One week ago President Donald Trump made a rare trip to California, to dedicate a plaque that falsely marks the start of construction of his border wall. During that trip the president toured an area near the Southern border, held a roundtable with some with Customs and Border patrol agents, and told the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to block asylum-seeking migrants from entering the United States.
Trump, now infamously, and on-camera, told CBP agents to tell migrants – including asylum seekers fleeing violence, rape, drugs, and gangs – “illegal migration, we can’t take you anymore. Our country is full. The sector is full. We can’t take you anymore. Turn around, that’s the way it is.”
That is illegal.
But as CNN is reporting, “the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon, senior administration officials tell CNN.”
That may be illegal, especially as The New York Times just published a similar report, but describes the conversation as the President ordering McAleenan to close the border to immigrants.
“President Trump last week urged Kevin McAleenan, whom he was about to name as acting secretary of homeland security, to close the southwestern border despite having just said that he was delaying a decision on the step for a year, according to three people briefed about the conversation,” The Times notes.
The President does not have the authority to indiscriminately and secretly close the border.
And indeed, just two days later Trump fired the Secretary of Homeland Security, caused at least two other DHS officials to resign, so he could name McAleenan Acting Head of the Dept. of Homeland Security, which he did.
Attorney and former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa weighs in:
This is what in the old days we used to call “abuse of power.” https://t.co/te6rArdoof
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) April 12, 2019
So does MSNBC’s Joyce Vance and CNN’s Jake Tapper:
The President offered a pardon to a federal employee if the employee would violate the law to further the President’s political goals. Really (GOPs in) Congress, what more do you need to see? https://t.co/i9fFCI7tbS
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) April 12, 2019
U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu:
Dear @realDonaldTrump: Dude, you can’t tell a federal employees to violate the law and then say you will issue a pardon. That’s the kind of stuff that can get you impeached.
Also, why are you trying to eliminate pre-existing conditions health care coverage? https://t.co/DXbesW0xUm
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 12, 2019
Law Professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer:
Telling someone to commit a crime and promising a pardon if he does is an impeachable offense.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) April 12, 2019
Former Senior Advisor to President Obama and current CNN contributor:
A President instructing a subordinate to break the law with the promise of a pardon is a textbook example of an impeachable offense and should be the biggest story in the country for months. https://t.co/1JXU9t9Nd2
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) April 12, 2019
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NEW: Whistleblower’s Bombshell Complaint About Trump ‘Involves Ukraine’
A reportedly damning whistleblower complaint filed with the federal government intelligence community inspector general against President Donald Trump “involves Ukraine,” The Washington Post, which first broke the story, late Thursday night reports in the latest development.
“Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed,” by an intelligence official, “Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May,” The Post reports.
The whistleblower complaint was filed August 12. It reportedly accuses the president of making a disturbing “promise” to an unnamed foreign leader, and reportedly doing so on several different occasions, or involved “multiple actions,” as The New York Times states.
The White House, through the Acting Director of National Intelligence, has refused to hand over to Congress the whistleblower complaint. By law it is required to do so within seven days of the report being created.
President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have reportedly been trying to force to deliver dirt on top Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump had been withholding military aid from Ukraine.
In fact, last month Giuliani freely admitted he had traveled to the Eastern European country.
“Ukraine’s prosecutor general told Bloomberg in May he had no proof of wrongdoing by Biden or his son,” CNN reported at the time.
And in a stunning breach of protocol, the U.S. State Department reportedly assisted Giuliani with the trip.
US Military Officers Awarded ‘Pride Pins’ for Visits to Trump’s Scottish Resort: Report
According to a report from Politico, military officers making extended stays at Donald Trump’s struggling Scottish golf resort are being lavished with extra attention, including being awarded a co-called “Pride Pin” to commemorate their stay.
As part of their continuing investigation on military flight crews being housed at the Turnberry golf course, the reports also states that crews are not just staying over for one night, but may spend days at the resort playing golf while the government picks up the tab.
High-ranking officers, Politico reports, can expect “a version of its ‘Pride Pin,’ a lapel pin featuring the property’s iconic lighthouse — an honor reserved for VIPs — upon their arrival, according to a resort staffer familiar with the practice.”
The report notes that, contrary to earlier reports, stays are not limited to one-night stays.
“Air Force crews on layovers from Prestwick Airport have become a major facet of the life of the resort,” Politico reports. “It also revealed that, rather than being restricted to single-night refueling stops, some visits last multiple nights, expanding the known dimensions of the relationship between the president’s luxury resort and the U.S. military.”
While staying at the resort, military crews are also encouraged to use the golf course – for a fee – with Politico noting that stopovers appear to increase during the slow season for the resort.
“In at least one instance earlier this year, a crew was laid up for multiple nights while their plane underwent repairs, allowing them to hit the links on Turnberry’s world-class course and purchase mementos from the pro shop, where a child’s golf shirt runs 55 British pounds, about $68 at the current exchange rate,” the report states. “While crews were spotted here this summer, one longtime staffer said that they more frequently show up in the winter low season, and stay at the lodges — more spacious, freestanding structures downhill of the main hotel, which looks out over the seashore.”
“While staying at Turnberry, the crews mostly stay on resort grounds. Aside from servers at the Balkenna Tea Room, a mile from the resort, who said they had served uniformed service members of unknown nationality within the past week, staffers at the handful of establishments in the resort’s vicinity said they were unaware of a regular military presence there,” Politico reports.
You can read more here.
Liberty University Insiders Blow the Lid Off Jerry Falwell Jr’s Shady Dealings: ‘Somebody’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’
More than two dozen current and former Liberty University officials revealed their growing disenchantment with president Jerry Falwell Jr. — whose leadership they described as a “dictatorship.”
The school uses nondisclosure agreements to silence university employees and board members, but many of them agreed to speak anonymously to reporter Brandon Ambrosino, a Liberty graduate, for an article published by Politico.
“I feel like I’m betraying them in some way,” said one longtime current employee with ties to the Falwells. “But someone’s gotta tell the freakin’ truth.”
Liberty sources revealed that Falwell partied at nightclubs and graphically discussed his sex life with employees, and they said he and his wife had been consolidating power and directing university resources to projects and real estate deals for himself and his friends.
“We’re not a school, we’re a real estate hedge fund,” said a senior university official with knowledge of Liberty’s finances. “We’re not educating, we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”
Falwell took over the university in 2007, after his namesake father’s death, and his brother Jonathan took over Jerry Falwell Sr.’s Thomas Road Baptist Church.
The nonprofit university had listed assets of just over $259 million at that time, but its IRS filing in 2017 showed assets surpassing $2.5 billion, driven by a surge in online students — but many close to Falwell expressed concerns about where tuition money goes.
“We’re talking about the difference between right and wrong,” a current high-ranking university official said. “Not even ‘being a Christian,’ but being a good person, versus people who manipulate the system.”
Image via Wikimedia
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