Editors' pickPoliticsUSA

We now know that the current White House occupant is a delusional, autocratic crackpot

It’s one thing to come up with a lie to attack your political enemies. It’s another thing to actually try to act on that lie by attempting to have your political enemies prosecuted. That indicates that you actually believe the lie, which means that you are in a deep state of self-delusion.

Most of the reaction to the blockbuster New York Times report that Trump attempted to have then-White House counsel Don McGahn push the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey has been shock and outrage that he would vindictively attempt to abuse the power of his official office to attack his political enemies.

President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

Although there has been some considerable relief that McGahn rebuffed him,  the Times story goes on to further note that Trump’s lawyers did make a request to investigate Comey for allegedly mishandling classified information.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers also privately asked the Justice Department last year to investigate Mr. Comey for mishandling sensitive government information and for his role in the Clinton email investigation. Law enforcement officials declined their requests.

We also now know that despite McGahn’s warnings, Trump went on to bring this issue up again with deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Matthew Whitaker, who was chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

President Donald Trump on multiple occasions raised with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Matt Whitaker, who was then-chief of staff to Jeff Sessions, whether the Justice Department was progressing in investigating Hillary Clinton, according to a source familiar with the matter. […]

Anticipating the question about Clinton would be raised, Whitaker came prepared to answer with what Justice was doing on Clinton-related matters, including the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One investigations, the source said. The source added that Whitaker was trying to appease the President, but did not seem to cross any line.

This shows that it wasn’t merely an idle request that he made to McGahn at one point. Since that time, these investigations have actually been implemented and are ongoing, which is why Whitaker was providing him with status updates on them. On top of calling the special counsel investigation a “witch hunt,” Whitaker, who was handpicked by Trump to become acting attorney general, had previously stated that he thought Clinton should have been prosecuted for violating the espionage act.

In July 2016, after Comey announced that he would recommend no criminal charges be filed against Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state, Whitaker—a former US attorney now self-branded as a conservative legal watchdog—noted during a radio interview that Clinton ought to have been prosecuted. And he raised the prospect of Clinton being charged by a next administration, assuming it was not hers: “The statute of limitations lasts beyond the election. So if there’s a different administration, they may look at these set of facts differently and pursue charges.” In another interview at that time, Whitaker said Clinton should have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act, and that it was necessary to charge her in order to preserve the rule of law.

He also wrote a USA Today op-ed arguing that he would indict and prosecute Clinton.

One statute that Secretary Clinton could be charged with violating is 18 U.S.C. section 793(f). Under this section, a prosecutor must prove that:

•The person had lawful possession of information relating to national defense.

•Through gross negligence that person permits that information to be removed from its proper place of custody (or given to someone else, or lost, or stolen).

Although it might be intuitive that a secretary of State lawfully possess information that relates to national defense, the facts laid out by Director Comey also establish that this is exactly the type of information in this case.

If you actually read the statute it undercuts his case, because it says this:

(a) Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States,

[…]

with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; 

[…]

(d) Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document […] relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

[..]

(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed,

The FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server makes it clear none of that happened. All of the people in her email chain had clearance, so information was not “willfully delivered or transmitted to any person no entitled to receive it” and no information related to national defense was “removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of trust, lost, stolen or destroyed” because as Hillary herself said from the very beginning, there were no documents in her emails that were marked classified.

The State Department told this to the FBI, and they included in their report that only a few emails marked (C) for “Confidential” had been sent to Clinton and that two of those markers were included by mistake.

FBI report on Clinton Emails

So basically Whitaker has been threatening to a federal prosecution over a typo.

If you haven’t worked in a classified environment (as I did with my first job out of high school), you may not understand that the markings on classified documents are truly a big deal. Actually ensuring that computer printouts had the proper security markings was part of my job for the first couple of years and during that time Patrick Cavanaugh, an engineer who was looking to pay off his outstanding credit cards, decided to try and sell two marked classified documents to the Soviets by calling the Russian embassy in San Francisco. They hung up, but the FBI agents who were listening in called him back, then set up a meeting where they arrested him. He’s now serving two life sentences.

According to the OCA guidelines, these are the areas in which something can be considered classified as of Executive Order 13526.

