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Mala tempora Donald !

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CNN obtained a copy of David Holmes’ opening statement delivered during his closed door deposition in Congress. Holmes is the aide that Ambassador Bill Taylor referenced during his testimony on Wednesday as a firsthand source for a telephone conversation between Donald Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland which directly links the president to the pressure campaign that was conducted in Ukraine.
David Holmes describes a phone call he and at least two other witnesses overheard on July 26 at a restaurant in Kiev – just one day after the now infamous phone call between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky. Here is what passed between Sondland and Trump, according to Holmes’ opening statement:

“I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky ‘loves your ass.’ I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So he’s gonna do the investigation?’ Ambassador Sondland replied that ‘he’s gonna do it,’ adding that President Zelensky will do ‘anything you ask him to.’”

The exchange was later discussed among those present and David Holmes remembers questioning Gordon Sondland about the President’s interests and priorities in Ukraine. The EU Ambassador unequivocally stated that Donald Trump didn’t really care about the war with Russia, just about “big stuff”. According to Holmes’ testimony, when Sondland said “big stuff” he meant “’big stuff’ that benefits the President, like the ‘Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.
(Palmer Report)

"Non sanno quello che vogliono, ma lo vogliono subito"





Chiedo aiuto a qualche intelligente italiano residente in Italia per suggerire al vostro attempato redattore che vive a Washington D.C. quale partito o movimento-partito votare alle prossime elezioni nazionali che, almeno a leggere le gazzette italiane, dovrebbero tenersi nel maggio prossimo causa la deflagrazione annunciata dell'attuale governo Conte Bis.

Voglio chiarire subito, a sostegno di qualche volenteroso pronto a scrivermi, che il sottoscritto è stato per 10 anni consigliere comunale per il Partito Liberale Italiano a Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze (che non è l'ultimo dei comuni italiani), segretario comunale e poi membro del consiglio nazionale del Pli.

Credo quindi, senza alcuna presunzione, di poter essere considerato un liberale autentico anche se di annata.

Sono in molti, considerando l'arco politico dello Stivale, a suonare l'arpa e la cetra (qualcuno anche il trombone) per catturare la mia adesione in quanto liberale visto che si fa un gran parlare del tentativo delle forze politiche di blandire i voti di centro disorientati dal caos che ha sterilizzato tanti liberali senza una casa politica, dopo l'estinzione del Pli.

Spazzolando proposte e atteggiamenti degli esponenti politici cominciamo con il considerare Matteo Salvini che gode del sostegno della maggioranza dei votanti italiani.

Non c'è dubbio che debba essere riconosciuta una particolare capacità organizzativa a questo politico professionista che è riuscito a convertire un partito del 4% portandolo ad oltre il 30% dell'elettorato attivo.

Salvini dopo gli atteggiamenti da gerarca fascista, petto in fuori (gli manca solo il salto nel cerchio di fuoco), ha iniziato un'operazione pulizia nel tentativo di costruire di sé un'immagine che sia meno estremizzante, addirittura aperta all'Europa.

Matteo Salvini spera di recuperare anche i voti del centro liberale autentico per consolidare e garantirsi la supremazia politica nazionale. Non so perche' ma Salvini mi fa venire il mal di stomaco e mi mette in agitazione psicomotoria.

Accanto a Salvini ci sono i Fratelli d'Italia, organizzazione in grande spolvero grazie alla leader, Giorgia Meloni, che ha introdotto nell'agone politico il linguaggio stile Rugantino che le sta dando molte soddisfazioni considerando le indagini di mercato che le attribuiscono un costante e interessante aumento delle adesioni.

C'è da dire però che la signora Meloni e i suoi soci non possono chiedere impunemente il voto a noi liberali, visto che si esaltano in realta' nella riesumazione del fascismo mussoliniano.

Segue Forza Italia un partito padrone che annaspa nelle sue ultime convulsioni dietro quel Berlusconi che ha mandato in malora un'intera generazione di persone che volevano credere in lui per difendere i loro principi democratici e la richiesta di moralità, affidandosi ad un puttaniere, laido modello di comportamento, pronto a pugnalare (ultimo episodio) il suo grande amico Marcello dell'Utri, collegamento, come sembra, con la mafia.

C'è poi Italia Viva, creazione di Matteo Renzi, che sta muovendo i primi passi sperando di convincere la gente come me a trovare rifugio nelle loro braccia visto che si sono liberati dal condominio del Partito Democratico.

