Did Trump Sr throw Jr under the bashed in bus?

Donald Trump Jr. downplayed the meeting between top campaign aides to his father and a Russian lawyer, saying the highly scrutinized engagement “ended up being about essentially nothing that was relevant” to questions of collusion. Trump Jr. said the session lasted 20 minutes, and maintained the central focus was on adoptions — even as he conceded the Hillary Clinton dirt was how the Russian lawyers secured the meeting in the first place.

He decried media scrutiny surrounding the episode, saying it was an attempt to deter attention from his father’s accomplishments. [Which are?]

So Trump Jr. tries to downplay the meeting even though his father said it was about  dirt on Clinton. Donald Trump Sr. tweeted that his son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer to collect information about Clinton. But 13 months ago, Trump gave a far different explanation for the meeting, saying it was about the adoption of Russian children.

It may not be collusion [seems to be a favorite Trump term] but if Trump Jr. said in a statement to federal investigators that he was there for the adoptions and now his father said it was about dirt, it could cause legal issues such as perjury.

Trump has been urged to stop tweeting about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s top advisers and several Russians. His tweets are only making things worse for him.

Trump defended calling the media “The Enemy of the People,” and said journalists “purposely cause great division & distrust” and can “cause War!” No. Politicians cause wars if they don’t know the history of a conflict [and don’t have a huge ego]. As for division and mistrust, it depends on what kind of angle a journalist will cover. Politicians who use some journalist as their intelligence source instead of intelligence professionals will cause problems.

As the Trump administration readies to re-impose sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord, America’s European allies fear greater regional instability. The sanctions cover Iranian trade in automobiles and metals, including gold. It revoked licenses that allowed Iran to purchase US and European aircraft. Iran acquired five new European commercial planes before the sales were cut off.

UN inspectors said Iran was complying with the deal, but Trump argued that it didn’t do enough to curb Iran’s malign activity in the region. European countries say they remain committed to the agreement, seeing it as the surest way to safeguard their national security.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is under federal investigation for tax fraud and possibly misrepresenting his finances. Authorities are investigating whether Cohen underreported his income in federal tax returns, in which he reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last five years. Cohen is already facing in relation to his business affairs and work with Trump.

The Government Accountability Office concluded that the Department of Homeland Security has not conducted a full analysis of the costs of building the Trump Wall. Department officials have also not properly documented their plans for building a portion of wall in the San Diego area. Because of this the Trump administration is at risk of wasting some of the billions of dollars it wants to spend on the US-Mexico border wall.

White House adviser Stephen Miller is pushing to expedite a policy that could penalize legal immigrants whose families receive public benefits and make it more difficult to get citizenship. Concerns over potential lawsuits have delayed the final rule, and the draft has undergone numerous revisions.

The law has long allowed authorities to reject immigrants if they are likely to become a “public charge” — or dependent on government. But the draft rule in its recent forms would include programs as expansive as health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act as well as other programs.

More than 700,000 foreigners who were supposed to leave the United States during a recent 12-month period overstayed their visas, the Homeland Security Department said and this excludes those who came by land. An estimated 40 per cent of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally stayed past their visas.

And of course what has the Trump administration done about it? That’s right. Nothing. These 700,000+ are in the country illegally and are mostly not running away from hardship and death like those coming to the US illegally.

US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington halted a deportation in progress and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if the mother and daughter weren’t returned to the US. If they fail to comply, the judge said, Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other senior Homeland Security officials would have to convince him not to hold them in contempt of court.

Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House aide and reality TV star, claims in her forthcoming book that Trump’s re-election campaign offered her a lucrative contract in exchange for her signature on a strict non-disclosure agreement after her ouster from the administration last year, according to an excerpt quoted from the book.

Lara Trump, a campaign adviser and Trump’s daughter-in-law, extended the offer to Omarosa [as she uses] shortly after White House chief of staff John Kelly fired her for “serious integrity issues,” according to excerpts. Omarosa also made [further] claims that Trump is a racist by making some comments. If she didn’t care for him, why did she stay?

The day after Trump’s appearance, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a prominent GOP critic of Trump, said he asked Republican Troy Balderson [running in a special election] if Balderson invited Trump at all into the district in the Columbus suburbs. “He said, ‘No, I didn’t,'” Kasich said of Balderson. On stage with Trump, Balderson called himself “someone who will fight for President Trump’s economic agenda.” Is Balderson flip-flopping or just keeping an option open to blame Trump if he loses.

Trump tweeted “When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36. That was not good. After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting.” Ya. Right Donnie. It was neck and neck for weeks and the GOP won the seat for 30 years and 11% in 2016. [And what was 64 to 36? After 100 votes counted?]

At this time, Balderson was leading by under 1% [or about 1800 votes] with 99% of polls reporting. Republicans declared victory for the Balderson, but Democrat Danny O’Connor has not yet conceded. More than 3,400 provisional ballots have still to be counted. A margin of 0.5 percent or less triggers a mandatory recount in Ohio.

In any case, it doesn’t look good even if Balderson won. Plus they go at it again in 3 months.

In the Republican primary for Kansas governor, Trump endorsed Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state known for his crusade for restrictive voting laws, over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer. In doing so, he ignored the pleas of the Republican Governors Association to stay out of the race. Kobach — who publicly backed Trump’s false claim that millions of people voted illegally in 2016 and who advocates a hard-line approach to immigration — could alienate Republican voters in areas like the Kansas City and Wichita suburbs.

The Trump administration announced that it will go ahead with imposing 25 per cent tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese imports. Customs officials will begin collecting the border tax Aug. 23, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. The list is heavy on industrial products such as steam turbines and iron girders.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has stabbed Canada in the back again. First, it was the G7 Summit. Then they imposed tariffs on Canada. Now, it seems with a diplomatic fight between Canada and Saudi Arabia over the latter’s human rights abuse, supposedly Saudi Arabia asked for the Trump administration opinion on applying sanctions against Canada and the Trump administration didn’t object.

Trump doubled steel and aluminum tariffs against Turkey to 20 and 50 per cent, deepening the rift between them and sending the country’s currency into a tailspin. Trump slapped sanctions on two Turkish officials earlier this month over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges.

Trump’s in-laws are officially US citizens, obtaining their citizenship through the sponsorship of their adult daughter, Melania, one of the very categories of family visas that the administration has sought to end. Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who are from Slovenia, had been living in the US with green cards. Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards, a status that allowed them to live and work in the US indefinitely and paved the way for citizenship.

