McConnell Blocking Floor Debate On Election Security Bill

In case you missed it, Dem Senator Mark Warner(VA) said on CBS Face The Nation that even after all the press coverage about Russia meddling in our elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is yet to schedule a floor debate on an election security bill. As Senator Warner correctly pointed out, this is the “height of irresponsibility.”

Sen Warner told host Margaret Brennan, “I would argue there are three things we can do this week when we come back. First we have to go ahead and pass bipartisan election security legislation to make sure for example that there is a paper ballot trail after every vote.” Host Margaret Brennan then interjected, “There’s been no floor time allowed” to which Sen Warner responded, “There’s been no floor time allowed.” It is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who decides which bills come to the Senate floor for debate.

Ever since the 2016 elections, this has been one of those troubling but recurring themes–the reluctance by both President Trump and Congressional Republicans to effectively address the well documented efforts by Russia to interfere in our elections. It is by far one of the most perplexing topics of modern American politics. Nobody in their right mind could ever have envisioned that we would come to a point where sitting members of Congress would have to be dragged/forced to act to prevent an attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power. Sadly, this is exactly where we find ourselves today and Mitch McConnell’s inaction on a much needed election security legislation serves as exhibit A.

Bottom line, Mitch McConnell is up for reelection in 2020 and both Congressional Democrats and the mainstream media have a duty to confront him about his reluctance to have a floor debate on a desperately needed election security bill. Is Mitch McConnell/GOP counting on help from Russia in the 2020 elections? People should no longer shy away from confronting McConnell and other Congressional Republicans with these types of questions. Yours Truly has been doing just that for some time now.

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Manafort Is Proof Of #YesCollusion

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe concluded, President Trump and Congressional Republicans have latched on to the “time to move on” mantra incorrectly suggesting that Mueller was hired to investigate TrumpRussia collusion and found no evidence of such collusion. This is a very clever argument, which Republicans have calculated will be widely accepted by their voting base. From a factual basis however, the argument that Mueller never found any evidence of collusion is as deceptive as it gets.

It is a well established fact that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had multiple contacts (while chairman), with Russians tied to the country’s military intelligence. It is also a well established fact that Manafort as Trump campaign chairman, shared Trump campaign’s internal polling data with a Russian military intelligence aide(Konstantin Kilimnik). It is also a well established fact that Manafort fought tooth and nail to keep his communications with the said Russians away from Mueller’s team, even risking spending the rest of his life in prison to that end. In his recent press briefing, Robert Mueller concluded by saying this about Russian meddling, “There were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”

Any reasonable presented with these set of facts will inevitably arrive at the conclusion that Manafort’s obfuscation/refusal to fully cooperate was the reason Mueller failed to establish a clear cut TrumpRussia collusion case. In other words, Mueller had evidence of TrumpRussia collusion but without cooperation from Manafort, could not make an an iron-clad case. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow did an excellent segment on this very topic.

Bottom line, there cannot be a conclusive determination as to whether Trump campaign colluded with Russians without getting to the bottom of Manafort’s well documented contacts with Russian military intelligence. What was the content of his communications with them? Why did he share polling data with a Russian with close ties to Russian military intelligence? What exactly was the polling data he shared with them? What discussions did Trump’s lawyers have with Manafort regarding his cooperation with Mueller? These and many more, are questions that must be posed to Mueller and Manafort if they ever testify before Congress. Preferably, the Manafort question should be a key aspect of Trump’s impeachment hearings because it would force Manafort, Trump and his lawyers to testify about this incident under oath. Simply put folks, #YesCollusion!!

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Austrian Video Reignites TrumpRussia Questions

In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently veered into a story about Austrian politics that even by her own admission, appeared awkwardly off topic. However a few minutes into the Austria segment, it quickly became apparent as to how the story was 100% relevant to the current situation in American politics especially as it relates to the ongoing TrumpRussia controversy.

Maddow featured a bombshell video that is reportedly making rounds in Europe showing details of how the Kremlin helped install an ex-Nazi political party to power in Austria. The video which is apparently seven hours long, shows a meeting between an Austrian politician and a Russian woman, the niece of a Russian Oligarch, scheming on how the Kremlin will install the politician’s party(Freedom Party) to power in return for lucrative government construction/infrastructure contracts. In other words, the Russians help the Austrian get elected and once he is in office, he swings Austrian government contracts to companies run by the Russian Oligarch. The full Maddow segment is available here but relevant clip is below.

