Mick Mulvaney Confesses OMB and DOD Are Withholding Evidence of a Crime from Congress

Amid the tsunami of alarming news Mick Mulvaney made at today’s press conference (Trump is holding the G-7 at Doral next year, he likely will invite Putin, Trump did engage in a quid pro quo with Volodymyr Zelensky on his July 25 call), one of the more important admissions got missed.

Mick Mulvaney admitted that the White House would have been breaking the law by withholding Ukrainian security funds because it did not have a “really really good reason not to do it.”

By the way, there was a report that we were worried that the money, that if we didn’t pay out the money it would be illegal. It would be unlawful. That is one of those things that has a little shred of truth in it, that makes it look a lot worse than it really is. We were concerned about — over at OMB, about an impoundment. And I know I’ve just put half you folks to bed, but there’s a, the Budget Control Act, Impound — the Budget Control Impoundment Act of 1974 says that if Congress appropriates money you have to spend it. At least, that’s how it’s interpreted by some folks. And we knew that that money either had to go out the door by the end of September, or we had to have a really really good reason not to do it. And that was the legality of the issue.

He’s referring, presumably, to a WSJ report that OMB — the agency Mulvaney is still officially in charge of — put a political appointee in charge of withholding duly appropriated security funds for Ukraine so that President Trump could extort concessions from Ukraine.

The White House gave a politically appointed official the authority to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds, according to people familiar with the matter, a shift that House Democrats are probing in their impeachment inquiry.

President Trump’s order to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in mid-July is at the center of House Democratic efforts to investigate allegations that Mr. Trump used U.S. foreign policy powers to benefit himself politically.


The president has the authority to delay the release of money in certain instances, according to the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan research agency, including if there has been an unexpected change in circumstances for the program. But without being provided explanation or justification about why the administration was delaying the aid, some career officials at the Office of Management and Budget became worried they didn’t have the legal authority to hold up the funds, according to the people familiar.

While career civil servants put an initial hold on the aid, Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs in OMB, was given the authority for continuing to keep the aid on hold after the career staff began raising their concerns to political officials at OMB, according to the people familiar with the matter. Mr. Duffey also began overseeing the process for approving and releasing funds, called apportionment, for other foreign aid and defense accounts, according to a public document indicating the change.

As noted by Mulvaney today, a law passed in the wake of Richard Nixon playing games with appropriations requires that if you withhold duly appropriated funds, you explain to Congress why you’re doing so, a decision that Congress then gets to veto simply by refusing to approve of the decision. The law makes it clear that the President can’t simply ignore the will of Congress on appropriations.

And yet, that’s what Trump did for the entirety of the summer.

Worse, in his press conference today, Mulvaney admitted that Trump didn’t have a “really really good reason not to” release the funds. Rather, he had a really bad reason: he was trying to extort a quid pro quo.

And that’s why the decision — reported in ho hum fashion on Tuesday as if it were just another case of the Administration refusing Congressional subpoenas — that OMB and DOD would not respond to subpoenas is actually really important.

The subpoena to those agencies lays out some of the evidence that Trump withheld the funds after DOD cleared them. Then it lays out the evidence that Trump was defying bipartisan Congressional will in doing so.

As you are aware, the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 authorizes the President to withhold the obligation of funds only “(1) to provide for contingencies; (2) to achieve savings made possible by or through changes in requirements or greater efficiency of operations; or (3) as specifically provided by law.” The President is required to submit a special message to Congress with information about the proposed deferral of funds.

On August 30, 2019, Chairman Adam Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry of the House Committee on Armed Services wrote a letter to Mr. Mulvaney requesting information why military assistance to Ukraine was being withheld and when it would be released. They wrote: “This funding is critical to the accomplishment of U.S. national security objectives in Europe.”

On September 3, 2019, a bipartisan group of Senators–including Rob Portman, Jeanne Shaheen, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, and Ron Johnson–wore a letter requesting that OMB release the military assistance to Ukraine that the Trump Administration was withholding:

The funds designated for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative are vital to the viability of the Ukrainian military. It has helped Ukraine develop the independent military capabilities and skills necessary to fend off the Kremlin’s continued onslaughts within its territory. In fact, Ukraine continues to fight daily on its eastern border against Russia-backed separatists in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, and over 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have lost their lives in this war. U.S.-funded security assistance has already helped turn the tide in this conflict, and it is necessary to ensure the protection of the sovereign territory of this young country, going forward.

On September 5, 2019, Chairman Eliot L. Engel and Ranking Member Michael McCaul of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs wrote a letter to OMB urging the Trump Administration to lift its hold on security funds to support Ukraine, writing: “These funds, which were appropriated by Congress as Foreign Military Financing and as part of the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and signed into law by the President, are essential to advancing U.S. national security interests.”

On September 9, 2019, the Committees on Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight wrote to the White House requesting documents related to “the actual or potential suspension of security assistance to Ukraine.” The White House never responded to this request. However, two days later, on September 11, 2019, the White House released its hold on the military assistance to Ukraine.

On September 24, 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that, although he was “very actively involved in advocating the aid,” he “was not given an explanation” about why it was being withheld, even though he talked to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. He stated: “I have no idea what precipitated the delay.”

The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the Committees to examine the sequences of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression.

That’s the subpoena that Mulvaney’s agency and DOD (the latter, after initially saying it would cooperate) are defying. It’s a subpoena that goes to the zenith of Congress’ authority, whether it is issued within or outside of an impeachment inquiry. But within an impeachment inquiry, it illustrates that on one issue of fact at the core of the investigation, there is bipartisan agreement that the White House was in the wrong.

And today, Mulvaney admitted that the White House did not have a very very good reason to withhold those funds, even while confirming that Trump was withholding the funds, in part, to extort a quid pro quo.

Even if the White House had a very very good reason, the law obliges the White House to explain to Congress why it blew off Congress’ power of the purse. The White House didn’t do it in real time — not even to Mitch McConnell. And the White House is refusing to do it now.

Update: Jack Goldsmith did a review of this issue in Lawfare today, but before the Mulvaney comments.

Update: Lisa Murkowski complained about this issue to Tim Mak today.

160 replies
  1. Teddy says:

    The Impoundment Act of 1974! How incredibly exciting it is to see that old chestnut come around again. I wrote my AmCiv senior thesis on it, and then went on to advise at HUD how to get around it, using Jimmy Carter’s Zero Based Budgeting requirements for the 1977 budget cycle.

    It is SO nice to see one’s work rewarded by having it revisited by a moron like Mick. Having this complex mechanism in his hands is like Ambassador Wendy Sherman must feel when Trump goes to the Koreas: “Omg, that’s incredibly fragile, are you sure you understand the mechanism? It’s very delicate–Oh, never mind, you’ve smashed it to smithereens and are now taking a victory lap.”

