Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UPDATE: Trump-Putin/Russian Connection Possibly More Rope to Hang Someone

Trump-Putin vs. Nixon-Watergate: Similar or Worse
(I'd have to say Trump is far, far worse)

Hey, Vlad WTF is up with those charges against “Artie”
(“Artie” = Andrii Artemenko)

Continuing and Widening Story (NY Times here):
Prosecutors in Ukraine are investigating whether a member of Parliament committed treason by working with associates of President Trump to promote a plan for settling Ukraine’s conflicts with Russia.
In court filings, Ukrainian prosecutors accused Andrii V. Artemenko of conspiring with Russia to commit “subversive acts against Ukraine,” and “in particular by advancing a proposal that could legitimize the temporary occupation of the Crimean peninsula.” 
(Note: Russia forcibly annexed the peninsula in 2014, a step that Ukraine, the United States and other governments have refused to recognize; Mr. Artemenko said his proposal would allow Ukraine to formally cede control of the territory to Russia, at least temporarily).
Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, posted a copy of the court filing to his Facebook page on Tuesday with the statement “Ukraine’s integrity is above all else.” The so-called “Artemenko plan” was reported on Sunday by the New York Times.
It outlines a series of steps meant to bring to an end the rebellion by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and to resolve the dispute over Crimea by allowing voters to decide whether to lease the peninsula to Russia for 50 or 100 years.
(Note: Settling those issues could give the Trump administration a path to lift sanctions against Russia).
As reported, Artemenko traveled to NYC in January to discuss the plan with Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, and with Felix H. Sater, a Russian-American business associate of the Trump Organization who scouted business opportunities in Russia for the company as recently as 2015.
Cohen said he delivered the proposal to the White House in a sealed envelope in early February to then (and now former) NSC Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
(Note: Artemenko is a little-known politician who has tried to brand himself as a Trump-style populist. He has not been arrested or formally charged with a crime).
More on this later, I am sure. Stay tuned therefore, this is potentially the biggest story in American history … 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Major Updates Not "Fake News" Not One Bit: Trump-Putin/Russian Ties Deepen

Major Reports: NY Times and Washington Post - Now More Credible
(Trumpettes Won't Believe It Nevertheless)

Two parts to this story and these two major headlines:

1.  “Pursuit of shady oligarch a test of DOJ integrity under Trump with Sessions as AG” 
2.  Trump's Russia scandal takes an unexpected turn”

Now, you have to watch this 20-minute segment (or maybe you saw it already) to see and get more details, which are truly shocking and quite revealing, but as many of us expected... 

A heluva great segment you have to admit, and a heluva lot to follow, and folks I wager it ain't pretty. 

Stay tuned, and as usual, thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Celebrity Apprentice President: Premier Primetime TV Show Jan 20, 2017 — ????

Host and Only Star: Donald “T-weeter” Trump
(Prop Master: Stephen “K-ick 'em in the groin” Bannon)

This post originally appeared at Robert with this heading:
“Democracy depends on a free and independent press, which is why all tyrants try to squelch it. They use seven techniques that, worryingly, (Then) (but Now) President-elect Donald Trump already employs.”
The following extracts were grabbed from here (Bill Moyers and Company)December 1, 2016). The 7 key highlights follow. More details on each item is at the site. Check it out – good stuff:
1. Berate the mediaAccording to an attendee at this event, “Trump kept saying, ‘we’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.’” Then he called CNN a “network of liars.” Another person who attended the meeting said Trump “truly doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment. He thinks we are supposed to say what he says and that’s it.”
2. Blacklist critical media. During the campaign, Trump blacklisted news outlets whose coverage he didn’t approve of.
3. Turn the public against the media. Trump refers to journalists as lying,” “dishonest,” “disgustingandscum.” Referring to the journalists at his rallies, Trump said, “I hate some of these people,” adding (presumably in response to allegations of Vladimir Putin’s treatment of dissident journalists) “but I’d never kill ‘em.”
4. Condemn satirical or critical comments. Trump continues to condemn the coverage he’s received from NBC’s Saturday Night Live. In response to Alec Baldwin’s recent portrayal of him as overwhelmed by the prospect of being president, Trump tweeted that it was a “totally one-sided, biased show — nothing funny at all. Equal time for us?”
5. Threaten the media directly. Trump said he plans to change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations.
6. Limit media access. In 2000, President-elect George W. Bush called a press conference three days after the Supreme Court determined the outcome of the election. In 2008, President-elect Obama also meet with the press three days after being elected.
7. Bypass the media and communicate with the public directly. The American public learns what Trump thinks through his tweets. 
I thought this was worth posting and as I said, very good stuff. Thanks for stopping by and a special thanks to Robert Reich and Bill Moyers.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump Travel, Living, and Security Expenses Are Skyrocketing to Record Levels

