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House Democrats Champing at the Bit to Get at Trump

President Donald Trump is in for a new world of pain as putative House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promises unrelenting oversight on the president a day after Democrats regained control of the House in the Nov. 6 midterms.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Donald Trump is in for a new world of pain as putative House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promises unrelenting oversight on the president a day after Democrats regained control of the House in the Nov. 6 midterms.

Pelosi pledged a new era of congressional scrutiny over Trump, brushing aside the White House’s unrealistic threats of political warfare if Democrats launch investigations into his business and political affairs.

“We have a constitutional responsibility for oversight,” said Pelosi. “This doesn’t mean we go looking for a fight. But it means that if we see a need to go forward, we will.”

The Democrats will take control of the House on Jan. 1, 2019 when the 116th Congress convenes. The lame duck 115th Congress is expected to do nothing significant until then. A split Congress where Democrats control the House and Republicns the Senate guarantees gridlock and ensures nothing meaningful can occur until the next Congress opens in January.

Incoming Democratic committee chairmen are itching to lead investigations into Trump’s tax returns; conflicts of interest from his business empire that violate the Emoluments Clause and collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign team in the 2016 presidential election.

Pelosi said committee chairmen will decide how to proceed and make their recommendations to the Democratic caucus.

“But you can be sure of one thing: when we go down any of these paths, we’ll know what we’re doing and we’ll do it right,” she said.

Trump, who has never faced opposition party control in Congress, will now be exposed to relentless accountability and oversight. It remains unknown how Trump will react shorn of utterly compliant Republican congressmen who protected all his actions.

“The American people have demanded accountability from their government,” tweeted Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) poised to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.Trump might not like it, “but he and his administration will be held accountable to our laws and to the American people.”

Other vocal Trump critics who will take over key House committees inlude Elijah Cummings at the House Oversight Committee; Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee; Maxine Waters at the Financial Services Committee and Richard Neal at the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Democrat-led committees will give Democrats the power to demand documents and testimony from White House officials involved in Trump’s campaign team and businesses, and to issue subpoenas.

“I plan to shine a light on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump administration,” said Cummings. “I want to probe senior administration officials across the government who have abused their positions of power and wasted taxpayer money, as well as President Trump’s decisions to act in his own financial self-interest.”

Neal said he will demand Trump’s tax returns from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Nadler’s committee will handle any effort to impeach Trump.

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Trump Fires National Security Official Who Feuded with Melania

President Donald Trump has fired a top White House adviser for criticizing the trip to Africa in October by U.S. First Lady Melania Trump.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Donald Trump has fired a top White House adviser for criticizing the trip to Africa in October by U.S. First Lady Melania Trump.

Mrs. Trump successfully ousted Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, who is a close friend of National Security Adviser John Bolton. Her spokeswoman released a statement saying that Ricardel should be fired.

Political observers noted Mrs. Trump had never interfered to this degree in politics and in such a public manner. Previous First Ladies have also refrained from making calls for officials to be fired.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that (Ricardel) no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” said a statement from Mrs. Trump.

Mrs. Trump visited Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt during her week-long trip to Africa that began Oct. 1. She partnered closely on this trip with the United States Agency for International Development.

This sojourn was Mrs. Trump’s first ever visit to Africa and is the first where she was not accompanied by her husband.

Media reports said Ricardel came into conflict Mrs. Trump over the cost and resources used on the Africa trip.

“One person familiar with the matter said Ricardel quarreled with the first lady’s staff over seating on the plane and use of National Security Council resources,” aaccording to one source. “A White House official accused Ricardel of being dishonest about the feud and subsequently leaking stories to try to cover her behavior.”

It is unclear why Ricardel chose to pick a fight over an issue that has clearly nothing to do with national security. Ricardel has an extensive background in high-level security positions. She had worked as undersecretary of commerce and also held top positions at the State and Defense Departments.

Bolton praised her “track record of successfully managing teams and diverse organizations, as well as addressing complex issues.”

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A European Army Moves a Step Closer to Reality

Germany is backing France’s proposal to establish an “European Army” that will take on all comers, including Russia, China — and the United States.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Paris, France (4E) – Germany is backing France’s proposal to establish an “European Army” that will take on all comers, including Russia, China — and the United States.

In a stunning move, Germany said the idea to establish an Eurropean Army championed by French president Emmanuel Macron “makes sense.” Macron wants to organize a “true European Army” to deal with all external threats, including those presented by the U.S., Russia and China.

Germany’s support for the European Army was voiced by Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) general secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

“I believe that a European army makes sense,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is a contender for the office of Chancellor once Angela Merkel steps down.

“Along the way, we will have to reduce the parliamentary reservation for foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr (the German Armed Forces) a bit.”

A single European Army will greatly reduce national defense spending by individual European countries. There are 28 armies, 27 air forces and 23 navies in the European Union.

“No wonder we spend an awful lot on the military,” said Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Andrea Nahles, who also supports the idea.

Macron believes the EU has become the “victim” of the growing tensions between the world superpowers.

“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” declared Macron. “We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European Army.”

Macron also lashed out at president Donald Trump’s policies.

“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security.”

Trump responded by childishly attacking Marcon in a rant-filled twitter-storm.

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Trump Refuses to Acknowledge Existence of 20 Secret North Korean Missile Bases

President Donald Trump continues to deny being played by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un despite new evidence North Korea still operates at least 20 clandestine missile bases whose ballistic missiles can strike at Seoul in a matter of minutes.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Donald Trump continues to deny being played by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un despite new evidence North Korea still operates at least 20 clandestine missile bases whose ballistic missiles can strike at Seoul in a matter of minutes.

New commercial satellite images made public yesterday reveal more than a dozen of these undeclared North Korean missile operating bases. Military analysts said the existence of these bases is a clear sign Pyongyang is continuing to advance its ballistic missile program amid indications that the so-called denuclearization talks with the U.S. is on the verge of failure.

Media reports said this network of undeclared sites has long been known to the U.S. Intelligence Community, and to Trump. The president, however, has refused to assail North Korea for these bases to keep with his fictitious claim North Korea is “no longer a nuclear threat” after his failed June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim.

Yesterday’s report about the secret sites came days after Trump said his administration is “very happy with how it’s going with North Korea.” Trump made this rosy assessment despite the postponement of a meeting by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with a key aide to Kim.

The CIA refused to comment on the images. Other U.S. intelligence officials have expressed concern about North Korea using hidden and undeclared locations to continue to work on improving their missile technology and their nuclear program.

The new images were supplied by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). have identified 13 of an estimated 20 hidden missile operating bases unreported by North Korea.

“These missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal,” said CSIS.

The North Koreans have stored most of their weapons capability, including mobile missile launchers, in mountain bunkers or in underground silos.

The new images focus on the Sakkanmol missile base that “currently houses a unit equipped with short-range ballistic missiles but could easily accommodate more capable medium-range ballistic warheads.”

“Despite the difference in interpretation between the US government and the North Koreans over what these declarations have meant, the Singapore declaration and the new Korean declaration, for North Korea watchers it has been pretty clear that the North has not been willing to give up its entire nuclear program,” said CSIS.

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