“I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings” – Trump

Considering that Donald Trump tweeted less this week there still was plenty of news.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump tweeted. So supposedly he personally didn’t record, but doesn’t rule out that someone else did.

But, Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, said earlier in June that Trump told him during interviews that he was recording their conversations. But that when Trump sat down for a deposition, Trump “essentially” said he used the threat of tapes to “intimidate” him.

Comey hopes there are tapes as it would once and for all clear [most] things up.

“You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people!” Trump said in a tweet last week that signified an attempt to undermine both special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe.

“The President is not a subject or target of an investigation. That tweet was in response to a Washington Post story that ran with five unnamed sources….” said Jay Sekulow, a Trump legal adviser. This contradicted Trump’s statement where he previously said he was under investigation. But trump’s tweet made no reference to the Washington post or anything else. Then, in a subsequent interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Sekulow sowed further confusion by saying Trump was under investigation — then denied he said anything of the sort. He also said the tweet was taken “out of context”. How do you do that in 140 characters?

Meantime, the administration is having second thoughts of Mueller heading the investigation even with his credentials because Mueller is said to be friends with Comey [in addition to previously mentioning that a few of Mueller’s people donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign]. The top level enforcement community is a small community – so of course Mueller knows Comey. And why now after Mueller has been on the job for weeks?

Any though of Trump getting rid of Mueller [he can’t actually Mueller but Rosenstein can] would add to the misery for Trump. It would [again] show that Trump is obstructing justice.

By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans say they are more likely to believe former FBI Director James Comey than President Donald Trump when it comes to their differing accounts of events that led up to Comey’s firing, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. By party, 76 percent of Democrats side with Comey, while 50 percent of Republicans believe Trump. Independents break for Comey over Trump, 47 percent to 17 percent. Just 27 percent approve of Comey’s ouster.

Surprise! Surprise! Trump ranted on the special elections. But he couldn’t get the number of wins right! “Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0”. There were 4 wins and those elections took place in districts where the Republicans always won. He shouldn’t be too happy. For all of them, the percentage between the two candidates shrunk between this election and last November. So some Republicans aren’t happy or didn’t vote.

Scratch your head time. He tweeted “Democrats would do much better as a party if they got together with Republicans on Healthcare,Tax Cuts,Security.”

Trump’s nominee to be the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, represented an American energy executive in 2006 who was being criminally investigated by the Russian government. The detail, which was included on Wray’s biography on the website of the law firm King and Spalding dating back to 2009, was removed in 2017.

Senate armed services committee Chairman John McCain threatened to block Trump’s deputy defense secretary nominee. McCain charged that Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan was ducking questions during his confirmation hearing, particularly over his response in a written statement that he would look into providing military assistance to Ukraine.

The Senate released their secretive health care bill. The legislation would still make major changes to the nation’s health care system, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cutting back federal support of Medicaid [phase out from 2022 to 2024], eliminating Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. The Senate plan however would keep Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual coverage. The bill would shrink the program even more over time by pegging the annual growth rate of those funds to standard inflation. This would likely force states to cut enrollment, benefits or provider payments.

Obamacare’s premium subsidies structure would be maintained, but tighten the eligibility criteria starting in 2020. Fewer middle class folks would get help because only those earning up to 350% of the poverty level would qualify, rather than the 400% threshold contained in Obamacare. But it would also open up the subsidies to enrollees below the poverty level so those living in states that didn’t expand Medicaid could get some assistance.

The House bill would defund Planned Parenthood for one year. The bill would also aim to shore up the existing Obamacare market by allocating funds for the cost-sharing subsidies until 2019.

So far, 5 GOP senators won’t agree with the bill. If more than 2 say no, the bill won’t pass.

Trump suggested that Otto Warmbier, the American who died days after his release from North Korea, would still be alive if he had been released sooner. He was in prison in North Korea for 17+ months. “He should have been brought home a long time ago,” Trump said. North Korea only informed the US of Warmbier’s medical condition earlier this month. So Trump has been in office for roughly 6 months now. What did he do? White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the US will “continue to apply economic and political pressure” to change North Korea’s behavior. So far, that hasn’t done much. Look at the rockets they continue to test. In the meantime, there are still 3 other Americans in North Korea – two were recently “arrested” and “convicted”. What is he waiting for?

Wow. The Trump administration had some big news [they think]. After the death of Otto Warmbier, they want to add North Korea to the so-called “Travel Ban”. Very few go to North Korea [and fewer even now as the main tour operator to North Korea is refusing Americans]. The administration is trying to show it isn’t just Muslims. Sure.

Trump has appointed longtime loyalist Lynne Patton ā€“ who has zero housing experience and claims a law degree the school says she never earned ā€“ to run the office that oversees federal housing programs in New York. Cronyism.

As mentioned previously, Trump has named a top donor and fundraiser as ambassador to Canada by choosing Kelly Knight Craft for the post in February and had the State Department vet her, but did not formally nominate her until last week. Craft must now be confirmed by the Senate. She will be part of the team fixing/renegotiating NAFTA and other agreements with Canada. And her experience?