Just a Routine Day in Manhattan, bark, bark 

Mar-a-Lago retreat in FL

The headlines gives pause (Washington Post). However, Trump supporters who have blasted the Obama’s for their spending in the past, well, they don’t care. Now that headlines and extracts from the story:

Trump family’s elaborate lifestyle is a “logistical nightmare” — (and) at taxpayer expense

This past Friday (Feb 16), President Trump and his entourage were jetted for his third straight weekend to a working getaway at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, FL.

Then on Saturday (Feb 17), his two sons, Eric and Don Jr., with their Secret Service details in tow, will be nearly 8,000 miles away in the UAE attending the grand opening of a Trump-brand golf resort in the “Beverly Hills of Dubai.”

They and those of that ilk still blast the Obamas for wasteful travel spending and such. Ha… what a hoot. More here from this article – just the highlights with a simple premise re: the Trump Tower and other places where the Trump name is (that Golf course in Dubai) – the profits, paid for in our tax dollars goes into the Trump kitty.

Now, let’s be honest, okay? President and their families need protection – but I am not so sure about the two sons on personal business trips to far flung places with SS protection – why I wonder, but we can save that for later.

Now, if the W/H hits the road for Japan, India, Korea, Brazil, or some other place, it will be expensive – we all that too. But, what if they book at a “Trump International Hotel or Resort” there? Guess who gets the rent money and such? Pretty simple answer isn’t it?

Like this noted in the same article, re: Mrs. Trump living in NYC at Trump Tower:

Police officials estimate that it will cost New York $500,000 a day, or $183 million a year, to guard Trump Tower, where first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump are and possibly remain to live.
Also, Secret Service and Embassy employees paid about $100,000 in hotel room bills during Eric Trump's trip to Uruguay, where he promoted a Trump-branded building.
And, on top of just those two examples, if the Pentagon secures rental space in Trump Tower — needed for when the president returns to NYC — it could cost $1.5 million per year, according to the building's website.

Footnote from the article … I found very interesting:

Judicial Watch, a conservative group that tracked the cost of travel expenses for Obama, estimated that $97 million was spent during his eight years in office.

However, based on the first four weeks of Trump's presidency, which included three trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Trump is well on his way to jump past that figure by hundreds of millions of dollars.  

My summary: What racket and no wonder the Trump’s are great with deal making… this new government gig is a total, well you know what I mean? Here, to prove my point the Trump mascot and prized possession just showed up again right here on this page - welcome...!!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Enlist Healthy Illegal Immigrant Men Send to Syria to Fight ISIS: Um Mr. Trump

Fall In, Dress, Right Dress, Listen Up: Boot Camp Starts Right Now
(Option #1)

Get on the Damn Train: We're heading south
(Option #2)

