AMERICAblog NewsAMERICAblog News http://americablog.com A great nation deserves the truth // One of America's top progressive sites for news and opinion Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:52:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 White House lied about additional Kushner Russia meetings http://americablog.com/2017/03/white-house-lied-additional-kushner-russia-meetings.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/white-house-lied-additional-kushner-russia-meetings.html#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 16:52:32 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141938 We learned today that Donald Trump’s White House has again lied about yet another staffer meeting with senior Russian officials before Trump took office. This time, it’s Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The New York Times is reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to question Kushner about a secret meeting an associated of Kushner’s had with the Russian ambassador in late December 2016, and then another secret meeting that Kushner had with Sergey N. Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which has been on the US sanctions list since the Russian invasion and annexation of Ukrainian Crimea.

So this would be two additional Russian contacts that the Trump administration has lied about. You’ll recall that Team Trump repeatedly claimed no contacts with the Russians. USA Today counted at least 20 times that Team Trump denied any contacts with the Russians. Now we know that there were a number of such communications, and the list keeps growing.

Among Trump’s contacts who we now know were in touch with the Russians in the year before Trump came to power:

– Roger Stone, ex-Trump campaign staffer and longtime friend.
– Trump himself.
– Carter Page, top Trump foreign policy aide
– JD Gordon, Trump national security aide.
– Jeff Sessions, then GOP senator and now attorney general.
– Michael Flynn, Trump’s then National Security Adviser to be.
– Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top foreign policy adviser.
– Avrahm Berkowitz, White House aide and longtime associate of Jared Kushner.
– Jared Kushner again, with sanctioned Russian bank.

Why the lies? And why the lies still at this late date? The White House was hiding the Kushner meetings up until the NYT asked about them for today’s story. Had the Times not asked, the White House likely wouldn’t have divulged Kushner’s secret meetings with the Russians. Why still be so secretive, especially when the Russia story is now at a fever pitch. The normal thing, the smart thing, to do would be to divulge all Trump staff contact with the Russians in one fell swoop, and be done with it. Instead, Trump is denying all of them, and letting them leak one by one as if he has something to hide.

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Ted Koppel tells Hannity he’s “bad for America” http://americablog.com/2017/03/ted-koppel-tells-hannity-hes-bad-america.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/ted-koppel-tells-hannity-hes-bad-america.html#comments Sun, 26 Mar 2017 19:55:32 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141932 In a video that’s going viral today, former ABC newsman Ted Koppel tells Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he’s “bad for America.”

Koppel is revered in journalistic circles. Very professional, serious, staid, calm, careful, precise. Slow and steady and tenacious. And Hannity was having a really tough time keeping his mouth shut and letting Koppel speak.

Koppel tells Hannity “you have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than fact.” And Koppel is right.

Hannity later tweeted that everyone was taking the segment out of context. The segment is below, it speaks for itself.

ted-koppel

Ted Koppel.

I appeared with Hannity once, on the Paula Zahn show. It was a train wreck. Hannity can’t stop talking. Just like he tried to do with Koppel, as soon as the conversation contradicts anything Hannity believes, he’ll just bully over you and shut you down. He simply wouldn’t let me respond to anything. Even Zahn couldn’t get Hannity to stop — she had to literally scold that man that it was her show and hot his.

It’s something a lot of conservative pundits do — verbal bulldozering — one almost wonders if they’re taught the technique. You have to be very tenacious to get your turn. But Ted Koppel did.

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Obamacare repeal is dead! Resistance is not futile. http://americablog.com/2017/03/obamacare-repeal-dead-resistance-not-futile.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/obamacare-repeal-dead-resistance-not-futile.html#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 20:02:08 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141922 Huge news — Obamacare repeal is DEAD!

The US House just killed the Obamacare repeal bill, called “Repeal and Replace” by the Republicans. The Republicans couldn’t get the vote, so they pulled the bill! (That doesn’t mean they won’t try again in the future, but this is a huge defeat for Trump and the GOP.)

It’s been a tumultuous last few days, but in the end, Donald Trump and Paul Ryan simply couldn’t find the votes needed to gut President Obama’s signature health care program.

I had emailed a number of you in key states last night to make calls to your members of Congress, so thank you to those who did. And thank you as well to all of you who showed up at the various congressional townhall meetings around the country these past few months. Those meetings unnerved the members of Congress — they really don’t like people standing up to them, in anger no less. And you did, and it worked.

(To help celebrate, I’m selling “Resistance is not futile” t-shirts — all proceeds benefit AMERICAblog’s work fighting the Trump agenda. You can check out our other shirts here. Our budget is paid for by your contributions. So thanks for your help.)

Which goes to show an important lesson in politics. Resistance is not futile. Even when you think you’re dead in the water, and will never recover — like after the November election — things can turn around before you even know it. Resistance works. Fighting back works. Standing up works.

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act, via Wikimedia Commons

None of this is to suggest that we’ve won the war — we’ve only won the battle. We still have Donald Trump in office. We still have conservative Republicans running the Congress. But you win the war by winning the battles. And this was a huge battle — a battle that was necessary for Trump to give huge tax cuts to the rich — and Donald Trump and the conservative GOP House lost.

And that makes today a good day.

Thank you as always for your ongoing support. I love this work, and it’s so important — now more than ever. So I really appreciate your help. If you can, please support our fundraiser with a generous contribution. And also do check out our t-shirts in our Resistance Shop. We get a great deal on them, with really good margins, so you can resist Trump in style AND help support independent journalism at the same time.

As always, feel free to share this Trump Update with you friends. They can sign up for it here. The more subscribers, the more powerful we are.

