Daily Recap — August 20

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”

— George Burns


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ROAST TURKEY ANYONE?

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PDT means business with Turkey.

He insisted again today that he will not back down in a standoff with Islamic dictator Tayyip Erdogan over a US pastor who has been detained on what appear to be phony espionage charges. Pastor Brunson denies the charges and, thus far, no evidence has been presented to support them in court or elsewhere.


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This was kicked off when Erdogan made a deal with Trump which turned out to be a bald-faced lie. Erdogan promised to release Brunson in exchange for help getting a Turkish citizen out of Israeli custody. PDT made good on his end of things, appealing for the release of the Turkish woman and receiving just that on the same day.

But Erdogan showed just how much his word was worth, as he immediately screwed PDT on the deal as soon as he got what he wanted. And if you know anything about Donald J. Trump, you know that dog won’t hunt.

Thus, today, PDT made it known that nothing had changed, and that the U.S. would not be giving any goodies in exchange for Brunson’s release, especially after we tried a good faith negotiation once already.

“I think it’s very sad what Turkey is doing,” PDT said. “I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions.”

He went on to add: “I got that person out for him. I expect him to let this very innocent and wonderful man and great father and great Christian out of Turkey.”


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PDT has imposed steep tariffs on imports of Turkish steel and aluminium in an effort to do just that, which has sent Turkish currency, the Lira, plunging. This has stoked widespread selling in other emerging markets, sparking fears of a global crisis.

Economic fear-mongering has had little effect on PDT’s actions thus far, though, and it doesn’t look like it will affect his thinking going forward. Simply put, he’s digging in for the long haul. Over the weekend, the Trump administration rejected Turkey’s deal to tie Pastor Brunson’s release to a bailout for a major Turkish bank called Halkbank, currently facing major fines for doing business with Iran in dollars. Not only did the Trump admin refuse to lift those particular sanctions in exchange for Brunson, it looks like they will impose further sanctions on Turkey this week.


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WHAT NOW?

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The relationship between Erdogan and Hackin’ Vlad Putin hasn’t always been peachy keen. Putin accused Erdogan of helping to fund ISIS in Syria by buying oil that the terrorist gang stole (and he’s correct, btw). Erdogan, in turn, has shot down a Russian plane, killing its pilot. It’s fair to say that Vlad and Erdogan aren’t using BFF filters on their Facebook profile pictures.

It’s worth noting, however, that Russian state energy giant Gazprom has another one of its Ukraine alternative natural gas pipelines being built in Turkey. There is big business on the line here for the Russians who may be willing to lend a hand if it looks like Erdogan may not be able to continue with the Turkish Stream gas line. There is a lot of potential for Putin trolling on the world stage here. If Putin really wants to get NATO’s goat, coming to the rescue of a NATO member is the way to do it. What are they going to tell him — stop helping NATO countries?

And frankly, those idiots deserve to look just as stupid as he’ll make them. 


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The Europeans: 

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The Europeans have been getting great use out of Erdogan lately. Turkey holds tens of thousands of Syrian refugees within its borders at Europe’s request, though they are being paid to shelter their Islamic brothers and sisters. It should no doubt be considered leverage against Europe. Turkey could conceivably beg for more aid for holding those refugees, or simply say they don’t have the time and energy to spend taking care of them anymore. It’s a tool Erdogan can use to his favor, even as Europe pays for a chunk of that cost anyway.

Due to Turkey’s location and its effective wall against a migrant tidal wave into Europe, almost all of the impacts of the Trump Administration’s war with Turkey falls to Europe. EU banks are far more exposed to Turkey than American banks. Turkey is a low-cost, weak-currency manufacturing center for industrial Europe. This is no Greece. Moreover, Turkey is kind of like a shadow member of the EU. But because it is not a full-fledged member, the European Central Bank can throw it no bones. However, the ECB might implore the Fed to conduct operations that essentially reflate the dollar, giving the Turkish lire a little breathing room.

It will be very interesting to see how our European buddies try to screw us over these next few weeks.


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The Chinese:

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Beijing could offer Turkey a substantial lifeline.  A rescue operation would help stitch Turkey into China’s Belt and Road initiative at a very key geographic point on the Eurasian landmass. But China being China, President Ping Pong Table will only lend a hand with strings attached. Greece’s sale of the Piraeus port to the Chinese in 2016 for 368 million euros was a firesale. Turkey has some nice commercial real estate, steel and energy that could easily interest China providing the government is willing to sell it at a discount to cover costs elsewhere.

