As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Mulvaney Says With a Straight Face that Trump Hotel Chosen for G7 on the Merits

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that President Trump has decided to hold the 2020 G7 meeting at the Trump National Doral Miami.

Incredibly, he appeared to maintain a straight face when saying the White House had selected the Doral because it was the best place to hold the conference and that the place would not earn a profit.

This is such sad and obvious self-dealing. Pretty gross, and pathetic of them to try to even defend it. And so unnecessary, to give Democrats something to pound Trump over just to promote this hotel.

According to the Washington Examiner:

“They are doing this at cost … it will be dramatically cheaper for us to do it at Doral,” Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney said the event would not be a free marketing opportunity for Trump, arguing “Donald Trump’s brand is probably strong enough as it is.”

The G-7 is comprised of seven economically powerful democracies and rotates annual summits among members, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The last U.S. summit was hosted in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland. In 2004, George W. Bush presided over a summit on Sea Island, Georgia.

Mulvaney said the Trump-owned property was considered after Trump recommended it to him, but that upon review of a dozen site options, “Doral was by far and away far and away the best physical facility.”

White House Admits Ukraine Quid Pro Quo, But Not Over Biden

According to the Washington Examiner:

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney admitted Thursday that President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in part because the president wanted the country to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory about the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers. 

“As vocal as the Europeans are about supporting Ukraine, they are really, really stingy when it comes to lethal aid. And they weren’t helping Ukraine and that’s still to this day are not. And the president did not like that … So those are the driving factors,” Mulvaney said. “Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely. No question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.” 

Trump directly referred to a “favor” he wanted from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the July 25 conversation that is the subject of a whistleblower complaint, but it apparently related to the 2016 election, not Joe Biden or his son, Hunter. According to the transcript, Trump asked Zelensky to look into cybersecurity company CrowdStrike’s conclusion that Russia hacked the DNC in 2016. 

Jonathan Karl of ABC News followed up with Mulvaney today, asking, “So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?” 

Mulvaney defended Trump’s decision to withhold the funding. “The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the things that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate,” he said. 

Trump Schedule || Thursday, October 17, 2019

10:30 am || Departs White House
12:45 pm CT || Arrives Fort Worth, Texas
1:45 pm CT || Holds two fundraisers; Fort Worth
3:40 pm CT || Departs Fort Worth
4:00 pm CT || Arrives Alvarado, Texas
4:20 pm CT || Tours Louis Vuitton Workshop – Rochambeau; Alvarado
4:45 pm CT || Delivers remarks at and participates in the ribbon cutting at the Louis Vuitton Workshop – Rochambeau Opening; Alvarado
5:50 pm CT || Departs Alvarado
6:15 pm CT || Arrives Dallas, Texas
7:05 pm CT || Delivers remarks at Keep America Great Rally; Dallas
8:35 pm CT || Departs Dallas
12:35 pm || Arrives White House

All times Eastern except as noted

Schiff Tried To Get Volker to Give Him the Answer He Wanted

This is why you should not impeach a president in secret. Look at these tactics. With a less strong-spited witness, this kinds of questioning, which one expects on a police state, would not occur.

According to Byron York in the Washington Examiner:

In a secret interview, Rep. Adam Schiff, leader of the House Democratic effort to impeach President Trump, pressed former U.S. special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker to testify that Ukrainian officials felt pressured to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as a result of Trump withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine.

Volker denied that was the case, noting that Ukrainian leaders did not even know the aid was being withheld, and that they believed their relationship with the United States was moving along satisfactorily, without them having done anything Trump mentioned in his notorious July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

When Volker repeatedly declined to agree to Schiff’s characterization of events, Schiff said, “Ambassador, you’re making this much more complicated than it has to be.”

The interview took place October 3 in a secure room in the U.S. Capitol. While the session covered several topics, the issue of an alleged quid pro quo — U.S. military aid in exchange for a Ukrainian investigation of the Bidens and a public announcement that such an investigation was underway — was a significant part of the discussion.

“[The Ukrainians] didn’t want to be drawn into investigating a Democratic candidate for president, which would mean only peril for Ukraine, is that fair to say?” Schiff asked Volker.

“That may be true,” Volker responded. “That may be true. They didn’t express that to me, and, of course, I didn’t know that was the context at the time.” (Volker has said he did not know that Trump had mentioned the Bidens on the July 25 call with Zelensky until the rough transcript of the call was released on September 25.)

“Part of the other context is vital military support is being withheld from the Ukraine during this period, right?” Schiff asked.

“That was not part of the context at the time,” Volker said. “At least to my knowledge, they [Ukrainian leaders] were not aware of that.”

U.S. Responded to Attack on Saudi Oilfield with Secret Cyber Op Against Iran

It’s just the opposite of how President Trump gets portrayed, you know?

People figured he’d be a bloodthirsty warmonger. But it turns out he’s been very measured, if direct, in some of his responses to world events. He genuinely sees military operations as a last resort.

Turns out that while many were demanding we blow something up in Iran in response to last month’s attack on Saudi Arabia, Trump decided to keep the response below the radar instead of doing something that could have escalated into a war.

According to Reuters:

The United States carried out a secret cyber operation against Iran in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh blame on Tehran, two U.S. officials have told Reuters.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the operation took place in late September and took aim at Tehran’s ability to spread “propaganda.”

One of the officials said the strike affected physical hardware, but did not provide further details.

The attack highlights how President Donald Trump’s administration has been trying to counter what it sees as Iranian aggression without spiraling into a broader conflict.

Asked about Reuters reporting on Wednesday, Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said: “They must have dreamt it,” Fars news agency reported.

The U.S. strike appears more limited than other such operations against Iran this year after the downing of an American drone in June and an alleged attack by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on oil tankers in the Gulf in May.

Trump Schedule || Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

10:25 am || Holds a joint press conference with the Italian president; East Room
Noon || Lunch with Vice President Pence
12:45 pm || Lunch with Secretary of State Pompeo
3:00 pm || Meets with the congressional leadership; Cabinet Room
6:30 pm || Delivers remarks at a reception in honor of Italy; East Room

All times Eastern

Beto Once Again Earns the Gratitude of the Republican Party

Desperate presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is the gift that won’t stop giving to Republicans. After promising to confiscate military-style semi-automatic rifles like our AR-15s, Thursday night he continued to reveal the left’s true colors with a vow to deny funding for religious institutions that oppose same sex marriage. How about religious institutions that oppose atheism?… Continue Reading

Two Adam Schiff Advisors Worked with the Whistleblower

Another scoop by the Washington Examiner: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff recruited two former National Security Council aides who worked alongside the CIA whistleblower at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations, the Washington Examiner has learned. Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018, was hired in February, while Sean Misko, an NSC aide until… Continue Reading