“Bomb Cyclone,” Bannon Betrayal

Weather Watch: The East Coast is zipping up for its first major winter storm. The system crawling up the coast is called a “bomb cyclone,” which sounds ominous, but it’s named for its sudden drop in atmospheric pressure. It happens when a cold front and warm front collide.

As many as 3,678 commercial flights have already been cancelled and nearly 6,000 are delayed.

A blizzard warning has been issued. Wind gusts of 50-60 mph are predicted. Snow is expected from New Jersey to Boston, which might get more than a foot. Rhode island’s governor called for everyone to stay home.

It snowed yesterday in Tallahassee, Fla., Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, SC. Palm trees and snow.

The Russia Mess: Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon accused the Trump campaign of taking a “treasonous” 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, and Trump fired back that Bannon has “lost his mind.” Both might have a point.

In a soon to be released book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, who was given access to the White House in Trump’s early months, Bannon is quoted as saying, “The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers.” Present at the meeting were Donald Trump Jr., Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Bannon said, “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

President Trump issued a written statement yesterday saying, “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.” He belittled Bannon’s role in winning the presidency. Trump did not confront Bannon’s central allegation that the June 2016 meeting was “treasonous.”

This morning the President is reported to be “furious.”

Bannon says in the book that he believes much of the investigation is focused on money laundering and, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

Not long ago, Bannon told “60 Minutes” the Russia investigation was going nowhere.

He’s changed his tune. Last month news reports said the Special Counsel had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German finance giant that has loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner real estate empire. Bannon said, “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”

I’m Gonna Sue: In a related development, Paul Manafort, who was indicted in the Russia investigation, is suing claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not have the authority to dig into Manafort’s personal business with the Russians. Similar suits have been filed in other special counsel investigations and failed.

Nevermind: Despite his claims that he lost the popular vote in 2016 because of massive voter fraud, President Trump yesterday abruptly shut down the commission he created to investigate. Trump cited “endless legal battles” with states that refused to cooperate. The commission was well its way to finding nothing.

Hotline: North Korea yesterday reopened its telephone hotline with the South in an apparent effort to ease tensions. The phone rang two days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he had a nuclear button on his desk. Kim has been ignoring the line for two years, despite calls from the South.

It’s hard to say what this means. Kim is under a lot of economic pressure from international sanctions and he may be looking for a way out

Sad Aftermath: A Canadian man who spent five years in Taliban captivity with his wife and three children has been arrested on charges of assault and sexual assault. A Canadian court refused to release details and names of the victims.

Joshua Boyle has been charged with seven counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of unlawful confinement, one count of causing a victim to take a noxious substance, and one count of uttering a death threat — all against one victim.

There are charges involving a second victim as well. Court documents say the offenses occurred between October 14, the day after his family returned to Canada — and December 30, according to the court documents.

Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were kidnapped in 2012 and had their three children during their five years of captivity. They were freed in a raid by Pakistani special forces.

The Italian Job: In a heist that will surely be made into a movie, thieves in Venice made off with irreplaceable jewelry belonging to the Qatari royal family that was part of a public exhibition.

It wasn’t just a smash and grab job. On the last day of an exhibition at the Ducal Palace in Venice, the thieves easily disarmed what had been described as a sophisticated alarm system and took the goods before blending into the tourists who swarm St. Mark’s Square.

George Clooney must have been involved.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
 
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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