Monday, May 08, 2017

Russia Probe Looms Large Over Trump

With even Senate Republicans saying that the House Republican's hastily passed version of Trumpcare is dead on arrival in the Senate, Der Trumpenführer's efforts to change the subject from Russiagate will likely hit a brick wall this week.  Today former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates head to the Senate to testify and odds are that what they have to say will not be helpful to Trump and his likely co-conspirators who worked with Russian intelligence to throw the 2016 presidential election.  Add to this a newly unearthed 2014 interview with Eric Trump in which he said Russia was funding the Trump golf courses and it should make for a fun week for those who find Der Trumpenführer detestable.  I continue to hope that the Senate hearings and/or the FBI's review of Trump financial accounts reveal some true fire under all the Russiagate smoke.  If the nation is lucky, both Trump and Pence will be implicated.   A piece in Politico looks at what to expect on the Russiagate probe and the apparent death of the House version of Trumpcare.  Here are excerpts:
President Donald Trump’s health care victory lap is already grinding to a halt.
After the White House's biggest legislative victory yet with the House’s narrow passage Thursday of the American Health Care Act, momentum will slow as the Senate settles in to rework the bill — potentially from scratch. The White House is also heading for a political buzzsaw as Russia’s election interference takes center stage in congressional hearings.
Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates heads to Capitol Hill on Monday to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador and her efforts to warn the Trump administration about Flynn’s changing story. The ex-adviser was already in the headlines after The Washington Post and Associated Press reported Friday that Flynn had been warned by transition officials about speaking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Meanwhile, the health care bill that the White House spent the weekend celebrating appears destined for the trash can on the other side of the Capitol. . . . Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate who is emerging as a powerful voice in the health care fight, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. "The Senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. And I'm convinced that we're going to take the time to do it right.”
Even so, Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to encourage senators along: “Republican Senators will not let the American people down! ObamaCare premiums and deductibles are way up - it was a lie and it is dead!”
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong declared on Twitter on Saturday that AHCA had been scored twice by the nonpartisan CBO, ignoring the fact that the version the House passed was never assessed. The White House, meanwhile, said there was no point scoring the bill at all.
The health care victory lap also will be hard to sustain given the headlines about Russia’s interference in the presidential election and possible contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives. At the same time that the latest Flynn news was emerging on Friday night, news broke that a hacking operation linked to Russia had targeted moderate French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, an attack similar to the sustained campaign against Hillary Clinton. Macron was elected president nonetheless on Sunday.
With Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appearing before senators Monday, the White House is bracing for new questions about its least favorite story.  Senators on Sunday were already being pressed on the Russia issue.
The cancer that is Trump/Pence needs to be fully exposed and hopefully imprisonment, not just impeachment is the final outcome.  Nothing is more delicious is to contemplate Trump convicted of treason and locked away for the remainder of his life. 

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