Yesterday was another busy day in news.
1 – As predicted, Trump announced the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the Iran Nuclear Deal, re-imposing sanctions on Iran without help nor coordination from any of our allies. Trump says that the deal was bad for America even though the vast majority of foreign policy experts disagree. But his withdrawal has little to do with policy details, and has everything to do with destroying anything touched by Barack Obama. It also fits with a longstanding desire among many rabid conservatives–including Secretary of State John Bolton–to start a war against Iran. Bolton is among many notorious chicken-hawks who have no problem sending other people’s children to war to prove some egotistical point. This is a profoundly damaging withdrawal for our stature in the world, and could destabilize the Middle East in a new and dangerous way. However, it is possible that the other parties to the deal continue forward in concert with Iran, which would be embarrassing to the Trump team.
Our own John Faso issued a statement supporting the withdrawal and parroting Trump’s bogus rationale, which we can only assume was meant to appeal to Faso’s base here in the district.
2 – An explosive report emerged yesterday that Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a half a million dollars from a sanctioned Russian oligarch with ties to Putin, and the money went through the special account Cohen set up for the Stormy Daniels affair. Cohen also received hundreds of thousands of dollars into that account from pharma giant Novartis and telecom giant AT&T. Though speculative, the corporate payments smell a lot like pay-to-play, which could be a crime if Trump were involved. It’s not clear what the oligarch money was payment for, but there are many scenarios that involve criminality. Once again, Russia appears in the dealings of those close to Trump.
3 – The replacement for disgraced NYAG Eric Schneiderman will be Barbara Underwood, a lawyer who clerked for Thurgood Marshall and has argued 20 cases before the Supreme Court. She will serve as acting AG until a new AG is elected this November. Names are already being tossed around as possible candidates, including Preet Bharara, former head Fed prosecutor for the Southern District, and Zephyr Teachout, who announced on Twitter that she is carefully considering the possibility.
Faso shows little leadership, staying silent on the extreme corruption uncovered daily in the Trump Administration and occasionally supporting Trump policies after they have been formulated and announced. The GOP has become the party of a sleazy, corrupt, lying, vain, incompetent con man, and John Faso is squarely on board the Trump train. We need to work hard to fire John Faso this November. Keep resisting…