1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “michael flynn” – Google News: Milbank: Michael Flynns judge struck a potent blow for the rule of law – Record-Courier

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Milbank: Michael Flynns judge struck a potent blow for the rule of law  Record-Courier

WASHINGTON — Judge Emmet G. Sullivan saw it coming. The veteran jurist presiding over Michael Flynn’s sentencing had seen the filing by President Trump’s …

“michael flynn” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Stephen Miller has total meltdown

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Stephen Miller appeared on CNN today with Wolf Blitzer and gave a blistering diatribe about America and its relationships with global conflict. Miller does not normally go on CNN. But he is one of the few people left on Trump’s staff, so there are not many others able to go in front of the camera for Trump at this point. Clearly, Miller has nothing left to lose and paraded himself in all of his perceived glory in front of the cameras like a peacock.




Miller’s speech today will go down in history as a sign of the growing neo-Nazi movement in the United States that Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, in particular, brought to the White House, like a flea infestation. As Miller spoke on CNN, he painted a narrative that was both inaccurate, and self-serving to the Trump Administration.




Stephen Miller decided to try to deceive the American viewers by peddling a bleak, black and white scenario when it came to the withdrawal of troops from Syria, which prompted Secretary Mattis’ resignation. Miller’s narrative was false and a bit maniacal. He made it seem like Americans only have two choices: to be involved in every war on planet earth or to be involved in none. When Wolf Blitzer asked if this meant the U.S. was going to pull out of every other international hotspot, Miller, unfazed in his self-appointed smugness, exclaimed he certainly did not mean that. Again, Miller and his monologue plowed on, and he was clearly satisfied with his performance even though what he was saying did not track at all.



Stephen Miller also spoke for Trump and himself when he said that if Congress doesn’t want a government shutdown right before the holidays when people may not get their paychecks, then the Democrats simply should approve the funding for the wall. It turns out that Miller actually believes that this bullshit he’s spouting is effective and enjoys an elevated status that’s all in his head, or so it appeared. The sad thing is, Miller, this gas bag of a pompous self-important idiot, was the best Trump had to send out to feed the people the information we need to maintain a free and fair democracy. Too bad we didn’t get anything close to being informative because Miller’s speech was almost deranged and inflammatory. Unfortunately, Trump and Miller are ready to shut down the government out of spite.



The post Stephen Miller has total meltdown appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Donald Trump | The Guardian: Trump plans to pull thousands of troops out of Afghanistan – report

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Military withdrawal would pave way toward ‘a second 9/11’, warns Trump ally Lindsey Graham

Donald Trump is planning to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, a US official and US media have said, in the latest sign Trump’s patience with America’s longest war is wearing thin.

On Wednesday, Trump rebuffed top advisers and decided to pull all US troops out of Syria, a decision that was swiftly followed by the abrupt resignation of US defence secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday over significant policy differences with the president.

Related: Defense secretary resigns: Mattis points to differences with Trump on allies

Related: Donald Trump’s Syria withdrawal could reverberate for years

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Donald Trump goes off the deep end, attacks Lindsey Graham

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In every movie that’s centered around the rise and fall of a criminal ringleader, there comes a point in the storyline where everything is closing in on the ringleader to the point that even his closest allies are unsure how close they want to stand to him, and the ringleader responds by attacking those allies. There’s a reason that point always comes near the end of the script. For Donald Trump, that moment has arrived.




We’re not even talking about the fact that Donald Trump just drove Secretary of Defense James Mattis to resign in protest, though that’s a startling story in its own right, and a sign that Trump’s continued grip on power is no longer tenable. Trump and Mattis were never allies; Trump only kept Mattis around so he could at least point to having one respected person in his otherwise bottom feeding administration. No, we’re talking about the fact that Trump is now lashing out at Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.




We still don’t know for sure what Donald Trump managed to do several months ago to prompt his longtime nemesis Lindsey Graham to suddenly become the biggest Trump cheerleader of all. But whatever Trump has been holding over Graham’s head, it looks like Trump has now taken his deranged behavior so far, even Graham can’t bite his tongue anymore. Today we saw Graham publicly explode at Trump over the Syria pullout, and then hit him again after Trump pushed Mattis out.



