Wow! What a week for Trump

The FBI raided the offices and home of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, law enforcement sources said, in a dramatic new development in a series of probes involving close Trump associates. Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen M. Ryan, said that US prosecutors conducted a search that was partly a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.

“I just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys — a good man — and it’s a disgraceful situation,” he said. “It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time.” Except they didn’t break in – they had warrants. Privileged communication between Cohen and Cohen’s clients were seized. FBI agents seized emails, tax documents and business records.

The FBI and US Attorney’s office also sought any emails between former White House communications director Hope Hicks and Cohen about a false and misleading account that Trump helped prepare of a June 9, 2016, meeting between Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner and a group of Russians who had promised “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Investigators were looking into whether Cohen committed bank fraud or violated campaign finance law, which all appeared to stem from the Stormy Daniels payment. Agents were also looking for records of payments to two women who say they had affairs Trump and for information on the role of the publisher of the National Enquirer in keeping one of the women quiet.

After the FBI raided Cohen’s office, Trump tweeted the following morning “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!” and “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

George Conway, wife of Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said that the raid on Cohen is legal. “There are occasions when effective law enforcement may require the issuance of a search warrant for the premises of an attorney who is a subject of an investigation, and who also is or may be engaged in the practice of law on behalf of clients,” the Justice Department’s website reads.

George Conway is a critic of Trump on Twitter but he has publicly maintained his support for Trump and his policies in public interviews and postings. In March, Conway deleted a number of previous tweets critical of the president amid speculation that Kellyanne Conway was under consideration to take over as White House communications director.

Cohen’s defense team could argue that the payment was kept quiet so that the affair would not be found out by Melania Trump which could put Trump’s marriage [further] on the rocks.

Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, actually like she usually does, said “I’m not sure” when asked if Michael Cohen is still Trump’s attorney. She also said that “I’m not going to get into specific details” when asked if Tom Bossert was pushed out [fired] or resigned.

Trump tweeted “Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter).” More fake tweeting. The Republicans control congress. So how does the opposition “head up” the investigation especially from a Republican [Rod Rosenstein] when asked Republican Mueller to investigate?

He also tweeted “Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War.” Except then, the world was on the brink of a nuclear war. Did he ever hear of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Trump tweeted “If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him….” Of course what he says and what he does are to different things. His supporters are mostly telling him not to fire Mueller but he does things his way.

Sanders made clear that Trump was wary of investigatory overreach, saying, “He has a very deep concern about the direction that the special counsel and other investigations have taken.” Problem is that Trump may get into further trouble [like Richard Nixon did] by interfering with an investigation that involves him [at least indirectly].

A bipartisan group of senators [2 from each party] just introduced legislation that would make it harder for special counsel Mueller to be fired for investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The act protects Mueller and ensures that the Special Counsel can only be fired for “good cause” by a senior Justice Department official. The news comes after Sanders said publicly that Trump believes he has the power to fire Mueller.

With the upcoming book from former FBI director James Comey, “A Higher Loyalty”, coming out soon, the mudslinging has begun.

Trump blasted Comey as an “untruthful slime ball,” saying, “It was my great honour to fire James Comey!” Trump has assailed Comey as a “showboat” and a “liar.” [Note: He used the British spelling of “honor”. Odd.]

Trump tweeted ” He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH.” But of course, no proof there.

Comey said Trump is “untethered to truth,” and describes him as fixated in the early days of his presidency on having the FBI debunk salacious rumours he said were untrue but that could distress his wife. Comey compares Trump to a mafia don and calls his leadership of the country “ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

He casts Trump as a mobster-like figure who sought to blur the line between law enforcement and politics and tried to pressure him personally regarding his investigation into Russian election interference.

Sanders questioned Comey’s credibility in a tweet and Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said Comey took “unnecessary, immature pot shots.” The Republican National Committee is poised to lead the pushback effort against Comey by launching a website and supplying surrogates with talking points that question his credibility.

Comey’s book will be heavily scrutinized by Trump’s legal team looking for any inconsistencies between it and his public testimony, under oath, before Congress.

MoveOn claims it has 300,000 people who would protest if Mueller is fired. They could also protest if Trump pardons key witnesses in the Russia investigation or if he fired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or repealed the regulations that established the office of the special counsel.

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert was pushed out [supposedly] of his position by the newly installed national security adviser John Bolton. There was no indication that Bossert planned to resign in recent days. Supposedly while Bolton did not have a personal problem with Bossert, he wanted to put his own team in place.

