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Trump's 'Wall Or Nothing' Strategy May Really Become 'Nothing'

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      Trump's 'Wall Or Nothing' Strategy

      May Really Become 'Nothing'

      Mounting concern he may want the shutdown

      to continue even more than he wants his wall



      By Ray Cunneff

      January 18, 2019


      At this pivotal, perhaps historic, moment in our nation's history, I believe we need to re-examine our assumptions and re-assess our priorities. Because both the legal and political calculus may have dramatically changed for President Donald Trump and we may need to adjust our thinking and our actions accordingly.

      There is mounting concern that, given the latest revelations of perfidy, corruption, and potentially treasonous behavior on the part of the president and his cronies, the shutdown impasse is no longer about a wall, or "barrier", or "steel slats" or even about border and/or national security. It's become about primal survival.

      Barbara Res, former Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization told CNN's Brianna Keilar earlier today that she's never seen him like this, sensing he's like "a cornered animal". She said, “Typically and historically, he always rolled with the punches. He used to say all press is good press. Now I don’t see that. I see him going into a corner, I see him scratching back like a cornered animal. I think he’s afraid.”

      Res speculated that Trump had never encountered a strong 'silk and steel' woman like House Speaker Nancy Peolsi pushing back at him and mocked Trump’s retaliatory cancellation of the Speaker’s military flight to visit our troops in Afghanistan and our NATO allies in Brussels.

      She said, “What’s kind of funny about it is he likes to hit back, where you shoot him with a water pistol and he’ll shoot you back with a Magnum or something.” She added with a laugh, “He likes to hit back ten times harder than he’s been hit or more, and he’s got nothing to hit her back with. This is silly. It looks ridiculous.”

      We know that nothing gets under the president's skin more than ridicule. We also have learned that Trump's obsession with building his medieval behemoth began as a mnemonic device cooked up by dirty-trickster Roger Stone to help keep him on his anti-immigration-message as the primary issue in his campaign. "Trump's wall" morphed from symbolic image to literal concrete when the message resonated powerfully with his roaring, adoring campaign crowds.

      But is the partial government shutdown about a wall anymore? Arguably, whether the shutdown began as an attempt at extortion and hostage-taking of 800,000 federal workers and the overall American economy in order to get a $5.7 billion down payment on his estimated $60 billion 'sea to shiny sea' wall, it has continued for 28 days and who knows how much longer to keep his rabid base and right-wing media pundits satiated.

      But Trump may also feel the continuing shutdown offers him a degree of both distraction and protection amid the stress of his mounting scandals and investigations into himself, his businesses, and his family.

      Today is the day the money runs out for the Mueller Grand Jury and they will have to either continue without compensation or be furloughed.

      This is also the time when the entire judicial system begins to slow and eventually grind to a halt.

      Although the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigations and those of the Southern District of New York appear somewhat insulated at this point, Trump appears to feel he has no incentive to end the shutdown, nor does he care what damage is being done.

      Trump acts only in self-interest. Empathy is not transactional. A "cornered animal" is at its most dangerous. And one of the hallmarks of Trump's psychopathology is vindictiveness.

      On the contrary, Trump may seize upon this moment as an opportunity to further consolidate dictatorial power and muster the darkest forces within his cadre of adherents and sycophants for a last stand, the final 'end times' battle between good and evil, between democracy and tyranny.

      And like all great villains in history and literature, Trump believes he has God and righteousness on his side. Therefore, he will recognize no limits to his vengeance.

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      Ain't That Something?

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      McConnell Blocks Bill To Reopen Most Of Government

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          The Democratic controlled House of Representatives passed a bill that was passed unanimously in the republican controlled Senate BEFORE the government was shut down by Trump. Then Speaker Ryan would not bring this bill before the House for a vote.

          Two people shut the American government down.

          One other person is helping them to keep it shut down.


          https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mcconnell-blocks-bill-to-reopen-most-of-government/ar-BBSozi5?ocid=spartandhp

          Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked legislation on Thursday that would have reopened most of the federal government impacted by the partial shutdown.

          Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tried to get consent to take up a House-passed bill that would reopen all agencies except the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is at the center of the shutdown fight. But McConnell objected.

          The Senate GOP leader didn't explain his objection from the Senate floor but he has warned for weeks that he will not bring up a government funding bill unless it's the product of an agreement between congressional Democratic leadership and President Trump.

          "The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the United States, and our Democratic colleagues," McConnell said Tuesday when he blocked a House bill as well as a piece of legislation to fund DHS through Feb. 8.

