The Trump White House is in secret talks with top Senate Republicans to draft a strategy on how the impeachment trial will be conducted after the House passes what are expected to be damning articles of impeachment. The president has been focused the past few weeks on sitting down with Senate Republicans individually or in small groups to take the temperature of the caucus and to woo those who have occasionally suggested they might be uncomfortable with the actions he has taken that have led to the current impeachment inquiry.
“A group of Republican senators and senior White House officials met privately Thursday to map out a strategy for a potential impeachment trial of President Trump, including proceedings in the Senate that could be limited to about two weeks,” The Washington Post reports late Thursday afternoon.
Among the Republican Senators who clandestinely met with top Trump White House advisors are: Mike Lee (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Tom Cotton (Ark.). The six strong Trump supporters met, according to the Post, “with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.”
Earlier Thursday Politico reported “Trump cozies up to GOP during impeachment,”noting the President has been “aggressively courting Senate Republicans” including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, both seen as potentially dangerous to Trump should the Senate hold an impeachment trial.
In a separate Politico article Politico suggests the White House attempted to convince the majority-Republican Senate to immediately dismiss any articles of impeachment and hold no trial.
Senators “informed the White House that there simply aren’t the votes to approve a motion to dismiss the trial; it would take just three Republicans to block any impeachment vote on the Senate floor.”
The Washington Post echoed that reporting, explaining that “even a two-week trial could run counter to what Trump has expressed privately. The president is ‘miserable’ about the ongoing impeachment inquiry and has pushed to dismiss the proceedings right away.”
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Trump Considered Selling Puerto Rico: Ex-DHS Chief
President Donald Trump’s former acting Secretary of Homeland Security says the leader of the free world considered selling Puerto Rico.
Elaine Duke, who describes herself as a lifelong Republican, spoke with The New York Times in a “wide-ranging interview” about her 14 months working for Trump.
“Among her most searing moments during the response to the hurricanes came when she heard Mr. Trump raise the possibility of ‘divesting’ or ‘selling’ Puerto Rico as the island struggled to recover,” the newspaper reported.
“Can we outsource the electricity? Can we can we sell the island? You know, or divest of that asset?” Trump reportedly asked.
Puerto Rico is an American territory, the island’s three million people are American citizens. The territory’s government estimates that 2,975 Americans were killed by the hurricane.
Duke also said she was not ready to support Trump’s re-election.
“That’s a really hard question,” she said. “But given the choices, I don’t know yet.”
Read the full report.
‘Unlawful Orders’: Trump’s ‘Shoot Down Gunboats’ Wasn’t Just Embarrassing – Former Army JAG Says It Would Not Be Obeyed
As the Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump’s Fox News inspired tweet declaring he has instructed the Navy to “shoot down” Iranian gunboats was embarrassing, and deserving of the mockery it received. Anyone who served in the military, and pretty much anyone at all knows you don’t “shoot down” gunboats.
But former veterans and one former Army legal advisor, known as a JAG, say Trump’s threat could constitute an “unlawful” order.
Glenn Kirschner, an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst served in the U.S. Army as a JAG for six years. He also served as an Asst. U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Kirschner weighs in, saying the order would be disobeyed.
As a former Army JAG, I prosecuted soldiers for military offenses. As a former civilian prosecutor, I spent decades handling murder case. A killing motivated by “harassment” is unlawful. Fortunately, as soldiers we are taught to disobey unlawful orders. Trump is failing. pic.twitter.com/3oNgS8y1HC
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) April 22, 2020
This is not the first time Trump has threatened or issued an unlawful order.
In early January Trump threatened he would use the U.S. Military to target and destroy Iranian cultural sites. Experts say had he gone through with it, it would have been illegal, unlawful, and a war crime.
And in 2017, when Trump threatened he would “totally destroy” North Korea, the top U.S. nuclear commander said “he would resist President Donald Trump if he ordered an ‘illegal’ launch of nuclear weapons.”
In 2018, Trump claimed immigrants were throwing rocks at U.S. Forces on the southern border, and announced, “We will consider that a firearm,” and declared “our military fights back.” In other words, he would have the Army shoot the unarmed immigrants.
Retired Army Gen. Mark Hertling said, “It would be an unlawful order.”
‘My First Calling Is to My Savior’: Pompeo Brags He Is Using Role of Secretary of State to Evangelize World Leaders
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is not only admitting, but bragging that he is using his official government role to evangelize world leaders, apparently hoping to bring them to Jesus Christ.
Pompeo is widely known for “brazenly inserting his evangelical Christian beliefs into discussions of foreign policy,” as The New York Times reported in earlier editions of this 2019 article. But it was not known until now that he has been ignoring the Constitution’s critical tenet of separation of church and state to preach the gospel to foreign leaders while on the taxpayers’ dime.
Secretary Pompeo spoke on a conference call for conservative Christian clergy, hosted by the anti-LGBTQ hate group Family Research Council last Thursday, and “told FRC’s pastors that he has used his official travels as an opportunity to evangelize,” according to Right Wing Watch’s Peter Montgomery.
“I’ve been unabashed in my role as Secretary of State to talk about the fact that I swore an oath to the Constitution, but that my first calling is to my Savior,” Pompeo told the conservative Christian pastors. “And I’ve made that something that I tell world leaders, whether I’m with President Sisi in Egypt or whomever, whatever faith they may be of or of no faith.”
He appeared to admit some world leaders were not pleased by his overtures, saying: “we’ve watched some of us be called out for that, to think that, to say that we don’t care about science, that we don’t care about the rule of law, all the things that I know we all care so deeply about.”
Pompeo appeared also to try to gain favor with the pastors and the Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins.
“My relationship with pastors across America, with Tony and all of you, reminds me of the important reason that I believe the Lord put me in this place to have this opportunity to make religious freedom such an important part of what this administration is doing.”
Photo: Secretary Pompeo Meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Image by US State Dept. via Flickr
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