President Donald Trump earned a brutal rebuke by a substantial portion of his own party as the Senate voted 59-41 on a resolution opposing his emergency declaration that reallocates funds from the military to build a barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.
A total of 12 Republicans out of the 53 in the Senate voted in favor of the resolution that would block the declaration. Trump is expected to veto the resolution, which both chambers of Congress would need a two-thirds majority to overturn.
The willingness of such a large number of Republicans to rebuke Trump on one of his central issues showed that the president’s control over his party is notably weak. On the other hand, the fact that the overwhelming majority of GOP Senators will accede to an effort that, had President Barack Obama done it, would surely have sparked calls for impeachment, shows that the party’s claims to be driven by ideology rather than the rank pursuit of power is largely hollow.
But given Trump’s substantial support among the GOP electorate despite his vulnerability on many fronts and ever-multiplying scandals, a solid bloc of Senators from his own party who are willing to break with him on this issue should be a worrying signal for the White House. With the House of Representatives firmly in Democratic control, Trump needs to be able to count on unwavering support from the Senate for protection against continuing investigations and even the threat of impeachment. Of course, there’s no sign yet that a single Republican Senator would be willing to vote to remove him from office at this point — but these are the cracks in his support Trump should fear if more damning revelations are coming down the pike.
And conservative writer Jennifer Rubin noted in the Washington Post Thursday that this isn’t the first sign that Trump’s support in the Senate is unsteady and far from unquestioning. As recently as Wednesday, some Republicans joined with Democrats to oppose the administration’s continuing support for Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen.
Trump has only himself to blame for this turn of events. His Middle East policy is adrift, his subservience to the Russians makes him look increasingly like a second-rate player. He treats the Saudis with kid gloves, which also diminishes his influence.
Had the administration not insulted our intelligence and savaged our values by supporting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s denial that he was involved in the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Senate may not have revolted. The Senate previously rebuked the administration after it infuriated lawmakers with disingenuous briefings about the murder. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo convinced no one and in the process lost any credibility on the topic of Saudi relations.
These are clear indications, she argued, that his political power is running out.
“Given how lackluster Trump’s agenda is and how inept his diplomacy is, he may well have no remarkable achievements other than confirmation of judges for the remainder of his term,” she concluded. “He’ll be spending most of his time in a defensive crouch screaming via tweet that he is a victim, trying to simultaneously maintain the pretense that he is winning. No, this is what losing looks like.”
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Trump Declares Hutchinson ‘Totally Discredited’ as Former Aide Says Someone in His Orbit Tried to Influence Her Testimony
Donald Trump appeared on the far right-wing cable channel Newsmax Thursday and falsely declared Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide and advisor to his White House Chief of Staff, has been “thoroughly discredited.” Also on Thursday CNN reports Hutchinson said “that she was contacted by someone attempting to influence her testimony.”
Experts have called Hutchinson’s statements on Tuesday before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack a “data and information cluster bomb,” and a “smoking gun” that provides the “strongest legal evidence specifically against Donald Trump thus far.”
“The committee’s vice chairwoman, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said at Tuesday’s hearing that two witnesses — whom she did not name — told the committee they had heard from people connected to former President Donald Trump’s world who may have been trying to intimidate them,” CNN reports. “Sources tell CNN Hutchinson is one of those witnesses.”
CNN adds that at the end of Tuesday’s hearing, “the committee showed testimony where witnesses were told that the former President was paying attention to the fact that they had been called by the committee and that hoped they would remain committed to Trump.”
Trump Thursday told Newsmax he “hardly knew” Hutchinson, but that she was “some whack job” who “can say this stuff and get away with it.”
He also claimed Hutchinson “wanted to work for me in Florida,” after his term in the White House.
“We chose not to bring her down because I got very bad things. I hardly knew her. And I said, well, she’s no good. I guess somebody called up numerous people, that she’s not good. I won’t say why that she’s not good, but plenty of reasons.”
He also claimed that Hutchinson “was not respected by the people in the White House,” and yet she was an aide to his Chief of Staff and her office reportedly was 40 to 50 feet from the Oval Office.
“So they thought she shouldn’t go down. I was going down to Florida with a group of people a great group of people, patriots, and her name was thrown out there and they said keep stay away from her. They said bad things about her. And then I see her and I again, I hardly know who she is. And then I see this woman getting up. And she’s making up stories like one after another.”
“But the craziest of all was that I tried to commandeer – like they used that word – I tried to commandeer a car with Secret Service agents, telling them to take us down to the Capitol. It was totally false, and that a person can get away with it. And then I watch The [New York] Times and The Washington Post and I watch, I get reviews on MSDNC,” he said, referring to MSNBC, “and CNN. They hardly even talk about the fact that she’s been totally discredited.”
Hutchinson’s credibility has been firmly established, although numerous reports state the far right has been working to discredit her with falsehoods.
Watch the former president below or at this link:
“Whack job … I won’t say why that she’s not good, but plenty of reasons” — Trump makes all sorts of weird insinuations about Cassidy Hutchinson during a new Newsmax interview pic.twitter.com/Hpwr37n2Wr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 30, 2022
‘He’s a Trump Acolyte’: Reporter Shreds Secret Service Agent’s Credibility in Face of Denials About SUV Incident
A reporter who has written a book on the Secret Service shredded the credibility of a former agent who has pushed back against Cassidy Hutchinson’s bombshell testimony.