          This marks the third time that McConnell has blocked House-passed government funding bills in the past two weeks. Under Senate rules, any senator can ask for consent to vote on or pass a bill, but any senator can object.

          Roughly a quarter of the government has been shut down since Dec. 22, forcing roughly 800,000 federal employees to work without pay or be furloughed.

          Thursday marks the 27th day of the partial shutdown with no obvious path to a quick end to the funding fight.

          Talks between President Trump and congressional Democratic leadership derailed after a White House meeting last week. The president left after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she wouldn't negotiate on the border wall even if the president fully reopened the government.

          Tensions further escalated this week with Pelosi asking to postpone the Jan. 29 State of the Union speech and the president, in retaliation, cancelling a foreign policy trip she had planned.

          Vice President Pence and son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner met with McConnell shortly after the floor drama on Thursday evening, but the GOP leader indicated they had not reached an agreement during their talks.

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              Trump’s Supporters are beginning to notice that who they thought was the ‘greatest dealmaker’ in history is getting ‘crushed’

              Trump: Right now he’s trapped and alone

              :
              Those who have been involved in the resistance have been aware that “the art of the deal” is really “the art of the con;” but Trump supporters, with stars in their eyes, have been sure that he is a king in business, and would benefit them with his masterful “art of the deal." Recently, however, it looks like some of them are beginning to become aware that perhaps the Trump, the GOP, and their favorite entertainment channel, has been giving them erroneous information.

              As the New York Times reported in its massive exposé of the Trump family business going back to the 1960s, Trump was a millionaire before he was out of diapers — and his repeated failures in business were all because of his lack of business acumen. Researchers discovered that had voters known about this, it would have changed the minds of a meaningful percentage of those who voted for Trump.

              Americans have watched him blunder along during this past two years, racking up the Government’s debt, removing policies that were meant to keep Americans healthier, jumping from one poor decision to the next, lying to them at an exorbitant rate, and walking all over the emoluments clauses in the US Constitution.

              . . . his particular expertise has turned out to be completely useless for the presidency. (He may have put it to use collecting illegal emoluments from businessmen seeking favors, but that’s not actually in the job description.) Despite his incessant bragging about nonexistent accomplishments, so far we are seeing failure in the negotiating department of epic proportions.

              Even Trump’s immigration muse, Ann Coulter, said this week that it turns out his negotiating skill was “exaggerated.”
              .
              Image result for pictures of Ann Coulter and Trump.
              Now, with the public’s disapproval of his partial governmental shutdown, and his holding workers hostage in order to ’supposedly’ get money for his wall, the public cannot help but wonder if his recent behavior doesn't look more like a school yard bully trying to best those he has been unable to force into giving him their lunch money.

              Trump doesn’t seem to realize that demanding what he wants and then getting up and saying “bye-bye” when the other side doesn’t immediately agree isn’t actually negotiating. He’s shown more than once that his word is no good so nobody can trust him.
              He’s shown more than once that his word is no good so nobody can trust him. Last year he agreed to a complex and difficult immigration deal in which both sides were able to win some priorities. He not only backed out after having agreed, he did it in a rude and dismissive fashion. This year he signed off on a Republican continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown and then cowered in the face of right-wing media commentators like Coulter, reversing himself at the last minute. How do you make a deal with someone like this?
              It’s obvious that at this point, for Trump, it’s as much about beating Nancy Pelosi as it is building the wall. He is outmatched there,

              Now, with reports that Cohen has stated that Trump instructed him to lie to Congress, the American public wanting him to reopen the government as it is hurting not just Federal workers but the entire nation, it looks like his supporters may be having the stars jump from their eyes as Trump is more clearly showing them what he really is now - and has always been. Will Mitch McConnell finally do something about the Trump and his disasters?

              The New York Times reported this week that Trump has taken to whining to Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, “We are getting crushed! Why can’t we get a deal?” It’s obvious he has no plan, no strategy and no idea how to get out of this mess.

              The Democrats can’t give in or this will be the only way he “negotiates” for the rest of his term. That would be a disaster. So, if he refuses to declare his bogus emergency and save face with Ann Coulter, it’s going to be up to Mitch McConnell to bring him the bad news. Ultimately McConnell can call a vote and override Trump’s veto if necessary to get the government open again. So far, McConnell’s been AWOL on the whole thing, but he may have to step up to get the Greatest Negotiator the World Has Ever Known out of his jam — just like Trump’s daddy always did.

              .

