Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that President Trump blocked nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in part to force the government in Kyiv to investigate his political rivals, a startling acknowledgment after the president’s repeated denials of a quid pro quo.
Mulvaney defended the maneuver as “absolutely appropriate.”
Just now a teevee bobblehead described Mulvaney’s move as a “controlled burn.” A controlled burn, of course, is a fire deliberately set to achieve some land management purpose. In this case, the White House must have decided they aren’t going to get away with denying the quid pro quo any more, so they’ve gone on to the next excuse, that it was “appropriate.”
“Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, that’s why we held up the money,” Mulvaney said, referring to a conspiracy theory that a hacked Democratic National Committee computer server was taken to Ukraine in 2016 to hide evidence that Kyiv, not Moscow, interfered in the last U.S. presidential election.
Mulvaney also said the funds had been withheld because European countries were being “really, really stingy when it comes to lethal aid” for Ukraine. But he characterized the decision to leverage congressionally approved aid as common practice, citing other instances in which the Trump administration has withheld aid to foreign countries and telling critics to “get over it.”
It may be that the Creature has been persuaded that people are figuring out the quid pro quo in spite of his vigorous denials. This week’s testimony to the House has clearly revealed Trump was running a “shadow” foreign policy through flunkies like Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland to pressure Ukraine for personal help.
But notice what else Mulvaney discussed — “the corruption related to the DNC server,” or the insane conspiracy theory that the real scandal surrounding the 2016 election was that the Democrats colluded with Ukraine to interfere with the election and pin the blame on Russia. There have been many reports that Trump is obsessed with the idea that the famous “missing” DNC server — which is not, in fact, missing — is hidden in Ukraine somewhere, and that a California-based cybersecurity company called Crowdstrike had something to do with hiding it and stirring up a fake story about Trump colluding with Russia. That Mulvaney took pains to get this nonsense into the controlled burn tells me his statement today was made on Trump’s orders. See also Josh Marshall.
In Syria news — Mike “The Weasel” Pence announced today that Turkey’s president Erdogan has agreed to a five-day cease fire in Syria. This is to allow Kurds to withdraw from the strip of Syrian territory that Turkey is annexing for its own purposes. Basically, Trump just gave Erdogan everything he wanted. The moron thinks he has fixed the problem.
This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
In remarks this afternoon, Tump heaped praise on Erdogan and said that no sanctions on Turkey would be necessary. As Jason Easley wrote at Politics USA, “Trump gushed about how wonderful and strong his ‘friend’ Erdogan was in allowing the US to surrender and give Turkey everything that it wanted.”
Trump babbles, gushes, and thanks his “friend” Erdo?an for allowing the US to surrender in disgrace. pic.twitter.com/rFZVoQFel6
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) October 17, 2019
The White House is saying the Kurds were in on the agreement; the Kurds say otherwise.
Finally, Mick Mulvaney announced that Trump has awarded next year’s G-7 summit of world leaders to his Miami-area Doral golf resort.
“Doral was far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” Mulvaney said. He said that the administration examined 10 sites before choosing this one. Mulvaney quoted an anonymous site selection official who he said told him, “It’s almost like they built this facility to host this type of event.” Mulvaney did not say what other sites were vetted.
Of course he didn’t, since those sites don’t exist and the “anonymous site selection oficial” was Trump himself.
On any other news day I would have written about Trump’s meltdown during a meeting with Nancy Pelosi yesterday. But you know what happened.
Somebody needs to go to the transcript of the shakedown. The most popular quote is the one where Trump asks a favor though. How many times does Trump mention Biden's name? How many times was it a generic request regarding corruption? How many times does Trump mention Burisma?
I did the check using the search function.
Biden – 3
Burisma – 0
Corruption – 0
My guess is that the "controlled burn" idea is giving Mulvaney too much credit. He is such a reprehensible True Believer that IMO he really does believe "it was completely appropriate". Of course anything is appropriate for HIS side.
