India: Donald Trump’s thumbs-up photo with orphaned baby in El Paso sparks controversy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

(TO DONALD TRUMP EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS ALL ABOUT DONALD TRUMP, HE IS SICKENING AND SHALLOW BEYOND HUMAN BELIEF, A TOTAL FRAUD!)(OPED: BY OLDPOET56)

 

Donald Trump’s thumbs-up photo with orphaned baby in El Paso sparks controversy

The optics of the picture of Donald Trump giving a thumbs-up as his wife, Melania, cradles a baby orphaned in the El Paso, Texas mass shooting struck many on social media as demonstrating a lack of empathy or respect for the gravity of the occasion by the president.

WORLD Updated: Aug 10, 2019 09:32 IST

Reuters
Reuters

Reuters
The image was taken on Wednesday at the University Medical Center of El Paso during Donald Trump’s visit to the West Texas border city.
The image was taken on Wednesday at the University Medical Center of El Paso during Donald Trump’s visit to the West Texas border city. (Melania Trump/Twitter)

A photo of US President Donald Trump smiling broadly and giving a thumbs-up as his wife, Melania, cradles a baby orphaned in the El Paso, Texas mass shooting has become a social media talking point days after the first lady posted it on Twitter.

The image was taken on Wednesday at the University Medical Center of El Paso during Trump’s visit to the West Texas border city to meet with first responders, medical personnel and surviving victims from Saturday’s gun violence at a Walmart store.

The president and his wife had travelled earlier in the day to Dayton, Ohio, for a similar hospital condolence call in the wake of a deadly shooting rampage that rocked that city just 13 hours after the bloodshed in El Paso.

The two shootings together claimed 32 lives, including that of the gunman who committed the Dayton massacre.

Trump avoided the press during both hospital visits, which were closed to media coverage, but the White House later released a brief video montage of the visits.

 

Embedded video

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

My time spent in Dayton and El Paso with some of the greatest people on earth. Thank you for a job well done!

60.1K people are talking about this

The first lady also tweeted several photos from the visit, including one that shows her standing in front of a University Medical Center of El Paso backdrop cradling a 2-month-old infant whose parents, Andre and Jordon Anchondo, were both slain in the Walmart attack, reportedly as they shielded him from gunfire.

Standing beside the first lady is the smiling president giving a thumbs-up sign. They are flanked by the baby’s aunt and an uncle, Tito Anchondo, who is also smiling and has his arm stretched around Trump’s shoulders as the four pose together.

The optics of the picture struck many on social media as demonstrating a lack of empathy or respect for the gravity of the occasion by the president.

 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Melania Trump

@FLOTUS

I met many incredible people in Dayton, Ohio & El Paso, Texas yesterday. Their communities are strong and unbreakable. @potus and I stand with you!

19.5K people are talking about this

“A baby who was taken from home and forced to serve as a prop for the very monster whose hate killed her/his parents,” Democratic strategist Greg Pinelo wrote on Twitter in response to the photo.

But Tito Anchondo, who described himself and his slain brother as Trump supporters, told the Washington Post in an interview published on Friday that he felt consoled by the president’s visit and denied that Trump was there “pushing any kind of political agenda.”

Anchondo said he chose to take his orphaned nephew, baby Paul, to the hospital to meet the president, and said others were politicizing his family’s tragedy. The infant suffered two broken fingers in the shooting, but had since been discharged by doctors.

Moscow Police Detain Hundreds At Latest Election-Related Protest

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Moscow Police Detain Hundreds At Latest Election-Related Protest

Police officers detain opposition candidate and lawyer Lyubov Sobol in Moscow on Saturday. Sobol was one of more than 600 arrested in Saturday’s protests, according to an independent monitoring agency.

Dmitry Serebryakov/AP

Police detained 600 protesters in Moscow on Saturday, according to OVD-info, an independent group that monitors protests and policing in Russia.