In response, Donald Trump tweeted this garbage: “So hard to believe that Lindsey Graham would be against saving soldier lives & billions of $$$. Why are we fighting for our enemy, Syria, by staying & killing ISIS for them, Russia, Iran & other locals? Time to focus on our Country & bring our youth back home where they belong!” Trump seems to be accusing Graham of being anti-military and in favor of supporting America’s enemies.



The post Donald Trump goes off the deep end, attacks Lindsey Graham appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “putin and trump” – Google News: Trump’s Syria move plays right into Putin’s hands – Mackay Daily Mercury

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Trump’s Syria move plays right into Putin’s hands  Mackay Daily Mercury

Of all US President Donald Trump’s erratic decisions, withdrawing US troops from Syria is the most confounding. It one overnight tweet – in which the Trump …

“putin and trump” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “trump and putin” – Google News: Trump’s Syria move plays right into Putin’s hands – Chronicle

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Trump’s Syria move plays right into Putin’s hands  Chronicle

Of all US President Donald Trump’s erratic decisions, withdrawing US troops from Syria is the most confounding. It one overnight tweet – in which the Trump …

“trump and putin” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “Putin Trump” – Google News: Trump’s Syria move plays right into Putin’s hands – Queensland Times

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Trump’s Syria move plays right into Putin’s hands  Queensland Times

Of all US President Donald Trump’s erratic decisions, withdrawing US troops from Syria is the most confounding. It one overnight tweet – in which the Trump …

“Putin Trump” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Donald Trump gives something away with his latest oddly specific wall meltdown

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Right now Donald Trump is going back and forth on whether to risk finishing off what’s left of his illegitimate presidency by putting his few remaining chips down on a government shutdown over his border wall. Why is the wall the only thing he still cares about? Sure, it’s important to his racist base. But the more Trump rambles about the specifics of the wall lately, the more he gives away that there’s also something else at play – and it looks like another criminal scandal.



On Tuesday, as his pipe dream of building a border wall was fading, Donald Trump tweeted that the wall wouldn’t be made of concrete. Instead it would be consist of “artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it.” Okay, that was pretty stupid. At the time it sounded like Trump was simply trying to up the ante by making the wall sound more sophisticated or pretty. But then he did it again today.


This morning Donald Trump tweeted “The Democrats, who know Steel Slats (Wall) are necessary for Border Security, are putting politics over Country.” There it is again: steel slats. Trump isn’t simply trying to build a wall. He’s decided on a weirdly specific plan for what the wall will be made out of and what it’ll look like. This isn’t the kind of thing he’d come up with himself.


Trump is, rather obviously, repeating some kind of detailed sales pitch he’s received. This is all about him closing a deal with a specific vendor. Based on his history, Trump only ever cuts deals like this if he’s personally receiving some kind of kickback or payoff in return. It’s crucial that we track down this vendor, and then figure out how Trump is being bribed.




If you’re not convinced of this, consider that just recently, Donald Trump’s response to the California wildfires was to keep insisting that we need “forest management” that involves “raking.” He clearly had no idea what he was even saying. Instead he was simply repeating (and mangling) a sales pitch he had received from a specific vendor looking for a government contract. Trump never makes a deal unless there’s a kickback for him.



Sure, Donald Trump has political reasons for pushing the wall. He’s convinced his racist base that it’s the only way to make America white again. But he’s managed to string these rubes along for two years by simply blaming the other side for not building his wall. He could easily keep stringing them along like this. Instead he’s finally decided that the wall funding must happen, right now, even though it will never be built before he’s removed from office, and it must involve whatever vendor is pushing these weird steel slats. Trump is trying to personally cash in on the wall scam before he’s ousted.



The post Donald Trump gives something away with his latest oddly specific wall meltdown appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News: One striking image shows the Marine Corps generals who will have left the Trump administration, after the president praised their service – Business Insider Nordic

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One striking image shows the Marine Corps generals who will have left the Trump administration, after the president praised their service  Business Insider Nordic

President Donald Trump boasted that his administration was staffed by notable *service* members.

