You rightwingers had better not start celebrating . . . you just opened the door to Medicare for all

Be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it.  The Republicans have finally found one of their activist judges to rule the ACA unconstitutional.  No more subsidized insurance, no more covering pre-existing conditions, no more coverage on your parents plan to age 25…

The one thing we will get a lot more of is, Republicans backtracking like Usain Bolt running 100 Meters in full reverse.

And remember awhile back when the Republicans lost 40 seats in the house?!  This past election sent two messages.  For the Republicans it said, the American people REALLY care about health care, and for the Democrats it said, the American people REALLY care about health care!

In the next few days Republicans will be screaming that they’ll protect pre-existing conditions, and you’ll hear a series of lies about new plans that offer everything and will cost almost nothing.

And the Democrats will now be emboldened to do what they’ve been trying to do since Harry Truman, real universal health care for all.

Rather than a massive tax increase and taking away great insurance plans from 10’s of millions of workers, the giant step toward Medicare for all will be to simply replace the ACA with Medicare when Democrats control the congress in 2021.  It’s almost just a name change from the ACA to Medicare.

The new Medicare would offer subsidies to people wanting to buy into Medicare, with subsidies decreasing as incomes rise.  There aren’t pre-existing problems with Medicare and young adults wouldn’t have to be under their parents plan, they would simply have their own heavily subsidized plan.  And Medicare already has built in private insurance (part c which definitely needs reform) so people who want private insurance can get it through Medicare.  And all this happens without a big tax increase.

The new Medicare will pretty much be national health insurance but instead of paying to the IRS, most people will pay directly to Medicare.  It will open up all kinds of new revenue paths to expand coverage and clamp down on prescription drug prices and a lot of scams that need to be prosecuted.

If you think that the Republicans took big losses in the election because they attacked the ACA, wait until they start attacking Medicare to try and take health care away from people.

The Republicans may have gotten their wish by finding one of their fascist judges to declare the ACA unconstitutional, but they just threw the door wide open for a huge expansion of Medicare and Democrats and the American people are going to be happy to walk through it.  It won’t matter how much Republicans try to back away from this now, this door is jammed open and it’s not going to close.

Mueller’s investigation is the least of Trump’s problems

Every single aspect of Trump’s criminal family and criminal history is now under serious investigation.

Special Counsel Mueller is looking into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign for interfering with US election.  But that’s small potatoes compared to the rest of the investigations.

The attorney general of New York is investigating:
  • Trump Foundation.  Turns out, the Trump “Charitable”Foundation did donate a bit of money to charities, but, the bulk of the foundation’s work was laundering money from donors to Trump’s bank account.  The fines could amount to tens of millions.
  • Tax evasion.  Trump’s organizations have used various schemes to avoid paying local and state taxes.  He could owe hundreds of millions in back taxes.
  • Using real estate development incentive money to line his pocket.  Fines could reach into tens of millions.
Federal agencies are investigating:
  • Trump’s income taxes — personal and business — as well as similar taxes for every member of his family.  Penalties include jail time and tens of millions.
  • Trump’s inaugural committee scam.  Obama and Bush inaugural committees raised and spent $40-60 million.  Trump — whose inaugural was the smallest in modern history — raised and spent over $100 million.  Now it turns out much of the money was funneled into his pocket, through his businesses.
  • Trump Foundation.
  • Trump’s financial ties to Russia; Saudi Arabia, other MidEast Arab states; Deutsche Bank; Bank of Cuyprus.  These investigations focus on Trump’s organizations laundering money and not reporting foreign investments to the SEC.
  • Trump’s campaign committee’s use of donations to pay hush money to prostitutes, porn stars, and Playmates.
And — the press is now looking into:
  • Trump’s sexual harassment of teen girls at his various pageants.

I probably forgot some other investigations.

