It’s All About The Timeline

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The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of breaking news.

In the interest of keeping a clear and organized timeline of events as they have unfolded until now, I have decided to try and build – and keep updated – a timeline of events and news regarding the Trump/FBI/Russia story.

If anyone has comments, edits, or suggestions – do not hesitate to give me your input.

To keep things easy to read and up-to-date, the timeline starts from the end and works its way back to 1986.




May 23

Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and Putin ally, is confirmed to have had contact during the campaign with the Trump team.

Former CIA Director John Brennan tells the House intelligence Committee:

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals… And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

Federal Election Commissioner Weintraub, a Democrat, calls on the FEC to investigate whether Russia paid for Facebook ads against Hillary Clinton. 


May 22

In a lengthy New Yorker interview Sally Yates says that she warned White House counsel about Flynn so that the Trump administration could “act” on it.

Washington Post bombshell reports that Trump asked the Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, and the Director of the the National Security Agency to publicly deny the existence of collusion between Russia and Trump.

Flynn announces that he will be invoking his Fifth Amendment rights and declining to comply with the Senate’s subpoena.

Elijah Cummings alleges that new documents show that Flynn lied to security clearance investigators about where he was being paid from.

Chaffetz postpones a hearing with Comey.

Trump tells Netanyahu that he never mentioned Israel to the Russians, confirming that the source of the information – was in fact – Israel.

Washington Post reports that Trump is close to hiring an outside legal team to help with Russian probe.


May 21

Washington Post reports that the Russia probe has reached active members of the White House

“A small group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight was notified of the change in tempo and focus in the investigation at a classified briefing Wednesday evening, the people familiar with the matter said. “

NYT reports that House Intelligence Committee is asking a former advisor to President Trump, Michael Caputo – from Trump’s communication team – to:

“produce documents and other materials to the committee and participate in a voluntary transcribed interview at the committee’s offices.”

Elijah Cummings says he got  the impression that “there may be quite a few people that may have some problems with the law.” After leaving a briefing the previous week.


May 20

CNN’s Anderson Cooper breaks the news that Russian officials bragged about their ability to use Flynn to influence Trump

Reporting by VOX indicates that Kushner urged Trump to push back against the appointment of Robert Mueller, and that Kushner and Ivanka Trump are personally very close to Flynn.

Kushner and Ivanka Trump were the ones who told Flynn he could get the job of National Security Advisor. Kushner also accompanied Flynn to his meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period — part of the pattern of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that Flynn lost his job for lying about. Kushner also arranged subsequent meetings with Kislyak and other Russian officials — and the White House didn’t disclose those at the time.

Associated Press obtained letter from Attorney Sheri Dillon, who represents Trump, that says she saw no need for Trump to certify his financial disclosure forms and argued that he was doing the disclosures voluntarily so there was no need to sign it.


May 19

The Hill reports that the White House is looking into impeding the Mueller investigation via 20 year old ethics laws.

The Hill reports that the White House legal team is looking into potential impeachment defenses.

Comey agrees to testify in public sessions before Senate Intelligence Committee

New York Times reports that President told the Russians that Comey was a “nut job” and said that firing Comey relieved a “great pressure” on him.

Trump said “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller asks Congress to back off public hearings involving Russia so that his investigation can proceed without impediment.

Ben Wittes, Lawfare blog editor and Comey confidante, tells the NYT that Comey was concerned about Rosenstein:

Said that Rosenstein was a “survivor” and that survivors inevitably compromise to protect their employment.

Paul Ryan expresses concern after McCarthy comments leaked that more audio leaks will start to undermine Republican narrative

WaPo reports that Russia inquiry has reached active White House officials


May 18

WaPo reports that: “House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested last year to fellow top Republicans that Russian President Vladimir Putin was paying Donald Trump, according to a published report. A spokesman for McCarthy says the remark was a bad joke.”

“House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested last year to fellow top Republicans that Russian President Vladimir Putin was paying Donald Trump, according to a published report. A spokesman for McCarthy says the remark was a bad joke.”

McCarthy reportedly denied the statement until reporters told him that there was a recording of the incident.

Trump lashes out – calls himself the victim of a “witch-hunt”

“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!” Mr. Trump wrote, misspelling counsel… this is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!”

Trump tells reporters during a photo-op with President Juan Santos of Columbia that he is close to appointing new FBI director.

NYT reporting indicates that Rosenstein knew Comey would be fired before he wrote memo:

Mr. Rosenstein knew that Mr. Comey was going to be fired before he wrote his memo, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said after leaving a closed briefing with the deputy attorney general. She said Mr. Rosenstein had been “very careful about not going into details about the removal,” expressing a desire not to undermine Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said that they asked the Justice Department and the F.B.I. for more documents related to the investigation into Russian election meddling — including the Comey memo.

Maggie Haberman reports that Trump is being urged to hire an outside lawyer to deal with issues involving Russia.

At news conference Trump denies telling Comey to back off Flynn investigation:

“No. No. Next Question”

NBC reports that Flynn delayed an anti-ISIS plot while NSC because Turkey was opposed to it.

The Hill reports that Trump insisted Flynn serve in his administration.

The Hill reports that U.S. spies heard Russian intelligence officials talking about their plans to infiltrate the Clinton campaign in May 2016.

Bombshell reporting from the NYT indicates that Trump tried multiple times to compromise Comey and the FBI’s independence.

“Mr. Comey has spoken privately of his concerns that the contacts from Mr. Trump and his aides were inappropriate, and how he felt compelled to resist them.”

Rachel Maddow reports in a segment on the numerous times Mike Pence has lied for Trump

Reuters reporting shows that Trump campaign had at least 18 contacts with Russians during the campaign that were – so far – undisclosed. 6 of those contacts were with Kislyak.

Senator Lindsey Graham tells reporters after leaving a meeting with Rod Rosenstein that the Russia investigation now appears to be a criminal probe. Other Senators confirm that Rosenstein knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his memo recommendation.


May 17

NYT reports “Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House”

Rod Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller, former head of the FBI, as special counsel for Russia investigation


May 16

Trump tweets that he shared “facts” with the Russians and that it is right to do so. Neither confirms nor denies whether the information he revealed was classified.

NYT reports that a Comey Memo indicates that Trump asked Comey to end the investigation of Michael Flynn.


May 15

The Washington Post reports that Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russians in the closed-door meeting.

White House denies story but won’t deny any specifics.  “I was there. He didn’t do it,” says national security advisor H.R. McMaster.

Later reporting confirms that it was Israel, and Israel’s – read The United State’s – best source on ISIS, that was compromised. The source had to be evacuated.


May 12

Trump tweets: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”


May 11

Trump tells Lester Holt that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the recommendation. He adds that he was considering “this Russia thing” when he made the decision.

NYT reports that Trump asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him at a private meeting in January. Comey refused to do so but said that he would always be honest with the President.

In front of Senate Intelligence Committee the acting director of the F.B.I. contradicted the White House’s claims about support for Comey within the FBI and the importance of the Russia investigation.


May 10

Trump says Comey’s replacement will bring back the prestige of the FBI

Trump says critics will be thanking him for firing Comey

Mike Pence says the firing was not about the Russia collusion investigations:

“Let me be very clear that the president’s decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interest of the American people and to ensuring that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people of this nation,”

White House says Comey’s firing has been in motion for months.

Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov And Kislyak in the Oval Office in a closed-door meeting where the U.S press is not allowed to take pictures.

The Russian government’s Twitter accounts post pictures of Trump with Kislyak and Lavrov in the Oval Office. That is the only reason that the U.S. media finds out about the meetings.


May 9

Trump fires Comey:

Trump’s letter specifically says that Comey told Trump “on three separate occasions” that Trump was not under investigation.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson “it’s time to move on” from the Russia investigations.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway denied on air that Trump is under investigation.

“Let me repeat that the president has been told by the FBI director that he is not under FBI investigation, that is right in the president’s letter… This has nothing to do with the campaign from six months ago. This has everything to do with the performance of the FBI director since the President has been in the White House.”