Maddow summed up the bombshell video thus; “The blonde lady who you see there whose face is pixellated, she is posing in this interaction as the niece of a Russian Oligarch who would like to support the Freedom Party. That’s who these Freedom Party guys think she is. She is visiting from Russia with a whole bunch of money to spend to help them out. In this video which stretches for seven hours, the Vice Chancellor of Austria, the guy in the front of the screen here, head of the Freedom Party….a group founded by ex-Nazis, who they[Russians] elevated to the number two person in that government, he chats with this young woman about what he wants from her uncle, what he wants from a Kremlin-connected Russian Oligarch to support his party and to support his political aspirations. He tells this woman that this Russian Oligarch should use Russian money to take control of the biggest tabloid newspaper in Austria, turn that tabloid into a mouthpiece for the Freedom Party, help them get elected. Once they get control of the government, the Russian Oligarch should then form a construction company and then this guy who would then be running the government would make sure that all the road building contracts, all the big infrastructure contracts in Austria would then go to the new construction company secretly set up for that purpose and run by the Russian Oligarch who spent all that money to get the ex-Nazi party in charge. So you pay for us to get in power, we will pay you. You infiltrate our country and our press on behalf of Russia. You install a Kremlin-friendly far right political party in Austria and once we are in there we will pay you back in cash with public contracts. Win win win!”

Millions of Americans followed closely Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into TrumpRussia. Any one of them presented with the details of this video of the Kremlin’s operation in Austria would immediately be struck by the shocking similarities this video has to the Russian influence in our 2016 elections. The first image that comes to mind when watching this Austrian video is the infamous Trump Tower meeting where Don Jr and other senior members of the Trump campaign met with now confessed Russian agent Maria Butina. Was a similar deal struck–help us get elected and we will pay you back with government contracts?

Fox News and The National Enquirer also come to mind. The Austrian politician is seen begging the Russians to buy an Austrian tabloid newspaper and turn it into his political party’s mouthpiece to help him get elected. Was Fox News, The National Enquirer, or both of them influenced by Russia to help Trump get elected in 2016? Are they still being influenced by Russia for Trump’s benefit as we head into 2020?

The proposed $200 million investment in Senator Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky by a formerly sanctioned Oligarch who was a key TrumpRussia suspect also comes to mind. Is Oligarch Deripaska getting “paid” by Mitch McConnell for helping Republicans win the White House in 2016? Remember Sen Mitch McConnell was one of the Senators who voted down efforts to keep sanctions on Derpaska’s businesses. If the U.S. Senate had left the sanctions intact, Deripaska’s company Rusal would not have been able to invest $200 million in Kentucky.

Maddow also points out the troubling role of Steve Bannon in Russia’s global quest for political dominance. Bannon who was part of the Trump campaign and helped craft Trump’s far right nativist, even xenophobic message, is apparently now based in Europe helping nativist political parties like the one featured in this Austrian video, gain political power in Europe. There is no question that Putin’s Russia is behind Bannon’s efforts in Europe, just like they were during our 2016 elections.

Bottom line folks, this Austrian video is yet another stark reminder that despite Trump’s constant dismissal of the TrumpRussia conspiracy as a hoax, the Russian global political operation is alive and well. Yours Truly sincerely hopes that this seven hour video depicting Russian election meddling in Austria will be carefully perused by the relevant U.S. law enforcement agencies as a blueprint of how Putin’s global election meddling scheme works. Importantly, U.S. law enforcement agencies should look at the implications of this Austrian story to our current political climate. Americans for example would like to know why a formerly sanction Russian Oligarch with deep ties to the Kremlin is all of a sudden making a significant investment in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky. Isn’t this exactly the kind of pay-for-play scheme we see in the Austrian story? This video should also be cause for further inquiry into the infamous Trump Tower meeting featuring Natalya Veselnitskaya. Lastly but not least, there should be more light shed on the troubling actions of Republican Party operative Steve Bannon who is seemingly helping Russia install nativist, xenophobic governments in Europe. Does that help or hurt the U.S.?