He's the Tea Party pinhead who informed all the cabinet heads that they would be measured according to how many regulations they cut. He has absolutely no clue what the regs are for, he only wants to see them cut. This is what floats his little boat. So of course, everything is appropriate. For HIM.
Twice in his written testimony Sondland claims he can't recall ever hearing the mention of Biden in his conversations with Giuliani, Volker, Perry or Trump when they were crafting their extortion demands (deliverables). He's a lying sack of shit… When you say you can't recall, especially a name like Biden, given the context, you know he's lying.. If he wasn't he would have answered in the affirmative saying that Biden's name never came up. There would be know doubt in his mind.
And then Mulvaney reversed himself today, and claimed his words had been deliberately misconstrued. I do wish they'd make up their minds…
I love it when they claim they didn't say what they just said.
You just know that Trump thinks the "DNC server" was a butler or a housemaid.
It is stomach turning to watch Pence supplicating to Ergodan. That was making America great again!, no doubt about it.
It's never been clearer to me why Trump picked Pence as a running mate. Like a sexual predator who has an innate ability to identify and target the vulnerabilities of their victims, Trump saw in Pence a weak and pliable character that could be easily dominated and shaped into a subservient mold. Trump saw in Pence an insecure political figure who was deficient in character and spine who was eager to bask in the radiance of Trump's projected image of power.
Wow, what a boot licking bag of shit Pence has shown himself to be. He gives meaning to the term.. A sniveling coward. Pence just better hope that he doesn't find himself alone and secluded in the oval office with Trump if Trump ever gets overtaken by an unnatural desire. Don't worry, Mike. This will be our liddle secret.
Pence embodies a childish version of Christianity that is on its way out. I'm astonished by the statistics I see all the time about how young people are fleeing this ship, like a great tide that is on its way out to sea.
I read a perceptive interview where a psychologist remarked about Trump’s evangelical followers –
When I view the relationship between Trump and Pence, visions of the relationships of guy's like Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Warren Jeffs had with their followers comes to mind. Complete domination of every aspect of their followers lives.
I find it hard to understand how any person could surrender their will, dignity, and basic value as a human being so easily to another human being. I recall hearing the testimony of a Nazi death camp survivor where he described the total degradation inflicted upon the inmates of the camp by saying, the only thing they couldn't take from us was our consent. That was the only remnant of their humanity that couldn't be stripped from them, and it became precious to them as the only means to stay connected to their humanity.
So to see guys like Pense who so eagerly surrender by consent their dignity and will to an effing bag of shit like Trump just blows my mind. What can be of such value or importance that that they would just give it all away to please the likes of Donald Trump?
To my mind there are only two way to view the relationship between Trump and Pence…Either by extreme sympathy or extreme disgust. And I lean toward the disgust.
Just in past week, Barr came out with pious lament about the loss of religion (and white male supremacy ), pompeo came out on state dept website about Christian leadership, and then there's pence. Sounds like they were all trying to get their cover for their followers, since the government is burning down around them.
We could have an oppositional phase going in our leaders regression. I think he may be regressing to the terrible twos.
The crowds keep cheering him but they get to leave the rally and go home. It would be different if they had to go home with him. A day or two of putting up with his tantrums and the power struggles would flip them in a heartbeat.
Good luck finding a babysitter for him. If you get one they wont last long.
Trump's continuing depravity in regards to the Kurds as in his speech where he likens 500 murders to letting kids fight it out, and Mick the little man syndrome guy, saying get over it , are coming from the same place, Minimizing what they are doing , telling us to sit down shut up and don't think. Trump yesterday used a phrase: cleaned out and today used the phrase ultimate solution in regards to the Kurds. Yes watch what they do but also watch how they use language to manipulate minds.
Yes watch what they do but also watch how they use language to manipulate minds.
Yeah, It's like when Trump says he'll host the G7 at Doral for just 'cost'. Like a salesman at a car dealership who will be willing to let a car go for just cost when included in that cost are origination fees, dealer prep fees, environmental impact fees, disposal fees, transfer fees, transportation fees, registration fees, and a hundred other fees that have all be marked up to accrue toward the dealers profit.
