Donald Trump’s ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, has been blocked from testifying before Congress about his role in the Ukraine scandal, the president calling the impeachment inquiry a “kangaroo court” as he frustrates its bid to examine the damning text messages Mr Sondland exchanged with another envoy, Kurt Volker.
The president meanwhile remains under fire from senior Republicans over his announcement that the US will withdraw troops from northern Syria – leaving its allies against Isis in the Syrian Democratic Forces exposed to Turkish aggression – a move that was also branded “bats*** crazy” by ex-US national security adviser Susan Rice and that reportedly left his own senior military officials completely blindsided.
“Everyone was absolutely flabbergasted by this. I tell you that as a fact,” admiral James Stavridis told MSNBC. “Nobody saw it coming, and that is a real problem when you’re trying to conduct not only foreign policy… but also military operations.”
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A new Senate Intelligence Committee report says Russia used social media throughout the 2016 US presidential election as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to spread disinformation and undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in support of Donald Trump.
House Democrats are weighing extraordinary steps to secure testimony from a whistleblower whose complaint prompted an impeachment inquiry, masking his identity to prevent Donald Trump’s congressional allies from exposing the individual, according to three officials familiar with the deliberations.
The steps under consideration include having the whistleblower testify from a remote location and obscuring the individual’s appearance and voice, these officials said.
The efforts reflect the deepening distrust between Democrats running the impeachment inquiry of Mr Trump and their GOP colleagues they see as fully invested in defending a president who has attacked the whistleblower’s credibility and demanded absolute loyalty from Republicans.
Donald Trump is once again hitting out at the House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff –
Senator Mitt Romney reportedly believes he could be the key to taking down Donald Trump by corralling other Republicans into supporting the president’s impeachment in the US Senate, rather than launching a 2020 primary bid.
The Republican’s advisers reportedly told Vanity Fair he “believes he has more potential power as a senator who will decide Trump’s fate in an impeachment trial” instead of competing against the incumbent president in a contentious election that began with more than two dozen Democratic hopefuls.
“He could have tremendous influence in the impeachment process as the lone voice of conscience in the Republican caucus,” one of Mr Romney’s advisers told the publication.
Still, Republican strategists told The Independent that Mr Romney would not be able to turn the tides of impeachment against Mr Trump alone.
Story to come…
“Nothing to see here folks, move it along.”
The president was just doing his job, says Republican congressman Jim Jordan.
A Trump retweet from earlier for broadcaster Todd Starnes, who left Fox Radio last week after a programme went out in which he discussed Democrats worshipping Moloch, the pagan god of child sacrifice, with far-right Christian pastor Robert Jeffress, the man who predicted a “Civil War-like fracture” in America should Trump be impeached.
Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar – a member of “The Squad” and an alt-right hate figure – has blamed the media for the collapse of her marriage.
Trump talks “constantly” behind the scenes about administering polygraph lie detector tests to his staff in the wake of major news events in a bid to flush out leakers, Politico reports.
“He’d be angry and ask, ‘Why can’t we stop these things?’” an ex-White House official told the publication.
“He wanted to polygraph every employee in the building to unearth who it was who spoke to the press,” said another.
So far, aides have managed to talk him out of such a paranoid step but Trump has apparently been obsessed with the idea since the earliest days of his presidency.
“It was something that was discussed and people were trying to placate the president, and trying to show that they were taking it as personally and just as seriously as he was,” another insider told Politico.
“Taking that line of, ‘Oh yeah, we have to polygraph people’ was a way to ingratiate themselves with him, but it wasn’t an idea that ever went anywhere because it was absurd,” they added.
The British response to Trump’s claim we’re thrilled American troops are being pulled out of Syria, leaving the Kurdishs fighters of the SDF alone in the face of Turkish aggression?
“No idea where that came from.”
Richard Hall elaborates.
More nonsense on Minneapolis.
God he’s tacky isn’t he?
Oliver Carroll has the inside story on Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s former chief prosecutor at the heart of the Biden conspiracy theory pushed by the Trump-Giuliani camp.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff – still not imprisoned for treason, shockingly – has this say on the latest act of White House stonewalling, following Trump blocking Sondland from appearing.
“Not only is the Congress being deprived of his testimony… but we are also aware that the ambassador has text messages or emails on a personal device, which had been provided to the State Department, although we have requested those from the ambassador, and the State Department is withholding those messages as well,” Schiff told reporters.
“Those messages are also deeply relevant to this investigation and the impeachment inquiry,” he added.
Trump is resuming his new feud with Minneapolis Democrats after seeing an interview with a pro-Trump local police lieutenant on Fox & Friends.
These are the T-shirts in question.
But the city’s major is already bored of it all.
Lindsey Graham is inviting Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to testify before his Senate committee on corruption in the Ukraine.
While that promises to be a show trial giving Rudy the chance to air his favourite conspiracy theories and atttack the press and Democrats before being given a clean bill of health by a partisan panel, the ex-NYC mayor certainly has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth…
Here’s Clark Mindock’s story.
Trump is getting satirical here at the expense of Hillary Clinton.
Perhaps more interesting is the admission he feels Elizabeth Warren poses a real threat to his re-election.
He also confirms Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the White House on 13 November in the course of all that.
Some telling commentary on those last tweets.
Here’s Zamira Rahim on Trump’s self-justification.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler had some strong words yesterday on Trump’s extraordinary rhetoric.
The Trump Organisation has prevented an Islamophobic group from hosting a gala at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s Florida resort.
The reception was to be held by Act For America – the largest anti-Muslim organisation in the US, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center – whose leader Brigitte Gabriel has issued statements denouncing Islam and claimed devout Muslims cannot be “loyal Americans”.
Zamira Rahim reports.
First lady Melania Trump – remember her? – is again being roundly mocked over her anti-bullying campaign, noble work that keeps on being undermind and upstaged by her husband’s bullish behaviour on the world stage.
As this Statista graph illustrates, Trump’s Twitter usage has increased drastically in 2019 – spiking to 797 last month as the impeachment inquiry was announced by House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Judging by last night’s manic retweet spree and his 88-tweet propaganda blitz over the weekend, the pressure appears to be getting to him.