Demonstrators in Moscow have been demanding that opposition candidates be allowed to register in city elections. Police arrested more than 1,000 people at an election-focused protest last week.

Reuters reporters in Moscow on Saturday said they witnessed dozens of arrests; OVD-info reports that police beat multiple demonstrators with clubs.

The Moscow City Duma is controlled by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. All of its 45 seats, which carry five-year terms, are up for re-election on Sept. 8. The disagreement between protesters and election authorities hinges on the signature-gathering process for candidates. Election authorities say certain opposition candidates did not gather enough valid signatures on their nominating petitions to be eligible for the race. Opposition candidates and their supporters say signatures have been invalidated for political reasons, to hinder the democratic process and prevent anti-Kremlin candidates from getting on the ballot.

Lyubov Sobol, one of the opposition candidates who election officials say failed to qualify for the ballot, was one of the protesters arrested on Saturday. Sobol has been on hunger strike for 21 days, according to the BBC.

As NPR’s Lucian Kim has reported, the Moscow city elections have national significance; opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin are trying to use local elections to chip away at his political support in advance of Russia’s 2024 presidential election.

“Moscow is the key,” Kim told Morning Edition last month. “It’s Russia’s largest city and is probably also the place where the opposition has a potentially large support base.”

According to Kim, a Putin spokesperson has said that though the Kremlin is following the developments, local elections remain under the jurisdiction of local authorities.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Russia’s Investigative Committee plans to open a criminal case against the anti-corruption foundation of prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Navalny is currently serving a 30-day jail sentence for his role in last week’s protest, and he recently raised the possibility that he had been poisoned while in custody.

Moscow’s police have been criticized for using violent methods to control protests. According to the BBC, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said protesters last week“simply compelled the police to use force, which was perfectly appropriate for the situation.”

Fontanka.ru, a local news site, reported that 2,000 people rallied in St. Petersburg on Saturday to support protesters in Moscow. Local police said 1,000 were in attendance.

Moscow Mitch McConnell The Trumpian And Putin Bitch

Moscow Mitch McConnell The Trumpian And Putin Bitch

 

This letter to you today is not the type of letter that I ever thought I would need to write but it has become very clear that these thoughts and opinions need to be vocalized. First, Mitch McConnell is one of my home states two Senators, the other being Rand Paul so I have been reading up on Moscow Mitch for a long time now and the more I learn about this douche bag the sicker I get of him. I am going to pop some realities at you about this man then simply think what you will. I know that many folks won’t care if everything I say was to be proven to be the total truth beyond a doubt and some of you will probably get even more pissed off at him than you are now.

 

Mr. McConnell has already stated that he is running for re-election in the November 3rd, 2020 election cycle. He was born on February 20th of 1942 so if he wins re-election as our state Senator he would be just barely shy of his 79th birthday when the new cycle begins letting him be in Office until just shy of his 85th birthday. This would also be his 8th term in the Senate and the reality is that he is the second most powerful person in our Nation so for a person as power hungry and money hungry as he is I believe that he will try to stay in Office until the day he dies.

 

Now, lets talk about our Nations elections that is and has been fixed by Russian interference since at least 2016. Our security agencies have proven that the Russian government at the direction of Mr. Trumps good friend President Putin have been trying to ‘fix’ all of our elections even at the State level. Even though Mr. Trump supposedly won the most electoral votes in 2016 he did lose to crooked Hilary by more than 3 million actual votes. But think about what I am getting ready to discuss with you about 2016, even during the primaries. The CIA, FBI and NSA all know that Russia was infiltrating the elections in all 50 States. Do you remember how most folks thought that Trump was nothing but a joke running for the Office of President, then he started winning primaries? What if he actually didn’t win most or any of those primaries, Putin did? Think about it, why would Putin wait until the main election to start fixing things for his puppet Trump? Really, if Russia hadn’t fixed the State and Federal elections Mr. John Kasich would probably be our President now. But, then again if the DNC hadn’t fixed the Democratic primaries for crooked Hilary Senator Bernie Sanders would probably be our President, but certainly not this idiotic Clown we have now.