Even if he survives until the 2020 election, he will not be re-elected and likely will face prosecution as soon as he is out of office.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, hush money, the inaugural, taxes, condos, university and the entire 30 years of dirty dealing, cheating, lying, stealing, the blood on their hands, the stealing of children from their families, all of it and… being the bottom of the bottom of the bottom. And now it’s all beginning to crumble around them. The long arm is bending towards justice and karma is walking up the pathway to make a long overdue knock on the door.

Happy Holidays…rest up because the New Year is going to be a doozy.

Donald Trump’s very bad last week is getting worse . . .

FBI raids offices of Trump’s former tax attorney — again

Donald Trump’s former Chicago tax attorney, Alderman Ed Burke, had his City Hall office raided by the FBI on Thursday — and it wasn’t the first time he had an office searched by the bureau.

NBC5 political editor Carol Marin tweeted Thursday evening that Burke’s City Hall office was “re-raided” by the bureau — the second time his office had been raided in a month after the FBI searched it on November 29.

On December 10, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the FBI had also seized Burke’s cell phone. The same day, the newspaper also reported that the long-serving alderman’s  top political aide was questioned by the feds before the late November raid.

Burke, who’s been an alderman for almost 50 years, did Trump’s property taxes from 2006 until 2018.

 

Trump has just screwed up his attorney-client privilege — goddam but this clown is stupid, stupid, stupid

The former chief of staff at the FBI explained how President Donald Trump may be committing a critical mistake in his legal defense against having conspired to commit felony campaign finance violations.

Chuck Rosenberg explained the blunder on MSNBC “Deadline: White House” with anchor Nicolle Wallace on Thursday.

“Donald Trump has been engaged in a day-long rolling, rambling and rage-filled commentary on his own legal fate and on the sentencing of his former fixer and lawyer,” Wallace noted. “Coming in multiple tweets. his central contention is that he isn’t a crook.”

“The president not even able to keep his supporters at Fox News quiet about the clear and mounting evidence that he may very well face criminal liability in the cases out of the Southern District of New York which may explain his private concerns about impeachment as NBC News reports today,” Wallace explained.

“By the way, this is only the latest iteration of his defense. As I recall, the first defense was, I have no idea what in the heck you’re talking about, this never happened,” Rosenberg noted. “So we’re at a different defense and it’s also unavailing.”

“By the way, I think he’s also — he the president — has also hinted there’s an advice of counsel defense. And Dan [Goldman] knows this better than anybody, but there’s a fascinating problem for the president,” he explained. “If he really wants to travel down this path, which is if you are going to assert advice of counsel, you’re also effectively waving any attorney/client privilege.”

“Put aside the fact that advice of counsel defenses almost never work, the president may have just opened up a whole new avenue of hurt legally, if he really wants to assert that he relied on [Michael] Cohen,” he continued. “I don’t think that’s going to work, and I don’t think it’s wise.”

 

Now turns out that Trump’s inauguration was illegal

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York are investigating Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” The Journal reports the criminal probe is misspent funds and “also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions.”

Donations in exchange for favors could violate anti-corruption law.

The committee was registered as a nonprofit and spent a record $107 million dollars.

“In April raids of Mr. Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents obtained a recorded conversation between Mr. Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump, who worked on the inaugural events,” The Journal reported. “In the recording, Ms. Wolkoff expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money, according to a person familiar with the Cohen investigation.”

“The inaugural committee has publicly identified vendors accounting for $61 million of the $103 million it spent, and it hasn’t provided details on those expenses, according to tax filings,” The Journal added. “The committee raised more than double what former President Barack Obama’s first inaugural fund reported raising in 2009, the previous record. President Trump’s funds came largely from wealthy donors and corporations who gave $1 million or more—including casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co., according to Federal Election Commission filings.”

The federal government has a key cooperating witness in the investigation.

Rick Gates, Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager, served as deputy chairman of the inauguration.

Gates has been cooperating with federal prosecutors since a February plea deal.

 

GEN John Kelly tells friends he is happy to be free from the Trump curse

Outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly has reportedly begun revealing to friends his feelings about leaving the Trump administration.

