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Trump Kills Graham Effort To End Shutdown

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      ‘Never been more depressed’:

      Trump kills Graham effort

      to end shutdown

      The South Carolina senator and his GOP allies

      had been pushing to reopen the government and

      begin a broad immigration debate in the Senate.

      Drew Angerer/Getty Images

      A group of Republican senators led by South Carolina's Lindsey Graham (left) met with Senate

      Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence to pitch a new immigration proposal.

      By

      POLITICO

      01/10/2019

      President Donald Trump has rejected a plan proposed by a bloc of Senate Republicans who had hoped to break an impasse over the government shutdown, leaving Congress and the White House with little obvious way out of the extended battle over Trump's border wall.

      On the 20th day of the shutdown, the GOP group tried to jump start bipartisan talks before Trump declares a national emergency to get his wall. But the president rejected their idea to allow congressional committees to sort out his border wall request while the government reopened, deeming the idea likely to leave him with nothing to show for the shutdown.

      Vice President Mike Pence and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had been consulting with senators about the matter on Thursday. Pence and Mulvaney took the idea to the president, who shot it down, according to multiple people directly involved in the talks. While the congressional committees could still take up Trump's border wall plan, the president opposes the idea of opening the government before serious wall negotiations have begun, the people said. He told Senate Republicans he believes he is winning the fight and will not sign any stopgap bills at this point.

      "I think we're stuck. I just don't see a pathway forward. I don't see a way forward," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who had been leading the effort. "I have never been more depressed about moving forward than I am right now. I just don’t see a pathway forward."

      “It’s run into some difficulties," conceded Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), another Republican trying to end the stalemate. “It’s very difficult when we’re dealing with people who do not want to budge at all in their positions and that’s the president and Speaker Pelosi. They’re each very dug in on their position and that’s made this very difficult to resolve.”

      Pence told reporters on Thursday afternoon that there must be money for Trump's wall project in an agreement to fund the government: "No wall, no deal," Pence declared.

      After a vote on Thursday afternoon, senators began trickling home with no clear way out of the shutdown, set to become the longest in recent history on Saturday.

      Earlier on Thursday, GOP senators met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pence to pitch their idea: First, the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up legislation meeting the president’s $5.7 billion border wall request. That bill would be open to amendment in the committee and then come to the floor; meanwhile most or all of the shuttered government would be reopened while the Senate begins a broad immigration debate aimed at passing a bipartisan bill.

      The hope was that the long shot effort would end the current dynamic of Trump feuding endlessly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. But Trump is continuing to seek guaranteed wall money, and the senators' idea could have easily reopened the government while a bill funding the wall died in the Senate or the Democratic House.

      As a starting point in the immigration debate, Graham suggested providing temporary protections, renewed every three years, for some young undocumented immigrants and those who came to the country after natural disaster. In exchange, the president would get billions in fencing.

      Democrats would not support the idea, though Graham and his allies argued it would just be a starting point and the Senate would be allowed to work its will and shape the bill to be more amenable to Democrats.

      “It comes from the president, he’s made a proposal. Why don’t we do what the Senate does: Take his proposal, have a hearing on it, evaluate the merits of it and amend it in a fashion consistent with the will of the Senate. How about just going back to the way the place works rather than reinventing the wheel?” said Graham, a close Trump ally.

      It’s not clear if either McConnell or Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) ever weighed in directly on the idea, which would have sent wall funding and immigration bills to the Shelby's spending panel and Graham's Judiciary Committee.

      Graham’s Judiciary Committee would likely take up a piece of an immigration proposal.

      “If President [Barack] Obama sent a letter to the Senate saying we’ve got a problem on the border and I need $7.2 billion, I think either the Appropriations and the Judiciary Committee would take it up promptly and we’d consider it,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a key immigration dealmaker.

      Plus, Democrats were highly skeptical. They all remember the president and his allies ripping up a tentative agreement providing $25 billion in border security in exchange for a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers.