Ammesso che ne sentissimo bisogno, il signor Carlo Calenda sta dando vita ad un altro movimento chiamato Azione, anch'esso rivolto al centro dello scenario politico.

Ovviamente il signor Carlo Calenda non ricorda la definizione di Benedetto Croce riferita al partito d'Azione i cui dirigenti secondo il filosofo "non sanno quello che vogliono, ma lo vogliono subito."

Azione si pone come diretto antagonista di Italia Viva. Per chi dovrei votare, please?

Dopo l'uscita di Matteo Renzi, il Partito Democratico dovrebbe rappresentare comunque una solida isola di salvezza per i liberali.

Ma l'amoreggiamento con i ritornati esponenti della super sinistra, ex comunista, non è che sia una specifica garanzia.

Ci sono poi quelli del Movimento Cinque Stelle, caratterizzato da scontri all'arma bianca al suo interno e da una costante perdita di consenso confermata dalle elezioni regionali.

Con tutto il rispetto per chi si agita all'interno del M5S e per coloro che lo hanno votato, non ci sentiamo di affidare la nostra scelta (plurale maiestatis) a chi ha imposto nel Parlamento italiano la presenza di incompetenti, impreparati, incolti.

Chiedendo scusa al lettore per le pennellate di pessimismo sovraesposte, restiamo in attesa di qualche lucida indicazione sul come muoverci quando saremo chiamati, noi emigranti, ad esprimere il nostro voto nella speranza di un rinsavimento nazionale che collochi di nuovo la nostra amata Italia nel ruolo internazionale che merita e metta a posto i propri conti

Oscar (Una sardina transatlantica)
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Ottimo e competente Oscar

Io non mi so spiegare come un popolo che scende in piazza per svariati motivi, talvolta anche assurdi, non scenda in piazza per liberarsi di questi politici inetti e corrotti che vivono alle spalle del cittadino, privandolo delle più elementari misure di sicurezza, onestà e fiducia. Cose che dovremmo avere da una classe dirigente, se fosse onesta.

La nostra Patria e’ diventata lo zimbello di tutta Europa e, purtroppo, anche nel resto del mondo.

Quando si dice il nome Italia e’ simultaneo il sorrisetto sotto i baffi a significare che il nostro e’ un paese che non si può prendere sul serio, solo buono per il passato storico e artistico che rappresenta ma oggi solo per farse, sceneggiate, pizza e buon vino.

A me si stinge il cuore pensando a quanto abbiamo contribuito per arricchire culturalmente tante nazioni ed oggi veniamo derisi per colpa dei politici che ci governano.

Se ne Potrebbe parlare per ore, ma già ho preso troppo del tuo tempo, scusami.

Riccardo B. (Annapolis)
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Eccezionale come sempre,non concordo per i 5 stelle,
un abbraccio


Angelo S. (Atene)
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Caro Oscar,

la specificità del ‘caso italiano’ anch’io penso che stia innanzitutto nella mancanza di un’area liberal democratica vera, non rappresentata oggi da nessuno dei partiti di centro destra esistenti, per palese mancanza di una visione europea, ma soprattutto di rispetto per lo Stato di Diritto, che è il diritto dei cittadini - di qualsiasi cultura (le razze infatti non esistono), religione e appartenenza siano – di non essere discriminati da politiche, leggi e provvedimenti illiberali.
Non è poi nella ‘politica’ (che è cosa bella e nobile) il nodo. Ma è nei ‘politici’ quando non sono all’altezza del ruolo, per impreparazione e incapacità (5 stelle)o interesse particolare (Italia viva) o illiberalità (Lega). Forza Italia non si sa più cosa sia. Quindi il nodo non è nemmeno tra ‘politici e ‘tecnici’ (quali sono stati ad es. Ciampi e poi Monti). Ma tra ‘politici’ con competenze anche tecniche  e ‘politici’ senza.
Per quanto mi riguarda, come sai, il 5 marzo del 2018 (pomeriggio), all’indomani cioè della sconfitta elettorale del PD, rimasta unica forza di opposizione democratica, gli tolsi la delega che gli  avevo sempre dato in quanto sinistra democratica del nostro Paese, e mi ci iscrissi, per riprendermela questa delega. E, nel piccolo ambito della mia sezione territoriale,contribuire a ricostruire un’identità di partito fondata sulla solidarietà, le cultura, l’ambiente sostenibile e naturalmente sul sistema delle imprese, essendoci  stato per una vita, come dai 20 in Confindustria, poi 10 nel Gruppo IRI (grazie e a te) e infine nell’università LUISS.
Voterò quindi PD alle prossime elezioni perché ‘essere di sinistra’ per me è essere socialdemocratici (come lo era forse il primo Renzi segretario del PD, prima di  sbarellare per egocentrismo). Ed ‘essere di sinistra’ ha ancora un senso se significa avere una Passione e un Progetto indirizzati a fare il mondo più umano; ma coltivando questa Passione, mettendo a punto i Progetti, senza astute ipocrisie. 
Grazie del tuo come sempre acuto e centrato articolo
Abbracci

