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Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

Breakdown of Voters in Amherst County and Adjacent Areas

Breakdown of Voters in Amherst County and Adjacent Areas

Hillary Clinton won Virginia’s 13 electoral votes. Clinton has 212,030 more votes than Donald J. Trump.   Hillary Clinton was up by 5 points with 99 percent of precincts reporting.   Since this is the ACV Democratic News and the ACV stands for Amherst County Virginia, we're going to look at how your friends and neighbors voted.   This area is heavily stacked right wing republican (approx. 2:1) and they got what they voted for.   (Sadly so did the rest of the country.)   These folks are shamed into silence now, only 45 days in to the folly of voting Trump.    It is now clear the Russians were supporting Trump and involved in our election, but nobody knows what to do about it to make it right.    6 Members of the Trump administration were talking with the Russians during the election.    The AG Jeff Sessions misrepresented his actions when appearing for conformation before Congress and has recused himself from any matter involving the Russians involvement in the election.    He is resubmitting his testimony to try and clarify the record.    It is unclear whether he will be forced step down, only time will tell.    Trump and his team have saddled America with a mess.    Don't spend a moment of your time expecting the GOP to accept responsibility for anything.    The Trump voters think they are "Making America Great Again", pity the fools.

Here's the Breakdown of voters.

Amherst County   Clinton  4,986          Trump      9,643

Lynchburg              Clinton  14,787      Trump   17,979

Nelson Co.               Clinton  3,677         Trump    4,150

Appomattox   Co.    Clinton  2,023         Trump   5,714

Campbell Co.            Clinton    6,597       Trump   19,442

Powhatan  Co.           Clinton   4,057        Trump   11,875

Overall Virginia

Hillary          1,981,473       49.8%

Trump            1,769,443       44.4%

Gary Johnson       118,274        3.0%             Libertaian

Evan McMullin       54,054         1.4%            Independent

Jill Stein          27,638           .7%            Green

Others              31,870          .8%             Independents

Robert Buchanan (Write In-Virginia)
Steven Covington (Independent-Virginia)
J.D. Criveau (Constitutionist-Virginia)
Craig Dell (Independent-Virginia)
Nick Dubois (Independent-Virginia)
Charles Fanning (Independent-Virginia)
Raymond Harding (Constitutional-Virginia)
Michael Jenkins (Independent-Virginia)
Keya Jerry (Independent-Virginia)
Elizabeth Kirk (Independent-Virginia)
Steven Korb (Independent-Virginia)
Robert Lee (Independent-Virginia)
Jack Logsdon (Independent-Virginia)
Andrew Mickert (Independent-Virginia)
Laio Morris (Write In-Virginia)
Deonia Neveu (Independent-Virginia)
Tommy Turner (independent-Virginia)
Mark Wimmer (Independent-Virginia)

Every state has the also rans clogging up the ballot and Virginia is no exception.   The above listing may not be complete as these people are practically unkown.

Barack Obama won Virginia in 2012 by 3.9 percentage points.   The same local areas (Amherst Co., Lynchburg, Nelson, Appomattox, Campbell, Powhatan) voted republican then also, the major difference Obama won.   Trump has in short order shown himself to be a mentally disturbed, ego driven, unstable office holder.   Thus the future of the country is at stake along with our standing in the world order.

I'd bet that these same folks will vote republican again, at the earliest opportunity.  What do you think? 

"Why the hell should I meet with anyone in the district, the people who vote for me continually don't have a clue.   I'll just send them a newsletter and claim I have written or sponsored a bill.    Around election time I'll go to a few local meetings and shake some hands.    When the election is in the bag I'll disappear again for two years."   Bob Goodlatte

Citing no evidence, Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phones during the election

President Trump, confronted by mounting pressure for an independent investigation into his associates’ ties to Russia, unleashed a startling and unsupported attack on his predecessor Saturday, accusing former President Obama of wiretapping his phones during the 2016 election.

Trump’s flurry of Twitter messages, which was supported by no evidence, was bizarre even for a White House with a history of broadsides against political opponents. Throughout the day, administration officials refused to offer any explanation for the president’s missive or any evidence to back it up.

"Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found," Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday, adding: "This is McCarthyism!”

"How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process.  This is Nixon/Watergate.  Bad (or sick) guy!" Trump wrote in a series of four tweets from Florida, sent around breakfast time.

The charges leveled by Trump echoed an unsubstantiated story line circulating on right-wing media.  The attack came after a stressful 48 hours for Trump during which Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions announced that he was stepping aside from any role in supervising the investigation of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, a subject about which Trump has shown extreme sensitivity.  Trump had publicly said he did not believe Sessions should recuse himself and reportedly was angered by the decision.

As the White House refused to respond to mounting questions from journalists and lawmakers about Trump’s charges of wiretapping, his public schedule for the weekend shifted.  A relatively light agenda was replaced with one that includes meetings with Sessions, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and senior advisors Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Don McGahn.

Veterans of the Obama administration accused Trump of lying outright.

"A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice," Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, said in a statement.

"Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen," Lewis said.  "Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."

A former senior U.S. national security official called it “irresponsible, extraordinary and dangerous” for a sitting president to accuse his predecessor of wiretapping “based on uncorroborated information in a politically oriented publication.”

Trump’s charges confused lawmakers from both parties, who pointed out that if federal officials had legally wiretapped Trump’s offices, they would have done so with the blessing of a judge who would have been required to find credible evidence that someone there either was acting as a foreign agent or engaging in criminal behavior.   Otherwise, such a wiretap would have been illegal.

Either way, said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Trump needs to be more forthcoming immediately.

“The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information,” Sasse said in a statement.

It would be highly unusual for a sitting president to be aware of a surveillance request, as Trump charged was the case with Obama.  By blaming Obama directly, Trump accused the former president of reaching into a federal investigation or signing off on an illegal wiretap, which is a felony.  Trump’s tweets Saturday were a marked departure from the more subdued, statesmanlike tone he had tried to move toward during his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.

The charges tracked with unfounded reports being circulated among White House officials by conservative radio host Mark Levin and the Breitbart News website, which Bannon led before joining Trump’s campaign last summer.

U.S. intelligence officials concluded in January that Russia had launched covert actions and cyberattacks to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy and help Trump win. But it is unclear if those actions were coordinated with people in Trump's inner circle.

In the meantime, a pattern of Trump officials downplaying their contacts with Russia has stirred calls for further investigation.

Sessions did not disclose meeting Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak when asked about contacts with Russians during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Trump's former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned last month when it was disclosed that he had misled Trump administration officials about conversations he had with Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Russia before Trump’s inauguration.

