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Susan Collins “concerned” about Whitaker’s anti-Mueller comments, wants a bill to protect the special counsel

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Jeff Flake is also concerned, tweeting yesterday that he would ask for unanimous consent in the Senate next week for a vote on the bill he wrote last year with Chris Coons. That one would codify DOJ regs that say only a Senate-confirmed Justice Department official can terminate a special counsel and would give the latter a chance at judicial review of the decision. POTUS took the news with his usual poise and good cheer:

Now here’s Susan Collins, one of the heroes of the Kavanaugh wars, backing Flake up. Thanks to Tuesday’s results, I suspect the days of Trump caring what she or Murkowski thinks about anything are coming to an end.

Unless the vote counts in Florida and Arizona that are going on right now end up tilting the wrong way, I mean.

“It is imperative that Special Counsel Robert Mueller be allowed to complete his investigation into Russian influence efforts during the 2016 elections.

“Under Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s leadership, the Special Counsel has been given all of the resources that he has needed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. I am concerned about comments that Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has made regarding the Special Counsel and the parameters of his investigation. Although Mr. Rosenstein remains in charge of day-to-day oversight, Mr. Whitaker has the authority to intervene at any time in contrast to the recusal of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“For these reasons, I believe that we should bring to the Senate floor legislation that would put restrictions on the ability of President Donald Trump to fire the Special Counsel. This bill would codify the restriction that the Special Counsel can only be fired for good cause and in writing. The bill further specifies that only a Senate-confirmed Justice Department official could remove the Special Counsel. Acting Attorney General Whitaker is not a Senate-confirmed official.

“Senate debate and passage of this bill would send a powerful message that Mr. Mueller must be able to complete his work unimpeded.”

There are *at least* 51 votes for a bill like that in the Senate. All 49 Democrats would vote yes; the red-staters like Joe Manchin and Claire McCaskill have pretty much all either been safely reelected or voted out and now enjoy the freedom that only a lame duck knows. Put them all in the yes column, and of course add Collins and Flake too. Might as well go ahead and add Lisa Murkowski while you’re at it. And Bob Corker, who’s also retiring. And Ben Sasse, who votes with Trump on most things but isn’t going to cover for him on a good-government measure like this. Now you’re at 54, within spitting distance of a filibuster-proof majority. You might get Dean Heller and Orrin Hatch, both lame-ducks themselves, as numbers 55 and 56. How about Jon Kyl, McCain’s replacement, whose time in the Senate is also limited? Let’s count him as 57.

Things start getting hard from there, though, as you move from purple-state Republicans to those who are either from deep red states or are up in 2020 and won’t want to make enemies of the GOP base back home. And the closer you get to 60, the more each vote from the remaining pool can be said (logically or not) to have been “crucial” or “decisive,” risking even more political pain for the person who cast it. Could they get Cory Gardner, who’s running for reelection in a state won by Hillary two years from now? Could they get Richard Burr of North Carolina, head of the Senate Intel Committee that’s been investigating Russiagate parallel to Mueller for 18 months? What about Ron Johnson, who hails from the purple state of Wisconsin but doesn’t face voters again until 2022? What about Pat Toomey, who’s in the same boat in Pennsylvania? Rob Portman is a centrist-y Republican who might consider supporting pro-Mueller legislation — but Trump now owns his home state of Ohio.

Assume you get two more out of that group. Which Republican wants to cast the fateful 60th vote to tie Trump’s hands, knowing full well that there are strong arguments that any such bill would be unconstitutional? Imagine, say, Gardner gambling his political career to protect Mueller and then having the conservative Supreme Court strike down the new law on grounds that it violates separation of powers, attempting to limit the president’s authority over executive-branch personnel.

Time is of the essence for the Collins/Flake faction since none of the incoming Republican senators (Mike Braun, Josh Hawley, or Rick Scott) are about to knife Trump so soon after the midterms by backing a bill to tie his hands. This process will become even harder in January. But it’s dead on arrival either way, since (a) the Republican House majority would block it in the few weeks it has left even if it passed the Senate tomorrow and (b) it requires one man’s approval to advance the ball in the Senate, and that man … does not approve:

The Republican leader also dismissed demands by Democrats and some Republicans to quickly pass legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee that would make it harder to fire the special counsel.

