Trump’s world is beginning to unravel

Federal prosecutors said for the first time that Michael Cohen acted at the direction of Donald Trump when Cohen committed two election-related crimes in 2016, as special counsel Robert Mueller outlined new contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals. Mueller also revealed that a Russian national who claimed to be well-connected in Moscow spoke with Cohen in 2015 and offered “political synergy” with the Trump campaign.

And yet Trump tweeted, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!” He did not offer further explanation of his comment. Go figure that one out.

Trump tweeted “He [Cohen] lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence” after Cohen is working with the prosecution and has asked for no prison time. We will see if and what Trump says if he is convicted and is required to spend prison time.

“He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get……his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free,” People are wondering who “Scott Free” is. Should be “scot-free”.

After Trump canceled his meeting with Vladimir Poutine at the G20 [Trump claiming it was because of Russia’s capturing of Ukrainian navy boats and sailors], various pro-Poutine surrogates in the media [a.k.a. puppets] went after Trump claiming Poutine was in fact the real leader of the free world, Trump is a flunky, untrusted, unbalanced, old, etc. [Stuff we already know.]

One actually used an interesting name: Donald Fredovych Trump. Fredovych would mean “son of Fred” but also could imply “Fredo” as in the disloyal Fredo Corleone who disappointed “the Godfather.”

Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks. At a post-G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on January 1st. Not surprising National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow corrected Trump, stating that the 90-day clock on trade negotiations with China began December 1, not January 1.

The administration says China agreed to “purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries”. Of course ” very substantial” could mean really a lot or not that much.

The administration also says Beijing agreed to designate Fentanyl as a controlled substance. The opioid – much of it thought to be made in China – is driving a huge rise in drug addiction in the U.S.

Trump claims that China has agreed to cut tariffs on cars it imports from the United States as part of their deal which currently stand at 40%. But the Chinese government has made no mention of cutting car tariffs as a result of the meeting between the two leaders in Buenos Aires.

The original NAFTA deal has landed back atop Trump’s hit list, with Trump again declaring he intends to terminate the 24-year-old trade pact — a move that appears designed to pressure lawmakers on Capitol Hill into approving its recently negotiated successor. That move would give lawmakers six months to approve its replacement once formal notice is delivered.

“It’s caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else,” said Trump. Exactly what is the unemployment rate in the US again? Recent job losses have been mounting under his administration but have been low for a while.

A number of Democrats in Congress said they won’t support it without more stringent enforcement mechanisms for new labour rules and environmental protection. Some Republicans say they, too, are disinclined to support the agreement in its current form.

Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto signed the new U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement during an awkward ceremony at the outset of G20 meetings Friday in Argentina.

When Trump tweets “‘I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'”

Stone is telling congressional committees that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in order to not testify in response to requests for documents and testimony. In 2016, Trump criticized those who invoke their Fifth Amendment right.

But George Conway, who is a lawyer and not a Trump supporter and Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway’s husband, said that under the portion of the US Code that deals with witness tampering in a federal investigation that Trump was doing just that in his tweet praising Stone for publicly refusing to testify against him.

But expect Trump to go after Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. Mueller told a federal court that Flynn has given “substantial assistance” to the Russia investigation and should not get jail time. His early cooperation gave prosecutors a road map for their Russia investigation and may have helped to encourage others to cooperate, the filing states.

There is talk that White House chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving very soon. It has gone to the point where he doesn’t talk to Trump even though it is a job requirement that Kelly to do so. When hired, Kelly curbed access and ruled over staffing. But recently Trump began circumventing many of the policies and protocols he enacted. Daily staff meetings became weekly.

The leading potential replacement is Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff who is known to be quite loyal. He’s climbed up the political ladder to the point where Ayers would even join Trump and Pence for lunch. Several of Trump’s top advisers, including Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, have voiced concerns to him about Ayers, with some threatening to quit if he is tapped for the job.

Kelly was also interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in recent months where he responded to a narrow set of questions from special counsel investigators after White House lawyers initially objected to Mueller’s request to do the interview earlier this summer.

The Mueller questions to Kelly centered on a narrow set of issues in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice, chiefly Kelly’s recollection of an episode that took place after new reporting emerged about how Trump had tried to fire Mueller.

Trump has decided to nominate former attorney general William Barr to be the next permanent head of the Justice Department, Trump told reporters. Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has been emerging this week as a consensus candidate to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

As news about Trump administration shuffles involving the attorney general, Trump is tweeting about a different shakeup from months ago as he called former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell,” while he praised his replacement, Mike Pompeo. Trump fired Tillerson back in March and nominated Pompeo, then the CIA director, for the role.

Emails from top officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee were hacked before the 2018 midterm elections, exposing the GOP’s House campaign arm to an intrusion by an “unknown entity.” So why announce it now? Trump has mocked his political opponents when they got hacked by foreign actors, and he has praised Republicans for investing in stronger cyber protections.

Trump said in a tweet “Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush.”. You don’t really look forward to a funeral! And you didn’t respect him in life either!

“I have read every piece of intelligence that’s in the possession of the United States government,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “And when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there’s no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Maybe on their own there is no smoking gun, but according to experts, when you add them all up, it becomes more likely.

CIA has a high confidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s involvement. The Wall Street Journal also reports that the intelligence agency’s assessment includes electronic communications the crown prince sent to a close adviser who oversaw the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi.

Bin Salman had reportedly said “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements [to go to a consulate]” in a recording. Reportedly, they tried to do the same luring to another Saudi activist living in Montreal but the activist was smart enough not to go to a consulate when offered.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian “cheating.” Russian officials the day after warned of unspecified “retaliation” to the U.S. decision to walk out of a key arms treaty.