CNN reports subpoenas issued for Michael Flynn


May 8

Trump asks AG Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein to justify firing Comey.

Trump calls the “Russia-Trump” story “a total hoax” and says it needs to end.

Yates confirms that she told the White House that Flynn was “compromised” weeks before news broke that Flynn had lied to the vice president and was fired.


May 7

Trump tweets:

“When will the Fake Media ask about the Dems dealings with Russia & why the DNC wouldn’t allow the FBI to check their server or investigate?”


First week of May 2017

According to the New York Times, Comey had requested funding and resources for the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election in the days before he was fired.


May 2

Trump tweets:

“FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony……Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?”


April 25

Senate votes 94-6 to confirm Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general.


April 13

“We’re not getting along with Russia at all … we may be at an all-time low,” Trump says during a press conference at the White House with the NATO secretary general.

Tillerson and Putin meet in Moscow.

Trump tweets:

“Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!”


April 12

Trump says Comey was “very, very good” to Hillary Clinton, says he still likes him, but says “we’ll see what happens”


April 6

Trump orders air strikes against Syrian forces following chemical weapons attack. Russia bemoans the strikes.


April 1

Trump tweets:

“When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story? … It is the same Fake News Media that said there is “no path to victory for Trump” that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!”


March 31

Trump tweets:

“Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!”


March 27

Trump tweets:

“Trump Russia story is a hoax. #MAGA!” He also questions why people do not focus on whether Hillary Clinton has ties to Russia.”


March 24

Comey appears at the White House in a private meeting


March 23

Spicer ridicules the CNN report, saying  “associates” is too broad.

Trump tweets:

“Just watched the totally biased and fake news reports of the so-called Russia story on NBC and ABC. Such dishonesty!”


March 22

The Associated Press reports that Manafort previously secretly worked on behalf of a Russian billionaire to enhance the image of Putin and the Russian government in the West.

At the White House, Spicer says:

“And to be clear, the president has no personal financial dealings with Russia. His ties are limited to hosting a contest in Russia once, and selling a Palm Beach home to a businessman in 2005. That’s it.”

CNN reports that night:

“The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN. This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to one source.”


March 20

Comey confirms Russia investigation before Congress

Comey also tells Congress that the FBI was investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.”

During the hearing, Trump has an epic tweet tantrum:

James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!”


March 9

CNN reports that the FBI’s counter-intelligence team continues to investigate “computer server connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank.”


March 4

Trump claims Obama wiretapped him & Comey refuses to support it

Comey tells the House Intelligence Committee on March 20:

“With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets. And we have looked carefully inside the FBI.”


March 3

CNN reports on additional meetings that took place between Trump associates and Kislyak.

Kislyak cancels plans to attend the March 4 Gridiron Dinner.


March 2

AG Sessions recuses himself from Russia investigation after lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing


March 1

The Washington Post reports that Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, contrary to what he has said in the past.


February 28

The Washington Post reports that the FBI found the former British Intelligence officer working on the Trump dossier credible.


February 16

Trump calls the Russia controversy “fake news” and says that the Times story from February 14 was “a joke.”

Trump also says:

“I have nothing to do with Russia. I told you, I have no deals there, I have no anything. Now, when WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they’re not giving classified information… I’m here today is to tell you the whole Russian thing, that’s a ruse. That’s a ruse. And by the way, it would be great if we could get along with Russia, just so you understand that. … I didn’t do anything for Russia. … If we could get along with Russia, that’s a positive thing. … I would love to be able to get along with Russia. … If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”


February 15

CNN reports:

“High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN. President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.”


February 14

The New York Times reports that:

“members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”


February 13

Flynn resigns.


February 9

The Washington Post reports that Flynn discussed U.S. sanctions in his phone calls with Kislyak.


February 8

The Senate confirms Sessions as attorney general in a 52-47 vote.


February 4

Trump defends Putin in an interview with Fox News, saying, “I do respect him,” and, when pressed on Putin’s human rights record, Trump responds: “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”


January 30

Trump fires Yates for refusing to defend his travel ban.


January 27

Yates and McGahn meet again.


January 26

Acting attorney general Sally Yates warns White House counsel Don McGahn that Flynn is making false statements regarding his calls with Kislyak.


January 23

Spicer reiterates that Flynn’s call with Kislyak was not about sanctions.


January 22

Trump hugs Comey and pats him on the back at a White House reception


The Wall Street Journal reports:

“U.S. counterintelligence agents have investigated communications that President Donald Trump’s national security adviser had with Russian officials, according to people familiar with the matter.”


January 17

Putin says the dossier is “false.”


January 15

Pence tells CBS News that Flynn and Kislyak:

“did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.”


January 13

Spicer tells reporters that Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak were about setting up a call between Trump and Putin.

Trump says in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he is open to lifting sanctions against Russia:

“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”


January 11

Trump tweets:

“Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is ‘A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.’ Very unfair! … Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING! … I win an election easily, a great “movement” is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state! … Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

Trump says during the news conference:

“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability, because we have a horrible relationship with Russia. Russia can help us fight ISIS, which, by the way, is, No. 1, tricky. I mean if you look, this administration created ISIS by leaving at the wrong time. The void was created, ISIS was formed. If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That’s called an asset, not a liability. Now, I don’t know that I’m gonna get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do.”


January 10

Sessions states under oath at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing:

“I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”

CNN reports that both Trump and Obama had been briefed on claims that Russia possessed compromising personal and financial information about Trump based on:

“memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work U.S. intelligence officials consider credible.”

BuzzFeed publishes a trump dossier that alleges that Trump associates had colluded with Russian operatives and that the Russian government had compromising information about Trump.

Trump tweets:

“FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”


January 7

Trump tweets:

“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We….. have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and…. both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”


January 6

Lawmakers are briefed on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases an unclassified report on their findings:

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments. We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.”

The report concludes that DC Leaks, Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks all obtained the hacked documents with Russian government-backed hackers.

Clapper, FBI director James Comey and CIA director John Brennan brief Trump at Trump Tower on the intelligence community’s findings.

Trump tells The New York Times the Russia controversy is a political witch hunt.”

Trump releases a statement saying the hacks had:

“absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election… Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying”

He later tweets:

“Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense!”


January 5

The intelligence community briefs Obama on their findings on Russian interference in the election.


January 4

Trump tweets:

“Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!”


January 3

Trump tweets:

“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!”


2017


December 31

Trump tells reporters at Mar-a-Lago that “hacking is a very hard thing to prove.”

“So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation,”


December 30

Putin announces he will not retaliate against the U.S. expulsions.

Trump tweets: “Great move on delay I always knew he was very smart!”


December 29

Obama orders 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the country and imposes sanctions on two Russian intelligence services as retaliation for the election interference campaign.

Flynn has a series of phone calls with Kislyak.


December 26

Oleg Erovinkin, who worked with a former British spy to build a dossier alleging Trump ties to Russia, is found dead in the back seat of his car in Moscow.


December 23

Trump releases the December 15 letter from Putin and says that the letter was “very nice” and that Putin is “so correct… I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”


December 15

Putin sends Trump a letter saying he hopes Trump will “restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas as well as bring our level of collaboration on the international scene to a qualitatively new level.”


December 8

Former Trump adviser Carter Page appears in Moscow, The New York Times reports. Page tells a Russian state-run news agency that he is there to meet with “business leaders and thought leaders.”


December 7

The Time magazine interview is published.


December 4

Putin praises Trump in a TV interview:

“Trump was an entrepreneur and a businessman. … Because he achieved success in business, it suggests that he is a clever man.”


December

Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower. 


November 28

In an interview with Time magazine, Trump says about Russia interfering in the election:

“I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say, ‘Oh, Russia interfered.’ Why not get along with Russia? And they can help us fight ISIS, which is both costly in lives and costly in money. And they’re effective and smart. It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey. I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.”


November 18

Trump names Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.


November 10

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov tells Interfax news agency that there “were contacts” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the election campaign.

The Trump campaign denies it:

“There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”

Obama meets with Trump at the White House. Obama warns Trump against hiring Flynn.