              Many believe it is way past time to impeach!

              .

              Portions of the post above have been taken from an article written by

              / https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/trumps-fans-are-s...

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                  This goes too far for me (I'm a Democratic Socialist or social democrat and quite leery of capitalism/Wall St/big banks--but I'm also someone convinced that well-regulated capitalism/free enterprise is an important creative force for progress), but if anyone wants to know what the most anti-neo-liberal left is thinking these days, try this--

                  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan...

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                  Trump Plotting War With Iran?

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                      Pentagon officials ‘unnerved’ after

                      Trump’s national security team

                      keeps asking for plans to

                      attack Iran: CNN

                      President Donald Trump yells at reporters at the White House (Screen cap).

                      By Bred Reed

                      RawStory

                      17 JAN 2019

                      President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior and abrupt flip-flops on national security strategies has led to “frayed nerves” within the United States Department of Defense, according to CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

                      One particularly disturbing trend, claim Starr’s sources, has been a seeming obsession with plans to go to war with Iran.

                      “Pentagon officials have also been unnerved by requests from the White House National Security Council, which continues to ask the Pentagon for options to attack Iran,” Starr writes. “Military planners CNN has spoken to say these requests are concerning since there is no real understanding of how Iran might react — or exactly what military objective the Trump Administration is trying to achieve.”

                      Starr describes anxiety about getting dragged into a war with Iran as “the ultimate worry” among Pentagon officials at the moment.

                      Trump national security adviser John Bolton has long had an obsession with attacking Iran, and he even wrote an editorial for the New York Times arguing that the United States should bomb Iran to make it give up its nuclear program.

                      “The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required,” Bolton wrote in 2015. “Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.”


                      https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/john-bomb...

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                      If And When Trump Is Found To Have Been Working For Russia, What Then?

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                          What if Trump Really is Working for Vladimir Putin?
                          .
                          .

                          The Russia Probe has already found a number of American ‘players' who while aligned with Trump, have been indicted and found guilty of crimes associated with working surreptitiously with Russia during the Trump campaign, and who also have been found to have been involved in subsequent "Trump cover ups."

                          So what about Trump himself? According to recent reports, the FBI suspected that Trump was knowingly working for the Russians when he first fired James Comey. Since then, Trump’s former campaign manager and attorney, Michael Cohen, was found to have made payments in coordination with and at the direction of Trump, that establish Trump as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Cohen case.

                          So that raises questions of Trumps involvement. What if his lies about Russia (nobody in my campaign ever met with a Russian, there is no collusion, I have nothing to do with Russia) are a cover for his remark on Monday in New Orleans: “I never worked for Russia,” and the Mueller probe determines otherwise?

                          .

                          https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/trump-really-work...

                          With Trump having denied Russian contacts and then backtracked from them so many times, the logical question is, what if all this Russia stuff is true? What if the Russians made a deal with Trump to help him get elected? What if all those meetings actually were about “collusion?” What if Trump actually does have the connections he went into such detail to deny — “deals” and “dealings,” and “current pending deals” and “loans?”

                          What if Trump really is working for Vladimir Putin?

                          If he is, that would certainly answer why was he so solicitous of Putin during the campaign, why has he consistently refused to say even one critical thing about Putin, why has he has accepted Putin’s word over that of his own government that the Russians didn’t interfere in the presidential election, and why he stood next to Putin at Helsinki and virtually surrendered his nation to the interests of Russia.

                          But it leaves the question, what hold could Putin possibly have over him?

                          Former United States ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was on MSNBC on Monday night talking about Russia “giving money to Trump in 2008.” “That’s how Putin does business,” McFaul went on to explain. “He gives money to people for free, and then they collect.”

                          Related imageTrump, McFaul, and Putin

                          So if it’s money, that raises even more questions: How long has it been going on? How did it work? Why did it begin in the first place? Was Trump facing bankruptcy and Putin bailed him out, and now Trump owes him?

                          That’s what happened on a smaller scale with Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. He worked for Russian interests for at least a decade in the Ukraine and was lavishly paid for it. Court documents unsealed last summer show that when Manafort’s Russia-connected man Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, Manafort ran short on money, and Putin’s pal Oleg Deripaska loaned him $10 million. The affidavit also showed that it was Deripaska who backed Manafort’s political consulting work in Ukraine from the beginning, in 2005 and 2006.

                          As we now know, Deripaska went to Manafort to collect on his debt during the campaign, asking for “briefings” and eventually being given campaign polling data by the former campaign manager. Does this raise questions about why Trump is now moving to lift sanctions on companies controlled by Deripaska? You bet it does.