CNN’s Jim Acosta reported on-air Thursday that a source close to the White House said Kelly “is confiding to friends that he’s relieved to be leaving” his post.

Tensions between Kelly and President Donald Trump were rumored for months prior to reports that the retired Marine general will be leaving the White House.

Veteran journalist Bob Woodward wrote in “Fear,” his nonfiction look into the Trump White House, that Kelly thinks Trump is both “crazy” and an “idiot.”

Amid ample speculation about who will replace Kelly, HuffPost reported that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is in the running for the next White House chief of staff.

You will not hear this news on Fox

Nick Ayers dumped Trump — biggest humilitation ever for Trump — smart move for Ayers

President Donald Trump has been historically unpopular since taking office and is now even showing cracks in his core constituency.

The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin has argued Trump’s popularity is only going to wane as he spars with House Democrats as special counsel Robert Mueller unveils his findings.

In a new column, Rubin counts off the people Trump has lost support from—including one that’s simply “humiliating.”

“Now even Nick Ayers, one of the most ambitious hired guns in the business — a man who has made millions from politics — won’t serve as his chief of staff,” she writes. “Having Ayers turn him down with no Plan B may not have been the worst moment of Trump’s presidency, but it’s certainly one of the most humiliating. To be blunt, when someone of Ayers’s ilk figures out it’s not in his interest to take one of the most sought-after jobs (normally) in government, you know Trump has become toxic.”

Ayers is just 36 years old and is known for his willingness to push hard for unpopular positions.

Rubin runs through the coalition that carried Trump to an electoral college victory and argues that the numbers bode very poorly for him, especially now that suburban white women are defecting in droves.

“With each staff shuffle, Trump’s staff and senior advisers get less professional and less willing to level with him,” she argues, citing the loss of UN ambassador Nikki Haley and her replacement with a PR person. “The result likely will be even more missteps and episodes such as the COS search (i.e., instances of abject incompetence). As Trump ‘wins’ less, those who admired him for his management acumen or who merely wanted to blow up the system may drift off as well. In sum, it’s very likely that Trump’s political isolation will get worse.”

Read the column here.

 

Michael Cohen provided information linking Trump campaign to “a foreign government”

An attorney who works for special counsel Robert Mueller’s office on Wednesday revealed that former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen had given them “credible” and “valuable” information about what she described as “links between a campaign and a foreign government.”

As reported by Courthouse News’ Adam Klasfeld, Special Counsel’s Office prosecutor Jeannie Rhee told the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that Cohen had given her office information about connections between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government.

“Mr. Cohen has sought to tell us the truth,” Rhee said, according to Klasfeld.

Rhee declined to offer the court further details about the information Cohen provided, however, and said that “there’s only so much we can say about the particulars at this time, given our ongoing investigation.”

Cohen is being sentenced on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to committing multiple felonies, including making illegal contributions on behalf of the Trump campaign and lying under oath to Congress about President Donald Trump’s efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow while running for president.

Jared and Ivanka, in typical criminal fashion, are defrauding low-income housing program to enrich themselves

MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle reported on Tuesday that the Trump family and its associates are trying to game the federal Opportunity Zone program, which is meant to help low-income neighborhoods attract investment, to further enrich themselves.

Ruhle called out Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has invested in one such area.

“The Kushner companies are investing big in an opportunity zone in New Jersey that, oddly enough, is beachfront property. Look how beautiful that is,” Ruhle said, cutting to shots of the magnificent New Jersey shore.”Certainly not a downtrodden area. And that area is all within the designated zone for these big old tax breaks.”

Ruhle also called out Trump associate and real estate developer Richard LeFrak, who has a $4 billion property in an opportunity zone in Miami.

“Here’s what I want you to pay attention to: this development, he started it several years ago,” Ruhle said. “Because the project’s not done and they’re still investing, he’s going to get massive tax benefits. That’s called a windfall.”

