Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

On Wednesday afternoon, senior U.S. officials gathered at the White House to discuss possible military options for Venezuela.  Meanwhile, the Russians are warning of grave consequences if the U.S. invades, and so the stage is being set for a potential showdown between the world’s two foremost military powers.  Previously, administration officials had hoped that the Venezuelan people would rally around Juan Guaido to such a degree that it would not require military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but that hasn’t happened.  In fact, Guaido’s big push to start a revolution in the streets over the past few days has ended up being a total flop.  The following comes from Yahoo News

Guaido had called for the “largest march” in Venezuela’s history and said on Twitter that “millions of Venezuelans” were in the streets in “this final phase” of his move to oust Maduro.

But by late afternoon, many of the protesters in the capital Caracas were drifting home.

Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

In the long-term, the situation in Venezuela isn’t going to change much if the U.S. is able to replace one socialist president (Maduro) with another socialist president (Guaido).  Socialism always ends badly, and the people of Venezuela are going to have to decide for themselves that they don’t want socialism any longer.

But that isn’t what this is about.  U.S. officials have decided that it is time to impose their will on the people of Venezuela, and they have determined that Maduro must go.  If Guaido cannot create a successful internal revolution, then other options will be explored.

And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there was a very, very important gathering of top U.S. officials at the White House on Wednesday afternoon

Senior U.S. administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, will meet at the White House Wednesday afternoon. With the situation on the ground still “extraordinarily fluid,” according to Shanahan, the U.S. says it is still weighing military options.

Don’t you wish that you could have been a fly on the wall for that meeting?

Of course we already know what Pompeo and Bolton are thinking.  This is what Pompeo just told Fox Business

“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.”

In other words, if Guaido can’t get the job done, our boys and girls are going in.

And John Bolton has repeatedly insisted that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela, and he just told reporters the following about potential Russian interference

“This is our hemisphere,” he told reporters outside the White House. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part. It’s not going to lead to an improvement of relations.”

So precisely what would Bolton like us to do about it?

The Russians already have troops and military equipment in Venezuela, and they are there with the permission of the Venezuelan government.  Does Bolton really want us to attack and risk a war with Russia?

And for what?  Venezuela certainly has a lot of oil, but the truth is that there is no fundamental national security interest at stake in Venezuela.

Unfortunately, there is a growing consensus in Washington that something must be done about Venezuela, and the hysteria has already reached absolutely ridiculous levels.  For example, just consider the words of U.S. Senator Rick Scott

“Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don’t win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we’ve got to step up and stop this genocide.”

Did you catch that?

Apparently, if you are not in favor of a U.S. invasion of Venezuela, you don’t “care about families” and you don’t “care about the human race” either.

In response to those comments, this is what Tucker Carlson had to say

When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain — and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

If we are going to ask members of our military to shed their blood, it had better be for a really, really good reason.

And switching out one socialist leader for another socialist leader in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Of course that is the best case scenario.

In a worst case scenario, a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela would spark a war with Russia, and the Russians are making it very clear that there will be “grave consequences” if we attack…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Pompeo by phone on Wednesday that further “aggressive steps” in Venezuela would have grave consequences, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is getting dangerously close to war with Iran as well.  The Iranians are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Washington cutting off all their oil exports, and if the Strait of Hormuz gets shut down all hell could break loose.

U.S. officials want to “get tough” with all of our enemies around the world, and that is fine as long as you know what are you doing.

Because even one miscalculation can result in missiles flying back and forth, and once peace is taken from the Earth things could get wildly out of control very rapidly.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail, because right now we are quickly approaching a tipping point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

2 Aircraft Carriers Have Left Port – Are The USS Eisenhower And The USS Roosevelt Headed South Toward Venezuela?

Juan Guaido has initiated a violent uprising in an attempt to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, and it appears that the U.S. may be preparing to intervene in the conflict militarily.  The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker accurately tracks the current positions of U.S. naval assets, and according to them the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has left port on the east coast and the USS Theodore Roosevelt has left port on the west coast.  In both cases, each aircraft carrier was originally slated for “training” exercises, but now there is lots of speculation that they are both steaming south toward Venezuela.  Since there has been no official confirmation from Washington, let me stress that once again that any talk about the potential destination of these carriers is just speculation.  But considering what is taking place in Venezuela at this moment, it certainly would not surprise anyone if the waters off Venezuela is precisely where they are heading.