Democratic lawmakers pounced on Trump’s allegations.

“If there is something bad or sick going on, it is the willingness of the nation's chief executive to make the most outlandish and destructive claims without providing a scintilla of evidence to support them,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

President Richard M. Nixon was convinced that his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson, had wiretapped his phone and placed a bug on his plane during the last two weeks of the 1968 campaign. The FBI had never gone that far, but Nixon had reason to be concerned.

The FBI knew Republicans had worked with South Vietnamese officials to scuttle peace talks Johnson was holding and made assurances that Nixon would give them a better deal, and the bureau had Nixon fundraiser Anna Chennault under surveillance.

“I see echoes with the past,” Ken Hughes, a researcher at the University of Virginia Miller Center, a think tank that studies the presidency, said in an interview.

“It is clear that Trump is very defensive and he is very worried,” said Hughes, who wrote a book on the Republican interference in the Vietnam peace talks.

“It might mean the investigation into the Russian interference in our election will expose other things he wants to keep hidden,” Hughes said.

After sending out several tweets accusing the previous administration of gross misconduct, Trump had something else on his mind:

“Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show,” Trump wrote.

Who among you thinks Donald Trump is sane?

ACV Democratic News


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump and The Russian Connection

WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

 The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the government outside of the intelligence services, they said. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.

The officials said that one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine. The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls.

The call logs and intercepted communications are part of a larger trove of information that the F.B.I. is sifting through as it investigates the links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government, as well as the hacking of the D.N.C., according to federal law enforcement officials. As part of its inquiry, the F.B.I. has obtained banking and travel records and conducted interviews, the officials said.

Mr. Manafort, who has not been charged with any crimes, dismissed the officials’ accounts in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “This is absurd,” he said. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”

He added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

Several of Mr. Trump’s associates, like Mr. Manafort, have done business in Russia. And it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society. Law enforcement officials did not say to what extent the contacts might have been about business.

The officials would not disclose many details, including what was discussed on the calls, the identity of the Russian intelligence officials who participated, and how many of Mr. Trump’s advisers were talking to the Russians. It is also unclear whether the conversations had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself.

A report from American intelligence agencies that was made public in January concluded that the Russian government had intervened in the election in part to help Mr. Trump, but did not address whether any members of the Trump campaign had participated in the effort.

 Sessions Lied During Confirmation Hearings

 Jeff Sessions had two contacts with Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign, Justice Department officials confirmed. The Washington Post first reported the meetings Wednesday.

When he was asked in his confirmation hearing whether anyone associated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had communicated with the Russians, Sessions replied that he wasn’t aware of any such “activities,” and added, “I did not have communications with the Russians.” A questionnaire he filled out for the committee also asked whether he had had contact with the Russians, to which Sessions, according to the Post, wrote, “No.”

Attorney General Sessions has provided the following statement: “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”  

Sessions spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told CBS News’ Andres Triay in a statement that “[t]here was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.” It was, she explained, in his capacity as a senator, and not as a campaign surrogate, that he had spoken with Kislyak, and dozens of other foreign ambassadors, as well.

“Last year, the Senator had over 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, including the British, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Indian, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, German and Russian ambassadors,” Flores wrote. “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign--not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”

While he served on Armed Services, Sessions “discussed relations between the two countries and any positive or negative issues they were facing,” a Justice Department official said. Many of the ambassadors, given the fact that it was a heated election year, would make “superficial comments about election-related news,” but it wasn’t the substance of the discussions, the official said.

The other incident took place when Sessions addressed a group of over 50 ambassadors at a Heritage Foundation event. After his speech, a small group of ambassadors approached him, and Kislyak was among them. Sessions, according to an official, spoke to them as a group, and they thanked him for speaking and invited him to events they were sponsoring. But Sessions, the official said, made no commitments.

Sessions may have thought he was talking with Kislyak in his capacity as a Senate Armed Services Committee member and not as a prominent Trump supporter, but the Post contacted all 26 members of the 2016 Senate Armed Services Committee to check on whether anyone else met with Kislyak in 2016. Twenty responded, including Chairman John McCain, and none met with him last year.

At a CNN town hall, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said he didn’t know yet whether “there’s anything between the Trump campaing and the Russians.”

“[I]f there’s something there...the FBI believes is criminal in nature, then, for sure, you need a special prosecutor,” Graham said. “If that day ever comes, I’ll be the first one to say it needs to be somebody other than Jeff.”

This story has prompted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to call on Sessions to resign, CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reports.

And several other top Democrats – including Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on House Intelligence and Elliott Engel, the top Democrat on House Foreign Affairs are calling on Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation into contacts between Trump associates and the Russians. 

The intercepted calls are different from the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. In those calls, which led to Mr. Flynn’s resignation on Monday night, the two men discussed sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russia in December.

But the cases are part of American intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ routine electronic surveillance of the communications of foreign officials.

The F.B.I. declined to comment. The White House also declined to comment Tuesday night, but earlier in the day, the press secretary, Sean Spicer, stood by Mr. Trump’s previous comments that nobody from his campaign had contact with Russian officials before the election.

“There’s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period,” Mr. Spicer said in response to a question.

Two days after the election in November, Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy Russian foreign minister, said “there were contacts” during the campaign between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s team.

“Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Mr. Ryabkov told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

The Trump transition team denied Mr. Ryabkov’s statement. “This is not accurate,” Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, said at the time.

The National Security Agency, which monitors the communications of foreign intelligence services, initially captured the calls between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians as part of routine foreign surveillance. After that, the F.B.I. asked the N.S.A. to collect as much information as possible about the Russian operatives on the phone calls, and to search through troves of previous intercepted communications that had not been analyzed.

The F.B.I. has closely examined at least three other people close to Mr. Trump, although it is unclear if their calls were intercepted. They are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative; and Mr. Flynn.
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All of the men have strongly denied that they had any improper contacts with Russian officials.

As part of the inquiry, the F.B.I. is also trying to assess the credibility of the information contained in a dossier that was given to the bureau last year by a former British intelligence operative. The dossier contained a raft of allegations of a broad conspiracy between Mr. Trump, his associates and the Russian government. It also included unsubstantiated claims that the Russians had embarrassing videos that could be used to blackmail Mr. Trump.

The F.B.I. has spent several months investigating the leads in the dossier, but has yet to confirm any of its most explosive claims.

Senior F.B.I. officials believe that the former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier, Christopher Steele, has a credible track record, and he briefed investigators last year about how he obtained the information. One American law enforcement official said that F.B.I. agents had made contact with some of Mr. Steele’s sources.