The story headlines is startling:
Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigration roundups
First this background look at the former candidate who now sits in the Oval Office, who I now call the “L-in-C” (Liar-in-Chief).
Today’s post starts from here:
As many as 100,000 National Guard troops may be used by Trump to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border (Cite: A draft memo obtained by The Associated Press).
The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. Further, four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal — California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas — but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four — Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Then about this, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said: “[…] the AP report was 100 percent not true and irresponsible,” adding: “There is no effort at all to utilize the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants.”
(I note: What will Spicer and the W/H say if this report turns out to be true? – Punt certainly comes to mind).
Noteworthy from this not-true, irresponsible memo (Spicer labeled):
1.  Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo (which was written by DHS Secretary John Kelly.
2.  Using National Guard troops to operate inside non-border states also go far beyond past such deployments in that kind of effort.
3.  In addition to responding to natural or man-made disasters or for military protection of the population or critical infrastructure, etc., Guard forces have been used to assist with immigration-related tasks on the US-Mexico border, including the construction of fences.
Examples: In the mid-2000s, President George W. Bush twice deployed Guard troops on the border to focus on non-law enforcement duties to help augment the Border Patrol as it bolstered its ranks.
In 2010, then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer announced a border security plan that included Guard reconnaissance, aerial patrolling and military exercises.
In July 2014, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border when the surge of migrant children fleeing violence in Central America overwhelmed U.S. officials responsible for their care. The Guard troops' stated role on the border at the time was to provide extra sets of eyes but not make arrests.
The Federal program is called the “287(g) program” — so named for a section of a 1996 immigration law, which allows specially trained local law enforcement officials to participate in immigration enforcement on the streets and check whether people held in local jails were in the country illegally. ICE trained and certified roughly 1,600 officers to carry out those checks from 2006 to 2015.
The draft memo goes on to describe the program as a “highly successful force multiplier that identified more than 402,000 removable aliens.”
Noteworthy: Federal immigration watchdogs were critical of how DHS ran the 287(g) program, saying it was poorly supervised and provided insufficient training to officers, including on civil rights law.
President Obama phased out all the arrest power agreements in 2013 to instead focus on: deporting recent border crossers and immigrants in the country illegally who posed a safety or national security threat.

Key Points:
1.  Trump's immigration strategy emerges as detentions at the nation's southern border are down significantly from levels seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
2.  In 2016 for example, arrests were the 5th lowest since 1972.
3.  Deportations of people living in the U.S. illegally also increased under the Obama administration (however, Republicans criticized Obama for setting prosecution guidelines that spared some groups from the threat of deportation, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children – the DACA program (see below).
4.  Now, ICE officers arrested more than 680 people around the country in what Kelly said were routine, targeted operations (advocates called the actions stepped-up enforcement under Trump). 
DAPA stands for the “Deferred Action for Parental Accountability” program, announced in November of 2014 and modified the 2012 law with Executive Action by former President Obama. This program allows for certain parents, who meet the below criteria, to apply for and be granted Deferred Action. A grant of deferred action under DAPA means that, for a period of three years, you are no longer a priority for deportation. With a grant of DAPA you are also eligible to apply for work authorization in the US.  
DACA: In June of 2012, this program was announced. It stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” also called DACA 2012. The program essentially means that certain children, those who arrived to the United States prior to turning 16 years of age, would no longer be a priority for deportation. In addition to having arrived before the age of 16, in order to be eligible for DACA and meet a few other criteria.  
Boy, in summary – what a mess. But, the worst is yet to come and it isn’t going to be pretty – bet on it. Look in the mirror and ask: Where did my immigrant ancestors come from to live and prosper here as Americans. How many of them changed their names and why, like say from Drumpf to Trump (just to stay here)? 
Hey, just asking, but that did happen. On February 28, 2016, the host of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver [click link for the video] launched into a lengthy segment about Donald Trump, which  culminated with Oliver using Trump’s ancestral surname, “Drumpf.” In the video the portion begins at around 18:40 mark. Interesting isn’t it - I wonder why the name change (hiding something), so, papers, please...!!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump Turmoil Distraction Needed: Send Boots into Syria to Help Vlad and ASAP

Proposal on the Proverbial DOD Table
 (Holy Crap, So... Why Now???)