Earlier today, the Intel_Radar Twitter account created quite a stir with a series of seven tweets

BREAKING: US Navy deploys two aircraft carriers, both southbound, one from each coast, amid Venezuela crisis.

Update 1 : Eisenhower left Virginia headed South, on the same day Roosevelt deployed out of San Diego headed for the Panama Canal.

Update 2 : US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (MMSI:368962000|CS:NIKE) departed Norfolk ~2019-04-26, was off AIS for 4 days, and seems to be headed South, off the US East Coast.

Update 3 : American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) RoRo Integrity (IMO:8919934|MMSI:367063310) departed Mexico with a fake destination, “hiding their destination”.

Update 4 : USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has earned a number of awards, including the Battle “E” in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2012 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet.

Update 5 : 6248 kHz LSB Venezuela naval freq still active. Also morse code in background.

Update 6 : A US Navy fast combat support ship departed Norfolk just a little bit ago.

If all of this information is true, it would certainly seem to indicate that something is up.

Could it be possible that the U.S. is about to go to war with Venezuela?

If you are not familiar with what happened in Venezuela on Tuesday, here is a pretty good summary

It was a ploy that from its outset felt like a long shot. Before dawn Tuesday, Juan Guaido, flanked by his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of soldiers who had broken ranks, issued a message to Venezuela and the world: The time to topple Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime was right now.

By dusk, with Maduro still firmly in control of the military command, Lopez had sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas and the streets were beginning to empty of the protesters who had heeded Guaido’s call to join what he called Operation Liberty.

Either Guaido is completely suicidal, or he is coordinating with the U.S. and he believes that U.S. military help in on the way.

The second option seems more likely, and on Tuesday John Bolton even admitted that “a deal had been struck” with key members of Maduro’s regime…

The whole episode was so bizarre — with Guaido seemingly lacking the military might to have any chance at all — that it was hard to understand the day’s events. One explanation, as related by National Security Adviser John Bolton, was that a deal had been struck behind the scenes and that key members of Maduro’s regime had agreed to flip, paving the way for Guaido to easily assume power.

Well, either Bolton was bluffing or those officials double-crossed him, because it just hasn’t happened.

And perhaps that would help to explain this very angry tweet from Bolton

.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido’s amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.

In response to Bolton’s tweet, one top Venezuelan official posted the following

Dream on … Not today!

Subsequently, Bolton once again told the press that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela…

Bolton later told reporters that the U.S. would consider intervening in Venezuela.

“We want, as our principal objective, the peaceful transition of power, but I will say again as the president has said from the outset and as Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him — particularly those who are not Venezuelan — should know, is all options are on the table,” Bolton said.

But if the U.S. goes into Venezuela, it will be a full-blown war against a seasoned military with more than 300,000 troops in a country twice the size of Iraq.

In addition, the Russians and the Cubans already have troops there, and they have no intention of pulling their forces out.

In other words, an invasion of Venezuela could potentially spark World War 3.

But John Bolton doesn’t seem fazed by any of that.  He is a hardcore war hawk, and he has been calling for military conflict for years.  If you will remember, he actually called for a pre-emptive war against North Korea just two months before joining the Trump administration

For John Bolton, the national-security adviser, the summit represented a conundrum. Two months before he entered the White House, in April, 2018, he had called for preëmptive war with North Korea. During the past two decades, Bolton has established himself as the Republican Party’s most militant foreign-policy thinker—an advocate of aggressive force who ridicules anyone who disagrees. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that Kim’s regime would soon be able to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, and that we should attack before it was too late. “The threat is imminent,” he wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”

We truly live in ominous times, and many are deeply concerned that Bolton seems to have so much influence over U.S. foreign policy right now.

Ultimately, we don’t know what is going to happen next, but it is interesting to note that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also used the phrase “all options are on the table” during an interview with Maria Bartiromo…

“The only messages I think we are trying to get out there is that we want to make sure the Russians and the Cubans know they are not supposed to get involved and that we do and have said a bunch of times that all options are on the table” said Mulvaney during a conversation with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo from the Milken Institute Global Conference Opens a New Window.

They are making it very clear that a full-blown invasion of Venezuela is a real possibility, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what that would mean.

