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Mr. President, did you draw the black Sharpie half-circle on the weather service map to cover up your earlier tweet-mistake that “Alabama will most likely be hit (much) harder [by Hurricane Dorian] than anticipated”? And did you order your chief of staff to order your Commerce secretary to call up NOAA brass and order them to disavow their scientists’ correction of your tweet-mistake or heads were gonna roll? Mr. President, wouldn’t it have been better simply to admit your tweet-mistake early on instead of making a one-day non-story into a week-plus yuge story about your incompetence, mental state, and ego preoccupation? [DONALD TRUMP]: “(subdued) I don’t know. (quieter) I don’t know. (almost imperceptible) I don’t know.” (scroll down for full article)

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— RECENT HEADLINES –
“Hurricane Dorian Makes Landfall in Southeastern U.S. After Devastating Bahamas” (9/5/2019)
“RNC, Trump Seek to Cancel State GOP Primaries, to Kill Trump Primary Challenges” (9/6/2019)
“Domestic Emoluments Investigations Heating Up Over Diverted Military Flights to Trump Properties in Turnberry, Scotland, Pence’s Stay at Trump Resort During Ireland Visit, 180 Miles From Mtg.” (9/6/2019)
“Trump Seeks to End CA’s Right to Cut Its Own Auto Emissions More Than U.S. Standards” (9/6/2019)
“Trump Holding Up $250M in Aid to Ukraine to Extort Ukrainian Probe of Joe Biden (D-DE)” (9/6/2019)
“NOAA Backs Up Trump’s Mistake/Cover-Up That Alabama Was to Be Hit by Dorian” (9/6/2019)
“4 Major Retailers Follow Walmart’s Lead, Limiting Gun/Ammo Sales, Asking No Open-Carry” (9/6/2019)
“Trump Impulsively Tweet-Cancels Secret Taliban Talks at Camp David, Wk. of 9/11 Anniversary, After Impulsively Scheduling Them; He’s Slammed From Both Sides for 1) Meeting Taliban on U.S. Soil, Giving Presidential Gravitas, 2) Ignorance of Optics: Mtg. w/ 9/11 Perpetrators Wk. of Anniversary” (9/7/2019)
“Mark Sanford (R-SC) Joins Joe Walsh (R-IL), Bill Weld (R-MA) in Trump Primary Challenge” (9/8/2019)
“Congress Returns From Summer Break; Impeachment, Formal Steps Escalating; Vote Thurs.” (9/9/2019)
“Commerce (Oversees NOAA) Sec. Wilbur Ross Threatened NOAA w/ Firings for Not Disavowing Their Original Refutation of Trump’s Mistaken Claim That Alabama Was in Path of Dorian” (9/9/2019)
“CNN: CIA Pulled Top Spy From Russia in 2017, Feared Trump Couldn’t Keep Security Secrets” (9/9/2019)
“Bahamas Death Toll Climbs to 50, Sure to Rise Drastically; 70,000+ Homeless” (9/9/2019)
“Trump Blocks Bahamian Hurricane Refugees Not Having all Immigration Papers in Order” (9/9/2019)
“Trump Tweet-Fires National Security Advisor John Bolton; Bolton Says He Quit” (9/10/2019)
“GOP Wins Special U.S. House Elections in NC; Trump Mum About NC GOP Voter Fraud” (9/10/2019)
“18th Anniversary of 9/11” (9/11/2019)
“Turns out Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Told Ross to Tell NOAA to Back Trump’s Lie” (9/11/2019)

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“In addition to Florida – South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Twitter post; 9/1/2019, 8:51 a.m.)

“Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”

(National Weather Service, Birmingham, Ala.; Twitter post; 9/1/2019, 9:11 a.m.)

“Correction. I apologize for the error. Alabama will not be affected by Hurricane Dorian.”

(— writer’s embellishment).

This last quote is what President Trump did not say after his innocent mistake. Instead he spent the next 12 days attempting to re-write history and cover up his error — because his ego can’t tolerate even one tiny cognitively dissonant crack in his self-perceived infallibility.