The White House is mulling a new role for White House press secretary Sean Spicer that would take him away from the podium and into a different role inside the West Wing, a White House official said. Unsure what Melissa McCarthy [who portrayed him on Saturday Night Live last season] will do this fall.

The Congressional Black Caucus will reportedly decline to meet with Trump. The lawmakers will reject a meeting with Trump, noting they don’t believe the Trump administration has done anything to support the priorities of the group. “No one wants to be a co-star on the reality show,” said one senior Democratic aide.

A stunning 50% of the CEOs, business execs, government officials and academics surveyed at the annual Yale CEO Summit give Trump an “F” for his first 130 days in office. The survey, released earlier this week, found that another 21% give Trump’s performance a “D” so far. Just 1% of the 125 leaders polled awarded the billionaire an “A.” The survey was a cross-section of the business community, including some who are quite pro-Trump.

Two-thirds of respondents indicated that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord diminished America’s global standing. Another 86% expressed concern about Trump minimizing Russian security mischief. Business leaders are not impressed with Trump’s budget either. Three-fourths of survey respondents said the administration’s budget proposal is not sound. The Goldman Sachs CEO even sent his first-ever tweet to slam the Paris accord move as a “setback” for U.S. leadership in the world. Just 42% of leaders surveyed by Yale think Trump will pass corporate tax reform.

Recent White House briefings now include no audio or no video. So anything said by a Trump official can’t bite them in the romp.

For the second time in almost 6 months, Trump invited the CEOs of major tech companies to visit him. Trump introduced the tech executives as “special people” who employ “hundreds of thousands” of American workers and are “on the absolute cutting edge of innovation.” Maybe “hundreds of thousands” of American workers but probably a lot more elsewhere. The CEOs asked questions about H-1B visas [normally given to tech people], immigration, climate control, “travel” ban, etc.

From a text message from White House adviser Steven Bannon to a reporter explaining why Sean Spicer has spent less and less time in front of cameras at the podium. “Sean got fatter,” texted Bannon. Republicans said he was joking. Still. If true [and I’m doubting it], is it polite to say in public that to a fellow co-worker who also works in the government?

Trump will host his first re-election campaign fundraising event next Wednesday at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that the Trump administration would maintain an Obama-era program providing protection to undocumented immigrants brought to the US illegally as children by their parents. This breaks another election promise.

White House social media director Dan Scavino violated the law when he used an official-looking Twitter account for campaign purposes, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel has concluded, issuing Scavino a letter of admonishment. Scavino violated the Hatch Act, which bars most executive branch officials from using their government positions to influence elections by tweeting “@realDonaldTrump is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan. @justinamash is a big liability,” Scavino wrote on April 1. “#TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary.”

Ivanka Trump said she is surprised by the “viciousness” of the media covering her father’s presidency. [Not really surprised because of how her father has treated most of the media.] “My father felt very vindicated in all the statements that he’s [James Comey] been making and feels incredibly optimistic,” she said. She interprets Comey’s comments as if Trump will never be implicated but things can happen.

The group VoteVets [with 500,000 military veterans and families] has been blocked from Trump’s Tweeter account access. The group has in the past criticized the president over his budget proposal, Republicans attempts to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and the president’s executive order temporarily barring individuals from certain predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States.

The Golden State Warriors may have won the NBA championships, but many on the team including the team’s coach, Steve Kerr, are not fans of Trump. Don’t expect them to show up for the standard visit to the White House. Unsure about the NHL’s Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins.

New Jersey parents are complaining their kids’ support for Donald Trump was erased from a high school yearbook. The school is investigating who removed the text from pictures and in one case a quote from Trump. They want the year book to be reissued. [Good luck there. Cost a lot of money to do so.] While investigation continues, a teacher involved in the publication has been suspended.

Hudson’s Bay — owner of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor — said it is cutting its workforce by 2,000 jobs. Unsure how many US jobs. Macy’s said earlier this year that it will close 68 stores and cut 10,000 jobs. Ascena Retail Group — which owns the Ann Taylor, Dress Barn, Loft, Lane Bryant, Justice, Maurices and Catherines stores — plans to shutter between 250 and 650 locations over the next two years. Unknown number of jobs lost.

JC Penney is shutting down 138 stores by August. Unknown number of jobs lost. Bebe said it planned to shut down all of its stores by the end of May. Unknown number of jobs lost. GameStop said in March it will close more than 100 retail locations. Unknown number of jobs lost. The parent company of Kmart and Sears said in January it will shutter 150 stores. Unknown number of jobs lost.

Gymboree filed for bankruptcy protections with 1300 stores and 12,000 employees. Verizon expects to cut as many as 2,100 employees with the purchase of Yahoo’s core Internet assets.

Retail bankruptcies are up about 30% so far this year. Total store closings across the U.S. are likely to reach record levels this year.

Yes. The American economy is doing well under this presidency. Not.

Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to 36% due to Americans’ negative reaction to his handling of the Russia investigations, a new CBS News poll has found. From CBS, it was 41% in April. 63% of Americans disapproving of Trump’s response to the Russia investigation. 73% would prefer a public discussion on the Republicans’ health care replacement bill and feel they don’t have a good understanding of what the new plan would do. 67% of people believe the Republicans’ plan would hurt them more than help them.

 

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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