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COMMENTARY

‘America First!’: Trump Declares ‘The World Is a Very Dangerous Place!’ in Deciding to Ignore Khashoggi Killer

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Trump Completes the Total Destruction of America’s Credibility as a Moral Leader

The CIA this week announced Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. President Trump immediately overruled his top intelligence officials, saying a final determination had not been made.

The President of the United States, who revealed he would not even listen to the audio recorded during Khashoggi’s gruesome and horrific murder, has now determined that “maybe” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “had knowledge” of Khashoggi’s murder, “and maybe he didn’t!” despite U.S. Intelligence assessing that MBS in fact did, and in fact ordered the assassination.

In a statement from the President just posted to the White House website, Trump first declares, “America First!” then announces, “The world is a very dangerous place!”

In typical Trumpian fashion, similar to his defense of accused pedophile Roy Moore and accused wife beater Rob Porter, and accused attempted rapist (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh, Trump relies on his gut, and his own interests, far more than actual facts, to assess guilt – while often slandering the victim or victims.

“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime,” Trump says in his official White House statement.

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” the President of the United States declares.

Trump then offers up as a reason the non-existent, “pants-on-fire” $450 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, one that multiple reports make clear is a lie.

“After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States,” Trump claims, which is false. Some arms deals were negotiated during the Obama administration, which Trump is now taking credit for, if there is credit to be had.

“This is a record amount of money,” he again, claims, falsely. “It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States,” Trump says, again, falsely.

“Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors,” he says, which again is false. “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!”

He sums up by saying, “we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” although we know many of the important ones.

“In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he continues, wholly ignoring Khashoggi, a highly respected journalist living in the U.S. with green card status that apparently means absolutely nothing now.

“They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”

Trump, in destroying America’s credibility as a moral leader, concludes: “As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!”

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COMMENTARY

‘Easy Mark’: Why Trump’s $464M Bond Failure Makes Him a ‘Massive National Security Risk’

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National security, legal, and political experts are lining up to sound the alarm about the potential national security risks swirling around Donald Trump, and those warnings are getting stronger.

One month after Trump descended the Trump Tower escalator in 2015 to announce his run for president, CNN reported on the real estate mogul’s repeated claims of great wealth. At one point Trump told supporters he was worth “well over $10 billion.” At other points Trump says, “I’m very rich,” and “I’m really rich.” CNN’s John King noted, “some voters see this as a virtue, in the sense that they think politicians are too beholden to special interests.”

Days later Politico ran with this headline: “Donald Trump’s new pitch: I’m so rich I can’t be bought.”

Fast forward nearly a decade later.

Donald Trump’s attorneys declared in court documents Monday that 30 companies all refused to secure a $464 million bond for Trump, which he owes the State of New York after losing his civil business fraud trial.

The sirens are now wailing.

READ MORE: ‘How Fascism Came to Germany’: Historian Warns Trump ‘Knew Exactly What He Was Saying’

Citing a Washington Post report, MSNBC’s Steve Benen writes, “it’s now ‘expected’ that Manafort will be hired” to work on the Trump 2024 presidential campaign, “at least in part because the former president is ‘determined to bring Manafort back into the fold.'”

Manafort is Paul Manafort, Trump’s former 2016 campaign chairman who in 2017, “surrendered to the F.B.I. and pleaded not guilty to charges that he laundered millions of dollars through overseas shell companies,” according to a New York Times report in October of 2017.

The Times also noted that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had “announced charges … against three advisers to President Trump’s campaign,” including Manafort, “and laid out the most explicit evidence to date that his campaign was eager to coordinate with the Russian government to damage his rival, Hillary Clinton.”

In 2019, NPR reported, almost as a footnote, that “a court filing that was inadvertently unsealed earlier this year, revealed that Manafort shared polling data with a business associate who has ties to Russian intelligence services.”

In his MSNBC report, Benen noted, “the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Manafort ‘represented a grave counterintelligence threat‘ in 2016 due to his relationship with a Russian intelligence officer.”

“’The Committee found that Manafort’s presence on the Campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump campaign,’ the Senate report added.” Benen also reported: “When the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report literally pointed to a ‘direct tie between senior Trump Campaign officials and the Russian intelligence services,’ it was referring in part to Manafort ‘directly and indirectly’ communicating with an accused Russian intelligence officer, a Russian oligarch, and several pro-Russian oligarchs in Ukraine.”

Benen reinforced his thesis, writing on social media: “When the Senate Intelligence Committee pointed to a ‘direct tie’ between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence services, it was referring in large part to Paul Manafort — who’s reportedly now headed back to Team Trump.”

Add to all that this plea from The Atlantic’s Tom Nichols, a retired U.S. Naval War College professor and expert on Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs.

READ MORE: ‘Next Up – Property Seizures’: Experts Analyze ‘Unbankable’ Trump’s $464 Million Bond Crisis

“According to reports last week, the U.S. intelligence community is preparing to give Donald Trump classified intelligence briefings, a courtesy every White House extends to major-party candidates to ensure an effective transition. An excellent tradition—but not one that should be observed this year,” Nichols wrote at The Atlantic in a piece titled, “Donald Trump Is a National-Security Risk.”