                          Three Really Big Questions

                          There are three big questions we don’t have answers for. First, what is Putin’s overall aim? It’s known that he believes the break up of the Soviet Union was “a major geopolitical disaster of the century,” as he told the Russian parliament in a kind of “state of the union” address in 2005. We know he has designs on Ukraine and has already annexed Crimea, which was Ukrainian territory. We know that like every Russian leader before him, he would like to see NATO weakened, if not broken up altogether, and he’d like to see the European Union come apart at the seams.

                          If Putin wants NATO weakened, the New York Times reported yesterday that Trump repeatedly told aides in 2018 that he would like the U.S. to withdraw from the 70-year Atlantic alliance. If he wants more influence in Syria, Trump gave it to him when he recently announced the pullout of American troops.

                          The second question is, what will happen if Trump stops giving Putin what he wants? What will they do to him?

                          Which immediately raises the third question: If Trump is actually working for Russia because Putin in effect owns him, how can he extricate himself? Better still, can he extricate himself? People who cross Vladimir Putin tend not to live long and healthy lives. Could Donald Trump be afraid not just for his fortune, but for the well-being of himself and his family if Putin turns on him?


                          When you start looking for the answers to questions like these, Trump’s lies about Russia appear in an entirely different light. Maybe all those lesser lies – nobody in my campaign ever met with a Russian, there is no collusion, I have nothing to do with Russia – have been in service of the biggest lie of them all, the lie we heard him utter on Monday afternoon on his way to address the farmers in New Orleans. “I never worked for Russia.”

                          Maybe this is what he’s been afraid of all along. After asking us to believe all those other lies he’s had to backtrack on, now he needs us to believe the big one to survive. Maybe he’s fighting hard to stay in office not because he wants to be president so badly, but because he’s afraid of what Vladimir Putin will do to him if he’s ousted. Given Putin’s track record, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. Would you?

                          .

                          The entire story, written by , can be accessed by clicking on the following link:

                          https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/trump-really-work...


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                          What If Trump Really Is Working For Russia?

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                              What if Trump really is

                              working for Russia?

                              What then?

                              Robert Mueller

                              By

                              - COMMENTARY

                              17 JAN 2019

                              According to reports last weekend, the FBI first began to suspect Trump was working for Russia when he fired FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” The New York Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

                              Let’s stop right there and have a look at the operative words in the Times report, “working for Russia.” People who have been following the Trump-Russia story, now more than two years old, have considered a lot of possibilities with Trump and Russia, but it seems from the reaction the Times story produced, whether Trump was actually “working for Russia” hasn’t been one of them for many. The subject of this particular corner of the FBI investigation raises a couple of interesting questions. What did the “work” Trump may have been doing for Russia consist of? Why would an independently wealthy businessman like Trump “work” for a country which has opposed us around the world for so long?

                              From Trump’s reaction to the Times report over the weekend, he appeared to have been unaware that the FBI was exploring the question of whether he worked for Russia. But if you look back at what we might call Trump’s “Russia denials,” especially those he made during the campaign — which were often spontaneous and unprompted by allegations by Democrats or questions from the press — it seems that at least working with Russia was constantly on his mind.

                              As early as July 26, 2016, during his campaign for president, Trump woke up and tweeted, “For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia.” He wasn’t even the Republican nominee yet.

                              On October 10, 2016, during the second presidential debate, Clinton speculated that Trump was always praising Putin “maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons.” Trump quickly fired back: “I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.” Clinton had not raised the question of “loans from Russia.” Trump did.

                              In the third debate on October 20, when Trump said Putin had “no respect” for her or President Obama, Clinton shot back, “Well, that’s because he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.” Trump seemed threatened by the charge. “No puppet. No puppet,” he cried defensively. “You’re the puppet! No, you’re the puppet!”

                              Just a few days later on October 25 at a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump again denied connections to Russia: “You know, every time Russia is brought up, they say, oh, Trump! What do I have to do with it? She always likes to tie me in with Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia, folks. I’ll give you a written statement, I have nothing to do. But they tie me in with Russia, all the time, they tie me into Russia, and they say such bad things about Putin, and then they’re supposed to negotiate with him? Why would he do this?” Trump’s sympathy for Russian President Putin was entirely unprompted. No one was taking Putin’s side in any possible negotiation but Trump.