Very disturbing story. Extremely disturbing to say the least. My key question right now is: “Why and why now?”
Washington (CNN): DOD might propose that the U.S. send conventional ground combat forces (Let’s be honest: Commonly known as “boots on the ground, that is: infantry units and supporting units) into northern Syria for the first time to speed up the fight against ISIS. 
One defense official told CNN: “It's possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time.”  But the official emphasized that any decision is ultimately up to President Trump, who has ordered his defense secretary (SecDef James Mattis) to come up with a proposal to combat ISIS before the end of the month.
The move would significantly alter U.S. military operations in Syria if approved and could put troops on the ground within weeks. Until now, only small teams made up largely of Special Operations forces have operated in Syria, providing training and assistance to anti-ISIS opposition groups on the ground.
Conventional ground units that operate in larger numbers would require a more significant footprint of security protection both on the ground and in the air.
Note: DOD officials are characterizing the concept of deploying ground troops as a point of discussion, stopping short of saying it's a formal proposal
FYI: Don’t forget that Russia has a huge air contingent in Syria, basically bombing the crap of just about anyone regardless of tires, except those who are anti Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria and #1 mass murderer in that region today. So, the U.S. may enter that fray for what purpose other than to assist Russia in propping up al-Assad in that Civil War – for surely it is… thus aligning us with known war criminal and that would include Iran who also is a power player for al-Assad.
The U.S. must not enter that fray with ground troops. So, what is Trump possibly thinking and tying to accomplish: (1) Make his mark now; (2) help his pal, Vladimir Putin – for a ton of unknown reasons; (3) deflect attention from the White House turmoil; (4) show that he is strong and decisive; and (5) show he can create DOD jobs even as we move into our 16th year of non-stop combat in that region.
Bottom Line: This proposal must not happen. 
The question is: What are you prepared to do to help resist if Trump gives the green light? Again, what is purpose and threat to the U.S. and why now? It would amount to utter and complete insanity – 100 percent.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Trump White House in Turmoil and Even the Inmates Are Not Charge: SAD...!!!

My, my what to do now

Lead to this post was triggered by this interview – in case you missed it … it’s a keeper:

Stephen Miller - The President's Top Policy Adviser (Whew, boy)


comprehensive 2014 study published in The Washington Post found 31 credible instances of impersonation fraud from 2000 to 2014, out of more than 1 billion ballots cast. Even this tiny number is likely inflated, as the study’s author counted not just prosecutions or convictions, but any and all credible claims.
Two studies done at Arizona State University, one in 2012 and another in 2016, found similarly negligible rates of impersonation fraud.
Courts Agree: Fraud by Voters at the Polls is Nearly Non-Existent
The Fifth Circuit, in an opinion finding that Texas’s strict photo ID law is racially discriminatory, noted that there were “only two convictions for in-person voter impersonation fraud out of 20 million votes cast in the decade” before Texas passed its law.
In its opinion striking down North Carolina’s omnibus restrictive election law —which included a voter ID requirement — as purposefully racially discriminatory, the Fourth Circuit noted that the state “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.”
federal trial court in Wisconsin reviewing that state’s strict photo ID law found “that impersonation fraud — the type of fraud that voter ID is designed to prevent — is extremely rare” and “a truly isolated phenomenon that has not posed a significant threat to the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections.”
Even the Supreme Court, in its opinion in Crawford upholding Indiana’s voter ID law, noted that the record in the case “contains no evidence of any [in-person voter impersonation] fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history.”
Trump and his minions just cannot separate fact from fiction … as for Trump: He can never admit is wrong, or that he lost, or will lose. He cannot accept defeat – not when myth prevails. First, though, he will have to check with Alex Jones atInfoWars to reconfirm his suspicions.
Sad…!! (play on Trump's tweet conclusion)...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Biggest Untold and Not Fully Investigated Story: Trump-Putin Ties

Trump Call to Putin Late January 2017 

Original post follows this major update from CBS News which is directly related to his story subject:


1.  CBS News has learned that the 35-page dossier compiled by a former British spy is gaining credibility among law enforcement.  Before he was sworn in as President, Donald Trump dismissed the document, but sources tell CBS News that investigators continue to vet it to see whether there is any truth to the allegations. 