Ruhle named other Trump-owned developments located in opportunity zones, including a hotel in Mississippi and a golf course in New Jersey.

“With the right maneuvering, this existing property, that means they could reinvest, do some upgrades. It could benefit from these big old tax breaks,” she said. “This is exactly why we insist our leaders divest and disclose.”

House GOP cancels hearing against minimum wage when they discover one of their “expert witnesses” wanted to tax people for being homosexual

House Republicans this week were forced to cancel an anti-minimum wage hearing they had scheduled after learning that one of their star witnesses wants to level taxes against people just for being gay.

Politico reports that the House Education and Workforce Committee had originally planned a hearing this week to discuss the perils of raising the federal minimum wage to $15.

Among the featured witness was San Diego State University economist Joseph Sabia, who wrote a blog post in 2002 that was titled, “Tax Gay Sex.”

In the post, Sabia falsely claimed that homosexuals were primarily responsible for the outbreaks of diseases, thus necessitating they pay a financial penalty for their behavior.

“Homosexual activity has been responsible for devastating health outcomes — deadly HIV, hepatitis B, and various other sexually transmitted diseases,” he wrote. “When two random men get together and choose to have sex, there is not an insignificant risk of infection and death. And if these infected men then go on to have sex with women, then you have women — and possibly children — who will be stricken with AIDS.”

In a separate post, Sabia wrote that college girls should be considered “unpaid whores,” while writing that feminism had “taught young women that equality is achieved by acting like promiscuous sluts.”

Trump is going down, brought down by his own lies and the crooks with whom he has surrounded himself

On Friday, Dec 7, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and Special Counsel Robert Mueller released sentencing memos related to Michael Cohen, Trump’s long-time lawyer and “fixer, and, Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager and all-around sleaze bag.  In these two memos we learn:

  • Cohen and Manfort, and their attorneys, were in regular contact with Trump and his attorneys as well as in regular contact with other witnesses.  The purpose of this contact was to coordinate their lies.
  • Russian intelligence agents contacted Trump and his campaign through Michael Cohen to provide “political synergy” — that is, to coordinate Russian activities on behalf to Trump with the Trump campaign.
One small section of Mueller’s memo reveals what will bring down Trump

On Friday, two sentencing memos were filed against President Donald Trump’s former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen — one by prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, recommending a sentence of around 51 to 63 months for tax evasion, bank fraud, illegal campaign finance, and lying to Congress, and one from special counsel Robert Mueller, who discussed his assistance in the Russia investigation.

Both of these documents are incredibly damning for Trump, with SDNY prosecutors strongly implicating Trump’s knowledge and consent to Cohen’s crimes. But perhaps one of the sections that should unnerve Trump most came from Mueller’s filing:

Matthew Miller‏Verified account @matthewamiller 21h21 hours ago

This is an interesting line from Mueller: “The defendant amplified his false statements by releasing and repeating his lies to the public, including to other potential witnesses.”

“By publicly presenting this false narrative, the defendant deliberately shifted the timeline of what had occurred in hopes of limiting the investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” — Mueller cares if you lie to the public.

This is significant because it suggests that not only is Mueller interested in lies told to Congress or to federal investigators, but lies to the public as well. And if Mueller is going after false statements told to the public, this should greatly worry Trump, who has lied in speeches, tweets, and interviews over 6,400 times since taking office.

On one hand, there is no federal statute directly making it a crime to lie to the public, the way there is for lying to Congress or to the FBI. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Mueller could establish a pattern of false public statements to bolster a case for obstruction of justice — which he has reportedly considered.

Friday’s memos are the start of bringing down the Trump criminal enterprise

 MSNBC’s “Up with David Gura” on Saturday analyzed President Donald Trump’s “horrible very bad no good day” after federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York publicly accused him of committing felonies as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Michael Cohen, his longtime “fixer” and lawyer.

“What changed yesterday?” Gura asked Mimi Rocah, the former chief of the Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit in the Southern District of New York. “How pivotal was it?”