In 2013, as the Obama administration was weighing a response to the Syrian government after it violated President Barack Obama’s “red line” for its use of chemical weapons, Trump argued that the US should “stay the hell out of Syria” and criticized the administration for “broadcasting” its strategy. So what does Trump do in 2018? He advertises that he will probably attack Syria and the US is still in Syria after 15 months of this administration with no official announcement of leaving. “We no longer tell our enemies our plans” said Trump in the State of the Union address.

His tweet [once again] caused the White house staff off guard. Even sanders had to backtrack giving an excuse that he didn’t mean plans were just for a missile attack but other options. How else would you interpret the tweet “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'”

It took over 48 hours before Trump backtracked and tweeted “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place.” His way of fixing his own mistakes.

Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, continues to have ethics issues.

The Office of Government Ethics committee confirmed that it has expanded its review of Pruitt’s travel spending to now include ethical questions surrounding his bargain $50-a-night rental of a Capitol Hill condo tied to a fossil fuels lobbyist. They also has issued a letter to EPA demanding documents related to the condo rental. And it reports that at least five agency officials faced retaliation after questioning Pruitt’s outsized spending for travel, unprecedented security precautions and pricey office furniture.

EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins is now conducting at least five investigative audits related to Pruitt, including a previously undisclosed probe into questionable spending by his swollen security detail.

The Associated Press reported that the 20-member team tasked with providing day-and-night protection for Pruitt had racked up salary, overtime and travel expenses approaching $3 million. Pruitt was at the White House recently for a cabinet meeting and was seated at the far end of the table from Trump.

While Pruitt denied it, the former deputy chief of staff of the EPA, Kevin Chmielewski, who is currently on unpaid leave from the agency after raising concerns about Pruitt’s travel practices, said Pruitt new about the raises.

Trump stepped up his long-running battle with Amazon, ordering a federal task force to investigate the Postal Service’s finances. The executive order does not mention Amazon by name, but Amazon is the subtext. The Postal Service says the law requires that such negotiated contracts as Amazon’s must cover the Postal Service’s costs and that postal regulators have studied the contract and approved it.

Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, who claimed she’d had an affair with Trump, the tabloid’s parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of the real estate mogul’s New York City buildings. It was a contract that effectively prevented him from going public with a juicy tale that might hurt Trump’s campaign for president. A rumor the doorman heard about Trump’s sex life is that Trump had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower.

The company [American Media Inc.] has said it paid McDougal to be a columnist for an AMI-published fitness magazine. If so, why pay so much and never use her in the magazine? “Once she’s part of the company, then on the outside she can’t be bashing Trump and American Media,” said AMI’s publisher, David Pecker, an unabashed Trump supporter. Her contact specifically calls her not to bash Trump? Wasn’t she hired for a fitness magazine and not for politics?

“…Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru or travel to Bogota, Colombia, as originally scheduled,” press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said in a statement. He will supposedly concentrate on his response to Syria’s attacks.

China has filed a World Trade Organization complaint challenging Trump’s tariff hike on imported steel and aluminum which violate international trade rules. Trump also has threatened to increase duties on $50 billion of Chinese goods in a separate conflict over technology policy. [The US led in WTO trade disputes filed against them every year.]

Trump has directed his top trade and economic advisers to take a fresh look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement he withdrew from in his first week in office.

The number of House Republicans who will not seek re-election has grown to 43 with speaker Paul Ryan retiring. Democrats are at 19. Could this be because of Trump or maybe afraid they won’t get elected because trump is in charge. For the Republicans, this is easily the most that won’t be back and there are still 7 months where further Republicans can leave. In 2016, 29 Republicans left, in 2014 31 left. From the last 6 election periods, Republicans still tend to leave as the elections get closer. So there could be further departures.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo nomination for secretary of state could stall in the senate. If three members, who sit on a committee, ultimately vote “no,” then Pompeo won’t have enough votes to win a favorable recommendation from the committee. There are no instances of a secretary of state nominee receiving an unfavorable committee vote since 1925.

A fire occurred in the Trump Tower in New York City. Both Trump [“well built building” even though no sprinklers] and son Eric tweeted thanking the New York fire department. This was before the news that broke out that an apartment owner died. No tweet about that or 6 fire fighters were injured.

The Congressional Budget Office now projects trillion-dollar deficits will start in 2020, two years ahead of what it projected just 10 months ago, although it will come close [$981 billion] by next year. By 2028, it expects the deficit to top $1.5 trillion. The increase is thanks largely to the trillions in tax cuts passed by Republicans and a pricey two-year budget deal recently passed by both parties.

 

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About ebraiter
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