  1. Military plans, weapons systems, or operations
  2. Foreign government information
  3. Intelligence activities (including covert action), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology
  4. Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources
  5. Scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security
  6. U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities
  7. Vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations,
  8. infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to national security
  9. Weapons of mass destruction

Hillary’s situation was nothing like Patrick Cavanaugh’s, nor did it apply to anything on this list except possibly item No. 2, but then discussing and interacting with foreign government was her job so of course that came up.

Screen_Shot_2018-04-22_at_13.23.39.png
Memo #4 from 2/14/17 is Marked UNCLASSIFED.

Some of his memos did have classified info and were marked as such, but he never openly discussed the contents of any of those particular memos with the press or during his testimony to Congress.

However, much of this point is moot because the power to decide what is and isn’t classified resides in the Original Classification Authority (OCA)— and the OCA in this both these cases happened to be Comey as head of the FBI, and Clinton as secretary of State. It’s just like Trump as head of the executive branch technically had the authority to reveal classified information to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and foreign minister Lavrov on the day after Comey was fired. That revelation—which was made in front of Russian media while U.S. media was kept out of the room—wasn’t an illegal leak because as an OCA, Trump had the authority to do it.

As far as deleting emails goes, that wasn’t something Hillary asked for. After sifting through her emails to meet the FOIA request from Judicial Watch, they asked her if she wanted to keep the rest. She said “didn’t need” them and the IT technician then changed the retention period on her accounts to just 60 days and deleted two backup copies that the attorneys had been using. This all happened months before the House issued a subpoena for her emails, and the final copy was only deleted later because the tech eventually realized he had missed it previously.

Screen_Shot_2017-05-15_at_21.57.42.png
Emails were not deleted to avoid FOIA

So there is no valid case against either Comey or Clinton—none.

Nevertheless, Trump cronies have reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails anyway.

Justice Department officials are taking a fresh look at Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of State, The Daily Beast has learned.

An ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions who is familiar with the thinking at the Justice Department’s Washington headquarters described it as an effort to gather new details on how Clinton and her aides handled classified material. Officials’ questions include how much classified information was sent over Clinton’s server; who put that information into an unclassified environment, and how; and which investigators knew about these matters and when. The Sessions ally also said officials have questions about immunity agreements that Clinton aides may have made.

All of this was covered in the original investigation, as shown above.

What’s worse than all this and has been lost in the weeds as people focus on McGahn’s pushback is the fact that Jeff Sessions did authorize yet another investigation into the Clinton Foundation and “bias” by the FBI, using U.S. Attorney John Huber from Utah.

Washington (CNN) Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not naming a new special counsel to investigate Republican-driven accusations against the FBI — at least for now.

Instead, Sessions revealed Thursday that Utah’s top federal prosecutor, John Huber, is looking into allegations that the FBI abused its powers in surveilling a former Trump campaign adviser, and claims that more should have been done to investigate Hillary Clinton‘s ties to a Russian nuclear energy agency.

Sessions’ decision to stop short of formally appointing a special counsel like Robert Mueller, detailed in a lengthy written response to three Republican chairmen on Capitol Hill, was not immediately condemned by those in the GOP who have recently ramped up calls to investigate claims of political bias at the nation’s top law enforcement agencies. And some top lawmakers even expressed encouragement for the move.

Again, Trump himself during the 2016 campaign debates specifically said that he would have a special prosecutor look into Clinton while apparently not comprehending that if someone isn’t currently in the White House or the chain of command within the DOJ, there would be no conflict of interest and a special prosecutor isn’t needed.

We now know he wasn’t kidding. He wasn’t issuing an idle threat and he wasn’t just gaslighting us: he was serious and his DOJ is actually conducting an investigation yet again.

If the DOJ needs to be investigated itself then that should be handled by the Inspector General and in fact, they have done that and found that there wasn’t any anti-Trump bias in the Clinton investigation despite the private text messages between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe’s counsel Lisa Page. Instead of going “easy” on Clinton, they found that Strzok and Page were both “very aggressive” in the Clinton investigation.

In particular, we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.

As we describe in Chapter Twelve of our report, most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, which was not a part of this review.  Nonetheless, the suggestion in certain Russia- related text messages in August 2016 that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact presidential candidate Trump’s electoral prospects caused us to question the earlier Midyear investigative decisions in which Strzok was involved, and whether he took specific actions in the Midyear investigation based on his political views.  As we describe Chapter Five of our report, we found that Strzok was not the sole decision maker for any of the specific Midyear investigative decisions we examined in that chapter.  We further found evidence that in some instances Strzok and Page advocated for more aggressive investigative measures in the Midyear investigation, such as the use of grand jury subpoenas and search warrants to obtain evidence.