In the sports section, again, NFL players are kneeling during the national anthem which prompt Trump to tweet “Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love.” So does he know why they are upset? And of course he had to imply they are rich and yet having an easy life. Most of them won’t have lengthy careers because of injuries.

He added “A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway.” This from the man who wanted to buy the Buffalo Bills. If he thinks owners get little out of it….

NBA superstar LeBron James claims to CNN’s Don Lemon that Trump is using sports to divide the US. This prompt Trump to tweet “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” [Note that he couldn’t even spell James’ first name correctly.] James said he wouldn’t sit down across from the President if he were given the opportunity.

Trump also added “I like Mike!” in reference to Michael Jordan. “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” Jordan said through a spokeswoman.

Trump has always aimed at various celebrities and others that have commented negatively about him [politician Maxine Waters, Robert De Niro, etc.]. But aiming it at an African-American follows the white supremacists ideology that African-Americans have low intelligence. This resulted in a chorus of tweets against Trump.

Even Melania Trump went against her husband by saying in a statement “It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has…” James recently opened a school in Los Angeles and offered to pay for school fees.

“Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? #BeBest,” Lemon tweeted the morning after.

The now-disbanded commission that Trump set up to investigate election integrity did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud, a former member of the panel Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, citing internal documents he obtained related to commission activities. Trump disbanded the commission which you can conclude with this that there wasn’t any major fraud.

Trump tweeted that the wildfires hitting California are “being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” Trump said the water is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Trump also called for clearing trees to stop the fires from spreading.

Of course even if the water was diverted, it isn’t stopping the land from being so dry because there has been little rain as well as little snow in the winter. As for clearing trees, does he want a state with no trees?

A resolution to request the removal of Trump’s star’s was unanimously adopted by the West Hollywood City Council but is not legally binding as the city has no jurisdiction over the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The mayor said “Earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is an honor. When one belittles and attacks minorities, immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities or women — the honor no longer exists.” We’ll see how trump reacts on Twitter especially if it is removed.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which does have jurisdiction over the iconic tourist attraction, said Trump’s star was safe for the time being. No stars have ever been removed.

The Trump administration wants to reduce national monuments and protected areas so it can help big business in areas that have valuable land for development and resources. But in documents that were mistakenly released, tourism has increased in those areas adding more jobs. In some areas where there are near water, jobs could be lost as development could kill off fish and other seafood in the areas.

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen says he believes that special counsel Mueller will probably indict Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner and then Trump will pardon both. [Although you never know. Ivanka may say not to pardon her husband!]

Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s attempt to acquire Tribune Media has been put on hold after the Federal Communications Commission said it had “serious concerns” about the transaction. The FCC had recently loosened TV station ownership rules that helped Sinclair close its deal with Tribune Media. That prompted the FCC internal watchdog to launch an investigation into whether the commission had improperly pushed for the rule change to benefit Sinclair. The change is also being challenged by public interest groups in court.

Meanwhile, Trump lashed out at the FCC  for not approving the deal. Sinclair is the largest owner of local television stations across the United States and is trying to get even bigger through the $3.9 billion Tribune deal. It’s also well known as a conservative-leaning media organization that forces its stations to run opinion segments supportive of the president and conservative causes.

The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes provisions that place restrictions on the president’s authority to direct generals to launch cyberattacks. NDAA in its current form also requires the president to develop and abide by a cyberwarfare strategy document that describes which activities merit cyber retaliation. It also could limit retaliatory attacks by the military without a certain level of confidence in attribution.

Trump says it would be “a dream” to run against former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Trump said that former President Barack Obama took Biden “out of the garbage heap.” CNN polling from January 2018 found Trump lagging behind Biden in a hypothetical 2020 match-up by a 57% to 40% split. Biden would turn 76 just after the next election. If he won he would be the oldest president ever.

Ex-Fox New Analyst, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, says that Trump echoes Stalin in the way he governs. [Maybe that’s why he is not at Fox News.]

A group called Qanon is showing up at Trump rallies. They are a group that send out really ridiculous conspiracy theories such as 9/11 was a hoax, Sandyhook shooting as to push for gun control, Tom Hanks & Steven Spielberg [note: 2 well known Democratic supporters] are pedophiles, etc. While “Simpleton” Sanders said Trump condemns and denounces the group he still allows them in [maybe because they are Trump supporters].

So far, five sitting GOP member of the House have lost statewide primary in 2018 many of whom began their races as the favorite only to be passed by a candidate running as an outsider to the Washington system.

A lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association in May says the gun advocacy organization will have to close its headquarters, shut down its online media presence and stop holding rallies and conventions if it is stymied by New York state from doing business with banks and insurers.

The lawsuit, when it was originally filed in the US District Court for Northern New York, came days after the Department of Financial Services fined several insurance companies hundreds of thousands of dollars for participating in an NRA-backed liability insurance program for gun owners. They are a big supporter of Trump, of course.

[A reminder that this blog is primarily about the “life” of Trump. It is about anything related to him. For example, much of the Paul Manafort isn’t mentioned as it isn’t about Trump at this time. And as a further reminder, I don’t include the title “President” in front of his name unless it was included in a quote or a tweet.]

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Is Trump getting nervous about the Mueller investigation?

Donald Trump said his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, should end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, arguing that the ongoing probe “continues to stain our country”. Sessions recused himself and assigned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to handle the probe. Shouldn’t Trump know that?

Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, attempted to walk back the tweet saying that Trump was “expressing his opinion on his favored medium for asserting his First Amendment right of free speech. He said ‘should’ not ‘must’ and no Presidential order was issued or will be.” Except it is one thing for an ordinary person to make that comment, but different if supposedly the President of the US. Carries a bit of extra weight.

White House press secretary and puppet, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said Trump was “stating his opinion” and “stating it clearly.”

So exactly how many times will Trump tweet or say the wrong words and his lackeys have to correct him? Seems everyone outside his administration and supporters believe “should” is a pretty clear directive. If you say to someone “You should buy a some milk.” Is that an opinion, a suggestion or [when coming from someone with authority] to do it.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!” tweeted Trump. This with just under 100 days before the mid-term elections. Trump claims [with no proof] that the US has the worst immigration policies in the world.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said previously that border wall funding would “probably” have to wait until after midterms and that a government shutdown is “not going to happen.”

In part of a Twitter-storm aimed at the Russian investigation general counsel Robert Mueller, Trump said “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship…” It was not immediately clear what Trump meant when he claimed there were conflicts of interests involving Mueller.

The New York Times reported in January that Trump claimed a dispute over membership fees had prompted Mueller to leave a Trump golf club in Washington in 2011 when he was FBI Director. I don’t think Mueller is petty enough to hold a grudge for 6+ years on something so trivial.