The House of Representatives approved a two-week extension for a government funding deadline in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown this week but setting the stage for a partial one on December 21. Congressional leaders in both parties have indicated they do not want a partial shutdown, but Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over Trump’s demand for $5 billion for his long-promised Trump Wall.

Trump earlier tweeted “We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall” and yet he doesn’t explain how billions will be saved by building a wall. There will surely still be border guards.

A federal judge has finalized the schedule for when state challengers suing Trump over proceeds from the Trump International Hotel get to seek evidence for their case. They allege in the lawsuit that Trump violated a constitutional clause banning gifts and advantages from foreign and domestic governments because of his family company’s stake in the Trump hotel in Washington.

Subpoenas have been served on the Trump Organization and a dozen linked entities in a lawsuit challenging Trump’s ongoing business ties while in office. The lawsuit by DC and Maryland claims Trump is in violation of the Constitution’s ban on emoluments, or payments, from foreign or domestic government entities to the President because of his continued interest in the Trump International Hotel.

DC and Maryland have said the Trump International Hotel’s operations put other nearby hotels and entertainment properties at a competitive disadvantage, and that the Trump hotel got special tax concessions. The hotel won its lease on federally owned property before Trump’s election.

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Trump getting hit on all sides

Wow! Donald Trump said that if Democrats “want to play tough” when they control the House of Representatives next year, he will declassify documents that will be “devastating” to them. “If they want to play tough, I will do it,” Trump told the New York Post in an interview. “They will see how devastating those pages are.” Democrats are poised to launch a series of investigations after winning a majority in the House in November.

Is this a so-called president of the U.S. or a blackmailer or a man child? And whether he can legally release them without damaging the country. If he can threaten the Democrats with this surely the Republicans know he can do the same to them if he doesn’t get his way.

It should be interesting with all the bashing Trump has had against the Supreme Court that if and when Trump [well his lawyers] go in front of the Supreme Court for one of this many legal issues [either personal or as part of the administration] whether the justices will have in back of their mind think of what Trump has said about them.

Trump publicly chastised General Motors CEO Mary Barra over her decision to close four plants in the U.S. because of sagging demand for sedans. “I was very tough. I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors,” Trump said, referring to the federal bailout of the company after the 2008 financial crash. Trump said he told Barra she had “better” reopen plants in the US soon. Don’t count on it.

“We have a lot of companies moving in,” Trump said at a rally, adding that the number of companies making products in the US is “actually going to be increasing.” Some 8,000 salaried employees and 6,000 hourly workers will either lose their jobs or be reassigned to other plants.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland,” Trump tweeted. “We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.” He left out Wisconsin. Not surprising, the subsidies don’t exist. GM is unaware of any significant federal subsidies the company is receiving beyond a $7,500 plug-in tax credit, which goes to the consumer, not the company.

Between 2009 and 2014, the Energy Department provided loans and grants toward the development of electric vehicles and energy saving technology. Tesla, Nissan and Ford participated, but GM did not. Chevy Suburbans are a staple for the Secret Service that protects Trump and other federal officials. GM also manufactured “The Beast,” the souped-up Cadillac that transports Trump.

Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe. Papadopoulos’ full sentence includes the prison time, a $9,500 fine, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia by making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen said he lied about the timing of the tower negotiations and other details to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.”

One idea considered for the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow was to offer Russian President Vladimir Poutine the penthouse, according to Felix Sater, who was working on the project with Cohen. The penthouse was planned to be valued at $50 million but gifted to Poutine. It was not clear if Trump was informed of the idea.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight separate charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in co-ordination with Trump. At that time, Cohen said he secretly used shell companies to make payments used to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.

Departing for the G20 summit in Argentina, Trump called Cohen “a weak person” and said his former lawyer was just trying to finagle a more lenient sentence from prosecutors. When asked why he retained Cohen for so long, “Because a long time ago he did me a favour,” Trump said, without offering specifics. Trump has previously said that co-operating with prosecutors “should almost be illegal”.

Cohen, who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of Trump in discussions with federal prosecutors. After the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen’s office and home, people close to Trump assured Cohen that Trump would take care of him.

Donald Trump Jr. has provided testimony under oath to at least three congressional committees where he was asked about the proposed deal. Most of that testimony is not public and it isn’t clear how detailed the questions were about the project. Yet it could place him in legal jeopardy if anything he told Congress conflicts with information provided by Cohen if it is supported by other evidence.

Heading to the G20 in Argentina, Trump announced that he wouldn’t meet Poutine because “ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia”.

Trump woke up and one of the first things he did was tweeted “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.” If he said “a few are stone cold criminals” people may take him seriously. But nobody does. In any case, does he think his border guards and immigration officials can’t do their job and weed out the “criminals”? I guess that is another two agencies he doesn’t trust.

Trump tweeted “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem.” Actually I don’t think Mexico was hired to be the U.S.’s immigration department. In addition, being in power for almost 2 years he has done nothing yourself to fix the problem. Legislation? Trump Wall? All failures. Will he continue to blame the Democrats for something he could of fixed just before the 2020 elections?

Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan said there is only one type of tear gas used by them in their arsenal. This after Trump claimed “First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe. The ones that were suffering to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out there but it’s very safe.” So border agents suffered more than the migrants. OK.

McAleenan said hundreds — perhaps more than 1,000 — people attempted to rush vehicle lanes at the San Ysidro crossing. Mexican authorities estimated the crowd at 500.

