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Daily Archives: September 21st, 2019

If Botch McConnell doesn’t blink!. MA.

Jennifer Rubin 21 hrs ago

Reports: Trump’s UN meeting with Ukraine…
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
President Trump tweeted on Thursday as the whistleblower scandal was unfolding: “Is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call?” Actually, any sentient being knows that Trump has no idea what is and is not appropriate, so he would absolutely say something on a call that others found shocking. He told George Stephanopoulos he would take help from a foreign power again. He told Lester Holt he was thinking of Russia when he fired James Comey as FBI director. Trump is precisely the sort of person to say something deeply incriminating.
And that brings us to The Post’s latest bombshell: “A whistleblower complaint about President Trump made by an intelligence official centers on Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter, which has set off a struggle between Congress and the executive branch.” And it gets worse:
Two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian and political newcomer who was elected in a landslide in May.
That call is already under investigation by House Democrats who are examining whether Trump and his attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani sought to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping Trump’s reelection campaign. Lawmakers have demanded a full transcript and a list of participants on the call.
Trump and his fixer Giuliani, it has been widely reported, have been pressuring Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden based on a groundless theory that as vice president he was helping his son, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. (Biden was accused of getting a prosecutor investigating his son’s company fired. In fact, “The investigation into Burisma, Hunter Biden’s employer, had ground to a halt long before the prosecutor was sacked. A subsequent probe into the company’s owner was opened because of a request from Ukrainian legislators, not because of prosecutorial initiative.”)
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) adds this interesting account:

Chris Murphy
✔ @ChrisMurphyCT
A few weeks ago in Ukraine, I met w President Zelensky and we discussed the surprise cut off of aid and the inappropriate demands the Trump campaign was making of him. The obvious question everyone in Kiev was asking was – were the two things connected?

9:17 PM – Sep 19, 2019
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8,297 people are talking about this
All of this raises the question as to whether the multiple actions amounted to a “promise” by Trump to release aid in exchange for Ukraine’s help investigating Biden. Aside from possibly implicating bribery statutes, there could be no clearer example of a “High Crime & Misdemeanor” than in using government revenue to extort a foreign power to help you get reelected. Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me that such an arrangement would probably meet the definition “within the meaning of the Constitution’s phrase ‘Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ although it might well fail to meet the narrow definition of ‘bribery’ for purposes of criminal prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 201.”
But make no mistake: This would be the perfect example of conduct that might not technically be a crime but is obviously and blatantly a violation of the president’s oath of office and a threat to our democratic system. Former prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted, “If Trump promised foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating Biden’s son, that is obviously corrupt and should meet any definition of a ‘high crime’ for impeachment.”
Meanwhile, Giuliani made a wild appearance on CNN. Amid the accusations and insults, he acknowledged that “of course” he asked Ukraine to look into Biden. Umm. That’s a problem.
Even if you took the aid out of it, going to a foreign government to request dirt on a political opponent would be precisely the “collusion” (or illegal conspiracy) that Robert S. Mueller III was investigating. Using taxpayer money (foreign aid) to facilitate such an arrangement makes it doubly corrupt.
Now, we do not know whether this is the basis of the complaint and whether any Trump “promise” was part of a quid pro quo. That is why we need the whistleblower’s complaint released to Congress, a lightning-fast investigation and then, if supported by the facts, a call for Trump to resign or be impeached.
Along the way, there were be enumerable questions as to whether Trump or his attorney general ordered the complaint not to be sent to Congress. There will be questions as to whether Vice President Pence, who went to Ukraine recently and was asked about release of aid by reporters, or former national security adviser John Bolton (who was there as well) knew anything about this.
And of course, we’ll have to see what excuse Republicans come up with for not doing anything. (It was a joke! Deep state!) However, if the facts point to corrupt behavior, impeachment will be a necessity and a political winner for Democrats. And yes, this would be way, way worse than Watergate.


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Read more:
Jennifer Rubin: No patriots to be found: What is the matter with these people?
Jennifer Rubin: What we need to know about the whistleblower
Greg Sargent: As the whistleblower story gets worse for Trump, his corruption keeps spreading
Greg Sargent: Mystery of Adam Schiff and whistleblower takes dangerous new turn
Harry Litman: A whistleblower filed a complaint to the intelligence IG. Why is it being withheld from Congress?
The Post’s View: The Trump administration cannot withhold a whistleblower complaint from Congress