Trump went after Mueller also for leaking Mueller mentioned the New York Times publisher’s [A.G. Sulzberger] private meeting with Trump. He then called the media “Very unpatriotic!” for putting many lives at risk [from what?]. The publisher wanted it off the record but went public after Trump did and the meeting was about Trump’s “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric”.

But it was Sulzberger who said that Trump’s any-journalist comments [such as calling them “the enemy of the people”] would endanger journalists, could lead to violence and eroding “a commitment to free speech and a free press”.

Despite Trump’s “failing New York Times” nickname, the Times is actually experiencing a surge in subscribers and popularity. Its profits increased by about two-thirds in the first quarter of 2018. Its “The Daily” podcast brings in millions of listeners each month. This after winning the election he lauded the paper as a “great, great American jewel”.

At a Tampa rally:

  • Trump blasted cancer-stricken Republican Sen. John McCain for his thumbs down vote helping to stall GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • He also renewed his theme that his campaign is responsible for department stores bringing back “Merry Christmas” signage. Unsure how he did that.
  • Trump boasted his tariff war was reviving American steel making [no proof there and its early].
  • He vowed to stand up for the National Anthem [it’s not like he can use an executive order to force players not the kneel].
  • On tariffs, “Our farmers are true patriots. And you know what our farmers are saying? It’s okay, we can take it – these are incredible people.” Yes, this after the government bailed them out to a tune of $12 billion.
  • Trump claimed that Americans needed their IDs “to buy groceries.” So the same should be for voting. Hmmmm.
  • At the end of the rally he said “I will leave now because I am boring you to death, thank you.” For once, he said something right.

John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, took to Twitter to respond to Trump’s comments: “Gross and pathetic – as usual.” Meghan McCain claimed that after a similar comment about her father in February, she had a phone call with Trump [and Melania] about her father’s cancer diagnosis and Trump assured her he wouldn’t disparage her father again. He lied… again.

Giuliani said Trump’s legal team was investigating the tape of Trump and Cohen and suggested it might have been doctored. But “He [Giuliani] expressly waived attorney client privilege last week and repeatedly and inaccurately — as proven by the tape — talked and talked about the recording, forfeiting all confidentiality,” said Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis.

Giuliani has said that Cohen has been lying for years. Funny how Giuliani has decided to say it now after the mess Cohen may have brought Trump and not [say] a year or two years ago – where if he said anything he said only positive things.

“Four months, they’re not going to be colluding with Russia, which I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said. Former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired, said collusion “is not actually a thing that exists under the federal laws of the United States” but any American that conspired with a foreign government to commit crimes against the US is a crime let alone other crimes such as conspiracy.

Recently the intelligence and foreign policy chieftains mustered in the White House Briefing Room to promise what FBI Director Christopher Wray said would be “fierce determination and focus” to thwart Russian meddling in the midterm elections. Problem was that Trump was not around. Seems Trump still doesn’t believe them. Sometime after Trump said there was no Russian election interference – even though he said they were involved not even a couple of weeks ago!

Even 20+ months late. Trump think that by admitting there was Russian election interference, he thinks his election win wasn’t legitimate – as if he will lose his [so-called] presidency.

In a video posted by a pro-Trump web site, Donald Trump Jr. compared the present-day Democratic Party to Nazis and disparaged history taught by academics. “You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there … and you look at it compared to like the DNC platform of today…” He gave no facts on where they are actually alike but used a promo video Dinesh D’Souza [pardoned by his father].

“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” Trump tweeted. “They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more.” Notice how he had to put a positive spin in his favor at the end.

Trump argued that he “made them richer” and that the Koch network “is highly overrated.” The Koch brothers were already billionaires before they had anything to do with Trump and their net worth is a combined $103.4 billion. They didn’t even back him in 2016. This came after a senior official in the Koch network said “The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage” recently.

An estimated $400 million was donated to GOP candidates by the Koch network in the 2016 election – and that’s without supporting Trump.

Trump again complaining how the US has had bad trade deal hurting farmers. And yet, statistics show in 2017, it was the third highest export year ever. Surplus of $21 billion. The downturn is because of low commodity prices and production surplus – not trade issues.

The Chinese government said that it would impose duties of 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% on the products if the Trump administration follows through on threats to tax $200 billion of Chinese goods. These new tariffs would affect about 38% of all American exports to China, which are worth about $170 billion in total.  China listed 5,207 US products that it would target in an effort to “safeguard its own legitimate interests.”

“Simpleton” Sanders said in a statement that “instead of retaliating, China should address the longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices.”

While tariffs have helped steel producers like Reliance Steel & Aluminum hauled in record sales, thanks to an 18% spike in prices and Nucor recorded the best second quarter in its history. Its profit more than doubled, it has hurt those who buy steel from them like General electric, 3M, Harley-Davidson, governments and others.

In a recent speech Trump said:

  • “Nobody thought we were going to be this good. … When I took over those numbers were bad, and they were heading in the wrong direction, because of regulation….” Economists say that the US economy wasn’t doing nearly as bad before Trump took office as he suggests.
  • “The Canadians you have a totally closed market … they have a 375 per cent tax on dairy products, other than that it’s wonderful to deal. And we have a very big deficit with Canada, a trade deficit.” Can’t be closed if there is NAFTA and even then TPP. Trump also repeated his claim that the US has a trade deficit with Canada, but that is true only in goods. When services are included, such as insurance, tourism, and engineering, the US had a $2.8 billion surplus with Canada last year. He forgets that the US government subsidizes their farmers to a tune of $12 billion and it’s more like 275%.

The US Treasury Department is sanctioning Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. “We’ve seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong,” Sanders said, calling Brunson’s detention “unfair and unjust.”

The Democrats blasted the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun, contending the hard-to-trace plastic weapons are a boon to terrorists and criminals, and threaten public safety. Eight states filed suit against the Trump administration over its decision.

Trump said in a tweet he was “looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public” and had already spoken to the NRA about it. Trump said the prospect “doesn’t seem to make such sense,” though it wasn’t clear if he knew that his own State Department had reached a settlement last month with the designer who first published downloadable instructions. Probably not.

Trump said he is willing to meet with Iran’s leadership, without preconditions, “whenever they want…. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet,” Trump said. “I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet. I’m ready to meet whenever they want to…. No preconditions…. They want to meet, I’ll meet. Whenever they want.” Did you notice how he repeats himself?