This is on top of the fact that Peter Strzok himself wrote the first draft of Comey’s letter to Congress which revealed that the Clinton email investigation was re-opened to examine copies of Huma Abedin’s emails that were on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. That was pretty much the most anti-Hillary thing that anyone had done, since that letter pretty much cost her the election.

October 31st: Loretta Lynch and Comey discuss letter to Congress and issue of anti-Clinton bias in New York Field Office, a pattern of bias she says “has put us where we are today.” According to Lynch, Comey said it had become clear to him “that there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton. And he said it is, it is deep. It’s, and he said, he said it was surprising to him or stunning to him … and it was hard to manage because these were agents that were very, very senior, or had even had timed out and were staying on, and therefore did not really feel under pressure from headquarters or anything to that effect.” (IG Report, p. 387)

But it’s not likely that Huber will be investigating that, although the inspector general is supposedly still working on this issue.

Let’s also recall that months before former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired for his misstatement to the inspector general, Trump had been calling for him to be ousted since he also happens to be a potential corroborating witness for Trump’s interactions and obstruction with Comey.
Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/985856662866202624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 16, 2018</a></blockquote>”>

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What Hillary had to say wasn’t determinative. They had already talked to her lawyers, her technicians, and staff at the State department and could tell there was no deliberate attempt to violate the law. All she did was corroborate what everyone else had already said.

Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/984877999718895616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 13, 2018</a></blockquote>”>

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The inspector general report that Trump is hyperventilating over stated that McCabe didn’t initially admit that he had authorized a leak to the Wall Street Journal about an argument he’d had with a DOJ lawyer where he wanted to continue to pursue the Clinton Foundation investigation, even though the DOJ felt there wasn’t any evidence. The DOJ was not on board.

New details show that senior law-enforcement officials repeatedly voiced skepticism of the strength of the evidence in a bureau investigation of the Clinton Foundation, sought to condense what was at times a sprawling cross-country effort, and, according to some people familiar with the matter, told agents to limit their pursuit of the case. The probe of the foundation began more than a year ago to determine whether financial crimes or influence peddling occurred related to the charity.

This led to a confrontation between McCabe and the DOJ over the issue.

According to a person familiar with the probes, on Aug. 12, a senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe during the election season.Mr. McCabe said agents still had the authority to pursue the issue as long as they didn’t use overt methods requiring Justice Department approvals.

The Justice Department official was “very pissed off,” according to one person close to Mr. McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant.Others said the Justice Department was simply trying to make sure FBI agents were following longstanding policy not to make overt investigative moves that could be seen as trying to influence an election. Those rules discourage investigators from making any such moves before a primary or general election, and, at a minimum, checking with anticorruption prosecutors before doing so.

“Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” Mr. McCabe asked, according to people familiar with the conversation. After a pause, the official replied, “Of course not,” these people said.

This was the leak that McCabe was fired over.

What it shows was that McCabe was more aggressive about pursing the Clinton Foundation investigation than the DOJ under Loretta Lynch, who wanted him to back off because there really wasn’t anything there.

Bill and Hillary never took a dime from the Foundation. We know that because they published their tax returns. Hillary may have taken some meetings with Foundation donors, but then they also happen to be heads of state, so she would’ve taken those meetings anyway. Abedin and the State department ultimately turned down Clinton Foundation representative Doug Band’s request to reinstate their diplomatic passports when Bill Clinton decided to go to North Korea to negotiate the release of journalists Laura Ling and Una Lee from prison. So it’s not like Bill’s people got everything they might have asked for from Hillary.

What still isn’t clear is why would McCabe lie about authorizing this leak? Was he supposed to be embarrassed? As deputy director, he had the authority to release this information to the press and he didn’t need Comey’s authorization, and as it turns out he apparently has emails to prove that he did inform Comey about the leak. It just seems that both of them forgot about it.

But Michael Bromwich, McCabe’s attorney, told The Washington Post that claims of email evidence “clearly show that Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey that he was working with colleagues at the FBI to correct inaccuracies before the stories were published, and that they remained in contact through the weekend while the interactions with the reporter continued.”

Since he was fired, McCabe has issued a wrongful termination and defamation suit against Trump which is based largely upon these emails between himself and Comey where he says he did disclose the leak. If that’s true, he had no reason to later try and hide it from the IG—unless he simply forgot, which is what he told them later.