November 9

The Russian parliament cheers Trump’s victory.


November 8

Trump is elected President of the United States.


November 6

Trump doubts Comey’s investigation could be done in eight days.


November 5

Trump tells crowd that Comey and the “great, great special agents of the FBI” would be able to indict Clinton


October 31

Trump tells a crowd that it “took guts” for Comey to reopen the investigation

The New York Times publishes a story with the headline, “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link To Russia.”


October 30

Trump tweets  that Democrats loved Comey until he reopened the investigation

“Hillary and Dems loved and praised FBI Director Comey just a few days ago. Original evidence was overwhelming, should not have delayed!”


October 29

Trump tells crowd:

“And I have to tell you, I respect that Director Comey was able to come back after what he did. I respect that very much.”


October 28

Trump praises Comey for reopening Clinton investigation

“Very proud that the FBI was willing to do this actually, really, very proud”


October 12

Trump promises to investigate the “phony” FBI investigation into Clinton


October 7

WikiLeaks dumps emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal email account. The release came hours after Trumps hot-mic incident was reported by the WaPo.

Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, says hacked documents posted on DC Leaks, Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks are linked to Russian intelligence and accuses “Russia’s senior-most officials” of directing the hacks


September 26

Foreign policy adviser Carter Page steps down from the Trump campaign.

At the first presidential debate, Trump casts doubt on reports that Russia was behind the DNC hacks.


September 13

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, lodges a formal complaint with the U.N. over one U.N. official’s condemnation of Trump.


September 8

Senator Jeff Sessions meets in his Senate office with Kislyak.

Trump tells the Kremlin-backed Russia Today that “it’s probably unlikely” Russia is interfering in the election. Instead he says:

“I think maybe the Democrats are putting that out,” Adding that foreign interference in the election would be “inappropriate.”

In an interview with CNN, Pence says that:

“it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.”


September 7

Clapper reiterates that Russia is behind the DNC hack.

Trump praises Putin at an NBC forum, saying Putin had an 82 percent approval rating in Russia and that:

“He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.”

Trump also says that Putin has complimented him.

“I think when he calls me brilliant I’ll take the compliment, but it’s not going to get him anywhere,”


September 5

The Washington Post reports that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating:

“a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions.”


August 19

Manafort resigns.


August 17

Trump receives his first classified intelligence briefing.

NBC reports that Trump received information at the briefing about “direct links” between the Russian government and the email hacks.


August 14

The New York Times publishes an exposé on Ukrainian documents that show that $12.7 million in cash was earmarked for Manafort by the pro-Russian Party of Regions.


August 12

Guccifer 2.0 releases the cellphone numbers and email addresses of almost all of the Democrats in the House of Representatives.

The digital security firm ThreatConnect announces that another site posting leaked documents, DC Leaks, is linked to Russian intelligence services.


July 31

In an interview on ABC Trump says of Russia’s annexation of Crimea:

“But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also.”

Trump also denies during the interview that he personally lobbied for the pro-Ukranian language in the Republican Party platform.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Paul Manafort says the effort for the pro-Ukraine amendment “absolutely did not come from the Trump campaign. … No one, zero.


July 27

Trump tweets:

“If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”


July 26

Intelligence officials say they have “high confidence” that Russia is behind the DNC hacks


July 25

The FBI announced it was investigating the DNC hack and stated that “a compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously.”

That same day, The Daily Beast reports:

“The FBI suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on Friday. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach.”


July 24

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigns amid the controversial fallout from the email dump.


July 22

WikiLeaks publishes about 20,000 emails stolen from the DNC.


July 20

Sen. Jeff Sessions, who endorsed Trump early and who led his national security advisory committee, meets with Ambassador Kislyak and a group of other ambassadors at an RNC event.


July 18

The Republican National Convention adopts the official Republican Party platform, with one particularly important change:

“We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning. … We will not accept any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine, Georgia, or elsewhere, and will use all appropriate constitutional measures to bring to justice the practitioners of aggression and assassination.”

The Washington Post reports the same day:

“The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.”


Week of July 18

Three Trump national security advisers — Page, J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares — meet with Kislyak in Cleveland. They told him they hoped to see improved relations with Russia.


July 7

At a speech in Moscow, Page criticizes the United States and Western democracies.

“Washington and other Western powers have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change,”


July 5

Trump tweets:

“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem” After Comey announced there would be no charges regarding Clinton’s handling of State department emails.


June 21

Guccifer 2.0 posts more stolen documents.


June 15

The hacker Guccifer 2.0 posts documents stolen from the DNC.

Trump releases a statement accusing the DNC of being behind the hack:

“as a way to distract from the many issues facing their deeply flawed candidate and failed party leader.”


June 14

The DNC announces it has been the victim of an attack by Russian hackers.


May 18

James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, says at a Washington event there are “some indications” of cyberattacks aimed at the presidential campaigns.


April 27

Trump briefly meets with the Russian ambassador, along with four other members of the Trump campaign: Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and J.D. Gordon.

Donald Trump delivers a speech about his vision for foreign policy at the Mayflower Hotel

He calls for better relations with Russia in the speech:

“We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China. We have serious differences with these two nations and must regard them with open eyes, but we are not bound to be adversaries. We should seek common ground based on shared interests. Russia, for instance, has also seen the horror of Islamic terrorism. I believe an easing of tensions, and improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength only, is possible, absolutely possible. Common sense says this cycle, this horrible cycle of hostility must end and ideally will end soon. Good for both countries. Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.”

Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak is in the front row.


March 28

Trump hires Paul Manafort to help lead his campaign. Manafort had worked recently as a senior adviser for pro-Russia Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.


March 22

Billy Rinehart, a former DNC employee working for the Clinton campaign, falls for the same email scam that Podesta was hacked with.


March 21

When asked who his foreign policy advisers are Trump names, among others, Carter Page. Page is an American banker who had lived in Moscow for three years.


March 19

John Podesta’s staff is told incorrectly that an email instructing him to change his password is legitimate. The action allows Russian hackers into Podesta’s account.


February 17

“Putin called me a genius,”

According to PolitiFact, Trump would repeat the claim:

“three times in April, in a May interview on CNN, at a June rally in California, twice in July, and at an August town hall in Ohio.”


2016


December 17

Russian President Vladimir Putin praises Trump at his year-end news conference.

“He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that. But it’s not our business to judge his merits, it’s up to the voters of the United States… He is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level relations, a deeper level of relations with Russia … How can we not welcome that? Of course, we welcome it.”

Trump responds in kind.

“It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond… I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.”


December 10

Michael Flynn attends Russia Today’s 10th-anniversary dinner. He participates in a paid speaking engagement and sits just two seats from Putin.


November 10

Trump says at a GOP debate that he got to know Putin:“very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes,’ we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” He adds: “If Putin wants to go and knocked the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100 percent, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it.”

“very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes,’ we were stablemates, and we did very well that night… If Putin wants to go and knocked the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100 percent, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it.”


October 14

Trump casts doubt on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian-backed separatists were behind the downing of civilian airliner, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

“That’s a horrible thing that happened… It’s disgusting and disgraceful but Putin and Russia say they didn’t do it, the other side said they did, no one really knows who did it, probably Putin knows who did it. Possibly it was Russia but they are totally denying it. … But they’re saying it wasn’t them. The other side says it is them. And we’re going to go through that arguing for probably for 50 years and nobody is ever going to know. Probably was Russia.”


September

FBI agent warns DNC that they may have been hacked


2015


November 10

Trump goes to Pageant in Moscow and then writes on twitter:

“I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place! U.S. MUST BE VERY SMART AND VERY STRATEGIC.”


October 17

Trump says in an interview with David Letterman he has conducted “a lot of business with the Russians.”

“Well, I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians… They’re smart and they’re tough.” Trump goes on to say that Putin is a “tough guy” and that he’s met him “once.”


June 18

Trump tweets:

“The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live from MOSCOW, RUSSIA on November 9th. A big deal that will bring our countries together!… Do you think Putin will be going to the Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?


2013


Trump’s U.S. project, the Trump SoHo in New York, was built with partner Bayrock Group, founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official.