Thanks as always, and have a wonderful weekend. You’ve earned it. JOHN

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National Enquirer brands Flynn a “Russian spy” — Trump just threw Flynn under the bus. Why? http://americablog.com/2017/03/national-enquirer-brands-flynn-russian-spy-trump-just-threw-flynn-bus.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/national-enquirer-brands-flynn-russian-spy-trump-just-threw-flynn-bus.html#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:46:53 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141900 Before we begin, don’t tell me the National Enquirer isn’t reputable — that is not the point of this story. The National Enquirer has an umbilical cord tethered to Team Trump, and only writes what Trump wants them to write. So the big question this morning is why Team Trump wants to smear Michael Flynn.

Now, the big news: The National Enquirer is accusing former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn of being a “Russian spy.”

This story is huge, and here’s why.

No one should believe anything the National Enquirer writes. The fact that the National Enquirer says Flynn is a Russian spy likely means Flynn isn’t a Russian spy. But this story matters because the man who runs the National Enquirer, David Pecker,  is a huge longtime friend of Trump. The Enquirer only runs stories that help Trump. And there is no way the Enquirer would run this story unless Team Trump thought this story helped Trump.

So the real question is why the White House thinks it’s to Trump’s advantage to suddenly throw Flynn under the bus. More on that after the images below.

Here are the some images of the Enquirer online. The first doesn’t hint at Flynn. The second show him, the third names him.

Then you get this photo suggesting Flynn might be the guy they’re talking about:

Then the Enquirer pulls no punches — Russian spy!

Even better, it’s “top White House officials” telling the Enquirer that Flynn is a Russian agent. Again, the Enquirer is close to Trump, why would they lie about the White House claiming this story is real unless the White House approved it?

Now there is one odd caveat: Note how the Enquirer says Flynn was “in essence” a Russian spy. They’re hedging a bit. Which might mean this is an inflammatory tease made to look like they’re accusing Flynn of being a Russian agent, only to have the story less salacious. The story isn’t online, so we can’t tell. What we can tell is that the Enquirer clearly wanted to damage Flynn’s reputation.

UPDATE: I’ve got a copy of the Enquirer. There are no caveats. They accuse Flynn of being a spy, and quote a White House official, no less!

 

Now, why would Team Trump do this to Flynn? Because they fear Flynn has become a liability, perhaps by turning state’s evidence against them or because they’ve gotten wind of such damaging information about Flynn that they feel the need to distance themselves, as they did with Manafort last week. This is a real turn of events, as up until a few days ago the White House was defending Flynn big time. They threw Manafort under the bus last week, but not Flynn. So something changed to make them turn on Flynn.

Now, if you really want to go all 007, another reason to sacrifice Flynn might be to save someone else. If there’s a bigger fish who’s been compromised by the Russians, throw the world the smaller fish who may not have even been involved, and hope that their appetite is satiated.

One more possibility: It wasn’t Trump, it was someone in the White House who turned on Flynn and asked the Enquirer to do this. We know Trump considers the Enquirer a reputable news source. If you wanted to convince Trump that Flynn is bad news, you’d go throw a disreputable news source that Trump respects, like the Enquirer, Breitbart or Fox. But this story is even too incendiary for Fox. So you go to the Enquirer. What if Bannon or some other senior official decided that Trump’s defense of Flynn was damaging Trump? You hand the Enquirer a story they can’t refuse, and hope that it sways Trump.

Of course, then you tick off Flynn, so that now Flynn is guaranteed to do whatever he can to save his own behind, including turning on Trump.

Also, keep in mind that all of this is happening as Adam Schiff, the lead Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he’s seen evidence meriting going to a grand jury. Schiff has seen something new, something troubling. What was it? And was it related to Flynn and today’s news?

UPDATE: Then we find out that Trump’s top intelligence ally in the House, Intelligence Committee chair Nunes, just canceled a public hearing about Russia. What is Nunes hiding? Why is he afraid of having a larger public discussion about this issue? And why now? It’s interesting timing that the spam hits the fan this week just as Nunes feels the need to pull all the information in more tightly.

And finally, the “best” spin the White House could come up with is that a Russian mole got inside the White House. What’s the worse spin? What possible story could the White House be trying to hide, protect if they’re using the claim “Trump hired a Russian spy in the White House” as cover?

This is a very strange and very important story. The fact that it’s the Enquirer doesn’t make this story meaningless, it makes this story huge.

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Trump staff might not have been caught in surveillance after all http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-staff-might-not-caught-surveillance.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-staff-might-not-caught-surveillance.html#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:12:09 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141892 GOP House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes admitted today that it’s possible no one working for Donald Trump got caught in the NSA’s surveillance net, contradicting what Nunes told Trump and the American people yesterday.

Yesterday, Nunes was beside himself, in multiple press conferences, and in a meeting with Donald Trump himself, claiming that Trump and his staff may have been spied on by the Obama administration.

Today we learn, not so much.

Yesterday it was claimed that the NSA might have incidentally picked up Trump and his team — no, Nunes said the NSA did pick up Trump and his team — in their legitimate spying on foreigners.

Today Nunes says it’s possible that Trump and his staff were simply mentioned by foreigners under surveillance, and that’s how Trump’s and his staff’s names made it into US intelligence reports.

Heck of a difference there.

More from ABC:

Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes

Based on the limited amount of information provided by Nunes so far, it’s possible that foreign officials were overheard talking about Trump transition team members, one intelligence official speculated, as opposed to transition members participating directly in the communications.

It’s also possible the information now cited by Nunes came from emails –- not phone calls –- intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Overhearing foreigners talking about American citizens also counts as “incidental” surveillance of those Americans — Nunes didn’t bother mentioning that yesterday.