The agency’s investigation of Mr. Manafort began last spring as an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and for the country’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych. It has focused on why he was in such close contact with Russian and Ukrainian intelligence officials.

The bureau did not have enough evidence to obtain a warrant for a wiretap of Mr. Manafort’s communications, but it had the N.S.A. scrutinize the communications of Ukrainian officials he had met.

The F.B.I. investigation is proceeding at the same time that separate investigations into Russian interference in the election are gaining momentum on Capitol Hill. Those investigations, by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, are examining not only the Russian hacking but also any contacts that Mr. Trump’s team had with Russian officials during the campaign.

On Tuesday, top Republican lawmakers said that Mr. Flynn should be one focus of the investigation, and that he should be called to testify before Congress. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said the news about Mr. Flynn underscored “how many questions still remain unanswered to the American people more than three months after Election Day, including who was aware of what, and when.”

Mr. Warner said Mr. Flynn’s resignation would not stop the committee “from continuing to investigate General Flynn, or any other campaign official who may have had inappropriate and improper contacts with Russian officials prior to the election.”

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney general.

One of the meetings was a private conversation between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race.

The previously undisclosed discussions could fuel new congressional calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia’s alleged role in the 2016 presidential election. As attorney general, Sessions oversees the Justice Department and the FBI, which have been leading investigations into Russian meddling and any links to Trump’s associates. He has so far resisted calls to recuse himself.

When Sessions spoke with Kislyak in July and September, the senator was a senior member of the influential Armed Services Committee as well as one of Trump’s top foreign policy advisers. Sessions played a prominent role supporting Trump on the stump after formally joining the campaign in February 2016.

At his Jan. 10 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked by Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, what he would do if he learned of any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of the 2016 campaign.

“I’m not aware of any of those activities,” he responded. He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.”…

When asked to comment on Sessions’s contacts with Kislyak, Franken said in a statement to The Washington Post on Wednesday: “If it’s true that Attorney General Sessions met with the Russian ambassador in the midst of the campaign, then I am very troubled that his response to my questioning during his confirmation hearing was, at best, misleading.

Franken added: “It is now clearer than ever that the attorney general cannot, in good faith, oversee an investigation at the Department of Justice and the FBI of the Trump-Russia connection, and he must recuse himself immediately.”…

Hey, Look, Another Russian Connection in Trump's Cabinet

How many does that make now?

I have to say that, judging from his press availability, and as a first impression, Congressman Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is a very impressively arrogant fellow. From contemptuously shuffling the Logan Act aside ("You a Logan Act guy?" he asked one reporter.) to his arch dismissal of the calls for a special prosecutor, to his clammy misuse of the word "McCarthyism," to his robotic insistence that the real problem here are the leaks about possible Russian influence over the administration—rather than, say, Russian influence over the administration—Nunes is going to be someone to watch going forward. But let's write something new about Russia anyway.

The essential folks at McClatchy have raised some questions about the ownership stake in a Cyprus bank held by Wilbur Ross, who by eight o'clock tonight likely will be your Secretary of Commerce. The bank that does a lot of business with various Russian oligarchs, including, it is alleged, as a spin cycle for money that the Russian kleptocracy would like to have cleaned.

 More recently, he led a rescue of Bank of Cyprus in September 2014 after the Cypriot government — in consultation with Russian President Vladimir Putin — first propped up the institution. "Cyprus banks have a long and painful history of laundering dirty money from Russians involved with corruption and criminality," said Elise Bean, a former Senate investigator who specialized in combating money laundering and tax evasion. "Buying a Cyprus bank necessarily raises red flags about suspect deposits, high-risk clients and hidden activities." The Russian business and government elite have often sought financial security in the Mediterranean island's banking system. Oligarch Dmitry Ryvoloviev took a nearly 10 percent stake in Bank of Cyprus in 2010. Two years earlier, amid the U.S. financial crisis when real-estate prices were softening, Ryvoloviev purchased Donald Trump's Palm Beach mansion for $95 million. The transaction generated questions because of its inflated market price, about $60 million more than Trump had paid for the Florida property four years earlier. When Europe's debt crisis spread and affected Cyprus in 2012 and 2013, that nation's second biggest bank, Laiki Bank, was closed. The government imposed losses on uninsured deposits, many belonging to Russians.

As you might imagine, this whole business came up to no great effect during Ross's confirmation hearings.

    Ross had little history in global banking, but in 2011 he took an ownership stake in Bank of Ireland, the only bank in that nation the government didn't seize. Ross tripled his investment when he sold his Irish stake in June 2014, then months later, he took a gamble on Bank of Cyprus. Six Democratic senators, led by Florida's Bill Nelson, asked for details about his relationship with big Russian shareholders in Bank of Cyprus, including Viktor Vekselberg, a longtime Putin ally, and Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus and a former KGB agent believed to be a Putin associate. Aides to several of the senators confirmed late Friday that Ross hadn't responded to their questions. The White House sent McClatchy to a Commerce Department transition aide, who didn't respond to questions.

(David Cay Johnson's DC Report adds that, when Ross took over the Bank of Cyprus, he installed as chairman a guy who had left Deutsche Bank under a cloud, including a $650 million fine for laundering Russian money. Deutsche Bank, Johnson reminds us, is the president*'s largest known lender.)

It is nothing close to McCarthyism to point out that the entire Cabinet will be full to the gunwales with people who have done serious business with the Russian kleptocrats. At least they'll all have a lot to talk about over vodka at lunch.

ACV Democratic News


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump's First 100 Lies

TRUMP's First 100 Lies

To say that President Donald Trump has a casual relationship with the truth would be a gross understatement.   He has repeatedly cited debunked conspiracy theories, pushed voter fraud myths, and embellished his record and accomplishments.   The barrage of falsehoods has been so furious that journalists have taken to issuing instant fact-checks during press conferences and calling out false statements during cable news broadcasts.

All presidents lie, but lying so brazenly and so frequently about even silly factoids like his golf game has put Trump in his own category.   His disregard for the truth is reflected in his top aides, who have inflated easily disproved figures like the attendance at his inauguration and even cited terror attacks that never happened.

ACV  Democratic News offers this list of 100 incidents of egregious falsehoods.   Still, it is likely the administration has made dozens of other misleading and exaggerated claims.

