayed by Trump’s behavior, including his interest in Flynn’s views, with one senior official saying Trump “spends his time talking to conspiracy nuts who openly say declaring martial law is no big deal.” more...

Darla Mercado, CFP®

Republican election officials in Georgia on Sunday continued to rebut Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, as the outgoing president tries to pressure the governor to help overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state. “The president’s statements are false, they’re misinformation,” Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager for Georgia, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning. “They’re stoking anger and fear among his supporters.” “This undermines democracy,” said Sterling, who is a Republican. “We have got to get to a point where responsible people act responsibly.” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger also countered the president’s baseless claims of election fraud on Sunday morning in an interview on “This Week” with ABC. “We’ve never found systemic fraud, not enough to overturn the election,” he said. more...

Analysis: "It's pretty difficult to think over the course of 50-60 days that you can do something constructive — but you can do something that's really destructive."
By Alexander Smith

LONDON — It's not uncommon for outgoing presidents to try to squeeze through foreign policy decisions with the final flourishes of their executive pen. But some observers fear that President Donald Trump — disgruntled, still claiming victory — is actively attempting to tie President-elect Joe Biden's hands and shape America's international outlook for months if not years to come. "It's pretty difficult to think over the course of 50-60 days that you can do something constructive — but you can do something that's really destructive," retired Adm. Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently told NBC's "Meet the Press." Until Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, Trump is well within his rights to use his presidential powers to push his administration's policy goals in places like Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.

While many of Trump’s predecessors have not been shy about pursuing their agendas regardless of whether their successors agree with them, the president's moves have been far more dramatic than the norm, according to some experts. Trump has vowed to keep ratcheting up the pressure on Iran, hitting it with a fresh volley of sanctions and reportedly having to be dissuaded from pursuing military action. If that approach makes it harder for Biden to revive the Iran nuclear deal, some observers believe that the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh makes it more so. Israel, long suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the last decade, has declined to comment on the attack. Like his major ally in the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that the nuclear deal must never be resuscitated. more...

By Tim Fernholz

Amid the foreign policy wreckage president Donald Trump will leave for his successor are a pair of scrapped aircraft that underpinned a treaty designed to lower the chances of nuclear war. Since 2002, the US, Russia, and 32 other countries have allowed each other’s reconnaissance planes to fly into their airspace and snap pictures of the ground to give each party confidence that the other is adhering to arms control rules and not acting belligerently. Trump formally withdrew from the treaty this week after threatening to do so last year.

The Defense Department is taking the additional step of declaring the aging, specially equipped reconnaissance planes used for the mission “excess defense articles” to hand them off to foreign governments in an effort to kill the program for good. The Trump White House objected to Russian non-compliance with certain aspects of the treaty—including denying access to airspace over certain military installations—but many observers see the move as part of a worldview that will not tolerate constraints on US power. European allies and arms control advocates believed that pushing Moscow to adhere to the agreement was a smarter approach than withdrawing altogether. more...

by Will Bunch

OK, so you haven’t seen so many slam dunks since the USA “Dream Team” won the 1992 Olympics, as Team Trump’s ace legal department actually embraces My Cousin Vinny while racking up a courtroom won-loss record that rivals the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s been more than two weeks since the media and all other reputable observers called the 2020 election as a resounding win for Joe Biden, and yet President Donald Trump and his minions continue to press a case for overturning the result that’s melted faster than the stuff running out of Rudy Giuliani’s hair or his wherever.

Yes, it’s so easy to laugh at the ridiculousness of Trump’s scheme — which he telegraphed for months before Election Day — to somehow get judges, or state legislatures, or the Electoral College to anoint him the victor of an election he couldn’t win by getting the most votes, even in the battleground states that handed him the White House in 2016.

The latest proof of the pathetic nature of the president’s plot to allege widespread voter fraud, with zero actual evidence, came Saturday when a Republican, straight-outta-the-Federalist-Society jurist here in Pennsylvania — U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann — dismissed his campaign’s latest election challenge with prejudice,” using words like a “Frankenstein’s monster” and “unhinged” to describe the case argued by Giuliani last week. Yet as that was happening, the Trump campaign was demanding a reality-defying third recount that will surely ratify his loss in Georgia, much like the quadruple-amputated knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail continuing to insist that “it’s only a flesh wound.”

But it’s time now for all the laughter to die in outrage. Because we need to state in the clearest and most unambiguous terms what is happening in America in November 2020: The president of the United States is using the power of his office to try to overturn, by any means necessary, the fair and democratic election that will remove him from office. In a nation that stakes its claim to “exceptionalism” on 44 peaceful transfers of power (despite one that wasn’t) over 231 years, its current leader is attempting a coup. more...

Richard Wolffe

Here are some of the most slimy steps down the slippery slope towards The End of America As We Know It. Donald Trump is the kind of populist who hates the people: specifically, the clear majority of the people who voted him out of office. So he has set about one last gambit – what Dick Cheney liked to call “the last throes” – to steal the election he lost by gumming up the electoral college. He will fail in his crass attempts to corrupt the election, just as he has failed in his crass lawsuits to challenge the vote counts. Just as he has failed in his entire presidency.