  2. Rugger9 says:

    Add it to the impeachment list of laws not faithfully executed. Then file a case to get a writ of mandamus to direct the Palace to comply. Even if it fails due to hackery, that will make it easier to impeach and remove those judges later.

    Like many of the other issues (i.e. the tax records), it is unambiguous black-letter law and so “interpretation” would be limited.

  3. Robert Britton says:

    Somebody please let me know when our “republic” becomes a “Nation of Laws” again and starts putting the powerful behind bars.

    Get caught with a dime bag of weed? Go to jail for sixty years.

    Commit sedition, treason, blatant fraud and criminality in the WH…nothing to see here.

    I’ve never been more disgusted with America and Americans and their acceptance of the blatant criminality by Trump, his Administration, and the GOP.

    Where are the pitchforks? Where are the torches? Where are any patriotic Americans rising up to oust this shit-bag, rat-effing Mob Boss and his Empire of Russian Stooges from our once hallowed halls?

    • P J Evans says:


      (sorry for yelling, but I’m tired of people ignoring what’s actually going on in favor of some talking point they’ve been fed.)

      • Robert Britton says:

        I SEE THEM THE FUCK WRITING STRONGLY WORDED LETTERS WHILE GOING ON SUMMER/RASHASHANA BREAKS! That’s what I WTF SEE THEM DOING, along with playing WORD GAMES about whether this is non-impeachment, impeachment “inquiry” and pulling the bullshit of saying they are passing all kinds of legislation in the house as if that’s some friggin VICTORY, knowing it’s D.O.A. in the Senate.



        • Robert Britton says:

          I’m sorry for losing my composure.

          I am so beyond the point of OUTRAGE and now I’m into madness and near hysteria.

          This is sheer madness what is taking place within our borders, and I just think it’s high-past time we all got off our asses by the millions and marching down to 1600 PA.

          My apologies. Just lost control.

        • Jim White says:

          Worth noting here that I have my fork in my Twitter avatar.

          Granted, it’s a manure fork. And I use the real one every day to clean up after our horses. But at least some of what we do here is to dig through manure as well, trying to clean things up.

        • Tracy Lynn says:

          Sooo… They don’t use pitchforks, but people who are trying their best to make a difference is Never Again Action (they have a website by the same name). They are sounding the alarm that never again is now. They probably could use people of like mind to get out sans pitchforks and take action to shut down ICE. For the record, I am not Jewish, nor have I joined in their actions. But I believe that Never Again is now, because this time it’s Latinos they are coming for, but we’re none of us safe.

        • Xboxershorts says:

          I Forgive you. We all find ourselves there.

          But the reality is this:

          If we truly desire to be a nation of laws, the best pitchfork available to us is at the ballot box.
          And we sent a very strong message to Washington DC and the Republican party in November 2018.

          IMHO, You would be mistaken to assume the Republicans didn’t hear that message. Because, unfortunately, they have doubled down on the tools they use to attain and retain power. Purging of Voter Rolls, Blatant Character assassination, a scrambling by their dedicated Media network to repaint every insult to the law as if it’s either normal or “The Dems Do it so …”

          Which means they haven’t learned a thing. The entrenched Billionaire Donor class that wants 1 party Glibertarian rule via Republicans is going to put the disenfranchisement campaign on steroids in 2020 and we better damn well be ready to overwhelm there efforts at the ballot box. Otherwise, we will find ourselves with no other recourse save Ptchforks and Torches.

          I pray it doesn’t come to that, it would mark the death of this republic.

        • Vicks says:

          I am nowhere near as learn-ed and as experienced as so many others on this site but by the time I passed 8th grade civics I KNEW that the vote of each and every American is a sacred..
          Overturning the results of ANY election, especially the for leader of our country using the pitchfork and torch strategy, no matter how tempting would do nothing except offer an alternative tragic ending to our land of the free and our home of the brave.
          IMHO it is painfully hard to watch, but we are governed by a constitution and the good guys, confident they have the law on their side, are doing it by the book.

        • SomeGuyInMaine says:

          Impeachment is NOT ‘overturning an election.’

          There is no impeachment path that puts Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in office. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

          Stop using that phrase.

          Impeachment the THE constitutional process of this democratic republic for removing an official that by their actions are no longer fit for office (high crimes and misdemeanors). When so removed, there is a prescribed constitutional process for replacing an impeached official.

          Is NOT overturning anything.

        • P J Evans says:

          She was saying we don’t go out with pitchforks and torches and overthrow the government. Instead we impeach the mofos, because that’s how the system is supposed to work.
          Read carefully.

        • Vicks says:

          Thanks for the support, but I DID use a loaded word.
          I would like to challenge this particular bandwagon of nit pickers (it’s not just someguyinmaine) to take a minute to review the definition of the word overturn.
          tip (something) over so that it is on its side or upside down.
          “the crowd proceeded to overturn cars and set them on fire”
          2. abolish, invalidate, or reverse (a previous system, decision, situation, etc.).
          When a court’s decision is “overturned” a new trial is ordered.
          With the exception of “reverse” none of these definitions could possibly be used as an argument that would make “overturning” an election mean the candidate who came in second gets to be our new president.

        • Vicks says:

          My point is/was
          IF EVERY citizens vote is to be heard, when congress starts making moves to OVERTURN the results of an election they are in effect using their power to:
          abolish, invalidate, or reverse
          the votes and the voice of the people.
          It’s a big f’ing deal, and if the good guys are going to win they have to be impeccable

        • P J Evans says:

          Impeachment shouldn’t be used for that, though. It’s for dealing with “high crimes and misdemeanors” – which this maladministration has in spades (and also in hearts, diamonds, and clubs). If we can’t impeach the mofos, then we don’t have any remedies at all.

        • bmaz says:

          Vicks, this is such total and complete garbage, it is sickening. Complete bullshit. It is NOT “reversing”, “cancelling” or any of those other items. It is the Constitutional remedy appropriate for removal of a malefactor from governance. Period. That is all. Clinton and Kaine do not assume office if Trump is impeached. For the love of fucking god, do not pull this Fox News/Trump talking point here. People here are smarter than that, and you should be too.

        • vicks says:

          Ah jeez here we go.
          What exactly is “sickening”?
          Have the b’s to spell it out when you troll me.
          From my comment:
          “With the exception of “reverse” none of these definitions could possibly be used as an argument that would make “overturning” an election mean the candidate who came in second gets to be our new president”

          How exactly were you able to take that and twist it into:
          “Clinton and Kaine do not assume office if Trump is impeached. For the love of fucking god, do not pull this Fox News/Trump talking point here. People here are smarter than that, and you should be too.”
          I understand your role as guard dawg for this site, but how bout you make sure it’s not just the wind blowing before you go into attack mode?

