Friday, January 10, 2020

Last Call For Yankee Go Home, Con't

Iraq is apparently serious about kicking us out of the country, and the Trump regime is doubling down, demanding billions more in cash to convince us to stay and protect them from Iran.

In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked the United States to send a delegation to Iraq to set up a mechanism for U.S. troop withdrawal from the country, a statement from the prime minister's office said Friday.

The request followed a vote by the Iraqi parliament to expel thousands of U.S. troops, a direct consequence of a U.S. drone attack that killed senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and nine companions in Baghdad a week ago.

But in a response Friday, the State Department said that any delegation to Baghdad would not focus on pulling out U.S. troops.

“At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Ortagus stressed that “America is a force for good in the Middle East” and that the purpose of the U.S. military presence in Iraq is “to continue the fight” against the Islamic State. She did not reference Iraq’s request.

She noted that a NATO delegation is at the State Department on Friday “to discuss increasing NATO’s role in Iraq” in line with President Trump’s “desire for burden sharing.” Ortagus added: “There does, however, need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership.

This is State Department speak for "It would be a shame if Iran just rolled in there and took over your country and executed everyone in charge, huh."  Pompeo certainly believes the Iraqi government is bluffing and that the next Iraqi PM will be much more amenable to the US staying and the Iraqis paying.

Time will tell if he's right.

Exit observation: I'm old enough to remember candidate Trump promising to bring America's troops home.  Donald the Dove, Hillary The Hawk our media betters declared, remember?

How's that working out?  It was stupidity 42 months ago and is grossly stupid now.

But hey, her emails.

Impeachment Reached, Con't

"Pelosi knows when to walk away from the table" is the fairest thing I can say, because Senate Dems have made sure she has no choice but to fold on sending over impeachment articles and today she signaled she would do just that.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues Friday that she will ask House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to "be prepared to" to name impeachment managers and send the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate next week.

Why it matters: Her decision would potentially end a weeks-long standoff between Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the structure of the Senate trial — specifically whether new documents or witnesses would be allowed.

McConnell yesterday signed onto a resolution by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) seeking to change the rules of the Senate to dismiss articles of impeachment if they are not transmitted within 25 days of their approval — which would be Jan. 12. 
The Senate would require a two-thirds majority in order to change the rules, unless McConnell were to invoke the "nuclear option" and decide the issue by a simple majority vote.

The big picture, via Axios' Jonathan Swan and Margaret Talev: Democrats will have to convince at least four Republican senators to join forces with them in order to demand more disclosures as part of President Trump's trial. 
They're likely to lean on Republican senators like Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee to press McConnell to agree to some witnesses and document releases the White House is so far refusing.

So we're back to "maybe GOP senators will do the right thing after all!" and it's Lucy yanking Charlie Brown's football all over again for the hundredth time during the Trump regime.  When precisely none of those four senators agree to call witnesses and the trial is wrapped up in a matter of days, people will still act surprised, too.

Of course, people are still acting surprised at this news as Josh Marshall notes:

A telling passage buried deep down in a Wall Street Journal article about why President Trump authorized the Soleimani killing …

Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.

Over time I suspect we’ll learn a lot more about this.

I suspect we will, but whether or not this really was a quid pro quo to get his acquittal or this is Trump making stuff up again in order to bring mutually assured destruction to the Senate GOP, we'll only know the truth long after Trump has been acquitted by the Senate.

More surprise by the media and by Democrats will follow, I'm sure.

But Her Emails, Con't

The Justice Department investigation into Hillary Clinton, which apparently has gone on for almost three years now, has finally ended and of course, nothing was found.

A Justice Department inquiry launched more than two years ago to mollify conservatives clamoring for more investigations of Hillary Clinton has effectively ended with no tangible results, and current and former law enforcement officials said they never expected the effort to produce much of anything.

John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, was tapped in November 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into concerns raised by President Trump and his allies in Congress that the FBI had not fully pursued cases of possible corruption at the Clinton Foundation and during Clinton’s time as secretary of state, when the U.S. government decided not to block the sale of a company called Uranium One.

As a part of his review, Huber examined documents and conferred with federal law enforcement officials in Little Rock who were handling a meandering probe into the Clinton Foundation, people familiar with the matter said. Current and former officials said that Huber has largely finished and found nothing worth pursuing — though the assignment has not formally ended and no official notice has been sent to the Justice Department or to lawmakers, these people said.

The effective conclusion of his investigation, with no criminal charges or other known impacts, is likely to roil some in the GOP who had hoped the prosecutor would vindicate their long-held suspicions about a political rival. Trump, though, has largely shifted his focus to a different federal prosecutor tapped to do a separate, special investigation: U.S. attorney in Connecticut John Durham, who Attorney General William P. Barr assigned last year to explore the origins of the FBI’s 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

That FBI investigation was being supervised by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in late 2017, when Trump and his supporters were pressuring senior law enforcement officials to appoint a second special counsel to pursue Clinton.

“Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary and the Dems,” the president tweeted at the time.


The entire farce was just to harass her.  It was forgotten, and it wrapped up with nothing.  The damage was completely political, and it was done long ago.

This is what abuse of power and misuse of the Justice Department really looks like.


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