You knew this was going to happen: The Trump administration announced a plan to revoke a signature Obama-era environmental regulation. The administration wants to freeze a rule mandating that automakers work to make cars substantially more fuel efficient.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation cited safety as one reason for the changes. They claimed the reduced standards would make new cars more affordable. EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum says if more people buy new cars, it will lead to an increase in cleaner, safer cars on the road. [And more pollution.] Thirteen states, plus Washington, DC, have adopted California’s standards. Colorado announced plans to become the fourteenth.

The administration also proposed a withdrawal of California’s Clean Air Act preemption waiver. California has, for decades, had a waiver allowing it to set its own emissions standards because the state had distinct air quality issues. In 2007, a federal court allowed California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, in particular carbon dioxide.

The Trump administration says immigrant advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union should be responsible for tracking down more than 500 parents who were separated from their children and deported without them. The ACLU says it is eager to help locate the parents but argued that the government “must bear the ultimate burden of finding the parents”. District Judge Dana Sabraw also said the ultimate responsibility is the Trump administration. “In reviewing the status report it appears that only 12 or 13 of close to 500 parents have been located, which is just unacceptable at this point,” Sabraw said.

Department of Homeland Security issues Gmail warning

This is interesting. The Department of Homeland Security officials actually have warned that Gmail’s new features called “Confidential” mode could put Gmail users at risk in addition to others because of possible extortion or malware by cyber criminals.

The new feature allows users to send emails that vanish after a period of time. It also requires users to verify their identity by clicking a link.

This could be exploited by “malicious cyber actors”. This could include phishing attacks in emails.

The link itself could require users to give up their Google credentials.

[This in addition to terrorists and criminals who are using the limited life of the email to send out messages.]

Therefore, don’t be tempted to use it or click on any link that wants you to open a “confidential” email.

Hot summer and politics is heating up as well

Longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has been subpoenaed. Weisselberg has served as something of a jack-of-all-trades for Donald Trump. He worked for the Trump Organization and the Donald J. Trump Foundation, yes, but he also handled personal stuff – up to and including tax returns … and apparently consulting with Cohen on how to handle paying for the rights to a story about an alleged Trump affair with a Playboy Playmate, just two months before the 2016 election.

Weisselberg has now been tied to both the potential Karen McDougal payment (his name is also mentioned a released tape recording) and to the payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who has also claimed an affair with Trump, in which he set up Cohen’s reimbursements from Trump.

The probe has clearly expanded into Trump’s business, which constituted Trump’s previously expressed red line. It could also mean investigation into possible abuse of the organizational structure to serve Trump’s personal purposes.

A dozen audio recordings seized by the FBI from Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, were forwarded to federal prosecutors after lawyers dropped challenges on attorney-client privilege grounds. The recordings were among millions of files taken from Cohen in April as part of a criminal probe of his business practices

Barbara Jones, a court-appointed lawyer and former Manhattan federal judge helping to decide which of the seized files are protected by privilege. She Jones notified US District Judge Kimba Wood, who appointed her, that Cohen, Trump or the Trump Organization had designated 4,085 items seized from Cohen as privileged among the most recent items she reviewed.

She wrote that she agreed that 2,633 were privileged, in full or part, but that 1,452 items were not. She said lawyers for Cohen still disagreed about 22 of those items but said they would not pursue their objections. With that, Jones released them all to prosecutors.

In another audio tape, recorded by Cohen, Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing how they would buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story about an alleged affair she had with Trump years earlier, which Trump has denied since the subject first came up. So he lied [again].

Trump tweeted “What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before?” Again, is he that dumb that no lawyers record conversations with clients? I guess he never told Cohen not to record their conversations.

Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis says the only people who use cash in large transactions are drug dealers and mobsters. Davis is a former special counsel to President Bill Clinton.

Cohen claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Cohen’s claim would contradict repeated denials by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., their lawyers and other administration officials who have said that the President knew nothing about the Trump Tower meeting until he was approached about it by The New York Times in July 2017.

If Cohen can show federal prosecutors credible evidence that Trump knew in advance about the infamous Trump Tower Russia meeting of June 9, 2016 — as Cohen now reportedly claims — Donald Trump Jr. could be facing perjury charges. Trump has repeatedly denied being told about the meeting before it happened but apparently never to federal investigators or under oath.

Trump’s lawyer in the Russia investigation, Rudy Giuliani, called Cohen a “pathological liar.” “I don’t see how he’s got any credibility,” the former New York City mayor said. Giuliani lost his credibility since joining Trump.

Now special counsel Robert Mueller was also looking at Trump’s negative postings on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and fired FBI Director James Comey.

Trump asserted without evidence that newly released documents relating to the wiretapping of his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page “confirm with little doubt” that intelligence agencies misled the court that approved the warrant. But lawmakers from both political parties said that the documents don’t show wrongdoing and that they even appear to undermine some previous claims by top Republicans on the basis for obtaining a warrant against Page.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said the documents detail “just why the FBI was so concerned that Carter Page might be acting as an agent of a foreign power… It was a solid application and renewals signed by four different judges appointed by three different Republican presidents.”

Page said “I’ve never been the agent of a foreign power” but had described himself as an “informal adviser” to the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he didn’t think the FBI did anything wrong in obtaining warrants against Page.

Members of Congress are pushing back against a floated White House idea of pulling the security clearances of top former intelligence officials in the Obama administration who have criticized Trump.

White House spokeswoman Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that Trump is “exploring the mechanisms” to strip clearance from former CIA director John Brennan, along with former FBI director Jim Comey, former national intelligence director James Clapper and others. Comey’s assist said his clearance was already pulled [as in didn’t they check?].

Simpleton said that Trump was considering revoking the clearance for their comments about Trump regarding “accusations of improper contact with Russia” or him “being influenced by Russia.” Doesn’t this sound like a dictatorship? If you can’t agree with the leader you get booted.

To make this happen at the agency level, Trump could follow the decades-old executive order in place, which provides a written explanation to the clearance holder and an opportunity to reply. Officials could also try to invoke the “interests of national security” clause, which is found in that section, and avoid the detailed procedures. Finally, Trump could decide he is revoking eligibility for the former intelligence officials unilaterally.

In a tweet, pro-Trump supporter Sen. Rand Paul claimed that Brennan could be “making millions of dollars divulging secrets to mainstream media”. No proof of course but could it really be because Brennan harshly condemned Trump’s performance at the Poutine press conference calling it “nothing short of treasonous.” And yet several House Republicans have accused Brennan of political bias and not Paul for suggesting in pulling Comey’s clearance?

Trump tweeted “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” With just the first sentence, you would think that Trump finally admits that Russia has done some hacking. But that second sentence throws that out the window. Is Russia going after the Democrats and not him or want the Democrats to win? [Scratch your head.]