        • bmaz says:

          Listen, don’t get fucking pissy with me. I am not trolling you, and it is asinine to claim that I am. Here is your original comment, in full, that I responded to after Earl flagged it:

          My point is/was
          IF EVERY citizens vote is to be heard, when congress starts making moves to OVERTURN the results of an election they are in effect using their power to:
          abolish, invalidate, or reverse
          the votes and the voice of the people.
          It’s a big f’ing deal, and if the good guys are going to win they have to be impeccable.

          That is straight up Fox News/Trumpian talking point nonsense. Maybe you should “have the balls” to admit it. You have any more questions, “Vicks”?

        • Vicks says:

          Actually that’s not my original comment as you claim it’s my third in a short period of time on same the topic and your cut and paste changes the context and misses the point I was making.
          I think we all understand impeachment is the remedy for a leader who Congress feels has betrayed the trust of the American people.
          It is the American people who get to decide their leaders and all I am trying to do is point out that their vote/choice/voice becomes completely irrelevant when/if those in power decide to pursue impeachment.
          This isn’t something that can go away by “enthusiastically” and repeatedly suggesting people use constitutionally correct vocabulary.

        • bmaz says:

          I see you are back on this jag of stupidity. You are nothing if not relentless apparently. No, I did not “miss your point” at all. You prove that by continuing to falsely make your ill advised “point”. Let’s take a look at your latest ill conceived action in this regard:

          “It is the American people who get to decide their leaders and all I am trying to do is point out that their vote/choice/voice becomes completely irrelevant when/if those in power decide to pursue impeachment.”

          That is simply, and completely, ludicrous (and, again, a Fox News talking point, thanks so much for bringing that bunk here!) The election is not undone or reversed because the Constitutional remedy designed for investigation and removal of a cancer in government is exercised. Duly elected Pence takes over, not Hillary Clinton.

          Furthermore, if you had even the most basic understanding of the republican (note the small r here Vicks), form of government we operate under, you would never say that invoking impeachment renders the American public, much less voters, “irrelevant”. That is simply ridiculous.

          This is so because the will of the people is exercised through their elected representatives, which is exactly why the House of Representatives controls the imperative of impeachment in the rare times it is necessary. That IS the voice of the “American people”.

          If you keep bringing the Fox News bunk, I will keep knocking you, and your bunk, back every single time. Because that is what it deserves.

        • SomeGuyInMaine says:

          I did misread somewhat. Apologies.

          But that always phrase is dangerous in conjunction with discussions of impeachment.

          Agitating, even vigorously, for political change is way different than actual lawlessness and violent overthrow of a government.

          Lean on your senators, early and often.

        • Vicks says:

          Yep and I apologize for my pissiness, I think we all need a productive outlet for our energy.
          City council meet and greets this weekend aren’t going to cut it.
          In CO Senator Bennett has already announced he’s all in and it’s Cory Gardener vs Hickenlooper in 2020.
          Being a hero may be the only way Gardener stays relevant,
          I will remind him tomorrow.

      • I am sam says:

        He is talking about the Americans who sit there on their duffs while this mobster dumps our country into the sewer. Is America worth saving by this point?

        • Rayne says:

          Is America worth saving by this point?

          What’s your alternative? Personally, I’m not going out on my knees. Bad enough the indigenous side of my family had their country stolen from them, don’t feel like simply rolling over and letting happen again — especially when they are quite stupid thugs.

          And just because *you* don’t *see* fighting in front of you doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

        • punaise says:

          The Clash:

          When they kick at your front door
          How you gonna come?
          With your hands on your head
          Or on the trigger of your gun?

          When the law break in
          How you gonna go?
          Shot down on the pavement
          Or waiting in death row

          You can crush us
          You can bruise us
          But you’d have to answer to
          Oh, the guns of Brixton

        • Sonso says:

          While my father always told me the pun is the lowest form of humor, I still love it. I have refrained here, because Punaise is so good. But all he had to do was invoke The Clash, and I melted in an a puddle of 1980’s nostalgia (not to mention the occasional references to the mega-great David Byrne).

        • MissingGeorgeCarlin says:

          I think the point being made is:
          1) It’s painful that more citizens aren’t mad as hell.
          2) Once we deal w/the horrible psychopathic crook in the oval office, we still have the underlying issues: Apathy (nearly 60% of registered voters sitting out the 16′ election; A massive misinformation network – Fox “news”, AM hate radio, breitbart, etc.; A broken elections system; A lawless GOP; 60M folks willing to disregard reality, etc. I’m frustrated too….

        • thomasa says:

          We’re already beset with Sinclair interfering with our local politics and calling Seattle dead. Another one would be over the top and more. We try hard to nurture the independent voices but it’s been an upward battle over the years.

        • Mooser says:

          “Is America worth saving at this point?”

          Gee, duh, I don’t know. Now that Americans have lost their freedom (to discriminate) and their guns, what’s left?

  4. Yogarhythms says:

    Amazing post. “It’s the subpoena that goes to the zenith of Congress’s authority…” The wheels of justice have lost traction but subpoenas’ gently placed will help the wheels find their center of gravity. The executive isn’t fully capable of changing his damaging ways while the wheels of justice seek purchase. The third co-equal Judiciary branch will be given the opportunity to compel subpoenas be enforced against executive targets or deny legislative impeachment inquiry initiatives. Mindfulness meditation may help you while the big wheels keep on turning and Proud Mary keeps….

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        Slapping someone’s deserving dumb rear end behind bars would be helpful too…

        Just saying…

        I know, I know… sweeping, overly broad hyperbole doesn’t do any good right now…

        I’m just beyond angry at this point…

        I wanna punch holes in the walls…

        • P J Evans says:

          I know – I want the House fining them as are blowing off subpoenas. Increase the fines for every week they continue to blow them off.

        • thomasa says:

          How far is it from the Tower of London to Parliment? Imagine the Sergeant at arms poling a boat at night with a lantern hanging from a pole up the Patomic river to the newly built Dungeon on the Swamp. Could the Patomic become The River Styx?

  5. Dr. Pablito says:

    If I could just “upvote” the frame of mind of Robert Britton up there. It’s maddening to have Mulvaney gaslight the nation like that, and it’s just another in a long string of loony, gaslight-y explanations from this gang. How many ways did Mulvaney incriminate members of the administration today?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        He should become familiar with the Type C Bluebird, majority owned by your friendly neighborhood Cerberus Capital Management, with 10R22.5 tires. The wheels go round and round.

  6. Jenny says:

    Mick Mulvaney quotes. Yep, he might be under the bus by tomorrow morning.

    “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good… Meals on Wheels sounds great.”