2.  At issue is whether the Russian government gathered compromising information on the president during his years of doing business in country as a private citizen. The FBI is leading the investigation but several intelligence agencies are also involved.  Typically an investigation of this scale would involve the sources and methods of the CIA and NSA. CNN first reported the sustained interest in the dossier by the intelligence community.

3.  The dossier first came to the attention of U.S. officials several months ago, and it took time for it to circulate. A U.S. official familiar with the document’s origin says that even people who discounted it initially have begun to take it more seriously. 

Original Post Starts Here:

I imagine that Trump-Putin call it went something like this? (a hunch only)
Trump to Putin: “Hey, Vlad destroy all my stuff, okay?”
(Translation): “Влад уничтожить все мои вещи, хорошо.”
Putin to Trump: “Хорошо я уничтожу его.”
(Translation): “Okay, I’ll destroy it.”

 A recent Saudi transaction (below link) highlights the complex issues at the intersection of Trump's political and business interests.

According to that DCist article in early February: “President Trump stepped down as head of the Trump Old Post Office LLC, the company that runs the DC hotel, and his eldest son is now at the helm. However, President Trump has not renounced his ownership stake and appears to continue to be enriched by the hotel even as Don Jr. manages it.”
Further, Mr. Trump has expressed his belief that as president, he is exempted from conflicts-of-interest laws, noted in the New York Times.
So, I wonder: Since he is “exempt” does that mean he can mix his office duties as president with family income connections and have no problemo?
Related to that is this story that is simply hiding: The (any) Trump-Putin/Russian ties and/or connections:
That story is from here (from Mother Jones): Even though there are mountains of evidence. Even though the implications literally include an existential threat to the United States. Even though it is, by any measure, the greatest scandal ever to affect this or any other administration … the story has utterly vanished from any media coverage – why is that?

If there is a bottom line or conclusion to this story, which seems impossible at this stage, is pretty simple I believe: We the People, the public have a compelling need to know and indeed right to know the truth about any Trump-Putin ties or connections - whatever they may be (or may not) have been. 

Who can argue with that logic?  Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

START Treaty: No, Mr. Trump, START Does Not Mean Begin a Round of Golf

Original START Agreement Reached in December 1987 
(Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev)

START Treaty Signed in July 1992
(Geo. H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev)

New START Signed in April 2010
(Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev)

Keep in mind that Donald J. Trump has the nuclear codes (carried around in a case known as the Football). Then read this story. Draw your own conclusion.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – February 9, 2017
In his first call as president, and with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump denounced a treaty (New START) that caps U.S. and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads as a bad deal for the United States (according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official with knowledge of that call).
When Putin raised the possibility of extending the 2010 treaty, known as New START.
Trump paused in the middle of the call, turned to his staff nearby and asked: “What is the START treaty?”
Trump then returned to Putin and told him that the treaty was one of several bad deals negotiated by the Obama administration, saying that “New START favored Russia.”
Then and right on cue, Trump started to talk about his own popularity (sources revealed).
Sean Spicer when asked for details said: “The president's conversation with President Putin is a private call between the two of them, and I'm going to leave it at that.”
Note: It has not been previously reported that Trump had conveyed any of his doubts about New START to Putin in the hour-long call.
Background: “New START” gives both countries until February 2018 to reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades. It also limits deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers. During a debate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump said Russia had “outsmarted the United States with the treaty, which he referred to as START-Up.”
Trump as usual then asserted (and just as usual, incorrectly), that it had allowed Russia to continue to produce nuclear warheads while the United States could not.
Note: Two Democratic members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (MA), both criticized Trump for deriding what they called a key nuclear arms control accord. 
Sen. Shaheen said: “It’s impossible to overstate the negligence of the president of the United States not knowing basic facts about nuclear policy and arms control. New START has unquestionably made our country safer, an opinion widely shared by national security experts on both sides of the aisle.”
Related Background:
3.  START III is here (NOTE: Never signed into law and not implemented).
So, who out there in Trump la-la land still thinks he is qualified and fit for the office … he was not prepared for that call with Putin. Details in the reference article listed above.
The #1 unresolved issue to date is the relationship (or not) between Trump and Putin). The public has a compelling right to know.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Final Permit for Controversial Dakota Pipeline Approved — Stay Tuned for Action