Sandro P. (Roma) 
Devo aggiungere a quanto prima un P.S.:

Avendoci lavorato insieme nei rapporti  tra Confindustria e LUISS (che è l’università degli imprenditori) e stimandolo moltissimo, avevo dato la mia piena disponibilità a Carlo Calenda a seguirlo, essendoci tra l’altro iscritti contemporaneamente al PD. Ora, dopo che se ne è uscito dal PD (ma perché?), vuole fare anche lui un partitino: un’altra molecola senza speranza, anziché rinforzare ”da destra”, cioè da moderati, il PD.
Anche se mi rendo conto che non è una notizia, non lo seguirò.
Sandro  
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Caro Oscar,
concordo con la tua lucida analisi sull’offerta politica italiana. Io credo che bisognerebbe votare in base a chi vuole risanare il Paese o meno. Per esempio,l’unico che parla di debito pubblico è Carlo Calenda e secondo me finché l’Italia non avrà dimostrato di volerlo ridurre seriamente non potrà invertire l’interesse degli investitori stranieri, che naturalmente se ne stanno alla larga dal nostro Paese anche per altri motivi, soprattutto per la giustizia che non funziona. Oltre naturalmente per la vasta corruzione e criminalità. In questa situazione il Paese è terra di conquista dei marchi internazionali più importanti. E qui ci sono altre responsabilità da parte della Banca d’Italia che ha sempre favorito un sistema bancocentrico, considerando residuale la Borsa.

Il Paese ha bisogno disperato di gente competente e onesta  che il sistema delle preferenze e uninominale potrebbe contribuire a individuare.Ma anche qui non siamo sulla buona strada. Ti invito a leggere il libro di Ricolfi, La società signorile di massa, che spiega come il paese vive di rendita, (coloro che non lavorano hanno superato gli occupati!).  Penso, infine, che una patrimoniale finalizzata alla riduzione del debito pubblico sia la cosa più giusta da fare. Altre idee si potrebbero copiare dal Portogallo che ha uno spread pari a un terzo di quello italiano!
Un caro saluto da Lisbona,
Enrico e Anna Maria M.

Pubbliche udienze...fatto storico per gli USA


Alberto Pasolini Zanelli

È stato lungo e difficile accordarsi su qualcosa che riguarda il procedimento di impeachment contro il presidente Trump, ma almeno le due parti (e i “giudici”) sono stati puntuali. Alle 10 di ieri mattina erano tutti pronti in una sala spaziosa e fastosa; alcuni testimoni disposti a “parlare”, altri cui ciò è proibito dai “superiori” alla Casa Bianca. Fra i più attesi, un magistrato di tendenze democratiche, Daniel Goldman, che è già stato “inquisitore federale” a New York. I repubblicani gli mettono contro Steve Castor, “ispettore” della Camera dal 2005. Nessuno dei due è atteso a interrogare personalmente in aula il presidente o i suoi più intimi collaboratori. Se ci arriveranno, si dovrà aspettare forse settimane. La “linea” dei repubblicani è infatti di negare le “evidenze” che gli accusatori hanno presentato e presenteranno. Un compito non facile per nessuno, che richiede molto zelo e molta pazienza.