“Next customers: Flynn and Jr.” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “Emails Investigation Reopening” – Google News: Gatwick airport: Drone activity reported ‘within the last hour’ – live – The Guardian

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Gatwick airport: Drone activity reported ‘within the last hour’ – live  The Guardian

Gavin Williamson confirms military involvement as it is unclear when flights will resume as thousands of passengers face disruption caused by drones over the …

“Emails Investigation Reopening” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“russian infiltration of both republican and democratic campaigns in elections 2016” – Google News: AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EST – The State

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AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EST  The State

Mattis resigning as Pentagon chief after clashes with Trump. WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday after clashing with …

“russian infiltration of both republican and democratic campaigns in elections 2016” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): “Putin Trump” – Google News: Trump’s withdrawal from Syria marks a win for Putin – CT Post

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Trump’s withdrawal from Syria marks a win for Putin  CT Post

President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw forces from Syria presented a rare and unmistakable victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose …

“Putin Trump” – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Bill Barr’s Very Strange Memo on Obstruction of Justice

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The memo on obstruction of justice by Bill Barr, the once and future attorney general, is a bizarre document—particularly so for a man who would supervise the investigation it criticizes.

As the Wall Street Journal first reported, Barr, whom the president has nominated to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general, sent the unsolicited memo—dated June 8, 2018—to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to offer his view of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice by the president. The document elicited questions over whether Barr would need to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation as attorney general, along with outrage from congressional Democrats: both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking member on the Senate intelligence committee, have demanded that Trump withdraw Barr’s nomination. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary described the memo as “troubling.”

But the legal quality of the memo itself is a different question. Over at Just Security, Marty Lederman has what he describes as a “first take” on Barr’s memo, which is to say a detailed critique of it on both constitutional and statutory grounds. On National Review’s website, by contrast, Andrew McCarthy declares the memo a “commendable piece of lawyering” and “exactly what we need and should want in an attorney general of the United States.”

Whatever Barr’s memo is, it is not that. Because whether one agrees with his view of the law (as does McCarthy) or recoils at it (as does Lederman), one thing attorneys general of the United States should certainly not do is make up facts. And ironically for a memo laying out the argument that Bob Mueller has made up a crime to investigate, the document is based entirely on made-up facts. Lederman mentions this point at the outset of his analysis:

the first huge and striking problem with Barr’s memo is that he unjustifiably makes countless assumptions about what Mueller is doing; about Mueller’s purported “theory” of presidential criminal culpability; about Mueller’s “sweeping” and “all-encompassing” “interpretation” of the statute and Constitution; about “Mueller’s core premise[s]”; . . . about “unprecedented” steps Mueller is proposing to take; about “Mueller’s proposed regime”; about “Mueller’s immediate target”; about Mueller’s presumed failure to “provide a standard” for what constitutes “corruptly” trying to impede proceedings; about Mueller’s “demands” that the President submit to interrogation; etc.

To read this memo, you’d think Barr were replying to a legal brief that Mueller had submitted in support of a prosecution of the President for obstruction of a federal proceeding. Yet as Barr concedes at the outset, he was “in the dark about many facts.”  Indeed, he presumably was “in the dark” about virtually everything he wrote about. From all that appears, Barr was simply conjuring from whole cloth a preposterously long set of assumptions about how Special Counsel Mueller was adopting extreme and unprecedented-within-DOJ views about every pertinent question and investigatory decision—and that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was allowing him to do so, despite the fact that Mueller is required to “comply with the rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies of the Department of Justice” and to “consult with appropriate offices within the Department for guidance with respect to established practices, policies and procedures of the Department.”

Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that Barr’s entire memo is predicated on two broad assumptions: first, that he knows Mueller’s legal theory, and second, that he understands the fact pattern Mueller is investigating. “It appears Mueller’s team is investigating a possible case of ‘obstruction’ by the President predicated substantially on his expression of hope that the Comey [sic] could eventually ‘let … go’ of its investigation of Flynn and his action in firing Comey,” Barr writes in his second paragraph.

