Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
NATO is furious at Trump delaying the military handover to Biden while 'there's a significant security situation underway with Iran that could explode at any time'
  • The Russians have hacked the US government. Iran has vowed revenge on America for the assassination of one of its military leaders. Yet Trump is mishandling the transition of the Pentagon to incoming President Joe Biden, sources tell Insider.
  • "We need the incoming Biden administration to be fully briefed and ready to deal with these very dangerous issues facing NATO's security," said the official.
  • Security sources are also unimpressed by some of the officials Trump is leaving behind.
  • "The refusal to coordinate the handover of the most powerful military force in the world in a united, responsible manner would be almost unthinkable," a NATO source told Insider. "Except of course it's 2020 and we are talking about the incredibly selfish, irresponsible asshole called Donald Trump."
The outgoing Trump administration's refusal to coordinate the handover of the Pentagon with the incoming Biden team, as well as the last-minute stacking of civilian positions with fringe national security figures, could not come at a worse time.

... "So there's been a historic breach of the American government's key networks, US troops and NATO allies are fighting together in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and East Africa, and it's coming on the year anniversary of the assassination of [Iranian commander Qassem] Solimani that Tehran has vowed to revenge," said a senior NATO official, who asked not to be identified criticizing a key ally."

... "First off, Trump doesn't appear to have any defense policies at all so there's not some grand plan here," said the former official. "If any of these figures are loyal to Trump it's as part of a cult attraction, not some ideological one because there is no ideology."


That's not to say the last-minute appointments — which include Anthony Tata, a former general named to the top policy position in November — do not pose risk, said the former official.

"These marginal figures like Tata — who could have never gotten this close to the top jobs, because in [Tata's] case he's completely insane — have a chance to pad their resumes with a title that can help them later to get consulting jobs," said the Obama era official.

Separately, the source said, a typical warning sign is when "you see them suddenly trying to pursue or lock-in policies — troops draw-downs, shifts in priorities from the Air Force to Navy — that are their personal ideological goals, or it's basic corruption where they're pushing last-minute policies that will benefit past and, they hope, future defense contractor clients."

... The "insane" comment is a reference to Tata's past. Before he was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Tata kept a lively Twitter feed, was a Fox News guest, and often made comments that were not moored in fact or reality. He once falsely accused former President Obama of being a Muslim, and argued wrongly that Obama was a "terrorist leader". He also said without evidence that Obama was a "Manchurian Candidate" in the White House.

An Army investigation in 2007 found a falsified legal document had been entered into his child support case, favoring his side. Tata told the News & Observer, "we cleared it up right away." He also slept with two women while married to his wife, an offense under military law, the News & Observer reported.

Before he was first proposed for the Pentagon policy job, Tata was such a minor figure in military affairs that Sen. Jim Inhofe said fellow Senators "didn't know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time," according to Defense News.

Trump and Melania abruptly decided to ditch the Mar-a-Lago New Year party that many of his supporters bought tickets for
  • President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are leaving his Mar-a-Lago club before its lavish New Year's Eve party.
  • The couple made their decision known at short notice, announcing that they would instead see in the New Year from Washington, DC.
  • CNN reported that some people have already arrived for the event, typically attended by hundreds. Tickets for past events have cost as much as $1,000.
A Mar-a-Lago member told CNN on Tuesday that they heard that at least 500 reservations had been made. Some 800 people attended the party in 2017, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Bloomberg News Senior Reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted that Trump was leaving the resort a day earlier than he planned, and would miss the party that "hundreds bought tickets for."

The event was organized despite the surging cases of the coronavirus in the US. It is not clear what coronavirus measures are planned for the event, CNN reported.

Neither Trump nor the White House gave a reason for Trump's early departure from the resort.

Trump was briefed on unverified intelligence that China offered bounties to Afghan 'non-state actors' to attack US troops
  • President Donald Trump was briefed earlier this month on unconfirmed intelligence reports that China offered bounties to non-state actors in Afghanistan to attack US troops, according to Axios and Politico.
  • "The U.S. has evidence that the PRC attempted to finance attacks on American servicemen by Afghan non-state actors by offering financial incentives or 'bounties,'" one senior administration official told Axios.
  • Trump received the intel briefing on December 17, and US officials are working to verify the information.
  • The allegations about China come after Trump largely dismissed reports over the summer that Russia offered bounties to Afghan militants to kill US soldiers.
National security advisor Robert O'Brien verbally informed Trump of the issue, and the unverified information was also included in the presidential daily briefing on December 17, Axios reported.

Hours after the Axios report on Wednesday, Politico reported that an administration official said the China intelligence is "less" credible than the reports on Russia.

Trump's kids won't lose their 5th Amendment rights and be forced to testify against him if they're pardoned, experts say
  • Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former attorney, told MSNBC that Trump's presidential pardons could backfire because people could be forced to testify against him without the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
  • The issue has implications for Trump's allies and family members, who could face investigations for matters entangled with Trump himself.
  • But criminal law experts say Cohen's interpretation of the law is probably wrong.
  • Potential witnesses could always invoke the Fifth Amendment for state crimes. It would take extreme circumstances to wave away its protections entirely, according to criminal defense lawyer Randy Zelin.
  • For issues like potential tax or financial fraud that could implicate Trump, the "continuing" nature of them means that pardon protection is limited, according to Harvard constitutional law professor and criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

House Republicans have virtually no chance of flipping the election results for Trump, but 140 of them still plan to vote against certification of the Electoral College count next week
  • At least 140 Republican House members reportedly plan to vote against certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6.
  • The vote would only delay confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, but has no chance of overturning the result of the November presidential election, which Biden won with 306 Electoral College votes.
  • President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have spent the weeks following the election working to overturn the results, and sharing false claims of voter and election fraud.
Several Republicans have come out against any effort to try and overturn the election for Trump.

The president has attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after he told senators not to join Trump's attempts to delegitimize the electoral votes.

McConnell is concerned that such behavior could cause Republicans the two Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia.

After Brooks and other Republicans met with Trump and Pence, Republican Senate Majority Whip John Thune said: "I think the thing they got to remember is it's not going anywhere. I mean, in the Senate, it would go down like a shot dog."

Trumpism
or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.