1.  White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed the crowd on the National Mall was “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration.” (Jan. 21)

2.  Trump falsely claimed that the crowd for his swearing-in stretched down the National Mall to the Washington Monument and totaled more than 1 million people. (Jan. 21)

3.  As Trump fondly recalled his Inauguration Day, he said it stopped raining “immediately” when he began his speech.   A light rain continued to fall throughout the address. (Jan. 21)

4.  During his speech at CIA headquarters, Trump claimed the media made up his feud with the agency.   In fact, he started it by comparing the intelligence community to “Nazi Germany.” (Jan. 21)

5.  During his speech at CIA headquarters, Trump repeated the claim that he “didn’t want to go into Iraq.”   He told Howard Stern in 2002 that he supported the Iraq War. (Jan. 21)

6.  During his speech at CIA headquarters, Trump said he had the “all-time record in the history of Time Magazine. … I’ve been on it for 15 times this year.”   Trump had been featured on the magazine a total of 11 times. (Jan. 21)

7.  Trump claimed that his inauguration drew 11 million more viewers than Barack Obama’s in 2013.   It didn’t, and viewership for Obama’s first inauguration, in 2009, was even higher. (Jan. 22) 

8.  Spicer said during his first press briefing that there has been a “dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.”   This is false. (Jan. 23)

9.  While pushing back against the notion of a rift between the CIA and Trump, Spicer claimed the president had received a “five-minute standing ovation” at the agency’s headquarters.   He did not.   The attendees were also never asked to sit down. (Jan. 23)

10.  Spicer claimed that “tens of millions of people” watched the inauguration online.   In fact, about 4.6 million did. (Jan. 23)

11.  Trump told CBN News that 84 percent Cuban-Americans voted for him.   It’s not clear where Trump got that number.   According to the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Cuban-Americans in Florida voted for him. (Jan. 23)

12.  While meeting with congressional leaders, Trump repeated a debunked claim that he only lost the national popular vote because of widespread voter fraud. (Jan. 24)

13.  In remarks with business leaders at the White House, Trump said, “I’m a very big person when it comes to the environment.   I have received awards on the environment.”   There is no evidence that Trump has received such awards. (Jan. 24)

14.  In signing an executive memo ordering the construction of the Keystone pipeline, Trump said the project would create 28,000 construction jobs.   According to The Washington Post Fact Checker, the pipeline would create an estimated 16,000 jobs, most of which are not construction jobs. (Jan. 25)

15.  Spicer said in a press briefing that Trump received more electoral votes than any Republican since Ronald Reagan.   George H.W. Bush won 426 electoral votes in 1988, more than Trump’s 304. (Jan. 24)

16.  In remarks he gave at the Homeland Security Department, Trump said Immigration and Customs Enforcement and border patrol agents “unanimously endorsed me for president.”   That’s not true. (Jan. 25)

17.  Spicer said during a press briefing that a draft executive order on CIA prisons was not a “White House document.”   Citing three administration officials, The New York Times reported that the White House had circulated the draft order among national security staff members. (Jan. 25)

18.  In an interview with ABC, Trump again claimed he “had the biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches.”   False. (Jan. 25)

19.  Trump claimed during an interview with ABC that the applause he received at CIA headquarters “was the biggest standing ovation since Peyton Manning had won the Super Bowl.” It wasn’t even a standing ovation. (Jan. 25)

20.  In an interview with ABC, Trump attacked the Affordable Care Act and said there are “millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” Twenty million people have gained health coverage because of the law so far.   The estimated 2 million people who did not qualify under the law received waivers that kept the plans going until the end of 2017. (Jan. 25)

21.  At the GOP retreat in Philadelphia, Trump claimed he and the president of Mexico “agreed” to cancel their scheduled meeting.   Enrique Peña Nieto said he had decided to cancel it. (Jan. 26)

22.  At the GOP retreat in Philadelphia, Trump said the national homicide rate was “horribly increasing.”   It is down significantly. (Jan. 26)

23.  On Twitter, Trump repeated his false claim that 3 million votes were illegal during the election. (Jan. 27)

24.  In an interview on “Good Morning America,” Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Tiffany Trump, the president’s daughter, had told her she was “not registered to vote in two states.”   A local election official confirmed to NBC News twice that the younger Trump indeed was. (Jan. 27)

25.  Trump said he predicted the so-called “Brexit” when he was in Scotland the day before the vote. He was actually there the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. (Jan. 27)

26.  Trump claimed The New York Times lost subscribers “because their readers even like me.” The Times experienced a sharp uptick in subscribers after Election Day. (Jan. 27)

27.  Trump claimed two people were fatally shot in Chicago during Obama’s last speech as president. That didn’t happen. (Jan. 27)

28.  Trump claimed that under previous administrations, “if you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible.” In fact, almost as many Christian refugees were admitted to the U.S. as Muslim refugees in fiscal year 2016. (Jan. 27)

29.  Trump defended the swiftness of his immigration order on the grounds that terrorists would have rushed into the country if he had given the world a week’s notice. Even if terrorists wanted to infiltrate the refugee program or the visa program, they would have had to wait months or even years while being vetted to get into the country. (Jan. 30)

30.  The White House maintained that Trump’s immigration order did not apply to green card holders and that was “the guidance from the beginning.” Initially, the White House said the order did include green card holders. (Jan. 30)

31.  Trump said his immigration order was “similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Obama’s policy slowed resettlement of refugees from Iraq, but did not keep them from entering the country. Moreover, it flagged the seven countries included in Trump’s order as places the U.S. considered dangerous to visit. (Jan. 30)

32.  Spicer said that “by and large,” Trump has been “praised” for his statement commemorating the Holocaust. Every major Jewish organization, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, criticized it for omitting any specific references to the Jewish people or anti-Semitism. (Jan. 30)

33.  A Trump administration official called the implementation of Trump’s travel ban a “massive success story.” Not true ― young children, elderly people and U.S. green card holders were detained for hours. Some were deported upon landing in the U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) even criticized the rollout as “confusing.” (Jan. 30)

34.  Spicer equated White House adviser Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council Principals Committee with Obama adviser David Axelrod attending meetings pertaining to foreign policy. Axelrod, however, never sat on the Principals Committee. (Jan. 30)

35.  Spicer said people would have “flooded” into the country with advance notice of Trump’s immigration order. Not true. (Jan. 30)

36.  Spicer insisted that only 109 travelers were detained because of Trump’s immigration order. More than 1,000 legal permanent residents had to get waivers before entering the U.S. An estimated 90,000 people in total were affected by the ban. (Jan. 30)