We are talking about a conflict that would be several magnitudes greater than the Iraq war, and it could be right around the corner.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Mainstream Media Is Hyping Up The Release Of The Mueller Report As If It Were Some Sort Of Key Historical Event

Are you ready for the biggest non-event in recent American political history?  The mainstream media is treating Thursday’s release of the Mueller report as an event of critical historical importance, but it isn’t.  Unless Attorney General William Barr was lying to us in his summary of the report, there aren’t going to be any major bombshells.  Of course anti-Trump forces will be sifting through the report for any nuggets that they can possibly use, but in the end it will be a fruitless exercise.  Trump never colluded with the Russians, and Mueller didn’t find enough to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.  So please feel free to skip reading the full 400 page report, because you can undoubtedly put that time to much better use in some other way.

This whole sordid ordeal once again has shown us that Democrats are a bunch of morons.  Once the Stormy Daniels scandal broke wide open, Democrats were given a bright, shiny gift on a silver platter, but they largely ignored it and kept hammering the Russian collusion angle because they are a bunch of idiots.

And of course most of our politicians don’t really want to talk about Stormy Daniels, payoffs and adultery anyway because they have been doing similar things behind the scenes themselves.

Somehow the idea that “Trump colluded with the Russians” became gospel for Democrats, and almost everyone on the left followed the herd because they are a bunch of sheeple.  There were a few dissenting voices on the left, but they were drowned out by the hordes of zombies that let CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times do their thinking for them.

The truth is that it has always been obvious that Trump never colluded with the Russians, and that is what the Mueller Report will show when it is released tomorrow morning

Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will hold news conference Thursday just before Congress receives a copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016.

The news conference will be at 9:30 a.m. EDT, said Kerri Kupec. The report is expected to go to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon EDT and likely will be released to the public around the same time.

But the mainstream media is trying to squeeze every ounce of false hype out of this story that they possibly can, and their endless coverage has helped push copies of the Mueller report to number one on Amazon in several categories.

And we aren’t going to get to see the entire report anyway.  As USA Today has noted, the report is being heavily redacted for a variety of legal reasons…

Barr has said Justice officials, including members of Mueller’s team, have been working to remove secret grand-jury evidence, classified information, material related to ongoing investigations spun off from the special counsel’s probe and personal information about individuals who were not charged as part of the inquiry.

In a curious move, in recent days officials from the Justice Department have been discussing the conclusions of the report with White House lawyers, and this is something that has infuriated Democrats because they believe that this is unfair.

The following comes from the New York Times

Justice Department officials have had numerous conversations with White House lawyers about the conclusions made by Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. The talks have aided the president’s legal team as it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategizes for the coming public war over its findings.

But even after being briefed, the White House seems quite unconcerned about what the report will show.

In fact, one White House spokesperson just told the press that “the outcome is still the same”

Meanwhile, ahead of the report, the White House insisted that it would exonerate Trump.

“Regardless of how Democrats and the media try to twist the report, the outcome is still the same: No collusion, no obstruction – complete and total exoneration,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said.

Ultimately, the big mainstream news networks will spend dozens of hours talking about the release of the Mueller report, but it will be a giant waste of time.

Yes, there might be some semi-interesting nuggets in the report, but it is highly unlikely that we are going to learn anything extremely important that we don’t know already.

As I have said from the very beginning, the Mueller investigation was a giant witch hunt, and it should have been shut down long ago.

But in America today, it has become fair game to try to personally destroy your political opponents.  And from now on, presidents and other high profile political figures are likely to be subjected to an endless barrage of investigations no matter which political party is in power.  This is going to make our country increasingly ungovernable, and it will lead us down a path from which we may never be able to return.

For Trump, this is definitely not the end of his legal troubles, because many other investigations are still ongoing

Prosecutors in a half-dozen federal, state and city jurisdictions are pursuing overlapping inquiries focused on how Trump operated his namesake business empire, how a porn star was paid off in the final weeks of his campaign and how his inaugural committee raised money. New York state alone has three agencies conducting investigations.

At least six congressional committees are studying Trump’s personal finances, his inauguration committee, his business practices before he took office and his conduct since assuming the presidency, seeking evidence of what senior Democrats have called corruption or abuse of his office.