2010


Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., told investors in Moscow that the Trump Organization had trademarked the Donald Trump name in Russia and planned to build housing and hotels in Russia.

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump Jr. said at the time. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Trump Jr. traveled to Russia at least 6 times time in 18 months.


2008


Trump debuted Trump Super Premium Vodka at the Millionaire’s Fair in Moscow.


2007


The Trump Organization developed several projects abroad using Russian money. 


Early 2000s


Russians bought dozens of condominiums in Trump World Tower in the late 1990s, according to Dolly Lenz, a real estate broker who sold many of the units.


Late 1990’s


Trump was invited to Moscow by the Soviet ambassador to the United States to discuss luxury hotel developments. Trump later told Playboy magazine that his plans failed because the country “was out of control and the leadership knows it.”


1987


Leanard Lauder gave a luncheon where Trump was seated next to Ambassador Yuri Dubinin of the Soviet Union. Dubinin’s daughter knew about the grandeur of Trump Tower, so the two had something to talk about. According to Trump:

“One thing led to another, and now I’m talking about building a luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin.”


1986


Hypocrisy & Hubris

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Crooked Hillary Clinton and her team “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Not fit!

07/06/2017

The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!

02/15/2017

150 Clinton E-mails still contain classified information. More sensitive when she was Sec. of State. This is a very big deal.

08/31/2015

Lyin’ Hillary Clinton told the FBI that she did not know the “C” markings on documents stood for CLASSIFIED. How can this be happening?

09/04/2016

Trump has lots of things to say when it comes to classified information. He made Clinton’s email server a mainstay of his campaign. Almost every single high-ranking Republican is on record touting the carelessness with which Clinton handled classified intelligence as disqualifying for the presidency. There has been a lot of breaking news in the last two weeks, but the hypocrisy and hubris that Republicans are comfortable embracing as they defend Trump are truly unprecedented.

Paul Ryan said that,

It’s simple: Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ w/classified info should be denied further access to it.

07/07/2016

He also said,

It’s no small matter to hand over classified info to a person as reckless w/national security info as Sec. Clinton.

08/30/2016

That is the sentiment that the GOP fermented throughout the campaign towards the handling of classified information. Today, that same resolution is conspicuously lacking.

Last week, Trump fired the man leading the investigation into his ties to Russia. The very next day he held a closed-door meeting with high-level Russian officials where the U.S. press could not participate. The only reason that we know that the meetings happened is that Russian media, who were allowed into the oval office, posted photos of Trump smiling and chumming around with Sergey Kislyak – the Russian ambassador at the heart of the Russian investigation. At that meeting, Trump bragged about his access to intelligence and shared highly classified information with the Russians.

The Russians are not a close ally of the United States. They actively interfered in our democratic elections. There is concrete evidence of collusion between Russian agents and members of Trump’s campaign team. The Russians have supported U.S. enemies in the Middle East, like Bashar Al-Assad, and have been a perpetual thorn in the side of diplomatic missions that America has worked on throughout the globe. American intelligence services did not gather the information that Trump shared with the Russians. Rather it was shared with the U.S. by a key ally – Israel.

Israel has long had a fraught relationship with Russia. The Russians have helped support Iran and Syria, which have been at the center of many of the conflicts and struggles that Israel has had to endure.  According to reporting by The Hill, Israeli intelligence officer are “boiling mad and demanding answers.” The information that Israel shared with the United States was part of an implicit agreement that it would not get disseminated outside U.S. intelligence channels. Trump broke that agreement as casually as he used to break agreements to pay his contractors. That sends a loud and clear message to the rest of America’s allies.

‘Share your intelligence with us, and we are going to do whatever we want with it.’

That is going to sour relationships that have been built and cultivated across the plethora of intelligence communities and networks that the United States relies on to create its counterintelligence. Already, European countries have started to voice their concerns regarding information sharing with the Trump administration. National security, and particularly the lives of American soldiers in active war zones, has been irreparably damaged. The United States is not going to have the same level of access to actionable intelligence as they would have if countries could trust the administration to keep intelligence covert. That is going to translate into shoddier planning and more dangerous missions. The inevitable consequence will be the increase in loss of American life.

There is no honest debate anymore about why Trump fired Comey. He admitted in an interview with Lester Holt that he axed Comey to kill the Russian investigation. There is no honest debate anymore about ‘if’ Trump gave classified information to the Russians. Trump has admitted, in a flurry of tweeting, that he gave them “facts” for humanitarian reasons. Even if you try to be as generous and forgiving as humanly possible, the timeline of Trump controversies and blunders could not be more damning.



Trump fires the man investigating his ties to Russia.

Trump holds a secret, closed-door meeting with Sergey Kislyak – the man in the midst of all the Russia allegations.

Trump – in what appears to have been a moment of braggadocio – gives code name classified information up to the Russians. Information that U.S. allies gave America under the condition that it stays secret.



All of this occurs within a forty-eight-hour span. The only reason it is breaking now is that it took journalists time to confirm their sources and vet the story.

There is a level of hypocrisy amongst the ranks of Republican legislatures that astounds all logic. Complicit is too gentle a word. They have moved beyond mere complicity and embraced full-on the hubris of it all.

Trump cannot be trusted with classified information. His carelessness threatens national security and the lives of American soldiers stationed all over the world.

He handed out code name clearance information like “candy,” for which he derided Clinton.

He treated very sensitive information carelessly, which he once proclaimed made an individual unfit to be president.

He’s done irreparable harm to our closest allies and key intelligence cooperatives.

Elizabeth Warren summed up the insanity of the last two weeks best when she said:

Now is the time to remind Donald Trump that our government is not a plaything to make him richer or a servant to do his bidding. Now is the time to remind him that our intelligence secrets are not gossip and that his personal desire to impress his Russian buddies does not outweigh the safety or security of our allies

Trump is doing his best to hoist himself by his own petard, why won’t Republicans let him?

The Cover-up

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all but confirmed The last, and only other, time that a President fired an F.B.I director was July 19th, 1993. President Clinton fired FBI Director William Sessions after “a scathing report from the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) accused Sessions of numerous ethical lapses.” FBI Director Sessions  had “abused his office by setting up official appointments to justify charging the government for personal travel, improperly billed the FBI nearly $10,000 for a fence around his home, and refused to turn over documents on his $375,000 home mortgage, which investigators said they suspected involved a “sweetheart deal.”” FBI Director Sessions used his position for personal enrichment, and his termination was thusly justified.

That is the only precedent for what happened on Tuesday.

You are hereby terminated

With those four words, Trump threw napalm on a smoldering fire and opened the door to his impeachment.

The timeline is damning.

  • A few days ago, James Comey, the former FBI Director, asked the Department of Justice for a significant increase in funding for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.
  • Jeff Sessions – who had previously promised to recuse himself from the Russia inquiry – and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Met on Monday with Donald Trump. Later that day Rosenstein sends a letter recommending that Comey be terminated. Within 24 hours that memo is reiterated by Sessions, and then finally by Trump.
  • On Tuesday, Donald Trump fired Comey. He sent his personal bodyguard to deliver the message.
  • Yesterday, Trump met with top-level Russian diplomats in a closed-door meeting where the U.S. press was kept out, and the Kremlin’s press was let in.
  • Late yesterday, news broke that numerous Subpoenas had been issued in regards to the Russian probe.

Timing is everything here. Where there is smoke there is fire, and Donald Trump and his band of miscreants are positively choking on it at this point. There is every indication to believe that Trump fired Comey because he felt the FBI investigation closing in on him. The flimsy excuse for the termination that the administration, and it’s party hacks, are regurgitating is so bad that it sounds like the punchline to an Onion article.

The official line from the administration is that Trump fired Comey because he mistreated Clinton during the presidential campaign.