This is a far cry from what Nunes told Trump and the American people yesterday. And in the case of Trump, the damage is done. The president, who is notoriously unfriendly to nuance, interpreted Nunes’ message as meaning the NSA spied on him. Trump, naturally, claimed he was partially vindicated in his false assertion that President Obama “tapped his wires.”

This new revelation likely explains why Nunes apologized to Intelligence Committee members, including Democrats, today for the way he handled things yesterday. Nunes likely was told after the fact that he got it wrong, that perhaps no one was caught in any intelligence net, and that Nunes had effectively set Trump off on another wild goose chase.

Heckuva job, Devin.

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Trump’s disastrous TIME interview http://americablog.com/2017/03/trumps-disastrous-time-interview.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/trumps-disastrous-time-interview.html#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:37:05 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141884 Donald Trump gave an interview yesterday to TIME magazine’s Michael Scherer. And it was quite a doozy.

The interview reinforces every concern about Trump, from the narcissism and insecurity to deceitfulness. It’s worth a read — TIME, thankfully, printed it verbatim, to let it speak for itself.

Among the highlights, Trump defends his false claims about thousands of Muslim New Yorkers celebrating on September 11, about three million undocumented immigrants voting in the election, about Ted Cruz’s father palling around with Lee Harvey Oswald, and about the British government illegally spying on Trump before he came to office.

On those last two points — Cruz and the Brits — Trump is claiming that he was simply quoting a newspaper and a respect newsman on TV. The newspaper was the National Enquirer, and the respected reporter was an uber-conservative commentator on Fox News.

Politifact already fact-checked the interview, and found a host of lies.

Here are a few key snippets:

TIME: But you would agree also that some of the things you have said haven’t been true. You say that Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald.

TRUMP: Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast.

TIME: That gets close to the heart…

Donald Trump and his small hand, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

TRUMP: Why do you say that I have to apologize? I’m just quoting the newspaper, just like I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano, I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap. Now he can now deny it, or whatever he is doing, you know. But I watched Bret Baier, and he used that term. I have a lot of respect for Judge Napolitano, and he said that three sources have told him things that would make me right. I don’t know where he has gone with it since then. But I’m quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.

TIME: But traditionally people in your position in the Oval Office have not said things unless they can verify they are true.

Well, I’m not, well, I think, I’m not saying, I’m quoting, Michael, I’m quoting highly respected people and sources from major television networks.

He’s just quoting. Note how many times above Trump mentions “quoting,” as though that somehow exonerates him from spreading lies.

And here’s Trump citing a whole list of false claims:

TIME: Do you want me to give you a quick overview [of the story]?

TRUMP: Yeah, it’s a cool story. I mean it’s, the concept is right. I predicted a lot of things, Michael. Some things that came to you a little bit later. But, you know, we just rolled out a list. Sweden. I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems. Huma [Abedin] and Anthony [Weiner], you know, what I tweeted about that whole deal, and then it turned out he had it, all of Hillary’s email on his thing. NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that, and I said that the allies must pay. Nobody knew that they weren’t paying. I did. I figured it. Brexit, I was totally right about that. You were over there I think, when I predicted that, right, the day before. Brussels, I said, Brussels is not Brussels. I mean many other things, the election’s rigged against Bernie Sanders. We have a lot of things.

So much of that paragraph is a lie. Trump claimed there was a huge terror attack in Sweden. Lie, no attack. Massive riots with deaths? Lie — there were no deaths from the riot. Huma and Weiner had all of Hillary’s emails? Lie, the investigation found no new emails on Weiner’s computer. NATO doesn’t do terrorism? Lie, NATO rallied to our defense on September 11. They fixed it because Trump complained? Lie, Trump wasn’t president on 9/11. Nobody knew NATO allies were paying their “dues”? Lie, there are no dues. Everyone knew that many of our NATO allies weren’t keeping their promise to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense? Lie, it’s been a big issue for years. Brussels is not Brussels? Who ever knows what that means.

There’s nothing new in the interview in that it simply reinforces what we already know about Trump. Not terribly bright or curious, and loose with facts and truth, quite concerned and insecure about his image and abilities, and never admitting a mistake.

Still, that interview furthers a narrative that Trump is woefully unfit for office.

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Trump Jr. attacks mayor of London after terror attack http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-jr-attacks-mayor-london-afterterror-attack.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-jr-attacks-mayor-london-afterterror-attack.html#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:25:37 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141876 Showing remarkably bad timing, Donald Trump Jr. today attacked the mayor of London following a terror attack in that city today.

Trump Jr. chose the occasion of the deadly attack to chastise the mayor of London, who is Muslim, for the mayor’s views on terror — which Trump Jr. misinterpreted from a six-month old news article.

This continued an ongoing theme in the Trump family of attacking major US allies (but not Russia). Just last week, Donald Trump Sr. held a disastrous meeting with the German chancellor, only to criticize Germany the next day via Twitter for something that wasn’t even true. (Trump thinks Germany and other NATO members owe “dues” to NATO. They do not.)

Also last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer openly accused the British government of illegally spying on Trump during the campaign. That too was untrue.

And now we have Trump’s son criticizing a top US ally’s terrorism strategy on the day that ally is under attack.

Specifically, Trump Jr. was upset about an article from last September in which the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, explained that citizens have to be ever-vigilant because terrorism has become a fact of life in the modern world.

Trump Jr. appears to have misinterpreted the article as Khan being soft on terror.

donald trump jr

Like father like son.

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GOP House chair creates outrageous farce to save Trump, attack Obama http://americablog.com/2017/03/gop-house-chair-creates-outrageous-farce-save-trump-attack-obama.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/gop-house-chair-creates-outrageous-farce-save-trump-attack-obama.html#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:29:25 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141870 House Intelligence Committee chair Devon Nunes, who is a huge Trump ally who helped Trump on his transition, has just gone public with what appears to be blockbuster news: US intelligence picked up communications involving the Trump transition.