 

Now, back to Moscow Mitch and why he won’t allow any bill to be brought to the Senate floor that would help stop the Russian interference in our next set of elections. First, he using his position as the Head of the Senate to totally nullified the existence of the Federal Congress. Anything and everything that the Congress has passed and sent onto the Senate he has not allowed it to hit the Senate floor for a vote. This is why he is the second most powerful person in our Nation. He is controlling not only the Senate but the House also. There is good reason why he doesn’t want to stop the Russians form messing up our elections, as the votes get fixed for Trump to win, the Republican Senators win riding Trump’s coat tails. As long as this is allowed to continue the Republicans will control the Senate thus keeping McConnell in this high perch of power. In other words it behooves him personally ego wise and financially to not stop the election interference. Just like Mr. Trump has sold out America and all of our people to Mr. Putin, so has Moscow Mitch.

 

 

FBI believed Trump was closely involved in hush-money scheme

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

The release of the previously redacted documents came one day after the judge in the case disclosed that prosecutors had concluded their probe into Cohen’s campaign finance crimes.
Image: US-POLITICS-INVESTIGATION-COHEN

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, leaves the hearing room during a recess for lunch as he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP – Getty Images

Here Is The Reason Ivanka Trump Was Acting Like A Diplomat In North Korea

Here Is The Reason Ivanka Trump Was Acting Like A Diplomat In North Korea

(The idea for this oped came from two headlines I just read online, the headlines were from the Daily Beast and from CNN)

 

The headlines were asking why, why was Ivanka Trump acting like a diplomat and doing photo bombs while she was with her Dad at the DMZ last week, the following is my personal belief as to why. If you remember a couple of weeks ago when the President was in England all of the Trump kids were also trying to act as if they to were Royalty. I guess the first thing that we all need to realize is that the Trump clan has a major ego problem just like all totally phony people do. But I believe there is a very good ‘other’ reason why Ivanka is acting the part that she is playing and that is as her Daddy said a couple of years ago, he believes that she would make a great President. There is also the reality that if Daddy Trump can’t get the law changed to where he can be King until he dies or if he gets evicted and convicted he has an in place contingency plan in place. He plans on being President until at least January of 2025 then it would be his best option to keep him out of prison is for his daughter to be in place to pardon him. If Mike Pence thinks that the Donald will favor him over Ivanka for the 2024 elections then he is as stupid as the people of Indiana have told me that he is. The only way Pence becomes President is if Trump is impeached during his term and I would bet almost anything that Pence got the job as the VP was with the written clause that Pence choose Ivanka as his VP so that when Pence is finished with his term then Ivanka would be next in line. Keeping that ‘Royal Linage’ in tack. What we have all been seeing with Evanka will be sold to the rest of us that this is where she has gotten her qualifying foreign policy experience. Don’t laugh to much folks, do you remember how the former Governor of Alaska told us that she had experience dealing with Russia was because she could see Russia from her home porch? Also, do you remember how the habitual liar Hillary Clinton talked about her experience under live fire for the time her and their daughter Chelsea went to Bosnia? My question is simple, which is worse, idiots or frauds, or frauds who take us all to be idiots?

 

 

Mexico Had Agreed To These ‘New’ Measures Months Ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN AND THE NEW YORK TIMES)
(THE FRAUD IN CHIEF STRIKES AGAIN, CREATE A PROBLEM, DO NOTHING, THEN FIX THE PROBLEM AND TAKE CREDIT FOR HIS ‘GREAT WORK’, TOTAL FRAUD!)(oped: oldpoet56)

Mexico had already promised to take many of the actions agreed to in Friday’s immigration deal with the US — months before President Donald Trump’s tariff threat, officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations told the New York Times in a story published Saturday.