      “You saw what happened last time. Trump backed out,” said Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

      Graham separately has pitched at least one Senate Democrat on a proposal that would deliver about $8 billion in fencing over two years, according to a source familiar with the talks, in exchange for temporary protections for immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protected Status. Those proposals won’t fly with even the most conservative Democrats.

      Deal-seeking Republicans believed their long shot proposal was better than doing nothing.

      “If I didn’t think this was a way out, I wouldn’t be going to this meeting,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) as she walked into McConnell’s office for a meeting with Graham, Shelby, McConnell, Alexander and Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

      But left out were Senate Democrats, who have final say over anything that comes up in the Senate due to their filibuster powers. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he’s open to seeking a compromise with Republicans, though he hasn’t been invited to meetings, and neither has Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Graham’s frequent immigration partner.

      “I don’t know what his approach is… temporary protections for Dreamers for the wall?” Durbin said, chuckling at the idea. “I hope the Republicans will continue their conversations and reach a point where they join us and reopen the government as quickly as possible. And as far as negotiations beyond that, I’m wide open.”

      Caitlin Emma, John Bresnahan, Eliana Johnson and James Arkin contributed to this report.

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          //www.cnbc.com/2019/01/10/ex-trump-lawyer-michael-co...

          Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in February — a month before beginning to serve a three-year prison sentence for a range of crimes which include ones related to Trump.

          Cohen's planned Feb. 7 appearance in an open session of the committee is voluntary.

          He said it will give him the opportunity "to give a full and credible account of the events that have transpired."

          The hearing will come two-and-a-half months months after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about details of an aborted Trump real-estate project in Moscow, Russia.

          Shortly after the Oversight Committee's chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., announced Cohen would testify, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that "it will be necessary, however, for Mr. Cohen to answer questions pertaining to the Russia investigation, and we hope to schedule a closed session before our committee in the near future."

          Last week, the House of Representatives and its committees came under the control of the new Democratic majority, which has vowed to use its power to investigate a range of controversies involving the Republican Trump and his administration.

          Cohen's decision to testify at the Oversight Committee is the latest example of his radical transformation from a hardcore Trump loyalist who once said he would be willing to take "a bullet" for the president, to a harsh critic and significant legal threat to the Trump.

          Cohen, 52, had worked as Trump's lawyer for years when the president was a real-estate developer in New York and star of "The Apprentice" reality television show.

          His association with Trump began unraveling last April after FBI agents raided his office and residences in Manhattan, seizing evidence that led to his guilty pleas to a raft of federal crimes months later.

          Cohen, in his full statement released Thursday by his attorney Lanny Davis, said, "In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7th before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform."

          "I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired," Cohen said.

          Cummings said, "I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily."

          "I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller's office," Cummings said. "The Committee will announce additional information in the coming weeks."

          Cummings noted that earlier this week, he sent sent letters to the White House and the Trump Organization renewing his of four months ago for documents related to "Trump's apparent failure to report debts and payments to Mr. Cohen to silence women alleging extramarital affairs with the President before the election."

          "Those documents are now due on January 22, 2019," Cummings said.

          Cummings last month said he wanted Cohen to testify, predicting that if Cohen did so it would be a "watershed moment" akin to the 1973 testimony by White House counsel John Dean at Watergate hearings that ended up leading to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

          Cohen since last August — even before pleading guilty to criminal charges — has met with investigators from Mueller's office.

          The former FBI Director Mueller is investigating possible collusion by Trump's campaign with Russians who interfered in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by the president. Trump denies any wrongdoing by himself or his campaign.

          Mueller has said that Cohen gave the special counsel's team "information about attempted by other Russian nationals to reach" Trump's presidential campaign as far back as November 2015.

          Cohen also has met with other authorities investigating the president, the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation charity.

          When he was sentenced last month, an emotional Cohen said his "own weakness and a blind loyalty to" Trump had "led me to choose a path of darkness over light."

          "Time and again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds," Cohen said in federal court in Manhattan, where he was ordered to begin serving his 36-month prison stint on March 6.

          He remains free on bail until then.

          Cohen, 52, last August pleaded guilty to eight charges lodged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which included tax crimes, lying to banks and violating campaign finance laws.