Il documento di partenza copre diciotto pagine ed è scritto dai difensori: si apre infatti con l’accusa di avere mancato la promessa del principale accusatore democratico. L’interrogativo principale è se Trump abbia subito realmente le pressioni del primo ministro ucraino Volodymyr Zelensky, aprendo così un procedimento di do ut des. Un altro molto atteso è John Bolton, il più noto “falco” di tutte le amministrazioni repubblicane, ma ogni volta allontanato prima o poi per i suoi consigli giudicati troppo aggressivi. Ciò è accaduto anche a Trump su argomenti che non si limitano all’Ucraina ma anche al Medio Oriente, in particolare all’Iran. Bolton non ha finora deciso se presentarsi oppure no, accontentando in un caso gli accusatori e nel caso opposto dare un’energica stretta di mano al presidente. Situazioni come questa si ripeteranno per parecchi giorni, praticamente tutti quelli in cui durerà l’inchiesta. Le parole più severe, finora, sono state pronunciate dalla presidente della Camera Nancy Pelosi, che ha citato le “offese degne di impeachment, che vanno dalla corruzione al tradimento”; accenno alle trattative col presidente ucraino e con diversi intermediari, fra cui presumibilmente il figlio dell’ex presidente Joseph Biden, già durante la campagna elettorale del 2016. È una delle strade che la difesa ha chiuso più saldamente perché la più pericolosa per Trump, che la Pelosi definisce così: “Il presidente deve pagare lo scotto, perché nessuno è al di sopra della Legge e lui la ha violata, ha tradito il suo giuramento al momento di assumere la carica di presidente, la nostra politica estera, la sicurezza nazionale e l’integrità del nostro sistema elettorale”. Va ricordato che la presidente della Camera fino a pochi giorni fa aveva parlato ripetutamente contro l’ipotesi dell’apertura sollecita del procedimento di impeachment, mettendo in guardia i suoi colleghi di partito che ne sarebbe scaturita una “rissa” che avrebbe “distratto” gli elettori e coloro che hanno il compito di esporre le proposte legislative e il nuovo quadro politico secondo le vedute del Partito democratico che devono essere in primo piano durante l’intera campagna elettorale che si conclude fra esattamente un anno. Ma le pressioni dei deputati che l’hanno eletta presidente della Camera, mettendola praticamente al posto di leader di tutto il partito fino a quando non sarà stato scelto il candidato alla Casa Bianca, carica cui Nancy non aspira. Anche perché ritiene che i democratici potranno avere dei vantaggi spostando il fulcro delle loro polemiche dal campo dei principii morali e costituzionali a quello dell’interesse immediato degli elettori. Non a caso le polemiche interne nelle varie “pre elezioni” si concentrano in questi giorni e settimane sul programma avanzato dalla senatrice Elizabeth Warren di istituire una tassa sui patrimoni dei miliardari, con due scopi: ricostruire il sistema scolastico abolendo i privilegi e istituire un servizio medico nazionale. Ma di queste cose, e di altre, si potrà discutere meglio quando la battaglia dell’impeachment, cominciata ieri mattina, sarà conclusa in un modo o nell’altro.

Ed anche questa e' America. Purtroppo !!!

Aaron Franco and Morgan Radford

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — At first glance, Matthew Lusk’s campaign signs look like any other Republican candidate's.

On one side, they read, “Matthew Lusk for Congress,” and “Putting America First.”

But as he flipped the signs over while loading them into a hatchback near his home in Florida earlier this year, he pointed out a detail pasted on the back of one: a black letter “Q.”

"You never know when you'll run into somebody else who's interested in Q," he said.

Lusk is running unopposed in the Republican primary for Florida’s 5th Congressional District. Among the 51 issues listed on his campaign website is “Q.”

And he’s not alone.

NBC News has identified four candidates who have shared or promoted messages affiliated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory — either through campaign Twitter accounts or in interviews with the news organization. All four are running in primaries for Congress — two of them unopposed — and all have filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission.

Although interpretations vary and are constantly changing, most QAnon supporters believe that “Q” is an anonymous government official sharing information about a secret battle between President Donald Trump and a powerful cabal of Democratic politicians, liberal celebrities and the “deep state.”

Those posts, first shared through the website 4chan in 2017, also hint at a much darker plot in which many of those same figures control a worldwide child sex-trafficking ring.

None of those claims have been supported by fact.

Danielle Stella, who is running in a Republican primary to determine who will go up against Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, has a campaign account that frequently retweets QAnon-related messages and uses the #WWG1WGA hashtag — a frequent rallying cry for QAnon believers that stands for the motto "where we go one, we go all." In August, Stella's account retweeted a post that asked people to “Retweet if you support Q.”

In Texas’ 33rd Congressional District, Republican primary candidate Rich Helms' account has used the #WWG1WGA hashtag andretweeted and expressed support for QAnon accounts.