Trump moved to accept the existing agreements in a deal Friday after negotiations prompted by his threat to impose growing tariffs on Mexico in response to the border situation dragged on over several days. Talks between Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and State Department officials lasted for more than 11 hours Friday.
The Mexican government had pledged to deploy the National Guard nationwide with a focus on its southern border — a key part of Friday’s agreement — during secret meetings in March between former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican interior secretary Olga Sanchez in Miami, the officials told the Times.
The deal’s key expansion of a program that would keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are processed was established in two heavily brokered two diplomatic notes exchanged between the two countries, the Times reported. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in late December.
One senior government official insisted to the Times that the Mexican government agreed to move to deter migrants faster and more aggressively than they ever had before this week’s talks.
As Ebrard noted in a news conference after the agreement’s announcement Friday, the Mexican government did not accept the US’s push for a safe third country agreement, which would require asylum seekers traveling through Mexico to make their case for American asylum in Mexico.
“They proposed in the first meeting to have (a) third safe state, which is not the case here, which is very important. And on the other hand, we accepted to have a more extended version of (migrants remaining in Mexico during asylum claim processing) and to accelerate the deployment of the national guard,” Ebrard said, calling the deal “a fair play.”
Trump presented the deal as a win in a pair of tweets early Saturday.
“Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico!” the President wrote in a tweet. He continued later: “MEXICO HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS!”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday that he had a phone call with Trump after negotiators reached a deal Friday.
“I spoke on the telephone with President Trump,” Lopez Obrador tweeted in Spanish on Saturday. “I told him that in Tijuana I would say that I do not lift a clenched fist but an open and frank hand to the president of the United States. We reiterated our disposition to friendship, dialogue and collaboration for the good of our countries.”
Democratic congressional leaders slammed Trump for his attempts to negotiate a deal.
Senate Majority Chuck Schumer jabbed Trump’s repeated return to the issue, tweeting Friday night: “This is an historic night! @realDonaldTrump has announced that he has cut a deal to ‘greatly reduce, or eliminate, Illegal Immigration coming from Mexico and into the United States.’ Now that that problem is solved, I’m sure we won’t be hearing any more about it in the future.”
On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump in a statement of having “undermined America’s preeminent leadership role in the world by recklessly threatening to impose tariffs on our close friend and neighbor to the south.”
Congress, she said, will hold the White House “accountable for its failures to address the humanitarian situation at our southern border.”

Trump And Xi Jinping: The Two Most Dangerous People In The World?

TRUMP AND XI JINPING: THE TWO MOST DANGEROUS PEOPLE IN THE WORLD?

 

Going back to the U.S. Elections of November 2016 I felt that we the people of this country only had two real choices to be our President. I also looked at our choices and felt that the people, no matter what, we were going to have a very evil person sitting in the Oval Office. I felt then as I do now, we could have a very smart crooked person (Hillary) or we could have a total dumbass crooked person for our President. The people by several million votes voted for the dangerous smart person but the Electoral College gave the victory to the crooked dumbass/ignorant ass, Mr. Trump.

 

As you have probably noticed I did not mention Russia or Mr. Putin in my comments above, there is a reason. Mr. Putin is a whole nother story. Mr. Putin is smarter than the average IQ I believe but he is definitely not a genius but neither is Mr. Trump. Mr. Putin is not stupid but he is still very dangerous because he has a dark heart/Soul. He is a bully and quite the smartass, but he is not at all stupid, unlike Mr. Trump.

 

Mr. Trump has proven to the whole world that he is a total buffoon, as well as an ignorant ass and a stupid ass fraud. There is one group of people though that still backs him no matter how ignorant and moral-less he acts each day, uneducated southern white males. I know that it sounds bad, the reality that I am a southern white male, I am a college graduate but I do not consider myself to be smarter than most folks. When I was in college I worked my behind off but could only manage about a 2.7 GPA. I do believe that Mr. Trump and almost all of his West Wing family are literally nothing more than a Mafia family, just like his Daddy was. Mr. Trump, through his massive ignorance of the whole world situation/realities is very dangerous. Through his massive ignorance, stupidity, arrogance and ego is still very likely to get our Nation into more military conflicts.

