Tension between Trump and Iran increases

Trump was ready to authorize the attack on Iran but reversed course “10 minutes before the strike” when he learned 150 people could die in the attack, Trump said in a series of tweets. But according to Fox News [of all places], it was reported that Trump knew about the estimation of casualties hours before his decision.

In addition, Trump initially said he thought “Iran made a very big mistake” [negatively] but later said “I have a feeling it was a mistake”. And now he’s back to his war mongering mode. What will he said next? It wasn’t Iran?
“Everybody says he is a war monger and now they say I’m a dove… I’m a man with common sense” said Trump before boarding Marine One. Who said he is a “dove”? Probably nobody.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the White House is “suffering from mental disability” and behaving as “no sane person,” in the wake of new sanctions. Sounds like he’s talking more about Trump.

Trump whined why the US is protecting oil shipping lanes, contradicting what his own Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said about the Strait of Hormuz. Pompeo said just the week before that they would do everything to make sure ships can go through the Strait. Trump is also complaining that the US is paying for something to protect that it doesn’t use.

Trump doesn’t believe he needs congressional approval to make a military strike against Iran. “I do like keeping them — they have ideas, they’re intelligent people, they’ll have some thoughts. I actually learned a couple of things the other day when we had our meeting with Congress, but I do like keeping them abreast, but I don’t have to do it legally.” So he’s doing it illegally?

Trump signed an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes and told reporters the sanctions will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office. Already 80% of Iran’s economy is sanctioned. Khamenei obviously has no wealth stashed in the US and probably little elsewhere

Trump claimed the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the order was in the works before last week’s downing, but was in response to that as well as to previous Iranian actions in the Gulf.

In a non-shocker, Senate Republicans tallied enough votes to block a largely Democratic-backed amendment that would require Trump to get congressional approval before striking Iran militarily.

Trump announced that he’s delaying for two weeks US Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that were planned to take place in 10 major US cities, saying deportations will proceed unless Congress finds a solution on the US-Mexico border. Of course you know that if nothing occurs in the two weeks, Trump will blame the Democrats and not his part for the failed talks.

“Some cities are going to fight it, but if you notice, they’re generally high crime cities. If you look at Chicago, they’re fighting it. If you look at other cities, they’re fighting it. Many of those cities are high crime cities and they’re sanctuary cities,” Trump said. You know he has no statistics to back him up other than knowing Chicago has crime issues but no correlation that it is related to illegal immigrants.

The House of Representatives voted by 230-195 to approve $4.5 billion in aid for the growing crisis at the US southern border — a vote that followed Democratic infighting over the package and a White House veto threat. It is not clear whether the House and Senate will be able to reach an agreement the President will sign off on. Four liberal Democratic freshmen voted against the measure, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. 3 Republicans voted with the Democrats.

With a man and his 23 month-old child found dead near the US-Mexican border, Trump right away blamed the Democrats for what happened. He puts the blame on them even though both the House and Senate approved $4.5 billion in spending while he may veto the spending and he has pushed to block migrants desperately trying to enter the US from Mexico. Where will they go?

On top of this, there are major issues at the detention centers where young children there are lacking food, water, sanitation, medical or psychological help. Parents weren’t supposed to be separated from their children but it is still happening.

Trump left the White House last weekend for a last-minute trip to Camp David. Maybe it was to escape Washington at a moment when he appears increasingly disenchanted by advice from his inner circle and out of sorts with some of the mainstays in his Cabinet. No members of Trump’s cabinet came along, nor did his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Ahead of the G20 summit in Japan, Trump said “We have a treaty with Japan. If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III. We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack.” Got that?

There was some talk of Trump killing the treaty. [The treaty says that Japan can’t have a full military except for defensive purposes in exchange for US to defend Japan if attacked and allow US forces to have bases in Japan – this during the Cold War.] Trump also went after Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany saying that Germany isn’t paying their share of the NATO budget while “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO” and “seven are paid up”. In fact, the US pays 22% and none of the countries are behind their payments. The seven are actually those who spend 2 percent of their national economies on their own armed forces by 2024 and not what they pay for NATO’s budget. Makes him look like a fool… again.

Robert Mueller’s long-awaited public testimony in mid-July will give Democrats their best and perhaps last chance to seize on the Russia scandal to try to inflict a decisive political wound on Trump. Of course, expect Trump to start calling Mueller name and other comments. He already said “Presidential Harassment!” after the announcement. Trump also claimed that Mueller deleted FBI text messages.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders is resigning amid the dramatic increase in the number of undocumented migrants crossing the border, a fight over how to address it and controversy over how children are being treated. Reports say children are living in such bad condition full of filth, sickness and other issues.

As usual, Trump claims that he is concerned about what’s happening at the detention centers and claims [don’t ask me how he measured it] that it is better now than under President Obama’s eight years. Interesting because I don’t remember so much media coverage and the fact that there has been a large increase of immigrants crossing the border compared to when Obama was President.