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Kamala Harris Says Barr’s Conduct Undermines Justice System

Appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show Dem Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris pointed out a serious consequence of Attorney General Barr’s conduct that receives very little media attention. AG Barr is often criticized for his overt political bias, but as Senator Kamala Harris aptly pointed out, his troubling conduct is having a real devastating effect on the integrity of the overall justice system. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Sen Harris told Maddow, “Everyday in America there are people walking into courthouses around our country, state courthouses, federal courthouses. And they’re going to walk into those courthouses skeptical of whether justice actually occurs in those places. And that is real, that is a real consequence when we see the kinds of behavior we’ve been seeing under this administration which is that it is undermining people’s confidence in our democracy. And that is not an overstatement.”

Senator Harris later added, “One of our greatest strengths as a nation is that we have a system of democracy that we will fight for, that we will die for, and one of the most significant pillars in that system is our justice system. Now we know it is imperfect and we know it is deeply flawed in many ways. But when the highest official in the land[Barr] presents himself to the world the way we just witnessed, I think it calls into question the integrity of the system overall.”

This was such a profound statement by Senator Kamala Harris especially as it relates to communities of color who as we know are disproportionately targeted by the U.S. criminal justice system. Senator Harris’ forceful argument is that if the head of DOJ(AG Barr) displays such callous disregard for the rule of law (willfully lying to Congress, ignoring Congressional requests for testimony), then his DOJ in the eyes of the public, has lost all moral authority to hunt down other lawbreakers–the thieves, bank robbers, rapists etc.

In essence, Sen Harris’ argument is that AG Barr’s gravest “sin” is not necessarily that he is a partisan political hack, but that his unfortunate actions are seriously detrimental to a key pillar of our democracy–the justice system. Both Democrats and Republicans benefit from a sound justice system meaning Barr is sacrificing a key pillar of our democracy for the benefit of only one person–President Trump.

Bottom line, even though AGs are political appointees, it has always been expected of them to project an image of independence from the executive branch so as to instill confidence among the public that they are not being unduly influenced by external forces when making prosecutorial decisions. With the current state of affairs, no reasonable person can make the argument that AG Barr is not acting under the direction of/in concert with the Trump administration. Trump and Barr echo each other, sometimes even using the same phrases in their public utterances. For this and many other reasons, the only recourse is for AG Barr to resign so that efforts can begin to restore the integrity of the justice system which he has severely shattered.

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No Election Interference Discussion in Trump-Putin Call

There was a shocking revelation yesterday that in a Trump-Putin phone call that lasted more than an hour, President Trump never brought up the troubling issue of Russian election meddling, a key finding in the Mueller report. Specifically, the Mueller Report concluded that Russia in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” interfered with the 2016 elections. One of the most important roles of a U.S. President is that of Commander in Chief who is sworn to protect the country from all enemies, local and foreign. Given the recent troubling findings of the Mueller Report vis-a-vis Russia, Americans have a reasonable expectation that as Commander in Chief, Trump would adopt a tough stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Shockingly however, at a press briefing to discuss his phone call with President Putin, Trump expressed amusement at Putin’s mocking of the Mueller Report which by all reasonable standards is very shocking behavior by a sitting U.S. President.

President Trump was asked a point blank question, “Did you ask him [Putin] not to meddle in the next election?” to which he responded, “We didn’t discuss that.”

The Russian threat is well recognized both from our law enforcement officials and even members of Trump’s own Republican party. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 identified Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical foe. He repeated this assertion shortly after the release of the Mueller Report. A sitting U.S. President to totally ignoring the very real threat Russia poses to our democracy therefore constitutes a serious dereliction of his duties as Commander in Chief and should engender bipartisan outrage.

There are already enough reasons to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The fact that Trump is now seemingly leaving us open to a Russian cyber attack, one that could disrupt our electoral process, should be the straw that broke the camel’s back. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it. Senator Elizabeth Warren appears to share the same sentiment

Bottom line, Democrats need to stand up and carry out their constitutional duty as to impeachment which incidentally, was a major reason for their election victory in 2018. If the current Democratic House leadership is not willing to follow through with the people’s demands then tough decisions have to be made, up to and including a change in the Democratic House leadership. People have to know exactly what Russia did in 2016 and at this point it appears only impeachment hearings could shed light on that. Simply put, Mueller failed America by being afraid to make a decision as to Trump’s obstruction of justice. The Democratic party leadership must not be allowed to fail Americans again by being afraid to carry out their constitutional duties as to impeachment of an unfit president, especially in a dire case like this where the unfit President also exhibits a callous disregard for a serious national security issue.