Trump appeared to return to a previous position that Russia’s election interference was a story dreamed up by Democrats to excuse Hillary Clinton’s defeat — despite saying in a scripted statement recently that he held Vladimir Poutine personally responsible for it.

After Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was dumbfounded with his on-camera reaction at a security forum in Aspen, Colorado, to the breaking news about the invitation to Poutine to the US, the day after he said “My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the President.” This after Trump wasn’t too happy with the way he acted.

After the Kremlin was only lukewarm on having Poutine visiting Washington [so soon after the Helsinki mess], the White House announced it was pushing off plans for a second Trump-Putin Summit in Washington, DC, scheduled for this fall – just a few weeks out from the 2018 Midterms. Now set for sometime in 2019. Of course why did it take over a week for the Kremlin to decide….

Did Poutine somehow signal to Trump that it probably wasn’t in their mutual self-interest to be seen in public together so soon after Helsinki — particularly after the trashing Trump received after returning to Washington? Multiple senior Republicans were against the idea of a visit.

But Poutine said he is ready to go to Washington and has invited Trump to Moscow, but there “has to be necessary conditions” [which weren’t mentioned]. Simpleton says no invitations received. Stuck in the Email.

The White House rejected a Poutine-backed effort to hold a referendum in eastern Ukraine on the region’s future, distancing itself from the idea in the aftermath of Trump’s controversial summit with the Russian leader.

Poutine’s gift of a soccer ball to Trump last week set off a chorus of warnings – some of them only half in jest – that the World Cup souvenir could be bugged. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina even tweeted, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.” Markings on the ball indicate that it contained a chip with a tiny antenna that transmits to nearby phones. But rather than a spy device, the chip is an advertised feature of the Adidas AG ball. The chip allows fans to access player videos, competitions and other content by bringing their mobile devices close to the ball.

Republican House Freedom Caucus leaders Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan escalated their fight with the Justice Department, introducing a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a statement, Meadows said Rosenstein should be impeached because of the Justice Department’s stonewalling of congressional subpoenas and hiding information from Congress, and for signing one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewals for Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein, saying he has “the highest confidence” in him one day after House conservatives introduced a resolution to impeach the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel Russia investigation. Of course “the highest confidence” with this administration means nothing.

A Russian anchor says that Trump is blaming US stupidity for bad US-Russian relations makes him smell like a Kremlin agent.

US District Judge Denise Casper denied the Trump administration’s bid to throw out a lawsuit that alleges its decision to end special protections shielding Haitian, Salvadoran and Honduran immigrants from deportation was racially motivated. She also rejected the administration’s request to remove Trump as a defendant in the case.

The Trump administration was warned State Department in October 2017 that ending US protections for more than 300,000 Central Americans would strengthen and grow MS-13 and gangs that President Donald Trump has called “animals”. They also warned that ending the “temporary protected status” program could also hurt US national security and economic interests, including by driving up illegal immigration.

Trump tweeted “Countries that have treated us unfairly on trade for years are all coming to Washington to negotiate.” May if they are waiting in line they should rent some Port-o-Johns at the White House gates. So exactly who has stopped by?

According to a report, a week before Election Day in 2016, young men and teens in the [North] Macedonian town of Veles were running over a hundred websites that pumped out often false viral stories that supported rump.

The “news agency” was not launched by teens but a well-known Macedonian media attorney, Trajche Arsov, who worked closely with two high-profile American partners for at least six months during a period that overlapped with Election Day. One of those Americans, Paris Wade, is now running for office in Nevada. Arsov also employed other American and British writers, including at least one who currently works for US right-wing conspiracy site the Gateway Pundit.

But now Macedonian security agencies are cooperating with law enforcement in the United States and at least two Western European countries to probe possible links between Russians, US citizens, and the pro-Trump “fake news” websites.

In an 86-9 vote, the United States Senate has confirmed Robert Wilkie as our new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Trump won something! And he can’t blame the Democrats for this.

Trump will end releasing summaries of conversations he has had with foreign leaders, a policy that has been used for decades.

Trump said that he and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to work toward eliminating tariffs and barriers on trade, reducing tensions for now in a brewing trade war. “We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” Trump said.

Trump claimed that he struck a deal with the European Union that has “opened up Europe” to American exporters, in particular farmers, even though a substantive deal has yet to be signed. The discussions with Juncker yielded only a commitment to broad parameters for future trade negotiations and EU pledges to increase imports from the US.

Trump claimed he has “ended” efforts by foreign countries to abuse the US in trade and steal American jobs, even as the trade feuds he has engaged in are still ongoing on several fronts. Trump argued that the US has been “abused like no nation has ever been abused on trade before,” including by US allies. So how did he end it? Free trade with the world wasn’t announced.

The United States is taking the fight over steel and aluminum tariffs to the World Trade Organization, arguing retaliatory trade actions launched by Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey violate WTO rules. The U.S. imposed the so-called Section 232 tariffs earlier this year on national security grounds. The retaliatory tariffs were considered not excessive. If the other countries counter with the WTO, they could argue that the national security reason is flawed.

The Trump administration announced it is offering up to $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs stemming from the Trump’s widening trade feud with other countries. Numerous Republicans including Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul said “Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers – the answer is remove the tariffs.”.

Many of the Republicans whom blasted the Obama administration for bailouts during his first term have tough decisions. Handing out billions to the agriculture sector runs counter to conservative orthodoxy, but abandoning farmers who have struggled because of an escalating trade war may not be politically tenable with just months until the midterm elections.

The US Commerce Department sought feedback on Trump’s plans to consider taxing auto imports. It got an earful at an all-day hearing. Critics lined up to urge the administration to reject auto tariffs. They argued that the taxes would raise car prices, squeeze automakers by increasing the cost of imported components and invite retaliation from U.S. trading partners — and allies — like the European Union and Canada.

Auto tariffs would escalate global trade tension dramatically: The U.S. last year imported $192 billion in vehicles and $143 billion in auto parts — figures that dwarf last year’s $29 billion in steel and $23 billion in aluminum imports.

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer faced pointed questioning from a Senate committee Thursday about the decision, and at one point was asked directly if Canada was a national security threat to the United States. “In the case of steel, yes,” he said. Lighthizer couched his remarks by saying no one was declaring war on Canada, and called the country “one of America’s closest friends and trading partners.” You can’t have it both ways.

Coca-Cola has hiked prices on its carbonated drinks in cans because the recently enacted 10% tariff on imported aluminum has made Coke cans more expensive to produce. It will be up to the retailer to decide on the increase. [Pepsi will probably follow.] In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the aluminum tariffs is “a lot to do about nothing” and U.S. customers wouldn’t notice.