Trump is pretending that he fired Comey because he was too mean to Hillary Clinton during the campaign. There is a lot of crazy news breaking right now, but let that settle with you for a moment.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Comey. And there are plenty of reasons to respect him. I did not think that Comey should have been fired by President Obama for his actions during the campaign, but I did believe that Comey should have resigned to protect the integrity of the FBI. The way he mishandled Clinton’s investigation was a miscarriage of justice and violated internal FBI guidelines in a variety of ways. But that is months in the past. If Trump really wanted to fire Comey for the way that he handled the Clinton email investigation, then he should have fired him during the first couple days of his administration. Instead, he publicly praised Comey’s integrity and work and pledged that he would keep Comey on as the head of the F.B.I.

Now that the FBI’s Russian probe has been in the news for a while, Trump is singing a very different tune on Comey. Politico spoke with several administration officials who said that Trump has been fuming angrily in the White House, screaming at the TV when Comey and the Russian probe are discussed. He feels the truth closing in on him and he lashing out. This isn’t Watergate, it’s probably much worse. The WSJ is already reporting that Comey suspected that there was evidence of collusion, which sounds dangerously close to treason.

It is obvious that Trump is lying about the rationale for firing Comey for a number of obvious reasons, not the least of which is because the timeline is so wildly off – as Trump’s own tweets so illustratively demonstrate:

There was obviously plenty of time for Trump to have fired Comey for being too critical or too soft on Clinton. But he asked Comey to stay on as FBI Director well after all of those events had taken place. He even singled Comey out for an awkward bro hug in the oval office in January. He only fired Comey after he refused to back down from the Russia investigation. Trump has now fired the last three people to investigate him. The writing is on the wall. There is obviously a cover-up at hand.

It has been all but confirmed by the White House that the real reason for Comey’s termination is that the Russia inquiry was heating up, and Comey refused to put loyalty to Trump ahead of loyalty to the law.

In the letter terminating Comey, Trump wrote:

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

If Comey was really fired for the way he mishandled the Clinton investigation, then why does the letter that Trump wrote to him not mention Clinton a single time. The only thing it picks on is Russia, with a ludicrous – and bizarre if true – statement alleging that Comey went out of his way to tell Trump – multiple times – that he was not being investigated. If that is true, it’s a scandal in and of itself. But it’s clear that Trump was fixated on the Russia probe and not on Clinton’s mistreatment. Anybody who says elsewise is lying.

It’s time for the GOP to put country before party, and – to quote Joe Scarborough for a minute – “Stand the hell up” to Trump. This is the line in the sand that must be drawn. Right now the GOP is just as complicit as Trump. John McCain and his band of rabble-rousers love to stir the media pot every time Trump does something authoritarian and unhinged, but they always toe the party line when it comes down to action. It shouldn’t be up to Democrats to take the House and Senate in 2018 to hold Trump accountable. Republicans should want their president to be accountable to the truth too. It is time to appoint a special investigator and get a bipartisan commission to get to the bottom of this. When will Republicans decide to be Americans instead of politicians?

Are we a country of laws, or a country of men?

 

First Principles & Policy; The Healthcare Debate We Should Be Having

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Today, the healthcare debate that is embroiling D.C. is bogged down in the details of policy. Should people with pre-existing conditions be covered? Are high-risk pools an adequate way of handling individuals with pre-existing conditions? Should the wealthy be taxed to ensure healthcare for the poor? Should insurance be purchasable across state lines? Can states opt-out of certain elements of the AHCA by applying for waivers? The minutiae of policy-making make it easy for partisan politicians to stand with their ‘tribe’ day-to-day and avoid answering the existential questions about healthcare that should be answered before we, as a nation, decide to radically change a sixth of our economy.

First principles refer to the fundamental values and assumptions that provide the foundation for a particular theory to be based from. Before the United States attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, it would be prudent to decide what our first principles are. If we can establish fundamentally what we want from healthcare, then we will be able to figure out the policy that accomplishes that. Right now Democrats and Republicans are arguing over the specifics of policy, without talking about what they fundamentally want out of healthcare! That debate must come first or everyone will continue to speak in circles around each other. Instead of debating healthcare policy, we should be trying to establish first principles for healthcare.

Fundamentally, the healthcare debate must start with one question:

  • Is healthcare a right, or a privilege?

If it is a right, then we must figure out a way for everyone to have access to health insurance, regardless of their income or any pre-existing conditions. If it is a privilege, then there is no reason for the government to regulate, or involve itself with, healthcare.

The next principle that must be established deals with the boundaries of care:

  • What is essential, and what is non-essential care, and when should the government be required to provide care?

People, by and large, agree that crisis coverage is essential. That is basically what the emergency room is for. If you get in a car accident or are hurt in a house fire, then the emergency room is there to take care of your healthcare needs. But for a cancer survivor, or a person living with diabetes, are their healthcare needs essential? Should purely cosmetic procedures be covered by the government? These are the kinds of questions that help policy-makers understand what they should be writing policy to accomplish. That is how policy should be written, instead of letting particular legislatures grandstand and hold the legislative process hostage, like the Freedom Caucus has done with healthcare.

Another principle that must be established regards the financial side of healthcare, and at the end of the day, it is a relatively simple question:

  • Should healthcare be tied to a profit motive?

This basically comes down to the question of whether or not the free-market has any place in the healthcare debate, or whether the government should be the only entity involved. The argument for profit basically boils down to – customers are rational consumers that can weigh a cost/benefit analysis of the insurance markets to find a plan that works best for them, and for-profit companies will be motivated to find cures and develop innovations in healthcare because that will drive their financial success. The argument against is also simple – consumers of healthcare are by their very definition not in a place where they can calmly consume information and make a rational choice of provider, most of the time they are sick, panicked, scared, and pushed for time. That means that companies are basically able to pull the wool over their eyes and fleece them for everything they have. A single-payer system controlled by the government would give consumers more protection and control. The United States is one of the only modern countries where people routinely go bankrupt from medical issues. As a nation, we have to decide if we are ok with that.

Instead of focusing on the details of the AHCA vs. the ACA, and instead of focusing on whether it is Democrats or Republicans unilaterally forcing their legislative will on the people of the United States of America, we should be figuring out what are our fundamental first principles of healthcare. Until we have figured out what the basic provisions of healthcare in the United States should look like, politicians will continue to debate policy in a vacuum at one another. The way to move forward is to understand what the goal is, and then write policy that reflects that. First principles must come before policy in the healthcare debate if there is to be any progress.

 

Speak, or Conceal; Comey’s Meereenese Knot

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On Wednesday, Comey came to Capitol Hill, desperate to defend his bewildering decision to reopen the Clinton investigation publicly, while remaining silent on the Trump investigation. In response to a question by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Comey summarized how he made his decision:

I could see two doors, and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal… And so I stared at speak and conceal, speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad.

Then he told the Senate Judiciary Committee that “Everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to October 28th with me and stare at this and tell me what you would do.”

To begin, if we went back to October 28th, we wouldn’t know any of the information that Comey had at his disposal at the time. We wouldn’t know that the FBI had opened an investigation into the Trump campaign. We wouldn’t know that FBI probes had turned up concrete evidence of contacts between Russia and Trump advisors. And, specifically, we would not know that there was “no new evidence” of wrongdoing on the part of Clinton. Comey did know all that. But he chose to publicly pillory Clinton, despite “no new evidence,” rather than – or instead of – alerting the entire world that Trump’s campaign was under investigation for its links to the Kremlin.

The decision to publicly excoriate Clinton without any new leads was irrational, illogical, and without a doubt had an impact on the election. The fact that Comey knew about the ties between Russia and Trump, but chose instead to reopen an investigation into Clinton eleven days before the election, really speaks for itself. Maybe Comey legitimately felt that he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, that his only choice was between speaking and concealing. But he chose to apply it selectively. If he had spoken to both Clinton and Trump, that would be one thing. If he had remained silent entirely, that would be another. But instead, he chose to speak – for Clinton – and conceal – for Trump.

Whatever decision Comey made, it is a sure bet that he would have drawn criticism. If he had been forthright, fair, and equitable about how he handled both the Clinton and Trump investigations, however, then he would not be in the disgusting position he is now of having tilted the scale for one candidate. Given the political perilousness of interjecting the FBI into a federal election just days before its conclusion, the best course for Comey to have taken would have been to remain silent on both candidates.