While initially wow-worthy, it appears that once again Nunes is providing a distraction for Trump’s disastrous week, rather than doing his job. What Nunes did was outrageous, and it proves once and for all that we need an independent investigation of Trump and Russia.

I’m rushing this out, so please excuse any typos.

What we know

Nunes is all over TV claiming that members of Trump’s transition — and possibly Trump himself, but possibly not (in other words, Nunes doesn’t know) — were caught up in “incidental collection” of ongoing National Security Agency intercepts. Meaning, the US routinely spies on foreigners around the world. While spying on those foreigners, we picked up conversations that members of the Trump transition — i.e., after the election — had with foreigners who we were spying on.

Nunes says that there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the incidental collection itself. The intercepts were legal, and incidental collection happens all the time. (Just to reiterate, incidental collection is when we eavesdrop on a foreigner and an American happens to talk to that foreigner, and we collect the American’s conversation even though we never intended to spy on the American.)

What Nunes claims to be upset about is the inclusion of the names of those incidental Americans in government reports about the wiretaps. Nunes says the names should have been “masked” in the reports, they should have removed the names from the reports, but they didn’t.

But it gets stranger. Nunes found out about this today, and immediately went to tell Trump, even though Nunes is leading the investigation of Trump. Nunes claims that isn’t improper because the new information doesn’t fall under the Russia investigation. Nonetheless, Nunes now says he’s going to include this new information as part of his Russia investigation, even though a minute ago Nunes said it wasn’t a part of it so it wasn’t improper for him to run and brief Trump.

Nunes did not bother to brief the top Democrat on the House Intel Committee, Adam Schiff, making this look all the more partisan.

Why this matters

1. It’s important to recognize that Nunes isn’t claiming that Team Trump was illegally spied on. He’s claiming that their names should not have been included in government documents reporting on the collection.

2. Why is Nunes briefing Trump? Trump has this information via the NSA, which he runs. Nunes says the collection came via the NSA. So why isn’t the NSA director briefing Trump, why is the House Intel chair doing it? If this came from an NSA staffer, why didn’t that staffer report it to the NSA director himself? Is this an effort by Nunes to cast aspersions on the NSA director — Nunes couldn’t trust him to report it to Trump instead?

3. It sure looks like Nunes, who is as partisan as they come, is trying to help Trump by causing a huge distraction in the middle of the worst week in Trump’s presidency. You’ll recall that the House Intel Committee hearing earlier this week wit the FBI Director and the NSA Director was a disaster for Trump. Both men said there was no evidence that Trump had his wires tapped by Obama. And they revealed that there is an ongoing investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Add that to tomorrow’s vote on health care reform repeal, which isn’t going well, and Trump needed a distraction. Nunes just handed it to him.

4. Why didn’t this information come up during Monday’s hearing?

5. Trump said today that he feels partly vindicated by this news — Trump thinks this news helps prove the case that Obama had his “wires tapped.” In fact, it doesn’t. This news shows that perhaps the Trump transition got legally caught up incidentally. That is not “Obama tapping your wires.” But Trump, who isn’t known for nuance, will see it as just that. And that is a disaster for Republicans. Yes, this story will help detract from the bad news of the week. But it will also empower Trump’s worse instincts (which I wrote about earlier today). Trump will be on a renewed tear, convinced that his debunked conspiracies are all true. And that means more crazy tweets, and more crazy attacks from Sean Spicer at the White House podium. None of this is good news for Trump, his administration, the country or our allies.

This is why, in the end, we need an independent investigation of this entire Russia mess. Nunes is far too partisan to do a fair investigation — at the first chance, when it was needed most, Nunes ran to brief the very man he’s investigating. We need someone objective, someone independent, and someone(s) we all can trust.

Add your name — Tell Congress and the White House that we need a special counsel to investigate Trump and Russia.

And there should be no Supreme Court nominations until we get to the bottom of this Russia story.

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WSJ op-ed blasts Trump while Manafort/Russia scandal worsens http://americablog.com/2017/03/wsj-op-ed-blasts-trump-manafortrussia-scandal-worsens.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/wsj-op-ed-blasts-trump-manafortrussia-scandal-worsens.html#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:39:39 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141840 A blistering anti-Trump editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal proves the Resistance is alive and well, and working.

I’d argued early on that the best way to undermine Trump’s presidency was to undermine Trump personally, by targeting his fragile psyche. The more the left can get under Trump’s notoriously thin-skin, the more erratic Trump (who already skirts a fine line in terms of his apparent mental health) would become. And the more erratic Trump becomes, the lower his polls drop, and ultimately the less support for his agenda among Republicans in Congress and the GOP intelligentsia.

What I didn’t realize was how easy it would be to play Trump, and how quickly he would descend into a very public madness.

Which leads us to today’s editorial in the WSJ. Now keep in mind, this is not an opinion piece written by some partisan. This is an editorial from the very-conservative very-Republican Wall Street journal editorial board. It doesn’t get more GOP-pure than these folks. And even they are eviscerating Trump today.

The editorial is behind a paywall, but I can share a bit from the piece, titled “A President’s Credibility”:

Then they discuss Trump’s now-debunked claim that President Obama “tapped his wires”:

Comparing the president to a drunk.

And the final paragraph:

It simply doesn’t get any stronger than that.

Now, what does this mean?

The job is getting to Trump.

Clearly the opposition, and the presidency overall, is unnerving Trump. I suspected all along that Trump never planned on winning the election. The race was simply a way for Trump to yet again get his name in the papers, and hopefully make a few bucks afterwards. Instead, Trump caught the tiger’s tail and now isn’t entirely sure what to do with it.