Even if Trump wins in 2020, he will still be dealing with ongoing investigations, and when all of them eventually run their course I am sure that the Democrats will just start some new ones.

Our political system is literally in the process of self-destructing, and it is a horrifying thing to watch.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Chair Of The Federal Reserve Just Used The Term “Slowdown” To Describe What Is Happening To The U.S. Economy

Now even the Federal Reserve is publicly admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down.  And that is quite remarkable, because usually the Federal Reserve is extremely hesitant to say that an economic slowdown is taking place.  As I pointed out the other day, in 2008 former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke kept insisting that a recession was not coming, but we found out later that a recession had already begun when he was making those statements.  Normally the Federal Reserve tries very hard to paint a rosy picture of our economic future, and one of the big reasons for that is because they want us to believe that they are doing a good job and that they have everything under control.  So it was quite stunning to hear Fed Chair Jerome Powell use the term “slowdown” to describe what is coming for the U.S. economy on Wednesday…

Citing a more modest outlook for the economy, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held interest rates steady and signaled it did not plan to raise rates at all this year and would bump them up just once in 2020, providing a road map for a sustained period of easy-money policy.

“The U.S. economy is in a good place,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference, adding policymakers foresee “a modest slowdown, with overall conditions remaining favorable. We see no need to rush to judgment (by lifting or cutting rates).”

Admittedly, he did only say that it would be a “modest slowdown”, and so to most people that won’t sound that bad.

But this is the very first time that Powell has talked like this, and the truth is that the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is currently forecasting that U.S. growth in the first quarter will be less than half a percent.  Fed officials are hoping that growth will be better in the second quarter, but there is also a very strong possibility that the economy will continue to decelerate.

Because the economy is entering a “slowdown”, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it does not anticipate any more interest rate hikes for the rest of the year.

Normally Wall Street would experience a huge surge of euphoria upon hearing such news, but stocks were actually down on Wednesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary-policy announcement dragged Treasury yields lower, pushing bank shares down.

Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock Dow to end the day down 141.71 points at 25,745.67. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain, closing 0.1 percent higher at 7,728.97.

This certainly could not have been the reaction that the Federal Reserve was hoping for.

Could it be possible that bad news for the U.S. economy is no longer good news for Wall Street?

Without a doubt, we are witnessing a huge wave of pessimism in the business community right now.  Yesterday, I noted that Federal Express is talking as if a global recession had already started, and other corporate leaders are making similar statements.

For example, just consider what the CEO of banking giant UBS just said

The head of UBS was among the latest to blame the world’s backdrop for weaker-than-expected results. CEO Ermotti told a conference in London on Wednesday that it “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history,” Reuters reported. The Swiss bank slashed another $300 million from 2019 costs after revenue at its investment bank plunged. Investment banking conditions are among the toughest seen in years, especially outside the U.S., he said.

And the CFO of BMW told investors on Wednesday that BMW’s earnings may be exposed to “additional risks” from the global economy in the months ahead…

“Depending on how conditions develop, our guidance may be subject to additional risks; in particular, the risk of a no-deal Brexit and ongoing developments in international trade policy,” CFO Nicolas Peter said in BMW’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday.

Last, but certainly not least, the co-CEO of Samsung just said that his company is anticipating “slowing growth in major economies” for the remainder of 2019…

“We are expecting many difficulties this year such as slowing growth in major economies and risks over global trade conflicts,” Samsung Co-Chief Executive Kinam Kim said.

Here in the United States, whoever is in the White House at the time usually gets most of the credit or most of the blame for how the economy is performing.

But the truth is that President Trump did not create the financial bubble that caused the boom on Wall Street.

The Federal Reserve did.

And President Trump is not going to be responsible when that bubble bursts either.

The Federal Reserve has far, far more control over the performance of the U.S. economy than either the president or Congress does.  And since the Federal Reserve was initially created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions and/or depressions, and now we are heading into the 19th one.

If we want to finally get off this economic roller coaster ride permanently, we need to abolish the Federal Reserve.  But this isn’t even part of the national political discussion at this point.

