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babylonsister's Journal
babylonsister's Journal
October 1, 2019

Freewheeling Trump was often unprepared for foreign leader calls, had to be coached by staff

More confirmation he's a moron.

Freewheeling Trump was often unprepared for foreign leader calls, had to be coached by staff
By Jamie Gangel and Maegan Vazquez, CNN
Updated 6:24 PM ET, Mon September 30, 2019

(CNN)President Donald Trump was often so unprepared for calls with foreign leaders that he was coached by several staff members and advisers as the calls took place to avoid veering off track, a source familiar with the calls through White House chief of staff John Kelly's tenure, which ended in December 2018, told CNN.


According to the source familiar with how foreign leader calls were conducted under Kelly's watch, Trump often had to be reeled in by White House staff during calls with foreign leaders, adding that Kelly would sometimes mute the call so staffers in the room could give the President guidance or advise him against saying something he shouldn't say.

"Kelly always wanted a bunch of us to be there in the Oval (Office) ... to just babysit on these calls," the source said.

During the first year months of Trump's presidency, foreign leaders were often caught off-guard by these phone calls and the President's style.

"He would go on random tangents about the Mueller investigation with foreign leaders ... it was unnecessary and unhelpful," the source said. "And sometimes he just wouldn't have his facts straight and he would really rattle some of the foreign leaders with whom he spoke."

The source added: "Eventually they figured it out and they adjusted, but those calls were nothing like what a normal call would be between presidents."



October 1, 2019

At Time of Trump-Zelensky Call, Mulvaney Was Already Under Notice...Not to Hide Records


At Time of Trump-Zelensky Call, Mulvaney Was Already Under Notice From Cummings, Engel and Schiff Not to Hide Records
September 30, 2019/31 Comments/in Impeachment /by Jim White
Note the byline.

In perusing the House Oversight Committee website while looking for something else, I ran across this remarkable letter dated February 21, 2019. It is addressed to Mick Mulvaney as Acting White House Chief of Staff and is from Elijah Cummings, Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Eliot Engel, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The letter is part of an ongoing effort by Congress to obtain records from meetings between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin that occurred in Hamburg on July 7, 2017 and in Helsinki on July 16, 2018.

The letter reprises press reports of Trump confiscating notes from interpreters and having a general reputation for tearing up documents. Although prompted by their frustration in getting records from these two meetings, the three committee chairmen expand the scope of their direction to Mulvaney to preserve records:

Recall that the Trump-Zelensky phone call took place on July 25, 2019, just over five months after the letter was sent. It seems particularly on point that the letter warned Mulvaney against “relocation” as well as “intentional handling which would foreseeably make such records incomplete or inaccessable”. Certainly, by relocating the Situation Room’s transcript to the code-word level computer system, Mulvaney (or other actor(s) in the White House) did indeed make the record incomplete and essentially inaccessible until the whistleblower complaint forced the publication of a partial transcript.

And how did the White House respond to the letter? The return letter came from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone exactly one month later, blowing off the request for records from the two Trump-Putin meetings in its entirety, citing a claim that the President alone conducts foreign policy. And yet, the letter claimed that the White House fully complies with the Presidential Records Act, under which the three committee chairmen had submitted their request.

I’m wondering if this letter, with its highly specific warning, will increase the legal difficulties for Mulvaney once the impeachment investigation spotlight begins to point his direction.
October 1, 2019

Pierce: "...the entire executive branch might end up collapsing into a mud pile."


William Barr and Mike Pompeo Are Now Fully Implicated in Trump's Trainwreck
The office of the president*, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice are now all involved.
By Charles P. Pierce
Sep 30, 2019

Stop the news. I want to get off. First, from the Wall Street Journal via Reuters:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took part in a July phone conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that is at the heart of a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

This opens up Pompeo for a lot of questions. Can he verify the whistleblower's complaint, and how involved was the Secretary of State with the decision to stash the call onto the Secret Server? Moreover, it appears that the entire executive branch might end up collapsing into a mud pile. From The New York Times:

President Trump initiated the discussion in recent weeks with Mr. Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia’s help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation, according to the two people with knowledge of the discussion. Mr. Barr requested that Mr. Trump speak to Mr. Morrison, one of the people said. It came only weeks after Mr. Trump seemed to make military aid to Ukraine contingent on Mr. Zelensky doing him the “favor” of helping Mr. Barr with his work...

Mr. Barr flew to Italy last week and met with Italian government officials on Friday. The Justice Department spokeswoman would not say whether he discussed the election inquiry in those meetings, but former Justice Department officials said that Mr. Barr would need to ask foreign countries for cooperation in turning over documents pertaining to the 2016 election.

And, in case if you were wondering how far up shit-creek Barr has gone, well, if the Washington Post is accurate, he's found the headwaters at the very least.

Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter...

Barr has already made overtures to British intelligence officials, and last week the attorney general traveled to Italy, where he and Durham met senior Italian government officials and Barr asked the Italians to assist Durham, according to one person familiar with the matter. It was not Barr’s first trip to Italy to meet intelligence officials, the person said. The Trump administration has made similar requests of Australia, these people said.

It's become plain at this point that the ongoing "review" of the origins of the investigation into the Russian ratfcking of the 2016 election has as one of its primary purposes developing an alternative narrative to the plain fact that the Russians wanted to help the president* become president*, and that he accepted their help, and that this alternative narrative then will be used to discredit the revelations in the whistleblower's complaint, and that this project now commands the attention of, at the very least, the office of the president*, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice. The line for the rollercoaster at Depositionland is getting longer by the minute.

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