At one point, with 1 day left as many as 914 parents won’t be reunited with their children by the deadline imposed by US District Judge Dana Sabraw. Judge Sabraw had said “The government has to be commended for its efforts in that regard.”

191 parents can’t be have serious criminal records or declined to be reunified. In other cases, 463 parents have already been deported without their children. 217 parents have been released from federal custody. Some may be wearing ankle monitors as they await immigration hearing proceedings. A small number still haven’t been linked to children, let alone tracked down. 260 parents’ cases require further investigation [can’t be tracked or unsure if the children belong to the parents]. But 1,012 is the number of families the government has already reunited.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence threatened to impose “large sanctions” on its NATO ally Turkey if that country does not release an American Pastor Andrew Brunson, currently under house arrest. Brunson was arrested in 2016 during a government crackdown on journalists, academics, and Christian minorities, that followed an attempted coup. Question is why now and not in 2016 or last year? [For once they’d do something right. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a real dictator.]

Trump tweeted “Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.” Sounds like “shadow banning” means to reduce the visibility of some accounts. In this case, certain prominent conservatives. This is because a report that found Twitter’s search feature did not return prominent conservatives as easily as their Democratic counterparts.

If it was any other media [think CNN, Washington Post] Trump would of roasted them. But this is Twitter. His livelihood.

Trump retweeted from Dan Scavino Jr. “Lockheed Martin will add 400 workers to boost production of the F-35 fighter jet, the most expensive in U.S. history, after making a good on an earlier promise to President @realDonaldTrump to increase the aircraft’s workforce by 1,800.” So in the meantime it is the most expensive jet in US history. I though Trump was trying to cut costs? Where is the art of the deal?

Trump’s military parade in Washington is likely to cost nearly as much [an estimated $12 million] as the now canceled military exercise with South Korea that Trump called “tremendously expensive”. One may be briefly good for morale. The other is training. Which one is more useful.

The parade would focus on celebrating veterans and involve US troops in period uniforms as well as US military aircraft but no heavy vehicles like tanks in order to prevent damage to infrastructure.

Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was destroyed by a man with a pickax early Wednesday morning, according to the Los Angeles police. A man is in custody and is being questioned. Police said a man turned himself in at the Beverly Hills Police Department Wednesday morning. They better have plenty of spares.

Trump was upset that Melania Trump’s Air Force One television tuned into CNN on a recent trip.

The Democratic National Committee tried and failed three times to serve Jared Kushner with a lawsuit at his Manhattan apartment and was turned away by a US Secret Service agent when it attempted to deliver the packet to his Washington home, according to court filings. The lawsuit alleges Trump’s presidential campaign conspired with the Russian government to disrupt the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted about Amazon again with “Next up is the U.S. Post Office which they use, at a fraction of real cost, as their “delivery boy” for a BIG percentage of their packages….” Didn’t he whine months ago about this? He has done nothing. Another failure.

The Justice Department charged a Russian national, Mariia Butina, also known as Maria, with conspiring against the US as a secret agent as she infiltrated the Republican Party as well as the National Rifle Association and tried to access corporate leaders. This all occurred in 2015 through 2017. She had discussions of a possible pro-Russian conference that US members of Congress could attend. Wonder how Trump will respond.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has requested to return Butina. The Trump Administration denied the request.

In continuing their pettiness against CNN, the White House took retaliatory action against Kaitlan Collins, a White House reporter for CNN, after Collins asked President Trump questions at an Oval Office photo op. “They said ‘You are dis-invited from the press availability in the Rose Garden today,'” and she didn’t want to go anyways Collins said in an interview. “They said that the questions I asked were inappropriate for that venue. And they said I was shouting.”

To add to the lies, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters aboard Air Force One that Collins was barred not because of the questions she asked but because of her refusal to leave the Oval Office during an earlier pool spray. Other reporters who were with her have sided with Collins saying she wasn’t shouting, ask anything inappropriate or refused to leave.

 

Trump on tour (part 2)

And what a tour it was. This past week was probably the biggest [and craziest] week in this administration.

Trump defiantly defended his meeting with dictator Vladimir Poutine, saying his encounter with the Russian leader went “even better” than his summit with NATO leaders last week. Was he in the same country as Poutine?

Trump tweeted “While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!” What money raising? Kickbacks? Russia paying the US?

Trump also tweeted ” I had a great meeting with NATO. They have paid $33 Billion more and will pay hundreds of Billions of Dollars more in the future, only because of me. NATO was weak, but now it is strong again (bad for Russia). The media only says I was rude to leaders, never mentions the money!” Except the other NATO leaders did not agree to “paying” anything or even increasing their military spending budget.

While NATO’s European members and Canada have added an additional $41 billion in defense spending since Trump took office, many NATO members began increasing their defense spending prior to his taking office since it was agreed in 2014 [when President Obama was in charge] to increase spending.

House Speaker Paul Ryan contradicted several comments Trump made during his Helsinki news conference including saying that “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, giving his support to the US intelligence community and saying “I’ve said a number of times and I say it again, the Russians are not our friends.”

Sen. John McCain said Trump’s comments were “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said the President “made us look like a pushover” and that Putin was probably eating caviar on the plane home.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake said “I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.”

Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, “Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin.” I don’t think you can clarify. Whatever has been said won’t change.

Other Republicans criticized Trump. Those who are Trump allies didn’t go after him directly but used a more neutral-ish phrases like “missed opportunity”. Obviously the Democrats pounced on this major blunder.

One Senator who is siding with Trump is Rand Paul. His career in politics could be over after his next election.

Trump tried to fix the mess but you can’t fix the damage that has been done even by saying “As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.'” This after many times how he said he had little confidence in them and the Department of Justice.

A day after that infamous news conference, Trump attempted to clean up the controversy when he said he had misspoken during the news conference and affirmed that he has “full faith and support for America’s intelligence agencies.” But judging from his previous comments about them over the last 18 months, no one really believes him. He’s digging a bigger hole.

“I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump said during a meeting with congressional members at the White House, before couching his comments with: “Could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there.” So, he is still unsure if it was the Russians then.

Trump said he doesn’t believe Russia is still targeting the United States, contradicting U.S. intelligence assessments that Moscow is continuing its attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, but “Simpleton” Sanders later said his remark was misunderstood by the press.

Under intense political pressure, Trump went further in laying the blame on Poutine for the cyberespionage assault on the 2016 election than he had before in an interview. When asked if Poutine was responsible Trump replied “I would, because he’s in charge of the country.” Hmmm. “The” country and not “his” country. Is Poutine in charge of the US?