In July, he or someone from his campaign responded directly to a post about QAnon with “#WWG1WGA.”

Both candidates also often show their support for Trump on Twitter.

Helms didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Stella campaign said by email: "I find it appalling that NBC would work so feverishly to defend child and sex traffickers, their funders, and their enablers.”

In Texas, Republican strategist Brendan Steinhauser says the conspiracy theory has started to creep into his work with candidates.

"I'll get emails about it,” Steinhauser said. "People come on their Facebook page, and activists will say, 'What's your stance on this?’ Or, ‘You heard about this, right?’"

He advises all of his clients to disavow the conspiracy theory and worries the trend will cause long-term damage to the party, especially among independent and swing voters.

"I think if they see candidates out there who are sounding crazy, that's going to hurt the Republican brand,” Steinhauser said.

At his home in Jacksonville, Lusk, who has expressed support for Trump, said he considers Q to be a reputable source of information.

“It’s like an advanced news warning,” he said. “Like, it might come out in the mainstream media a week or two weeks later. So I think there's a lot of inside sources, whoever this person is.”

Lusk said he first became aware of QAnon through YouTube last December and was drawn to it because of his concerns about the banking system and “globalization” — fearful of "powerful groups of people that are after world control in the West."

He sees Q’s allegations about child sex-trafficking as a secondary issue.

“Do I think there's powerful pedophiles out there? Yes,” Lusk said. “Is the ring like in the supreme control of what's happening in globalization? No, I think they're ju

In California’s 36th District, Republican primary candidate Erin Cruz doesn’t mention Q in any of her campaign material, but she acknowledges that many of her online followers are QAnon supporters.

Far from a fringe candidate, Cruz has a campaign banner hanging at the local Republican Party headquarters in LaQuinta, California, and claims an endorsement from the state chapter of Latinos for Trump.

“I think that we have to be very careful about what we think or call conspiracy theories,” Cruz said, referring to QAnon supporters, who she said have "legitimate concerns,” although she did not elaborate on what those were.

Cruz says she believes some of what Q posts is valid information, but she offered only vague answers having to do with the need for government transparency when asked what that might be.

“I think that the biggest thing with QAnon is there's information coming out," she said. "And sometimes it is in line with what's going on in government. So when you ask me, do I know what QAnon is? Yes, but what is it to everybody else? That's the bigger thing.”

Her message to other candidates: Treat QAnon supporters like any other voting bloc.

“I don't believe that candidates this day and age against a big party machine or machines can dismiss any person, any voter out there. And so with that, I would say, no, you shouldn't be dismissing individuals like QAnon supporters or believers,” she said.

It’s not an unprecedented strategy.

QAnon followers are a small faction within the Republican Party, but they can be a powerful force online. A New York Times analysisfound that 23,000 of Trump’s followers have QAnon references in their profiles, many of whom amplify the president’s message across the potentially hundreds of thousands in the QAnon community.

Although the president has never explicitly acknowledged the conspiracy theory, he has retweeted profiles with a Q logo or QAnon messaging in their bios, and he has met and taken an Oval Office photo with a prominent QAnon booster and radio host named Michael William Lebron.

"I don't know that he's necessarily willfully pushing out the entire conspiracy theory,” Steinhauser said of Trump. "I do think he's endorsing and pushing out certain elements of it."

"But that's what makes a good, effective conspiracy theory," he added, "elements of truth or elements of nuance that can be promoted, right?"

At a recent rally in Minneapolis, supporters in QAnon T-shirts stood among the thousands in line waiting to get into the Target Center to see the president.

Standing near the front with a friend she’d met through QAnon groups online, Lynette Luukkonen said she’d “absolutely” support a candidate who ran on a QAnon platform.

“There’s a bunch of us that are sitting out in middle of America going: ‘Wow. We got this huge puzzle, let's solve it. Let's figure it out.’ It is fantastic,” she said. “And it has brought a lot of people together.”

And since she believes the mainstream media has been infiltrated by the CIA, she says she’ll continue to look to Q for information.

“I mean, how dumb do you think we are as citizens of this country?” she asked of the major news organizations. “We're done with that.”