    “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress, if you were a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you were a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

      • Rayne says:

        That, and his attacks on SNAP which feeds children. I swear these attacks were noise to hide his other failings — his failure to ensure CFPB investigated the Equifax breaches which affected every American with a credit history.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Yes, very creepy. Something spooky relative to Equifax happened to someone I know recently. Not good.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Three Democrats walk into a Republican bar….

    Democratic representative and constitutional law scholar, Jamie Raskin, “laid out a process by which Democrats might bear down harder on this latest corrupt misconduct.” He’s referring to Trump’s decision to host the G-7 next year at Trump Doral, an open and notorious violation of the emoluments clause. https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/

    Mr. Raskin’s idea of bearing down: “holding a House vote on a resolution disapproving of Trump’s decision on Doral.” That will have the same effect harsh language had on the Aliens on LV-426.

    Democrats seem unable to grasp the predation of Donald Trump. Maybe it’s too close to the behavior of prominent members of the donor class, the large corporations and seriously wealthy individuals and families who fund both parties.

    Examples of that behavior include the ecstasy of Enron traders, fucking grandmothers over massive, artificially inflated utility bills. PG&E paying for bonuses and share buybacks, but ignoring essential improvements in infrastructure and maintenance, allowing California to burn. They include much of the price-gouging finance, insurance, and real estate industries, the pharmaceutical industry, and virtually all of private equity, a new name for the much-derided leveraged buy-out industry.

    Trump’s mantra is, like theirs, “Catch me, if you can, MF! Make me stop!” No one ever has. Mr. Raskin’s idea will not stop him. It delays a reckoning. It squeezes Dems between the clock, the 2020 election, and expiring statutes of limitation, which limits their choice of crimes to the few, the obvious, the easiest to prove. Trump can then claim affirmation for all the others. Nor will it stop future crimes, such as tampering with the 2020 elections.

    The Dems need a better strategy and stronger leadership. If they don’t find them in a hurry, they will become a permanent minority, forever lamenting what might have been, while leaving their former constituents to drown or burn.

    • Valley girl says:

      I agree. Pretty much sums up what I think, especially about Dem leadership. This is not a new situation. Remember “Impeachment’s off the table” back in 2006? I sure do.

      • Rayne says:

        That was a rather different situation. Impeachment didn’t poll anywhere near as high as it does today and the public was both gun shy after the lame hystericity of Ken Starr’s impeachment-over-a-blowjob and post-9/11.

        We don’t have that problem now — totally different situation trying to take down the U.S. capo of a transnational crime syndicate while under threat of disinformation warfare. And we’re still looking at the plausible risk the capo gets “re-elected” next year.

        • Valley girl says:

          Pelosi was making a political calculation. But I doubt that statement was why Dems went on to win both houses in 2006. The US committed War Crimes in Iraq. Think Fallujah, for example. I stand on principle. Bush should have been impeached. The public polling numbers weren’t set in stone.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh, we’re on the same side on this one — I learned about the polling as bottleneck when I asked why the House hadn’t begun an impeachment inquiry. But the resistance to impeachment would have been much harder to overcome then.

          And now you know why I posted my months-long impeachment Whip It series: because I wanted attention on sentiment in Congress about impeachment.

        • Stephen says:

          Impeachment of GWB would have been a long shot. Getting us involved in the wrong war due to faulty judgment of the evidence isn’t a “high crime” against the Constitution, nor are military disasters or even atrocities. The last American President to be tried over a military failure was St. Clair (remember him?) and I think that was after he left office. For GWB to be impeached you’d have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he knew the claims of Iraqi WMDs were false and deliberately misled the American people. There’s a pretty good chance he did know and did mislead us, but plenty of room for doubt.

        • Rayne says:

          First, while I agree impeachment was a long shot in 2006, a “high crime” is whatever Congress says it is. There’s no definition in the Constitution.

          Second, military disasters and atrocities can be impeachable if Congress say they are, especially if military disasters and/or atrocities violate treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory and has ratified.

          Third, the last president for whom an article of impeachment related to the conduct of war was drafted was Richard Nixon. His covert Operation Menu bombing Cambodia wasn’t approved by Congress; he had subrogated the power of Congress by undermining their Article I powers to approve the budget and wage war. The article didn’t clear the House Judiciary Committee though three other articles did, likely because Congress gave implicit approval, failing to check Nixon early in his administration of the Vietnam war.

          Fourth, don’t argue the claims in comments here about Bush/Cheney and the Iraq War’s run-up. It’s a waste of our time and valuable comment real estate when this site covered it extensively — to the tune of hundreds of posts going back to this site’s inception.

        • Stephen says:

          Oh, well…

          #1 The Constitution doesn’t, but you know better than I that there is a lot of history attached to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” doctrine, so it isn’t really supposed to be “anything Congress says it is” any more than facts are whatever Humpty Trumpty says they are.
          #2 Fair point! Especially if – which wasn’t the case here (we didn’t exactly have a treaty with the Hussein regime) – but still, yes.
          #3 Except, of course, that Congress did green-light the Iraq invasion…
          #4 Wasn’t me what brought it up, but I’ll gladly let it drop. Cheerio!

        • bmaz says:

          Eh, it really is whatever the House says it is. Just as crimes are whatever a grand jury finds them to be. Can such decisions be overridden later in the “trial phase”? Sure. But don’t kid yourself, “high crimes and misdemeanors” are totally whatever the House finds, and states, them to be. And, no, they do not have to be crimes at all.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Impeachment would have been a long shot for several reasons. I don’t agree that doubt about whether BushCheney used lies to start a war against the wrong enemy was one of them.

          We’ll have to disagree about whether judgment so faulty that it led the US into the wrong war with the wrong enemy – resulting in thousands of American and allied deaths, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, and millions of refugees – qualifies as a high crime or misdemeanor. It seems a lot worse than consensual oral sex.

        • Stephen says:

          Not much disagreement as to your first points, and none whatsoever as to the last. But we all know that particular impeachment became a sham, with the unintended side effect of rendering all impeachment proceedings suspect in the eyes of the populace…

    • P J Evans says:

      Raskin isn’t senior enough to be a leader – this is his second term in Congress. He may be correct about other things, though.
      But I damned well want Hoyer out – I suspect he’s behind the push for moving slowly.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Another timely example of the, “Catch Me If You Can, MF!” mentality that has overtaken capital and its main political party, the GOP, of which Trump is a natural outcome.

      Lawsuits, Payouts, Opioid Crisis: What Happened to Johnson & Johnson https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/18/johnson-and-johnson-opioids-lawsuits-product-recalls

      The short answer is because they can, moral arguments be damned. Inoffensive incremental change will be butter to the blowtorch of such extreme predation.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        Yeah, that had me enraged as I watched it too. Basically saying – “We don’t care what any of you rubes think.” And yet, and yet, he spoke with a completely weird conviction about all the ludicrous conspiracy theories, the “democratic server,” and so forth, as if he really believed it.