However, that could soon change.  In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, we witnessed a huge backlash against the Federal Reserve system.  Eventually that backlash subsided, but now that we are entering a new crisis, perhaps it is time to start dusting off all of those old “End the Fed” signs.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Could Be Very, Very, Very Bad News For Trump…

The most important congressional hearing in decades will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.  Attorney Michael Cohen was Donald Trump’s “fixer” for more than a decade, but now he has turned completely against Trump, and on Wednesday he is going to give the House Oversight Committee as much damaging information about Trump as he possibly can.  In fact, as you will see below, he plans to testify that Trump committed “criminal conduct” after he entered the White House.  Of all the challenges that President Trump has faced so far, this could potentially be the most difficult by a very wide margin.  If Cohen gives the Democrats enough ammunition, they will likely attempt to initiate formal impeachment proceedings.

When you are an attorney, you often learn the deepest, darkest secrets of your clients.  And normally you aren’t supposed to share those secrets with anyone, but Cohen is headed for prison and so he doesn’t really care about the consequences anymore.

If you have not been following the Michael Cohen saga closely, the following summary from Vanity Fair will help you understand how we got to this point…

For more than a decade, Cohen served as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, business consigliere, and all-around doer of dirty deeds, as he’s put it. In early 2018, however, Cohen and his former boss found themselves at odds over an alleged hush-money scheme. Cohen quickly became the subject of a federal investigation, an infamous early-morning visit from a dozen F.B.I. agents armed with search warrants, and a constant victim of Trumpian Twitter invective. In the process, Cohen also became an unlikely, and formidable, player for the other side in the Mueller ordeal—a man with crucial knowledge about both the Stormy Daniels affair and the Trump Tower Moscow saga, who, after some time and major changes in his position within Trumpworld, was willing to spill. This impression was amplified when Cohen implicated the president under oath while pleading guilty in August to campaign-finance violations, among other financial crimes, and in November to lying to Congress. The following month, he was sentenced to three years in prison.

More than anyone else in the entire country, Michael Cohen could be the key to taking down the Trump presidency, and the Democrats know it.

Cohen spent more than 10 years taking care of Donald Trump’s problems, and now he is going to air that dirty laundry for all the world to see, and this has the potential to be completely and utterly disastrous for Trump.

We’ll see how bad it is tomorrow.  Perhaps Cohen’s testimony will not be as bad as the left is hyping it up to be.  But multiple mainstream news outlets are reporting that Cohen plans to testify about criminal actions that President Trump committed “after he assumed the presidency”…

A person familiar with Cohen’s planned testimony said he was prepared to testify about “criminal conduct” by Trump after he assumed the presidency. The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly, declined to characterize the conduct but said it happened during Trump’s first year in the White House.

In other words, Cohen could be about to give Democrats the justification that they need to try to impeach Trump.

During the 2016 election, Cohen made a very large “hush money” payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and Cohen was ultimately convicted of a campaign finance violation because that money was never reported to the FEC.  On Wednesday, Cohen reportedly plans to provide documents to Congress that will prove that Donald Trump wrote a check to reimburse him for that payment “after he became president”…

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, will provide documents to the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday that he says prove Trump’s “illicit” acts, according to prepared congressional testimony obtained by POLITICO.

The documents include a check that Trump purportedly wrote after he became president to reimburse Cohen for a hush-money payment to the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump. Cohen says the money came from Trump’s personal bank account.

Personally, I don’t believe that “hush money payments” should be considered “campaign expenses” that must be reported to the FEC.

But it doesn’t matter what I think.  Cohen was convicted of a crime for making such payments and not reporting them, and if these payments were ordered by Trump then Democrats believe that he is guilty of the same crime.

In addition to “criminal conduct” committed by Trump, Cohen also plans to allege that Trump “made racist remarks in front of him”

More broadly, Cohen will go into personal and character accusations against Trump, saying the president made racist remarks in front of him such as questioning the intelligence of African-Americans, according to the person.

These is no law against making such remarks, but without a doubt such testimony could be extremely damaging to Trump.

Needless to say, the Trump administration is deeply disturbed that Cohen is being given this opportunity to testify before Congress.

Cohen lied to Congress before, and Sarah Sanders told the press that it is “pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders called Cohen a “disgraced felon” and said that “it’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”

In the end, Republicans that are loyal to Trump will defend the president and will try to discredit Cohen any way that they can.