Un grosso aiuto a Trump

CBS News

Nikki Haley, the one-time Republican governor of South Carolina and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is no longer in public life. But if a recent visit to a high school near her hometown is any indication, the public isn't done with her.
The 47-year-old married mother of two has a new book, "With All Due Respect" (St. Martin's Press), recounting both her tenure in the Trump administration, and her journey from small town Bamberg, S.C., to the world stage.
She told "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell that she dislikes being described as "ambitious."
"You know, when women are referred to as ambitious, it's never in a positive light," Haley said. "I've heard that all my life: She's so ambitious. No, I'm passionate. I love what I do. I throw myself into it. So, I prefer 'badass.'"
While Haley is a daughter of the South, she's also the daughter of immigrants from India. She grew up as Nikki Randhawa.
"We weren't white enough to be white, we weren't black enough to be black," she said. "We were the only Indian family [in town]. My father wore a turban, he still does to this day. My mom in town wore a sari. And I remember we would get teased. And I would leave the playground and come home, and I remember my mom would always say, 'Your job is not to show them how you're different. Your job is to show them how you're similar.'"
It's a winning formula in politics, and Haley's Southern charm is a point of pride, as well as a pointed weapon.
In 2016, she campaigned for Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and against Donald Trump. At a February 29, 2016 rally in Atlanta, Haley said, "Donald Trump, show us your tax return!"
When candidate Trump tweeted back "The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!," she replied with the withering put-down beloved by Southern women: "Bless your heart."
"I have always kicked with a smile," Haley said. "Yeah, I've always said I wear high-heels and it's not for a fashion statement. It's when I see something wrong, I'm gonna kick every time."
"Stilettos?" asked O'Donnell.
"Yes! Look, I think that, you know, you have to be tough. But I don't think you have to be disrespectful."
"You also write in the book that part of your secret to success has been you've been underestimated?"
"Always. Always," Haley said.
"Does it motivate you? 'Cause sometimes, for me, being underestimated motivates me."
"Oh, it absolutely motivates me. I love surprising people. I love letting them know what I'm capable of. And I love challenging myself to prove to them, so that they can be proud."
As South Carolina Governor, Haley's most challenging moment came in 2015 when a white supremacist slaughtered nine worshippers at Mother Emanuel, an historic black AME Church in Charleston. In the aftermath of that tragedy, Haley writes she feared Donald Trump's angry campaign rhetoric could inspire even more violence.
Still, after the 2016 election, Haley accepted his offer to become U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. And those stilettos? On her first day on the job, she came out kicking: "For those who don't have our back, we're taking names."
Haley was the president's voice on issues that still dominate the headlines: Russian aggression in Ukraine, North Korea's nuclear program, and the Syrian civil war. But her battles at the U.N. were rivaled by battle for control within the White House.
Haley recounts a closed-door encounter with then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: "Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren't being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country … Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president's decisions was because, if he didn't, people would die. This was how high the stakes were, he and Kelly told me. We are doing the best we can do to save the country, they said. We need you to work with us and help us do it. This went on for over an hour."
O'Donnell asked, "You memorialized that conversation? It definitely happened?"
"It absolutely happened," said Haley. "And instead of saying that to me, they should've been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should've been, 'Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don't like what he's doing.' But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive."
[We asked them to respond. John Kelly tells "Sunday Morning": "If by resistance and stalling she means putting a staff process in place … to ensure the (president) knew all the pros and cons of what policy decision he might be contemplating so he could make an informed decision, then guilty as charged."]
Haley remains a fierce Trump loyalist, including on the issue of his asking the Ukrainian president to dig for dirt on the family of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
O'Donnell asked, "Do you think ultimately the president will be impeached and removed from office?"
Haley replied, "No. On what? You're gonna impeach a president for asking for a favor that didn't happen and giving money and it wasn't withheld? I don't know what you would impeach him on. And look, Norah, impeachment is, like, the death penalty for a public official. When you look at the transcript, there's nothing in that transcript that warrants the death penalty for the president."
"To be clear, it was not a complete transcript. There are still things that are missing from it. And in it, he does say, 'I would like you to do us a favor, though.'"
"The Ukrainians never did the investigation. And the president released the funds. I mean, when you look at those, there's just nothing impeachable there. And more than that, I think the biggest thing that bothers me is the American people should decide this. Why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making that decision?"
Haley, herself a daughter of immigrants, also defends President Trump on one of him most inflammatory statements: his tweet from this past summer in which he told four Democratic female members of Congress, three of whom were born in the United States, to "Go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
Was that appropriate? "No, it's not appropriate," Haley replied. "But I also can appreciate where he was coming from, from the standpoint of, don't bash America over and over and over again and not do something to try and fix it."