Michael Rosenberg 1 day ago
He excelled at that job, but his employer kept failing. The Lions did not win a playoff game in his nine years. Their ineptitude was comical, unless you cared. One coach hired his son-in-law to be defensive coordinator. A general manager decided on draft night to use a first-round pick on a player he didn’t even want. Veterans would join Detroit and tell Johnson about everything the team did wrong. Eventually he started to notice himself. The front office and coaching staff were rarely aligned. The massage therapist who was there on Fridays and Mondays would be gone the next year. Stuff like that.
Here is a story. In Johnson’s second year, quarterback Jon Kitna said—well, take it away, Calvin: “He left the meeting room one day, and he told the coaches and the whole team that we’re not gonna win a game if we go into the season with [this] system. Somebody should have listened. Because we were 0–16 after that.”
That year, Johnson says, “plenty of guys on the team [said], ‘I don’t know if I want to play football anymore.’ ”
Ah, but Johnson was young. He believed. His next position coach, Shawn Jefferson, asked if he wanted to be truly great, and Johnson said yes, and so Jefferson coached the hell out of him. Johnson calls Jefferson the best receivers coach “I’ve seen in the league.” In 2012, Jefferson helped Johnson break Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record, with 1,964.
That offseason coach Jim Schwartz decided not to renew Jefferson’s contract. “Maybe there’s egos that play [into it],” Johnson says. “I think that was part of it.”
Did he question the organization’s commitment to winning? “Of course. I can say that. And I say it more confidently after I left and saw the way other teams operate.”
Johnson was a highly paid member of a clown show, and he is nobody’s clown. He became the ideal NFL player in the least ideal NFL environment. But he paid for it. The year he broke Rice’s record, he injured a foot, an ankle and both knees. One finger was bent at a 90-degree angle. He says the training staff told him to get it fixed after he retired.
“It’s not about the welfare of the players,” says Johnson, who in his career missed just nine games. It’s “just about having that product.”
He does not think the Lions were different from many teams in that regard. He learned to deal, with the pot on Sunday nights and the work ethic his parents instilled.
“When I got to the league, [there] was opioid abuse,” Johnson says. “You really could go in the training room and get what you wanted. I can get Vicodin, I can get Oxy[contin]. It was too available. I used Percocet and stuff like that. And I did not like the way that made me feel. I had my preferred choice of medicine. Cannabis.”
He got used to concussions. “Bam, hit the ground real hard. I’m seeing stars; I can’t see straight,” he says. “But I know in a couple minutes I’m gonna be fine. Because I’ve done that plenty of times before.” In 2012 he told reporters he suffered one against the Vikings. The Lions said (and maintain) that he passed their concussion protocol, and Johnson later apologized: “I misused the terms nerve damage and concussion.” But he says now, “I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn’t seeing straight. And they wanted me to change my story.” Mostly, he says, he played through concussions because in his NFL that’s how you earn Employee of the Month.
Now ask yourself: When he retired—after just nine seasons, just 30 years old—did he leave too early? Or too late?

In 2012, Johnson signed a $132 million extension ($60 million guaranteed), promising his services through the 2019 season for substantial compensation. There is no disputing that Detroit had a right to ask for a portion of his signing bonus back. And Johnson paid it. But NFL contracts are not like normal employment contracts. Players get traded, shipped across the country. They get released. If the Lions had dealt Johnson, they would have had to eat the signing bonus. If he had said he was retiring for medical reasons, there’s a good chance he would have been paid.
Johnson took note when the Colts told quarterback Andrew Luck, upon his retirement last month, to keep the rest of his $32 million signing bonus. Indianapolis may have done that partly in the hope that Luck returns someday. But that team’s ownership also seems to understand that Luck played as long as he could bring himself to play.
Johnson says he almost retired after his eighth season, but his father told him he sounded unsure, so he kept playing. He knew the next year would be his last, such was his constant pain. He loved his coach, Jim Caldwell, but he’d seen good players leave and seen dysfunction rule.
Would he have played longer if the Lions had won more? “I think there is a very strong possibility.” He retired at 30. Barry Sanders, too, retired from the Lions at 30. Asked if this is a coincidence, Johnson says, “Not really.”
If this is business, Johnson figures, don’t pretend it’s anything else. Lions president Rod Wood has said publicly that reconnecting with Johnson is “a very high priority” and that he was in contact with the former wideout. But Johnson says they talked only once, when Johnson called the team to get some information for his accountant.
Johnson has told current Lions coach Matt Patricia that he will work with Detroit’s receivers—but not at the team’s practice facility. He has friends in the organization. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is his buddy. And yet… “I wouldn’t necessarily say I cheer for the Lions,” Johnson says. “I cheer for the players.”
He understands that by leaving early he abandoned some dreams. A Super Bowl ring. All-time records. Perhaps the Hall of Fame. But awards are compliments, that’s all. If he makes the Hall—if he gets that compliment—“that’d be cool.” If not, that’s fine too. He will not spend five years waiting for somebody to knock on his hotel room door in Canton to compliment him. “I don’t expect to get in on the first ballot,” he says. “But I do expect to get in eventually. I got 11,000 yards—but if that’s not enough, it’s not enough. If I don’t make it, I’m not gonna stop living life.” (Johnson’s 11,619 total yards rank 30th all-time; among retired players, his 86.1 yards per game ranks first.)
If he doesn’t get in, will he wish he played a little longer?
“No, I won’t,” he says. “I won’t think about it at all.”
The only approval Calvin Johnson needs is in the memorabilia room in his head: “I was a beast during that time; I was hands down the best receiver in the game. I’m not gonna argue with you, but I know I was.”
He holds up a pair of blue Nike cleats. He loved those shoes. He wore them for his last game. At halftime he was ordered to change into white ones. The NFL can control what’s on your feet until the moment you walk away.
Now Johnson lives in a beautiful, tastefully appointed nonmansion in suburban Detroit, a short walk from a lake. Twice a month he flies to Atlanta with Brittney and C.J. to spend the weekend with Caleb. He invests in real estate. His foundation awards scholarships to student-athletes in Atlanta and Detroit. He has two primary businesses: Locker Room Consulting, which helps players prepare for life after sports; and Primitive, the cannabis company he cofounded with former teammate Rob Sims.
He loves running his football camp, but he barely pays attention to the NFL. He plays golf. He goes snowboarding—and, yes, heads turn when a 6’5″ black guy flies down the slopes of Utah. He doesn’t care, though. Gawk at him, or don’t. Remember how great he was, or don’t. Pay him back, or don’t. It’s all fine. His teams went 54–90 in his career, but Calvin Johnson won.
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