“I think it was very pivotal,” Rocah replied.

“And while it’s not spelled out, I think what’s coming to light more and more is that those business deals that Cohen lied about — and I’ll talk about maybe others who might have lied about it in a second — are so intertwined with this campaign, collusion, election interference that we’ve all been focused on,” she explained.

Rocah reminded that special counsel Robert Mueller knows far more than has been publicly reported or revealed in legal filings.

“What’s starting to take shape, I think, is a narrative, if you will, that Mueller has long known, but I think we’re just starting to see it,” she argued. “But it’s this idea of the business and the political intertwining and that is ultimately I think what is going to bring down Trump, frankly.”

“Because it is the greediness, it is the inability to let go, to seek these business opportunities in Moscow,” she explained. “It’s this long standing relationship that we now know went back to 2015 when Russians were seeking out talking to Trump about, we think, business opportunities and probably a campaign.”

“So I think this is in some ways bigger than any of us had imagined in items of the scheme that was orchestrated,” Rocah suggested.

She also highlighted the “coordination of the lies.”

“You have this idea of people sending signals or getting their stories straight both publicly and privately,” she noted. “And you know who else does that is Donald Trump.”

“So a lot of what was written about Cohen in both filings could have been written about Trump, I think, about trying to get messages out to other potential witnesses and make sure everybody had their stories straight,” she concluded.

The extent of the Trump-Russia conspiracy is becoming clear

Throw all the prosecutorial sentencing reports together that emerged yesterday about Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, stir gently, and what do we have? The commentary was so quick to get to the details, that it is useful to pull back and see the whole picture:

This story first appeared at DC Report

  • These are two bad guys who committed crimes small and large, and they will get real jail time. Cohen will get a bit of relief in his sentence for cooperating partially, but not a magic wand dismissal of prison time. Manafort is facing up to 15 years for crimes so far—after he blew his chances for leniency by lying to the special counsel’s office to whom he had promised cooperation.
  • President Trump committed felonies for hush-money payoffs to women for sex in violation of campaign finance laws, according to the U.S. government. That would sink anyone who isn’t the President of the United States, but Trump will hold himself above the law, by saying the president cannot be indicted.
  • What happens next is anyone’s guess or more the business of politics than of law. From Trump himself, there was a tweet, of course, saying these filings cleared him of any wrongdoing—despite the words in the document. We need to start hearing from Republican leaders, but with Democrats taking over the House, these documents will prompt endless hearings and necessary discussions about Trump’s involvement, up to the impeachment discussions that many Democrats are trying to avoid.  And with a new attorney general nominee, we will go through more questions about letting the special counsel finish his work.

We now know that prosecutors are proving Russian efforts at leverage in the Trump campaign and in the U.S. elections.

The talking heads are going nuts, of course. There were three highly anticipated sentencing filings that pundits hoped might offer more information about where the investigation by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is headed. We did not get that, exactly, but in two separate filings on Cohen and one on Manafort, we learned several new things.

About Manafort, the one-time head of the Trump campaign, a heavily redacted sentencing guidance from Mueller’s team said he should go to jail for a long time. The redactions kept a lot of reasons secret, but Mueller’s team said Manafort lied about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian associate who Mueller has said has ties to the Russian military intelligence unit accused of hacking Democrats, and how they may have worked together to tamper with witnesses following Manafort’s arrest last year. Manafort also lied about a particular wire transfer, about an unrelated case, and about maintaining a continuing relationship with the president’s legal team.  Most of the details were filed under seal with the court.

About Cohen, there were separate sentencing recommendations from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York on financial crimes and the cases involving the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress whose name is Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model to conceal affairs they said they had with Trump. The document cited evidence to show that Trump had directed the payments in violation of campaign finance laws. But the prosecutors rejected Cohen’s request to avoid a prison term and saying that he had “repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends” and had not cooperated all that much with them.