Tom Homan, the former ICE director and now a Fox News contributor, seemed to suggest that Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan leaked information about the ICE operation to media. McAleenan was resistant to the plan, concerned in part that it could hurt negotiations with congressional Democrats for ICE funding. Trump named Honan as “border czar” but Honan has not yet accepted the job.

Eric Trump said he was spat on by an employee at a Chicago-area restaurant. “It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems” and who then cast blame for the incident more broadly on the Democratic Party. So he thinks the Democrats were the ones who told the individual to do it and is the only party who have followers with “emotional problems”? Maybe the employee was a Republican voter who dislikes his father.

And the real witch hunt begins: The House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena testimony from White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway after a federal agency recommended that she should be fired for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act that limits the political activities of federal employees. The panel would vote to hold Conway in contempt if she ignores the subpoena.

Earlier this month, the independent Office of Special Counsel sent the Trump administration a letter outlining Conway’s “numerous violations” of the Hatch Act, finding that from February to May she publicly criticized the field of Democratic presidential candidates and sought to boost the Trump campaign while in her official role at the White House.

Trump’s protocol chief, Sean Lawler, has been suspended indefinitely just ahead of the G-20 meeting in Japan pending the outcome of a State Department investigation into his conduct. A large chunk of the protocol office was aware of this behavior for a long time. They’re surprised, to be honest, that this hadn’t been dealt with sooner.

In something that is not a real shocker, the Palestinians and allies aren’t really already panned the economic part of a peace plan proposed by Trump and delivered by Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner which includes $50 billion in grants, low-interest loans and private investments over 10 years. The political portion will be announced after the Israeli elections in September.

The New York Post’s former top editor, Col Allan, a supporter of Trump and an old “lieutenant” of owner Rupert Murdoch and current paper advisor, ordered the removal of a story about writer Jean Carroll’s sexual assault allegations against Trump. The Post’s story about Carroll’s sexual assault allegations was mysteriously scrubbed from the tabloid’s website. Was Allan thinking that nobody reads, watches or listen to the news other than the Post?

Tweets that Twitter deems to involve matters of public interest, but which violate the service’s rules, will be obscured by a warning explaining the violation and Twitter’s reasons for publishing it anyway. Users will have to tap through the warning to see the underlying message. Twitter said the new policy applies to all government officials, candidates, and similar public figures with more than 100,000 followers. This will include Trump.

Trump claimed he wouldn’t watch the first Democrat debate – but did. After 30 minutes into the debate, he tweeted “BORING!”

Former President Jimmy Carter suggested that a full investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election would show that Trump didn’t win the presidency. Expect a Twitter storm by Trump shortly. Until now, the former one-term Democratic president had shared a warmer relationship with Trump more than Trump has had with any other living president.

The battle over adding a citizenship in the Trump administration proposed census could affect future voting. The Census Bureau’s own experts concluded including a citizenship question on the census would discourage undocumented individuals and other minorities from participating. It would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. Advocates for those groups say their absence from the count would disadvantage their communities when government resources are distributed and dilute their constitutionally granted representation in Congress.

Trump picked Stephanie Grisham to be the new White House press secretary and communications director. Grisham has been a member of Trump team since the summer of 2015, when she signed on as traveling press secretary. She went on to become a close confidante of not just Trump but, just as importantly, first lady Melania Trump — for whom she has served as communications director. Grisham is keeping that role. We will see how often she has press briefings.

American women’s soccer co-captain Megan Rapinoe, on asking about going to the White house if the team wins the world cup: “Psssh, I’m not going to the f_____g White House,” she fired back before the reporter finished the question. “No. I’m not going to the White House. We’re not gonna be invited. I doubt it.”

Trump extended a White House invite to Rapinoe and the team, regardless of whether they win or lose. The only problem? Trump tagged the wrong person. He later corrected the tag and saying “…but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!…”

Ummm. While tweeting about the Rapinoe issue, trump also adds ” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level in our Country’s history, and the poverty index is also best number EVER), leagues and teams love coming to the White House.” So he’s putting the NBA, criminal justice reform and black unemployment in there for what reason? Oh ya.

“Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team,” Trump tweeted. I don’t think it is really any of the three Rapinoe has a problem with, just one person.

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Windows 10 warns about updating to the May 2019 update

I guess depending on the version you use [I’m using Pro with a feature update delay] you may or may not see the message below when you should update to the Windows 10 May 2019 Update.

Obviously you probably shouldn’t install the May update through other means [MediaTool, ISO] if it’s giving you this warning.

BTW, I wish Microsoft would get their version format settled. Is it v1903 or 19H1? Is it v1909 [seen in the Windows Insiders] or 19H2?

The US was that close to another war

A military operation to strike Iran over the downing of a US drone was set to begin when the Donald Trump called it off. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it shot a US drone over its airspace while the US said it was shot over international waters. At first Trump had tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!” as he and his national security officials huddled. For now, all US and several other airlines have been warned not to fly in the Strait of Hormuz area.