 

Mr. Xi Jinping I consider to be the world’s most dangerous human being. The man is very smart, he plays the ‘long game’ and he is a devout Chairman Mao believer. China is the most dangerous Nation in the world and Mr. Xi Jinping knows how to ‘play’ everyone, every leader every nation, he knows their weak points and he does attack them, just like the Devil attacks each humans weak points. Did I just call Mr. Xi Jinping the Devil, no I didn’t. But just as with every person, our bodies, are like a house, either we live there alone or with another entity. I have no doubt at all that at best Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are empty houses. The only ones who can ‘move into’ anyone’s house is a Spirit, either good or bad. None of these folks I have mentioned have the Holy Spirit within them. To say that any of them do is akin to calling Hitler a devout Catholic, just because his Mom was a Catholic. Anyone can say they are a Christian but if we don’t have a strong faith backed up with good works, then we/they are just lying to their own selves. I used the word ‘works’ for a reason, no one is saved by their works, nor is anyone saved by just faith, they go hand in hand one with the other. If a person’s actions show them to be evil then they are not possessed by G-d’s Spirit. Not everyone who does evil is possessed by an evil Spirit though but in can happen. One thing that cannot happen is that an evil Spirit cannot move into a body that the Spirit of G-d resides in.

So The Putin Mafia Controls Mafia Don: I don’t care about Treason He Is A Republican

So The Putin Mafia Controls MAFIA Don: I don’t care about Treason He Is A Republican
 THIS ARTICLE IS MEANT ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRYING TO GET FOLKS TO THINK ABOUT THE SITUATION OF HAVING OUR NATIONS POLITICIANS CONSTANTLY BETRAYING THE CONSTITUTION AND THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. THE REASON FOR THIS IS SIMPLE, PEOPLE LIKE SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL AND THE OTHER REPUBLICANS IN THE CONGRESS AND THE SENATE DO NOT CARE WHAT MAFIA DON DOES BECAUSE ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, NOT THE CONSTITUTION NOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION.

 

DO NOT GET ME WRONG, I HAVE NO USE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY EITHER. IF HILLARY CLINTON HAD WON (AND SHE DID WIN THE POPULAR VOTE BY SEVERAL MILLION VOTERS.) (THERE SHOULD BE NO SUCH THING AS THE ‘ELECTORAL COLLEGE’.) IT IS MY TOTAL BELIEF THAT THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP WOULD BE BACKING HER JUST AS THE REPUBLICANS ARE BACKING MAFIA DON AND FAMILY. IT IS MY PERSONAL BELIEF THAT MR. TRUMP IS GUILTY AS CAN POSSIBLY BE OF TREASON, FRAUD, TAX FRAUD AND EVASION AND THEFT.

 

I wrote the above message in all caps and in red hoping that it would get a few more people’s attention. I have no intention or wish to ‘yell’ at folks. In the 2016 Presidential Election ‘we the people’ really only had two choices of who would become our next President, Hillary Clinton or Vladimir Putin.  Whichever one won, we the people lost. In my opinion as a fellow Kentuckian the second biggest traitor (outside of the Trump household) to the people and our Nation is the Republican head of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell.

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES)

 

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse

Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He’s worse
President Trump at the White House on April 18, the day the redacted Mueller report was released. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report makes one thing clear: Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. He is worse. And yet Trump seems almost sure to be spared Nixon’s fate. This will do severe — possibly irreparable — damage to the vital norms that sustain American democracy. There is still time for Congress and the American people to avert the worst of this damage, but the odds are long and time is short.

Despite his famous protestation to the contrary, President Nixon was a crook. He directed the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate burglary, in which several of his campaign operatives broke into Democratic National Committee headquarters. He also directed subordinates to pay hush money to subjects of that investigation. He then fired the first special prosecutor appointed to investigate these matters, hoping to protect himself and his senior advisors from possible criminal liability and untold political damage.