The second sentencing document was from Mueller’s team, in which the special counsel said that Cohen did cooperate and should get no additional prison time beyond whatever penalty, probably four years imprisonment, arise from the New York charges. This document gave more information about Cohen leading prosecutors through months’ worth of contacts with Russians over a lucrative proposed Trump Tower Moscow project, several other attempts (plural) with other Russian nationals to reach out to the Trump campaign during 2015 to offer “political synergy,” and lots of testimony about the “preparation and circulation” of Cohen’s testimony to Congress. Former prosecutors went on TV to say this last point represents apparent evidence of obstruction of justice by the Trump White House.

About Trump. None of the documents were about the president directly, of course, but Individual 1, the president, was omnipresent in the sleazy businesses at hand.  Only Trump, Rudy Giuliani or his most ardent supporters could read these documents and not come away with a certain solemnness about the degree of criminal scheming involving Trump, his business and his campaign.

At the minimum, we now know that Cohen has offered information that is leading prosecutors to prove Russian efforts at leverage in the Trump campaign and in the U.S. elections, the heart of all the talk of “collusion.” At worst, these documents were prompting political talking heads to talk about Trump by using references as a possible Russian-version “Manchurian candidate.”

My job in this column is not to sanctify the evidence or to assign blame. But it is to note that we have entered into the very serious business part of the special counsel investigation and about what we are learning to be factual.

What is clear is that we need to stop talking about witch hunts and start talking about the word evidence.

Meanwhile, Jared Kushner is selling the Presidency to the Saudis

The son-in-law of President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, has been in contact with Saudi Prince Mohammed for over two years as the royal family attempted to influence and manipulate him, reports the New York Times.

As the fallout continues over the murder of the October 2 killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the messages acquired by the Times show a long-term project to “woo” Kushner — including sending a delegation to the U.S. to meet him two years ago.

According to the report, “The ties between Mr. Kushner and Prince Mohammed did not happen on their own. Prince Mohammed and his advisers, eager to enlist American support for his hawkish policies in the region and for his own consolidation of power, cultivated the relationship with Mr. Kushner for more than two years, according to documents, emails and text messages.”

The report continues by saying that Kushner was considered a prime target right after Trump was elected.

“A delegation of Saudis close to the prince visited the United States as early as the month Mr. Trump was elected, the documents show, and brought back a report identifying Mr. Kushner as a crucial focal point in the courtship of the new administration,” the reports states.

You can read more here.

Trump — hero to evangelicals — refuses to participate in the Apostles’ Creed

Even though President Donald Trump is considered a hero to many American evangelical Christians, he couldn’t bring himself to join his fellow living American presidents to recite the Apostles’ Creed at former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral.

In addition to former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore can also be seen reading from the text of the prayer during the service.

Yet, evangelical “christians” just love Trump.  Spit.

Trump plans to hand Korea over to Kim Jong-Un next year

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is likely to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in January or February and that three sites for their second meeting are under consideration.

“We’re getting along very well. We have a good relationship,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on his return from a G20 summit in Argentina.

Yep — Trump did so well in his last meeting with Kim that North Korea has now established seven new long-range missile bases.

Trump lies, dumbasses believe him

If there is anything that we’ve learned from Donald Trump’s first two years in the White House it’s that he is utterly uninterested in educating himself about the issues a president is required to know. Even worse, he has a stifling aversion to the truth and will callously lie to advance whatever message he’s pushing at the moment.

The Associated Press took inventory of some of the President’s recent public remarks and compared them to reality. The result is a pathetic and troubling expose of a man completely unfit to lead a remedial scout troop, much less the most powerful nation on the planet.