Simply put, China may help Turkey if they can buy half their country off the clearance rack. I’m sure there will be some of that, but I don’t see Erdogan giving up the sorts of things China will be demanding. It would make the very idea of a lifeline meaningless.

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Qatar:

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The Qataris are Erdogan’s best bet. Erdogan is personally close to the emir, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani. Erdogan is believed to keep a large proportion of his own personal assets in Doha banks. Turkey also maintains troops in Qatar as a defense against the Saudis—even as Turkey seeks better ties with Riyadh (It’s a complicated world). Those efforts to improve relations with the Saudis will definitely fall by the wayside now, because the Saudis aren’t going against PDT no matter what. an effort that may now fall by the wayside.

Last week, Qatar pledged to invest $15 billion in Turkish financial markets and banks. It was the first major move in support of Erdogan.


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BIG PICTURE:

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It’s like this, homey.

If the crisis worsens, Qatar can be counted on to lend some more support, followed by China and Europe in a close second. The Russians may help also, but only as it relates to Turkish Stream and keeping their energy project alive.

All in all, Erdogan is in a very weak position. He has the help to stay afloat for a bit longer, but as his currency continues to struggle, his banks lose high profile customers and the local population becomes anxious, I can almost guarantee that he’ll end up seeing things our way.

The only question is how long it will take. I give him until mid-October at the latest.

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MCGAHN SPEAKS TO TEAM MUELLER

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The big story coming out of the weekend was the revelation that White House counsel Don McGahn has sat and spoken with the King Bob Mueller’s angry Dims for around 30 hours or so; a lot of time to be talking to the folks who want to take down the POTUS.

But if the latest reports are accurate, those wishing upon a star for this to be the beginning of the end for boogey man Trump may be disappointed yet again.

According to those reports, McGahn’s personal attorney, Bill Burck, informed the Trump admin that PDT was not implicated in any legal wrongdoing whatsoever.

“He did not incriminate him,” Burck wrote in one email.

Burck has assured Trump’s lawyers that McGahn did not witness Trump engaged in any crime and would have resigned from his White House post if he had, which White House counsels have an ethical obigation to do.

That assurance is important, seeing as how the failing New York Times have reported that Team Trump has little insight into what McGahn told Mueller, creating the narrative that McGahn had gone rogue and spilled all the beans on the big guy behind his back.  


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THE NARRATIVE WAS STUPID FROM THE ONSET

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People, please don’t listen to the failing New York Times.
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This wasn’t a case of White House counsel sneaking out of the West Wing in the dark of night to meet up with King Bob and screw over the president. McGahn spoke to Mueller for one reason and one reason only: he was allowed to.
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The White House has a great deal of informational power and that extends to its own records and testimony. At any point, PDT could have asserted executive privilege so that McGahn couldn’t anwer any questions directly related to any happenings within the White House. 
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McGahn and other White House staffers participated in the Mueller interviews as a result of the Trump legal team’s decision last summer to cooperate with the investigation, period.

Early on, it was a strategy McGahn and his attorney considered unwise because it would allow investigators to get information from a key legal counselor to the president. Many within the admin believed Trump’s lawyers should have claimed attorney-client privilege for McGahn. Given the untrustworthy nature of King Bob’s team, I’m inclined to agree.

But Trump attorneys Ty Cobb and John Dowd believed that cooperating with Mueller would hasten the conclusion of the investigation and could shield the president from having to answer King Bob’s questions directly.

They agreed to turn over thousands of responsive records and provide staff for voluntary interviews, rather than spend months battling over grand jury testimony and records.

And according to them, the strategy has been a success.

“The strategy is working,” Dowd said in a statement today, adding that King Bob cannot compel Trump to testify because “all of his questions have been answered by 37 cooperating witnesses [and] 1.4 million documents.”

“We protected the president,” he added.

Jay Sekulow said the strategy was also designed to help speed the investigation while protecting the White House as an institution.

“What Ty Cobb and John Dowd did was very calculated,” Sekulow said, “with the ultimate goal of being as transparent as possible.”

I guess Trey Gowdy can now cease remarking on how “guilty” PDT is acting.


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DO WE REALLY KNOW EVERYTHING MCGAHN TOLD MUELLER?

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There is a lot of conflicting information in that regard.

Dowd debriefed both McGahn and his lawyer about McGahn’s interview sessions with Mueller, which reportedly began with an all-day interview he had in late November.