“Indeed, if Trump were a federal employee, he’d have likely already been stripped of his clearances and escorted from the building.”

After discussing “Trump’s open and continuing affection” for authoritarian dictators, Nichols notes, “even if Trump could explain away his creepy dictator crushes and clarify his byzantine finances, he is currently facing more than half a billion dollars in court judgments against him.”

“That’s a lot of money for anyone, and Trump’s scramble to post a bond for even a small portion of that suggests that the man is in terrible financial condition, which is always a bright-red light in the clearance process.”

Political strategist Simon Rosenberg on Monday warned: “If Trump is given access to national security briefings he will now have someone with a proven history of selling stuff to the Russians on his team to help facilitate the movement of our intel to our adversaries.”

Also on Monday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wrote on X: “We cannot emphasize this enough: Trump’s mounting court fines make him a massive national security risk.”

“After multiple losses against E. Jean Carroll and New York Attorney General Letitia James, Donald Trump is facing judgements that could end up costing him upwards of $600 million,” CREW reported February 29. “But these rulings are more than a financial headache for Trump, they are an unprecedented opportunity to buy influence with a leading presidential candidate and a sitting president should he be re-elected.”

Diving deeper, CREW notes, “Trump left the presidency with at least $1.1 billion dollars in debt tied to the COVID-weakened commercial real estate market, the vast majority of which would come due in a hypothetical second term in office. These rulings would make that number 50% higher.”

“Giving the highest and most powerful office in the land to someone deeply in debt and looking for ways to make back hundreds of millions of dollars he lost in court is a recipe for the kinds of corruption that aren’t theoretical when it comes to Trump. There’s a reason that you can’t get a job in the military or the financial services industry, or even referee a major sporting event, if you have a massive amount of debt. And you certainly aren’t getting a security clearance because you become too big of a target for corruption.”

Bloomberg Opinion senior executive editor Tim O’Brien, an MSNBC political analyst and author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” observed, “Trump’s financial trap — he can’t come up with the cash to appeal his $454 million civil fraud judgment — may ravage his business. More directly: It intensifies his threat to national security by making him an easy mark for overseas interests.”

“There’s no reason to believe that Trump, whose businesses collected millions of dollars from foreign governments and officials while he was president, won’t have a for-sale sign out now that he’s struggling with the suffocating weight of court judgments,” O’Brien continues at Bloomberg. “Trump is being criminally prosecuted for allegedly misappropriating classified documents and stashing them at Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Without a trial and public disclosure of more evidence, Trump’s motivations for taking the documents are unknown, but it’s reasonable to wonder whether he pondered trying to sell them. Monetizing the White House has been something of a family affair, after all. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been busy trading financially on his proximity to the former president, for example.”

O’Brien concludes, “the going is likely to get rough for Trump as this plays out, and he’s likely to become more financially desperate with each passing day. That’s going to make him easy prey for interested lenders — and an easy mark for overseas interests eager to influence US policy.”

READ MORE: FBI Agent Furious Over MAL Search Thought Trump Would Return Classified Docs if Just Asked

 

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COMMENTARY

Trump’s New RNC Chair Flubs With a ‘Four Years Ago’ Gaffe

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Pro-Trump Republicans over the past two weeks keep asking Americans if they are “better off today” than they were four years ago, and many Americans keep responding “yes.” The latest to serve up an affirmative answer, surprisingly, is Donald Trump’s new hand-picked chair of the Republican National Committee, Michael Whatley.

Appearing on Fox News Friday morning, Whatley gave the Reagan refrain a twist:

“At the end of the day, this comes down to a very simple contrast between President Trump and President Biden. Were you better off four years ago than you are today? The answer for this entire country is ‘no.'”

Trying to immediately clean up his comment, Whatley continued: “I mean, yeah, we are better off today – or we will be.”

For some, Whatley’s double flub served as yet another reminder of just how bad life was four years ago.

READ MORE: Legal Experts Hail ‘Best Ruling’ for Willis in Trump Prosecution Case

“Four years ago, I was hitting the grocery store at 5 am, hoping there’d still be toilet paper and face masks there, then coming home and trying desperately to supervise my kids’ remote schooling in between my own Zoom conferences,” wrote jazz critic and journalist Michael J. West in response to Whatley’s remarks.

The resurgence of the “four years ago” question appears to have been kicked off by House Republican Conference chair, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on March 6, when she stood before the cameras at a GOP press conference and told Americans, “As Ronald Reagan famously asked us, ‘Are you better off today than you were four years ago?’ The answer for hard-working Americans across the country is a resounding ‘no.’”

Her remarks were met in some corners with tremendous anger, with some seeing it as an affront to the more than one million Americans who would be dying from a COVID pandemic critics and medical experts say was worsened by then-President Donald Trump’s actions.