The AP described Trump’s failings as a “slippery grasp of science as well as trade policy.” But their observations go way beyond that, covering most of the subjects that will eventually touch every American’s life. What follows are a few choice selections from the article that illustrate just how dangerous Trump’s willful ignorance is:

TRUMP: “Billions of Dollars are pouring into the coffers of the U.S.A. because of the Tariffs being charged to China, and there is a long way to go. If companies don’t want to pay Tariffs, build in the U.S.A. Otherwise, lets just make our Country richer than ever before.”
THE FACTS: That’s not how it works. Yes, money from tariffs is going into the federal treasury, but it’s coming from U.S. businesses, not from overseas. Tariffs are paid by the importer, not the exporter or government in another country. Beyond that, tariffs paid by U.S. companies tend to result in higher prices for consumers. So a tariff is a transfer of wealth from business to government, and sometimes from consumers to government as well. It is not a foreign payment to the U.S.

TRUMP: (On the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement): “The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly. It is probably the largest trade deal ever made, also. ”
THE FACTS: It’s not the largest trade deal ever made. It covers the same three countries as its predecessor, NAFTA.

TRUMP: “Our steel industry a year ago was dead, and now it’s one of the most vibrant anywhere in the world. Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country.”
THE FACTS: Construction spending on factories has yet to take off significantly after having been in decline between 2016 and much of 2018. […] A year ago, the steel industry employed 141,200 people, says the Labor Department. Now, 145,100. That’s a gain of 3,900 jobs during a period when the overall economy added 2.5 million jobs.

TRUMP: “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”
THE FACTS: Last year had the most unhealthy soot days since 2011. The number of days with unhealthy smog levels was down from 2016, but higher than 2015, 2014 and 2013.

TRUMP: (On the confrontation between migrants trying to rush into the U.S. and authorities who used tear gas to drive them back): “Three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt, getting hit with rocks and stones.”
THE FACTS: This didn’t happen, according to the account by the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan. He said there were no “reported serious injuries on either side of the border.”

TRUMP: (Retweet): “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month.”
THE FACTS: Wrong country, wrong numbers, wrong description of legal status of the recipients. The $3,874 refers to a payment made in Canada, not the U.S., to a legally admitted family of refugees.

TRUMP: “Obama had a separation policy; we all had the same policy. I tried to do it differently, but Obama had a separation policy. But people don’t like to talk about that.”
THE FACTS: Obama did not have a separation policy. The Trump administration didn’t, explicitly, either, but that was the effect of his zero tolerance policy, which meant that anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted, even if they had few or no previous offences. The policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings and their children were separated.

The AP article (posted on the Fox Business website) goes into greater detail and has some additional examples of Trump’s lies. However, this is a representative sampling of how little regard Trump has for conveying facts to his dimwitted cult followers. It’s this sort of dishonesty that makes it difficult for average Americans to engage in rational discourse with Trump supporters. His glassy-eyed disciples live in a world of make believe that turns them into regurgitation machines for his deliberate falsehoods. And that blind devotion to Trump’s manufactured unreality poses serious risks for the future of the country – and the world. Which makes it incumbent on the rest of us to redouble our efforts to correct the record and spread knowledge.

Last week was exciting, next few weeks will be better: Trump is going down!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Buckle in, folks. This past week was an exciting one, as more evidence arose implicating Donald Trump in a conspiracy with Russian forces to steal the 2016 election. That doesn’t mean that this horrible chapter in American history is coming to an end any time soon. Things are almost certainly going to get more hairy, if that can be believed, but the grim truth of the matter is that it’s still likely that Trump’s time in office will only end if and when voters throw him out in 2020.

This article first appeared in Salon.

By the same token, however, it’s critical not to despair. We’re looking at another two years of prying Trump’s fingers off the Resolute Desk, but in that process, there’s now good reason to believe we’ll finally see some of his closely guarded secrets getting exposed. I dare any reader to deny that after watching Trump humiliate this country for two years, there won’t be at least a little bit of fun in watching him experience humiliation.