37.  Trump tweeted the false claim that “only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning.” (Jan. 30)

38.  Trump took credit for cutting $600 million from the F-35 program. But Lockheed Martin already had planned for the cost reductions for the next generation fighter plane. (Jan. 31)

39.  Trump accused China of manipulating its currency by playing “the money market. They play the devaluation market, and we sit there like a bunch of dummies.” According to The Washington Post, the United States is no longer being hurt by China’s currency manipulation, and China is no longer devaluing its currency. (Jan. 31)

40.  In defending the GOP’s blockade of Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Spicer said no president had ever nominated a justice “so late” in his term. It previously happened three times. (Jan. 31)

41.  Spicer repeatedly insisted during a press conference that Trump’s executive order on immigration was “not a ban.” During a Q&A event the night before, however, Spicer himself referred to the order as a “ban.” So did the president. (Jan. 31)

42.  White House officials denied reports that Trump told Peña Nieto that U.S. forces would handle the “bad hombres down there” if the Mexican authorities don’t. It confirmed the conversation the next day, maintaining the remark was meant to be “lighthearted.” (Jan. 31)

43.  Trump claimed that Delta, protesters and the tears of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were to blame for the problems over his travel ban. In fact, his administration was widely considered to blame for problems associated with its rollout. (Jan. 31)

44.  Trump said the Obama administration “agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia.” The deal actually involved 1,250 refugees. (Feb. 1)

45.  Trump said the U.S. “has the most generous immigration system in the world.” Not really. (Feb. 2)

46.  Trump said the U.S. was giving Iran $150 billion for “nothing” under the Iranian nuclear deal. The money was already Iran’s to begin with, and the deal blocks Iran from building a nuclear bomb. (Feb. 2)

47.  Spicer called a U.S. raid in Yemen “very, very well thought out and executed effort” and described it as a “successful operation by all standards.” U.S. military officials told Reuters the operation was approved “without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.” (Feb. 2)

48.  Spicer said that Iran had attacked a U.S. naval vessel, as part of his argument defending the administration’s bellicose announcement that Iran is “on notice.” In fact, a suspected Houthi rebel ship attacked a Saudi vessel. (Feb. 2)

49.  In his meeting with union leaders at the White House, Trump claimed he won union households. He actually only won white union households. (Feb. 2)

50.  Conway cited the “Bowling Green massacre” to defend Trump’s travel ban. It never happened. (Feb. 3)

51.  Conway said citing the nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre” to defend Trump’s immigration order was an accidental “slip.” But she had mentioned it twice prior to that interview. (Feb. 3)

52.  Trump approvingly shared a story on his official Facebook page which claimed that Kuwait issued a visa ban for five Muslim-majority countries. Kuwait issued a statement categorically denying it. (Feb. 3)

53.  Trump claimed people are “pouring in” after his immigration order was temporarily suspended. Travelers and refugees cannot simply rush into the U.S. without extensive and lengthy vetting. (Feb. 5)

54.  After a judge halted his immigration ban, Trump claimed that “anyone, even with bad intentions, can now come into the U.S.” Not true. (Feb. 5)

55.  Spicer said nationwide protests of Trump are not like protests the tea party held, and called them “a very paid AstroTurf-type movement.” Although Democrats have capitalized on the backlash against Trump by organizing, the massive rallies across dozens of cities across the country ―  which in some cases have been spontaneous ― suggests they are part of an organic phenomenon. (Feb. 6)

56.  During an interview with Fox News before the Super Bowl, Trump repeated his debunked claim of widespread voter fraud during the presidential election. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Republican and Democratic state officials have said so, as have Trump’s own campaign attorneys. (Feb. 6)

57.  During an interview with Fox News before the Super Bowl, Trump repeated his false claim that he has “been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.” (Feb. 6)

58.  Conway said she would not appear on CNN’s “State of the Union” because of “family” reasons. CNN, however, said the White House offered Conway as an alternative to Vice President Mike Pence and that the network had “passed” because of concerns about her “credibility.” (Feb. 6)

59.  Spicer claimed CNN “retracted” its explanation of why it declined to take Conway for a Sunday show appearance. CNN said it never did so. (Feb. 6)

60.  Trump cited attacks in Boston, Paris, Orlando, Florida, and Nice, France, as examples of terrorism the media has not covered adequately. “In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it,” he said at CENTCOM. Those attacks garnered wall-to-wall television coverage, as well as thousands of news articles in print and online. (Feb. 6)

61.  The White House released a more expansive list of terrorist attacks it believed “did not receive adequate attention from Western media sources.” Again, the list includes attacks that were widely covered by the media. (Feb. 6)

62.  Trump said sanctuary cities “breed crime.” FBI data indicates that crime in sanctuary cities is generally lower than in nonsanctuary cities. (Feb. 6)

63.  Trump claimed The New York Times was “forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win.” The paper has not issued such an apology. (Feb. 6)

64.  Trump claimed the murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years. The murder rate rose 10.8 percent across the United States in 2015, but it’s far lower than it was 30 to 40 years ago. (Feb. 7)

65.  Spicer explained that the delay in repealing Obamacare was a result of the White House wanting to work with Congress. Unlike during the Obama administration, he asserted, the legislature ― not the White House ― was taking the lead on health care. Various congressional committees worked on drafting multiple versions of the bill that would become the Affordable Care Act ― a lengthy process that took over a year. (Feb. 7)

66.  Trump accused Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) of misrepresenting “what Judge Neil Gorsuch told him” in response to the president’s attacks against the judiciary. Gorsuch called Trump’s tweets attacking federal judges “demoralizing.” A spokesman for Gorsuch confirmed the judge’s remarks. (Feb. 9)

67.  Trump has repeatedly said he doesn’t watch CNN. But he had to in order to see and offer and opinion on the network’s interview with Blumenthal. (Feb. 9)

68.  Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has said that phone calls he made to Russia prior to Trump’s inauguration were not related to sanctions. According to a Washington Post report, however, Flynn held private discussions with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, before Trump took office, suggesting that sanctions against Moscow would be eased by the incoming administration. (Feb. 9)

69.  Trump took credit for Ford’s decision not to open an auto factory in Mexico and instead expand its Michigan plant. The company said Trump was not responsible for its decision. (Feb. 9)

70.  Trump told a room full of politicians that “thousands” of “illegal” voters had been driven into New Hampshire to cast ballots. There is no evidence of such a claim. (Feb. 11)

71.  During an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” White House senior policy aide Stephen Miller falsely said the “issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics.” Again, not true. (Feb. 11)