  8. Pat Neomi says:

    How is it that I, an incredibly busy student, who also works full time and is able to keep up with the deeper details of the news only in fits and bursts throughout the week—how is it, that I feel like I could have produced a “better” (i.e. less incriminating, less boneheaded) performance at this news conference than a professional governmental official who is steeped in this bs and should probably know better (notwithstanding the fact he had “little preparation”) than to admit to criminal behavior in a setting that is per se on the record? Unless I’m missing something…

    • timbo says:

      Because maybe that “experienced government official” is actually a gladhanding hack that’s been promoted by other hacks.

  9. Stacey says:

    When I heard the Mick Mulvaney stuff earlier today on the radio and had not listened to the press conference yet I quickly thought that the reason they would intensionally go out and cop to a quid pro quo regarding the money for investigation into “corruption” was essentially a ‘pleading guilty to a lesser charge’ type of strategy. Soliciting a foreign country to interfere in the upcoming election is a black-letter law violation, end of story, and he obviously did that, but asking a foreign country to investigate a PAST election interference is less black and white and more amenable to spinning. And when you plead guilty to man-slaughter the murder charge goes away. I think they are trying to cop to a lesser charge because there is more wiggle room in that one and all of the same facts can be fitted to it because he did BOTH at the same time. And it becomes the kind of thing Mulvaney demonstrated the whole time, of “we did this, and there’s nothing wrong with this” and then Jedi mind trick-a-way that whole other thing we did at the same time. “You say ‘Murder’, we say ‘Man-slaughter’, let’s call the whole thing off!”

    Then I went and watched the press conference and I still think that’s what they are doing. And also, how the hell do these people in the press corp sit there and take this shit every day? I could NOT do it! Someone should slap that patronizing little smirk off Mick Mulvaney’s face!!! God, what a prick!

  10. Bay State Librul says:

    New York, New York, — Don’t close Rikers until 2022.
    Dante wants the Con Man admitted to hell

    • bmaz says:

      Under current plan passed last night, Rikers would not close until 2026. There are some decent arguments that it should be refurbished, not closed. It is a horrible place, and in need repair and upgrading, which could certainly be done for a hell of a lot less money than the new plan will cost. But the real problem is the Attitude and protocols of the correction officers that staff it. Closing Rikers does not fix that, they will continue being malicious assholes in new facilities.

  11. harpie says:

    Marcy, this is O/T, [sorry]. I just saw your retweet about FB endeering itself to the right wing. On the off chance you haven’t seen Judd Legum’s article/thread on this subject, here it is:
    4:36 AM – 17 Oct 2019 1.

    Major policy decisions at Facebook are being driven by three Republican political operatives who work out of its powerful DC office, former Facebook employees tell Popular Info [THREAD]

    links to:
    The Republican political operatives who call the shots at Facebook https://popular.info/p/the-republican-political-operatives 10/17/19

    • observiter says:

      Didn’t Jeff Bezos recently speak out about the need for regulation of Facebook (etc.) content. What was that about?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Corporations usually make that argument to get ahead of a movement toward tighter regulation and to prevent it.

  12. Xboxershorts says:

    I have a question….

    Ghouliani and Trump and now Slick Mick all reference “The DNC Server”

    But man, Podesta’s email with the Hillary campaign was a Gmail product.
    And DNC Analystics were stolen from an Amazon Web Services cloud based system.

    Why the hell does our media NOT CHALLENGE these lying assholes over this claim that
    there was ever some single server that should have been turned over to the FBI?
    That’s complete bullshit and flies in the face of things we know as fact about the nature
    of the DNC’s use of cloud based distributed computing technologies.

    These assholes claim to be looking for 1990’s based tech they claim the DNC was using…

    Challenge them on this FFS and don’t let this blatant lie continue to thrive…

    • bmaz says:

      And, as I’ve explained before, you don’t need “the server”. Forensic images are just as good, oftentimes better, for analysis. They got images of what was needed. It is just a hollow argument all the way around.

      Adding that, if there was a “the server” in Ukraine, it would hav e zero chain of custody at this point and would be absolutely useless for anything. But, there is no such thing. It is all a hoax theory conjured up by idiots.

      • Xboxershorts says:

        I know all of this because I’ve been doing it for a living for 30+ years.

        But most of America doesn’t grasp this difference. And the hoax is allowed to survive, because the liars are counting on the ignorance of the masses. Just like they did for the hoax that was Hillary’s missing 30,000 emails.

        There are those in the media who know better but it’s not being challenged. And when used as “justification”
        for the administration’s backdoor extortion of the Ukrainian people, it makes that sound rational.

        But this “Server” claim is complete BS and shouldn’t be allowed to stand unchallenged as a reason to have held back this funding. It’s not being publicly challenged.

        • bmaz says:

          Agree completely. And it would be easy to challenge with a couple properly worded sentences and questions. But it is not being done. The best I’ve seen is news people saying “But that has been debunked!” That is not enough.

        • BobCon says:

          I think a lot of reporters still view the internet through the lens of the days when a web site or email system was hosted on a single box in a corporation’s IT department.

          At that time, you might have a legitimate claim that yanking a hard drive and wrapping it in plastic might make some kind of sense. But those days are long gone, outside of the occasional hobbyist or relic.

        • Xboxershorts says:

          A series of Tubes!!!

          I saw the Tubes back in 86…reminded me of my government and holds true today as well…

          White Punks on Dope!!!!!

        • punaise says:

          How do you describe a caucasian basketball player posterizing the primary tenant of the Vatican?

          “White dunks on Pope.”

        • bmaz says:

          “How can you tell when you’re doin’ alright
          Does your bank account swell
          While you’re dreaming at night?”

        • bmaz says:

          I first saw the Tubes (several of whom were from here originally, though by then in San Francisco) in 1977. What Do You Want From Live tour. And, holy shit, was it incredible. Beyond incredible. Here is an earlier version before the tour that begat the eponymous double album.

    • Rayne says:

      Maybe you missed this but we’ve already discussed this bullshit myth.

      In a Shoddy Attempt to Inflate the Single Server Fallacy, Roger Stone Suggests Communicating with Guccifer 2.0 Would Be Criminal

      Cloud Computing and the Single Server

      There’s a point at which repeating the disinformation frame only acts as a force amplifier. I know I’ve written in comments here before that Lakoff’s work on framing should be consulted — but perhaps at this point it’s the Republicans who are offering the framing because they are beginning to articulate objections to the “Ukraine server” story. There is, of course, no “Ukraine server,” only conspiracy to protect Russia.

      • Xboxershorts says:

        I did miss that from back in May..