                              Russia stayed on his mind. On January 11, less than two weeks before he would take the oath of office, Trump woke up and tweeted at 7:31 a.m., seemingly out of the blue: “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

                              Trump had won the election. No one was accusing him of having “deals” or “loans” with Russia. His tweet was entirely unprompted.

                              But having raised the subject in his tweet, Trump was asked at a press conference later the same day if Russia had “leverage” over him. His answer is worth quoting in full: “So I tweeted out that I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. As a real estate developer, I have very, very little debt. I have assets that are — and now people have found out how big the company is, I have very little debt — I have very low debt. But I have no loans with Russia at all. And I thought that was important to put out. I certified that. So I have no deals, I have no loans and I have no dealings. We could make deals in Russia very easily if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict. So I have no loans, no dealings, and no current pending deals.”

                              No one but Trump brought up “debt” the Trump Organization might hold. Again, his specific denials that he had “deals” and “loans” were unprompted.

                              When Trump was interviewed by Lester Holt on May 11, the day after he fired Comey, the coverage focused almost exclusively on his now-famous quote, “I said, this Russia thing, with Trump and Russia, is a made up story.”

                              But without being prompted by Holt, Trump continued with this lengthy denial: “I have nothing to do with Russia. I have no investments in Russia, none whatsoever. I don’t have property in Russia. A lot of people thought I owned office buildings in Moscow. I don’t have property in Russia … I built a great company, but I’m not involved with Russia. I have had dealings with them over the years where I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago. I had the Miss Universe pageant which I owned for quite a while. I had it in Moscow a long time ago, but other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia.”

                              The next day, Trump welcomed Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak into the Oval office. During the meeting, Trump revealed top secret information about ISIS operations in Syria that had been shared with the CIA by Israeli intelligence. Trump, who is known to be impatient with the daily intelligence briefing and often skips it in favor of getting his important intelligence from Fox News, apparently took the time to learn something of value from American intelligence that day. What did he do with it? He revealed his highly classified secrets to the Russians.

                              On July 7, 2017, Trump had a private meeting with Putin at the G20 Summit in Helsinki. Only Trump’s translator was present. It’s now known that on the same day, Trump demanded that his translator turn over to him the notes she took at his meeting with Putin.

                              The next night on Air Force One returning from the G20, Trump dictated the statement about the Trump Tower meeting between his son, son-in-law and campaign chairman and six Russians. The statement denied the meeting had been about the campaign and said it was instead about “adoptions.” It was a lie Trump himself told less than a day after he met privately with Putin.

                              We have listened to Trump’s Russia denials for so long, we’re inured to them. When the investigation of Russian influence in the presidential campaign began, Trump started by denying that anyone on his campaign had ever had any contacts at all with Russians. When that proved to be untrue, he admitted there may have been a few contacts, but they didn’t amount to much. When the meeting with Russians at Trump Tower was revealed, he started denying that any of the meetings with Russians amounted to “collusion.”

                              But Trump’s Russia denials reached an apparent apex on Monday, when he stood on the White House lawn and said several times, “I never worked for Russia.”

                              With Trump having denied Russian contacts and then backtracked from them so many times, the logical question is, what if all this Russia stuff is true? What if the Russians made a deal with Trump to help him get elected? What if all those meetings actually were about “collusion?” What if Trump actually does have the connections he went into such detail to deny — “deals” and “dealings,” and “current pending deals” and “loans?”

                              What if Trump really is working for Vladimir Putin?

                              If he is, that would certainly answer why was he so solicitous of Putin during the campaign, why has he consistently refused to say even one critical thing about Putin, why has he has accepted Putin’s word over that of his own government that the Russians didn’t interfere in the presidential election, and why he stood next to Putin at Helsinki and virtually surrendered his nation to the interests of Russia.

                              But it leaves the question, what hold could Putin possibly have over him?

                              Former United States ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was on MSNBC on Monday night talking about Russia “giving money to Trump in 2008.” “That’s how Putin does business,” McFaul went on to explain. “He gives money to people for free, and then they collect.”

                              So if it’s money, that raises even more questions: How long has it been going on? How did it work? Why did it begin in the first place? Was Trump facing bankruptcy and Putin bailed him out, and now Trump owes him?

                              That’s what happened on a smaller scale with Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. He worked for Russian interests for at least a decade in the Ukraine and was lavishly paid for it. Court documents unsealed last summer show that when Manafort’s Russia-connected man Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, Manafort ran short on money, and Putin’s pal Oleg Deripaska loaned him $10 million. The affidavit also showed that it was Deripaska who backed Manafort’s political consulting work in Ukraine from the beginning, in 2005 and 2006.