Trump said “I have a feeling it was a mistake” when Iran shot down the US drone, saying he finds it “hard to believe it was intentional” and that it would have made a “big, big difference” if there was someone inside the drone. Is he defending Iran? Her added “Nobody died, but an expensive resource of ours, we don’t have many of, got blown up. We obviously care about that.” So he flip flopped quite fast.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” claimed Trump in a tweet. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

“President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus 1.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out.” Wonder which right wing crackpot gave him those numbers. 2.5 years into his mandate and he is still whining about his predecessors and what has he claimed to done and actually did?

The US is escalating cyber-attacks on Russia’s electric power grid and has placed potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system, The New York Times reported. It would be used in the event of evidence that Russian interferes in the 2020 election.

But Trump may had not been briefed in any detail about the US computer code being implanted inside the Russian grid. Trump tweeted “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…. These [“fake media”] are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Virtual act of treason? Hmmm. We already knows that he uses the “t” word now for just about anything that offends him. Media, Democrats, WASPS, dogs, exercise, … Maybe instead of looking at the “fake media”, if the story is actually true, they should find out who in the cyber ops leaked the information.

Trump issued new authorities last summer to the United States Cyber Command, which is part of the Pentagon and runs the US military’s defensive and offensive online operations. The classified document gives the commander of Cyber Command, Gen. Paul Nakasone, the power to conduct offensive online operations without needing presidential approval. That lack of approval is more concerning – however at least any command would be thought about thoroughly – unlike anything Trump would decide.

Secretary of State Mike “Pompous” Pompeo has denied the story but said if Cyber Command did do it, he says it should have been done by the previous administration. Not George W. Bush’s administration?

With Trump expected to meet with Chinese Prime Minister Xi soon, “Pompous” Pompeo claims Trump has always been a defender of human rights and will ask Xi about the current issues in Hong Kong. You don’t see Trump and the phase “human rights” in the same sentence as there has been at most a couple of times where Trump has complained about human rights and meant it. Xi himself may just say it is an internal matter and mind your own business [or point to Trump’s human rights record on immigrants].

From Trump’s first official campaign rally in Florida [is there any difference between this and any other rally?]:

  • “We are, by the way, the number-one producer of energy in the world because of what we’ve done right now.” – The Energy Information Administration, said in 2016: “US petroleum and natural gas production first surpassed Russia in 2012, and the United States has been the world’s top producer of natural gas since 2011. Only thing surpassed under Trump was crude oil production in 2018.
  • “And in September, just before the election, the FBI told President Obama about possible Russian interference, …. He did nothing.” – Except Obama authorized an extraordinary public statement in October 2016 blaming the hacking on “Russia’s senior-most officials,” and top administration officials issued multiple warnings to top Russian officials. Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Poutine directly, at a G20 meeting in September 2016. After the election, in December 2016, Obama imposed sanctions on Russia.
  • “And not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests.” – Except if the arena was filled up and so many requests, why didn’t they move it to a stadium or put up screens outside the arena.
  • “…no president has had to deal with before, because we did, in the middle of the great and illegal witch hunt, things that nobody have been able to accomplish, not even close.” – Except immediate proof of a crime is not required to make a probe legal, and the probe eventually resulted in the convictions of multiple Trump associates.
  • “It’s beautiful. I changed the design. It’s stronger, bigger, better and cheaper.” – To describe a wall that way and considering that earlier this year he said the wall was being built but wasn’t. And then there is no comparison on the second sentence since nothing was ever built or any plans were made public.
  • “This election is a verdict on whether we want to live in a country where the people who lose an election refuse to concede and spend the next two years trying to shred our Constitution and rip your country apart.” – Even over 2 years later, still whining about the election. Still don’t see anyone from the Democrats contesting the election. The same goes for the missing emails.
  • “And they spent $40 million on this witch hunt, $40 million. That’s right. They spent $40 million, probably a hell of a lot more than that.” – Except current estimates is a bit above $25 million but the US government is expected to receive $11 million as a result of asset forfeitures from Paul Manafort.
  • “And you know we couldn’t get the wall approved by the Democrats, even though they voted for it four years ago and six years ago…” – Except some Democrats voted to authorize 700 miles of border fencing. But the fencing was different than the Trump campaign proposal the Democrats opposed 10 years later, which was for a giant concrete wall.
  • “….we are creating a future of American energy independence, and yet our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far.” – According to whom?
  • “A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism, and the destruction of the American dream.” – No comments.

Trump also whined about the usual stuff: Clinton, hoax, no collusion, vindicated in the Mueller Report, draining the swamp, overturn the election, etc.

Several pollsters have paid with their jobs after revealing lagging early swing state data that raises doubts over Trump’s ability to make political lightning strike again in 2020. Leaks showed that he is losing in several swing states. Then he tweeted “Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew. We are looking really good, but it is far too early to be focused on that.”

So he is behind in several states already and rumored to be angry for days about the internal polls leaked to the media last week that showed him losing to Democrats, including Joe Biden, in states like Michigan and Wisconsin. But then he blames the “fake media”. What would his comment be if he was winning? Hmmmm.