Dowd did not believe McGahn had shared any damaging information.

But those same reports state that Dowd asked only for a broad assessment of how McGahn’s sessions with Mueller had gone, rather than specifics. But that is the nature of briefs, after all, and if something had come up of incriminating interest to PDT, I’d like to think it would be mentioned.

If there were some blanks to be filled, though, it appears Rudy Giuliani has filled them. Giuliani told Fox News that Dowd “got a complete version of what McGahn said during that period of time.” And while Giuliani acknowledged that he personally did not know all the details of what McGahn had told Mueller’s team, “Now, I do,” he said, noting that he went over the details thoroughly in the last few days.

It’s also important to note that, as mentioned previously, McGahn is far from the only member of the Trump orbit to be interviewed by King Bob. 

Former tittybaby chief of staff Reince Priebus has sat for about 20 hours of questioning and provided extensive contemporaneous notes he took during his time in the White House. Former senior adviser and leakin’ monster of no control Steve Bannon agreed to voluntary interviews that lasted 20 hours. Former press secretary Sean Spicer also sat for multiple days of interviews.


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BIG PICTURE:

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Isn’t it astonishing how the media have pushed this narrative of PDT retreating to his Twitter bunker as Mueller closes in, yet all this time the administration has been more transparent than any other in history? They’ve definitely been more transparent than any other would be under these circumstances. 

As for the PutinGate probe itself, it’s fairly clear that Mueller has given up on the collusion side of things and gone all in on the “obstruction” narrative, which is laughable.

Mueller’s investigators have asked the White House counsel about the president’s private actions when he fired Leakin’ James Comey, when he raged publicly that Keebler Jeff Sessions failed to maintain control over the Russia probe and when he suggested he might oust Deputy AG Fraud Rosenstein.

Granted, PDT didn’t do himself any favors by giving varying answers on why he fired Comey in multiple Fake News interviews, including with NBC’s Lester Holt. But that doesn’t constitute obstruction. The fact is PDT had the right to fire Comey and he did. 

Additionally, he hasn’t stopped any investigative matters currently ongoing at the DOJ, although frankly, he should. 

Mueller is pursuing an obstruction of justice charge against an administration that has bent over backwards to cooperate with him in any way he needs.

Mueller is not an American hero, nor a man of integrity. He is in place to protect the Swamp, period. And given his status as sitting FBI director while the Uranium One deal was allowed to go forward, I’m fairly certain that he’s protecting himself more than anyone.

Now will Mueller be as transparent as PDT about how that deal was allowed to go through under his watch?

Of course not. I just pray to God that my instincts are correct, and that someone, somewhere within our government has provided information so as to make his cooperation unnecessary. 

Keep those prayers going upward, Trumpers. We have some real evil to defeat.

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SMALL VICTORY ON DACA

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You may recall a recent caps lock-laden rant by yours truly on the absolute insanity of the latest DACA ruling. It appears that the judge might have finally awakened somewhat.

The federal judge who had ordered the government to restart the DACA amnesty program in full has backed off his decision and said the government does not, after all, have to begin accepting new applications.

Ya don’t say! It’s almost as if there’s a separation of powers in our country or something. CrrrAzzY maaaaaaaaaaaan.


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Judge John D. Bates acknowledged the legal mess that’s arisen around DACA and said he didn’t want to make it worse, so he issued a partial stay of his own ruling.

HOW ABOUT WHEN JUDGES ASSERT THAT ONE PRESIDENT CAN’T RESCIND A PAST PRESIDENT’S EXECUTIVE ACTION? OR THAT A PRESIDENT OVERRIDING IMMIGRATION LAW WITH A PEN AND A PHONE IS PERFECTLY CONSTITUTIONAL? IS THAT A “LEGAL MESS,” JUDGE BATES?
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Aneurysm inbound.
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Bates’ ruling means that while Dacamanians who already have had DACA protections can apply for renewals, no new applicants can seek to start the process. Bates also delayed part of his previous ruling that would have let Dacamanians also apply for special protections known as advance parole — permission to travel outside the U.S. and then return — which can, in some cases, turn into a pathway to citizenship.

Hundreds of Dacamanians had exploited that loophole under the Barry administration, but the Trump administration had shut it down, thank God.


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DACA is a #BigFatMess:

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The government had said that if DACA were completely restarted more than 100,000 new applications would be filed, as well as 30,000 requests for advance parole. Given past experience, we know that Uncle Sam always puts out lowballed numbes on immigration, so multiply both those figures by five. Even if those numbers are accurate, though, it would overwhelm U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles the applications, which is reflected in Bates’ ruling.