                              As we now know, Deripaska went to Manafort to collect on his debt during the campaign, asking for “briefings” and eventually being given campaign polling data by the former campaign manager. Does this raise questions about why Trump is now moving to lift sanctions on companies controlled by Deripaska? You bet it does.

                              There are three big questions we don’t have answers for. First, what is Putin’s overall aim? It’s known that he believes the break up of the Soviet Union was “a major geopolitical disaster of the century,” as he told the Russian parliament in a kind of “state of the union” address in 2005. We know he has designs on Ukraine and has already annexed Crimea, which was Ukrainian territory. We know that like every Russian leader before him, he would like to see NATO weakened, if not broken up altogether, and he’d like to see the European Union come apart at the seams.

                              If Putin wants NATO weakened, the New York Times reported yesterday that Trump repeatedly told aides in 2018 that he would like the U.S. to withdraw from the 70-year Atlantic alliance. If he wants more influence in Syria, Trump gave it to him when he recently announced the pullout of American troops.

                              The second question is, what will happen if Trump stops giving Putin what he wants? What will they do to him?

                              Which immediately raises the third question: If Trump is actually working for Russia because Putin in effect owns him, how can he extricate himself? Better still, can he extricate himself? People who cross Vladimir Putin tend not to live long and healthy lives. Could Donald Trump be afraid not just for his fortune, but for the well-being of himself and his family if Putin turns on him?

                              When you start looking for the answers to questions like these, Trump’s lies about Russia appear in an entirely different light. Maybe all those lesser lies – nobody in my campaign ever met with a Russian, there is no collusion, I have nothing to do with Russia – have been in service of the biggest lie of them all, the lie we heard him utter on Monday afternoon on his way to address the farmers in New Orleans. “I never worked for Russia.”

                              Maybe this is what he’s been afraid of all along. After asking us to believe all those other lies he’s had to backtrack on, now he needs us to believe the big one to survive. Maybe he’s fighting hard to stay in office not because he wants to be president so badly, but because he’s afraid of what Vladimir Putin will do to him if he’s ousted. Given Putin’s track record, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. Would you?

                              Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter.

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                              Democrat House Divided?

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                                  Many Democrats have taken to bashing each other especially since the last election between Bernie and Hillary. On one side we have those calling themselves progressive ultra liberals saying they feel "cheated" by the DNC and how bad Bernie was treated. These Progressive Liberals think the Democrats sold out long ago to lobby and Super PACs, and some have taken that money, yet they have not bent too far in favor of Wall Street. It takes a lot of mega millions to run a successful campaign, and working class can only afford so much in donations, so many simply feel all donations are needed. But do these Dems really vote for Wall Street? In some ways yes, but they are simply doing common sense things. Ever since the Recession and Citizen United decision, it has changed the thinking of millions of people who are right in thinking Wall Street is a little too powerful. They are right of course, yet these same people will be cutting their nose off to spike their face. Because these same people run their lives on CREDIT as does the majority of all the world. Whether it's a debit or credit card, home or car loan, student loan and personal. This is UNFORTUNATELY how the whole world is run. To try and change it all overnight......well would cause a real collapse because it's so entangled into the government and society. Wall Street has us all by the throat! One difference is that those deemed out of touch Corporate Dems, actually are exercising common sense, because they know that we just cannot go out tomorrow and toss big banks, without hurting the country further. If something happens to change, it must be gradual and deliberately done, so as not to crash the country. These out of touch Dems, are the same ones who fought for their civil rights back in the day, women like Nancy Pelosi fought hard for the LGBTQ and clawed her way around the sexist males in Washington, Maxine Waters, Hillary, who fought for equal rights, and many men who did likewise. These people should not be tossed out like yesterdays news, but their wisdom and strength should be honored while taking things into the future. Our old school Democrats as well as some Republicans see a cry among the people who do feel forgotten, those to whom the world is moving to fast before they have a chance to wrap their head around one issue, there is another they don't quite understand and a world telling them they must accept it all RIGHT NO!

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                                  Ann Coulter Warns Donald Trump Over Border Wall

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                                      And of course the Conservatives can't see through what the plans of the Democrats are. Keep the border open so the Democrats can increase the size of their base with new illegal voters from south of the border. I have to agree with Ann in that Trump is dead in the water if he doesn't get the border wall. This is exactly what the Democrats are planning and hoping for.

                                      https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/01/17/ann-co...

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