Why Trump attacks Cummings: Oversight of nuclear tech transfer to Saudis

Elijah Cummings. Transfer of nuclear technology to Saudis

Elijah Cummings heads the House Oversight Committee, and he is doing exactly that. Which is why Trump is attacking Cummings now. Because this report (PDF) is political dynamite. It says Trump and cronies are attempting to bypass regulations and rules about transfer of nuclear technology, to enrich themselves. This is blatant corruption and complete disregard for the country and its security..

Some quotes:

The Committee’s first interim staff report explained that whistleblowers inside the White House expressed alarm about corporate interests attempting to use their influence with the Trump Administration to bypass these concerns in order to serve their own financial interests in building nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia. The Committee received documents bolstering the whistleblowers’ accounts and showing frequent communications between these corporate interests and Trump Administration officials.

Boldfaced in the original:

Overall, the new documents obtained by the Committee reveal that, with regard to Saudi Arabia, the Trump Administration has virtually obliterated the lines normally separating government policymaking from corporate and foreign interests. The documents show the Administration’s willingness to let private parties with close ties to the President wield outsized influence over U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia. These new documents raise serious questions about whether the White House is willing to place the potential profits of the President’s friends above the national security of the American people and the universal objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

Barrack, of course. Flynn too.

A key component of Mr. Barrack’s plan, which he called the Middle East Marshall Plan, was to purchase Westinghouse Electric Company—the only U.S. manufacturer of large-scale nuclear reactors—using significant Saudi and Emirati capital, but with enough U.S. ownership to bypass scrutiny from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

In 2015 to 2016, General Michael Flynn worked closely with companies seeking to profit from the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, including by serving as an advisor to IP3, as well as IP3’s predecessor company. New documents show that in 2016, General Flynn informed his business partners about upcoming interactions with officials in Russia and the Middle East—including Russian President Vladimir Putin and then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince MBS—and offered to use these contacts to further IP3’s business interests.

On May 26, 2016, candidate Donald Trump was scheduled to give a major energy speech. New documents show that Mr. Barrack—Donald Trump’s personal friend, informal advisor, inauguration chairman, and campaign donor—shared a draft of the speech with Saudi and Emirati officials to coordinate pro-Gulf language

IP3 officials traveled to Saudi Arabia in December 2016—after the election and before the inauguration—to solicit a $120 million investment from then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince MBS in exchange for a 10% stake in IP3. The documents suggest that IP3 was soliciting these funds by highlighting its close ties to General Flynn and the support of the incoming Trump Administration for IP3’s plan to transfer U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Rep. Dina Titus calls for impeachment inquiry, emoluments probe

Dina Titus. Emoluments are bribes

Dina Titus (D-NV) joins the call for an impeachment inquiry and says she will focus on Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Specifically, she will investigate Trump properties in D.C. receiving bribes from foreign interests. Because that’s what emoluments are. And they are illegal.

She is my House representative and I am gloriously happy with this. Nevada flipped hard blue in 2016. Titus is chair of House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on public buildings

“As long as the president continues to personally profit from the Trump Hotel in Washington, he is essentially accepting bribes from giant corporations looking for sweetheart deals and from foreign interests currying favor,” Titus said in a statement.

Titus is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on public buildings, which oversees the General Services Administration.

Excerpts from her Twitter video:

“My decision isn’t based on my disagreements with the President’s policies or my disapproval of his temperament, though I have both, I’m calling for an impeachment inquiry because of the mounting evidence that Donald Trump has repeatedly broken the law to protect his own interests.”

“To be clear, misleading the public and the press is not an impeachable offense. But lying to law enforcement officials who are investigating the Russian attack on our democracy – and ordering his staff to do the same – are serious crimes.”

“And on its own, greed is not an impeachable offense. But after his election, Donald Trump refused to divest from his businesses despite obvious conflicts of interests. So now he’s profiting from foreign government officials who are trying to curry favor by staying at his hotels – even though the emoluments clause of the Constitution prevents the President from accepting foreign payments. In the Constitution, those payments are called ‘emoluments,’ but today you can just call them ‘bribes.’”

“Either way it’s unethical and illegal. The subcommittee I lead is going to recharge its investigation into those foreign payments when Congress returns to Washington in September. Rest assured I am going to demand answers.”

“My former college students know that the Founding Fathers never intended to allow the President to commit crimes whenever and wherever he wanted. I know it too. So it falls to Congress to make sure that no President is above the law – and for this President, that means an impeachment inquiry.”

Mueller testimony was damning. For those who read it…

Mueller testimony

I understand corrupt and compromised Republicans pretending the Mueller testimony yesterday was nothing. However woke lefties saying the same thing is obnoxious, and equally suspect.

Instead of focusing on what Mueller said, they focused on his delivery, attacking him (Hi Michael Moore) or attacked Pelosi (Hi Sarah ‘Debby Downer’ Kendzior.)

Pretty sure none of them actually read the transcript of what Mueller said, because it is seriously damning and that would interfere with their agendas.

I mean, here’s just a few excerpts. The president is a criminal.

NADLER: Director Mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him, but that is not what your report said, is it?

MUELLER: Correct. That is not what the report said.

NADLER: Now, reading from page 2 of Volume 2 of your report that’s on the screen, you wrote, quote, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment,” close quote.

Now does that say there was no obstruction?

MUELLER: No.

NADLER: And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally exonerate the president?

MUELLER: No.

NADLER: And your investigation actually found, quote, “multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian interference and obstruction investigations.” Is that correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

NADLER: Now, Director Mueller, can you explain in plain terms what that finding means so the American people can understand it?

MUELLER: Well, the finding indicates that the president was not — that the president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.