          The campaign crimes related to hush-money payments Cohen facilitated for two women — porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal — shortly before the 2016 presidential election to keep them from publicizing their claims of having had affairs with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied he had sex with either woman.

          Cohen said that Trump directed him to have the payments made to Daniels, who was paid by Cohen, and to McDougal, who was paid by Trump-friendly publisher of The National Enquirer.

          The financial crimes related to Cohen's taxi cab medallions business, consulting work and residential mortgages.

          In November, Cohen additionally pleaded guilty to a charge brought by Mueller of lying to Congress in written statements about an unsuccessful effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

          Cohen had falsely claimed that the Moscow project died in early 2016, when in fact the effort was continuing until at least June 2016 — when Trump was on the cusp of locking up the Republican nomination for president.

          Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has said the effort may have actually continued until November 2016 — the month of the presidential election.

          Trump in late November claimed that Cohen was "lying" about him in an effort to "get a reduced sentence."

          "He's a weak person and not a very smart person," Trump said his former attorney.

          Earlier this week, criminal defense lawyers for Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort accidentally disclosed in a court document that Mueller has claimed Manafort lied to the special counsel's office about having shared campaign polling data with an accused Russian spy in 2016.

          At the time that sharing occured, Russia allegedly was engaged in a wide-ranging effort, which included the use of bogus social media accounts, to bolster Trump's candidacy.

          Manafort also had met with that spy in Madrid, and discussed a possible peace plan for Ukraine with him, according to Manafort's lawyers.

          The alleged spy, Konstatin Kilimnik, had worked for Manafort for years.

          Manafort pleaded guilty last year to crimes related to his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, a country that in 2014 had seen its Crimea region annexed by Russia.

          His plea deal in that case required him to cooperate with Mueller's ongoing inquiry, and to not lie.

          Mueller last fall accused Manafort of violating that deal by misleading the special counsel's team.

          Manafort is being held in jail without bail awaiting sentencing.

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          Nancy Pelosi: Trump Meeting Was A Setup

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              Nancy Pelosi suspects Trump meeting was a setup — and asks if Republicans take oath to America or Trump

              Nancy Pelosi speaking with attendees at a Trump Tax Town Hall hosted by Tax March at Events on Jackson in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

              .

              A meeting that lasted only minutes before Trump stomped out is being exposed for what it likely was - a trick to make it look like Trump was a sane person standing up for a delusion: a wall that would forever keep everyone in the USA super safe, while Democrats were just being stubborn. There were no negotiations, no talk, just a do what I want or I’m outta here from Trump.

              .

              House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said in a press conference Thursday that she suspects the meeting with President Donald Trump was probably a set-up.

              Democratic leaders met with the White House Wednesday. The president walked in and asked if Democrats would give him his wall. Pelosi said “no” and Trump admitted he walked out, saying “bye-bye.”

              “I think the meeting was a setup so he could walk out,” Pelosi said.

              The meeting could have been another typical Trump negotiation, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

              In a Wednesday panel discussion, D’Antonio noted that Trump came up with his “walk away” negotiation tactic, but it hasn’t actually worked in the past.

              Pelosi refused to answer what she would do if Trump declared a national emergency. The president seems to want to head in that direction, according to reports prior to his televised address Tuesday. She said that she thinks Trump likes the distraction from having to deal with other issues and prefers to zero in on his campaign issues.

              She closed by saying that Trump is ultimately hurting his own voters by saying that he’ll pull emergency management money from California. The majority of the fires that tore through the state were in rural areas, she said.

              “Do you take an oath to the Constitution or an oath to Donald Trump?” Pelosi asked Republicans.