“Like I’ve said before, it’s not necessary. The Mueller investigation’s not under threat,” McConnell said. “The President said repeatedly he’s not going to dismiss the Mueller investigation. He’s said repeatedly it’s going to be allowed to finish. That also happens to be my view.”

Asked why he was so confident, McConnell said: “The President’s certainly expressed his point of view about how he feels about the investigation, but as you can imagine we speak frequently. There’s never been any indication that he wants to dismiss Mueller or the investigation. It’s going to be allowed to finish.”

His reasoning is pure garbage. It’s true that it would be irrational for Trump to fire Mueller at this stage, as David French and Benjamin Wittes explained at length elsewhere today. The new Democratic House would impeach him; other prosecutors, federal and state, would pick up where Mueller left off; Mueller himself might do a round of interviews revealing what he discovered. Trump would achieve virtually nothing by it except the depletion of his own political capital. But analyses that approach his options from the standpoint of rationality are always risky. If Mueller turned around tomorrow and indicted Donald Trump Jr for lying to federal investigators, how much of your life’s savings would you gamble on POTUS following French’s and Wittes’s advice by doing the rational thing and holding back? Collins and Flake know what I mean. That’s why they want a legislative check, however uncertain its constitutionality.

McConnell’s ducking the subject because he doesn’t want a brawl with the White House just as he’s about to get a redder Senate and potentially a raft of cabinet vacancies to fill. There’s destined to be friction soon between Trump and his caucus when one of his nominees inevitably runs into trouble. No need to exacerbate it by poking the bear over Mueller. Just hope and pray that the bear doesn’t maul Mueller before the Russiagate probe concludes. You can count on bears to behave rationally, can’t you?

Exit quotation from Rod Rosenstein:

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Mexican Protesters Scream at Illegal Immigrants: “Donald Trump Was Right! This Is an Invasion” (VIDEO)

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They don’t like being invaded either.

MEXICAN PROTESTERS WAVING MEXICAN FLAGS CONFRONTED ILLEGAL ALIENS IN TIJUANA AGAIN ON SUNDAY–

During the protest today one protester screamed at the illegal migrant caravan, “Donald Trump was right! This is an invasion.”

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Trump: I don’t know if Salman lied to me, skips question on weapons sales

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President Donald Trump isn’t really sure if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had anything to do with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace there had been several conversations with Salman over Khashoggi and the story hadn’t changed.

I don’t know, who can really know, but I can say this…he has many people now who say that he had no knowledge.

He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points…as recently as a few days ago.

Trump also noted it might be one of those situations where the truth will never come out on whether Salman was directly involved in ordering Khashoggi’s murder.

Will anyone really know? Will anyone really know? But he did have, certainly, people that were reasonably close to him and close to him that were probably involved. You saw we put on very heavy sanctions – massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia. But at the same time, we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that’s been very good.

The comment goes against the CIA notion Salman had some involvement in at least getting Khashoggi to the Saudi embassy in Turkey where he died. The President is probably right in his assessment – as even the CIA didn’t completely implicate Salman – but it won’t go over well with a lot of people who prefer presidents speak in definitive answers regarding international incidents.

One thing which isn’t questionable is the ridiculousness of suggesting there were “massive sanctions” on the Saudis. Yes, 17 people were sanctioned – but they’d already had their visas revoked. ABC News suggested the sanctions show the U.S. is taking what happened seriously but I’m not convinced it’ll mean anything because there are plenty of questions on whether sanctions actually hinder those they’re meant to hinder.

The more damning statement by Trump is his decision to avoid a question from Wallace on Saudi arms sales.

Wallace: So if Congress were to move to either cut off any U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen or to block any arms sales, you wouldn’t go along with it?

Trump: Well, I want to see Yemen end, but it takes two to tango. Iran has to end it also. And Iran is a very different country than when I took over. It’s far weakened because of what I did with the so-called Iran deal – Iran nuclear deal – which was one of the great ripoffs of all times. But I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.

This is a beyond ridiculous answer and shows the failure of the President to change any sort of foreign policy. Trump is just going along with the previous administration’s policy of being “arms seller in chief.” There is no reason for the U.S. government to be involved in arms sales – and I know it’s because there’s a federal law on the issue.

The logic of those who believe the U.S. government should control who gets American weapons is so they can pick what country gets what. But where is the accountability? How does the public hold the government accountable when it’s full of bureaucrats and so-called ‘policy experts’ who are the ones who actually make the decisions.