On Wednesday, Comey told the Senate that:

I’ve lived my entire career, by the tradition that if you can possibly avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to an election that might have an impact.

Maybe Comey should take his own advice.

Comey isn’t solely responsible for Clinton’s loss. But there is no question that he played a part. He chose to involve himself publicly in the election, despite any evidence that Clinton had done anything wrong – beyond what allegations had already been litigated by the FBI and the Legislature. He chose to speak, on Clinton, but conceal, for Trump. He should be a lot more than mildly nauseous.

Broken Promises & Hypocrisy: The GOP Votes To Cut $840 Billion From Medicaid And Give A $600 Billion Tax Break To The Wealthy.

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Over, and over, and over again, Donald Trump promised that he would not cut Medicaid.

In May of 2015, he said,

I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid. Every other Republican is going to cut [them].

Then, later that month, he tweeted,

I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.

After Trump had won the election he doubled down, promising in January that,

We’re going to have insurance for everybody… there was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.

Today, the House Republicans passed a health care bill, which does the exact opposite of everything that Trump promised to voters during, and after, the campaign. The bill is going to cut $840 billion dollars from Medicaid over the next decade. The 74 million Americans that rely on Medicaid are going to see their benefits slashed to the point of dysfunction. Trump promised that he would not cut Medicaid, but he lied.

The bill is going to cut taxes by $600 billion dollars for the wealthy, with almost none of the cuts going to regular Americans. As Matthew Yglesias, of Vox, found:

  • It gets rid of a 3.8% tax on capital gains, dividends, and interest income for families that make upwards of $250,000.
  • It gets rid of a .9% tax on income over $200,000
  • And it removes a litany of taxes on health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers.

None of the cuts will go to poor, working class Americans. The kind of Americans that Donald Trump promised he would look out for. But, like many promises in his past, he has broken that pledge. Getting rid of these taxes is not going to help most American’s bottom line, but it is going to make their healthcare a lot worse. You can’t take $600 billion dollars out of a complicated system – with no plan to fund it otherwise – without making it worse.

The bill that the Republicans voted for today is the epitome of hypocrisy, and it is going to qualitatively degrade the lives of millions of American citizens if the Senate confirms it. During the ACA legislative debates, the GOP lambasted Democrats for rushing healthcare reform onto the American people without considering the implications and costs. But now that the GOP is in charge, they are rushing forward on a bill that has not even been scored by the CBO. The bill is going to restructure a 1/6 of the U.S. economy, and Republicans couldn’t be bothered to find out what kind of impact that will have.

The last time that the CBO scored the Republican health care bill, they found that it would kick 24 million people off of insurance, and increase premiums by 15 to 20 percent. The bill that was passed by the House today is largely the same as the one that the CBO scored, except that now states can waive key provisions of the ACA, such as ensuring essential health benefits and covering people with preexisting conditions. It does nothing to help the millions of American citizens that are going to lose insurance, and it makes it even easier for particularly heartless states to kick even more people off insurance.

Today’s passage of the AHCA was just the first step; it now needs to get through the Senate, which is known for being a force of moderation. The kinds of amendments that had to be made for the Freedom Caucus to vote in the affirmative are exactly the kinds of amendments that are going to make it so difficult to pass in the Senate. It is, however, a step towards a full repeal of the ACA. The AHCA may seem like a victory for Trump and the GOP, but it is certainly a loss for the American people. If the bill becomes law, and people start to see the impact that it has on their lives, then the repercussions for the Republican party will likely be severe. The areas that will be hurt the most by this bill are rural, poor counties like the ones that Republicans win. It is their voters that are going to face the brunt of their brutality. Trump has turned his back on the people that he promised to support, deciding instead to focus on making the wealthy even more wealthy.

 

Sorry Kimmel, The Problem With Healthcare is Not “Partisan Squabbles,” it’s the GOP.

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Monday night, Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue included an incredibly moving account of his infant son’s battle with heart disease. Kimmel’s shtick is usually light-hearted and apolitical, so it was astonishing to see the late-night host tear up several times during his story before diving straight into the politics of health care. Kimmel advocated that all American’s should have access to healthcare regardless of their medical history and that no one, no matter their financial health, should have to watch their child go without treatment when it is available. The clip is heartbreaking, inspiring, and hopeful all at once, and I am happy that Kimmel – who has an enormous audience on both sides of the aisle – is bringing attention to an issue that is at the forefront of today’s political debates. His monologue went viral, and will probably have a positive impact on the health care debate at the end of the day. But Kimmel’s purposefully nonpartisan critique of healthcare in the U.S. is a perfect analogy for the problems with how many American’s view politics today.

Kimmel told his audience that,

If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make. I think that’s something that, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on… This isn’t football. There are no teams. We are the team. It is the United States. Don’t let their partisan squabbles divide us on something every decent person wants.

Well, Kimmel, unfortunately not everyone agrees with you. Specifically, Republicans do not agree with you. His analysis of the politics of healthcare specifically lays blame at the feet of both parties. To Kimmel, it is the ‘partisan squabbles’ between competing teams that cause the nonsense around healthcare to promulgate. This kind of lukewarm, shallow analysis of the political realities of today is unhelpful because it skirts around addressing the root of the problem. The problem is that Republicans don’t believe healthcare is a human right. It’s that simple. Democrats, and ‘something else,’ agree that all people should have access to quality healthcare; it’s Republicans that have spent the last eight years determined to make the Affordable Care Act fail so that they could replace it with even sparser healthcare!

In the time since Trump has been president, the GOP has spent a lot of energy, time, and political capital trying to wrest healthcare away from the American people – not to make sure they have access to more qualitative and accessible care. The vast majority of Republicans support these efforts, during the campaign season entire stadiums of Republicans chanted their support for the dismantling of healthcare in the U.S., and after Kimmel’s monologue went viral, some Republicans even went out of their way to let him know that they didn’t agree that all people deserve healthcare. The reality is that not everyone thinks healthcare is a right, not all people believe that any child should have access to care, and the vast majority of people with those beliefs would describe themselves as Republicans.

I wish, like Kimmel, that all people would like pre-existing conditions to be covered. I wish, like Kimmel, that most people think healthcare is a fundamental right. But a huge chunk of America just voted for a man who leads a party that could not care less about their healthcare. Some of the reporting that Vox’s Sarah Kliff has done seems to indicate that many Republicans would be happy with worse, or less, healthcare as long as other people got their healthcare taken away too! The blame for healthcare’s failures lies not with the proverbial ‘system’ that everyone loves to use as a punching bag. The blame is squarely at the feet of the Republican party. Their ideological inflexibility and compassionate-less rhetoric fuel the slowly raging fires that threaten to tear our already fragile healthcare system apart. If anyone has any doubts that it is the Republican party that is fighting to tear apart the healthcare system and make sure that people like Kimmel’s kid don’t have access to care then just look at some of the responses from the right to Kimmel’s monologue, Joe Walsh – a former Republican congressman – tweeted,

Sorry Jimmy Kimmel: your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.

Healthcare should not be a partisan issue. It should be above the day-to-day squabbles of D.C., but it’s not mired in political knuckle-fights because of nonsensical partisan team-taking. The reason that the future of healthcare in the United States is perilous has everything to do with the Republican party. If they decided today that all people should have qualitative healthcare, then we would get it. The Democrats would – to the tee – vote for any bill that strengthened the ACA, or *gasp* actually made an effort to implement a single-payer system in the U.S. One of the problems in America today is that too many people paint the problems with politics with a broad brush – implying that both political parties contribute an equal amount to the dysfunction in D.C. Sometimes, there really is a side that you can point the finger at and pin the root of a problem too. When it comes to healthcare, that problem is the Republican party and its belief system.