For these attempts to obstruct justice, Nixon paid the ultimate political price. When he terminated special prosecutor Archibald Cox, a ferocious public backlash forced him to appoint a widely respected replacement. That was Leon Jaworski, whose dramatic victory at the U.S. Supreme Court forced the release of secret White House tapes that destroyed the last vestiges of Nixon’s congressional support. He resigned the presidency days later. Had he failed to do so, impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal by the Senate were all but certain.

If Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice.


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Nothing in Nixon’s presidency became him like the leaving it. For two generations, his downfall served as a cautionary tale for subsequent presidents who might be tempted to interfere with a federal investigation for personal or political reasons. Firing a special prosecutor, in particular, was almost universally understood to be political suicide. As Watergate showed, the American people simply would not stand for a president who sought to place himself above the law. This broadly shared understanding served as a crucial safeguard against the abuse of presidential power.

Then came Trump. After smashing through dozens of other deeply rooted norms of American politics to win the presidency, he treated the post-Watergate consensus with similar contempt. Just weeks after he took the oath of office, as the Mueller report details, Trump asked FBI Director James B. Comey to drop the investigation of national security advisor Michael Flynn. Before making this request, the president cleared the room, strongly suggesting that he knew his actions were improper. Requesting that the FBI drop an investigation of his friends is exactly what Nixon was caught doing on the famous “smoking gun” tape that sealed his fate.

Yet for Trump, this was just the beginning. A few weeks later, in early March 2017, the report shows that Trump lobbied vigorously to prevent Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Russia investigation. When Sessions nevertheless followed the advice of ethics officials and recused himself, Trump exploded in anger and personally pressed Sessions to reverse his decision. Trump wanted an attorney general who would protect him to be in charge of the investigation.

In May 2017, the Mueller report shows that Trump removed Comey as head of the FBI and concocted a deliberately false explanation related to Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Along with Trump’s attendant criticism of the Russia investigation and personally vindictive treatment of Comey, this action “had the potential to affect a successor director’s conduct of the investigation.” The report catalogs significant evidence that the president was worried the investigation would turn up politically and legally damaging information, and that it threatened the legitimacy of his election.

The report’s most damning evidence of obstruction of justice concerns the special counsel’s investigation itself. Once Trump learned in June 2017 that he was himself under investigation by Mueller’s team, his efforts to thwart the investigation reached new heights of audacity. That month, in a series of frantic phone calls, he ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. The report describes “substantial evidence” that this was an attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation; Trump was acting to protect himself from potential criminal liability and political damage.

When McGahn refused to carry out the order to fire Mueller, Trump resumed his campaign to get Sessions to take over the investigation and curtail it — or resign, so that Trump could appoint someone who would protect him. Much of this information was already in the public domain, but it is no less shocking for that. The evidence available to Mueller’s investigators, including contemporaneous documents and testimony under oath, provides a far surer foundation than anonymously sourced news stories.

The report also contains a wealth of new information. When Trump’s order to fire the special counsel was publicly reported in January 2018, Trump demanded that McGahn fabricate “a record denying that the President had tried to fire the special counsel.” This is witness tampering, plain and simple, of a much more direct and personal kind than any that Nixon engaged in. It also amounts to falsifying evidence, which counts as obstruction of justice even on the narrowest possible reading of the federal statute advanced by Trump’s lawyers.

Along similar lines, the report describes substantial evidence that Trump privately urged Flynn, Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen to “stay strong” and promised — through his lawyers — that they would “be taken care of” unless they “went rogue.” Together with the president’s public tweets praising Manafort and Stone for their bravery and baselessly accusing members of Cohen’s family of crimes, this conduct also amounts to witness tampering, plain and simple.

Lest it be forgotten, all of this took place in the context of one of the most serious law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations in the history of the United States. As the Mueller report explains, “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion” on behalf of Donald Trump. The FBI and Mueller set out to discover whether Trump’s campaign was complicit, and Trump took extraordinary measures to thwart their efforts. Nixon’s obstruction of the Watergate investigation looks almost innocent by comparison.