Additionally, Donald — the most irreverent, non-spiritual president in American history — doesn’t know the difference between “GOD BLESS” and goddamn.

Heart of the Matter

Mr. President, did you draw the childlike black Sharpie half-circle — on the official weather service map you held up at your news conference — to cover up your earlier tweet-mistake that “Alabama will most likely be hit (much) harder [by Hurricane Dorian] than anticipated”? And did you order your chief of staff to order your Commerce secretary to call up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency brass and order them to disavow their scientists’ correction of your tweet-mistake — or heads were gonna roll? Furthermore, Mr. President, wouldn’t it have been better simply to admit your tweet-mistake early on instead of making a one-day non-story [your innocent error] into a week-plus yuge story about your incompetence, mental state, and ego preoccupation while ignoring the real crises that face our nation?

(subdued) I don’t know. (quieter) I don’t know. (almost imperceptible) I don’t know.”

(Trump, Donald, R-N.Y., U.S. president; Q&A with reporters; White House; 9/4/2019.) (when questioned by a reporter: “That map that you showed us today, looked like it almost had, like, a Sharpie written on it …”)

If ever there were a guy lying his butt off, it’s answering the question with, “(subdued) I don’t know. (quieter) I don’t know. (almost imperceptible) I don’t know.”

Unbelievably, this is the biggest story of this week and last. The classic 1980s-era Miller Lite commercial had two celebrity “experts” arguing which was the better reason to drink the watery brew: Was it because it “tastes great” or because it was “less filling”?

The Sharpie-Gate story has Trump-supporting “experts” arguing the president simply was recounting a NOAA hurricane report (though the report was preliminary and days old when Donald referenced it as current and accurate). The Sharpie debacle has everyone else asking what kind of leader is so small-minded, so galactically self-centered that he simply cannot admit an honest mistake and move on.

Instead, Donald extends this embarrassing story with Orwellian 1984-style tactics to re-make past reality to cover up his mistake — to the point that he (or an aide) altered an official weather map for a news conference, then ordered his chief of staff to order his Commerce secretary to order NOAA (which oversees the official U.S. weather service) to issue a disavowal of its initial correction to the president’s original mistake.

I know. It’s hard to follow. And exhausting. And a national security danger. Another one.

“Trouble is raining down on U.S. President Donald Trump, who appears to have given Americans incorrect information on Hurricane Dorian’s trajectory. During an Oval Office press conference Wednesday, Trump displayed a map from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) showing the devastating storm’s initial predicted path. As he held up the poster board to give the journalists present a better view, it became clear the map had been edited: Dorian’s cone had been extended with what appeared to be black marker to include the state of Alabama.

“When asked a few hours later about the surprising addition, Trump responded, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know, [I don’t know,]’ while continuing to maintain that the initial storm predictions included the possibility that Dorian would make landfall in the southern state.

“Trump had incorrectly tweeted Sunday that Alabama was among the states … that could be affected by the hurricane. Not long after, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) office in Birmingham, Alabama, appeared to respond to the contrary, though it did not explicitly mention Trump’s tweet. ‘Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian,’ it tweeted. ‘We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.’”

(“Trump Displays Incorrectly Altered Map of Hurricane Dorian Path”; Yahoo News, AFP; 9/4/2019.)

With his denial, denial, denial and heavy-handed attempts to cover up an honest mistake, Trump has turned a non-story into a 12-day nationwide referendum on his incompetency, mental state, and tenuous grasp on reality.




Al Capone Comparison

Remember the oft-repeated story of 1920s-era murderous gangster Al Capone? He so slickly covered his tracks that G-men could never produce enough evidence tying him to his numerous, egregious crimes. How’d they finally get Capone, aka “Scarface”? Tax evasion. Some creative prosecutors figured out there was a provable, connectable crime there.

