By Robert A. Vella

Today, we’ll take another look at how President Trump’s authoritarian obsession with gaining total control over the government and public officials caused them to consider recording their personal conversations with him in order to protect themselves.  We now know that one person who did so, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, had been targeted by the Mueller investigation long before his office was raided by the FBI and that much of the evidence discovered is still being withheld from the public.  The phrase “control freak” certainly applies to this president, and here’s an interesting description from Wikipedia:

Control freaks are often perfectionists[5] defending themselves against their own inner vulnerabilities in the belief that if they are not in total control they risk exposing themselves once more to childhood angst.[6] Such persons manipulate and pressure others to change so as to avoid having to change themselves,[7] and use power over others to escape an inner emptiness.[8] When a control freak’s pattern is broken, the controller is left with a terrible feeling of powerlessness but feeling their pain and fear brings them back to themselves.[9]


In terms of personality-type theory, control freaks are very much the Type A personality, driven by the need to dominate and control.[12] An obsessive need to control others is also associated with antisocial personality disorder.[13]

The common misperception that the petulant Donald Trump always gets his way has never been justified by the facts, and a new report on his very poor record in court again refutes that notion.

How do Americans feel about President Trump pardoning his associates convicted of federal crimes?  They oppose it by a large margin.

Google has been hit by another big fine in Europe, but just got a favorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Taping Trump

From:  Ex-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explains why he considered taping a call with Trump

Bharara mentioned that he weighed recording Trump on his podcast in 2017. In the new MSNBC interview, he details the internal deliberations with his staff and addresses reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to secretly record Trump.

Justice Department officials have dismissed the comment by Rosenstein about wearing a wire as a joke.

But Bharara told MSNBC that the reports about Rosenstein “sort of rung in my ear a little bit,” and said he believes Rosenstein was serious.

“I tend to believe he was not joking, because there has been a certain kind of conduct that happens,” Bharara said, citing Trump’s falsehoods and explaining that prosecutors routinely take notes, or make recordings, as corroborating evidence.

Bharara and his deputies made these considerations in March of 2017, he said, shortly after Trump was inaugurated and just before Bharara would be fired along with 46 other U.S. attorneys for refusing to resign after the administration took power. Trump had contacted Bharara several times as president-elect, even summoning him to Trump Tower for a meeting.


Asked if he was concerned about Trump having “an illicit motive” regarding SDNY investigations involving Trump, Bharara responded, “I was,” adding, “But I was mostly concerned of the appearance of it.”

Mueller targeted Cohen

From:  5 things to know about the Michael Cohen search warrant documents

■  Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference with the election and whether Russians coordinated with the Trump campaign, had placed Cohen under the microscope early on.

On July 18, 2017, just six months into Trump’s presidency, the FBI obtained a search warrant for Cohen’s Gmail account for e-mails sent and received between Jan. 1, 2016, and that date. Mueller had only been appointed in May 2017.


■  Investigators looked closely at Cohen’s campaign finance violations, and details of what they found are still being withheld.

Several of the affidavits included a section called “The Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme,” in each case followed by more than 18 pages blocked out in gray. Cohen has since pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, among other crimes. And he has said that Trump directed hush money payments, in violation of campaign finance laws, to women who claimed they had affairs with him.

Trump’s poor court record

From:  The real reason the Trump administration is constantly losing in court

Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration at least 63 times over the past two years, an extraordinary record of legal defeat that has stymied large parts of the president’s agenda on the environment, immigration and other matters.

In case after case, judges have rebuked Trump officials for failing to follow the most basic rules of governance for shifting policy, including providing legitimate explanations supported by facts and, where required, public input.

Many of the cases are in early stages and subject to reversal. For example, the Supreme Court permitted a version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from certain predominantly Muslim nations to take effect after lower-court judges blocked the travel ban as discriminatory.

But regardless of whether the administration ultimately prevails, the rulings so far paint a remarkable portrait of a government rushing to implement far-reaching changes in policy without regard for long-standing rules against arbitrary and capricious behavior.

Americans oppose pardons

From:  Hill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides

A Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday shows overwhelming opposition to the idea of President Trump pardoning former aides who worked on his 2016 campaign.

Seventy-six percent of voters contacted for the March 16-17 survey said they opposed Trump extending executive pardons to his former political aides. Only 24 percent said they would approve of the pardons.

Google news

From:  EU fines Google $1.7 billion for abusing online ads market

BRUSSELS — European Union regulators have hit Google with a 1.49 billion euro ($1.68 billion) fine for abusing its dominant role in online advertising.

It’s the third time the commission has slapped Google with an antitrust penalty, following multibillion-dollar fines resulting from separate probes into two other parts of the Silicon Valley giant’s business.


The commission found that Google and its parent company, Alphabet, breached EU antitrust rules by imposing restrictive clauses in contracts with websites that used AdSense, preventing Google rivals from placing their ads on these sites.

From:  U.S. top court undermines Google settlement in internet privacy case

WASHINGTON, March 20 – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday cast doubt on a $8.5 million settlement Google had agreed to pay to end an internet privacy dispute, directing a lower court to review whether plaintiffs who accused the search engine operator of wrongdoing in a class action lawsuit were legally eligible to sue.

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