72.  Miller cited the “astonishing” statistic that 14 percent of noncitizens are registered to vote. The study the stat is based on has been highly contested. (Feb. 11)

73.  Trump said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was “cut off” on CNN for “using the term fake news the describe the network.” The senator was joking and he was not cut off. (Feb. 12)

74.  Trump accused the media of refusing to report on “big crowds of enthusiastic supporters lining the road” in Florida. There were a few supporters, but they were vastly outnumbered by hundreds of protesters. (Feb. 12)

75.  White House officials told reporters that Flynn decided on his own to resign. However, Spicer said during a press briefing that the president asked Flynn to resign. (Feb. 13)

76.  Trump denied in a January interview that he or anyone on his campaign had any contact with Russia prior to the election. However, The New York Times and CNN both reported that Trump campaign officials and associates “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” before Nov. 8. (Feb. 15)

77.  Spicer denied in a daily briefing that anyone on the Trump campaign had had any contact with Russian officials. (Feb. 15)

78.  Trump complained he “inherited a mess” upon being elected to office. The stock market is experiencing record highs, the economy is stable and growing, and unemployment is low. (Feb. 16)

79.  Trump disputed the notion that his administration is experiencing turmoil, telling reporters it is working like a “fine-tuned machine.” His poorly executed travel ban has been suspended by the courts, a Cabinet nominee was forced to withdraw his nomination, and Trump’s national security adviser resigned after less than four weeks on the job. (Feb. 16)

80.  Trump said his 306 Electoral College votes was the biggest electoral votes victory since Ronald Reagan. Obama got 332 votes in 2012. (Feb. 16)

81.  Trump said his first weeks in office “represented an unprecedented month of action.” Obama accomplished much more during his first weeks in office. (Feb. 16)

82.  Defending himself from charges of hypocrisy on the matter of leaks ― which he frequently celebrated when they pertained to his campaign opposition but now denounces ― Trump said that WikiLeaks does not publicize “classified information.” It does, often anonymously. (Feb. 16)

83.  Trump repeated his claim that Hillary Clinton gave 20 percent of American uranium to the Russians in a deal during her tenure as secretary of state. Not true. (Feb. 16)

84.  Trump said drugs are “becoming cheaper than a candy bar.” They are not. (Feb. 16)

85.  Trump said his administration had a “very smooth rollout of the travel ban.” His immigration caused chaos at the nation’s airports and has been suspended by the courts. (Feb. 16)

86.  Trump said the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is in “chaos” and “turmoil.” It is not. (Feb. 16)

87.  Flynn lied to FBI investigators in a Jan. 24 interview about whether he discussed sanctions with Russian officials prior to Trump’s inauguration, according to The Washington Post. (Feb. 16)

88.  Trump falsely suggested at a Florida rally that Sweden had suffered a terror attack the night before his speech. It had not, and Trump was likely referring to a Fox News segment on crime in Sweden. (Feb. 18)

89.  During his Florida rally, Trump repeated his false claim that the United States has already let in thousands of people who “there was no way to vet.” Refugees undergo the most rigorous vetting process of any immigrants admitted to the United States, often waiting upwards of two years to be cleared for entry. (Feb. 18)

90.  White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview that Trump “has accomplished more in the first 30 days than people can remember.” Obama accomplished much more during his first weeks in office. (Feb. 19)

91.  Trump said during his campaign that he would only play golf with heads of state and business leaders, not friends and celebrities like Obama did. Trump has golfed with world leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Most recently, however, he hit the links with golf pro Rory McIlroy, International Sports Management’s Nick Mullen and his friend Rich Levine. (Feb. 19)

92.  A White House spokesperson told reporters that Trump only played a “couple” of holes at his golf resort in Florida. A day later, as reports came out saying the president had played 18 holes with Mcllroy, the White House admitted he played “longer.” (Feb. 19)

93.  Trump said the media is “trying to say large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!” Sweden’s crime rate has fallen in recent years, and experts there do not think its immigration policies are linked to crime. (Feb. 20)

94.  Spicer said Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) asked for a meeting with Trump at the White House. John Weaver, a former campaign aide of the governor, said the president asked for the meeting. (Feb. 21)

95.  Vice President Mike Pence called Obamacare a “job killer.” Overall, job growth has been steady since it was signed into law. And the number of unwilling part-time jobs has also gone down, contrary to GOP claims. (Feb. 22)

96.  Trump claimed that he negotiated $1 billion in savings to develop two new Boeing Co. jets to serve as the next Air Force One. The Air Force can’t account for that number. (Feb. 22)

97.  During a meeting with the nation’s CEOs at the White House, Trump claimed his new economic adviser Gary Cohn “paid $200 million in tax” to take a job at the White House. Cohn didn’t have to pay taxes, he had to sell more than $200 million of Goldman Sachs stock. (Feb. 23)

98.  Trump claimed there were “six blocks” worth of people waiting to get into the Conservative Political Action Conference to see him. People filled only  three overflow rooms. (Feb. 24)

99.  At CPAC, Trump said that Obamacare covers “very few people.” Nearly 20 million people have gotten health insurance under the law. (Feb. 24)

100.  At CPAC, Trump said companies like Intel were making business investments in the United States because of his election. The company planned their new investments before the election. (Feb. 24)

Just 36 days into the Trump Presidency, buckle up for the lies to come. 

Missing posters like the one depicted above appear all over the 6th District as voters search for Bob Goodlatte.

Sixth District Rep. Bob Goodlatte has declined an invitation to appear at a town hall meeting organized by a local grass-roots organization demanding a meeting with him next week.
Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, was holding a scheduled telephone town hall with constituents Thursday evening, his spokeswoman, Beth Breeding, said. “Congressman Goodlatte’s staff notified the group earlier today that he is unable to attend,” Breeding said in an email Thursday.

Roanoke Indivisible, a local chapter of the national progressive organization Indivisible that has sprung to life in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, announced via Facebook a “People’s Town Hall for Bob Goodlatte” at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Charles R. Hill Senior Center in Vinton.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte has not held a Town Hall with his constituents since 2013, so we are organizing one for him,” the event announcement reads.

The leader of Roanoke Indivisible could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Man holding cardboard cutout of Bob that his staff uses during meetings and for photos with voters.

Goodlatte holds telephone town halls as one of his means of communicating with constituents.   To sign up, use a form on the congressman’s website:   Those who are signed up are invited to subsequent calls.

Cardboard cutout of Bob posed before mikes as if he is answering questions.

 Rest assured Goodlatte appears in person when its time to collect the paycheck.