Outskirts of Dakota Pipeline Protest Camp, Cannon Ball, ND 
(Dakota National Guard Photo)

WASHINGTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant the final easement needed to finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a court filing Tuesday.
The line had been delayed for several months after protests from Native American tribes and climate activists. The $3.8 billion line, which is being built by Energy Transfer Partners
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation is adjacent to the line's route, has said they will fight the decision. The Army Corps had previously stated that they would undertake further environmental review of the project. The tribe was not immediately available for comment.
The 1,170-mile (1,885 km) line will bring crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale region to Patoka, Illinois, and from there connect to the Gulf of Mexico, where many U.S. refineries are located. The tribe had fought the line for months, fearing contamination of their drinking water and damage to sacred sites on their land.
Numerous activists who have been protesting in North Dakota have vowed to stay, although the primary protest camp is located on a flood plain on Army Corps land and is in the process of being cleared.
Their protests, along with those of climate activists, resulted in the Obama administration's decision to delay a final permit that would allow construction under the Missouri River.
FYI – and directly (or possibly not) related to this “deal.”
Trump's most recent financial disclosure form said he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 of Energy Transfer Partners' (ETP) stock. Any sale must have taken place since then. Related story here.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks did not say whether he also sold his shares of Phillips 66, which has a smaller investment in the same ETP project.
ETP CEO, Kelcy Warren, gave $100,000 to Trump's joint fundraising effort with the Republican Party, according to FEC records Hope Hicks said that donation would not affect Trump's decision making when he takes office (I note: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy analogy come into focus right about now, too – if you believe that BS – but the issue is “how do we know for sure”). 
Late in November 2016 The Washington Post reported that Trump had sold off his ETP stake.
But, here are three absolutes as we deal with this issue as well as the “not ban, ban” and other critical government business:
1.  Donald Trump lies about most anything factually. He denies most everything documented he has said. He relies on rumors and conspiracies more than anything.
2.  Paul Ryan ignores the truth or anything regarding questions about Trump lies when asked as he dances around any media question in that regard.
3.  Mitch McConnell can’t even spell the word “truth” let alone know what it means.
Time will tell. But one thing is clear: Those three make up the GOP “leadership” right now, and they simply can’t be trusted or believed about most anything.
As I always say – stay tuned.

Monday, February 6, 2017

CINC Trump: How Will He Act or React to Outcome of SGT. Bowe Bergdahl Case

SGT. Bowe Bergdahl and His Legal Team Today
(Photo in 2016)

SGT. Bowe Bergdahl and the Five Taliban U.S. Traded for His Release
(Photo in 2014)