The Government Accountability Agency noted in 2016 the U.S. had consistently failed in following procedures (and U.S. law) when it came to arms sales to Egypt (emphasis mine).

The U.S. government completed human rights vetting for 5,581 Egyptian security forces before providing U.S.-funded training in fiscal year 2011 through March 31, 2015; however, our analysis of a sample of names from training rosters of Egyptian security forces who received U.S.-funded training shows that that the U.S. government did not complete all required vetting prior to providing training, in violation of State’s and DOD’s policies. In contrast to State’s vetting requirements for training, State’s policies and procedures encourage, but do not specifically require, vetting for foreign security forces that receive U.S.-funded equipment, including those in Egypt. The primary method State uses in Egypt to comply with Leahy law requirements when providing equipment is to attest in memos that State is in compliance with Leahy law requirements. Various factors have posed challenges to the U.S. government’s efforts to vet recipients of U.S. assistance. Gaps and uncertainties in information have made it challenging for U.S. officials to vet some cases before providing training. Additionally, State has not established procedures for clearing smaller units or individuals within a larger unit that has been deemed ineligible to receive assistance. Finally, Embassy Cairo has recorded little information on human rights abuses by Egyptian officials in INVEST since the beginning of fiscal year 2011, despite State requirements to do so.

This is why it shouldn’t be the U.S. government doing these arms sales, and why Trump’s refusal to answer Wallace’s question regarding Saudi arms sales is disappointing – and more of a story than his “who can really say” answer regarding Khashoggi. Congress needs to stop the arms sales and completely change U.S. policy.

It’s so much easier to hold private companies accountable for sales, especially when there’s no government protection barrier surrounding them. One would think a businessman elected to the presidency would realize this. Apparently not.

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ALL OF ORANGE COUNTY Turns Blue After Democrats Find Thousands of Votes Post Election Day

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Orange County, a traditionally conservative enclave in Southern California turned all blue after Democrats found tens of thousands of votes post election day.

Just two years ago in 2016, only 2 Congressional districts in Orange County voted blue–now just two years later every single district voted blue.

Democrat blue wave? More like Democrat election fraud.

The 39th district was officially called for Democrat Gil Cisneros over Republican Young Kim who was up by 3 points on election night and was set to be the first Korean-American Congresswoman. The Democrats stole this race with ‘late votes.’

Young Kim was up by 3,900 votes on election night with 100% of the precincts reporting according to AP and she ended up losing by 3,000 votes 11 days after the election.

Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters in California’s 45th district was also ahead on election night then was magically defeated by Democrat Katie Porter several days after the election.

Democrat Katie Porter was trailing Mimi Walters on election night then jumped ahead by hundreds of votes after the Democrats produced thousands of ballots after the election.

There may be something more sinister happening in Orange County, California.


The Gateway Pundit spoke to two concerned voters in California’s 45th district who said when they went to vote, they were told they weren’t on the roster so they were given provisional ballots.

Two registered Republicans in California’s 45th district told this reporter that they have been voting for over 20 years in Orange County and what happened this midterm has never happened to them–EVER.

“I’ve been a registered Republican and an active voter for over 20 years and when I went to vote on election day, I was told that I wasn’t on the roster so I was given a provisional ballot,” a Republican voter told The Gateway Pundit.

Was this an isolated incident or is this more widespread?

One America News reporter Jack Posobiec spoke to a pollworker in California on election day.

The pollworker told Jack Posobiec, “I have received a very large amount of voters whose registration was changed to vote by mail without their consent and then not mailed their ballots. I’m allowing provisional voting. My registrar is giving me the runaround about this and just saying don’t worry. This is not my first election. I have not seen this problem before.”

The Drudge Report featured the story about the stunning losses in Orange County and the responses by concerned voters in Southern California raised eyebrows as well.

One woman who lives in Newport Beach in California’s 48th district said she hasn’t missed a vote in 43 years and was forced to fill out a provisional ballot on election day; her vote still hasn’t been counted.

“I was made to fill out provisional ballot after voting in the same precinct in OC consistently 20 years said I was mail in never have been My vote still has not been counted I check daily. Same with red friends. I’m ind. never missed a vote n 43 yrs,” tweeted a Newport Beach resident named Vanessa Butler.

Where the hell is the GOP??

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