At this time Goodlatte is leading a Congressional Delegation that is overseas touring and testing golfing venues.   The date of return to the Congress and work is unknown.

Folks at a meeting Goodlatte couldn't make it to.

Constituents press Bob Goodlatte, Tom Garrett for town hall meetings 

While first-term Congressman Tom Garrett, who represents part of the Lynchburg and Roanoke areas, hosted his second online question-and-answer session this week, veteran Rep. Bob Goodlatte hasn’t responded to demands from constituents who want to meet him in person, according to an organizer.

Pressure on representatives to hold town hall meetings is rising since Republican President Donald Trump took office along with a GOP-controlled Congress, according to news reports nationally.   Some elected officials who have held such meetings have faced hostile crowds.

A national group called Indivisible, with chapters in Roanoke, Lynchburg, Charlottesville and Harrisonburg, has led part of the effort.   While the 6th District’s Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, and 5th District’s Garrett, R-Buckingham, offer opportunities to communicate online or by phone, some constituents say those options act more as doors than windows.

Roanoke Indivisible claims Goodlatte has not scheduled an in-person town hall meeting since 2013.


So, “we did it for him,” reads a Facebook event announcing a town hall the group has scheduled in Vinton on Feb. 22.   Roanoke Indivisible has invited Goodlatte and his staff.

Goodlatte’s website, meanwhile, offers a sign-up form for constituents to participate in telephone town halls he holds.   Since 2012, Goodlatte has hosted 24 “town hall” meetings by telephone with nearly 189,000 constituents, an aide said in an email.

Besides the Roanoke Indivisible town hall invitation, at least two petitions circulating this week seek town hall-style meetings with Goodlatte.   About 100 people visited Goodlatte’s Lynchburg office Tuesday with Valentine’s Day cards protesting Trump’s and Goodlatte’s immigration policies as well delivering a 300-signature petition asking for a town hall meeting in Lynchburg, according to organizer Phil Stump.

An online petition out of Harrisonburg Indivisible requests Goodlatte hold a meeting by April 8 in Roanoke, Lynchburg or Harrisonburg, and had at least 380 signatures Tuesday evening.

Kala Melchiori, a James Madison University assistant professor of psychology, said she started the online petition after repeatedly contacting Goodlatte’s office about actions by the Trump administration and hearing nothing directly from her congressman.   Melchiori left messages with aides asking Goodlatte to appear in person, she said.

“I don’t know if he will ever respond to these requests.   It sounds like he hasn’t talked directly to his constituents in an open forum like this since 2013,” Melchiori said.   “It’s frustrating that he is our representative, yet the lines of communication seem to have a lot of barriers.”

In response to the online petition, spokeswoman Beth Breeding emailed a statement from Goodlatte.   “I meet regularly with groups or individuals who have requested appointments, attend community events, and correspond with constituents who have contacted my office via phone, email, postal mail, and social media,” Goodlatte said in the statement.   “In addition, I host telephone town hall calls that allow me to reach thousands of people at once and take questions from callers as they listen.   I appreciate the input of all of my constituents, and I am looking at their requests.”

Roanoke Indivisible members said they have made multiple trips to Goodlatte’s Roanoke office seeking a meeting with the congressman.

“We’re focused on convincing our representatives that even though they won these districts handily, that doesn’t mean they get to ignore their constituents that don’t agree with these maximalist policies,” said Ivonne Wallace Fuentes, founder of Roanoke Indivisible.   “We don’t believe there’s a sweeping mandate.”

The group’s mission is local and defensive, she said.

It’s working in partnership with two other grass-roots groups, Together We Will, which formed just after the election, and Strong Women Strong America, which organized the women’s march in Roanoke last month that drew an estimated 4,000 people.

Garrett, meanwhile, held his first Facebook Live town hall Monday night, answering questions compiled from social media posts, emails and phone calls.

The decision to host the live broadcasts did not arise from constituent pressure, he said Tuesday.

“We only started now because we are finally getting our legs under us and getting fully staffed up,” Garrett said via text.   “We have always been hands on.   Eight debates and 6,400 miles in one year on one car speak to that.”

Garrett anticipates hosting at least two live social media meetings per month, he texted Tuesday.   His Facebook page was to host another chat Wednesday night.

Garrett’s Facebook Live stream Monday drew participants from every locality in the district, he said.

Garrett expects to plan in-person meetings as he swings through the district, which is larger in size than New Jersey.   The summer will allow him more time in the 5th District, he said.

 Commentary: Donald Trump's constant lying threatens the American experiment 

"No man has the right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it ... Thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument."

— Abraham Lincoln, "Cooper Union Address," 1860

You may know me as an actor. I'm also a longtime supporter of election reform and opponent of partisanship. In 1999 I gave a talk at one of the last bipartisan congressional retreats, using what I had learned preparing to play Abraham Lincoln to warn against faction, partisanship's original name. The founders knew partisanship to be one of the few things powerful enough to destroy the great American democratic experiment. I had some great quotes. John Hume, a Nobel laureate for his work to bring peace in Northern Ireland, spoke before me. His experience made searing testimony. We did our best. It seems it didn't work.

Until 2008, when an effort called Unity08, led by Democrat Gerald Rafshoon and Republican Doug Bailey, to elect a bipartisan presidential ticket was defeated, I was a registered Independent. To vote for Barack Obama in the primary that year, I joined a party. Believing it to be the best use of what influence my career in show business might have, I've served, more or less quietly, for many years on the boards of Oceana and Refugees International. But working quietly doesn't feel like an option now. This feels like an all-hands-on-deck moment.

Yes, the word is lying — not negotiation, salesmanship, bluster, attention-getting, delusion, deception, braggadocio, exaggeration, bullying, alternative facts ...

The great issue of today is lying — constant lying in public. Lying is the ally of faction and, since President Donald Trump's rise to power, it is the greater danger. Yes, the word is lying — not negotiation, salesmanship, bluster, attention-getting, delusion, deception, braggadocio, exaggeration, bullying, alternative facts or any other euphemism. Once, President John F. Kennedy could say that our national problems were no longer ideological but technical. Lying on a grand scale has reversed that.

And it's hard to keep up. Trump has lied about climate change and the character and motives of refugees, about how asylum-seekers have been vetted in the past and how many have been able to enter the United States, about immigrants, and a long list of other matters. As with partisanship, the more lying there is, the worse it is. And Trump's alternative facts have meant nasty real-world consequences.

As lying comes easily to Trump, it should come first in every report about his administration. Trump doesn't lie about this and that, and he doesn't lie sometimes. He is a liar, a person who lies. This news should be reported everywhere.