Trump suggested without evidence that some of the migrants who were tear-gassed at the U.S.-Mexico border recently were “grabbers” who took others’ children in order to protect themselves. “They grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child. You know, you have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws that frankly Congress should be changing.” I don’t think a child can enter the U.S. with a non-parent so easily. And again, almost 2 years and he hasn’t changed anything.

Trump said that three U.S. agents were “very badly hurt” by rocks and stones thrown by migrants during the unrest. McAleenan said four agents were struck with rocks but were not injured because they were wearing protective gear.

Trump denied that women and children were among those affected by the tear gas. But in his remarks to reporters here, he shifted his response, first claiming that the tear gas was “very safe,” then blaming migrants with children for being in harm’s way and finally questioning whether the children were theirs at all. Umm. Maybe because the children’s parent[s] were there.

Trump asked why parents were “running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming.” More like they were already there when agents shot the tear gas.

Trump retweeted a bunch of false facts. Among them, Trump retweeted: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.” If he dislikes this why doesn’t he fix it. He’s been in office for 22 months. Stop complaining [or retweeting] and fix it then. [The $3,874 is for a family of 5 refugees in Canada – not the US. As for Social Security checks, the average payment is $1,413 a month, with a maximum payment of $2,788.]

The Trump administration announced in June it would open a temporary shelter for up to 360 migrant children in an isolated corner of the Texas desert. It is now up to 2,349 largely Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were sleeping inside the highly guarded facility in rows of bunk beds in canvas tents, some of which once housed first responders to Hurricane Harvey. More than 1,300 teens have arrived since the end of October alone. More people are detained in this tent city than in all but one of the nation’s 204 federal prisons, yet construction here continues.

Costs appear to be soaring more than 50 per cent higher than the government has disclosed: What began as an emergency, 30-day shelter has transformed into a vast tent city that could cost taxpayers more than $430 million. Per child it’s $1200 a day and not $775 per day officials have publicly disclosed. Current average is $12 million a week.
Under federal policy, migrant youth shelters generally must have one mental health clinician for every 12 kids, but shelter officials told AP the facility has just one mental health clinician for every 50 kids.

Recently, 13 federal agencies working in coordination — released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a detailed document featuring the conclusions of more than 300 scientists that the planet is getting warmer, human activity is contributing to that warming and we are approaching a point of no return in terms of the damage to the climate.

The economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century. Without significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or more by the end of this century the report says.

Then “We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. “It’s based on — it’s not data-driven. We’d like to see something that is more data-driven.”  So they are rejecting the findings of that study don’t comport with Trump’s long-held beliefs that climate change just isn’t a real thing. And yes, 13 more agencies the administration doesn’t believe [add to the list that includes the FBI, CIA, DoHS, ….].

The report’s findings run counter to Trump’s consistent message that climate change is a hoax. Trump tweeted, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” as some Americans faced the coldest Thanksgiving in over a century. He obviously doesn’t know the difference between climate change and global warming.

“There really is no equivalency,” [versus Hillary Clinton’s mail issue] Ivanka Trump said in an interview regarding her personal mail account adding that her emails were focused on “mainly scheduling and logistics and managing the fact that I have a home life and a work life.” She was emphatic that “everything has been preserved” and stored in the White House system. What was not said is what kind of an account was it. Hotmail? Gmail?

Whether or not they were preserved, it is still a non-government server being administrated by who knows who with still confidential information. Clinton’s mail fault was the deletion of Email but at least she controlled the server where they were stored on. And after this mess with Clinton, you would think Ivanka Trump would know better by only using a government Email address for government purposes?

If she wanted an Email account that is not government controlled for her “home life”, that’s fine, but as long as she doesn’t use it for government purposes. Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants.

As world leaders denounced Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Trump waited more than a day before offering a muted response about the clash, leaving the task of criticizing Moscow to the outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. He refused to condemn Russia after they open fired and seized Ukrainian ships and blocked the sea route. Russia actually accused Ukraine of provocation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained silent on the serious escalation in tensions between the two countries.

Again this shows that “friends” of Trump [but possibly not of the U.S.] can do what they want while Trump stays in the background. First the Saudi Arabia killing of as journalist and now this.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has “breached” his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office two months after he started cooperating in the Russia probe.

Manafort shared extensive information with Justice Department prosecutors since he began cooperating, but that prosecutors also believe they are able to verify or refute that information. Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters,” violating his plea agreement, prosecutors allege in the three-page filing signed by both the defense team and the prosecution.

So Trump has submitted his answers in the Mueller investigation questionnaire. I’m sure a team of people checked Trump’s answers for grade level writing and grammar, spell checking, profanity, orange ooze, …. And finally answers to the questions to make sure they were truthful-ish.

Want a good laugh? In Tupelo, Mississippi, which Trump called the “proud birthplace of the King of Rock n Roll,” Trump said “Other than the blond hair when I was growing up they said I look like Elvis.” When Trump attended New York Military Academy as a young man, it wasn’t even close to Elvis.

Trump going to a war zone?

Donald Trump said that vows to visit US troops in war zones, a remark that comes after he received widespread criticism for not visiting an American burial ground outside Paris, France, earlier this month and Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. Of course, this is the same man who said his tax returns would be released to the public after an “audit”. That was 22 months ago. Long audit.

As he departed for Florida to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday at his private club in Palm Beach, Trump said he’d soon correct the oversight. “I’m going to a war zone,” he said again in response to a reporter’s question about his support for the troops. Does he mean a war zone in Florida?

Trump won the White House on a platform of ending U.S. military commitments abroad, but he’s been bedeviled by many of the same challenges as his predecessors. More American troops are now deployed in conflict zones than when he took office. This in addition to thousands to the Mexican border.