Biggest licensing deal ever, gone terribly wrong.

Once Trump realized he actually had a chance of winning, he then saw the presidency as his biggest licensing deal ever. Trump has made a lot of money over the years lending his name to other people’s money. The presidency would thus be Trump’s biggest deal yet. As was reported this past summer, Trump planned to have his vice president take charge of domestic and foreign policy, while Trump would stay busy “making American great again.” Trump wanted to be chairman of the board, while Mike Pence dirtied his hands with the day-to-day operations of America Inc.

Sadly for Trump, the presidency doesn’t quite work as hands-off as he’d like. Leading the free world has a funny way of intruding on your daily regimen of 6 hours of TV and weekends playing golf with your rich buddies.

Trump’s authoritarian instincts don’t serve him well in a democracy.

Donald Trump ran for president of the wrong country. While I’m sure a core base of Americans love a fascist, our system of checks and balances does not. And that’s been terribly frustrating to Trump. The Chinese were allowed to send tanks in to crush the democracy uprising in 1989, and Putin gets to even annex his neighbors. So why can’t Trump take a swipe at Muslims? Because democracy.

Trump’s inexperience in politics makes him less effective, and even more frustrated.

Trump got lucky, to be sure — the two-fer combo of FBI Director Comey and Vladimir Putin helped push Trump over the top in November — but even without Trump’s deus ex machina little helpers in Washington and Moscow, Trump did better than someone of his caliber should have. But raw populism, with a touch of fascism, only gets you so far. It’s all well and good for an election, but it can be difficult to run a legislative agenda based on charisma alone. The US government is like a big unruly corporation. If you bring in an outsider to run things, the insiders, who know the rules inside and out, are going to run circles around him. And they are.

Manafort, Manafort, Manafort.

Nothing points out how clearly over-his-head, and out of control, Trump is than the tale of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. Manafort, you’ll recall, was forced to leave the Trump campaign last summer, after increasing reports about his high-paid work for pro-Putin forces in Ukraine.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that during his previous consulting work, Manafort had a $10 million per year contract to help push Putin’s foreign policy in Europe and America.

Spicer’s response: 1) That Manafort guy, never heard of him. 2) Who cares what Manafort did before he joined the campaign.

No, Spicer didn’t actually say he didn’t know Manafort, but he has said for days that Manafort had only a small, short-lived, incidental at best role on the Trump campaign. In fact, Manafort ran the Trump campaign as its chairman.

As for Spicer’s second point, that nobody cares what Manafort did before he joined the Trump campaign — “to dredge up someone’s work from a decade ago,” to quote Spicer — is insane. I can’t imagine hiring a top campaign staffer who ostensibly did work for Vladimir Putin (or in Manafort’s case, to be accurate, worked for a Russian oligarch who was a top friend-of-Putin, in order to push Putin’s foreign policy in Europe and America). It stretches credulity to suggest that a presidential campaign would ever let someone like this work as a top adviser, let alone the man running the entire campaign. And the notion that the campaign wouldn’t want to know that Manafort was palling around with FOPs (friends of Putin) to the tune of $10m per year? Dear lord.

It should be assumed that Spicer, while seemingly channeling Melissa McCarthy, is actually channeling Donald Trump. Trump is clearly demanding that Spicer defend him and his at all costs, to hell with what’s best for truth, adminstration or America. Thus Spicer’s recent defense of Michael Flynn, and now Spicer’s weird claim that Manafort’s previous work promoting Putin’s foreign policy is somehow not relevant.

And all of this comes back to Trump’s temperament. A better politician, a more sane man, would have vetted his campaign staff better, and would have known better how to respond to such controversies now that they’re out of the bag. A lesser man feeds those controversies, and ultimately helps to destroy his own presidency.

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Spicer: You may not be able to keep your doctor under TrumpCare http://americablog.com/2017/03/spicer-wont-promise-can-keep-doctor-trumpcare.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/spicer-wont-promise-can-keep-doctor-trumpcare.html#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:56:33 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141853 White House spokesman Sean Spicer just said that under TrumpCare you won’t necessarily be able to keep your doctor, and he won’t promise it.

Spicer appeared to contradict Donald Trump’s comments earlier today, that one of the problems with ObamaCare was not being able to keep your doctor.

Here’s Trump today: “Keep your doctor, keep your plan — it didn’t work out that way, you don’t get your doctor, you don’t get your plan. So it’s one of the reasons why we’re here today.”

But now, Spicer says, not so much.

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The terrifying, tolerance-promoting “Beauty and the Beast” (fun video) http://americablog.com/2017/03/terrifying-tolerance-promoting-beauty-beast-fun-video.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/terrifying-tolerance-promoting-beauty-beast-fun-video.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:19:30 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141833 For any of you not familiar with Randy Rainbow, the guy is a one-man national treasure.

His videos are original, sassy and hysterical. And they’re always kinda gay.

Well, this time Randy has taken on the controversy over Disney’s new “Beauty and the Beast” having a kinda sorta gay character. (The character is gay, but from the reviews I’ve read, it such a minor part of the movie that you can almost miss it.)

beauty and the beast gay randy rainbow

Anyway, Randy did a great video about it, and got it published in the NYT, which is no small deal.

The video can’t be embedded, so go over to the NYT Web site and check it out. It’s quite the hoot. Enjoy.

I just found a few additional Randy Rainbow vids. Check em out. This first one is perhaps my favorite — it’s amazing:


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No Supreme Court nominations until the Russia investigation is complete http://americablog.com/2017/03/no-supreme-court-nominations-russia-investigation-complete.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/no-supreme-court-nominations-russia-investigation-complete.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:14:41 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141814 Trump ally Devin Nunes says Donald Trump’s administration is now under a “big gray cloud” because of yesterday’s news that the FBI is investigating Trump for possible collusion with the Russians.