People shouldn’t be shocked that Trump tried to push the DOJ to go after Comey and Clinton, because he’s already done exactly that with McCabe. He did it when he took away John Brennan’s security clearance, he’s doing it anyway through John Huber despite multiple inspector general reports, and his primary complaint for nearly a year about the Mueller investigation is that the “hasn’t been going after the other side.”

Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1029354577559281665?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 14, 2018</a></blockquote>”>

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This has been his schtick for months, but it’s not just a gag, and it’s not just a ruse. He means it.

Trump told Chris Wallace the weekend before last that the entire Russia investigation “is a hoax,” that there was “no collusion,” and that “nobody did anything wrong” when he said he didn’t know about Whitaker’s long-stated view against the Mueller investigation.

“He says there’s no collusion,” Wallace pointed out.

“What do you do when a person’s right?” Trump shrugged. “There is no collusion. He happens to be right. I mean, he said it. So, if he said there is collusion, I’m supposed to be taking somebody who says there is? Because then I wouldn’t take him.”

Wallace noted that Whitaker is in a position to starve the Mueller investigation of resources.

“I think we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt,” Trump snapped. “The answer is probably we’re finished.”

Trump himself colluded with former adviser George Papadopoulos to violate the Logan Act and U.S. sanctions over Crimea by personally authorizing him to reach out to the Russians and other foreign leaders. Papadopoulos then colluded with Russian government officials and under orders from Jeff Sessions tried to gain access to the “stolen Hillary-related emails from the DNC” about which he had previously emailed Sessions and Stephen Miller, although since then he’s claimed he didn’t tell anyone in the campaign about the emails. However Trump campaign staffer John Mashburn testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he saw copies of emails Papadopoulous sent which mentioned the “Hillary emails” being in the hands of the Russians, although he hasn’t been able to produce copies of those emails—yet.

This is how Papadopoulos’ own attorneys describe things in their sentencing memo before he finally reported to the federal lockup in Wisconsin last Monday.

Donald Trump publicly named George as one of his campaign’s foreign policy advisors on March 21, 2016, boasting to reporters: “He’s an energy and oil consultant,excellent guy.” Three days later, on March 24, 2016, George met again with Professor Mifsud in London where he introduced George to a young woman named Olga, who Professor Mifsud claimed was a relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.Professor Mifsud and Olga led George to believe that they had the wherewithal to setup a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.Returning to Washington D.C., twenty-eight-year-old George witnessed his career skyrocketing to unimaginable heights. On March 31, 2016, he joined Mr.Trump, Senator Jeff Sessions, and other campaign officials for a “National Security Meeting” at the Trump Hotel. George’s photograph at this meeting flashed around the world via Twitter. Eager to show his value to the campaign, George announced at the meeting that he had connections that could facilitate a foreign policy meeting between Mr. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. While some in the room rebuffed George’s offer, Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr.Sessions who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it.

George’s giddiness over Mr. Trump’s recognition was prominent during the days that followed the March 31, 2016 meeting. He had a sense of unbridled loyalty to the candidate and his campaign and set about trying to organize the meeting with President Putin. George continued his discussions with Professor Mifsud and Olga –who he believed to be President Putin’s niece – about arranging a meeting between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. George kept the campaign in theloop and, in mid-April 2016, Professor Mifsud introduced George to Ivan Timofeev who claimed to have connections to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.Seemingly on a roll, George again seized this opportunity to try and organize a meeting between the campaign and Russian officials. Mr. Timofeev claimed to be in Moscow and for several weeks, George pressed him through emails and Skype calls about setting up a potential meeting.To say George was out of his depth would be a gross understatement. Despite being a young energy policy guru, he had no experience in dealing with Russian policy or its officials.

Nonetheless, George strived to organize a meeting with the Russian George joined Professor Mifsud for breakfast in London on April 26, 2016, with the intention of finalizing plans for the foreign policy meeting. It was during this breakfast meeting, however, that Professor Mifsud told George that individuals in Moscow possessed “dirt” on candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” Not knowing what to make of this comment, George continued his efforts to make the Trump – Russia meeting a reality. As he expressed in an email to Professor Mifsud, George believed that the meeting would be “history making.” While the meeting never occurred, George sincerely thought that he could be at the center of a globally significant event.