Trump also drew criticism for his decision not to visit Arlington National Cemetery to mark Veterans Day, following his trip to Europe. He said later he “should have” visited the cemetery but was too busy with official business. His public schedule that day listed no events.

When asked by “Fox News Sunday” interview, why he hadn’t visited the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the two years he’s served as commander in chief, Trump said “Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned.” Well, if it’s like his tax audit at the beginning of 2017 that still hasn’t been “completed”….

Trump told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he doesn’t think visiting troops in a war zone is “overly necessary.” “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here,” he added. That’s true. He keeps on causing problems and is busy trying to fix them.

Not surprisingly, Trump used a Thanksgiving morning call with military members to weigh in on a wide variety of sensitive political topics [US-Mexico border, trade, Ivanka Trump’s Email issue, Saudi Arabia killing, judges he doesn’t like, etc.], a stark departure from typical holiday greetings from the commander in chief.

Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby said “The President’s conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means.”

“I made a tremendous difference in this country,” Trump said to the troops. “This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it and when you see it, we’ve gotten so much stronger people don’t even believe it.” So what did he do to make a difference?

Retired Adm. William McRaven stood by his previous statement that Trump’s attacks on the news media represent “the greatest threat to democracy” after Trump dismissed him as a “Hillary Clinton backer” in an interview that aired on Fox News. “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” McRaven, who commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden.

Trump also said that McRaven should of captured Bin laden long before he did. In fact, it was the CIA’s job to find where Bin Laden was hiding and McRaven’s job was to find Bin Laden but to capture him once found.

Trump told Fox News he does not want to hear the tape that allegedly contains audio of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing because it is “a suffering tape,” and said he has been briefed on its contents. At the same time he still believes the Crown Price over the CIA’s findings. Not surprising as well since Trump doesn’t back his own intelligence agencies.

Trump claims that Saudi Arabia would risk everything by causing problems with the world’s economy if he applied sanctions to them and any sanctions against Saudi Arabia will hurt US businesses. Yes, the all mighty dollar before anything else.

Trump signaled that he will not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [known as “MBS”] for the death and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump said that “our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” said Trump even though his intelligence agencies said MBS is clearly involved. Again Trump prefers to believe a probably killer than those who are protecting him and the country.

And then money is involved. “If we abandon Saudi it would be a terrible mistake.” He also said he was “not going to destroy the economy of our country” over Khashoggi by giving up arms deals to Saudi Arabia. He thinks backing Saudi Arabia is a way to counter Iran. Well, Saudi Arabia would counter Iran whether or not the U.S. backs them.

Trump continues to use various government agencies to fight his battles when someone disagrees with him. He at one point was thinking of opening up full scale investigations into James Comey and Hillary Clinton but those running the investigations refused. Even his lawyer warned him that it was an abuse of power and he could be impeached for that. I guess Trump think that he has his own “army” and he can order them to do whatever he wants.

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match. Trump, who has been auditioning some replacements, could push Kelly out faster than expected. Kelly hasn’t been happy and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen could be out soon as well.

Trump has floated possible replacements for Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers. But it seems Ayers is unpopular with aides at the White House. Ayers is an ambitious aide who has worked to insulate his current boss from the chaos of the West Wing, while also angling for a bigger job that would place him squarely in the middle of it. And a suck up and an inflated ego [like maybe his possible future boss.]

Even Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway opposed Ayers’ hiring as Pence’s chief of staff in 2017 where she erupted at then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was pushing for the move. Conway disputes those allegations, telling CNN: “I have zero beef with Nick Ayers.” Ayers was critical of Conway’s polling and wanted to oust her from the role as the campaign’s pollster in 2015 when Ayers joined Pence’s gubernatorial re-election campaign as a general consultant.

Chief Justice John Roberts made a rare statement pushing back against Trump after Trump again went after federal judges. Trump had slammed the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals again, this time after a judge from the Northern District of California — where cases get appealed to the 9th Circuit — issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from barring migrants who cross into the US illegally from seeking asylum.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Trump has been a frequent critic of the 9th Circuit, and just a few months into his presidency, he said he was considering breaking up the circuit that covers a slew of Western states and Guam.

Trump tweeted after Roberts’ first vote in favor of Obamacare in 2012, “Congratulations to John Roberts for making Americans hate the Supreme Court because of his BS.”

“Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster. … Judges must not Legislate Security and Safety at the Border, or anywhere else. They know nothing about it and are making our Country unsafe. ….. We want the Constitution as written!” tweeted Trump. No. Judges are there to make sure what is being done is acceptable to the laws of the country and the constitution and not turn the government into a dictatorship – the way it’s going.

Here is his big ego in action: Trump said that he “can’t imagine” anyone other than himself being named Time’s Person of the Year. The publication released the results of a reader poll to pick the Person of the Year. Trump finished tied for 13th with 2 percent of the vote.

Trump said the people who serve in his administration have gone on to be successful after leaving their positions, and pointed to former White House communications director Hope Hicks as an example. Yes, she is a good example, now at Fox as the executive vice president and chief communications officer, but what others?

Trump tweeted saying Democrats and Republicans “MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall.” This is unlikely as the majority of Democrats oppose his Trump Wall.

When he mentioned Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a tweet, he used a Schumer fan instead of the senator himself. Surprising since the number of times Schumer has been mentioned in his tweets.