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GOP Lawmakers Who Spent July 4 In Moscow

GOP Lawmakers at a meeting in Moscow on July 4th weekend(2018)

You will remember that eight Republican lawmakers spent the July 4 (2018) weekend in Moscow. The story was met with outrage back in the U.S. as was very well stated in this July 5, 2018 WaPo piece, by Karoun Demirjian.

The most troubling aspect of this July 4 visit was that while the GOP lawmakers were in Moscow, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report concluding that Russia did indeed interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections to help then GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Even more troubling, according to Demirjian’s piece, the Russians were mocking the GOP Legislators on Russia’s state TV, with one military expert Igor Korotchenko reportedly saying, “We need to look down at them[GOP lawmakers] and say: You came because you needed to, not because we did.”Simply put, this July 4 Moscow visit was a total embarrassment to the U.S. and the Russians knew it too

This was a very important story but for some reason Yours Truly never made the now customary HANDY LIST to “name and shame” the GOP lawmakers involved. Here is a belated HANDY LIST of the shameful GOP Lawmakers who saw it fit to spend the 2018 Independence Day weekend in Moscow, palling around with Kremlin-tied politicians even as the Senate was releasing a report back in the U.S. that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections.

Bottom line given all the smoke surrounding TeamTrump’s ties to Russia, ongoing questions about Russia’s continuing influence on the Trump White House, and the ongoing threat Russia poses to our election infrastructure, the mainstream media and House Democrats owe the public a duty to investigate exactly why these Republican lawmakers saw it fit to visit Moscow on Independence Day weekend despite news reports that Russia was planning to interfere with the 2018 midterm elections.

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Lindsey Graham Inciting Trump To Fire Sessions

Senator Lindsey Graham(R-SC)

Now that Trump has been implicated in criminal conduct by the Michael Cohen plea deal and is in danger of further exposure from the Paul Manafort case and a grant of immunity to his former chief accountant Allen Weisselberg, it appears the new GOP protective stance is to incite him to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a move that could end Mueller probe altogether.


Chief among his inciters is U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who was once regarded as a reasonable moderate and a check to Trump’s unconventional presidency. It appears according to media reports however that Sen Graham has done a complete about face and is now basically inciting Trump to fire Sessions in an effort to insulate Trump from the gathering storm that is the Mueller probe. So you ask “Wait @emolclause, how is Sen Graham inciting Trump?” Here’s why.

It is well known that Trump is a major consumer of cable TV news. Back in 2017 Sen Graham went on a cable TV show and said there would be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fired Sessions. His statements were correctly characterized by the mainstream media as a stern message to Trump to not even think about firing Sessions. The same Sen Graham has now taken to cable TV news this time saying Trump has a right to install a favorable attorney general. Sen Graham told reporters recently:”The president’s entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice.”

There is no other way to interpret Senator Graham’s recent comments regarding AG Jeff Sessions other than he(Sen Graham) is sending a message to Trump that there will no longer be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fired Sessions–essentially inciting him to do so. Sen Graham’s surprise 180 degrees flip was best captured by this tweet by prominent women empowerment activist Amy Siskind


It appears at every turn when the public has gotten close to finding out the truth about Trump’s very questionable conduct with Russians, congressional Republicans have always stepped in to protect him and Sen Lindsey Graham appears to be the latest. As Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, and the Washington Post now agrees, Trump is not necessarily the problem but rather his abetting congressional Republicans like Sen Lindsey Graham.


Bottom line Senate Democrats and the mainstream media must confront Sen Lindsey Graham about his strange about-face regarding AG Jeff Sessions. Yours Truly wishes someone would soon pose Amy Siskind’s question to Sen Graham–“What does Putin have on you Senator Graham”?

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Trump Obstructing Justice By Yanking Security Clearances


In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow made quite an interesting (and troubling) observation regarding Trump’s revocation of former CIA Chief John Brennan’s security clearance and his threat to do the same to other former U.S. Intel officials. Maddow correctly pointed out that all the former U.S. Intel officials Trump wants to strip of security clearances are involved in the ongoing TrumpRussia investigation and at some point in the near future may be called in by the Mueller team to testify. Revoking their security clearances in a way hinders their ability to testify against Trump–essentially an obstruction of justice. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below

Maddow’s astute observation is very important because the rest of her mainstream media colleagues continue to characterize Trump’s troubling actions regarding security clearances as just “crazy Trump being crazy Trump”–an erroneous and dangerous assumption. The mainstream media should instead take Trump’s actions on security clearances very seriously because as Maddow correctly points out, it is all part of Trump’s larger effort to thwart the TrumpRussia investigation which is inching closer and closer to him and his inner circle, including his family.