Neither assumption is, in our judgment, warranted. Unlike Barr, we don’t purport to know what Mueller’s obstruction theory is. It’s a subject about which one of us has been puzzling over a long period of time and in a number of articles. We also don’t purport to know what fact patterns Mueller he is focusing on. But here’s a limb onto which we are prepared to venture: the reality is more complicated than the facts Barr has “assumed” for purposes of predicating nearly 20 pages of legal analysis. In fact, it’s a lot more complicated.

Barr assumes for the purpose of his memo that Mueller is only interested in presidential conduct sanctioned by Article II, specifically that his investigation revolves around Trump’s actions toward Comey. “As I understand the theory,” he writes, Mueller’s team has built their case on a novel and, in his view, unsupported interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), the “residual clause” of § 1512, which prohibits witness tampering. § 1512(c)(2) holds that, “Whoever corruptly … otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so [is guilty of the crime of obstruction”—and Barr is concerned that Mueller is interpreting it to sanction an overly broad range of behavior.

Moreover, Barr takes the view that a facially lawful action taken by the president under his Article II authority cannot constitute obstruction as a matter of constitutional law. He expresses concern that allowing this interpretation to proceed could have “disastrous implications” for the executive branch and the presidency, potentially opening the door to criminal investigations of “all exercises of prosecutorial discretion.” He also writes, “if a [Justice Department] investigation is going to take down a democratically-elected president it is imperative… that any claim of wrongdoing is solidly based on a real crime—not a debatable one.” (All emphases in original).

Barr takes a broad view of executive power, but his legal arguments are careful and within the realm of reasonable disagreement. What is strange is that Barr spends 20 pages analyzing the legal implications of a set of facts—concerning both Mueller’s investigation and the president’s conduct—that he admits he is only assuming.

It’s not clear why Barr adopts such a simplistic understanding of Mueller’s operating theory, but the sequence of events leading up to his submitting the memo in early June may offer some insight. At some point, probably in March or April of this year, the president’s legal team received a list of subjects that the special counsel’s office wanted to discuss with Trump in an interview. In late April 2018, the New York Times published a condensed list of those questions.

Several weeks later, on June 2, the Times published a letter from Trump’s then-lawyer, John Dowd, to Mueller, in which Dowd responded to Mueller’s request to question the president regarding 16 areas of interest—which essentially mirrored the reported list of questions. In that letter, Dowd explained to the special counsel why he is advising against the president granting the interview, including that he does not believe there is a cognizable offense for an obstruction investigation under 18 U.S.C. § 1505, which prohibits tampering with evidence and impeding legal “proceedings.” Dowd argued both that the president’s actions were authorized by Article II of the Constitution and that an FBI investigation does not count as a “proceeding.” His letter was mocked by a number of commentators on this latter point; Charlie Savage at the Times pointed out that by citing § 1505, instead of § 1512, Dowd was making things easy for himself. § 1512, unlike the statute Dowd cited, does not require that a proceeding be pending.

The Dowd letter, despite its flaws, sparked a certain amount of speculation in conservative media that Mueller lacked an actual crime to investigate—at least as to the obstruction cone of his investigation. A few days after the Times published the Dowd letter, for example, the National Review stated in an editorial that “The letter implies that these two events [the request to Comey regarding Flynn and his subsequent firing] remain the gravamen of the special counsel’s obstruction probe. If that is so, there is no obstruction case.” The editorial goes on to say that, “a prosecutor may not charge obstruction based on the president’s exercise of his constitutional prerogatives.” And it asserts that, in both instances, the president was acting within his constitutional authority:

In short, unless there is a smoking gun against the president that is lurking unseen even in the private jousting between Trump’s team and Mueller, the special prosecutor should be wrapping up the obstruction aspect of his probe rather than extending it via a court fight over the president’s testimony.