              “When Democrats took the majority, we promised to listen to good ideas, wherever & whomever they came from. That’s why we voted to pass the GOP language to re-open government that the Senate already passed. But they still they refuse to take ‘yes’ for an answer,” she tweeted after the press conference, hashtagging it #EndTheShutdown.

              https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/nancy-pelosi-susp...
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              Pundit Post

              Trump Family Take-Down "Proof Of Collusion"

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                  Why Donald Trump and his children

                  will be charged with crimes

                  Watch "Proof of Collusion" author Seth Abramson

                  analyze Trump's Russia connections

                  from every angle on SalonTV

                  AFP Photo/TIMOTHY A. CLARY

                  Ivanka Trump was made an unpaid adviser to the US President despite having no experience in elected office or public policy


                  By DEAN OBEIDALLAH

                  SALON

                  JANUARY 9, 2019

                  Much of the media does us a disservice in its coverage of Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and his possible conspiracy with the Russians to help win the 2016 presidential election. What they leave out is the history of Trump’s Russia relations, which is necessary to properly assess the facts and allegations.

                  For example, if you were told that Vladimir Putin’s government and those associated with him offered to help Trump win the 2016 election, you might find it challenging to believe that happened or that Trump would knowingly accept their help. But what if all Americans knew that Trump had been cultivating connections with the Russians since the late 1980's, and that they had been cultivating him as an ally, and possibly even as an asset, for decades? The allegations suddenly go far from far-fetched to very believable.

                  That’s why Seth Abramson’s New York times bestseller “Proof of Collusion: How Donald Trump Betrayed America” is vital to fully understanding the deep relationship between Trump and Russia. I spoke to Abramson recently on “Salon Talks,” a video interview you can watch below.


                  “Proof of Collusion,” which includes 1,600-plus citations and synthesizes hundreds of major media investigative reports on Trump and Russia, outlines how Trump has been traveling to Russia since the late 1980's and how Kremlin-backed talking points became the basis of his first political aspirations.

                  The book also connects the dots on how Trump sought and apparently received funding from Russian banks tied to the Kremlin in the late 1990's and 2000's, when American banks would no longer lend him money. Ivanka Trump famously got a special private tour of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin office in 2006, conducted by Trump’s Russian-born ally Felix Sater. She even sat in Putin’s chair.

                  That’s why when Donald Trump Jr. received an email in June 2016, telling him that Russia’s well-connected Agalarov family wanted to help Trump’s campaign by offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government’s support for his father, his reaction was not one of bewilderment or outrage. He simply wrote, “I love it.”

                  Abramson’s book is a road map that leads to one clear conclusion: Donald Trump and others in his family should be charged with crimes. Without the history that Abramson lays out in great detail, many may not see that or understand why.

                  As far as what happens next in Mueller’s investigation, Abramson shared this. “We should expect that impeachment proceedings will begin against Donald Trump at some point during 2019. We expect impeachment would pass once we have all the evidence that Robert Mueller has, which is much more than even what’s in ‘Proof of Collusion,’” he told me on “Salon Talks.”

                  Abramson continued, “The question would be whether 67 senators would vote to convict. If it’s looking like that’s going to happen, there’s a lot of speculation that Donald Trump would attempt to negotiate his resignation, in exchange for some sort of immunity from prosecution for him and his children. That would be an unprecedented maneuver by federal prosecutors, so I don’t even know if that’s possible.”

                  https://www.salon.com/2017/07/10/now-we-see-collus...

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                  Politics On The Wall

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                      Democrats and progressives like me know the facts on the politics of support for "The Wall," but--apparently--the Trumpettes haven't grasped them. Here's a timely recounting of the facts ("Just the facts, ma'am," as Joe Friday famously said)--

                      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2019/01/10/daily-202-wall-fight-underscores-trump-s-weaknesses/5c36c6361b326b66fc5a1bfc/?

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                      USA State Of The Union 2019

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                          When Trump delivers the 2019 State of The Union Address, will the state of the Union be, "CLOSED" because Trump and his supporters can't get funding for their border wall?


                          https://www.ap.org/live-and-location-services/events/usa-state-of-the-union-2019

                          President Donald Trump will give his State of the Union address on 29 January 2019.


                          The White House says President Donald Trump has accepted newly sworn-in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's invitation to address a joint session of Congress.

                          It will be President Trump's second State of the Union address where he will lay out his agenda for his third year in office.

                          As the continued standoff about border wall funding goes on, it's possible that Trump could deliver his address while the government remains partially shut down.

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