        I was hoping, while watching yesterdays Mulvaney Q&A in front of the WH Press, where that moronic “Server” came up again, that someone, ANYONE in that gaggle of reporters….would call him on that bullshit.

        It doesn’t happen. But someone needs to, publicly, and do it to the idiots caught up in this criminal conspiracy.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s not us, it’s the media. They are stuck in their entrenched credulity because they suffer from a lack of comprehension about the technology, they’re lacking curiosity about it, they don’t want to damage their access, and nobody fucking holds them accountable.

          Wish to gods Rachel Maddow would dumb this topic down and talk about the myth and how it’s being used to obscure the ongoing effort to sanitize Russia’s role in Trump’s illegitimate election to office. Not like we haven’t got enough content here to get her started.

        • William Bennett says:

          The thing is, I can imagine just the question I’d want them to ask, but sadly I can also imagine exactly how it would play out.

          “But Mr Mulvaney, the idea that emails can be hidden by unplugging the computer they’re on and hiding it somewhere is like thinking you can hide the moon by taking a picture of it and putting it under your pillow. So how can anyone be ‘investigating’ where the ‘server’ went and who removed it, when from the simplest, most basic technical standpoint the whole idea doesn’t even make sense?”

          “Well, I’m not going to remark on these arcane technical matters—that’s for people who know more about them than you or I do. Next question?”

  13. observiter says:

    The WH and GOP mob continues its corruption, regardless. Observations… (1) Organizations (political, government, mob, corporate, nonprofit, etc.) typically take on the flavor set by who/what is at the top. (2) The WH mob seems to purposefully (and effectively) use chaos and resistance to cover up his/its (illegal, unethical, pick your word) actions. The current stuff re Ukraine is not new. (3) As to Trump and his disturbing back-forth international decisions (China, Turkey, etc.), it now appears there may be a reason behind it beyond Trump being ignorant — i.e., insider trading.

    • MattyG says:

      Insider trading – and – continuing payouts to Putin. DTs facial expression in Helsinki as he approached the press corps to essentially announce his support of Putin told us everything we need to know about what fire propels (or “informs” to be cute) his policies.

      • Tom says:

        Yes, and if I’m understanding the general outline of the Trump-Ukraine shakedown correctly, the goal is not just to help the President get re-elected in 2020 so as to stave off criminal prosecution for another four years, but also to find some reason to let Russia off the hook for its sabotage of the 2016 election (i.e., shift the blame to the Ukrainians & the Dems) and coerce Ukraine into some sort of Munich agreement that will satisfy the Russians and allow Putin to proclaim that, “This is my last territorial demand in [eastern] Europe.” After that, the President seems to expect that the G-7 will have no further grounds to keep Putin out of the club, and hence, the anticipated invitation from Trump to the Russian President to come to his Doral golf joint next June.

        But the Big Question is still, it seems to me, WHY exactly Trump is so keen on rehabilitating Putin, and why does the pace of his efforts in this direction seem to be increasing, as if a deadline is fast approaching and the President is running out of time to get things done.

        • MattyG says:

          Nothing has changed since 2016 with respect Putin – he’s holding DTs feet to the fire as he has from the start. While the unredacted Mueller report may not spell it out for everyone – Poots has the dope on DT – the “tacit” agreement to work together along with all sundry receipts as EW would say.

          If DT is speeding up the payment plan its either to avert an 11th hour spill of compromat or to safeguard the laundry business. Or he’s just gunning for a better dacha.

          In his sick little mind though DT probably sees himslef as the orchestrator of the one-direction policy payment plan – He’s not paying anyone off – it was his vision of “policy” from the start and he’s only doing what he as POTUS is entitled to do. Putin picked the perfect stoolie – one convinced that the very crime he’s committing for someonelse is his own.

  14. Savage Librarian says:

    OT, but since Clinton has been mentioned:

    “Hillary Clinton Claims Russians are ‘Grooming’ a Female 2020 Dem Candidate For Third-Party Run” – Connor Mannion, 10/18/19
    “I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s a favorite of the Russians,” she said around the 35 minute mark in the podcast. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”


      • Ollie says:

        PJ: I can’t walk away w/o sharing this (for 500, Alex): Last night on my fav Jeopardy, the answer was Michael Cohen. Q: Who was the personal lawyer to Pres T who is now serving time in prison?. No one even attempted to guess. Alex was, to say the least, (HAHAHAHAHA) incredulous as was I. It was stunning. Last time I felt this was I had just watched a video of two bad men torturing a wild animal cub. I get so sad at the loss of it all.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      My first reaction is that that is standard propaganda to delegitimize Democrats, any opponent of the president, and any candidate who beats him in the general.

      It would appear to be part of Trump’s argument that he is so profoundly popular that any electoral defeat is void and illegitimate owing to foreign influence. It’s a variation on heads I win, tails you lose.

      If that’s really coming from Clinton, she needs to name names and provide evidence or get off the pot.

      • Rayne says:

        Why place a higher burden on Clinton when evidence exists to show influence campaigns at work to boost Gabbard?

        Digital mass manipulation expert Renee DiResta commented on the use of online polls in June, wrt Gabbard being boosted.

        Vox noted the strong bot activity keying in on Gabbard’s exchange with Harris in early August.

        We don’t see this same kind of swarming activity around other Dem candidates, just strong organic activity reasonably attributed to candidates’ supporters.

        • bmaz says:

          Clinton is not saying anything that has not been known. Gabbard is clearly a Russia project, irrespecive of whether she wants it or not (she seems to). I will note that Sanders does have some bots too, and they are still out there.

        • BobCon says:

          There’s no question whether Gabbard is getting support from the Russians (and US trolls) — she is, just as Sanders did in 2016.

          I don’t think Sanders coordinated like Trump did, and at this point I don’t think Gabbard is coordinating either. There may have been a bit of complicity at lower levels of the Sanders campaign, but I don’t think he welcomed it himself, and he probably would have pissed off the Russians before long, in the same way that a lot of 1960s lefties hated (and were hated by) the Soviets.

          I don’t think Gabbard is nearly as driven by strong principles as Sanders, so I can’t rule out her doing something stupid in the future. But right now I think it’s mainly a one sided courtship, and the proper response from people who don’t want it to be consumated is to stress how much the corrupt child caging people want it.

        • P J Evans says:

          There are a lot of people who think that Sanders is somehow going to win the primaries, the nomination, and the election. Some of them are still claiming he would have defeated Trmp in 2016. (They don’t have any evidence, of course.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          If it’s “out there,” Clinton has no independent burden but to cite her sources. If she originated the argument or made it her own – “if that’s really coming from Clinton” – she would have the same obligation as anyone else to provide evidence. Your point is that it’s out there and others have provided evidence. Fair enough.