As NCRM wrote last week: On March 6, 2020, CNN had reported: “8 cases of coronavirus confirmed in Colorado,” “Kentucky confirms 1st coronavirus case,” “Son of nursing home resident with coronavirus describes fight to get mother tested,” “California’s Santa Clara County confirms 4 new coronavirus cases,” and, “Cruise passengers not told about coronavirus test results prior to Pence announcement.”

There may be a reason pro-Trump Republicans keep asking the question despite the answers they’re getting.

“Republicans don’t actually want you to remember 4 years ago,” Public Notice‘s Noah Berlatsky on Friday wrote. “It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that March 2020 was among the worst months in the history of the American republic.”

Pointing to Stefanik co-opting Reagan’s query, Berlatsky adds, “Lara Trump, the new co-chair of the Republican National Committee, said virtually the same thing to Sean Hannity on Tuesday. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott echoed that sentiment on Fox News as well, saying, ‘We have to go back to that future, 2017-2020. We want those four years one more time.'”

READ MORE: Fox News Host Claims Trump ‘Not Charged With Obstructing’ Despite Multiple Counts

To claim Americans actually were better off four years ago, he continues, “requires a bizarre form of political, social, and economic amnesia.”

“Four years ago, in March 2020, the covid pandemic was rampaging across the world and country as the president desperately tried to wish it away. People were getting sick, many were dying, and the economy was shutting down as a result. It’s not a time to look back on with nostalgia.”

“It wasn’t just covid,” Berlatsky adds, reminding Americans who have forgotten.

“2020 was the year police in Minneapolis murdered George Floyd, sparking nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. In response, Trump told police and military leaders that they should ‘beat the fuck out’ of protesters and encouraged authorities to ‘just shoot them.’ In line with those sentiments, National Guard troops tear-gassed protesters in DC’s Lafayette Square while Trump staged a photo-op at a nearby church.”

Have Americans forgotten?

The New York Times apparently thinks so.

“Do Americans Have a ‘Collective Amnesia’ About Donald Trump?” The Times’ asked March 5 – one day before Stefanik invoked Reagan’s “better off” question – before observing, “memories of Mr. Trump’s presidency have faded and changed fast.”

Watch the video above or at this link.

READ MORE: Red Flags Raised Over Ex-Trump Official’s TikTok Bid

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COMMENTARY

Stephen Miller: Arrest ‘Commie’ Teachers, Use Government Power to ‘Defeat Evil’

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Former Trump aide Stephen Miller told the MAGA activists gathered near Washington, D.C. last week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that conservatives must be willing to use power more aggressively against their opponents. He railed against district attorneys and other officials for not arresting teachers who violate new state laws that restrict teaching on race, gender, and sexuality.

Miller, an architect of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies, has been promising MAGA activists that if Trump returns to the White House, he “will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement the most spectacular migration crackdown.” Miller’s America First Legal group is part of the far-right Project 2025, which has prepared a battle plan for the movement to “take the reins of government” in a new Trump administration. The Heritage Foundation, ringleader of the Project 2025 scheme, was at CPAC recruiting foot soldiers willing to carry out the plan.

In a recent article for Political Research Associates’ “The Public Eye” magazine, I noted that Project 2025 reflected a “movement-level, ideological shift away from a libertarian mistrust of government power and toward an authoritarian view of government power being used ruthlessly—whether as a righteous force wielded to advance a ‘biblical worldview’ or turned against an ‘administrative state’ supposedly captured by a radical Marxist left.”

Miller provided ample confirmation about the MAGA movement’s intentions, down to his dismissal of libertarianism as “a terrible ideology” that might be fine for academic debates but not in the real world, where he said public officials have a responsibility to “defeat evil.”

Excerpts from Miller’s appearance on a Friday, Feb. 23 CPAC panel:

Call it a mental illness, call it a spiritual failing, call it a moral deficiency, call it weakness, softness, or just being pathetic. There is something really broken in the conservative brain. They’re afraid not only of conflict, we know that. But there’s an even deeper fear, a deeper fear than all that, which is having power, and using power. Conservatives are addicted to the language of libertarianism, which is fine–you know, it’s a terrible ideology, but in an academic setting, okay, have these debates. …

You elect a state supreme court justice, you elect an Attorney General, and so on and so forth, to have an office with specific powers, duties, and responsibilities, with the expectation that they will use that authority to defeat evil, to protect the good, and to accomplish positive change in society. And you have to use that power fearlessly. …

A number of states, for example, have passed laws, saying that you can’t have this in the curriculum, or you can’t have that in the curriculum, and you can’t teach DEI and so on and so forth. Without exception, I can promise you, all the commies in the classroom changed the name of their lecture, changed one word, changed one little paragraph in the syllabus and did the exact same damn thing every single day because they’re communists and that’s what they do. Were they sued? No! Were they arrested if they broke a law and it’s applicable? No! Did any D.A. anywhere, if you’re talking about trans issues, think of arresting somebody for abusing children with trans ideology? No, we write blog posts about it. That’s what we do. So until we get serious, all the way down to the local DA, all the way up to the state A/G. and every office in between, including judges, electing people who have power and will use that power and measure their success by change in the real world, then we aren’t going to be able to beat the left.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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