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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‘Take Her Out’: Trump Said He Wanted Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch Fired – and It’s on Tape: Report
During a private dinner that was secretly recorded President Donald Trump appears to have ordered the firing of his Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a highly-regarded veteran diplomat who began working for the U.S. Foreign Service in 1986, during the Reagan administration.
“Get rid of her!” a voice that appears to be President Trump’s is heard saying, ABC News reports. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it.”
ABC says it has reviewed the recording, which was “made during an intimate April 30, 2018 dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.”
Also attending that “small gathering” were Rudy Giuliani’s henchmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who have since been indicted.
“The recording appears to contradict statements by President Trump and support the narrative that has been offered by Parnas during broadcast interviews in recent days,” ABC adds. Trump has repeatedly claimed he does not know and has never met Parnas.
Parnas has said that Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr were fully aware of his actions in the Ukraine extortion scandal.
Federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the powerful Southern District of New York (SDNY) have been given a copy of the recording.
Read the entire report here.
Former GOP Lawmaker Who Met Parnas Multiple Times Breaks Ranks and Calls Him ‘Credible’: ‘Everything He’s Saying Is True’
Appearing on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” former GOP lawmaker Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) was asked about his own relationship with Lev Parnas — whose bombshell interview with MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow has rocked Donald Trump’s administration — and what the Rudy Giuliani’s associate had to say.
Pointing out that Parnas is also a resident of Florida, Curbelo explained how he has managed to insinuate into Republican politics over the years and likely has much to tell.
“Lev Parnas lives in South Florida as well,” he told the MSNBC host. ” I certainly hope it’s nothing in the water down here, but from what I can tell, Lev Parnas is someone who probably accidentally ended up in this world and once he got into it he was consumed by it.”
“He probably, and I could tell from our conversations, felt very important or privileged to be in contact with all of these high attention individuals and sure enough, he got in trouble,” he continued. “He got burned like a lot of other people we’ve seen that somehow get involved in Trump world. So here is other thing I’ll say about him: I find him to be credible. I think everything he’s saying is true. When he sat in my office and was boasting, I wasn’t sure, but now that more and more evidence has surfaced, it does seem that Mr. Parnas was in constant contact with a lot of people in Trump world, that he had access to the president at least on a number of occasions and that he was thrilled by that until it ended up costing him.”
Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump
In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.
Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”
According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.
“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.
As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.
“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”
You can read more here.
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