But let’s not brush aside this moment because of its grotesque ineptitude and corruption. It’s not just another Trump tantrum. It may not be a coup, but it is an attempt to destroy American democracy forever. So let us count the ways this loser of a president has tried to Trumpify America’s elections. And let us never forget that he did so in cahoots with the formerly Grand Old Party that used to belong to Republicans but now belongs to the Trumpistas.

Here are some of the most slimy steps down the slippery slope towards The End of America As We Know It.
1 The founding myth of election night

It started in the bunker, with a few dozen of his closest cronies, watching the voters overrun every defensive position across a country he thought he knew well. When Trump finally spoke to the cameras in the East Room of the White House on election night, he declared that he was on track to win in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He claimed it would be “nice” to win Arizona, but he didn’t even need it. more...

Austin Sarat and Dennis Aftergut

This has been his plan: fracture democracy’s foundation, create chaos and see where the shards and chips fall. The red light flashing danger to democracy grew more intense on 19 November. We thought it could hardly get worse, with Trump toady Lindsey Graham sticking his nose into Georgia’s business – he asked, per Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensberger, and a witness, about tossing legal ballots. And then the president did him one better.

After calling a member of Wayne county, Michigan’s Board of Elections who had previously voted to certify that county’s pro-Biden vote, he invited Republican Michigan legislators to the White House. The same legislators who, under the Constitution’s article II, could theoretically appoint a slate of Trump electors to Congress on 3 January when the president is formally selected, in total defiance of Michigan’s 140,000 more voters who chose Joe Biden.

This has been the president’s plan all along: if he loses, fracture democracy’s foundation, the vote. Create chaos, as is his wont, and see where the shards and chips fall. Delegitimize the victor to keep Trump the center of attention, to hold his base, dominate and intimidate Republicans everywhere.

The president may be hoping that his desperate, post-election maneuvers will miraculously deliver, and that three battleground state Republican legislatures will send alternate slates. Not impossible. But the odds are somewhere south of cherries across the board on your first pull of the slot-machine arm. more...

And I fear there’s no going back.
By Timothy Egan

Just when we thought we could sleep again. Just when we thought his malevolent reign was over, his poison bottled, that the sun was coming out tomorrow. Just when nearly 80 million Americans could shout the words of Dr. Seuss to Marvin K. Mooney: “Please go now!” Then, this: a shameless attempt to reject the will of hundreds of thousands of voters in the most populous county in Michigan and ultimately hand a state that Joe Biden won by some 157,000 votes over Donald Trump.

And this: In Nevada and Pennsylvania, Trump’s campaign asked courts to thwart the choice of a majority of voters and award their states’ Electoral College votes to the only president in history to lose the popular vote twice. It promised evidence of fraud but produced none. It was a blunt, raw, purely Trumpian move. Try to stop me. And this: Trump has invited Michigan legislators to the White House in a last-ditch — and legally dubious — effort to subvert the election.

What’s unfolding now is an attempted coup by a con. It’s a bigger political scandal than Russian interference four years ago. And yes, it is likely to fail, and the system is likely to prevail. But the American majority cannot rest, nor rely on its sense of decency, until the election hooligans are beaten back. Failing in court, this most authoritarian of presidents is pressuring Little Trumpers everywhere to overturn an election that Trump’s own cybersecurity chief, Christopher Krebs, said was “the most secure in American history.” He’s trying to force canvassers, certifiers, election board referees and state legislators to create enough chaos so that he can steal a win. more...

Opinion by Dana Milbank

So this will be President Trump’s parting gift to the nation: He is deliberately sabotaging the national security of the United States. His refusal to accept the results, even though it wasn’t a particularly close election, has taken an insidious new turn now that his political appointee in charge of authorizing the start of the Biden transition is refusing to give the okay. The delay undercuts all aspects of government’s functioning and leaves the country needlessly vulnerable to security threats.

We’ve seen this before. In 2000, the delayed transition “hampered the new administration in identifying, recruiting, clearing, and obtaining Senate confirmation of key appointees,” the 9/11 Commission concluded. To avoid a possible repeat of such a vulnerability, the commission recommended that “we should minimize as much as possible the disruption of national security policymaking during the change of administrations” so that “transitions can work more effectively and allow new officials to assume their new responsibilities as quickly as possible.” Trump is now actively undermining that recommendation — for no purpose other than ego. It would cost him nothing to begin the transition; in the extremely unlikely event that he is able to overturn the election results in several states and secure a victory, the transition authorization could easily be rescinded. more...

The law requires sitting presidents to preserve all records relating to the performance of their official duties — but it has no real enforcement mechanism.

From tearing up documents and hiding transcripts of calls with foreign leaders to using encrypted messaging apps and personal email accounts for government business, the Trump White House’s skirting of records preservation rules could limit the incoming Biden administration’s visibility into highly sensitive foreign policy and national security secrets.