        • Rayne says:

          Nah, we’re going to agree to disagree on this one. She’s not here in comments for this site. She also made numerous statements during her campaign that people simply were too goddamn lazy to validate — like her remarks about Trump being Putin’s puppet during the debate.

          “But her emails…” is what we received instead because the people who should make the effort to validate claims went for cheap and easy scandal instead.

          Even when she laid out her entire platform in black and white and published it online, people couldn’t be bothered to read it. This is on us for failing to do the work, not her. Frankly, I’m disappointed in you that you didn’t already know about the bot swarms pushing Gabbard. It’s been observed and remarked upon for months.

        • P J Evans says:

          And they’re complaining because they’re not being counted the way they think they should be. (I wonder how many of them are voting more than once each.)

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, that’s unfortunate. Thankfully DKos is likely to be spammed by people who identify as left of center and not from overseas.

        • Stacey says:

          And also Clinton has a decent track record of calling out Russian Puppets, does she not?

          A person can just listen to Gabbard giving Putin-favored spin to things and tell what’s going on there.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I might be misreading this, too, but sometimes when I miss the background on an issue, I’m in good company.

        Noah Schachtman: “I hope Hillary has solid evidence for this.”

        Emptywheel: “Not only should she not say it without solid evidence, but she elevated Tulsi in a way that makes a third party run more likely/feasible.”


        • Rayne says:

          Marcy and I will disagree on this matter. We’re not a monolith.

          If Gabbard goes third party she loses her seat in Congress because her Democratic primary opponent Kai Kahele will win as a Dem. That’s the chess move on the board.

        • P J Evans says:

          I wonder if she’s going to try to have it both ways: run for president with a third party (or even as an “independent D”), but for re-election as a D.

        • Rayne says:

          I don’t know how she’d straddle that and maintain the support of the local Dem party when a highly-credentialed Native Hawaiian (not to be confused with a resident of Hawaii) is running for office.

    • Eureka says:

      I believe there was more than one art to her not specifically naming Gabbard — besides some folks perhaps newly discovering the reportage on the issue, including, apparently, Schachtman* at his own outlet.

      Williamson, too, is boosted by and rides the same mechanisms (the antivaxx element has been documented repeatedly). Don’t forget that she would still be in play for a third party role.

      *Adding: see the replies:

      • Rayne says:

        I’d buy Williamson flipping to a third party and NOT an independent run. She needs the infrastructure of a party. But I think she’s also sensitive to the money issue; at some point continuing her run is going to affect her spiritual leadership/religious practice through which she maintains some authority with her followers. IMO, just a matter of a month before she drops out all together.

        • Eureka says:

          I agree it would be about the finances (and look back at Stein…); I generally think that if Wmson sticks around it would be as a background trouble-stirring voice. It is my opinion from watching her interviews* and twitter behavior (and that of her own Sarandons) that she is more manipulative and gaslighty than Trump could dream. Also very, very similar to the best of propagandists in the ‘said it/no I didn’t’ games.

          *ESP one with Anderson Cooper, I’ll never forget the knife-glint that flashed in her eye, and how the conversation turned, when AC shared (“confessed”) a history of depression and/or antidepressant usage. She knew she had him, and then she did– in my opinion.

          All that said, I do think HRC was pointing to Gabbard while leaving the door cracked for people to discover as needed. Everybody here has got contingency plans…

        • P J Evans says:

          There may still be a few Williamson fans over at Kos, but they’ve been quiet lately – I think because she’s all but invisible now. (I think her “all you need is love and good thoughts” approach is self-limiting.)

        • Eureka says:

          (From social media presence, if not in fact,) It seems like this is the farthest she’s ever gotten in any of her presidential run-floats or bids before reverting back to her background life. How much we hear from her again/ later in this race I think depends on which mutually-advantageous juggle-balls are flying.

          Adding here re the general HRC/ Gabbard/ RU topic, it does make sense to bring it up now-ish with Syria+ politics (and images, even if they are of the Turks’ doing) in the news.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a related note, Mulvaney’s script for responding to holding the G-7 next year at Trump Doral is that it’s not a problem – the president won’t “profit” from it. The argument is deceptive and distracting. The MSM should easily swat it aside, but as with many of Trump’s arguments, it fails to do that.

    The constitutional prohibition on receiving emoluments relates to receiving anything of value from a foreign state. The potential for corrupt influence is obvious. Revenue of any kind is a gift or emolument prohibited by the clause. Profit is irrelevant.

    Digging deeper should not be necessary, but here are a few points. For one thing, hoteliers are as famous as Hollywood studios for making profits disappear in a nest of expenses, including the massive self-dealing that Trump has been famous for for decades.

    For another, revenue benefits the president in many ways. It pays down the massive debt the president incurred to buy Doral. It pays salaries, maintenance and upkeep, property taxes, food, cleaning and other vendor purchases, etc. Without revenue, Trump would have to come up with the cash to pay those expenses; failing that, the Doral would go bankrupt.

    Revenue of any kind directly benefits the sitting president. That is as true for Doral as it is for every other Trump property. Holding the G-7 at the Doral without congressional approval is a clear – not merely an apparent – violation of the Constitution that the president has sworn to preserve, protect, and defend.

    Congress would be violating its own duty if it avoided the issue. Its obligation is either to approve the booking or to impose sanctions on Trump for one more violation of the law and his oath of office.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      This somewhat addresses the question I was going to ask. I know that the hosting of the summit rotates between member nations, but is the entire cost of hosting the event carried by the hosting nation or is there a shared expense component among the member nations ?

      The US, as the hosting nation, has to have the money approved by Congress, so are they not able to simple vote against this location ?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Whether the attending states pay their own expenses or the US covers the lot, fees for the hotel rooms, food, telecoms, parking, mini-bars, ballroom and meeting rooms, golf, etc., would go to the Doral, which means Trump. That’s the problem.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Yes, I understand that there is no way he is not in violation of the emoluments clause, I just thought that Congress has the ability to simply not appropriate the money needed to pay for the Doral.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Congress could withhold funds for the G-7, but any legislation to withdraw funds would fail in the Senate.

          Moreover, it penalizes the diplomatic process rather than Trump. It’s a difference Trump’s PR would exploit, one the Democrats have not shown the will or PR skills to counter.

        • Stacey says:

          Molly, I’ve thought that many times before myself!!!

          Dems act like an abused spouse and Republicans act like alcoholic abusive husbands. Only now, Republican legislators are acting like the abused spouse to Trump’s abusive husband. Interesting to watch!

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        To more specifically answer your question, attending states usually pay their own expenses at such gatherings, although the host state incurs general expenses for the venue, overall security, etc.

        That’s why the State Dept. has numbers for US attendance at the last G-7. It’s also what would make the payments to Doral revenue from a foreign state.