In was against this backdrop, on June 8, that Barr sent his memo to Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel, a memo that shifts the discussion from § 1505 to § 1512 but also adopts the working understanding of the obstruction theory from Dowd’s letter. 

The problem is that the facts are almost certainly more complicated than that.

Looking back at the New York Times list of subjects Mueller sought to discuss with Trump, many of those topics go well beyond core Article II-authorized management of the executive branch. For example, Mueller wanted to ask about what Trump knew “about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016.” Why Flynn lied about his communications with Kislyak is one of the key questions at issue in the case. And Barr himself makes clear that if a president induces someone to lie, that’s not an act protected by Article II.

Analysis of Trump’s inducing Flynn to lie would, of course, involve facts not in evidence, and it would almost certainly involve a different statute. But that’s precisely the point. How does Barr know what conduct Mueller is focused on or under what law?

There are other such examples—a number of them, in fact. Mueller wants to discuss “efforts . . .  made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon.” That sounds more like a witness tampering investigation than a broad theory of obstruction under § 1512(c)(2). Mueller appears to want to discuss Trump’s efforts to get intelligence community leaders to lean on Comey to drop the Flynn matter and his “reaction to the news that [Mueller] was speaking to” those leaders. He’s also interested in the public bullying of Sessions and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, both fired. Again, why is Barr so sure this is all a broad “residual” § 1512 theory of obstruction?

It may well be that Mueller’s theory of the case involves a narrower conception of what Article II permits the president to do than that which Barr holds. But our suspicion is that Mueller is looking not narrowly at the specific acts on which Dowd and Barr focused, but on a broader pattern of activity, some but not all of which involves facially valid exercises of Article II powers.

At a press conference today, Rosenstein declared that the Mueller investigation “is being handled appropriately.” When asked to weigh in on the memo, Rosenstein said that, “Bill Barr was an excellent attorney general during the approximately 14 months that he served in 1991 to 1993” and he predicted that he “will be an outstanding attorney general when he is confirmed next year.” But he added that the department’s handling of the obstruction matter has been “informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn’t have.”

We suspect those “actual facts” will complicate the Article II analysis—both the facts under investigative scrutiny and the facts as to the range of statutes against which that evidence is being considered.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: The wheels have come off and Donald Trump just got run over

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As of right now the United States has no Secretary of Defense, no White House Chief of Staff, no Attorney General, no one is sure who’s running the Department of Justice, the stock market is crashing, and the federal government is on the verge of being shut down entirely. America is in crisis. Donald Trump is probably hiding in the bathroom, vomiting profusely, and realizing that his life is over as he knows it.




Even MSNBC, which usually takes the position that the Donald Trump era is going to last forever, is now talking about how the “wheels have come off” and is discussing how the 25th Amendment works. Even Trump’s biggest cheerleader these days, Lindsey Graham, is publicly reading Trump the riot act over the Putin-themed Syria pullout. Even the Senate Republicans seem to be at their wit’s end now that Trump has pushed out Secretary of Defense James Mattis.




The DJIA was down nearly five hundred points today, and it’s lost four thousand points in the past two months. Investors have clearly given up on Donald Trump and are headed for the exits. Neither political party wants to shut the government down, but Trump’s weak waffling today is on the verge of forcing a shutdown anyway.



Everything is going wrong for Donald Trump that can possibly go wrong. He’s so far removed from any semblance of having control over the situation or his own fate, he might as well be wearing handcuffs already. The wheels have come off, and Trump just got run over. All that’s left for him is to decide if he wants to negotiate a resignation deal in return for reduced criminal charges, or if he wants to drag this out a bit longer, thus ensuring he’ll spend the entire rest of his life in prison.



The post The wheels have come off and Donald Trump just got run over appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News: Trump, James Mattis: Defence Secretary quits after Syria withdrawal decision – NEWS.com.au

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Trump, James Mattis: Defence Secretary quits after Syria withdrawal decision  NEWS.com.au

In 2018 Trump nominated Kavanaugh, tweeted with Kim Jong-un, broke up immigrant families and lost the mid-term election to the democrats. This is his truly …

“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News


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