Politicians have lied before, but this is not an old problem getting worse. Indeed, past presidents have sometimes paid dearly for the mere appearance of a lie. A man of great good character and a lifetime of public service, President George H.W. Bush said, "Read my lips," which was branded a lie, and he lost an election. Accusations of lying — "Lying Hillary" — tainted Hillary Clinton's run for president. President Bill Clinton told a lie in public and under oath and the scandal got him impeached. The impeachment gained some weight from the sound legal principle that a liar in one thing is likely to lie about other things. That principle should be applied to Trump.

By the frequency of his lying, Trump has revealed a truth we have avoided confronting: Like partisanship, regular and habitual lying is an existential threat to us, to our institutions, our memories, our understanding of now and of the future, to the great American democratic experiment, and to the planet. It blurs the truth, subverts trust, interferes with thought, and destroys clarity. It drives us to distraction.

It's impossible to overstate what is at stake. "I won," Trump says truly, following it up with lies about landslides, voter fraud and crowd size. Every American should be alarmed. It ought to be the lead in every article about him and his administration, no matter the subject. Lying at this level is a threat to the Republic.

Sam Waterston is a stage, film and television actor who serves on the board of Oceana and the emeritus board of Refugees International.

Stuck With Trump for 4 Years?

Are we really stuck with this guy? It's the question being asked around the globe, because Donald Trump's first week as president has made it all too clear: Yes, he is as crazy as everyone feared.

Remember those optimistic pre-inauguration fantasies? I cherished them, too. You know: "Once he's president, I'm sure he'll realize it doesn't really make sense to withdraw from all those treaties." "Once he's president, surely he'll understand that he needs to stop tweeting out those random insults." "Once he's president, he'll have to put aside that ridiculous campaign braggadocio about building a wall along the Mexican border." And so on.

Nope. In his first week in office, Trump has made it eminently clear that he meant every loopy, appalling word — and then some.

The result so far: The president of China is warning against trade wars and declaring that Beijing will take up the task of defending globalization and free trade against American protectionism. The president of Mexico has canceled a state visit to Washington, and prominent Mexican leaders say that Trump's border wall plans "could take us to a war — not a trade war." Senior leaders in Trump's own party are denouncing the new president's claims of widespread voter fraud and his reported plans to reopen CIA "black sites." Oh, and the entire senior management team at the U.S. Department of State has resigned.

Meanwhile, Trump's approval ratings are lower than those of any new U.S. president in the history of polling: Just 36 percent of Americans are pleased with his performance so far. Some 80 percent of British citizens think Trump will make a "bad president," along with 77 percent of those polled in France and 78 percent in Germany.

And that's just week one.

Thus the question: Are we truly stuck with Donald Trump?

It depends. There are essentially four ways to get rid of a crummy president. First, of course, the world can just wait patiently for November 2020 to roll around, at which point, American voters will presumably have come to their senses and be prepared to throw the bum out.

But after such a catastrophic first week, four years seems like a long time to wait. This brings us to option two: impeachment. Under the U.S. Constitution, a simple majority in the House of Representatives could vote to impeach Trump for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors." If convicted by the Senate on a two-thirds vote, Trump could be removed from office — and a new poll suggests that after week one, more than a third of Americans are already eager to see Trump impeached.

If impeachment seems like a fine solution to you, the good news is that Congress doesn't need evidence of actual treason or murder to move forward with an impeachment: Practically anything can be considered a "high crime or misdemeanor." (Remember, former President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.) The bad news is that Republicans control both the House and the Senate, making impeachment politically unlikely, unless and until Democrats retake Congress. And that can't happen until the elections of 2018.

Anyway, impeachments take time: months, if not longer — even with an enthusiastic Congress. And when you have a lunatic controlling the nuclear codes, even a few months seems like a perilously long time to wait. How long will it take before Trump decides that "you're fired" is a phrase that should also apply to nuclear missiles? (Aimed, perhaps, at Mexico?)

In these dark days, some around the globe are finding solace in the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. This previously obscure amendment states that "the Vice President and a majority of … the principal officers of the executive departments" can declare the president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," in which case "the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."

This is option three for getting rid of Trump: an appeal to Vice President Mike Pence's ambitions. Surely Pence wants to be president himself one day, right? Pence isn't exactly a political moderate — he's been unremittingly hostile to gay rights, he's a climate change skeptic, etc. — but, unappealing as his politics may be to many Americans, he does not appear to actually be insane. (This is the new threshold for plausibility in American politics: "not actually insane.")

Presumably, Pence is sane enough to oppose rash acts involving, say, the evisceration of all U.S. military alliances, or America's first use of nuclear weapons - and presumably, if things got bad enough, other Trump cabinet members might also be inclined to oust their boss and replace him with his vice president. Congress would have to acquiesce in a permanent 25th Amendment removal, but if Pence and half the cabinet declared Trump unfit, even a Republican-controlled Congress would likely fall in line.

The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.

The principle of civilian control of the military has been deeply internalized by the U.S. military, which prides itself on its nonpartisan professionalism. What's more, we know that a high-ranking lawbreaker with even a little subtlety can run rings around the uniformed military. During the first years of the George W. Bush administration, for instance, formal protests from the nation's senior-most military lawyers didn't stop the use of torture. When military leaders objected to tactics such as waterboarding, the Bush administration simply bypassed the military, getting the CIA and private contractors to do their dirty work.

But Trump isn't subtle or sophisticated: He sets policy through rants and late-night tweets, not through quiet hints to aides and lawyers. He's thin-skinned, erratic, and unconstrained — and his unexpected, self-indulgent pronouncements are reportedly sending shivers through even his closest aides.

What would top U.S. military leaders do if given an order that struck them as not merely ill-advised, but dangerously unhinged? An order that wasn't along the lines of "Prepare a plan to invade Iraq if Congress authorizes it based on questionable intelligence," but "Prepare to invade Mexico tomorrow!" or "Start rounding up Muslim Americans and sending them to Guantánamo!" or "I'm going to teach China a lesson — with nukes!"

It's impossible to say, of course. The prospect of American military leaders responding to a presidential order with open defiance is frightening — but so, too, is the prospect of military obedience to an insane order. After all, military officers swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the president. For the first time in my life, I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: "No, sir. We're not doing that," to thunderous applause from The New York Times editorial board.

Brace yourselves. One way or another, it's going to be a wild few years.

Washington Post

Rosa Brooks is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a former Pentagon official. Her next book, "How Everything Became War," will be published by Simon & Schuster in August.

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