Put aside Trump’s long list of federal law, state law, and constitutional violations including: a half-dozen cases of obstruction of justice; repeatedly violating the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses; campaign finance violations committed with his personal attorney-fixer who currently is serving time for those crimes; and so on. Put aside the not-illegal-but-definitely-impeachable offenses committed as a result of the president’s colossal corruption, incompetence, and amorality. Even put aside the serious potential crimes hidden in Trump’s tax returns and other financial documents, which he has kept hidden using mountains of the thing most important to him: money.

Maybe public opinion finally will be moved. Maybe we impeach and convict the guy on illegally altering an official National Hurricane Center publication:

“President Donald Trump may have broken federal law by altering a map from the National Hurricane Center to lend credence to his false claim over the weekend that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian.

“While giving an update on the storm, Trump asked a staffer to hold up a map, which was an outdated version of the hurricane’s original path. The storm’s trajectory was outlined in white and encompassed most of Florida and part of Georgia, as well as the surrounding water. … But the map had been altered: a semi-circle of black ink extended the farthest reaches of Hurricane Dorian’s impact cone beyond Florida and into Alabama. The National Hurricane Center did not include Alabama in its forecast, and some observers pointed out on Wednesday that Trump’s altered map may have violated the law.”

(Sheth, Sonam; “Trump May Have Broken Federal Law by Altering Hurricane Dorian’s Path on a Map to Validate His False Claim That It Could Hit Alabama”; MSN.com; 9/5/2019.)

“Whoever knowingly issues or publishes any counterfeit weather forecast or warning of weather conditions falsely representing such forecast or warning to have been issued or published by the Weather Bureau, United States Signal Service, or other branch of the Government service, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both.”

(18 U.S. Code § 2074; False weather reports; June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 795; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(G), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)

Stranger things have happened. And Donald Trump is the “Scarface” of U.S. presidents.

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HEADLINES & MORE (Week Ending 9/12/19)

In other news:

RNC, Trump Seek to Cancel State GOP Primaries, to Kill Trump Primary Challenges (9/6/2019)

“Republican officials in multiple states are considering canceling their 2020 primary contests, a move that would be a show of support for President Donald Trump as a few GOP challengers have stepped forward to contest the party’s presidential nomination.

“Trump is officially facing GOP primary challenges from former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, … [former Illinois] Rep. Joe Walsh, [… and former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford]. The state Republican parties in South Carolina, Kansas, Nevada, and Arizona could nix their primaries and caucuses.”

(Fritze, John & Behrmann, Savannah; “Republicans in 4 States May Cancel Their 2020 Primaries to Support Trump”; USA Today; 9/7/2019.)

It’s just to save money, right? Note that political experts on both sides agree that Trump Republicans now dominate most state GOP operations.

Domestic Emoluments Investigations Heating Up Over Diverted Military Flights to Trump Properties in Turnberry, Scotland, Pence’s Stay at Trump Resort During Ireland Visit (180 Miles From Mtg. Site) (9/6/2019)

“Last week’s revelations that the military has spent millions propping up President Donald Trump’s Scottish resort and the failing airport that provides primary access to it represent more than just additional Trumpian schemes to debase the presidency for personal enrichment. They reveal fresh constitutional violations and signal a grave new chapter in Trump’s kleptocratic presidency, in which he ever more severely imperils national security and brazenly solicits constitutionally impermissible payments from foreign states and taxpayer coffers alike. It’s thus especially fitting that the House Judiciary Committee appears poised to expand its impeachment inquiry to encompass these latest twists on the seemingly endless tales of unconstitutional emoluments, both foreign and domestic.

“A great deal of attention has centered on the foreign emoluments clause of Article I, Section 9, which bars officeholders from receiving anything of value from foreign states without congressional consent. Few realize that the Constitution contains two separate emoluments clauses, each with a uniquely important role. Trump has long been impermissibly accepting payments from foreign governments (even recently lobbying to host the next G-7 at his faltering Doral, Florida, resort) in contravention of the foreign emoluments clause. The military’s Turnberry [Scotland] entwinement and Vice President Mike Pence’s 181-mile commute to stay at Trump Doonbeg [Ireland] violate a distinct constitutional provision: the domestic emoluments clause of Article II, Section 1, which prevents presidents from receiving payments from federal or state accounts, save their congressionally predetermined salary.”