The former White House aide testified that Tony Ornato, who moved from the Secret Service to deputy chief of staff, told her that Donald Trump became irate when his security detail would not take him to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and lunged for the steering wheel of his armored SUV and physically attacked his lead agent, and Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig poured cold water on his denials.
“This is a person who worked as President Trump’s security detail leader, and the boss liked him so much he installed him in a political White House job,” Leonnig told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “That broke every Secret Service tradition in the book because he stayed as a Secret Service employee, but Trump essentially had him directing the Secret Service to make sure that all of its campaigns events, all of his photo ops, everything that he wanted to do to get re-elected went off without a hitch.”
“That included paid rallies that caused COVID surges and included the forcible clearing of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square,” Leonnig continued. “Tony was the secret hand behind all of that, and that is what Trump wanted. Trump White House staffers and Secret Service agents have told me repeatedly, he’s a Trump acolyte. He will defend the president to the end, and he remains in contact with Trumpworld, so I want to stress that also Tony Ornoto has indicated that this story Cassidy Hutchinson told didn’t happen. Well, Tony Ornato said a lot of things didn’t happen. He tried to say to the press and to me indirectly that the clearing of Lafayette Square was not done for President Trump’s photo on, that’s not true. He was at the center of that, so I take the points because they’re saying in their experience, things that we reported, Tony tried to deny.”
“The Secret Service often tries to deny things that are unflattering, and then when the rubber hits the road, we learn there is a little bit more to it,” Leonnig added. “I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and if Tony Ornato testified under oath that he exaggerated this story and it didn’t happen in the limo, forgive me, in the Suburban on Jan. 6, as she relayed, then that is important and we should take that seriously.”
Watch the video below or at this link.
What Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony Means for Criminal Prosecution of Donald Trump: Report
Former White House senior aide Cassidy Hutchinson revealed some new information to the House Select Committee investigating the attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the election.
One question being asked by the New York Times, however, is whether the information she gave was enough to aid in a potential criminal prosecution of former President Donald Trump.
Among the things she told the committee was that as Trump went onstage Jan. 6 to speak to the rally crowd he knew that there were people in the audience with weapons, including guns. Instead of trying to deescalate the crowd, she said that he wanted the supporters brought closer and allowed in even if they had weapons that wouldn’t normally make it through metal detectors.
“Legal experts said the testimony provided more evidence to support a possible criminal prosecution, as it suggested that Mr. Trump was aware of the potential for violence but went on to urge his supporters to head to the Capitol,” wrote the Times analysis.
Trump then called on the crowd to “fight like hell” and told them that he would lead them to the Capitol in a powerful march.
“And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down,” he said, repeating the phrase. “Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated.”
The Times pointed that the Justice Department said that it doesn’t have an explicit investigation focusing on Trump. There is, however, evidence that the DOJ is moving swiftly on the fake electors’ scandal. Meanwhile, Trump legal adviser John Eastman was raided by federal agents, including FBI agents, who took his phone to turn it over to the Justice Department Inspector General. That is an indication that there’s an internal investigation happening over the role some lawyers like Jeffrey Clark played in the attempt to overthrow the election.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has captured many of those who came after Congress on Jan. 6 and interviews with them reveal that they’re placing the blame squarely on Donald Trump. Some said that Trump called them to Washington and to the Capitol for Jan. 6.
“Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony could place Mr. Trump into a conspiratorial relationship with members of the mob, lawyers said, suggesting that he pushed them into action even though he was aware that they presented an immediate threat,” wrote the Times.
Hugo Lowell, reporter for The Guardian, explained that Hutchinson’s comments “marked a new degree of apparent consciousness of guilt among Trump’s closest advisers – in addition to that of at least half a dozen Republican congressmen and the Trump lawyer John Eastman – or fear that they might have committed a crime.
He went on to explain that “in raising Giuliani’s interest in a pardon, Hutchinson also testified that Trump’s former attorney may have also been central to a crime with respect to his seeming knowledge of what the far-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys groups were planning for January 6.”
The idea that the White House knew about the involvement of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys “raised the spectre that the former president’s then-attorney [Giuliani] was broadly aware of the intentions of two far-right groups.” Many of the groups’ members have since been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy.
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe urged the DOJ to be forthcoming about its intentions to dodge the implications of politicization.
A word to the wise: I definitely don’t favor leaks from DOJ, but the sooner it becomes publicly clear that the criminal investigation has reached Trump, the harder it’ll be for him, by officially announcing his candidacy, to claim that his indictment would be a political act. ⏳
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) June 29, 2022
Founder and executive director of Protect Democracy Ian Bassin noted that the idea of attempting to intimidate witnesses is a potential criminal offense for Trump. If the people relaying the message to Hutchinson and the other witness are investigated for being part of that it’s unclear if they will implicate the president.
Rep. Cheney now sharing evidence of witness intimidation. New potential criminal charges against Trump and others. This is serious Mafia stuff.
— Ian Bassin 🇺🇦 (@ianbassin) June 28, 2022
Sol Wisenberg, a former deputy to special counsel Ken Starr, told the Times that it’s clear Trump has criminal culpability.
Did Trump commit a crime? “This is the smoking gun,” Sol Wisenberg, a former deputy to Ken Starr, tells me about today’s hearing. “There isn’t any question this establishes a prima facie case for his criminal culpability on seditious conspiracy charges.”
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) June 28, 2022
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