Trump said that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has “decided not to go forward with his confirmation process.” His resignation comes amid reports detailing his contentious divorce, which dragged out over six years. “….he can devote more time to his family.” Shanahan released a statement saying he withdrew from consideration after details surfaced related to “a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago.” That sort of contradicts Trump. No shocker there.

Trump then named Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. Unlike Shanahan who wasn’t from the military, Esper has been in the military and is respected.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to halt the Trump administration’s push to circumvent Congress and expedite $8.1 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries by declaring an emergency. Trump is expected to veto the package of resolutions of disapproval and the votes were far short of the two-thirds of the chamber needed to overrule Trump.

Magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll alleged Trump had sexually assaulted her at a New York luxury department store in the late 1990s. Carroll details the allegations in her forthcoming book.

Carroll claims that she encountered Trump in the fall of 1995 or spring 1996 at the Bergdorf Goodman department store, where she says he attacked her in one of the dressing rooms. According to Carroll’s account, Trump sought her advice in buying a gift, and the two had met previously.

“Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda — like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said as a reply to the allegation. He said he has never met Carrell. He then added “Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news” taking aim at the New York Magazine which published the excerpts.

When a Time magazine journalist tried to take a picture of a letter received by Trump from Kim Jong Un that was off the record, saying to the journalist “Well, you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you….” why bother showing the letter even off the record.

Then he rants “Because I’m sure it will be the 28th horrible story I have in TIME Magazine because I never – I mean – ha. It’s incredible. With all I’ve done and the success I’ve had, the way that TIME Magazine writes is absolutely incredible.” An then “Some day within the next 20 years, maybe you’ll pick me as Man of the Year. O.K., big deal.” Except he was picked in 2016.

Later Trump said it was a personal letter. White House sources said it was just a birthday greeting. So why would Trump not show the letter?

In a Trump tweet, he is threatening that “millions” of undocumented immigrants would be deported next week. Now that he said it in public, I can see him tell his fan base that he did it when he didn’t. A day later, a senior immigration official with knowledge of the administration’s plans painted a different picture. “There is no operation next week to pick up millions… No clue where he got that impression.” Well, he said he’d kick out millions of criminals following his election win. That never happened.

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks refused to answer questions about her time working in the White House as she testified behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee. “The president’s lawyers are directing her not to answer any questions even as we are recounting stuff she told to the special counsel” said a Democrat and member of the panel.

As part of the ongoing trade battles with China, Canada got caught in the middle. After the US requested the extradition from Canada of a Huawei executive [which has been caught in legal issues], China arrested 2 Canadians right after the executive was arrested on [err] trumped up charges. Since then China has also rescinded deals or blocked imports. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Washington to work with Trump on that issue, NAFTA 2.0 and other issues. Trump said that he has promised to take up the matter of the two Canadians with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Japan. We’ll see.

Marc Lotter, the director of strategic communications for the Trump 2020 campaign, said that a new Quinnipiac showing Trump losing to 6 Democratic presidential candidates is “meaningless.” He also said their polls are not accurate. I wonder if he would say the same thing if Trump was leading. The Democratic candidates had anywhere between a 1% and a 9% leads over Trump.

“They’re after my financial statement – the Senate, they’d like to get my financial statement. At some point I hope they get it,” Trump said in an interview. “It’s a fantastic financial statement.” He claims he is being asked for statements “they’ve never asked another President for.” Trump has refused to release his tax returns while in office, making him the only modern president to refuse to do so.

From a tweet [referencing that he has 6 years left as president] “…do you think the people would demand that I stay longer?” Again, does he know the constitution? Not the first time he joked [or not] that he wants a longer than 8 year term [maybe in prison].

Seems the new cold war has invaded cancer research. A resignation of a leading Chinese researcher at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the departures in recent months of three other top Chinese American scientists, stem from a Trump administration drive to counter Chinese influence at US research institutions. The aim is to stanch China’s well-documented and costly theft of US innovation and know-how.

The National Institutes of Health has contacted 61 research institutions about suspected diversion of proprietary information by grant recipients and referred 16 cases, mainly involving undisclosed ties to foreign governments, for possible legal action. FBI agents are reading private emails, stopping Chinese scientists at airports, and visiting people’s homes to ask about their loyalty.

Oh acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is in trouble. During an interview recently Trump told him to leave the Oval office after Mulvaney coughed during one of Trump’s answers. “I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump said.

When French President Emmanuel Macron came to Washington in April 2018 for his first state visit, he and Trump planted a European sessile oak tree on the South Lawn of the White House. It was meant to symbolize friendship between the two countries and the 100th anniversary of when American troops fought in France during World War I. Now the tree is dead. How do you kill a tree?

The so-called Environmental Protection Agency said states can set their own carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants — a rule that the agency itself says could result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan it will replace.

The move fulfills part of Trump’s promise to help the coal industry. Trump thinks this will help the coal industry but less and less companies are using coal because of carbon emissions and the fact that it is dirty. US coal consumption has plunged 39% to the lowest level in 40 years, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Oh. Happy Birthday Donnie!

Will he ever learn to think before speaking?