(Tribe, Lawrence H., Harvard Law School professor, constitutional law scholar; “Trump’s Turnberry Scandal Violates the Other Emoluments Clause”; Slate; 9/10/2019.)

Trump Holding Up $250M in Aid to Ukraine to Extort Ukrainian Probe of Joe Biden (D-DE) (9/6/2019)

“Not only has Mr. Trump refused to grant the Ukrainian leader[,Volodymyr Zelensky,] a White House visit, but also he has suspended the delivery of $250 million in U.S. military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces.

“Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin, who is dedicated to undermining Ukrainian democracy and independence. But we’re reliably told that the president has a second and more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. Mr. Trump is not just soliciting Ukraine’s help with his presidential campaign; he is using U.S. military aid the country desperately needs in an attempt to extort it.”

(editorial board; “Trump Tries to Force Ukraine to Meddle in the 2020 Election”; The Washington Post; 9/5/2019.)

Trump Impulsively Tweet-Cancels Secret Taliban Talks at Camp David, Wk. of 9/11 Anniversary, After Impulsively Scheduling Them; He’s Slammed From Both Sides for 1) Meeting Taliban on U.S. Soil, Giving Presidential Gravitas, 2) Ignorance of Optics: Meeting 9/11 Perpetrators During Wk. of Anniversary (9/7/2019)

“President Donald Trump is facing backlash after announcing he planned to hold a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David this weekend but canceled it over attacks overseas that left 12 dead, including one American. Republican and Democratic leaders sharply criticized the president over two main concerns: bringing members of the Taliban to the U.S. — specifically to Camp David, a presidential retreat for presidents [many of whom have conducted high-level meetings with respected foreign leaders since 1942 —] and the timing of the meeting … just days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.”

(Hayes, Christal; “Trump Criticized for Planning Secret Camp David Meeting With Taliban Days Before 9/11 Anniversary”; USA Today; 9/9/2019.)

CNN: CIA Pulled Top Spy From Russia in 2017, Feared Trump Couldn’t Keep Security Secrets (9/9/2019)

“In a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017, the United States successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge told CNN. … [T]he removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.

“The decision to carry out the extraction occurred soon after a May 2017 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump discussed highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. The intelligence, concerning ISIS in Syria, had been provided by Israel. The disclosure to the Russians by the president … prompted intelligence officials to renew earlier discussions about the potential risk of exposure.”

(Sciutto, Jim; “Exclusive: U.S. Extracted Top Spy From Inside Russia in 2017”; CNN.com; 9/9/2019.)

Trump Tweet-Fires National Security Advisor John Bolton; Bolton Says He Resigned (9/10/2019)

“You can’t fire me — I quit!”

GOP Wins Special U.S. House Elections in NC; Trump Mum About NC GOP Voter Fraud (9/10/2019)

Mr. Trump loves to spew lies about nonexistent Democratic voter fraud. He said 3-5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, costing him the popular vote (which he lost by 2.86 million votes). Soon after Inauguration Day, he formed a high-profile voter fraud committee to investigate. It found nothing. Ethical members ultimately condemned the committee as a fraud. It was disbanded.

Donald constantly says things like, “dead people are voting in large numbers,” and “illegals are voting in California two, three, four times in the same election.”

Myriad bipartisan experts have refuted all of these claims.

But note the reason for the U.S. House special election in North Carolina’s 9th District: After the 2018 midterms, a judge found rampant absentee-ballot voter fraud by then-Republican candidate Mark Harris’ campaign. The candidate’s son testified against him. Harris was so disgraced that he relinquished his candidacy for the Sept. 10, 2019, special election do-over ordered by the state election commission.

But not a peep out of the president about North Carolina voter fraud. ■

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Trump Corruption Chronicles — We Must Never Forget