I would think that people would be well aware of Trump's hook by now. Trump doesn't do nothing for nobody through altruism. He's not complete with his spirit unless he's fleecing somebody. I think the motto on his family crest translated from the Latin says…What you lose on the peanuts, you make up for on the popcorn.
While I agree it's WAY too early to make predictions, here's how the EC map is shaping up. That's where it's won or lost. National polls are meaningless.
On the subject of meltdowns: We boomers now know better than to think we can't trust anyone over 30, but it might be worthwhile keeping an eye on anyone over 71:
Hillary's got a good point. The Russians will certainly look to dividing the opposition to Trump, anyone who's inclined toward a third party run will do. I don't know anything more about Hillary / Gabbard than that, it's just if I were a Russian, this is one of the exploits I'd be working on.
Yeah, I agree. What's crazy about it is that even if the intelligence services are able to detect and uncover Russian interference they'll be in a position where they can't make that information public without actively interfering in the electoral process by tipping the scale to somebody's detriment. It will be the same problem Obama was faced with in 2016.
And just the fact that Hillary pointed out that dynamic of Russian interference in our elections, it already serves their purposes whether the interference is actual or perceived. It would be nice to know that behind the scenes that any attempts from foreign interference would be effectively thwarted without fanfare.
Never trust anyone who wears a tie or serves borscht at their campaign rally. Thanks for the heads up Winston. And always remember my first rule: the only thing you can count on about other people is you can't count on other people.
Boris got a lesson in humility courtesy of the UK parliament, and it was a great day for anti-populists everywhere.
Western politics has become surreal. Boris did the same as May but expected a different result; the definition of insanity. The Trump administration has been getting weirder from the start, and it started out pretty weird.
Hillary's a bit of a surprise, though. All the years of Bubba's philandering, all the wingnut hatred, insults, accusations and investigations, she survived. But losing the electoral college vote to a monumental shitheel seems to have put her over the edge.
The HRC/Tulsi thing is just weird. IF HRC had any handle on reality she'd know that slamming Tulsi would generate interest, enthusiasm and money for Tulsi. If there's evidence, let the FBI present it. If there's no evidence it's a wacky conspiracy theory which puts HRC in the same class as Trump.
History is interesting. Tulsi was the first to break with DWS over the schedule for debates HRC v Bernie. Turns out there was a deal between the DNC and HRC to put the power of the party to screw Bernie. Tulsi resigned from the DNC to back Bernie. So there's bad blood there but HRC just energized a dying campaign.
This is NSFW, but, Jonathan Pie seems to be reading my mind. I was in Ireland a month ago, and I think he reflects their view right on the money.
He about summed it up for me also.
Gabbard has complained about the primary process recently which, under the circumstances, isn't the greatest of ideas. However, she's not a seasoned political pro, isn't getting much traction as a candidate, and might deserve some forgiveness. What makes that problematic is that some wingnut trolls have been praising her for speaking out about the Democrats' "rigged" process, which they think plays into Russia/Trump's hand.
Hillary has no excuse to add to the confusion, and comes off like a bitter old crackpot also playing into Russia/Trump's hand. So far there is no proof anywhere in the news that Gabbard has anything to do with the Russians, and Hillary hasn't offered any.
It's bad to be a liar.
Is it worse to be a bad liar?
Maha – U OK?
I wonder if Kushner has decided whether to give Mulvaney the boot. He might be a little gun-shy after his decision to get rid of James Comey caused so much upheaval. It'd be a shame if Kushner booted him because he's been a fairly good toady up until he blew the doors off Trump's no quid pro quo denial.
I guess Mulvaney committed pretty serious offence, but considering his faithfulness and obeisance to his master Trump maybe he should just get a verbal beatdown, a public tongue lashing on the order of the one's Jeff Sessions used to receive.