Trump’s hesitation to criticize Poutine will only add to growing questions — that were once whispered in Washington but now are being openly discussed — about whether the Russian government really does have compromising information on Trump.

“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” Trump tweeted. Ummmm. Which intelligence? The community or as in IQ. I don’t think either approved.

Trump’s behavior raises questions about how top intelligence officials can remain in their posts after being so spectacularly thrown under the bus.

At a security forum in Aspen, Colorado, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats was stunned when a woman from NBC interviewing him announced in front of the audience and him that Poutine was invited to Washington for a visit in the fall. Obviously he didn’t know. “Say that again,” Coats said, doing a double take and laughing in disbelief at the absurdity of the latest episode in the Russia saga.

The reaction by Coats will surely make Trump upset as to embarrass him. Doesn’t the administration tell some of the most important people when there is a major visit?

“We can no longer completely rely on the White House,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told a newspaper – not saying the United States but the administration.

Even late night talk show hosts went after Trump including quotes like:

  • Jimmy Kimmel said Trump met with his “KGBFF, Vladimir Putin.”
  • Seth Meyers said “Seriously, Trump gushes over Putin like a flustered 12-year-old who just met Mickey at Disneyland.”
  • When some reporters had criticized Trump’s comments Stephen Colbert said “Those are the worst reviews I’ve seen since Titanic … And I don’t mean the movie.”

Hillary Clinton tweeted “Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?” Later on she tweeted “Well, now we know.” During the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton famously called out Trump, implying that he would be Putin’s “puppet.”

Among the newspapers’ comments from around the world:

  • London’s Daily mirror used the headline “Putin’s Poodle”.
  • A Finnish paper said ” Trump 0 – Putin 1″.
  • Swedish newspaper HBL went with “Putin: Trump is my favorite”.
  • Paris’ Le Monde topped its front page with: “Donald Trump, best of allies with Poutine.”
  • The New York Post went with a headline of “See No Evil” with “Prez gives big Bear hug to wicked BFF Vlad, jabs US intel.”
  • The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by conservative Rupert Murdoch, declared the news conference “a personal and national embarrassment,” asserting that Trump had “projected weakness.”

Russia announced it was ready to pursue agreements reached by Poutine and Trump “in the sphere of international security,” though the White House and Pentagon would not confirm any agreements had been made or offer any details. Trump and Putin met for about two hours during their summit in Helsinki with only translators present. It is still not clear what the two men discussed or agreed to during their meeting.

When asked what he and Poutine discussed in their meeting, Trump said Syria, Israel, North Korea and Iran. Nothing about any military agreements. Then, later, Trump claimed that “I let him know we can’t have this. We’re not going to have it. And that’s the way it’s going to be.” Problem is that the meeting was private [except for the translator]. So there is no way of knowing if he said this or anything else.

After 12 Russians government hackers were indicted, Trump continues to say that he believes Poutine over his own Department of Justice. Isn’t that almost treason? Not surprisingly the Russian government laughed at the indictments, but of note, they used very similar phrases that Trump has used in supporting Russia.

When asked in an ABC interview whether he would ask Poutine for the 12 indicted to be sent to the US, Trump said “I haven’t thought of that.” Seriously?

Trump tweeted “These Russian individuals did their work during the Obama years. Why didn’t Obama do something about it?  Because he thought Crooked Hillary Clinton would win, that’s why. Had nothing to do with the Trump Administration, but Fake News doesn’t want to report the truth, as usual!” Let’s see. President Obama’s term was winding down and the hacking wasn’t known yet. That first line sounds almost like an admission that the hacking happened by Russia.

The White House said it was entertaining a proposal raised by Poutine to interrogate 11 Americans in exchange for assistance in the ongoing US investigation into election interference, putting the White House at odds with the State Department.

The Americans wanted for questioning by Moscow include Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, and American-born British citizen financier Bill Browder, who successfully lobbied the US government to impose new sanctions on Moscow. Russia claimed Browder never paid any taxes in Russia or the US. So throwing Americans under the bus to help Russia.

Then later, the administration finally rejected the Russian proposal.

Not surprising, the White House had rejected calls to cancel the summit after 12 Russian military intelligence officers were charged with hacking into Democrats’ computer networks and emails during the 2016 presidential race. [Why would they – it was the Democrats who were hacked and Trump doesn’t believe it was the Russians anyways.]

Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, parrot [and sometimes White House press secretary], claims all along that the administration believed Russian hacked the 2016 elections. [Please stop laughing. OK?] She also blamed previous administrations for doing nothing. But, there was no clear indication that there was any hacking [by Russia] prior to the 2016 election.

Ahead of his “meeting” with Poutine, Trump said “We have 90% of the nuclear – and that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad thing.” Hmmm. By one interpretation, Trump would rather have many countries with nuclear weapons then.

Trump declined to endorse the US intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election, saying Putin was “extremely strong and powerful” in his denial. Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it agrees with Trump’s comment that relations between the two countries have never been worse as a result of “US foolishness” and the “witch hunt.”

Not surprising, two Republican senators that aren’t fans of Trump, Senators Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake weren’t happy with Trump siding with the Russians against Americans – aside from the Democrats. Former CIA Director John Brennan just tweeted a strongly worded reaction to Trump’s news conference, saying it “was nothing short of treasonous.”

Time and time again over his nearly 18 months in office, Trump has resisted saying anything bad about Poutine. His critics say that’s particularly odd given that Russia conducted a broad and deep attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election – which Trump has denied. In fact, Trump has praised Poutine 11 times – so far.

A video released by the Russian government touting his country’s potential future weaponry and its supposed ability to strike Florida filled Trump with rage.

Poutine says the “so-called Russian interference” in the US 2016 presidential election was brought up by Trump during their summit in Helsinki. Hmmmm. Doesn’t that sound staged?

Three reasons why Trump wanted a private [as it turns out] 90 minute meeting with Poutine:

  • Trump requested alone time to better personally assess Poutine and develop a leader-to-leader relationship.
  • Trump has previously expressed anger at leaks coming from his meetings with foreign leaders and told aides he doesn’t want sensitive information leaking from his meeting with Poutine.
  • Trump doesn’t want aides, who may take a harder line on Russia, undercutting or interrupting him in his conversation with Poutine.