Seems he’ll never learn: Donald Trump said he would accept damaging information from Russia and China [or others] on his 2020 Democratic foe. “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” He is now backtracking saying his words were taken out of context or didn’t say exactly that [but ABC has video], etc.

What Trump should do is refuse any information on any political foe – whether or not the individual is a foreign leader or a foreign spy. Some Republicans have also disliked this whole mess.

Mexico had already promised to take many of the actions agreed to in the immigration deal with the US — months before Trump’s tariff threat, officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations told the New York Times. So basically another fraud perpetrated by Trump. Trump moved to accept the existing agreements in a deal after negotiations prompted by his threat to impose growing tariffs on Mexico in response to the border situation dragged on over several days.

The Mexican government had pledged to deploy the National Guard nationwide with a focus on its southern border — a key part of the agreement — during secret meetings in March between former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican interior secretary Olga Sanchez in Miami. The deal’s key expansion of a program that would keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are processed was established in two heavily brokered two diplomatic notes exchanged between the two countries.

Trump argued on Twitter that his intervention and threat of tariffs had been instrumental in getting the promises down on paper. Trump also repeatedly threatened to close the border with Mexico earlier this year if it failed to halt migrant flows, before backing down amid domestic criticism.

Trump claimed that Mexico had agreed to more than what was revealed in the announcement, teasing that more would be announced soon. But he also claims that the Mexican government needs to vote on the agreement. He said while tariffs have been “indefinitely suspended”, tariffs will be reinstated if the agreement isn’t passed.

The additional unannounced part of the agreement could include the idea of Mexico becoming a “safe third country,” which would make it harder for asylum-seekers who pass through the country from other places to claim refuge in the US. Mexico has long opposed the safe country idea. The addition of 6000 Mexican national guard may not be much as they aren’t effective as the US national guard and probably filled with corruption.

Trump unveils four times what he says is the first page of his “secret” trade deal with Mexico on the White House lawn and claims that while he is in control of when it would go into effect, he will let Mexico decide when to announce the deal. Those with good cameras were able to zoom in on the page to actually see some of it.

Last year, Trump proclaimed a huge new trade deal with the European Union after backing off his threats to impose new automobile tariffs. In fact, the two sides agreed to talk about an agreement that is still yet to materialize. Trump has already said he will cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala accusing them of doing nothing to stop the migrant crisis. He has yet to do so.

“If President Obama made the deals that I have made, both at the Border and for the Economy, the Corrupt Media would be hailing them as Incredible, & a National Holiday would be immediately declared,” Trump said on Twitter. Because the “Corrupt Media” knows whatever deal Trump has made is almost always for show only and has little substance. Remember his “deal” with North Korea?

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “I think what the president is saying is, if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he’ll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that and certain guarantees,” Mnuchin said. Mnuchin’s words double down on the contradictory arguments made by Trump in May, after he put the Chinese 5G technology pioneer on the US’ blacklist.

Trump’s own top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, last month begrudgingly admitted that both sides [China and the US] are losing from the spiraling trade war, with American businesses and consumers among those who end up paying for it.

India has announced new tariffs on several US products that will go into effect on June 16, India’s finance ministry said. The goods targeted include American apples — which will be hit with a 70% tariff — as well as almonds, lentils and several chemical products. India first announced plans to impose new tariffs a year ago in retaliation for increased US import duties on Indian steel and aluminum.

The relationship between India and the US has soured in recent weeks after the Trump administration ended India’s participation in a preferential trade program earlier this month. The program exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from US import duties in 2018.

The administration with Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who led enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad, was supposed to be on a redesigned $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson, who was the populist, slave owner, a president and Trump’s favorite president, in 2020 so the bill can include modern security features.

Instead, the bill has been delayed until 2028 even though the engraving plate for it was completed “as recently as May 2018” a Treasury Department employee told the New York Times. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has indicated that there are technical difficulties. Uh huh. In 2016, candidate Trump told NBC that stripping his favorite president, the populist and slave owner, Andrew Jackson, from the $20 bill was “pure political correctness.” Maybe that’s the technical difficulty.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that he prefers to always “follow the process” for approval when it comes to foreign arms sales, comments that appear to put him at odds with Trump’s decision to declare an emergency to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The House approved a resolution greenlighting the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce its subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony and to seek grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report as well as authorized the House panel to take its subpoena of Attorney General William Barr to court, but an agreement struck between the Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department means the committee won’t take that action — at least for now.

Trump claimed he never said he wanted to fire Mueller. Instead McGhan lied to make himself a good lawyer and wanted Mueller gone. I guess McGhan got thrown under the bus and driven over a few times.

The Department of Justice informed the House Oversight Committee that Trump has asserted executive privilege over some materials related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Those documents have been insufficient and are either publicly available documents, heavily redacted or just not responsive to the request at all and unrelated.

The Democratic-led committee will be considering a census contempt resolution that recommends that the House of Representatives find Barr and Ross in contempt of Congress “for refusal to comply with subpoenas.” The contempt resolution itself includes citations for both civil and criminal contempt. Census data serves as the basis for decisions about how to allocate federal resources and draw congressional districts.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month. Trump said that that Sanders will return to her home state of Arkansas and floated the possibility of a gubernatorial run. But there won’t be an opening until 2023 [assuming the current governor resigns or whatever]. Seriously?

