What Now?! – 9/20/2019

“A potentially explosive complaint by a whistle-blower in the intelligence community said to involve President Trump was related to a series of actions that goes beyond any single discussion with a foreign leader,” the New York Times reports. “The complaint was related to multiple acts, Michael Atkinson, the inspector general for American spy agencies, told lawmakers during a private briefing… But he declined to discuss specifics, including whether the complaint involved the president, according to committee members.”

“Separately, a person familiar with the whistle-blower’s complaint said it involves in part a commitment that Mr. Trump made in a communication with another world leader.”

The Washington Post confirmed that “the whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader.”

“Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a ‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community.”

“It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver.”

“A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine,” the Washington Post reports.

So either Trump promised Putin to not interfere in a coming invasion of the Ukraine by Russia, or Trump has pressured Ukrainian leaders to invent some sort of scandal for Biden. Either one is treason of the first order.

“Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has agreed to testify in an open session before the House Intelligence Committee after refusing to comply with Tuesday’s deadline to hand over a whistleblower complaint that had been deemed by the intelligence community inspector general to be ‘credible and urgent,’” CNN reports.

“Maguire will likely be grilled by lawmakers concerned that the administration may have violated whistleblower protections and whether President Trump or top White House officials were involved in the case.”

“The White House is pushing to build an international coalition to exert pressure on Iran through the United Nations as its chief response to the attack on a Saudi oil installation, an approach that is consistent with President Trump’s aversion to military intervention, but that also reflects the limits on the administration’s retaliatory options,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Within about 18 hours of 17 missile strikes on Saudi Arabia oil facilities on Saturday, the Trump administration pinned the blame squarely on Iran, which has denied carrying out the attacks. A day later, after an emergency meeting at the White House with his inner circle, Mr. Trump declared the U.S. ‘locked and loaded’ and ready to respond.”

“But Mr. Trump’s assertive reaction was peppered with qualifiers—the U.S. intelligence still needed verification, he didn’t know what Riyadh knew, or how Saudi officials wanted to proceed.”

“A president with few ideological constants, Donald Trump has consistently been leery of getting entangled in overseas military engagements. It’s a stance shaped by his belief that wars in places like Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq have drained America’s resources at home and its reputation abroad,” the AP reports.

“Despite his tough talk about American military might, Trump has largely kept the United States out of international conflicts, a dynamic that has come into focus this week as his administration builds the case that Iran was directly responsible for a crippling attack on a Saudi oil field. Even as tensions escalate, fueled in part by Trump’s own rhetoric, the president has hesitated, harking back to his campaign pledge to avoid military conflict.”

David Frum: “Trump has been engaged in improper contacts with foreign governments for years, and built deep business relationships with foreign nationals. Russian assistance helped elect him. Money from wealthy Russians reportedly helped keep his businesses alive from 2006 to 2016. Since 2016, more and more foreign money has flowed Trump’s way. Trump literally has a hotel open on Pennsylvania Avenue to accept payments—there’s a big carpet in front, his name on the door, nothing even remotely clandestine about the flow of corruption. That corruption seeks returns. Again and again, Trump has acted in ways that align with the interests of foreign states, raising questions about his motives.”

“Exactly what was promised in this particular conversation, and to whom, America and the world wait to hear. Perhaps there exists a reasonable explanation for a conversation that the Trump administration is trying hard to keep from public view. But the basic grammar of all Trump scandals has been visible from the beginning: many secrets, no mysteries.”

President Trump on Thursday sued Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in an effort to block New York prosecutors from obtaining 8 years of his personal and corporate tax returns, Axios reports.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi rolled out her much anticipated drug pricing plan today, calling for Medicare to negotiate prices on at least 25 medicines, with an option for commercial insurers to take advantage of the deals,” Politico reports.

“The plan is less ambitious than an outline of the bill, H.R. 3, that was leaked last week. Earlier discussions envisioned mandating that 250 drugs be subject to negotiations each year. Instead, 250 would be the ceiling rather than the floor, likely disappointing progressives. The government would be directed to target drugs that account for the highest costs to Medicare and the entire U.S. health care system, taking into account both the price of medicines and the volume sold in the U.S.”