The mysteries have swirled over the past four years: What was really said during Trump’s many phone calls and one-on-one meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin? What has Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kusher discussed with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman on WhatsApp, where messages can be automatically deleted? Did Trump’s aides memorialize any of the reported conversations he had with U.S. and foreign officials about boosting his business empire?

The Presidential Records Act, which requires a sitting president to preserve and ultimately make public all records relating to the performance of their official duties, was passed 42 years ago in response to President Richard Nixon’s attempts to hide the White House tapes that led to his downfall. The law makes presidential records available to the public via the Freedom of Information Act beginning five years after the end of an administration. But it has no real enforcement mechanism and relies on the president’s good faith compliance, said Kel McClanahan, the executive director of the law firm National Security Counselors.

“Out of respect for the institution and the separation of powers, when Congress passed the PRA, they gave the White House the right to decide what constitutes a presidential record,” McClanahan said. “They never envisioned a president who would come in and just start shredding stuff.” There are some guidelines: The National Archives defines presidential records as any documentary materials “created or received” by the president, their immediate staff, or anyone in the Executive Office of the President “whose function is to advise or assist the President” in the course of carrying out official duties. But it is not clear how much has been preserved given Trump’s habit of ripping up documents — the employees once tasked with taping them back together were summarily fired in 2018 — and the White House’s general paranoia about leaks. more...

The former president says he's troubled by Republicans going along with President Trump's claims. See the interview, Sunday on 60 Minutes.
CBS News

In a new interview with 60 Minutes, former President Barack Obama is commenting on President Donald Trump's unfounded claims of voter fraud. "They appear to be motivated, in part, because the president doesn't like to lose and never admits loss," Mr. Obama told Scott Pelley in a clip from the interview that aired on "CBS Evening News."

Moreover, the former president says members of the president's party who "go along with" his unfounded claims of election fraud put democracy on a dangerous path. "I'm more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humoring him in this fashion," Obama said. "It is one more step in delegitimizing not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that's a dangerous path." more...

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's administration is taking on the characteristics of a tottering regime -- with its loyalty tests, destabilizing attacks on the military chain of command, a deepening bunker mentality and increasingly delusional claims of political victory. In response, a visibly confident President-elect Joe Biden is going out of his way to project calm amid the deepening chaos, even as Trump and senior Republicans still refuse to acknowledge the President's defeat in a stunning break with America's democratic traditions.

Biden is taking calls with leaders of the country's top allies and appearing on camera, which reflects the inevitability of his ascent to power. Meanwhile the President is staying behind closed doors, tweeting in wild block capital letters and unleashing a purge of the Pentagon's civilian leadership in what one current defense official called "dictator moves." And William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense and Republican senator, told CNN's Don Lemon the administration's conduct is "more akin to a dictatorship than a democracy." The President-elect is reassuring the American people with a composure granted by an election win that Trump's threadbare legal cases baselessly alleging massive voter fraud have little chance of overturning the will of the voters. more...

Officials worry that Trump might fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel next.
By Ken Dilanian

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's decision to abruptly fire his defense secretary underscores the national security concerns posed by what is shaping up to be the most volatile and uncertain presidential transition in modern American history, former officials and experts say. The firing of Mark Esper is raising fears that Trump will fire other key national security officials over the next 10 weeks and use his enormous power in the military and intelligence realm to act rashly before he leaves office.

Speculation is rampant inside and outside the government about whether Trump will also remove FBI Director Christopher Wray or CIA Director Gina Haspel, two experienced security hands who have displeased Trump by resisting some of his demands. Even under the best of circumstances, a presidential transition "is a period when we aren't necessarily firing on all cylinders in terms of the people and processes that manage national security issues for the nation, which creates that sense of heightened vulnerability," Nick Rasmussen, a former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, told NBC News. more...

Non-cooperation could slow Joe Biden’s ability to act on coronavirus and reinstatement of environmental regulations
Tom McCarthy

Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his loss in the 2020 election has fed concerns that the presidential transition would be sabotaged, as a Trump appointee refused to sign off on funding for the transition and the Trump campaign announced an expanded legal strategy in a quest to reverse the election result. The Center for Presidential Transition, a nonpartisan advisory board, urged the Trump administration on Sunday to begin the handoff to staff supporting Joe Biden, whose victory continued to grow in magnitude as states completed their ballot counts.

“We urge the Trump administration to immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the presidential transition act,” the transition center said in a letter Sunday. “This was a hard-fought campaign, but history is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors.”

Neither Trump nor his campaign nor political appointees has the power to stop the transition, and there was no sign that the basic steps toward Biden’s installation as president were at risk of interruption. But non-cooperation by the Trump administration in the transition could slow the ability of some agencies to act on directives by Biden in essential areas such as pandemic response and the reinstatement of environmental regulations, protections for migrants and international accords. more...

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