Just days after CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press pass was returned to him after a judge granted the return of his access for 14 days, the white house may try again to revoke Acosta’s access by the end of the month. In response, CNN is asking the U.S. District Court for another emergency hearing. The judge did not rule on CNN’s argument that the revocation of Acosta’s press pass was a violation of his and the network’s First Amendment rights. In the end, the White House said that Acosta’s press pass has been “restored,” bowing to days of pressure and a federal lawsuit against the administration.

The White house is trying to gag some of the White house correspondents. Among the new rules:

  • Reporters may only ask “a single question” at a press conference.
  • Follow-ups will only be permitted “at the discretion of the President or other White House officials.” This has reporters upset already.
  • Reporters must “physically surrender” the mic when directed.

Violations of “any” of these rules “may result in suspension or revocation.” The correspondents’ association said it had “no role” in crafting what the White House sent out and have not agreed to the rules. “For as long as there have been White House press conferences, White House reporters have asked follow-up questions. We fully expect this tradition will continue.”

I can see it now: A reporter from Fox gets to ask his question and maybe a second or even a third without getting permission. Acosta actually is allowed to ask a question that Trump doesn’t like and when Trump does not answer, Acosta asks another question and is then escorted out of the White House.

Seems they never learn from other’s mistakes: According to emails released by the watchdog group, American Oversight, Ivanka Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants. The Presidential Records Act requires all official White House communications and records be preserved.

The Washington Post reported the White House conducted an investigation into Trump’s email usage and that she used her personal email address for much of 2017. So the white house hid this from the public. Her father pushed his followers to say “Lock her up!” regarding Hillary Clinton after she used a non-government Email account. He also used the phrase “Crooked Hillary” because of it.

I am going to guess that if the White House or Trump [the father] comments about it, it will be either a denial or not the same or similar issue.

When Trump was asked about the non-government server usage, she said she was not familiar with some details of the rules. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump lawyer said “While transitioning into government, until the White House provided her the same guidance they had to others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family.”

With the Democrats now controlling the House, you can be sure that this Email issue will be added to the long list of potential investigations by the House.

I wouldn’t consider the two email controversies [Trump and Clinton] the same. Clinton used her own mail server that was controlled by her or an associate. Unsure what mail server Trump was using but O would guess on a public server [which is less secure] like Hotmail or Gmail.

The New York state attorney general’s civil lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump and his three eldest children can proceed after Justice Saliann Scarpulla denied their motion to dismiss the case. The judge ruled that a sitting president can face a civil lawsuit in state court for actions not taken in his official capacity. That ruling puts Scarpulla in agreement with another recent ruling against Trump, a decision in the defamation lawsuit brought against him from a former contestant on “The Apprentice.”

A federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry. A policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point ‘”irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration law and the “expressed intent of Congress.” “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said the judge.

After Republicans lost the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Trump said in an interview with Fox News that these losses couldn’t be tied to him because he was not on the ballot. We knew that was coming. Yet. He was taking credit for the GOP wins in the Senate.

We know Trump is childish with a very huge ego. “So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” Trump wrote.

Special counsel Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and like many other Department of Justice appointees, he did not require Senate confirmation for the position. Does Trump even know the rules of governing a country?

Regarding the California forest fires, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said in an interview that although Trump claimed the European leader told him Finns rarely have forest fires because they “spend a lot of time raking,” he doesn’t recall discussing that with Trump when they met recently in Paris. He said that they did discuss the California wildfires when they met, and that he told Trump “we take care of our forests.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association is shelving its tradition of having a comedian roast the president and the press corps at its annual fundraising dinner next April. Instead they will have famed author Ron Chernow. In previous years, this was the big press event. Getting a ticket was very hard. I am guessing it will be easier this time. Especially if you can’t roast Trump. So much material to choose from.

Trump is suggesting he might attend next year’s White House Correspondents Dinner now that the event is no longer featuring a comedian. “Maybe I will go?” I hope Ron Chernow roasts him!

Trump stays in the shadows in Paris

In Paris for the 100 anniversary of the end of World War I, the reason for scrapping the journey to the Aisne-Marne American cemetery came down to safety: Donald Trump’s Marine One helicopter cannot fly in low cloud cover, a decision that is made by military and security officials and not by Trump. But there did not appear to be a backup plan.

Trump did not make any statements of regret at not being able to visit the cemetery. Late Sunday, the White House defended Trump’s decision not to attend, citing concerns about disrupting traffic. “A car ride of two-and-a-half hours, each way, would have required closures to substantial portions of the Paris roadways for the President’s motorcade, on short notice,” said press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders.

Trump has drawn criticism and accusations he was ignoring the sacrifice of American military personnel who died in World War I. If they could fight in the muddy trenches in Europe 100 years ago, he could somehow go to the cemetery.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying ‘our interests first; who cares about the others?’, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and what makes it essential — its moral values.”

Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, convened at the Élysée Palace before traveling together in motor coaches to the Arc de Triomphe. They walked in a large group to the event site under black umbrellas. Trump pulled up in his own vehicle and walked in separately, due to “security protocols,” according to the White House.

A senior French official said at the time that Trump took Macron’s words out “out of context” and clarified the language Macron used, saying that the French leader did not mean he wanted a European army but better coordination and funding of Europe’s already-existing resources.

Following a meeting with Trump, Macron was able to explain a “misunderstanding” about the European force and the two put the matter to rest, a French presidential spokesman said over the weekend.

But it seems, it wasn’t the end of the issue.

It took him a couple of days [I guess he actually wanted some real facts to be used] and shot back at Macron by saying: “The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%,” Trump wrote, citing figures indicating political trouble for the French leader. So Trump can only go after Macron’s approval rating which [f actually true] is lower than Trump’s.

