fresh voices from the front lines of change







Mueller Net Closes In On Trump

Trump sends finished written answers to Mueller. CNN: "President Donald Trump on Tuesday submitted written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller related to the investigation of possible collusion between Trump associates and Russians. The responses from the President signify a major development in the Mueller probe following months of negotiations between the special counsel's office and Trump's legal team, and could be a sign of the end stages of the investigation. It's not yet clear whether the answers will be enough for Mueller to finish his investigation, as there could be additional questions -- and the special counsel's office could still try to pursue an in-person interview with Trump. Trump and his legal team balked at some of the questions from Mueller that covered the presidential transition and Trump's time in the White House, believing those could be off limits due to executive privilege, CNN has previously reported. The questions also cover only issues related to the potential collusion investigation and not the probe into possible obstruction of justice. If Trump's legal team rebuffs further inquiries from Mueller, it will be up to the special counsel to decide whether he has enough to finish writing his report or he needs an interview. Mueller could try to subpoena Trump for an interview, but Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker likely would need to sign off on that decision. The big looming question over the agreement for Trump to provide the written answers related to the period during the campaign is whether that satisfies Mueller's questions about the transition and inauguration. Trump's legal team was provided a list of questions in the spring that included asking about efforts during the transition to establish a back channel to Russia and a 2017 meeting in the Seychelles involving Trump ally Erik Prince, a businessman and founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater."

Acting AG Paid $1.2m By Phony Nonprofit

Conservative nonprofit with obscure roots and undisclosed funders paid Matthew Whitaker $1.2 million. WaPo: "In the three years after he arrived in Washington in 2014, Matthew G. Whitaker received more than $1.2 million as the leader of a charity that reported having no other employees, some of the best pay of his career. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust described itself as a new watchdog nonprofit dedicated to exposing unethical conduct by public officials. For Whitaker, it became a lucrative steppingstone in a swift rise from a modest law practice in Iowa to the nation’s top law enforcement job. As FACT’s president, he regularly appeared on radio and television, often to skewer liberals. But FACT’s origins and the source of funding used to pay Whitaker — now the acting attorney general — remain obscured. An examination of state and federal records, and interviews with those involved, show that the group is part of a national network of nonprofits that often work in concert to amplify conservative messages. Contrary to its claims in news releases and a tax filing, the group was created under a different name two years before Whitaker’s arrival, according to incorporation and IRS records. At least two of the organizers were involved in another conservative charity using the same address. In its application to the IRS for status as a tax-exempt organization, the organizers reported that the group would study the impact of environmental regulations on businesses, records show. In that incarnation, the group took no action and “only existed on paper,” one man named in IRS filings as a board member told The Washington Post."

Healthcare Lobby Prepares To Battle Medicare For All

Lobbyist documents reveal plan against Medicare For All. The Intercept: "midterms are finally over, the battle against “Medicare for All” that has been quietly waged throughout the year is poised to take center stage. Internal strategy documents obtained by The Intercept and Documented reveal the strategy that private health care interests plan to use to influence Democratic Party messaging and stymie the momentum toward achieving universal health care coverage. At least 48 incoming freshman lawmakers campaigned on enacting 'Medicare for All' or similar efforts to expand access to Medicare. And over the last year, 123 incumbent House Democrats co-sponsored 'Medicare for All' legislation — double the number who supported the same bill during the previous legislative session. The growing popularity of 'Medicare for All' in the House has made progressives optimistic that the Democratic Party will embrace ideas to expand government coverage options with minimal out-of-pocket costs for patients going into the 2020 election. But industry groups have watched the development with growing concern. Over the summer, leading pharmaceutical, insurance, and hospital lobbyists formed the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, an ad hoc alliance of private health interests, to curb support for expanding Medicare. The campaign, according to one planning document, is designed to 'change the conversation around Medicare for All,' then 'minimize the potential for this option in health care from becoming part of a national political party’s platform in 2020.'"

U.S. Soybeans Rot In Fields As Trade War Extends

US farmers forced to leave crops rotting in fields as Trump's trade war bites. Reuters: "Across the United States, grain farmers are plowing under crops, leaving them to rot or piling them on the ground, in hopes of better prices next year, according to interviews with more than two dozen farmers, academic researchers and farm lenders. It’s one of the results, they say, of a U.S. trade war with China that has sharply hurt export demand and swamped storage facilities with excess grain. In Louisiana, up to 15 percent of the oilseed crop is being plowed under or is too damaged to market, according to data analyzed by Louisiana State University staff. Crops are going to waste in parts of Mississippi and Arkansas. Grain piles, dusted by snow, sit on the ground in North and South Dakota. And in Illinois and Indiana, some farmers are struggling to protect silo bags stuffed with crops from animals. U.S. farmers planted 89.1 million acres of soybeans this year, the second most ever, expecting China’s rising demand to give them better returns than other bulk crops. But Beijing slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans in retaliation for duties imposed by Washington on Chinese exports. That effectively shut down U.S. soybean exports to China, worth around $12 billion last year. China typically takes around 60 percent of U.S. supplies. The U.S. government rolled out an aid program of around the same size - $12 billion - to help farmers absorb the cost of the trade war. As of mid-November, $837.8 million had been paid out. Some of that money will pass from farmers to grain merchants such as Archer Daniels Midland Co and Bunge Ltd, who are charging farmers more to store crops at elevators where there is limited space."

Trump Says Saudi Murder Worth It To Him

Trump's manic statement letting Saudi Arabia off the hook for Khashoggi reveals a dark US secret. Insider: ""America First! The world is a very dangerous place!' That's how President Donald Trump opened up a particularly bizarre statement where he explained that — even though Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have had Jamal Khashoggi brutally murdered in Istanbul — the US will stand by its ally. The statement met with near-universal disgust, but it reveals a dark truth of US foreign policy: It abides human rights horrors from Saudi Arabia because, for seven decades, US presidents have decided they have to. While Trump's statement was anything but normal, the US ignoring Saudi Arabian human rights atrocities is absolutely the norm in this relationship. On August 9 Saudi Arabia dropped a US-made bomb on a school bus in Yemen and killed 40 children, and the US and Europe continued with arms sales to the kingdom, for example. '[I]t could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't!' Trump's statement read. '[W]e may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,' it continued. Both of these statements play coy with a mountain of evidence that the Saudi royals, and not rogue agents in their inner circle yet totally beyond their control, ordered the killing and dismemberment of a US resident."

Pin It on Pinterest

Spread The Word!

Share this post with your networks.