Trump claims that Iran was all over the place pushing their might before he was elected and then said that they aren’t anymore and are in “deep deep trouble”. Ya? You sure? They’re still helping one side in Yemen’s civil war. They are still Hezbollah’s benefactor. They are still around in Syria.

Kim Jong Nam, the slain half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives. Trump denied Nam was a CIA asset.

The US Office of Special Counsel [unrelated to Robert Mueller and his investigation] is recommending that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal service, saying she violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions. Conway erred by making “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” The recommendation carries no actual power to remove Conway.

“If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in her removal from her federal position,” Special counsel Henry Kerner said. “Never has (the office) had to issue multiple reports to the President concerning Hatch Act violations by the same individual.”

Trump makes the final decision. “No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person,” Trump told his propaganda department, Fox News. “…it seems to me to be very unfair, it’s called freedom of speech.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she’s “done” with Trump. “I don’t even want to talk about him,” she said, adding, “My stock goes up every time he attacks me, so what can I say, but let’s not spend too much time on that because that’s his victory, the diverter-in-chief, the diverter-of-attention-in-chief.” Would this mean she won’t have meetings with him now?

Analysts believe Trump may hit a trade version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. He can only threaten tariffs so many times before other countries relax knowing that Trump will offer a deal and in return the company getting hit with tariffs won’t have to do much. This allows Trump to show that he is making what his base will think are great deals built are mostly for show.

Fox News ‘personalities” [unsure if you can call them journalists] have started a health war on former Vice President [and Democrat candidate] Joe Biden claiming Biden has various ailments. As Trump spends hours a day watching Fox News, expect him to include their unproven information and conclude the information is true.

In an interview with CNBC:

  • “I’m a member of the US Chamber — maybe I’ll have to rethink that, because when you look at it, the chamber is probably more for the companies and the people that are members than they are for our country.” – This coming from a man who easily is in favor of big business.
  • “We should be entitled to have a fair playing field, but even without a fair playing field — because our Fed is very, very destructive to us.” – Confusing but the “Fed” is Jerome Powell, who Trump nominated as the Chairman of the Fed in November 2017.
  • “This country is allowing this French wine which is great, we have great wine, too, allowing it to come in for nothing. It is not fair.” – Now he will start a trade war with France over Wine?
  • “Because without tariffs, we would be absolutely, outside of something that I won’t even mention….” – And why won’t he mention it? Nothing there.
  • “Nobody’s going to be able to get through. And then [Mexican national guard] they’re also going to protect our southern border.” – So no need of a wall at the border?
  • “And China will, in my opinion, based on a lot of facts and a lot of knowledge…” – Who’s facts and knowledge. He definitely lack both.
  • “I can tell you they discriminate against me….. You know, people talk about collusion. The real conclusion is between the Democrats and these companies.” – Trump claims, without citing any evidence, that the big technology companies are biased against him.

At Trump’s flagship super PAC, America First Action, $33,000 was spent last year on a single event at the Prime Rib, a swanky DC steakhouse. The most expensive item on the menu is $65. Even with some booze, taxes and tip, did they have [say] 330 people there at $100 per person. AFA paid $120,000 to two firms tied to former Milwaukee sheriff [and Trump super-fan] David Clarke [for what work?], and the more than $460,000 spent over two years at Trump-owned properties [no shocker there but for what?].

In the 2018 cycle, AFA and its affiliated non-profit together raised about $75 million, well short of its $100 million goal. About $39 million of that went to the super PAC. By comparison, the Republican National Committee raised more than $233 million in individual contributions in the same cycle.

AFA was paying the equivalent of annual salaries to firms attached to Trump associates such as Sean Spicer, Katrina Pierson and Corey Lewandowski, not to mention Clarke, fueling the perception that the group has become a safe harbor for various Trump cast-offs and family friends.

The Trump administration is planning a costly Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial, despite its failure to pay off $7 million in debt from the 2017 inauguration. To cover the lack of funds from the federal government, the District of Columbia will be pulling money out of its Emergency Planning and Security fund that is typically dedicated to security measures for emergencies and diplomatic events.

A bit of humor:
Reporter: Are you inviting the Raptors to the White House?
Trump: Those beautiful beasts? Sure
Reporter: No I mean the Toronto Raptors?
Trump: Who?

Trump off to Europe – you know what that means

With Donald Trump in the UK for a state visit and the to the D-Day commemorations plus domestic issues it was a busy week.

Just days before Trump would fly to England for a visit, he called [former] American, Meaghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, “nasty”. Probably because when he got elected she said she would move to Canada [she already worked there on the TV series Suits]. On the other hand, he always call people who don’t like him names [think Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren or “Sloppy” Joe Biden]. She is the only American ever to join the royal family.

Here we go again. A day later he claimed he didn’t call the Duchess “nasty” – blaming CNN, The New York times and others. Except there is video of him saying that.