He also added “By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!” Maybe but France is open to free trade as well as letting immigrants in. Trump has killed US’s involvement in the Trans Pacific Partnership, threatened to tear up NAFTA, etc.

Trump proudly identified himself as a nationalist as he advances an “America First” agenda which includes limiting immigration.

Remember when CNN White House reporter, Jim Acosta, was basically booted from the White house? CNN has filed a lawsuit against Trump and top aides for banning reporter Jim Acosta. Included in the list are Chief of staff John Kelly and press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders.

The Trump’s administration contends it has “broad discretion” to regulate press access to the White House as it fends off a legal challenge from CNN and other outlets over the revocation of journalist Jim Acosta’s “hard pass.” So basically they [errr] trump freedom of the press.

“Simpleton” has recently dropped the part of her criticism of Acosta where she accused him of grabbing a press aide’s arm and used a doctored video to show it as proof.

The judge, an appointee of Trump, in the case of Acosta against Trump and others heard 2 hours of arguments but decided to make a judgement the day after. The government said that it would be perfectly legal for the White House to revoke a journalist’s press pass if it didn’t agree with their reporting. “As a matter of law… yes,” he said.

By filing for a temporary restraining order to unblock Acosta’s ban from the White House, CNN is seeking what’s known as “emergency relief”. CNN is also asking for “permanent relief,” meaning a declaration from the judge that Trump’s revocation of Acosta’s press pass was unconstitutional. This legal conclusion could protect other reporters from retaliation by the administration. The judge is only expected to rule on the “emergency relief”.

Acosta has returned to his post at the White House following a court ruling that forced the Trump administration to reinstate his press pass. The judge granted CNN’s request for a temporary restraining order on Fifth Amendment grounds and criticized last week’s blacklisting of Acosta as “shrouded in mystery,” noting that the Justice Department lawyer in the case couldn’t even say who ordered the decision.

“… we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etcetera. We’re going to write them up. It’s not a big deal. If he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference,” said Trump. Notice how he is aiming his words at Acosta and not journalists in general. Now if only Trump himself can behave. Don’t expect Trump to allow Acosta any questions [or maybe even others at CNN].

Spinning things differently, “Simpleton” said in her statement, “Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House.” The judge did not make that clear.

Trump has replaced his deputy national security adviser after she feuded with first lady Melania Trump. The first lady complained to her husband that she was unhappy with how she was being treated by Mira Ricardel.

Ricardel is a part of at least two “factions” in the administration. She was brought in by National Security Adviser John Bolton. Another faction has Chief of Staff John Kelly joined with Kirstjen Nielsen. She has followed him during her career.

“A lot of administrations make changes after midterms. I will say that, for the most part, I’m very, very happy with this Cabinet. We’re doing a great job,” Trump said. Except you know that he’s already made quite a few changes prior to the mid-terms and more on the way. 25 senior officials have left the administration in 22 months.

Aside from Ricardel, there is talk of at least Kelly and Nielsen joining the unemployment line.

In just under 2 years, 9 Trump cabinet members have left the cabinet. Compare that to 9 who left President Obama’s cabinet in the first full term or George W. Bush’s first term where only 4 left. There are 3 more [Nielsen, maybe Kelly and maybe Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Almost six in 10 of Trump’s “A Team” staffers — defined as the most senior and most influential within the administration — have already departed the White House even before Trump’s two-year anniversary in office.

Since the mid-term election [over a week ago], Trump and many in the conservative media have dramatically reduced the frequency and intensity of their dire warnings about the migrant caravan now that they no longer feel the same urgency to stir up GOP voters. Trump himself hasn’t tweeted about it except once in the past 2 weeks. I guess it wasn’t that critical to stop.

Even Trump’s favorite outlet, Fox News, had spent more than 33 hours discussing the caravan through Election Day, according to a study by Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog organization. On Nov. 7, the day after the election, Fox had no discussions centered on the caravan. On Nov. 8, the network spent four minutes and 57 seconds on discussions centered on the caravan, according to the study.

Trump called for stopping the recounts in Florida’s votes for Senate and governor, alleging without evidence that many ballots are missing and forged and that a valid tally is not possible. The recounts are happening in accordance with Florida law because of the tight margins in the votes.

Republicans Rick Scott, the governor, went on national television to accuse Sen. Bill Nelson, whom he is hoping to unseat, of trying to “commit fraud to try to win this election.”

White House officials have told congressional leaders and appropriators that Trump does not want any additional relief funding sent to Puerto Rico. “The people of Puerto Rico are wonderful but the inept politicians are trying to use the massive and ridiculously high amounts of hurricane/disaster funding to pay off other obligations,” Trump tweeted on October 23. “The U.S. will NOT bail out long outstanding & unpaid obligations with hurricane relief money!”

“The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!” Trump tweeted, falsely blaming his foes for a sell-off motivated by jitters in the tech sector.

Yes. Looks like a new phrase he will use to describe the abuse he will be getting primarily from the Democrats and the media and anyone else who dislikes his presidency: “Presidential Harassment”.

Trump tweeted “The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want. They are a disgrace to our Nation…” If that bad, why haven’t you shut the investigation down? Oh ya. You don’t want to do a “Nixon”.

Trump tweeted “Not seen in many years, America’s steelworkers get a hard-earned raise because of my Administration’s policies to help bring back the U.S. steel industry, which is critical to our National Security.” Yes Donald. They haven’t had a raise in years. And why a raise now after the corporate tax cuts you gave away almost a year ago?