Even more troubling is the fact that the GOP-led congress knows full well of Trump’s intent in regards to security clearance revocations but does absolutely nothing. Even Senator Susan Collins, once considered a reasonable moderate, appears to condone Trump’s patently un-American actions regarding security clearances

Bottom line, congressional Democrats and the mainstream media must call out Senator Collins and her congressional GOP colleaoues for condoning Trump’s actions regarding security clearances while knowing full well that Trump’s true intention is to obstruct the ongoing TrumpRussia investigation. Simply put Senator Collins et al are aiding and abetting Trump’s blatant obstruction of justice–conduct unbecoming of members of congress.

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As Speaker Ryan Dithers, Russia Has Already Targeted 3 2018 Campaigns

This week in one of the most disappointing episodes in U.S. Congressional history, GOP House Republicans, fully cognizant of the Russian threat to the 2018 midterm elections, voted down a measure that would have helped states bolster their election machine security. Under any other previous U.S. administration this callous disregard for such a serious threat would have been cause for mass resignations for the members of congress involved, especially given the fact that this involves national security. In the Trump era however, this is just another scandal to be explained away by the GOP as not important because “the base loves Trump”–a sad state of affairs indeed.


In the same week, we now find out according to Microsoft that Russians have already targeted three 2018 campaigns. This means that  while Speaker Paul Ryan and his House GOP members of congress keep dithering over whether to shore up election machine security, the Russians are already on the attack.


Bottomline Dems must not accept this dithering on election security by Speaker Ryan and his House GOP goons. If possible, they should push for another vote given the fact that Russia has targeted 3 2018 congressional campaigns already. Force Speaker Ryan and his GOP to vote down election security measures even after learning of the latest Russian attack. Now that will be the quintessential treason!!

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Trump Has Violated Oath Of Office, Needs To Be Impeached

After the disastrous #TreasonSummit  in Helsinki, Finland between President Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, many have wondered how his GOP would react–whether this would be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Eventhough there have been sharp criticisms of Trump from some GOP circles(Sens McCain, Flake etc), most Republicans have resorted to their usual tactic–making excuses for him, and silly ones at that.


One of those silly excuses now bandied about by the hapless Congressional Republicans is that they strongly oppose Trump’s stance in Helsinki where he appeared to side with Putin over U.S. Intel, but cannot do anything because their constituents “love Trump”. Basically I would do something but I don’t want to anger my constituents. As silly as this sounds, some in the Mainstream Media have began running with it as a plausible explanation.

There was late-breaking news yesterday by the New York Times that two weeks before Trump was inaugurated (Jan 6, 2017), U.S. Intel officials briefed him in excruciating detail about how Putin and his Kremlin operatives interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance who was a guest on 11th Hour with Brian Williams show, this is highly significant because it suggests that by continuing to deny Putin’s involvement in the 2016 election interference, Trump’s actions enter the realm of criminal cover-up. Joyce Vance’s point is very clear. Trump knew on inauguration day who the alleged Russian perpetrators were and there is no plausible reason why he should be throwing confusion into what is now a settled conclusion that Putin/Russians interfered, unless of course he is covering up their actions.


There is absolutely no way someone presented with such detailed information about Russian interference would have any ambiguity about the subject, which is why former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance says there could be a cover-up case made against Trump. Needless to say, even after this bombshell New York Times article, Trump’s GOP will counter with the silly “my constituents love Trump” excuse and some in the Mainstream Media will run with it again as a plausible explanation.

What some in the Mainstream Media fail to realize is that Trump’s actions in Helsinki, especially viewed in light of this NYT article, raise serious national security questions and go right to the heart of his presidential Oath of Office. Luckily this fact is not lost to all in the Mainstream Media and Yours Truly was very happy to hear former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance raising it on MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams show

Bottomline Dems should not fall for the silly excuse given by GOP members of Congress that they can’t do anything because their constituents “love Trump”. The fact of the matter is if Trump is not living up to his presidential Oath of Office, he has no business being President of The United States, period. Whether or not some GOP constituents “love him” is irrelevant. Excellent punditry by Joyce Vance.

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