February 8th, 2020


Today's News (2020/2/8)

Antarctica just hit 65 degrees, its warmest temperature ever recorded


By Matthew Cappucci
Meteorologist, Capital Weather Gang
February 7 at 10:56 AM

Just days after the Earth saw its warmest January on record, Antarctica has broken its warmest temperature ever recorded. A reading of 65 degrees was taken Thursday at Esperanza Base along Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula, making it the ordinarily frigid continent’s highest measured temperature in history.

The Argentine research base is on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Randy Cerveny, who tracks extremes for the World Meteorological Organization, called Thursday’s reading a “likely record,” although the mark will still have to be officially reviewed and certified.

The balmy reading beats out the previous record of 63.5 degrees, which occurred March 24, 2015.


Fox Doctor: Preventable Illnesses Are Running Rampant Because Obamacare Covers People When They’re Sick
February 7, 2020 Crackpots, State Television


“Americans are dying younger, from largely preventable disease and bad health policy decisions. And the problem that I have with this is heart disease alone costs about $230 billion to the United States, and the Affordable Care Act did nothing to help that except take away.

“They took away the incentivizations for good behavior choices, by saying that however you act, whatever you do, everything’s going to be covered.


Key impeachment witness Alexander Vindman expects to leave White House post in coming weeks, source says
Kaitlan Collins byline

By Kaitlan Collins, CNN

Updated 1:51 PM ET, Fri February 7, 2020

(CNN)Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry, has told colleagues he expects to leave the White House's National Security Council in the coming weeks to return to the Defense Department, a source tells CNN.

Vindman said his departure from the council could come as soon as this month, the source said. That would be well ahead of the scheduled end of his time at the White House, which was originally slated to last until July. Vindman was appointed to his post in July 2018 and was asked to stay for two years.

The source did not say whether Vindman's departure was voluntary or at the behest of the White House, though aides inside the West Wing had speculated it could come soon as the impeachment trial was over.

Trump on Friday would not directly answer whether he wanted Vindman out of the White House, only telling reporters on the South Lawn, "Well, I'm not happy with him."

"You think I'm supposed to be happy with him? I'm not," Trump said, adding, "They'll make that decision. You'll be hearing. They'll make a decision."


Kaitlan Collins [CNN White House Correspondent]
12:47 PM · Feb 7, 2020


News — Lt. Col. Vindman was just escorted out of the White House by security and told his services were no longer needed.


Key Impeachment Witness Vindman 'Escorted' From White House, His Lawyer Says
February 7, 20203:58 PM ET


Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Ukraine expert at the National Security Council who became a star witness in the House impeachment hearings on President Trump's dealings with Ukraine, was escorted out of the White House on Friday, his lawyer said, adding Trump had "decided to exact revenge."

"There is no question in the mind of any American why this man's job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House. LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth," David Pressman of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP said in a statement.

"The truth has cost LTC Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy. He did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day: he followed orders, he obeyed his oath, and he served his country, even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal peril. And for that, the most powerful man in the world - buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit - has decided to exact revenge," Pressman said.

The White House and National Security Council were not immediately available for comment.


Jennifer Jacobs [Bloomberg News]


NEWS: Alex Vindman’s twin brother Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, an ethics lawyer for the NSC, was also dismissed from his job today, sources tell me.


Lt Col Yevgeny Vindman, lawyer at NSC and Iraq veteran, was escorted off WH grounds “suddenly and with no explanation, despite over two decades of loyal service to this country,” his lawyer says. He “deeply regrets” that he will not be able to continue service at the WH.


Payback: Trump ousts officials who testified on impeachment
Feb. 7, 2020 at 9:37 am Updated Feb. 7, 2020 at 4:44 pm


The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Exacting swift punishment against those who crossed him, an emboldened President Donald Trump on Friday ousted two government officials who had delivered damaging testimony against him during his impeachment hearings. The president took retribution just two days after his acquittal by the Senate.


Robert Maguire


There's literally a Deutsche Bank whistleblower who came forward to say that suspicious activity reports involving Trump and Kushner were never filed with Treasury, but instead of looking into that, a Republican senator says we need to find out if Hunter Biden has any


Daniel Dale [CNN]


Trump says he'll do rallies even after he wins the 2020 election.


What President Trump’s company charges the Secret Service
By David A. Fahrenthold Feb. 7, 2020


President Trump’s company charges the Secret Service for the rooms it uses while protecting Trump at his properties. The charges have been as high as $650 per night for a Mar-a-Lago Club hotel room, or $17,000 a month for a cottage at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

Who pays these bills? U.S. taxpayers. That means Trump has a business arrangement with his own government. But the details of that relationship remain largely hidden.


