“A company in which President Trump’s brother has a financial stake received a $33 million contract from the U.S. Marshals Service earlier this year, an award that has drawn protests from two other bidders, one of which has filed a complaint alleging possible favoritism in the bidding process,” the Washington Post reports.
“Donald Trump’s most senior executive in the UK has said the Trump family is feeling frustrated at being unable to pursue ‘foreign investments’ and overseas business opportunities, while also revealing that ‘everybody in the Trump Organisation is going to write a book,”” The Scotsman reports.
John Kelly warned President Trump that hiring a “yes man” to succeed him as White House chief of staff would lead to impeachment and, in hindsight, regrets his decision to resign, the Washington Examinerreports.
Said Kelly: “I said, whatever you do — and we were still in the process of trying to find someone to take my place — I said whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’ someone who won’t tell you the truth — don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”
He added: “That was almost 11 months ago, and I have an awful lot of, to say the least, second thoughts about leaving. It pains me to see what’s going on because I believe if I was still there or someone like me was there, he would not be kind of, all over the place.”
Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called President Trump’s decision to remove American troops from northern Syria a “catastrophically bad idea” that is harming U.S. national security and boosting Russia’s influence in the Middle East, the Washington Examinerreports.
Said Kelly: “What was working in Syria was that for very little investment, the Kurds were doing all the fighting, the vast majority of the dying, and we were providing intelligence and fire support assistance. And we were winning.”
Washington Post: “In a sign of the growing realization of his potential jeopardy, Trump has brought back Jane and Marty Raskin, criminal defense attorneys who were part of his legal team during the Mueller investigation, to help him navigate the impeachment inquiry, along with his attorney Jay Sekulow and White House lawyers.”
“Their return is a late acknowledgment, some White House advisers say, that the facts coming out are bad for the president and that both his White House and personal attorneys need to try to get in front of what else may emerge.”
“Rachel Maddow publicly confronted the leadership of her own network on Friday night, declaring live on air that she and other NBC News employees had deep concerns about whether the organization had stymied Ronan Farrow’s reporting on the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein,” the New York Times reports.
“In a prime-time monologue, Ms. Maddow questioned why NBC News executives had not invited an independent investigation of the Weinstein episode or the workplace behavior of Matt Lauer, the former Today show anchor who was fired in 2017 after a colleague accused him of sexual misconduct.”
Said Maddow: “I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs in this company since I’ve been here. It would be impossible for me to overstate the amount of consternation inside the building around this issue.”
New York Times: “If it’s possible to be both deeply troubled and having a blast at the same time, that is Mr. Romney in this strange iteration of his public life. In a sense, he has been gifted by Mr. Trump with a kind of late-career relevance that he might not have otherwise enjoyed.”
“It’s not a benefit he expected, or even asked for. Mr. Romney had to content himself at first with critiquing from the gallery of Republican elders: In a 2016 speech he said, ‘Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,’ as Mr. Trump was in the process of rolling to the Republican nomination.”
“Since then, events have conspired to return Mr. Romney back into the dirty coliseum of politics.”
A new biography of former Defense Secretary James Mattis reports President Trump personally got involved in who would win a $10 billion contract to provide cloud computing services to the Pentagon, according to Task & Purpose. Trump specifically called Mattis and directed him to “screw Amazon” out of the contract. That contract was awarded to Microsoft last night over Amazon.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Wichita State Sunflower that he has “seen State Department officials engaged in behavior that is not appropriate” when discussing acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor.
Said Pompeo: “I have seen State Department officials engaged in behavior that is not appropriate—that wasn’t right, that didn’t reflect the highest values of the foreign service and American diplomacy around the world.”
Pompeo did not elaborate on what exactly he was referring to. He might have been referring to himself, as his behavior as not been appropriate for a Secretary of State.
“A senior State Department official was set to tell House impeachment investigators Saturday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top officials stymied a show of solidarity for the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine after President Trump had her removed,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Philip Reeker, the acting assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, was also present for a White House interagency meeting during which a Department of Defense official raised concerns about a decision by the White House to hold military aid to Ukraine.”
While over 200 people attended President Trump’s speech last night at the historically-black Benedict College, CNN reports only 10 students were reportedly invited to attend — and just seven ended up attending.
“After weeks of dismissing the impeachment inquiry as a hollow partisan attack, President Trump and his closest advisers now recognize that the snowballing probe poses a serious threat to the president — and that they have little power to block it,” the Washington Post reports.
“The dawning realization comes as Democrats rapidly gather evidence from witness after witness testifying about the pressure put on Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals. The president is increasingly frustrated that his efforts to stop people from cooperating with the probe have so far collapsed under the weight of legally powerful congressional subpoenas.”
“The Democratic strategy got a boost Friday from a federal judge, who ruled that the House impeachment inquiry is legal.”
Rudy Giuliani “signaled this month that he planned to open a new front in his attacks against Joe Biden –work done by Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden for a wealthy Romanian business executive facing corruption charges,” the New York Times reports.
“But there’s a problem with that strategy: Mr. Giuliani participated in an effort that would have helped the same executive, and was in fact recruited to do so by Louis J. Freeh, a former F.B.I. director who had been brought onto the matter by Hunter Biden.”
“A key witness in the impeachment investigation filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he can testify, a move that raises new doubts about whether President Trump’s closest aides, like the former national security adviser, John Bolton, will be able to cooperate with the inquiry,” the New York Times reports.
“House Democrats had subpoenaed the witness, Charles Kupperman, who served as Mr. Trump’s deputy national security adviser, to testify on Monday. But in an effort to stop Mr. Kupperman from doing so, the White House said on Friday that the president had invoked ‘constitutional immunity,’ leaving Mr. Kupperman uncertain about what to do.”
“The implications of the suit, filed in federal court in Washington, extend beyond Mr. Kupperman. His lawyer, Charles Cooper, also represents Mr. Bolton and is likely to address congressional requests for his testimony in a similar fashion.”
“The U.S. government’s budget deficit ballooned to nearly $1 trillion in 2019, a $205 billion increase from a year earlier, as America’s fiscal imbalance widened for a fourth consecutive year despite a sustained run of economic growth,” the Washington Post reports.
“The country’s worsening fiscal picture runs in sharp contrast to President Trump’s campaign promise to eliminate the federal debt within eight years. Since taking office, Trump has endorsed big spending increases and steered most Republicans to abandon the deficit obsession they held during the Obama administration.”
Washington Post: “The panels want Russell Vought, the acting director of the OMB, and Michael Duffey, the agency’s head of national security, to testify early next month. Vought said in a tweet this past week that neither he nor Duffey would testify.”
“At issue is whether the Trump administration withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as leverage to get it to investigate domestic political rivals.”