On the other side, Democrats could finally feel like they have the ammunition to get rid of Trump once and for all.  If Cohen’s testimony goes the way they are hoping, I anticipate that the major news networks will be full of talk about impeachment in the coming days.

Even if everything that Michael Cohen is alleging is true, I don’t think that Trump committed any impeachable offenses.

But of course the left sees things very differently.  They have been desperate to take Trump down for a very long time, and now they may finally have their golden opportunity.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Uh Oh – Please Tell Me That The U.S. Is Not About To Go To War With Venezuela…

Is the United States about to be dragged into another pointless war that will drag on for years?  Have we learned nothing form the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq?  When Juan Guaido boldly declared himself the new leader of Venezuela during an opposition rally on January 23rd, everybody realized that something was up.  There is no way that he ever would have done that unless he knew in advance that the United States was going to publicly back him.  And when John Bolton appeared at a White House briefing with “5,000 troops to Colombia” scribbled on a yellow note pad, it became exceedingly clear what was about to happen.  Diplomatic pressure would be used to try to force Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro from power, but if that didn’t work then regime change would be achieved by force.

Maduro has seen this playbook before, and he has told the Venezuelan people that if “the North American empire attacks us, we will have to defend ourselves”.  He is officially freaked out, and for good reason.

The push toward war is officially on, and over the weekend Donald Trump told CBS reporter Margaret Brennan that sending U.S. troops to Venezuela is “an option” that is being considered…

MARGARET BRENNAN: What would make you use the U.S. military in Venezuela? What’s the national security interest?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I don’t want to say that. But certainly it’s something that’s on the – it’s an option.

Yes, Nicolas Maduro is an absolutely horrible leader, but do we get to overthrow the governments of other countries just because we don’t like who is in charge?

And how would you feel if somebody else decided to attack us because they don’t like who is in the White House?

The U.S. was the first major power to recognize Juan Guaido as the “legitimate” president of Venezuela, and now the UK and most other European nations have also backed Guaido.

But Russia and China continue to back Maduro, and so that sets up a very interesting situation.

Will the western powers go ahead with their plans for regime change even though the international community is divided?

In particular, Russia has a very strong incentive to keep Maduro in power.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

“Russia is now so deeply invested in the Maduro regime that the only realistic option is to double down,” writes senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center Alexander Gabuev.

He details in a Financial Times op-ed that Moscow-based state oil giant Rosneft owns two offshore gas fields in Venezuela and further has “stakes in assets boasting more than 20m tonnes of crude.” But as embattled President Nicolas Maduro faces US-led efforts to oust him in favor of opposition leader Juan Guaido, billions are on the line for Moscow making its interest in preserving the regime run deep.

So just like in Syria and Ukraine, the U.S. and Russia once again find themselves on opposite sides in a very tense conflict.

This crisis could end very quickly if Maduro steps down, but that isn’t going to happen.  In fact, he was quite defiant when the major European powers decided to recognize Guaido…

He also rejected European calls for elections, saying: “We don’t accept ultimatums from anyone. I refuse to call for elections now – there will be elections in 2024. We don’t care what Europe says.”

And he warned Trump that this will be a war that “will leave the presidency stained with blood”

“Stop. Stop, Trump! Hold it right there! You are making mistakes that will leave your hands covered in blood and you will leave the presidency stained with blood,” Maduro warned during a combative interview with the Spanish journalist Jordi Évole. “Why would you want a repeat of Vietnam?

That certainly doesn’t sound like someone that intends to throw in the towel.  Maduro has the Venezuelan military and the Venezuelan police solidly behind him, and former State Department official Eric Farnsworth thinks that it is unlikely that Maduro will leave without violence…

“If people are not prepared to take steps designed to support the nascent Guaido government, this could flop and that would be a huge setback,” Farnsworth said. “Does that mean the ultimate answer is U.S. troops? I don’t think that’s a healthy conversation to have. If Maduro wants to have U.S. troops at his doorstep, he’ll start targeting U.S. citizens.”

Farnsworth said the only scenario where Maduro is pressured to leave without violence involves Russia and China becoming convinced that Maduro’s potential successor would be better for them than the status quo and working with the international community on a transition plan. Russia and China continue to recognize Maduro, and Russia has sent aircraft to Venezuela amid reports that Maduro is looking to remove gold reserves from the country.