He said he realized immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally were being denied rights he said they were entitled to, but said he feared the confusion that would result.

“Because that confusion would only be magnified if the court’s order regarding initial DACA applications were to take effect now and later be reversed on appeal, the court will grant a limited stay of its order and preserve the status quo pending appeal, as plaintiffs themselves suggest,” he said in a short opinion.

See, he’s dying to give people who sneak into our country all sorts of rights. He just doesn’t want there to be a lot of confusion along the way. So just sit tight and be patient, illegals, they just need to sort out the paperwork!

Immigrant-rights advocates, who had originally wanted a full restart, eventually changed their minds and agreed with the split ruling of no new DACA applications, but renewals could be processed.


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BIG PICTURE:

 

That decision was based on a legal gamble.

DACA cases are pending in three courts right now. Judge Bates‘ case is likely to be appealed to the circuit court in D.C., while circuit courts are already handling appeals of similar decisions from the failing California and the failing New York.

Each of those lawsuits challenged the Trump administration’s decision last year to phase out DACA altogether. The judges in those cases ruled that the Trump administration cut too many corners, and so the phaseout is illegal.

But another case in Texas involves a challenge to the original 2012 Obama administration decision to create DACA in the first place. If that judge were to rule against DACA it would create a messy situation where the program itself is illegal — but so is the phaseout.

The activists in the case before Judge Bates figured that they could undercut the anti-DACA Texas case by agreeing not to allow new DACA permits to be granted.

The bottom line is we’re going to need this to get all the way up to the SCOTUS so we can get the sane ruling we should’ve had all along. Even if DACA itself were constitutional (it’s not, even Obama admitted as much), the repeal of it by PDT is absolutely legal. If one POTUS can declare something via executive action, the next POTUS can rescind it. Period. It’s not a law passed by Congress, it’s a presidential action. One president doesn’t have more power than the next. That this issue is even still in the courts is completely asinine, and a great reminder of how lucky we are that the judiciary is being reformed at a record pace.

But still not fast enough.

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LOL

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In the wake of having his security clearance revoked, Obama hatchet man John Brennan is now threatening to sue The Donald.

I can’t make this stuff up.

Yesterday, Brennan told his commie brethren at NBC he had a “number of lawyers” reach out to him, possibly looking to represent him if he chooses to take legal action against the Trump administration. Reports are that a total of three lawyers have reached out: Michael Avenatti, Michael Avenatti and some short, sawed-off Vin Diesel looking guy named Michael Avenatti. 

“I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future. If it means going to court, I will do that,” Brennan said.


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PDT, on the other hand, welcomed the idiotic news with a challenge:

“I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit. It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt. He won’t sue!” Trump tweeted.

PDT is correct. Brennan won’t sue. He’s corrupt as the day is long but he’s not a complete moron. PDT can take his clearance all he wants and twice on Sunday. And yes, the trial would allow for a good bit of discovery, although much of it would be classified and inaccessible to jurors. The unclassified stuff would be reason enough for Brennan not to make good on this threat, however. Not that it would matter, since the case would be thrown out of court before it was heard. 


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BIG PICTURE:

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There are a lot of nervous intel bureaucrats right now. TS/SCI clearances are used for the gravy train by people like John Brennan, not to mention the others on the chopping block, including James Clapper, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, Obama designated liar Susan Rice and #resister former Deputy AG  Sally Yates. This often comes in the form of “consulting” work for various contractors.

I’m actually made fun of on a pretty regular basis by my former colleagues for not using my clearance to go into contracting work and opting to try writing instead. That’s okay, I wake up every day with a clear conscience and an understanding of where I’d be if I hadn’t gotten out. It’s not a good place. I’d rather use my experience to help the American public for peanuts than cash in on the bureaucratic gravy train while the country burns. 

But that’s just me. 

Don’t go easy on these crooks, Mr. President. A clearance isn’t a constitutional right, and there are a lot of people from the Obama administration who never belonged within miles of one to begin with.

Clean this scum out of the system.

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1 thought on “Daily Recap — August 20

  1. Kathryn Suzanne Sower August 21, 2018 — 7:51 pm

    Trey Vaught-/I have had this friend for over 40 years. Boy, the stories I could tell, & sadly they would all be true. This friend had this fantastic line that would be perfect for PDT & I am not so sure PDT isn’t already using it. It goes like this: Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.

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