This is what started the Russia investigation, not the infamous Christopher Steele dossier, since the first portion of it wasn’t even written until July 20, 2016, which was four days after the Crossfire Hurricane investigation had already began following Australian diplomat Alexander Downer contacting the FBI about Papadopoulos and the hacked emails.

Lying about all this to the FBI, claiming that it had nothing to do with the Trump campaign, is why Papdopoulos was charged, sentenced, and is serving his time. Efforts like these are also why Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Cohen, and about two dozen Russians have also been indicted and charged.

The fact is that Manafort colluded with Oleg Deripaska and Yanakovych in order to promote the Putin agenda in Ukraine and the U.S for years. He and Rick Gates colluded with GRU asset Konstantin Kilimnik. Lying about Gates’ communications with Kilimnik is what Russian oligarch German Khan’s son-in-law Alex Van Der Zwaan was prosecuted for. Michael Flynn colluded with Russian ambassador Kislyak over sanctions, with Turkish President Erdogan over forcibly returning his political rival Fethulah Gulen, and with Saudi Arabia over a nuclear power plant deal with the same Russia company that bought Uranium One. Carter Page reportedly colluded with Russian deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Kremlin sfficial Igor Divyekin over “Russia having compromising materials on Hillary Clinton” and with top members of Russian oil giant Rosneft over a stock sale that went to Qatar. Don Jr. colluded with WikiLeaks after they shared backdoor passwords to an anti-Trump website with him. He also met with Marina Butina’s intelligence “handler” Alexander Torshin, and attempted to collude with Natalia Veselnitskaya and yet another GRU asset Rinat Akhmetshin to, again, “get dirt” on Hillary. Roger Stone, who still to this day has frequent late-night phone calls with Trump, colluded through Jerome Corsi (and possibly Randi Credico) with Julian Assange, then with WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 (which is also another GRU asset) via direct messages and managed to get ahold of the DCCC and DNC election plans from them as well as being tipped off about the release of the Podesta emails in “weekly batches.” Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and Erik Prince colluded with Saudi Crown Prince MBS and also the UAE crown prince on many items including the unjustified blockade of Qatar. Steve Bannon colluded with Cambridge Analytica to steal the personal information of millions of American voters, which just coincidentally happened to have been paid for by a Russian oil company, and also was remotely accessed from Russia before the election. Michael Cohen colluded with David Pecker and Keith Davidson to hide Trump’s affairs with Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. Cohen and Felix Sater, with Trump’s blessing and knowledge, also tried to collude with Russia to get Trump Tower Moscow built right up until June 2016 during the campaign (which was blocked by sanctions and would have been a clear Logan Act violation) and then also with a Ukrainian government official to get sanctions lifted against Russia for illegally annexing Crimea. Lastly, there was Trump’s own personal call for Russia to “find” Hillary’s deleted emails, which they apparently listened to and started attempting to spearfish her campaign staff the same night he made the statement, which is pretty collusion-y and coordination-y.

So when Trump says there was “no collusion,” he’s literally talking bullshit. Unfortunately, he may not even realize it’s bullshit anymore. He may have literally convinced himself that none of this ever happened, or that none of it matters somehow. That the Presidential Records Act just doesn’t count because Ivanka didn’t delete the government emails on her private Trump company server, she just didn’t forward those emails to her government account—as is required by law—until she got caught.

And his delusions aren’t just limited to the Mueller probe or Hillary Clinton. Last week Trump’s order for asylum seekers to only be accepted at select approved border crossings was slapped down by a federal Judge, whom Trump and the White House then—of course—attacked.

The White House on Tuesday blasted a federal judge for temporarily blocking the Trump administration from refusing asylum to migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

In a sharply worded statement late Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders excoriated the ruling as “yet another example of activist judges imposing their open borders policy preferences.” She vowed that the administration “will take all necessary action” to fight the decision.

Despite those desperate claims, this is the plain language of the law, as I stated at length last week.

Sec. 208. (a) Authority to Apply for Asylum.- 

(1) In general. – Any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance with this section or, where applicable, section 235(b). 

That’s pretty clear: how they arrive in the U.S. does. not. matter. Once they’re here they can legally apply for asylum, which is what the law has been for 50 years, but Trump doesn’t get that. He doesn’t want to get it, and he’s actively rejecting the truth because it doesn’t match up with the imaginary reality in his head. He’s sent troops to the border and—regardless of Posse Comitatus—authorized them to “protect” the Border Patrol agents from the “deadly migrant caravan” of bedraggled refugees who just finished their near-death march out of Central America to the open welcome embrace of U.S. federal troops.