Platitudes about the gridlock of government that blames both sides circumvent the actual problem and make it harder to work towards a resolution. When the problem is specifically identified – in this case, the Republican party – then it is possible to work on solving the problem. If everyone is to blame – but only in a general sense of the word – then it is impossible to move beyond the ‘partisan squabbles’ that bother Kimmel so much and to goinstead towards a solution. It is great that Kimmel is getting involved in a debate that will have a profound impact on the wellbeing of future Americans. However, his blasé apolitical critique of the ‘system,’ which is incredibly powerful at provoking emotional outrage, does nothing to move the conversation towards a solution. Instead of platitudes about ‘partisan squabbles’ Kimmel could have used his emotional, personal story to ask the Republican Party and Donald Trump – point blank – why they don’t believe people like his son deserve qualitative healthcare.

The Art Of The (Failed) Deal

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Donald Trump has cultivated an aura of business and personal acumen that has no actual basis in reality. He says that he is a tremendous negotiator, but there are no deals he can point to as an example. Trump says that he is an incredible businessman, but his history is littered with bankruptcies. Donald Trump is famous for playing a businessman on reality TV; he’s never run a large corporation or been accountable to shareholders – his companies are all pass-through businesses that are kept strictly within the family. He is wealthy because his father was a real estate mogul who left his billions to his kids. The only reason that people think Donald Trump is a good negotiator or businessman is that he has so shamelessly promoted himself as such.

 
During the campaign, Trump was able to get away with the portrayal because there was no actual record that people could pin him too, while Hillary Clinton’s multi-decade hike through the ranks of civil service left plenty to pick apart. As president, however, Trump does not have a foil to compare himself too. So his accomplishments, or lack thereof, are receiving a lot more scrutiny. Now that he is president, it is easy to see that the man behind the “Art of the Deal” could stand to read his own ‘writing.’ Despite the controversy surrounding Trump’s ascension to the presidency, his unique background meant that he was suited – in a way that no other candidate would have been – actually to make deals between the partisan divides of the legislature. With an intractable base of support and strong Republican majorities at nearly every branch of state and federal government, Trump was poised to prove himself the great dealmaker that he bragged he was during the campaign.

 
More than 100 days into the presidency, however, Trump has nothing to show for it. He wasn’t able to negotiate a deal on healthcare and has failed multiple times even to bring the bill to a vote. The southern wall is dead in the sand. His tax plan is threadbare and has no support. The only things that he has accomplished he has done through the use of unilateral executive authority, which has nothing to do with compromise or deal making. The fact that he has to turn to executive orders, even though his party controls all three branches of the federal government, only reinforces that theory that Mr. Art of the Deal is Mr. Art of the Con. The one negotiation that Trump would have been able to prove his savvy over was concerning the TPP and China. China did not want the U.S. to succeed in passing the TPP because it would have eaten into their sphere of influence, and Trump acquiesced without a fight. He withdrew from the negotiation without getting anything from the Chinese. Even though Trump said during the campaign that he wanted the U.S. to pull out of the TPP, the way that he handled it meant that all of the pressure that had been put on China dissipated immediately – a truly legendary deal maker would have used the TPP to get concessions from China before eventually withdrawing. Not only has Trump been unable to get a deal done, but he also hasn’t even really tried. He spends his weekends golfing at Trump-branded properties, instead of in his office at the White House with legislatures.

 
The recently overhyped showdown over the budget, and subsequent stop-gap to September, further reiterates just how miserable Donald Trump is at negotiation. With Republicans controlling the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, and the White House there was no reason that conservatives would be unable to get a highly Republican budget ratified. Surely, the man behind the ‘Art of the Deal’ would be able to get a couple of Democratic votes to swing his way. But, when push came to shove, the budget that Congress voted for looks a lot more Democratic than Republican.

 
Trump can blame Democratic resistance, he can blame the freedom caucus, he can blame ‘moderate’ Senate Republicans, but the only person he should blame is himself. He sold himself to the American people as a dealmaker that would break through the gridlock of D.C. and fix the unfixable. But as president, he hasn’t even been able to get Congress to vote on a major piece of legislation, much less get a tremendous deal done. Trump conned the country into believing that he was a savvy businessman who would be able to negotiate incredible deals for the American people. The reality is that he doesn’t have a noteworthy deal to his name, everything that he has accomplished comes on the backs of the labor of others, and his incompetence is catching up to him. There is still time for Trump to redeem himself, but at 70+ years old he’s unlikely to learn any new tricks.

T-Minus 1362 Days… Or, 100 Days Of Broken Promises

 

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100 Days – WAPO

 

“My fellow Americans, I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history. Our country is going up, and it’s going up fast.” – Trump

Before I begin, the 100-day benchmark is arbitrary and artificial. The whole phenomena of judging President’s by the achievements that they are able to accomplish in their first 100 days was started by the flurry of New Deal legislation that FDR passed at the beginning of his term. First, it is important to understand that FDR had democratic majorities to work with. And second, the country was facing a great depression – so these were extraordinary times – and so FDR was given more leeway to pass legislation and effect change than any other President has ever gotten. It is almost impossible to imagine any president having the same legislative success that FDR had, so judging all presidents by that standard is bound to cast presidents in a negative light. It’s an arbitrary and artificial benchmark, but it is the first real opportunity – three months in – to see where an administration is headed.

It doesn’t define what a president will become, but it can be a powerful litmus test. President Clinton was absolutely excoriated at his first 100 days, but his presidency is remembered quite fondly. There are definite exceptions to the norm. In general, however, 100 days is enough time to capture the essence of how a President will lead, how they will deal with terrible crises, and what direction they will try to lead the country. For Donald Trump, the 100-day benchmark is a line he drew in the sand for himself. He campaigned on the promise to break through D.C. politics, he promised that he would get things done faster than anyone could imagine, and he promised that we [the voters] would be calling him up, saying:

“Mr. President, please, we can’t take it anymore, we can’t win anymore like this, Mr. President, you’re driving us crazy, you’re winning too much, please Mr. President, not so much, and I’m going to say I’m sorry, we’re going to keep winning because we are going to make America great again” – Trump

The rhetoric was grand enough. But Trump took things further still. He wrote and signed a contract with the American people that detailed exactly what they would get if they voted for him, it was the “100 Day Action Plan To Make America Great Again.” And it was, as you might expect, exceedingly ambitious.  Now that it’s been 100 days, however, Trump has little to show for it. Politifact was kind enough to use the rubric that Donald Trump created FOR HIMSELF – just to be clear here – to grade his first 100 days in office – which, again, was the time limit that he set for himself – and it speaks for itself:

Notice that there are no judgments on the ethics, effectiveness, or even legality of the promises that Donald Trump made with the American people. Politifact merely judged whether or not Trump had done anything to move forward on the pledge that he wrote. If you are a fan of what the contract stipulates, it’s not all bad.Trump has been able to accomplish quite a bit through the prolific use of executive orders, which Republicans once decried

Trump has been able to accomplish quite a bit through the prolific use of executive orders, which Republicans once denounced. Several measures to clean up D.C. corruption have been signed, though the most important of all – term limits – has been taken off the table. Trump has pulled out of the TPP, he’s steadily rolling back Obama-era regulations, and he’s moved forward on several other actions that he promised to take to protect American jobs. To restore “law-and-order,” Trump has helped facilitate the confirmation of Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which is really a huge victory for conservatives grassroots. He’s also proposed several variations of the ‘Muslim ban,’ though each one has gotten stopped by the Judiciary.  If these are things that you wanted to see happen, then there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Almost everything that Donald Trump has been able to accomplish has been through the unilateral use of executive authority, via executive orders. Where his progress has stalled the most is in the legislature. His promises to introduce affordable elder and child healthcare have seen no movement. He has proclaimed Obamacare the law of the land, and it’s approval ratings have never been higher – it’s doing tremendous, trust me. Besides that, he has not introduced legislation dealing with school choice, infrastructure development, immigration, crime, corruption, or national security. This week he finally submitted his tax proposal, which has been universally panned for blowing up the national debt by 7 trillion dollars while lining the pockets of the 1 percent, and it is already falling apart.