Major update of the following previous post (follows this update) of this case:
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — President Donald Trump's campaign-trail condemnation of Army SGT. Bowe Bergdahl — charged with desertion while serving in Afghanistan — won't prevent the soldier from getting a fair trial say Army prosecutors.
Prosecutors are seeking to rebuff Bergdahl's assertion that Trump violated his constitutional rights to due process when, as a presidential contender, Trump called Bergdahl a traitor (see more on this below) and made other disparaging remarks.
Bergdahl will be tried in April on charges alleging that he put the lives of his fellow soldiers in jeopardy when he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
Even though Trump repeatedly suggested that Bergdahl should face stiff punishment, including being thrown out of a plane, prosecutors said in a court filing last week that any reasonable observer would understand that comments by the then-Republican contender amounted to campaign rhetoric and should not be taken literally, adding: “With regards to Mr. Trump's comments that SGT Bergdahl is a 'traitor' or committed 'treason,' such comments were clearly intended to be understood by their colloquial meaning. It strains credulity to believe that Mr. Trump was seriously suggesting that SGT. Bergdahl should be thrown out of an airplane.”
(I note: It may be hard to believe, except for Mr. Trump. I'm pretty sure he still believes it. Why not ask him and see).
Prosecutors also argue that the statements can't constitute unlawful command influence because they were made before Trump became president and because they were spread out among other campaign coverage.
(I note: Then by any logic, we have the right to know now what Mr. Trump's view since he is now the CINC). 
However, Eric Carpenter, a former Army lawyer who teaches law at Florida International University, said that potential military jurors could be influenced by Trump's comments even if he made them before becoming president, concluding: “The prosecution is in a tough spot. These statements are really indefensible, and they have the job of defending them. No one in the administration has disavowed those comments, so the comments still have life.”
Defense attorneys have asked that charges be dismissed because of the Trump comments. Their motion, filed shortly after Trump was sworn in as president on January 20, cites more than 40 instances of Trump's criticism at public appearances and media interviews through August 2016. Defense attorneys also will argue that potential jurors may feel obligated to agree with their new leader and would have a hard time ignoring the criticism.
Defense lawyers wrote recently: “The government does not dispute that he made those statements, and while some of them may have been outlandish, taken as a whole they clearly indicate his view that the harshest possible penalties should be imposed.”
Key Points:
1.  Bergdahl will be tried at Fort Bragg on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The latter carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
2.  Bergdahl is from Idaho. He said he walked off his post to cause an alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit.
3.  Bergdahl was held captive by the Taliban and its allies for five years. The Obama administration's decision in May 2014 to exchange Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners prompted some Republicans to accuse Obama of jeopardizing the nation's safety.