If the U.S. wants Guaido to be successful, he is going to need military help, and that would mean a full-blown invasion of Venezuela.

A full-blown invasion of Venezuela would be an ugly, bloody war.  Without a doubt, the U.S. would ultimately win, but global opinion would turn against us very rapidly just like it did during the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We live at a time of wars and rumors of wars, and hopefully this will just turn out to be one of those rumors.

Because going to war with Venezuela is one of the stupidest ideas that I have heard in a very long time, and President Trump must not do it.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Trump Administration Is Warning That The U.S. Economy May Not Grow At All During The First Quarter Of 2019

This government shutdown is really starting to take a toll on the U.S. economy.  On Wednesday, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers made an absolutely stunning admission.  We all knew that the global economy was slowing down, and we all knew that U.S. economic activity was beginning to sputter, but up until this week the Trump administration had always insisted that we are not heading for a recession.  Well, all of that changed on Wednesday when Kevin Hassett publicly admitted that we could end up with zero GDP growth during the first quarter of 2019

A top economic adviser to President Donald Trump told CNN on Wednesday that the US economy may show no growth in the first quarter if the federal government shutdown lasts much longer.

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow that he was not overly worried about the long-term effects of a government shutdown. But after Harlow asked him if the United States could wind up with zero GDP growth this quarter, he conceded that it was possible. “We could, yes,” he said.

With much of the government currently closed, and with no end to the shutdown in sight, it is inevitable that the economic numbers for the first quarter are not going to look as good as they could have been.

But if this shutdown lasts for the entire quarter, that could easily push us into an economic contraction, and that would send shockwaves all over the planet.

And at this point there is definitely a possibility that this shutdown could go on for a couple more months.  Neither side intends to give in, and things are starting to get very personal.  On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi made it exceedingly clear that she will not allow President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol until the shutdown ends under any circumstances…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dug in Wednesday on her call to delay the State of the Union address even after President Trump vowed to proceed with the speech next week, sending a curt letter making clear she will not allow the event to take place during the government shutdown.

Reacting to Pelosi’s letter, Trump told reporters at the White House “we’ll do something in the alternative,” suggesting a speech of some kind will still happen next week.

This truly is unprecedented.

Donald Trump is the very first president in all of U.S. history to be “disinvited” from delivering the State of the Union address.

And the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are not receiving paychecks right now are really starting to get restless.  A lot of them have been living paycheck to paycheck, and so missing a couple of paychecks is a really, really big deal to those people.  As Marketwatch recently noted, some of them are actually “turning to food banks to feed their families”…

Within just a few weeks into the government shutdown, people are struggling to cope. We hear stories about people turning to food banks to feed their families. We hear stories about people who are in dire straits because they can’t get loans. We hear stories about people who can’t pay their mortgages. That’s not even one month into the shutdown.

If something this minor can cause such widespread pain and suffering, what would we see if a real crisis actually hit this nation?

Of course the truth is that most Americans are simply not prepared to handle much of anything, and this is a point that Mac Slavo made quite well in one of his most recent articles

Almost 60% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings for a rainy day fund or an immediate emergency. It’s been ten years since the Great Recession left many Americans jobless with no money, and it appears most have learned nothing. The government shutdown serves as a painful warning and preview for what will happen once unemployment rises from 50-year lows.  Americans are far too dependent on others, including the government, for their survival.

For now, many that are struggling financially due to this shutdown are trying to bridge the gap by going into more debt.

And if the shutdown doesn’t last too much longer, that might work for a lot of people.

But it is very dangerous to go into too much debt, and a large portion of the country has already crossed that line.  For example, one recent survey discovered that approximately a third of all Americans are “afraid they’ll max out their credit card when making a large purchase”

Despite the dangers of high-interest loans, more consumers are testing the limits of plastic.

To that point, more than 1 in 3 people —or 86 million Americans — said they’re afraid they’ll max out their credit card when making a large purchase, according to a new WalletHub credit cards survey. (Most of those polled considered a large purchase as anything over $100.)

The only easy way out of this government shutdown would be for one of the two sides to completely fold, and that would be politically disastrous for whoever decides to do that.

The battle lines have been drawn, and this political game of chicken is going to go on until somebody blinks.

And if nobody blinks for a couple more months, the economic consequences of this government shutdown are likely to be quite severe.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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