President Donald Trump is expected to grant new authority to US troops on the Southwest border with Mexico to protect Customs and Border Protection personnel from migrants if they engage in violence, according to two defense officials and another US official directly familiar with the plans. An additional administration official tells CNN that the authority will also authorize protection of federal property.

Currently troops do not have any authorities that would allow them to intervene if CBP personnel came under attack unless they need to act in their own self-defense.

He said that he wants the soldiers to treat someone holding a rock “as if it’s a rifle,” but then he said …

“I didn’t say shoot, I didn’t say shoot”.

As if he doesn’t know what soldiers are trained to do to people who point rifles at them. And then of course, they did shoot, lobbing tear gas at toddlers—and he then claimed that they didn’t. But of course they did. 

President Donald Trump on Monday denied that federal agents along the US-Mexico border used tear gas on child migrants, but photos and videos show women and children migrants were among those caught up in an incident between border agents and a migrant group that rushed a border crossing Sunday.

At the White House, Trump said that border agents involved in the incident “had to use (force) because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas.”

“Here’s the bottom line, nobody’s coming into our country unless they’re coming legally,” he added. Trump also said the Mexican government “wants to see if they can straighten it out.”

He tried to justify this by saying that several border patrol agents were “badly hurt.” But they weren’t. Now the Mexican government wants an investigation of the entire incident while people on Fox and Fools say that the CS gas and pepper balls—which had previously been used against the Branch Davidians at Waco and Occupy in New York, respectively—were safe enough to use on your nachos.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” to discuss migrants trying to enter the United States, Border Patrol Foundation President Ronald Colburn said the U.S. Border Patrol was completely justified in firing gas canisters at women and children who were in the vicinity of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The type of deterrent being used is OC pepper spray,” he said. “It’s literally water, pepper, with a small amount of alcohol for evaporation purposes.”

He then went on to explain that the gas being used on children is so harmless that it’s edible.

“It’s natural,” he insisted. “You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it! So it’s a good way of deterring people without long-term harm.”

This is the same kind of delusion that Trump came out of the box with when he slid down that cheesy golden escalator and falsely claimed that Mexicans are “rapists” who are pouring into America, when in fact in fact the issue was really migrants being maneuvered into sex trafficking and prostitution on the southern Mexican border.

They’re an “invasion” and an “infestation” to him, and he can’t see why when someone says that Jews like George Soros are funding them and helping them get into the country, somebody else just might go shoot up a synagogue. Or they might try to send pipe bombs to Bill and Hillary Clinton and every Democrat they can think of.

He says he just “doesn’t believe” the dire climate change report that his own government scientists just compiled. He says that his “family separation policy was the same as Obama’s,” who didn’t have one. He claims the “world is a dangerous place” and doesn’t believe the CIA and when they say with “high confidence” that Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, because he’s got a pending arms deal with the Saudis, the value of which was dramatically inflated by an amateurish report drafted by Jared Kushner.

There was also a story reported by the Daily Beast that Trump got into an argument with vets visiting the White House over the scene in Apocalypse Now where Robert Duvall says “I love the smell of napalm in the morning, smells like victory” claiming that we really dropped Agent Orange on enemy troops in Vietnam instead of napalm. Agent Orange was a toxic defoliant we dropped to clear out some of the jungle in an attempt to make the fighting safer for our troops. We didn’t drop that on the enemy to hurt them—not unless the master plan was to have them die of cancer 10 years after the war—but Trump doesn’t know or care about the freaking difference.

When we think of “liars” we generally assume that the person in question actually knows what they’re saying isn’t the truth. Facts are one thing, but what they say is knowingly something else. This becomes even more serious when you’re dealing with someone who then decides to act on their own false statements. This means that they either are not fully aware that their facts are faulty (which means they are deluded), or they actually desire for their efforts to fail, which is just not rational.

Of course there are some people who have a tendency to self-sabotage, or are compulsive liars and gamblers who don’t have full cognitive functionality, and are acting out of impulse rather than logically. But it could be argued that even they know better than to bet on a losing horse when there’s no upside or reward to be had.

This man, and a fairly large portion of the GOP who have willfully joined #Cult45, are not fully tethered to facts and reality.

They are completely, totally, and absolutely delusional.

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