Haley insists she has no immediate plans to run for any office, including the presidency, and as she departed the Trump administration last year she said, "I can promise you what I'll be doing is campaigning for this one."

She told O'Donnell, "A year is a long time in politics. It really is a lifetime in politics. And so, I think what's best for me is take it a year at a time and see what happens."

With her new book, lucrative speaking engagements, and a seat on the corporate board of Boeing, Nikki Haley acknowledges there are still chapters to be written: "I'm too young to stop fighting. I'll always be out there. I'll always use the power of my voice for what I believe is good."

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Doctors, hospitals take up arms against Democrats' health care changes
The debate over various "Medicare for All" plans has gripped the presidential primary contest.
Supporters of Medicare for All are trying to squeeze cost reductions out of the health care industry, but physicians and hospitals may get pricked by lower payments. Mike Ellis / for NBC News

By Benjy Sarlin

WASHINGTON — Across months of debates, stump speeches, TV appearances and position papers, the face of everything wrong with the U.S. health care industry for Democratic candidates has mostly come down to two groups: private insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

But in focusing on those two industries, candidates may be leaving supporters unprepared for the fight it would take to pass Medicare for All or create a new public insurance option. In fact, Democratic proposals already face opposition from well-funded groups representing doctors, specialists and hospitals, many of which would be asked to accept major revenue cuts to finance expanded coverage.

While Democrats are comfortable attacking bureaucrats, CEOs and Big Pharma, public campaigns to block legislation are likely to include more sympathetic figures from voters' own communities like Dr. Asim Shah, executive vice chair and professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine.

Shah, who oversees about 90 staff at a trauma center in Houston and is known locally for his work treating Hurricane Harvey survivors, co-wrote an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle last month warning of "the perils of dismantling the existing structures and moving directly to a government-run plan."

Shah told NBC News that he's not ideologically opposed to a government-led approach, but he's concerned with a simple reality: Medicare pays providers less than private insurance and almost every 2020 Democratic plan looks to bring down soaring costs by tying more coverage to Medicare.

"Their reimbursement rates are not high," he said. "That's the reason some are scared."

The gap is especially large at hospitals, where a RAND analysis found private insurers pay more than twice as much on average for similar care.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's much-anticipated Medicare for All plananticipates lowering health care spending by trillions of dollars by moving physicians to Medicare rates, reimbursing hospitals at an average 110 percent of Medicare rates, and instituting reforms that would cap the growth of health care costs moving forward.

Single-payer advocates argue doing away with private insurance would reduce administrative burdens for doctors and hospitals, meaning they would be able to treat more patients for less. The U.S. is a major outlier among developed countries when it comes to its high health care costs, and some outside analyses of Medicare for All proposals suggest it could produce significant savings by negotiating lower prices and cutting overhead.

Donald Berwick, who oversaw Medicare and Medicaid under President Barack Obama and consulted on Warren's plan, said her reimbursement rates were calculated to cover current operating margins for hospitals, but would make it harder for them to bargain for higher rates in the future.

"It's definitely stringent, and it would really require hospitals to look very carefully inside for efficiencies, but they should be doing that anyway," Berwick said.

Rival approaches short of Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All proposals would also require new savings from health care providers.

Many candidates are proposing a public insurance option that pays some variation on Medicare rates in part to pressure private insurers to compete with lower premiums and spur providers to lower their prices. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has proposed limiting how much hospitals can charge private insurers relative to Medicare.

In a preview of the fight, Congress is currently struggling to advance legislation to address the sometimes shockingly high and confusing out-of-network hospital bills that patients receive — a much less daunting issue with bipartisan interest, including from the White House — amid an onslaught of outside spending.

A new group called Doctor Patient Unity popped up in July and spent over $28 million on ads opposing it through the summer, more than Warren's presidential campaign raised in the last quarter. Its funders were initially unclear, but The New York Times revealed they were private-equity companies invested in health care.

Industry groups opposing Medicare for All are making the case that they need higher private insurance rates to make up for lower government ones and that customers will suffer from any reductions. The American Hospital Association decried Warren's proposal, arguing "hospitals are already paid far less than the cost of caring for Medicare patients" and that further cuts "could threaten access to care and hospitals' survival."

Partnership for America's Health Care Future, an umbrella group of health care trade groups that oppose single-payer health care or a public option, has commissioned outside studies raising concerns about the impact of lower reimbursement rates on hospitals struggling with revenue.