NADLER: But under DOJ — under Department of Justice policy, the president could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice crimes after he leaves office, correct?

MUELLER: True.

LOFGREN: So you wrote on — in Volume 1 that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. You’ve also described in your report that the then-Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, shared with the Russian operative, Kilimnik, the campaign strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states and internal polling data of the campaign. Isn’t that correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

LOFGREN: So you wrote on — in Volume 1 that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. You’ve also described in your report that the then-Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, shared with the Russian operative, Kilimnik, the campaign strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states and internal polling data of the campaign. Isn’t that correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

LOFGREN: Now, the Trump campaign wasn’t exactly reluctant to take Russian help. You wrote it expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, isn’t that correct?

MUELLER: That’s correct.

LOFGREN: So while the Russians were buying ads and creating propaganda to influence the outcome of the election, they were armed with inside information that they had stolen through hacking from the DNC and that they had been given by the Trump campaign chairman, Mr. Manafort.

JACKSON LEE: I direct you now to what you wrote, Director Mueller.

“The president’s pattern of conduct as a whole sheds light on the nature of the president’s acts and the inferences that can be drawn about his intent.” Does that mean you have to investigate all of his conduct to ascertain true motive?

MUELLER: No.

JACKSON LEE: And when you talk about the president’s pattern of conduct, that include the 10 possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, is that correct? When you talk about the president’s pattern of conduct, that would include the 10 possible acts of obstruction that you investigated, correct?

MUELLER: I direct you to the report for how that is characterized.

JACKSON LEE: You wrote on page 178, Volume 2 in your report about corrupt intent, “Actions by the president to end a criminal investigation into his own conduct to protect against personal embarrassment or legal liability would constitute a core example of corruptly motivated conduct,” is that correct?

MUELLER: Yes.

COHEN: Do you recall, and I think it’s at page 78 of volume 2, the president told Sessions, “You were supposed to protect me. You were supposed to protect me,” or words to that effect?

MUELLER: Correct.

COHEN: And is the attorney general supposed to be the attorney general of the United States of America, or the consiglieri for the president?

MUELLER: The United States of America.

RICHMOND: I want to reference you to a slide and it’s on page 120, and it says, “substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the special counsel terminated, the president acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn’s account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the president’s conduct towards the investigation.”

MUELLER: It’s accurate.

RICHMOND: Can you explain what you meant there?

MUELLER: I’m just going to leave it as it appears in the report.

RICHMOND: So it’s fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation?

MUELLER: I would say that is generally a summary.

LIEU: OK. I’d like to direct you to page 97 of Volume 2 of your report, and you wrote there on page 97, quote, “Sessions was being instructed to tell the special counsel to end the existing investigation into the president and his campaign,” unquote. That’s in the report, correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

LIEU: That would be evidence of an obstructive act because it would naturally obstruct their investigation, correct?

MUELLER: Correct.

LIEU: Thank you. So to recap what we’ve heard, we have heard today that the president ordered former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to fire you. The president ordered Don McGahn to then cover that up and create a false paper trail. And now we’ve heard the president ordered Corey Lewandowski to tell Jeff Sessions to limit your investigation so that he — you stop investigating the president.

I believe any reasonable person looking at these facts could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of justice have been met. And I’d like to ask you the reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?

MUELLER: That is correct.

1971 Checker Marathon Medicab

1971 Checker Marathon Medicab

A friend found this Checker Marathon Medicab in parts in a garage and restored it. The Medicab was designed to allow someone in a wheelchair to be rolled into it upright using a ramp. The fold-down back-facing seats in the back could be taken off and the wheelchair fastened to where they were.

The top is higher than regular Marathon. This was done at the factory by removing the regular top, then adding a custom top, which was expensive. The market was more limited than Checker had hoped so few were made and they lost money on them.

It is seventeen feet long. The front bumper weighs 300 lbs. When my friend drives it people are slack-jacked and when he parks it, a crowd forms around it. Only 6 are known to exist.

1971 Checker Marathon Medicab front
1971 Checker Marathon Medicab passenger back
1971 Checker Marathon Medicab driver side, back seat
1971 Checker Marathon Medicab dashboard

Los Angeles single-largest power source is still a coal plant in Utah

Intermountain Power Plant transmission line to Los Angeles.

The City of Los Angeles wants to shut down coal-burning Intermountain Power Plant in Utah. It currently supplies the city with 18% of its power. The shutdown is planned for 2025. However, new sources of baseline power (that runs 24/7) need to be built to replace it. The City plans to build a natural gas plant in the same location. It will still be polluting, just not as much. Solar and wind with grid-scale batteries are cost-effective now. However they still aren’t 24/7.

It’s complicated. L.A. wants to transition to completely clean energy. The proposed gas plant in Utah will be a stop gap measure until more renewables are installed. At least that’s the theory. Environmentalists understandably aren’t happy about plans to replace a nasty coal plant with a gas plant, that while better, is still polluting. L.A. says a gas plant there is needed to provide enough “firm generation” to allow transmission of future renewable energy projects to reliably send power to southern California. Critics say that can be better provided for in other ways.

LADWP officials say they have several reasons to build a gas plant in place of the coal facility.

For one thing, natural gas will help them keep the lights on. Solar and wind can’t be relied on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at least not without big amounts of energy storage. As the city works toward eliminating fossil fuels — its electricity was 30% renewable in 2017 — LADWP wants to keep operating some plants that can generate energy around the clock.

Reiko Kerr, LADWP’s senior assistant general manager for power system engineering, said the utility is working toward a 100% clean energy future.

“That’s coming. We recognize it,” Kerr said. “But we also recognize, if you go totally off gas immediately, you’re not going to be able to meet federal reliability standards, and that’s not acceptable either. So trying to balance those two is the real challenge.”