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A 'Drug Deal.' Wonkagenda For Tues., Oct. 15, 2019

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


Syrian government troops have begun moving into northern border areas to reinforce Kurdish forces after striking an uneasy alliance with their former enemies in order to hold back invading Turkish forces. Yesterday Trump shitposted he's doing a 360° by imposing sanctions on Turkey and calling for a ceasefire. Back home, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he's "gravely concerned" about the retreat withdrawal of US support. Without actually mentioning Trump, #MoscowMitch added a withdrawal, "would also create a broader power vacuum in Syria that will be exploited by Iran and Russia." Right on cue, this morning Russia announced its forces were patrolling the Turkish and Syrian border.

Here's a good 'splainer about who the Kurds are, and why the Kurds have begrudgingly aligned themselves with Bashar al-Assad and Russian forces in the wake of the US withdrawal from the head of the Kurdish Syrian Defense Force.

Trump's Mideast Move Creates Mayhem | The Daily Show www.youtube.com

Former senior director for European and Russian affairs Fiona Hill testified before Congress that Rudy Giuliani, (acting) White House chief of staff (and OMB Director) Mick Mulvaney, and US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland were running a shadow foreign policy operation in Ukraine. Hill reportedly told Congress that the whole thing freaked out her boss, former national security mustache John Bolton, so much that he told her to call White House lawyers, saying, "I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up." Hill added that the the bombastic Bolton said Rudy was "a hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up."

On top of THAT, Reuters is reporting that one of Rudy's company's was paid $500,000 for work he did with Fraud Guarantee, a company co-owned by one of his INDICTED Not American cronies. Giuliani tells Reuters he knows "beyond any doubt" there was nothing hinky about where the money came from, adding, "The money did not come from foreigners. I can rule that out 100%."

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! The Wall Street Journal reports federal prosecutors are investigating Rudy's business in Ukraine. According to the WSJ, Rudy's security company inked a deal with the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv to "streamline municipal emergency services." Curiously, Rudy was paid by Russian real estate mogul Pavel Fuks, not the city of Kharkiv. I guess there were only so many Fuks to give Rudy money. [Morning Maddow]

The Daily Beast gossips that Trump thinks all the LEAKING on his Ukrainium One conspiracy has been coming from John Bolton. It's possible, but it's also just as likely it's one of the other chatty Javankas.

With Congress returning from the fall recess today, there's a bunch of things happening on the #impeachment calendar. Later today the deputy assistant secretary of State dealing with former Soviet "shithole countries" George Kent will spill his guts to the House about all the shenanigans in Ukraine. Gordon Sondland, the super rich Trump donor and hotelier who's been serving as US ambassador to the EU, is expected to testify. WaPo has a deep dive into Sondland's foray into politics as a GOP bundler with a hard-on for an ambassadorship. Sondland once told a bunch of businessmen how "there was always a quid pro quo" in dealing with elected officials.

Roll Call reports the Freedom Caucus is going to try and lead the defense against impeachment. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast gossips pro-impeachment groups intend to tie Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Trump as the impeachment process moves forward.

Super rich guy Mike Bloomberg says he might run for president in 2020. For years Bloomberg has had wet dreams about buying his way into higher office, but after seeing Joe Biden hemorrhage support while Sen. Elizabeth Warren continues her climb to the top, the 77-year-old Bloomberg has been stewing about his future.

Elizabeth Warren is now at the top of several polls heading into tonight's Democratic debate. The debate should stretch from 8 to 11 p.m. ET. It will feature 12 Democratic candidates. and be streamed on social media and on CNN. As always, we'll be here (getting drunk) with you!

After spending a couple days running around screaming the election was "rigged," DINO Rep. Tulsi Gabbard says she'll show up at the DNC debate tonight. The New York Times writes Gabbard has been getting curious praise from Russian bots, alt-right trolls, anti-Semites, and white nationalists since she started screaming about "rigging."

The state of Ohio was about to purge 235,000 people from the voter rolls last month, but it hit a snag upon review. Analysis of the potential purge list showed 40,000 people -- almost one in five -- were erroneously added. One person reviewing the list was Jen Miller, the director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, who says she was an active voter who went to the polls three times last year.

For a depressing stroll down down Memory Lane, career diplomat William Burns writes in Foreign Affairs that Trump's suffocation of the US diplomacy is oddly similar to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-Commie campaign in the 1950s. Back then, over 80 State Department employees bailed out of the service. Coincidentally, McCarthy was assisted by Roy Cohn, a man who later became Trump's personal lawyer and mentor.

Hunter Biden finally emerged to defend himself against Trump World's Ukrainium One hooey. Hunter tells ABC while he's been an A Idiot in the past, he never did any criming in Ukraine, nor did he ever talk to his dad about his business in "shithole countries."

Today is Trump's 999th day in in office, and as of October 9, the Washington Post reports Trump has made 13,345 "false or misleading claims." By WaPo's own cocktail napkin math, that's about 14 bullshit statements a day on things like WALL, the success of the US economy, and his losing money while being president.

Let's all have a giggle about Rudy's latest divorce, and remember all the tabloid gossip about his peener.

In his new book, Ronan Farrow writes that American Media, Inc. and the National Enquirer shredded a bunch of Trump-related stuff in their safe of secrets after the Wall Street Journal began sniffing around the edges of Trump's porn star payments. As usual, AMI is denying everything.

Former White House loudmouth Sean Spicer ruined a classic children's movie by attempting to Quickstep on a D-list celebrity dancing show. [Video]

Sean Spicer's Quickstep - Dancing with the Stars www.youtube.com


And here's your morning Nice Time: BABY GOATS!

Welcome Rhubarb's Quads! www.youtube.com


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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.

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