Thursday, August 11, 2022

Something to Know - 11 August

Desiring to prove that he is the boss of all mob bosses, Trump took the 5th on every question yesterday.    Now, he is worried that he has a rat in his nest at MarredAlago.  If truth be told, somebody implanted a listening device into his fold-over clump of fake hair, so he should seriously fire his hairdresser.   In other serious related matters, the folks who are in charge of establishing a presidential library for #45, there is this proposed rendering of ----
Trump Presidential Library

New ceramic toilet bowl near grey wall,

Open in browser

Today, President Joe Biden signed into law the now-bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022. It will expand medical coverage for veterans exposed to burn pits during their service. This law is named for Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, an Ohio Army National Guardsman who was diagnosed with a rare cancer after his service, during which he was exposed to toxic substances in the burn pits. He died in 2020, leaving behind his wife and his 8-year-old daughter.

This law is personal for President Biden. His son Beau also came home from military service that had exposed him to toxic burn pits in Iraq, and he, too, died of cancer—brain cancer, in his case—at the age of 46.

Also today, the Department of Labor released a report showing that there was zero inflation last month (expectations were for an increase of 0.2%). That means that dropping prices, primarily for gasoline, canceled out the price of other things rising. In addition, core inflation, which excludes food and energy—always volatile—dropped significantly for the first time in months. Inflation for the year remains at a high 8.5%.

Biden was pleased enough about the new numbers that he talked about them before his remarks at the bill signing. Putting the lower inflation numbers together with last week's booming report of 528,000 new jobs last month and 3.5% unemployment—the lowest in decades—"it underscores the kind of economy we've been building," he said. "That's what happens when you build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. The wealthy do very well, and everyone has a chance. It gives everyone a chance to make progress."

Today, the Justice Department charged a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of plotting to murder Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, likely in retaliation for the January 2020 killing of Qasem Soleimani. "The Justice Department has the solemn duty to defend our citizens from hostile governments who seek to hurt or kill them," Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division said. Bolton issued a statement thanking the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Secret Service.

Federal investigators also delivered subpoenas today to several Republicans in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, not necessarily because they are targets of an investigation, but because they may have important information surrounding the efforts of Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) to gather fake electors to overturn the 2020 election. Perry announced yesterday that the FBI had taken his phone.

The fallout continues from the FBI search of former president Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida. Trump and his supporters have begun to circle around the idea that the FBI agents "planted" evidence while they were there, which suggests they're afraid of what's going to turn up. While right-wing figures are saying Trump's lawyers were not present during the search, two of them—Christina Bobb and Lindsey Halligan—confirmed to Politico that they were there. Remember, while the Department of Justice can't say what was in the warrant or what they took, Trump could but is choosing not to.

Meanwhile, there are reports that a close associate flipped on Trump to tell the Department of Justice what was at Mar-a-Lago that they might want to see. It is crucial to remember that anything we hear is coming from Trump supporters; the Department of Justice is not talking. So rumors are just that—rumors—although this one has been reported in multiple places, so I am making a note of it.

What is not just a rumor is that Trump testified under oath today in the civil case being investigated by New York attorney general Letitia James regarding the widely different valuations of Trump's properties for purposes of taxes versus security for loans. Trump answered a single question only about his name, then pleaded his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to avoid incriminating himself. He said he "declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution." Then, from about 9:30 to around 3:00, aside from breaks, he responded to questions with "Same answer."

Like his father, Eric Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment during his October 2020 deposition in the same case, pleading the Fifth more than 500 times.

In civil cases, jurors can make negative inferences from an invocation of the Fifth Amendment. If James brings charges, today's deposition will strengthen her case.

More than that, though, Trump made history today by becoming the first U.S. president to plead the Fifth. It is an astonishing thing to see that a former president, the person who was responsible for faithfully executing the laws of our nation, has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.


"The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."

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