The Trump administration imposed penalties on 17 individuals over their alleged roles in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The fresh sanctions from the Treasury Department come hours after Saudi prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty for five people charged in the death of the Virginia resident, who was a contributor to The Washington Post.

Trump tweeted “When will Bill Nelson concede in Florida? The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to “find” enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!” So he’s still implying that there is voter fraud but has done nothing about it because he knows he’s wrong and if he did something it will interfere with the rights of citizens to vote.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update released… with some issues still

So Windows 10 October 2018 Update [a.k.a. Redstone 5, a.k.a. v1809] was finally re-released on Tuesday after about 6 weeks when the original version was released before being pulled.

But not surprising, there are some outstanding issues:

  • When on a network, your mapped drives can’t reconnect at login. See KB4471218 for workaround scripts. An update for this won’t be available until 2019.
  • Some users cannot set Win32 program defaults for certain app and file type combinations using the Open with… command or Settings > Apps > Default apps. [Interesting, as I have something like this in v1709.]
  • Upgrading to v1809 is blocked if you have a AMD Radeon HD2000 and HD4000 series graphics processors. Note that these are unsupported by AMD. Will experience an error in a DLL and performance issues. Microsoft is investigating.
  • When trying to upgrade to v1809 with Trend Micro’s OfficeScan and Worry-Free Business Security software installed, the upgrade is blocked. Trend Micro is to supply a patch.

 

The post mid-term election blues

CNN’s White House reporter, Jim Acosta, who has had some previous “run ins” with Donald Trump had his “hard” press pass revoked.

Trump seemed to get upset when Acosta asked him about the invading caravans from Central America. Trump tried to stop him but Acosta continued to press on.

“White House staff don’t pull passes over personal pique, only over threats to the president,” professor Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project. But White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders claimed that Acosta grabbed a White House intern’s arm when the intern tried to grab the microphone away from Acosta.

The video shows that arms brushed. That was it. Sanders cited this alleged “inappropriate behavior” to suspend Acosta’s pass. Trump’s boosters used words like “pushed” and “slammed.” They screamed “assault” and “abuse.”

And who’s right?

Various reporters, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and The White House Correspondents’ Association sided with Acosta.

In June 2016, Trump told CNN in an interview that, if elected, he would not revoke credentials. At the White House, “it’s a different thing,” he said. “When I’m representing the United States, I wouldn’t do that.”

Trump claims Acosta was a reporter going back to the Reagan years. According to his biography on CNN, he seemed to start in the new business around 1998. Reagan was out in 1989. How does Trump know Acosta 20+ years ago – except maybe he likes to watch the news constantly.

With the mid-term elections over, special counsel Robert Mueller may be writing his final report. Trump made clear once again that  he believes the investigation is a waste of time and money. “It’s a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,” Trump said. If nothing wrong was done, why does he continue to complain.

Even after Mueller completes his work, the midterm election results mean that House Democrats will also be in a position to expand investigations of Trump. That means Mueller will not be the end of Russia-related questions of Trump and his campaign.

Trump is considering former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Senator Lindsey Graham and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to replace fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Does this mean Sessions’ chief of staff Matthew Whitaker will go back to that job or maybe take over from Rosenstein. Graham would less likely be a candidate since Trump would take that [slim] chance that in a special election, Graham’s replacement would lose.

Now it has been revealed that Whitaker was on the advisory board of a Florida company that was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission and served with a $26 million judgment earlier this year for what court documents called “a scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.” The company, World Patent Marketing, promised to help inventors get patents. He was paid by the company and the company donated to his failed run for the US Senate.

Whitaker was so involved in the company he sent a threatening email to a disgruntled customer, which was filed in the case by the FTC. In it, Whitaker accuses a customer of “blackmail or extortion” because the customer had threatened to complain to the Better Business Bureau.

Not surprising after the lead for the Republican nominee for governor started to shrink, both the nominee and Trump claimed there was fraud going on. Now that and a senate seat and agriculture commissioner will head for a recount as the Republican majorities are quite thin.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals court upheld a ruling blocking the Trump administration from ending the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from being deported. This means a nationwide injunction allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to continue will remain in effect. The Trump administration has already asked the Supreme Court to review the injunction.

Trump called a federal court ruling halting construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline a “disgrace” and suggested that his administration intends to appeal. “It’s a political decision made by a judge. I think it’s a disgrace. 48,000 jobs, I approved it, it’s ready to start,” he told reporters. How is it political? Oh forget it. You know that won’t go anywhere.

The judge found that the US government’s use of a 2014 environmental review to justify issuing a presidential permit for construction of the cross-border pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

In former first lady Michelle Obama forthcoming memoir in which the former first lady said she would “never forgive” Trump for his role in the “birther” movement, “She got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always expect a little controversy,” was Trump response.

Then he said “I’ll give you a little controversy back, I’ll never forgive (President Barack Obama) for what he did to our US military. It was depleted, and I had to fix it. What he did to our military made this country very unsafe for you and you and you.” Depleted? Trump’s budget is easily an under 10% increase from the last Obama military budget. “Depleted” would describe a military with nothing spent.

Trump signed a presidential proclamation that will bar migrants who cross into the US illegally through the southern border from seeking asylum. The proclamation put into effect a new rule that would ban migrants from applying for asylum outside of official ports of entry. The American Civil Liberties Union has already called the rule “illegal,” and legal challenges are expected to follow.

After French President Emmanuel Macron suggested earlier on in the week that Europe needs its own “army” to counter Russia, Chines and US threats, Trump came [as usual] testy by saying that then the US doesn’t need to “subsidize” the military in Europe. Could that also include NATO where he’s not a fan of? Probably. Trump also found it “very insulting”.