In a startling comment for a man who regards himself as a master deal maker, he added: “She’s probably a better negotiator that I am.” Trump suggested that history would judge outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May kindly on her handling of Brexit.

Ummm. Trump was turned down for a meeting by potential Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Johnson saying he was too busy. But then Trump said he turned down a meeting with the leader of the UK’s opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, describing him as a “negative force.” Moments before Trump started speaking, Corbyn was addressing an anti-Trump protest nearby. Corbyn refused to attend Trump’s state banquet on Monday, and has been a long-time critic. For once, Trump did something right [for Corbyn’s politics only].

Trump said “I didn’t see the protesters until just a little while ago, and it was a very, very small group of people put in for political reasons, so it was fake news.”, despite large crowds gathering to rally against his visit.

Between 1981 and 1995, multiple claims that members of the British Royal family [mostly Price Charles and Princess Diana] were joining Trump properties filled New York tabloids and national papers about the then-real estate developer. All of them were unequivocally shot down by Buckingham Palace. According to multiple biographies of Trump, the fake news were spread by Trump himself.

Unsure who would believe it but in one such instance occurred in the lead up to the Trump Tower’s February 1983 opening, when a persistent rumor kept appearing that Prince Charles and his then-new wife Diana were looking at buying an apartment in the building.

[Speaking of which, on the Howard Stern Show in November 1993, “I hope she’s looking at — She is really hot. She has gained 20-25 pounds, she looks great,” Trump said, saying he’d love to date the princess. “There could be a love interest. I’d become King of England. King of England. I’d have to leave, I’d have to lose the New York accent quickly. See they wouldn’t like my accent over there.”]

Trump, I’m sure for future publicity reasons, wanted a photo-op with Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry. Instead they avoided him.

As he was descending, the Trump tweeted an insult of London’s mayor, calling Sadiq Khan a “stone cold loser” for being “foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States.” Khan called Trump “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” in a newspaper op-ed this past week. Khan had suggested Trump’s state visit should be rescinded.

After Trump called him a “stone-cold loser,” London mayor Sadiq Khan said “This is the sort of behavior I would expect from an 11-year-old. But it’s for him to decide how he behaves. It’s not for me to respond in a like manner. I think it’s beneath me to do childish tweets and name-calling.”

The Trumps gave the Queen a present a Tiffany & Co. silver and silk poppy brooch in a custom White House wood jewelry box. Luckily no MAGA hat inside – although red would been fitting.

After what some called Trump’s most successful and even-tempered foreign trips of his presidency, he was back to his old self. Trump, speaking from the Normandy American Cemetery, blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a “disgrace” after Politico reported that she said, “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.” In a Fox News interview, he said she was “She’s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person” and “.. incapable of doing deals.”

How classy of Trump and Fox News: Trump had an interview with Ingraham in a cemetery with crosses of US soldiers behind them. This also delayed D-Day commemorations by 15 minutes while they talked, other world leaders waited for them. Among the dumb answers and comments:

  • “This is one of the true, in terms of war, in terms of, probably you can also say, in terms of peace, because this led to something very special.” – Huh?
    “[Mexico] stole 32% of our car business with NAFTA.” – Except it was in a trade agreement.
  • “They send in $500 billion worth of drugs. They kill 100,000 people. They ruin a million families every year…” – With no idea where the numbers came from, this is when asked about illegals entering the US. Most illegals are escaping where they came from and aren’t drug mules. Bigger chance of getting caught in a group than an individual.
  • “…then ask Nancy, why is her district have drug and needles all over the place? It’s the most disgusting thing what she’s allowed to happened to her district.” – Pelosi has only so much she can control in her district. On the other hand Trump controls the country. He can be blamed as well. Now since Trump has a history of blowing things out of proportion, is her district any worse than in an area of Kansas City or New York or Miami?
  • “If I made any statement about anybody it would be like a big headline, why would he do that when he’s overseas?” but then said “We have Pelosi, we have Crying Chuck Schumer, who’s a disaster, by the way. He’s a total political, you know, jerk.” – And it seems everyone to him is a disaster.
  • “They thought their good friend Bobby Mueller was going to give them a great report.” – Even though right after William Barr’s watered down report had Trump praising Mueller.
  • “Peace, really peace. And we built up our military, we built up our wealth, we built up everything.” – He was asked what to pray for. Peace doesn’t really need a military build-up if there is no one to go to war with.
  • “There are those that say they have never seen the Queen have a better time, a more animated time.” – In the 50+ years as Queen, Trump claims Queen Elizabeth never had a better few times than this past week. Not her coronation, weddings, births, ….

The US and Mexico came to some deal where Mexico would try to curtail immigrants from coming to the US-Mexico border in exchange for Trump pulling away from imposing tariffs on Mexico.

Trump said that tariffs on Mexico would of climbed to 5% per month [roughly] for 5 months unless Mexico shows serious reductions in the number of people trying to enter the US from Mexico or in his words “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.” Of course nobody knows exactly how much of a reduction, not even his secretary of state. This could backfire on Trump as his NAFTA replacement deal could be put on hold by Mexico. In addition, tariffs would of meant many items Americans purchase would go up in price. At 25%, it could cost an extra $1300 for a car.