        Trump’s past behavior suggests he might try to get round that by having the State Dept. pick up the whole tab. That would avoid the “foreign” bit. I don’t see Mike Pompeo saying no. As an impeachment matter, I think that would dig Trump’s hole deeper, albeit using a different shovel.

        • BobCon says:

          The constitution also prevents the president from getting any compensation from the US government apart from his salary.

          This piece from Laurence Tribe says that Trump is violating the domestic emoluments rule by taking US government funding, but I’m not in a position to say how the courts might rule, or whether the House might use it. I think they should add it to the pile, but they won’t ask me.


          I’d be a little cautious to say it covers everything — if a president has a blind trust with a mutual fund that earns some interest from T Bills, I’d be inclined to let that slide, but the G7 meeting is way over the line, in my opinion.

        • P J Evans says:

          Blind trusts are okay – if they never get any say in running them. What Trmp has isn’t a blind trust, or, IMO, any kind of trust at all.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump supposedly put most of his assets in a trust managed by his two elder sons. He can revoke it and take money from it at any time.

          Given how utterly dependent his children are on daddy – the ultimate weapon being his estate planning – there’s no separation there at all.

          Trump still calls the shots over that trust, which means he knows many of the personal financial consequences of his political decisions. That’s an invitation to corruption, as if Trump hadn’t already been at that party for some time.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Then Congress should tell Donald, No, he can’t have his birthday party at Doral, just ’cause he’s running out of money. Or it should say, Yes, he can. One or the other.

      • Nehoa says:

        “At cost” is a wonderfully flexible concept. With regards to Doral it is important to note that in June occupancy is 30 to 40%. Ramping that up to 100% for 2 weeks would be a big boost. “Costs” would include all fixed costs – property, fixtures, interest (being paid to DB), base maintenance for buildings and the golf course, and the variable costs of servicing the guests/attendees – labor, supplies, utilities, etc. At a minimum, the fixed costs get covered by a huge amount for that time period. Trump definitely benefits here.

        • Stacey says:

          I saw Stephanie Rule comment on “All In” the other day making the point that anything Trump did to the property to accommodate the G-7 would be paid for and then when he un-did it (like heliports, extra security, etc.) would be paid for as costs and at the end of the day, Trump has a much needed renovated property, paid for by the world! That’s how wild “at cost” would get for Trump!

      • Re entry says:

        With all that is happening dt is displaying his balls of steel in awarding himself the G7, I guess they finally have the place sufficiently bugged, and not the bed type

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    An observation on Pence and Pompeo’s excellent adventure in Turkey. When a foreign and host state reach agreement on something, it is customary for them to hold a joint press conference. The Mike & Mike Show was all-American. When two states agree on something, the host state does not find it necessary to deny the substance of the agreement a few minutes after the foreign state announces they agreed on it.

    Further, Trump’s depiction as a child’s fistfight the Turkish war on Kurds living in a neighboring state confirms that he’s never spent a minute parenting or being a head of state. Turks and the Kurds are engaged in violent death. Leaving them to fight it out until they’re too exhausted to continue would be another form of genocide. Not coincidentally, it does great damage to NATO, which benefits no one but Putin.

    • 200Toros says:

      All True, and yet, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? To damage NATO, benefit Putin, and weaken the USA. And hey – Erdogan has secured his place in history, having forced the capitulation of the POTUS -TWICE – in the same week! While gaining territory and giving up *nothing* in return. There’s your tough guy…

  17. porthos says:



    From Elie Mystal at Above the Law:

    Refusing to respond to lawful requests from Congress is a violation of an actual law. Not a norm, not a convention, but a straight-up freaking law.

    Contempt of Congress is defined in statute, 2 U.S.C.A. § 192, enacted in 1938, which states that any person who is summoned before Congress who “willfully makes default, or who, having appeared, refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry” shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a maximum $1,000 fine and 12 month imprisonment.

    Congress can vote to hold these people in contempt tomorrow, and theoretically throw them in jail tomorrow for their refusal to comply with a Congressional investigation.


    Is it going to take actual physical enforcement–a big guy with handcuffs and his legal authority to do it granted under the law? Spending a year in jail might do wonders for respect of law. Every American should be nauseated seeing witnesses like McGahn, Mnuchin, Annie Donaldson, Barr and Mulvaney use requests and subpoenas to wipe their backsides. Time to stop the Marquess of Queensberry rules and use the bigger guns in Congress’s LEGAL arsenal.

    In the 1821 case of Anderson v. Dunn, the court said, Congress’ power to “hold someone in contempt is essential to ensure that Congress is not exposed to every indignity that rudeness, caprice or even conspiracy may make against it.”

    • bmaz says:

      Uh, no, not this again. It is nowhere near that easy or simplistic. There is less than a chance in hell that Pelosi would order the House Sergeant at Arms to arrest any of these witnesses and document custodians. None. And if she did, they do not have a jail or detention facility to take them too. This argument is complete nonsense, it will never happen and is a waste of time to fantasize about.

      Similarly, the real way such contempt would be enforced is to refer it to court. But the DOJ will never so prosecute it. Never. You could file it in court and ask for a special prosecutor in light of the DOJ recalcitrance, but that process would take months, if not a year.

      None of this is so blithely easy.

  18. MattyG says:

    So does DT have his Poindexter in all this? Is the rug large enought to sweep everything under? Or has the well-oiled GOP imperial president machine met it’s match? Barr is dancing as fast as he can but is it enough? I can’t see DT lasting another 15 months.

  19. Eureka says:

    Marcy’s twitter is white-hot with the Friday night news, I highly recommend pulling up a tab. Though she just got *Alfa-banked so the fun might be coming to an end.


    *ETA for clarity: meaning people are bringing it up because of tonight’s — substantive– Benczkowski news having nothing to do with it

  20. K-spin says:

    Possibly OT, but one issue that I haven’t seen pushed hard enough is the fact that Rudy has no official role in the administration, no diplomatic clearance, and no security clearance. And let’s face it, he would NEVER get through a security clearance investigation.

    So besides the (many) other reasons that his liaison with State and foreign governments is wrong / unethical / potentially illegal, surely government officials who have either directly involved him in discussions or shared information with him, that he has no right or clearance to receive, have broken their own oath of office, if not the law?

    Saying ‘the president told me to / he’s DJT’s lawyer’ surely does not cut it as an excuse for any individual to so flagrantly disregard security protocols, but I’ve not seen any attempt to explore this, or hold individuals to account. Thoughts?

  21. P J Evans says:

    It gets better:

    “Let me ask you this — if we wanted to cover this up, would we have called the Department of Justice almost immediately and have them look at the transcript of the tape?” Mulvaney asked rhetorically on Thursday. “Which we did, by the way.” — www. washingtonexaminer. com — October 17, 2019


    Oh lordy, there are tapes!

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