While in Europe to commemorate that 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, a White House statement said the planned visit had been “canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather. An American delegation led by Chief of Staff General John Kelly and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joe Dunford will attend on their behalf.” So they can’t go but the weather is OK to send his Chief of Staffs?

Trump tweeted “I am in Paris getting ready to celebrate the end of World War One. Is there anything better to celebrate than the end of a war, in particular that one, which was one of the bloodiest and worst of all time?” To me it sounds like it will be a big party.

Trump has consistently complained that NATO members don’t adequately contribute to the shared defense agreement, suggesting the other 28 members somehow owe the US money. Actually, all alliance members commit to spending 2% of their GDP on defense. While few have reached that threshold, most members have increased spending in recent years and are nearing the suggested level of spending.

As forest rage in California again Trump tweeted “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” He then blamed the Democrats on the state level for them. Except almost all the forests in California are on federal government lands!

Campaigns and PACs spent at least $3.2 million at Trump-owned and branded properties throughout the two-year midterm election cycle. And the total could rise after post-election financial reports are published by the commission. No single group spent more than the Republican National Committee, which spent at least $1.2 million at the properties since the start of 2017.

How good is the economy under Trump, another 40 stores belonging to Sears Holdings will close early next year in addition to the 200 already announced. In just over a year, they have shut down about half their stores in the US – under 500.

 

How can Trump be happy with the outcome?

While some of the races haven’t been completely decided, the Democrats retook control of the Senate while the Republicans grabbed probably at least 2 extra seats in the Senate to ease some of the close voting that occurred in the first half of Donald Trump’s term.

The additional Senate seats was not surprising since quite a few contested seats were generally Republican to begin with but flipped to Democrats 6 years ago as President Obama won his second term and the areas were generally easily won by Trump in 2016.

However, the Democrats made big but not surprising gains in the House with only 2 seats [at this time] flipped to the Republicans but dozens switched to the Democrats. Most of those were grabbed in the suburbs.

At the traditional news conference the day after the mid-term elections, Trump pointed to “major” victories in races where he campaigned, particularly in Florida, Indiana, Missouri and others. He will likely downplay — or ignore — disappointments, particularly losses in governor’s races.

“Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night…” Unsure how he can call it a victory when he lost the House badly. In addition unsure who would congratulate him other than within the party. The only bright spot is that he has some slight security in the Senate but still not 60 seats needed to properly govern. He will also be forced to work with the Democrats to get most things done. He can kiss the Trump Wall goodbye.

“Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!” Trump tweeted before midnight. Yes, you lost the House and six states have new Democrat governors [almost all in usually Republican mid-west states] and no new Republican governors.

“Think of how his position with Republicans improves-all the candidates who won tonight….” Trump said [“his” being himself]. It sounds like the House and Gubernatorial votes didn’t exist according to him.

Not surprising Trump went on the attack by saying “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!” Except, the House is where most investigations do start. You think he has anything? Leaks?

He also said “Those that worked with me in this incredible Midterm Election, embracing certain policies and principles, did very well. Those that did not, say goodbye! Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!” What a nice guy. Claiming that those Republicans who lost, lost because they didn’t want Trump’s backing. Rep. Mia Love and Barbara Comstock are two he singled out.

“By expanding our Senate majority, the voters have also clearly rebuked the Senate Democrats for their handling of the [Brett] Kavanaugh hearings….” That doesn’t explain why he lost so many seats in the House. Most who vote for one party in the House will vote for the same party in the Senate. More like the Senate seats he picked up were generally “red’ states.

“This election marks the largest Senate gains for a President’s party in the first midterm election since at least President Kennedy’s in 1962.” Yes but these Senate gains all occurred in states Trump won in 2016.

He said Republicans faced “the most House Republican retirements in 88 years”. Which proves what? The GOP couldn’t find decent replacements? Maybe retirements are for different reasons such as getting away from the party’s leader?

“Last night the Republican party defied history to expand our Republican majority,” he said, adding that the Republican Party “(beat) expectations in the House.” Was he expecting to lose even more in the House?

Trump’s three most recent predecessors all lost House majorities in the course of their tenures. In post-election news conferences, all three took some form of responsibility. President George W. Bush called a 2006 rout a “thumping.” President Barack Obama deemed 2010 losses a “shellacking.”

The early exit polling suggests that two-thirds of voters said that their vote was about Trump, with more saying they came to vote to show opposition rather than support for Trump; nearly 4 in 10 voters said that their vote was meant as a sign of opposition to Trump.

Midterm elections are almost always referendums on the president and his party. And they are almost always negative referendums. It’s why the president’s party has not lost House seats in only three midterms since the Civil War.

Family members and friends, including ex-campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, and informal advisers like Blackstone chief Stephen Schwarzman, joined Trump in the evening for a viewing party, snacking on pizza and tiny hot dogs as they watched results come in on television.

Most likely when special counsel Robert when Mueller submits his final report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the House Judiciary Committee will be able to request it from the Department of Justice, and make it public if it deems that it is warranted. All of these actions will make it much harder for the White House to block or bury evidence of any alleged collusion or obstruction of justice, whether or not Mueller or Rosenstein are fired.

As an added “bonus” to the day, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions although Sessions handed in his resignation letter. In any case, Sessions is, not surprisingly, out. Most knew it would come sometime after the mid-term elections.

Matthew Whitaker, former Chief of Staff to Sessions, will take over as acting attorney general and is expected to take charge of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker has been openly critical of Mueller and the investigation.

The Democrats immediately called on him to recuse himself as “given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.