ORIGINAL POST STARTS FROM HERE re: Bergdahl to face General Court Martial – the highest level court: U.S. military prosecutors said in September 2016 at a preliminary hearing to establish probable cause that Bergdahl deliberately left his post.
The prosecutors said at the preliminary hearing, held at the military post in San Antonio where Bergdahl has been stationed since his return, that he launched a plan weeks in the making. 
Prosecutors also said there was sufficient evidence to hold him for trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
Major General Kenneth Dahl led the military's investigation of Bergdahl's disappearance and capture along with 22 others in the two-month investigation and interviewed Bergdahl for a day and a half. He testified at the hearing that Bergdahl was not a Taliban sympathizer and recommended that he serve no prison time as he characterized Bergdahl as an unrealistically idealistic soldier who left his post to report concerns about his unit's leadership to a general at another base, and then concludes: “I do not believe that there is a jail sentence at the end of this process.”
1.  SGT. Bergdahl walked off his post in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, and was captured by the Taliban and held for nearly five years.
2.  Eugene Fidell, a military justice expert and a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School, complained about political figures who have made derogatory statements about Bergdahl.  Fidell asked that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump 'cease his prejudicial months-long campaign of defamation against our client'.  Fidell previously has complained about Trump calling Bergdahl a traitor and should be executed.
3.  Some in Congress had called for Mr. Obama to be impeached over the swap of 5 Taliban detainees for Bergdahl … those issues are related, but we never leave a soldier behind. Period – get the details, but not for political stunts.
4.  Bergdahl’s intent was NOT to be captured or never return or come back to his unit after his mission to report poor leadership to a nearby General.
Article 85 UCMJ: Desertion. This is the most serious of the absentee offenses.
Remember the primary difference between AWOL and desertion is intent to remain away from the military permanently.
(1) If a member deserted, but voluntarily returned to military control: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 2 years.
(2) If the member deserted and the desertion was terminated by apprehension: Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 3 years.
(3) If the member deserted with the intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service (and example of this would be a member ordered to deploy to Iraq and then deserts to avoid the deployment): Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, and confinement for 5 years.
(4) Most-critical part: If the member deserts during time of war: Death or such other punishment (such as life in prison) as a court-martial may direct.
The legal issue with #4 is this: The U.S. is not in an officially declared war and that is the most important aspect of desertion in this case I believe. War was never declared in Afghanistan or in Iraq ... we have tended to use the term war loosely.
Sgt. Bergdahl should get some punishment ... that is what the court will decide and not those who have shown prejudice against him already at a lot of high levels across government. That has tainted the case.
That too is a critical part ... even Trump called Sgt. Bergdahl a “traitor and said that he should be executed.” *Update clip from Trump here via FOX - astonishing - listen carefully to Trump's words:
... How pathetic is that prejudice for someone who wanted to be CINC (Note: And, now is the CINC)?
Also, many in this Congress has blasted the President for getting him freed from the Taliban. That will surely impact the outcome.
Related from September 7, 2015:
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Military prosecutors have reached into a section of military law seldom used since World War II in the politically fraught case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier held prisoner for years by the Taliban after leaving his post in Afghanistan.
Observers wondered for months if Bergdahl would be charged with desertion after the deal brokered by the U.S. to bring him home. He was — but he was also charged with misbehavior before the enemy, a much rarer offense that carries a stiffer potential penalty in this case.
“I've never seen it charged. (Said Walter Huffman, a retired major general who served as the Army's top lawyer, said of the misbehavior charge). “It's not something you find in common everyday practice in the military.”
Bergdahl could face a life sentence if convicted of the charge, which accuses him of endangering fellow soldiers when he “left without authority; and wrongfully caused search and recovery operations.” Huffman and others say the misbehavior charge allows authorities to allege that Bergdahl not only left his unit with one less soldier, but that his deliberate action put soldiers who searched for him in harm's way. The Pentagon has said there is no evidence anyone died searching for Bergdahl.
“You're able to say that what he did had a particular impact or put particular people at risk. It is less generic than just quitting.” (Said Lawrence Morris, a retired Army colonel who served as the branch's top prosecutor and top public defender).
The Obama administration has been criticized both for agreeing to release five Taliban operatives from the Guantanamo Bay prison and for heralding Bergdahl's return to the U.S. with an announcement in the White House Rose Garden. The administration stood by the way it secured his release even after the charges were announced.
For those at the time of the Bergdahl-Taliban swap who said or now more so say, “See we were right, Bergdahl did desert his unit in time of war.”
Okay, following that line of reason for a minute.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that we took their word that somehow they know and thus declare without any legal process BTW, that he did desert, then what? Just leave him with the Taliban based on opinion? How would anyone ever know the truth?
Suppose he did in fact desert, isn’t he entitled to a fair hearing and trial and punishment according to the UCMJ?
To leave a soldier in enemy hands for any reason and under any condition is not the American way, or is it in GOP “logic?” The GOP see, we told you so crowd always deals in opinion, speculation, and innuendo.
First let me say that everyone is entitled to their opinion on this subject or anything else for that matter – but they are entitled to disregard the facts. They cannot make up facts and substitute them for opinion and pass it off as right and just. Until this whole thing plays out legally with Sgt. Bergdahl, then just watch and see. It was the right thing to have done from the start with the swap for his release. Now we must let the military justice process play out, and we must insist on the stopping the political grandstanding.
Sgt. Bergdahl is having his day in court so to speak and that is the military way. All this political crap now is sickening, and as I said not unexpected, but still sad and pathetic. The swap for the soldier was correct no matter the results we see.
If we ever lose sight of recovering a missing or fallen soldier no matter the circumstances then as a nation, a people, we will have lost our way.
The swap deal was appropriate at the time it was made for the right reason. Now let the process play out while stopping the political jockeying. That aspect is both unseeingly and quite frankly un-American.
Thanks for stopping by... this is truly an astonishing story. Just watching the outcome and especially how Mr. Trump will react (tons of Tweets I am sure) is worth its weight in gold... stay tuned.