Sign the petition at the bottom of this page, add your name — demand no action on Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination until the investigations into Trump’s collusion with the Russians are complete.

And Nunes, the Republican chair of the House Senate Intelligence Committee, is right. A sitting president under FBI investigation for possible espionage with a foreign adversary of the United States — that’s huge and troubling news.

It’s news that should put a hold on that president’s agenda until we get the whole story on just where his true allegiances lie.

For starters, we must not proceed with Neil Gorsuch’s nomination for Supreme Court justice until we get the full story on Donald Trump and his associates.

Gorsuch is Trump’s man, and we need to know whose man Trump is before we let this president make a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Sign the petition on this page, add your name — demand no action on Gorsuch until the investigations into Trump’s collusion with the Russians are completed.

Last year, in an unprecedented move, Republicans refused to let President Obama’s nominee to the court proceed simply because of the uncertainty of an election. This year, we have the uncertainty of possible treason by the commander in chief. It doesn’t get much more uncertain than that.

No less than top Trump sycophant Sean Hannity agrees — you simply cannot permit a president to govern, business as usual, when they are under FBI investigation. Hannity went so far as to call such a situation “a major constitutional crisis.”

And Hannity isn’t alone. There’s White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who made clear last year just how bad a thing it would be were Trump under FBI investigation:

We don’t have to imagine. Trump is.

Then there’s senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, who ran the Trump campaign for a while last year. Even Kellyanne says Trump is per se corrupt as hell.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer agrees that we must wait on any Supreme Court nominations. We waited a year for this nomination — because the Republicans stole the nomination from Merrick Garland last year. If we could wait one year for a legitimate nomination from a president not facing an FBI investigation of his loyalty to flag and country, we can wait a bit longer before dispensing with Neil Gorsuch.

I agree with Chuck Schumer.

I agree with Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

I agree with Kellyanne Conway.

And I agree with Sean Hannity.

We cannot proceed on Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination until the big gray cloud is lifted from the Trump White House.

Add your name, sign the petition, stand up to Trump. And resist, resist, resist.

* * * *

As always, feel free to share this Trump Update with you friends. They can sign up for it here. The more subscribers, the more powerful we are. And if the spirit moves you, you can donate directly to support our independent journalism. And check out our anti-Trump t-shirt shop.

Keep fighting, and be sure to add your name, demanding Trump apologize to President Obama, and our petition calling for a special counsel to launch an independent investigation ofTrump and Russia.

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FBI confirms investigation of Trump over Russia http://americablog.com/2017/03/fbi-confirms-investigation-trump-russia.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/fbi-confirms-investigation-trump-russia.html#comments Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:59:05 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141810 Big news today. FBI Director James Comey revealed at a hearing on Capitol Hill today that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump and his associates for possible collusion with Russia.

It doesn’t get any bigger, or more clear, than that.

This October tweet from Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway has been making the rounds again this morning:

FBI INVESTIGATION STARTED LAST JULY, NO EVIDENCE OBAMA TAPPED TRUMP

Comey, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, also revealed that the investigation started last July, in the middle of the presidential campaign. Many have already noted that while Comey was happy to make public the fact that the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server, the FBI did not reveal until today that they were also investigating Trump and his team for possible treason.

A lot happened during the four-hour hearing. But that was certainly the most explosive reveal. We also learned that the FBI has NO EVIDENCE that President Obama “tapped” Donald Trump’s “wires,” as Trump has been repeatedly claiming. Nonetheless, the White House again today claimed that the allegation is true, and that FBI Director Comey’s denial is not the final word.

Republican members of the Intelligence Committee tried to redirect the focus of the hearing away from Trump’s possible treason, and instead towards “the leaks.” Specifically, the committee members, and Sean Spicer at the White House today, kept coming back to Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisers who was fired, allegedly for lying to VP Pence about his clandestine talks with te Russian ambassador. Since that time, we’ve learned that Flynn was working as a foreign agent for Turkey up until the transition, and that Flynn accepted around $50,000 from various Russian entities, including the Russian government via its propaganda arm. Why this White House, and the GOP House, would want to hang their hat on Michael Flynn is bewildering. Flynn’s stench grows by the day.

There was also a lot of suggestions by Republicans that the media committed crimes by reporting the details of those leaks. American case law suggests otherwise. But regardless, as MSNBC conservative host Joe Scarborough noted today, we just found out that the President of the United States is being investigated for possible treason, and the GOP Congress is more worried about HOW we found out?

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White House tries and fails to spin the hearing their way

Also odd, Sean Spicer was asked today about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, and any contacts Manafort might have had with Russian operatives. Spicer responded by claiming that Manafort had a minor role in the campaign, arguing that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited time.” In fact, Manafort was the chair of the entire campaign. His role was huge. And he was forced out because of revelations about his financial ties to Ukrainian stooges of the Russians. It’s telling that the White House is now trying to minimize the involvement Manafort had with the campaign.

Trump, for his part, tried to spin the hearing as benefiting him — when it most certainly did not. Trump claimed, for example, that the FBI and NSA said today that “Russia did not influence the electoral process.” In fact, what they said at the hearing was they found no evidence that Russia had actually hacked any election machines and physically compromised any ballots. They did not say that Russia’s efforts did not influence the vote. And in fact, responding to the tweet during the hearing, Comey made clear that their investigation did not reach a conclusion on that point. It’s a point a lot of Republicans keep trying to claim, that Comey et. al. have exonerated Russia from actually influencing the result of the election. And that is simply not the case.