You know the summit between Trump and Poutine could be interesting when the temperature in Helsinki hit 30 degrees Celsius (That’s 86 degrees Fahrenheit). Helsinki averages around one 30°C day every decade, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Trump’s Helsinki press conference with Poutine, and his endorsement of Poutine over his own intelligence services, has fed outrage and concern about Trump’s motivations, as well as what transpired during the closed-door session. Those concerns are now yielding calls in Congress for Trump’s translator to appear before lawmakers.

Trump went after just about every former heads of all the intelligence agencies, blaming them for allowing the hack, etc.

Trump claims that those politicians who are against him are being pushed by the [fake] media to do so.

Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, who was one of the two reporters who broke the Watergate scandal which eventually led to the downfall of President Nixon, says that the US has never seen Democrats and Republicans so openly question “the loyalty of the President” to the country. He said even with Nixon, the country didn’t see this behavior.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said that other countries, such as Mexico, have been more successful in doing so. He says that Mexico “is routinely interfering in our elections by packing our electorate.” Of course he has no real proof.

Trump doesn’t seem to care about the Royal protocols but most likely he didn’t read up on protocols – like he generally doesn’t read anything prior to any meeting:

  • He walked in front of the Queen when reviewing the honor guard.
  • He had her wait 10 minutes [he arrived late]. Protocol is to show up early when meeting the Queen.
  • He told the London paper, The Daily Mail, about what she supposedly said about Brexit to him in private.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed the suggestion Trump gave her last week that he claimed she found “too brutal.” “He told me to sue the EU,” May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “Not go into negotiations, sue them.”

As if Trump doesn’t have enough, Trump has wrongly claimed that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II reviewed her honor guard for the first time in 70 years during his visit to the United Kingdom last week. The Queen — who has been on the throne for 66 years, not 70 — regularly reviews a guard of honor from the Household Division.

In April last year it was widely reported that Trump requested a ride down to London’s Buckingham Palace in one of the Queen’s gold-plated carriages. The US Embassy and the British security services talked him out of that one — anticipating the fierce protests.

Noticed that none of the royal family other than The Queen met Trump. None seem to like him. Prince Harry’s new wife, American Meghan Markle, called Trump “misogynistic and divisive.” When President Obama came to London 2 years earlier, all the [top] royals came to meet Obama including Prince George.

Trump tweeted “So funny! I just checked out Fake News CNN, for the first time in a long time (they are dying in the ratings), to see if they covered my takedown yesterday of Jim Acosta (actually a nice guy). They didn’t!” Not true. It was on CNN’s front page of their web site as well as internationally. This was when Trump refused to take the reporter’s question which the next one went to Fox News.

Then the White House canceled national security adviser John Bolton’s appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” after Trump’s tense exchange with Acosta at the press conference.

Trump named the European Union, Russia and China as foes to the United States during an interview at his golf club in Scotland. “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.” He says this cowardly after leaving London and the NATO meetings.

Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly made a recording of his conversation between himself and Trump discussing payments to former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, who has alleged an affair with Trump. The recording — which was made shortly before the presidential election — was seized during an FBI raid on Cohen’s office in April. This contradicts Trump’s claim that he didn’t know her.

In August 2016, McDougal signed an agreement with American Media Inc., which owns The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, Men’s Journal and several other publications. She believed at the time the contract was a work agreement that would allow her to be photographed for and write pieces that would run in the companies’ publications.

McDougal later realized she could face a financial penalty for speaking to the media about her story. AMI never released anything of hers which effectively kept her quiet about talking about the affair.

In April, she reached a settlement with AMI that allows her to discuss the alleged affair. The publisher of AMI is a good friend of Trump. Did Trump ask AMI to pay on his behalf? Trump could now be investigated for using campaign money [if that’s where it came from] for other reasons.

New York is a “one-party” consent state, meaning that as long as one participant in the conversation gives permission to record, it is legal. There has been some hints that Cohen could be willing to seek a cooperation agreement with the US attorney’s office.

“Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!” Of course did he comment about the “break” in from April? Probably not. And it wasn’t a “break in” but warrants were issued. He never heard of a lawyer taping conversations? And I think he did something wrong.

Trump has waived privilege on the recording. The recording had been deemed privileged by a former federal judge, known as a special master, adding that Trump’s lawyers asked the special master to withdraw the privilege. This gives the government access to the recording as part of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York investigation into Cohen. That part is a bit surprising.

Even with all that has happened in the past month [Scott Pruitt’s “resignation”, NATO, Helsinki, Supreme Court nomination], there has only been 4 White House press briefings.

Why did it take so long? It took a good part of a week before it was announced that a 42-year old United States Secret Service agent [protecting national security adviser John Bolton] died after suffering a stroke while supporting Trump’s trip to Scotland over the weekend. As of this time, no acknowledgement or even a condolence tweet from Bolton [or Trump].

April 2018 update of Windows 10 butchered my system

There was some talk that when this [v1803] feature update first came out, there was drivers issues. Seems it wasn’t fixed.

I upgraded last Saturday night. Seems fine. Upgrade was maybe 35 minutes. No complaints about incompatible updates.

Was fine for the past few days. Didn’t really notice much.

Then I noticed the lock screen was some horrible background – not the one I previously used. Couldn’t change it back. Searched for fixes and none worked.

Tonight I wanted to capture the audio off my cell phone to my computer but my audio features on my computer wouldn’t work. Audio capture application would crash after hitting 20% of the CPU. OK. Tried the web cam and it wouldn’t function. And yet, the Device Manager showed no issues. Even my point and shoot camera wasn’t picked up.

So I did a recovery back to v1709. Suddenly everything is reverse. My lock screen is back, the audio works and my web cam works.

I have the Pro edition of Windows 10, so I can stop v1803 from installing again and delay v1809 [when out this fall] if I need to.

So be warned.

Could this happen in November?

I can see this happening after the mid-term elections: After devastating loses, Vice-President Mike Pence groups his henchmen and backers and say enough is enough. He now has a good excuse now to drop Donald Trump. He let Trump be in office long enough and will finally side with the Democrats to toss Trump out by either impeachment, maybe even treason or maybe something even more serious.

How else would politicians such as Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell stick with Trump after Trump went after them during and after the primaries? Just look at the comments Trump made at Ted Cruz’s father? And yet Cruz is still backing Trump – for now.

All this so that Pence could have 2 full years and he hopes for 8 additional years as the new dictator/president of the US.

Pence knew with Trump’s instability he could get into the Oval Office faster than an election after primaries. Also it’s cheaper. He’s not paying loads of cash if he was running an election. [He wasn’t doing well in the cash department before he became Vice-President.]

Aside from a Vice-President salary, you get to live in a place paid by the government. You don’t have to worry about food, electricity, cable, security, Internet, … And the added bonus of kickbacks!