A recap of the past week: Professional conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi and former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort appear to have scotched their plea deals by lying to special counsel Robert Mueller. Corsi then shared documents with the media that exposed some of the extent to which he and dirty trickster Roger Stone were willing to cooperate with a criminal hacking conspiracy against Hillary Clinton. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made even bigger headlines with his surprise court appearance, in which he pled guilty to lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings in Russia. Cohen also said he kept the Trump family fully apprised of his efforts to strike a deal for a Trump Tower development in Moscow, which directly conflicts with Donald Trump Jr.’s congressional testimony. Stay tuned on that one!

Juicy details about those business dealings, including a blockbuster report alleging that Trump planned to give a $50 million penthouse to Russian president Vladimir Putin, are coming out. Meanwhile, the incoming Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, has signaled that he plans to start a real investigation into Trump’s Russian dealings, an investigation Republicans have been stonewalling for more than two years.

Under the circumstances, it’s understandable that doom and gloom might set in. Trump couldn’t look any guiltier, it seems, and he and his defenders are starting to shift away from claims of innocence towards more flagrantly thumbing their noses at the rule of law. It’s reasonable to worry that he really is “Teflon Don,” and that no amount of public evidence of corruption will have any meaningful impact on the current political situation.

“In any rational era, that would be earthshaking. Now it’s barely a blip,” legal expert Ken White wrote despairingly in a piece about Cohen’s revelations for the Atlantic. “We’re numb to it all. But these are the sorts of developments that would, under normal circumstances, end a presidency.”

White’s piece is insightful and worth reading in full, but I would like to take issue with this particular bit of fatalism. The public is not, in fact, numb. “Teflon Don” is a myth.

“Historically, low unemployment, modest growth, and the lack of a major, highly visible foreign entanglement has been a recipe for high presidential approval ratings,” Jamelle Bouie argued in Slate this week. Trump has all these things, but still his party took a huge bath in the midterms and three out of five Americans disapprove of the job he’s doing as president. That shows that these scandals are hurting him — and that people are paying attention.

And all that’s with the entire apparatus of the Republican Party, as well as an entire cable news network (Fox News), working night and day to hide the reality of Trump’s corruption from the American public. Now that Democrats are taking back the House and Mueller is starting to use the court systems to release information to the public, there’s a good reason to believe we’ll see more stories along the lines of “penthouse for Putin,” exposing the depth and breadth of Trump’s corruption.

White is also overstating the case when arguing that previous presidencies would immediately be ended by such revelations. That’s how it works in the movies, but in real life it takes a good long while to untangle public corruption and remove the guilty actors from power. It’s worth remembering that it was more than two years from the Watergate break-in to Richard Nixon’s resignation in August of 1974. And Nixon didn’t have nearly the same advantages Trump has: There was no massive propaganda machine backing him up, and his political party was not completely dominated by people willing and eager to cover up for criminal behavior.

That brings us to the bad news: Despite all the stunning developments of the past week, there continues to be no path that gets Trump out of office before the voters have a chance to throw him out. The same distortions in our electoral system that allowed Trump to gain the White House while getting fewer votes than Hillary Clinton have allowed Republicans to control the Senate, even expanding their majority while Democrats snag millions more votes.

And Senate Republicans, under the leadership of Mitch McConnell, have no intention of acknowledging Trump’s corruption or obstruction of justice, much less actually voting to convict him if the House of Representatives passes articles of impeachment. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump’s secretary of transportation, after all. More to the point, McConnell himself is interested in seeing exactly how much power Republicans can seize even after the voters rejected them, so he has every incentive to back Trump, no matter how much of the latter’s likely criminality is exposed.

But it’s important not to confuse the fact that Trump is being protected by a corrupt system with believing that scandals simply don’t stick to “Teflon Don.” If you think things have been crazy before, know that the pace of jaw-dropping stories may very well accelerate. Trump will get angrier and more erratic. His administration will probably pour out ever more lies and more outrageous culture-war distractions. Things will get even more dizzying and upsetting.

But all that just increases the chances that the voters will be sick and tired of it in two years and throw the bums out. Things will get very bad, perhaps even worse. But after this week, the endgame is looking a whole lot better.