Trump’s latest tweetstorm suggests he’s worried

As an aside, it was interesting to see Trump’s tweetstorm this morning. Trump was in fine form, railing about his electoral votes, and denying that he had personally colluded with Russia. Even for Trump, the tweets seemed particularly unhinged today. In particular, Trump’s claim that he personally did not collude with Russia stood out. Why even go there? It was so brazen, so shocking a claim, that for Trump to acknowledge it had an “I’m not a crook” feel to it. If you gotta say it.

I suspect Trump got wind of the testimony Comey and NSA Director Rogers were going to give today, and that they were going to make it clear that Obama did not spy on Trump, in addition to confirming that the FBI was in fact investigating Trump. That double-whammy surely ticked Trump off.

Here were Trump’s morning tweets:

It’s also important to note that the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, did an amazing job, as always, laying out the case against Trump. You can read more about that here.

Trump’s incessant vacations are facing criticism

In other news, the fact that Trump is now taking a vacation every single weekend — he’s had ten vacation so far, while only in office eight weeks — is finally getting the attention of the media. Spicer was asked several times about Trump’s never-ending vacations, which usually take place at Trump’s private resort, Mar-a-Lago. Trump was a huge critic of President Obama’s occasional vacations. It’s been estimated that each trip to Mar-a-Lago costs US taxpayers between $2m and $3m dollars. Trump is racking up a vacation bill far larger than anything Barack Obama ever did. Spicer, when asked about this today, claimed that yes Trump is playing golf a lot — he’s gone 10 times since being president — but it’s the way he plays golf that makes it “work” and not “play.”

As always, feel free to share this Trump Update with you friends. They can sign up for it here. The more subscribers, the more powerful we are. And if the spirit moves you, you can donate directly to support our independent journalism. And check out our anti-Trump t-shirt shop.

Keep fighting, and be sure to add your name, demanding Trump apologize to President Obama, and our petition calling for a special counsel to launch an independent investigation of Trump and Russia.

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Boorish Trump alienates Brits and Germans in one day http://americablog.com/2017/03/boorish-trump-alienates-brits-germans-one-day.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/boorish-trump-alienates-brits-germans-one-day.html#comments Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:33:40 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141788 Donald Trump managed to damage relations today with two of America’s closest and most important allies, the United Kingdom and Germany.

First, came the White House doubling down on its bizarre and unfounded claim yesterday that British intelligence illegally spied on Trump during the campaign, at the request of President Obama.

The British version of the NSA, called GCHQ, issued a rare public statement strongly denying the accusation.

According to the British press, the White House was forced to formally apologize to the Brits last night, with both White House spokesman Sean Spicer and the new National Security Adviser, H. R. McMaster, personally apologizing to the British government officials.

But today, incredibly, Spicer said the White House did not regret publicly accusing the British of a crime based on no evidence whatsoever, and Trump, during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, refused to apologize, claiming he did nothing wrong since he was simply quoting Fox News.

The Brits continue to be unamused:

Trump specifically blamed Fox, telling the press to talk to them if they have problems with the claims being inaccurate. So Fox weighed in, distancing itself from Trump:

Which leads us to the Merkel visit, another disaster for both Trump and America. It’s not entirely clear what happened behind closed doors when the two leaders met this morning. But during the Oval Office photo opportunity, when the leaders are traditionally supposed to shake hands all-smiles and chummy, Trump refused to shake Merkel’s hand, even though she appeared to ask him twice. During the entire photo opp, both leaders looked incredibly uncomfortable and unhappy.

Watch this video of the one-minute appearance. Painful:

Thing got only worse during their joint press conference later in the day. Trump again claimed that President Obama had spied on him, even though that allegation has now been thoroughly debunked, and then Trump joked that he and Merkel had something in common, since President Obama had spied on both of them. Merkel just looked at Trump, dumbfounded, while the room laughed nervously. Trump apparently was unaware that he is now President of the United States, and that he is now in charge of the US intelligence community. And joking about them spying on your guest is hardly appropriate.

Just look at Merkel’s face:

And here’s a slo-mo — look at the disdain in Merkel’s face:

Even for those of us who didn’t vote for Trump, and found him entirely unfit for office, we hoped there was a slight chance that he might grow in office, that he might be forced to show even a scintilla of respect for the office, being humbled by the power of the immense job that has been thrust upon him.

We were wrong.

If you haven’t yet, please sign the petition calling on Donald Trump to apologize to President Obama for his outrageous and unfounded claims that Obama had the British spy on him.

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Trump budget director: It’s “compassionate” to cut Meals on Wheels for elderly, vets http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-budget-director-compassionate-cut-meals-wheels-elderly-vets.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-budget-director-compassionate-cut-meals-wheels-elderly-vets.html#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 23:10:21 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141780 Donald Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney defended Trump’s proposed cuts to Meals on Wheels by arguing that such cuts were actually “compassionate” because it saves money for people who pay for Meals on Wheels out of their taxes.

Of course, the cuts also take food away from the elderly and military veterans. In 2016, Meals on Wheels delivered food to 2.5 million seniors and 500,000 military veterans.

“Resist,” the t-shirt. All proceeds benefit AMERICAblog.

Those funds are now in danger. And Donald Trump thinks this is actually compassion.. for taxpayers.

I am not making this up. There’s video. And it’s bad. First, here’s what Mulvaney said when asked if Trump’s was a “hard-hearted budget”:

Trump budget director Mulvaney: I don’t think so. It’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do to…

Reporter: To cut programs to help the elderly?

Mulvaney: You’re only focus on half of the equation, right? You’re focusing on recipients of the money. We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place. And I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, look, we’re not gonna ask you for your hard-earned money anymore, single mom of two in Detroit, give us your money. We’re not gonna do that anymore, unless we can guarantee to you that that money’s actually being used in a proper function. That is about as compassionate as you can get.