Playbook: “House Republican leaders are already calling this socialism.” They called Medicare and Social Security socialism too, so fuck them.

“Senate Republicans are warning Speaker Nancy Pelosi that her much-anticipated drug pricing plan is dead and will not be considered in the Senate,” Politico reports.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ruled out any action on the bill: “Socialist price controls will do a lot of left-wing damage to the healthcare system. And of course we’re not going to be calling up a bill like that.”

“A federal judge ordered a temporary injunction Thursday against California’s first-in-the-nation law requiring candidates to disclose their tax returns for a spot on the presidential primary ballot, an early victory for President Trump but a decision that will undoubtedly be appealed by state officials,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to keep the government open through late November, setting up a huge showdown later this year over President Trump’s border wall that could force another shutdown before Thanksgiving,” the Washington Post reports.

“The short-term nature of Thursday’s legislation was the result of failed efforts to complete a broader spending package ahead of Sept. 30, when government funding runs out absent congressional action. The need for the stopgap measure shows how fundamental spending issues remain unresolved and deeply problematic, even though they were supposed to have been largely dispatched by a sweeping budget and debt ceiling deal completed over the summer.”

New York Times: “The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970, scientists reported on Thursday. There are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago.” “The analysis, published in the journal Science, is the most exhaustive and ambitious attempt yet to learn what is happening to avian populations. The results have shocked researchers and conservation organizations.”

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillersonsaid that President Trump was “played” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on several occasions, Haaretz reports. Tillerson said that Netanyahu is “an extraordinarily skilled” politician and diplomat, but “a bit Machiavellian.” He recounted how Netanyahu would use “misinformation” to persuade the U.S. when he deemed it necessary.

Explained Tillerson: “They did that with the president on a couple of occasions, to persuade him that ‘We’re the good guys, they’re the bad guys.’  We later exposed it to the president so he understood, ‘You’ve been played.’ It bothers me that an ally that’s that close and important to us would do that to us.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a group of lawmakers Wednesday evening that Corey Lewandowski should have been held in contempt “right then and there” when he talked over members, dodged their questions and promoted his Senate campaign from a House hearing, the Washington Post reports.

Several lawmakers took her remarks as a dig at House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who chose not to hold Lewandowski in contempt for his defiant behavior on Tuesday.

“While weeks of negotiations to form a coalition government lay ahead, conditions set by the parties could hobble the task within the allotted time, prompting a never-before held third election. With nearly all votes counted Thursday, the centrist Blue and White party stood at 33 seats in Israel’s 120-seat parliament. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud stood at 31 seats,” the AP reports.

“Neither party can form a government without the support of the election’s apparent kingmaker, Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beitenu party. His insistence on a secular government would force out Netanyahu’s traditional allies, the country’s two ultra-Orthodox parties and another nationalist-religious party.”

John Bolton harshly criticized President Trump’s foreign policy on Wednesday at a private lunch, saying inviting the Taliban to Camp David sent a “terrible signal” and that it was “disrespectful” to the victims of 9/11 because the Taliban had harbored al Qaeda, Politico reports.

Bolton also said that any negotiations with North Korea and Iran were “doomed to failure,” according to two attendees.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “What Now?! – 9/20/2019

  1. “The prices of drugs in other developed countries will be used as a reference point to ensure that negotiations result in a price that’s no more than 1.2 times the average price in six other places.”

    “The proposal would also address pricing hikes that have been applied to different drugs covered by Medicare Part B and D, requiring companies to either undo any increases that surpass the rate of inflation or rebate the entirety of those hikes since 2016 to the Treasury.”

    ” Additionally, the plan would cap out-of-pocket prescription drugs costs for those covered by the Medicare Part D to $2000 annually. Currently, there is no cap.”

    This would be for a max of 250 drugs that have no competition and are a price burden to Medicare. This is a nice start. Not far enough, IMO, but definitely a nice start.

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