Where Trump has seen the most success is through executive orders and foreign policy. He’s managed to undo a lot of Obama-era regulations and rules by the stroke of a pen, which is a huge success for the party of noBama. Trump’s response to the Syrian sarin attacks had pundits teary eyed, and his MOAB had them swooning over one another to declare his ‘presidentiality.’ In response to North Korea, his madman approach has drawn muted applause, but his chaotic messaging has confused allies and complicated diplomatic channels. Trump has flip-flopped his attitude towards China and Russia, now he adores President Xi and barely even knows Putin – stop asking questions they don’t even know each other, trust me – but public confidence in the administration’s handling of foreign affairs has held relatively steady.

100 days in, things could be a lot worse. But, they could be a lot better too. The Trump administration has been perpetuated with scandal and secrecy, which has overshadowed any attempts by the administration to demonstrate leadership. The cries of Russian collusion and ties have grown to a crescendo, and every day another thread emerges. The Republican-led legislature has started to crack from within, and neither Mitch McConnel nor Paul Ryan, have demonstrated any leadership or clout. There are deep fissures within the Republican party right now, and Trump’s leadership – or lack thereof – is only exasperating those problems.

The Democratic party is not doing so great either. The Democratic Unity Tour has been wrapped up in weird battles over what it means to be a Democrat, with Bernie Sanders leading the tour but still refusing to identify as a Democrat. And the Democratic leadership, from Pelosi to Schumer, are old and disorganized. They have no message. There is no clear leader for the Democratic party, and because of that, they are lost. At the grassroots level, however, the party could not be stronger. Trump’s win ignited a movement across America that’s impact is yet to be felt. What opposition the Democratic party has given the Trump administration can be credited with the work of those activists, of the rallies, of the protests, of the hundreds of thousands of voices standing up in their communities to fight for a world they can believe in. When the party manages to find its footing, that will be a dominant force.

It’s been 100 days. For the most part, that is not enough time for people to appreciate the kinds of changes that most presidents make. That is why it is hard to really judge a president this early. A better benchmark would be a year or so before the midterm races start to take up legislature’s attention. But every president since FDR has been judged by what they accomplished in the first 100 days of their administration. For many, it does not define their legacy, but it is definitely a part of their story. Trump artificially hyped up the importance of this benchmark, which is why it has been so ‘trumped’ up in the media. Trump has little to show for his 100 days in office besides scandal, golfing, and signing executive orders. He has not achieved any of his legislative promises to the American people. There is still time for Trump to change and help mend the wounds that have wrought their way through the fabric of the American people, but in 100 days he has done little but make them worse.

Everyone has their own take on how Trump has done over the past 100 days. But if we judge Trump solely by the criteria that he used to set his agenda then it is clear that he has had a terrible first stretch. He has achieved zero of the ten major pieces of legislation that he pledged to pass within 100 days, and he has only managed to move forward on fewer than a dozen of the eighteen promises he made in regards to executive action. By any metric, that is a failing grade. This isn’t about a liberal bias, or a mainstream media feeding frenzy, these are the specific promises that Trump made when wrote the 100 day contract with the American Voter. Trump made tremendous promises, and when push came to shove, he didn’t deliver.

The failure is Trump’s to own, it’s not like he has spent the last 100 days working furiously to build a governing coalition and lead the country. He has spent his time mired in twitter beefs, incompetence, infighting, scandal, and at his private golf clubs. He made a lot of promises to the American people, and then didn’t even pretend to try to accomplish even half of them. Now that the 100 day deadline is upon us, Trump is complaining that the media is being unfair in its criticism of his performance. He’s whined that he didn’t know being President of the most powerful country to ever exist would be a difficult job. Trump may talk a big game, but his lazy incompetence is catching up to him.

 

 

The Most “Tremendously Uge” Heist Ever

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This week Trump finally unveiled his long-awaited tax plan. As a candidate, Trump ran his campaign as a populist. He even swore that, if elected, he would raise taxes on individuals such as himself. As president, however, he has sung a very different tune. The only clear winners in the United States – under the Trump administration – are the fabulously wealthy. The tax plan that the White House released, which was less than 500 words long and fit onto a single page, further cements the plutocratic legacy that Trump is imbuing upon the country. The New York Times editorial board, which usually walks a painfully center-right line, did not mince words this time, stating that the plan was:

“[a] laughable stunt by a gang of plutocrats looking to enrich themselves at the expense of the country’s future.”

That is all you need to know about Trump’s plans to fix the tax code in the United States. The more you read into the proposal that they passed forward, the more bleak, hopeless, and even maleficent it appears. If the GOP manages to muster the votes to pass the bill, it will be the single biggest heist of American coffers that has happened since the days that industrial barons ruled the world. They aren’t even coy about it. Steven Mnuchin straight up admitted that he couldn’t guarantee that the middle class would benefit from the tax cut. They can’t guarantee that because they aren’t trying to accomplish that. It’s that simple.

The plan that they are proposing is simply a scheme to let wealthy individuals keep even more of their wealth. It’s the same old trickle down theory that has been forced on the American people since Reagan’s sweeping 86′ reforms. And surprise, it hasn’t worked. Since America decided that cutting taxes on the wealthy and squeezing entitlement legislation was the way to balance the deficit and spur economic growth there has been only one consistent trend. The disparity between the rich, the middle-class, and the have-nots has grown exponentially out of control, and America’s debt has continued to rise. Today, CEO’s are making more than they ever could have dreamed. The stock market is doing better than it ever has. And globalization has given companies demands that they could never have conceived. But despite the progress that has been made the Middle-Class has shrunk, the poor have grown more desolate, and the wealthy elite has become more entrenched.

Trump’s tax proposal just regurgitates the same mantra of trickle-down economics that has failed for decades, only it threatens to take things even further than they have gone before. It is often said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Well, the Republican mantra of slash taxes for the wealthy and hope has been tried time and again. To take the same approach again is insane. If Trump and the GOP want to reduce the deficit and grow the economy, then they should, quite simply, know better than to try this.

The only reason to support this tax proposal is if you think the wealthy should not have to pay their fair share, and specifically, that people like Donald Trump and his family should be allowed to pay as little as absolutely possible. Because that is what this tax plan does. It won’t help the middle-class, in fact, it is going to hurt it. By getting rid of deductibles for state and local taxes, as well as 401K contributions, and reducing a number of other deductions that are primarily used by low-income and middle-class families it will actually make many Americans have to pay more. The only Americans that won’t be negatively impacted are the ones that are already millionaires and billionaires. Steven Mnuchin essentially admitted as such.

The plan is not revenue neutral either, which means that it is unpaid for and would balloon the national debt. Within a decade it is expected that these cuts would add 7 trillion dollars to the national debt. Absolutely unbelievable considering the GOP’s previous stance on doing anything that would add a single dollar to the already ludicrous national debt that the U.S. holds. But it is clear that the tax proposal was never intended to be revenue neutral, or to help the economy. It’s goal is to make people like Donald Trump richer.

What few specifics there are in Trump’s proposal exclusively help people like him. From the death tax, which only kicks in if a couple has an estate worth over 11 million dollars; to allowing pass-through companies like his to pay the corporate tax rate, which virtually ensures that Trump and his family would never need to pay the higher personal tax rate. Every aspect of the plan reads like a how-to guide for fleecing the country. And make no mistake, that is what this proposal would accomplish.

Donald Trump is a man who speaks in terms of winning and losing, black and white. In this plan, there are very clear winners and very clear losers. The winners are corporations and the lavishly wealthy, while the losers are the American people and the economy. It is enough that the GOP-led legislature has chosen to ignore the conflicts of interest, nepotism, and secrecy that the White House has mired itself in over the past 100 days. Tax reform is important and necessary, but it is important not to confuse platitudes about cutting taxes with actual progress. Make no mistake, Trump’s proposal is a plutocrat’s dream designed to help Trump and his family get as wealthy as possible.

It is time for our leaders and politicians to put the good of the community and country ahead of their own, narrow financial interests. It is time for them to lead with pragmatism, instead of greed. Trump’s tax proposal is a slap in the face to the marginalized economic communities that voted for him and rallied behind his message of economic populism. It embodies everything that is wrong with how politicians act once they are in D.C. And it confirms that Trump is only interested in one thing, using the office of the President of the United States of America to get as wealthy as he can.