So now Meals on Wheels is not a property run program? Really? And what matters in running Meals on Wheels isn’t feeding the elderly, and veterans, disabled and the poor. No, what matters if cutting taxes for people who can afford 3 meals a day.

Here’s the video.

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Trump: The Brits spied on me for Obama http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-brits-spied-obama.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/trump-brits-spied-obama.html#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 21:01:49 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141774 Just when you thought things could get any worse, the Trump White House today accused the British government of spying on Donald Trump for Barack Obama during the campaign.

This new unfounded allegation from Trump spokesman Sean Spicer quoted Fox News claiming that British intelligence spied on Donald Trump for Obama.

So, of course, just like the first claim that Obama spied on him, Trump is relying on far-right media.

It’s time for Trump to apologize to President Obama

First, here’s Spicer repeating Fox News’ latest unsubstantiated conspiracy theory:

Now check out this quote from the Fox story:

Sources have told me that the British foreign surveillance service, the Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s calls. The NSA has given GCHQ full 24/7 access to its computers, so GCHQ — a foreign intelligence agency that, like the NSA, operates outside our constitutional norms — has the digital versions of all electronic communications made in America in 2016, including Trump’s. So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints.

Thus, when senior American intelligence officials denied that their agencies knew about this, they were probably being truthful. Adding to this ominous scenario is the fact that three days after Trump’s inauguration, the head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, abruptly resigned, stating that he wished to spend more time with his family.

It goes on:

I hope the investigations of Trump’s allegation discover and reveal the truth — whatever it is. But the lesson here is terribly serious.

We face the gravest threat to personal liberty since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 proscribed criticism of the government.

We have an unelected, unnamed, unaccountable elite group in the intelligence community manipulating the president at will and possessing intimate, detailed knowledge about all of us that it can reveal.

Oh please.

It’s no coincidence that the White House is now accusing America’s top ally of spying on Trump on the very day that House and Senate Intel Committee heads have come out and debunked Trump’s “Obama spied on me” fantasy.

One final point. A lot of this sure sounds like details from the MI6 guy’s dossier that Trump called “fake news. Now, that dossier did not say that Obama had the Brits spy on him. It did say that foreign intelligence services had picked up chatter between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officers, or those aligned with Russian intelligence. I’m increasingly wondering if Trump’s claims aren’t mirroring the claims in the dossier. Whether simply because Trump is nuts, or because the dossier is based on more truth than Trump is willing to let on.

Either way, this has all really gone too far. It’s time for Trump to stop with the paranoia, and apologize to President Obama.

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Donald Trump, apologize to Pres. Obama — Add your name http://americablog.com/2017/03/donald-trump-apologize-pres-obama.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/donald-trump-apologize-pres-obama.html#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 18:07:52 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141766 Contrary to Donald Trump’s over-the-top claims, the Senate Intelligence Committee has just concluded that Trump was not wiretapped by President Obama.

As a reporter just said on CNN, “it’s just not okay.”

It’s time for Donald Trump to apologize to President Obama, and to the American people, for his outrageous, unpresidential, and un-American behavior.

UPDATE: The Trump White House today accused British intelligence of spying on Trump on behalf of Obama. Unbelievable.

 

 

Senate Intelligence committee trump wiretap

Please join us in adding your name to the petition demanding that Donald Trump apologize to President Obama and the American people.

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Fox News Poll: Planned Parenthood & Bernie more popular than Trump http://americablog.com/2017/03/fox-news-poll-planned-parenthood-bernie-popular-trump.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/fox-news-poll-planned-parenthood-bernie-popular-trump.html#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:47:06 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141761 A new Fox News poll shows Bernie Sanders and Planned Parenthood are far more popular than Donald Trump.

Sanders has a 61% favorability rating in the Fox poll, Planned Parenthood has 57% favorables, while Trump has only 44%.

GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is the real loser in the poll, with only 20% favorability.

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Paul Ryan asked if he believes Obama tapped Trump: “No” http://americablog.com/2017/03/paul-ryan-asked-believes-obama-tapped-trump-no.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/paul-ryan-asked-believes-obama-tapped-trump-no.html#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 15:03:20 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141754 GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked at a press conference this morning if he believed Donald Trump’s explosive accusation, provided without evidence, that President Obama “tapped his wires.”

Ryan’s answer was quick and definitive: No, we’ve cleared that up, we’ve seen no evidence of that.

We’ve cleared that up? Someone should have a chat with Trump about that.

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GOP Intel Chair Nunes: Obama didn’t wiretap Trump http://americablog.com/2017/03/gop-intel-chair-nunes-obama-didnt-wiretap-trump.html http://americablog.com/2017/03/gop-intel-chair-nunes-obama-didnt-wiretap-trump.html#comments Wed, 15 Mar 2017 15:47:18 +0000 http://americablog.com/?p=141725 Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes just told reporters that if Donald Trump suggested that President Obama wiretapped him, then Trump is “wrong.”

Nunes went on to say that we shouldn’t take Trump literally.

This is the latest fall-out from Trump’s tweets of a few weeks ago, claiming in dramatic terms that Trump had seen definitive proof that President Obama had “tapped his wires.”

Trump did not indicate that he was speaking metaphorically. He meant quite literally that Obama had illegally spied on him.

trump obama wiretap

And now the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who is a pro-Trump sycophant — even Devin Nunes has been forced to say that Trump is wrong.

Nunes’ rebuke of Trump comes on the heels of Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions telling the media that he never gave Trump any indiction that Trump was wiretapped.

This means Trump’s world is shrinking fast. And that even senior members of his own party say we shouldn’t take him at his word. That’s a damning critique of anyone, but especially of the president of the United States.

red-donateWith the election of Donald Trump, AMERICAblog’s independent journalism and activism is more needed than ever.

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