And yet Trump seems very likely to escape direct accountability. House Democrats may well opt against pursuing impeachment, for entirely understandable reasons: It might be too wrenching for the country, in the absence of a clear popular consensus supporting Trump’s removal. It might not be good politics for 2020, with voters more concerned about bread-and-butter issues. Even if the House votes to impeach, a two-thirds Senate vote to remove Trump from office seems almost inconceivable.

But if Trump escapes unscathed, future presidents will take notice. The cautionary tale of Watergate will be superseded by the Trump triumph and its very different lesson: In the hyperpolarized political environment of the early 21st century, the president is a law unto himself.

Andrew Coan is a professor of law at the University of Arizona and the author of “Prosecuting the President: How Special Prosecutors Hold Presidents Accountable and Protect the Rule of Law.”

Authority to investigate ‘financial service fee’ for Benz sales loan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

 

Authority to investigate ‘financial service fee’ for Benz sales loan

An investigation has been launched after reports that Mercedes-Benz Automobile Finance Co illegally charged a customer a financial service fee, as claims surfaced in Shanghai of dealers also charging fees.

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Administration has asked its Beijing authority to initiate an inquiry.

A woman who bought a Mercedes-Benz she claims was defective from a dealer in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, has now claimed she was cheated over a “financial service fee.”

The woman said she bought the Mercedes-Benz CLS300 from Xi’an Lizhixing Co for 660,000 yuan (US$98,445) but found the engine was leaking oil after she picked it up on March 27. She asked for a refund or a replacement but the dealer only agreed to change the engine.

The incident attracted wide attention after a video of the woman sitting on the bonnet of a Mercedes-Benz while weeping and arguing with salesmen at the 4S dealer store on April 9 was posted online.

The Xi’an market watchdog launched an investigation and asked the dealer to refund the buyer. The regulator also arranged a face-to-face negotiation between the two sides on Saturday, during which the buyer said she had intended to purchase the car outright.

However, the dealer persuaded her to use Mercedes-Benz finance as it is said to feature low interest.

The dealer also “forced” her to pay a “financial service fee” of 15,200 yuan to a personal account without providing a receipt, she claimed. The woman said she thought this was fraud as the dealer hadn’t provided any services.

Mercedes-Benz issued a statement on Sunday, saying it never asks for any financial service fee from dealers or customers.

A Shanghai consumer surnamed Wang who visited several Mercedes-Benz 4S shops to purchase an off-road vehicle said he was asked to take out a loan at the Songzhixing shop on Changshou Road.

The salesperson said the car was popular, and many 4S shops would not sell it if buyers refused to take a loan, Wang said. A salesperson would not get a commission without arranging a loan.

The same requirement was raised by the Minxing Automobile Service Co 4S shop, Wang said.

The Shanghai Consumer Council said yesterday they had received complaints about other automobile companies charging financial service fees.

Lawyers said car sales companies often use various excuses to charge fees to raise their profits, which infringes consumers’ rights to make choices.

A Shanghai consumer surnamed Huang who wanted to purchase a car at a 4S shop last year was told that he must buy a 13,800-yuan package including sticker and tachograph, and a three-year car insurance if he wanted to enjoy a discounted price of the car.

Huang asked several 4S shops the next day, and some had the same requirement.

Meanwhile, a woman Wang Wen who paid 340,000 yuan for a new Mercedes-Benz at the Zhongshengzhixing 4S shop on Jinyun Road in Jiading District found it was faulty.

She asked for a refund, but the 4S shop refused, and offered free exchange, free components and reduction of insurance fees as replacement.

Wang learnt that the car was an “auction car” sold to dealers at a discounted price, and had probably been used for display or trial runs.

A video of a woman sitting on a Mercedes-Benz and arguing with salesmen has gone viral.

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