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Trump Holds Giant Signing Ceremony for Spending Bill Named to Honor John McCain – Doesn’t Say McCain’s Name

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President Donald Trump made a big deal about coming to Fort Drum Monday afternoon, telling military service members how much he didn’t want to go, and even admitting that he repeatedly told aides he didn’t want to take the calls of GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents the base and the area and was trying to convince the Commander-in-Chief to show up.

“She called me so many times, I said I don’t want to take the call,” Trump told service members.

But on his first day back from vacation Trump flew to the Jefferson County, New York base to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. The major spending bill was named in honor of Senator John McCain, (R-AZ), who is battling brain cancer.

Trump did not mention Sen. McCain’s name once, as the AP noted.

Some reactions via Twitter:

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Trump Deploying Border Patrol’s Highly-Armed Elite Tactical Agents to Round Up Undocumented Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities

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Continuing his attacks on his enemies one week after being acquitted on articles of impeachmenmt President Donald Trump on Friday ordered a group of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical agents to deploy in major sanctuary cities to round up and arrest undocumented immigrants, The New York Times reports.

Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tactical Unit, BORTAC, are being sent to sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.

BORTAC “acts essentially as the SWAT team of the Border Patrol.”

These are top border patrol agents, who use stun grenades and other weapons usually reserved for warfare “in the most rugged and swelteringly hot areas of the border.”

BORTAC agents receive “enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification,” and “the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”

“Their presence could spark new fear in immigrant communities that have been on high alert under the stepped-up deportation and detention policies adopted after Mr. Trump took office,” the Times notes.

Former CBP commissioner Gil Kerlikowske calls the decision a  “significant mistake.”

“If you were a police chief and you were going to make an apprehension for a relatively minor offense, you don’t send the SWAT team. And BORTAC is the SWAT team,” Kerlikowske, a former chief of police in Seattle, told the Times. “They’re trained for much more hazardous missions than this.”

 

Image by Kristoffer Grogan/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Flickr 

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‘Ethical Hemorrhagic Fever’: Experts Stunned as McConnell Brags He’s Handing Control of Impeachment Trial to Trump

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bragging that he’s handing over control of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to President Donald Trump.

“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel,” the Kentucky Republican Leader told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday night. “There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”

“We’ll be working through this process, hopefully in a fairly short period of time, in total coordination with the White House Counsel’s Office and the people representing the President in the well of the Senate,” he said, presumably referring to Republican Senators.

To be clear, this is effectively the jury foreman taking orders from the defendant’s attorneys to determine how the trial will play out, how long it will go on for, who – if any – the witnesses will be, and how it will end.

In short, McConnell just admitted there will not be a real trial.

NCRM was the first outlet to report earlier Thursday that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and White House Legislative Affairs Director Eric Ueland had walked in to McConnell’s office this afternoon.

Related: Trump White House Already Scripting How Impeachment Trial Will Play Out? WH Counsel Just Walked Into McConnell’s Office

Later, NBC News reported they in fact did meet with McConnell for an hour to plan how the impeachment trial will go forward.

Legal, political, and ethics experts seeing McConnell admit to relinquishing control of a co-equal branch of government to the person who will be on trial in the Senate are expressing shock.

 

 

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Mike Pence Now All In: Defends Trump’s ‘Appropriate’ Phone Call to Ukraine

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Vice President Mike Pence insisted on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s controversial call to Ukraine’s president was “appropriate.”

During an event in Arizona, Pence was asked if it was “appropriate” for Trump to ask Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Earlier on Thursday, Trump had also asked China to investigate Biden and his son.

“Is it appropriate, as the president did this morning and with a phone call to Ukraine, to ask foreign governments to investigate his political rivals? China, for example,” a reporter said to Pence.

“I am vice president of the United States, and I was elected to this job along with President Trump,” the vice president droned. “One of the major reasons we were elected was to drain the swamp. I think the American people have right to know if the vice president of the United States or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration. That is about looking backwards and understanding what really happened.”

According to Pence, Joe Biden and his son are “worth looking into.”

“And the president made it very clear that he believes our other nations around the world should look into it, as well,” he continued. “The simple fact is, when you hold the second highest office in the land, it comes with unique responsibilities. Not just to be above impropriety but to be above the appearance of impropriety. There are legitimate questions that ought to be an asked. We will continue to ask them because the American people have a right to know whether or not the vice president of United States or his family profited from his position.”

Pence also insisted that there “was no quid pro quo” offered when Trump called the president of Ukraine.

“I think that’s of the American people would expect and anticipate but this is going to continue, to advance what we were elected to advance,” he said. “That includes draining the swamp and demanding that our allies operate in an upright way, as well.”

“The president was raising issues that were appropriate that were of genuine interest to the American people,” Pence said of the Ukraine call.

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