The Post tried to decode this list. One surprise: at least 20 of the payments to "Trump National Golf Club" — worth $63,700 — weren’t to a golf club at all. Other documents, already released, showed they were payments to Mar-a-Lago. The Post learned that many of them were hotel bills for $650 per night — a rate far higher than the usual limits on federal hotel spending. There is no legal limit on what the Secret Service may spend on hotel rooms while its agents are protecting the president.


RNC Funded Roughly 11,000 Automated Calls to Jam Up House Democrats' Phone Lines Amid Impeachment Battle: Report
By Christina Zhao On 11/4/19 at 8:52 PM EST


The Republican National Committee (RNC) in recent weeks have reportedly funded thousands of automated phone calls to jam up the offices of dozens of House Democrats amid the fight surrounding the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Two unnamed sources briefed on the effort told The New York Times that the coordinated phone blast tactic aimed to shape public opinion of the investigation, as well as simply to tie up the phone lines of the elected officials. Approximately 11,000 calls were reportedly made as part of the scheme.

The calls were recently discussed at the so-called "Off the Record" dinner, an event attended by more than 12 Republican elected politicians, advisers and aides. Two unnamed sources who were briefed about the event told the Times that RNC officials discussed the phone jamming efforts during the dinner, suggested the calls were automated and admitted it was done to tie up the Democrats' phone lines.

RNC officials said the calls were not prerecorded "robocalls," and asserted that they used a vendor to survey voters. The voters that opposed Trump's official impeachment inquiry were then automatically offered to be connected to the offices of their congressional representatives, according to the officials.


Trump’s quest for revenge could mean the end of whistleblowing
He and his allies are killing a crucial tool of democracy


[This is one of those cases where you can seriously say "Obama did it first," and some of us were protesting it loudly at the time. This is part of his legacy, along with giving Bush and the GOP a pass on torture - a crime belonging both to him and to Pelosi - helping set the stage for where we are now. See:



Feb. 7, 2020 at 7:58 a.m. PST

President Trump and some of his allies in the Senate are kicking off the post-impeachment era with vengeance on their minds. In a speech on Thursday, Trump condemned “leakers and liars” and declared that “this should never, ever happen to another president, ever.” On Capitol Hill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Republicans plan to launch an investigation of the whistleblower who disclosed President Trump’s effort to coerce Ukraine to investigate a political rival. Graham threatened that they are “going to get to the bottom of all of this to make sure this never happens again.”

If they carry out this threat of state-sponsored retaliation, whistleblowing as we know it may be over. That would be a disastrous blow to government integrity.

Do not doubt that the eyes of our nation are watching this situation unfold. Federal officials will now think twice before reporting any wrongdoing they witness. Their reticence will only be magnified if Republicans exact a price by grilling the Ukraine whistleblower in a Senate hearing “to make sure this never happens again.” The same will be true if Congress lets executive branch officials fire or otherwise punish the whistleblower — as the Trump administration did to Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine.


King Donald to GOP: And Now—and Forever—You Shall Be My Servants
Trump’s performances Thursday told the world that corruption had triumphed. He learned exactly the opposite lesson of the one Republicans imagined.
Rick Wilson, Editor-at-Large
Updated Feb. 07, 2020 6:21AM ET


Are you not entertained?

In two speeches today, the recently acquitted and utterly guilty president of the United States, King Donald the Malevolent, let his rage, manias, and petty vengeances out to play, bellowing like a third-world warlord in a display of political performance art that was almost unbearably grotesque in its affront to American values, the law, and our collective sanity.

Like me, your first thought was likely that after today, only Americans fed on a daily drip of IV agitporn from Fox and Facebook believe Trump is morally or mentally fit for the task at hand. Trump is, QED, a man more suited to a padded cell, and a place to write his manifesto.


Seth Abramson


[THREAD, starting here]

The GOP is ignoring the grave danger inherent in Trump retaliating against the Vindmans, Sondland, Volker, Taylor, and Yovanovitch—whether or not he had authority to do so. Not only is there no evidence of wrongdoing by these folks, they're being harmed to *scare* whistleblowers.


Joyce Alene


Trump really learned that lesson: Trump is discussing firing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, w/advisors. Why? Trump is upset he let the whistleblower complaint get to Congress-in other words, that he followed the law.


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