“He’s P.T. Barnum”


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes says he doesn’t believe “there was an actual tap of Trump Tower,” contrary to claims made by President Trump.

And the top Democrat on the House committee, Adam Schiff, told NPR’s All Things Considered “there’s no evidence” to support Trump’s claim.

Nunes also said that the Intelligence Community was not cooperating with investigators.


Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta said Tuesday that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the hack of his Gmail account — and suggested a top Trump adviser colluded with WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence to destroy Clinton’s campaign.

Podesta, speaking to reporters aboard Clinton’s flight back to New York after a Florida campaign swing, charged that Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Donald Trump’s who has spoken to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, had “advance knowledge” of the leaks.

In Hawaii a federal judge blocked the latest Travel Ban EO issued about 9 days ago.  Usually statements made during a campaign aren’t taken into account to determine how “Constitutional” something is.  This case is likely to go to the SCoUS.  The order appears to have some bias toward DT.  Perhaps the most damaging piece for Trump is Giuliani’s statements on video, “How do we do a *legal* Muslim ban?”


The federal judge in Hawaii who put President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on hold cited “questionable evidence supporting the government’s national security motivation.”

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also said Hawaii would suffer financially if the executive order goes into effect and blocks the flow of students and tourists to the state.

Watson issued his 43-page ruling less than two hours after hearing arguments on Hawaii’s request to block the ban that was to have gone into effect Thursday.

 The judge says Hawaii is likely to succeed on a claim that the ban violates the First Amendment right protecting people against religious discrimination.


The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that four people — including two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) — have been indicted in connection to a massive hack of Yahoo information.

The hack, which the DOJ said was initiated in January 2014, affected at least 500 million Yahoo accounts. Some of the stolen information was used to “obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers, including accounts of Russian journalists, US and Russian government officials and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies,” the DOJ said in a statement.
Investigative journalist David Cay Johnston’s career was thrust into the spotlight Tuesday night after he reported part of President Trump’s 2005 tax return on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC.    Here are a few things you need to know about Johnston, who has previously contributed columns to USA TODAY. He:

1. Won the Pulitzer Prize, journalism’s highest honor, in 2001 for beat reporting “that exposed loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code, which was instrumental in bringing about reforms.”

He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer in 2000 and 2003.

2. Met Trump in 1988 while covering Atlantic City casinos for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Johnston told C-SPAN in August that he realized quickly that Trump was a showman prone to falsities, saying he’s “all appearances.”

“He’s P.T. Barnum,” Johnston said. “He’s selling you tickets to the Feejee Mermaid and the amazing two-headed woman.”

He eventually revealed for the Inquirer that then-struggling Trump’s net worth in 1990 was lower than zero.

“As I wrote then in The Philadelphia Inquirer: you, reader, are probably worth more than Donald Trump,” Johnston wrote for the U.K. Guardian in February.

3. He wrote a book called The Making of Donald Trump in a very short period in 2016 for Melville House Press after multiple other publishers spurned his proposed book on the New Yorker’s true nature, “assuming Trump would soon disappear.”

The book “grew out of my frustration at the utter failure of my peers in U.S. journalism to tell voters about his profitable, lifelong embrace of mobsters, violent felons, Russian oligarchs and the man who supplied his helicopters,” he wrote in February for the U.K. Guardian.

4. Started his career at age 19 as the youngest reporter for the San Jose Mercury, which later became the San Jose Mercury News.

He also spent time as a journalist for The Detroit Free Press, The Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer before joining The New York Times in 1995.

5. Once helped free a man who had been wrongfully sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.

His reporting for The Los Angeles Times on the wrongful imprisonment of Tony Cooks “included hunting down a murderer the police had failed to catch,” according to publisher Penguin Random House.

6. Believes in the role of investigative reporting as a pillar of American democracy.

As a former president of the trade group Investigative Reporters & Editors, he promoted the importance of the craft.

“The crucial thing you have to have is a recognition of the importance of digging, and remember the founders of this country put the First Amendment in place at a time where newspapers just literally made stuff up. There was no reporting. They just made things up. And they (the Founding Fathers) thought that was better than to have secrecy and government in control of the information,” Johnston told the Investigative Post in 2012.

7. Before obtaining part of Trump’s 2005 tax return, Johnston wrote for USA TODAY in 2016 that it was likely that Trump’s financials would show he pays a lower tax rate than ordinary Americans.

“The big story is not the true size of his wealth, but about how Congress has turned the income tax into a source of massive wealth for many of the richest Americans, including Trump,” he said. “That may seem hard to believe because the income tax burdens most of us. But the riches to be mined from the tax code are well known to America’s top tax lawyers and their clients.”

Paul Ryan says that DT is “all in” on the new Health Plan.


Pretty much everybody, from the wonky left to the wonky right, seems to agree that the Obamacare replacement that House Republicans rolled out on Monday is utterly useless as a piece of health policy—a worst-of-all-possible-worlds mashup of ideas that would destabilize the insurance markets and leave millions without coverage.

But there’s one thing that this legislation does beautifully: It would cut the sweet living heck out of rich people’s taxes.

Pundit:  Trump is a toddler.

Pundit:  Protest politics is a lot more fun than governing politics.  (A jab at the GOP)

Same pundit:  DT knows how to talk to regular working people better than a lot of politicians.  


Lindsey Graham lacks the resources and access that the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have to investigate Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.

But his Senate Judiciary subcommittee has something the intelligence panels don’t: a Republican chairman viewed not as a Donald Trump ally but as a fierce critic, who has no qualms with bucking party leaders to unravel the mystery of Russia’s interference in the election. 

Graham and his Democratic partner, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, will seize the spotlight Wednesday during a public hearing on Russia’s election interference, to be held by Graham’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which has jurisdiction over the FBI.

Graham and Whitehouse plan to use their perch to help ensure the public gets a full accounting of Russia’s intrusion and any possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow.



Republican lawmakers are eyeing a new push to break up the California-based federal court of appeals, which is widely considered one of the most liberal courts in the country.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he’s planning to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to split up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers his state and eight others, including California, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Hawaii, as well as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Most of the 9th Circuit’s own judges have spoken out against the idea in the past. In 2005, Judge Mary Schroeder testified before Congress about how costly and difficult it would be.


More on TrumpCare . . . says Senator Tom Cotton:  there is no three-phase process. There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control.



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