“Because of the Dems, our Immigration Laws are BAD. Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the US, have for decades, they can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done!” he said. Except since 1980, Republican presidents have been in office longer than Democrats including 2+ years with him in office where he has produced no legislation to fix the matter.

Quite a few Republican senators were against Trump’s idea of imposing tariffs on Mexico. The members insisted Trump hold off on any declarations until he can brief members personally on the plan. But with Trump in Europe at the time and members scheduled to leave for D-Day commemorations, that may not have been possible before the first deadline for activating the first band of 5% tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico. If at least 20 Republicans voted against, it would of vetoed the tariffs.

Trump had claimed that he was ready to enforce the tariffs because there was no movement in the negotiations. Mexico had claimed that negotiations were going well and a deal would be reached before the first deadline. Who do you believe?

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found from The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. 117,000 jobs in Texas alone. It gets worse as the tariff percentage increases. The tariffs on Mexico would lead to an increase in direct costs of about $28.1 billion each year. The US economy would lose an estimated $41.5 billion in GDP for each year the tariffs are in place.

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has directed former officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to turn over any documents to the House Judiciary Committee relating to their time at the White House. Hicks, the former White House communications director, still could turn over documents the committee has requested related to the 2016 Trump campaign, as that period cannot be covered by executive privilege.

House Democrats are preparing to vote next week to hold Don McGahn in contempt of Congress after he didn’t appear at a hearing last month.

The Trump administration has declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite $8.1 billion in arms sales to various countries — including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — citing the need to deter what it called “the malign influence” of Iran throughout the Middle East. So what changed in the past few days? Did Iran invade a country? Nope. Fired rockets? Not that we know of. Maybe he’ll send some of the “profit” to build his wall.

In an interview with Axios, son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was asked if his father-in-law was a racist when Trump’s disproved conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He wouldn’t really answer – just saying he wasn’t involved. He also believes that the Palestinians won’t be able to govern their own territory well. That comment won’t go well for some.

Trump may have added another trade war when he announced India’s removal from a special trade program, saying it had “not assured the United States that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.” The program, known as the Generalized System of Preferences, exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from import duties in 2018, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Trump had an interview with Piers Morgan where:

  • He now says referring to Meaghan Markle “I wasn’t referring to she’s nasty. I said she was nasty about me.” Didn’t help!
  • “I think [Markle’s] very nice. Honestly I don’t know her…” So how does he know she’s nice? Assumption?
  • “I did mention a couple of things, well United States right now has amongst the cleanest climate there are based on all statistics.” According to something called the Environmental Performance Index, the US actually ranks 27th in environmental quality.
  • “He [Prince Charles] doesn’t have to worry about future generations in theory. Unless he is a very good person, who cares about people.” A bug HUH?
  • “I know so much about nuclear weapons. Don’t forget I’m the one who gets trained and has to study this.” Sure Donnie.
  • “In London you have stabbings all over. I read an article where everybody’s being stabbed. They said your hospital is a sea of blood all over the floors.” Repeat. A bug HUH? No article can be found.
  • “Well I was never a fan of that war, I’ll be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war,… you know you’re talking about Vietnam and at that time, nobody had ever heard of the country.” From a man that didn’t serve in Vietnam because he got five deferments — including one for bone spurs. When asked later which foot he had the bone spurs in, Trump couldn’t recall.

[Piers Morgan was called “ruthless, arrogant, evil and obnoxious” by Trump in the final of a celebrity version of The Apprentice in 2008. Morgan also wouldn’t vote for Trump in the 2016 election.]

From last week’s trip to Japan, the Navy released a statement saying this: “A request was made to the US Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit.” I wonder who made the request. [See the last blogue why I’m mentioning this.]

High-ranking North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol was identified attending an art performance alongside leader Kim Jong Un in the country’s state media just days after one of South Korea’s biggest newspapers said he had been banished and sentenced to hard labor and his deputy executed. [See the last blogue why I’m mentioning this also.]

While Supreme Court judges are supposed to be impartial, it seems that is becoming rare in the divided US. To start off with you have Trump who has said “more Republicans …. And must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court,” and, again this month, he disparaged a judge based on his appointment by the Democrat Obama. Now with the abortion debate coming back to the front, a non-impartial court seems less likely. Judges are supposed to check their own beliefs at the chamber door and judge by what is fair to all.

“The more you politicize the judiciary,” said New York University law professor Barry Friedman, who has tracked public attitudes toward the Supreme Court, “the more people will question the institution of judicial review…. The President and Senate are also waving through lower court appointments like they’re at the Grand Prix.”

Trump has also scoffed at the various Democratic proposals saying “The only reason that they’re doing that is they want to try to catch up. So if they can’t catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way.” Seems everything with him is that the Democrats lost the election.

Trump tweeted “If the totally Corrupt Media was less corrupt, I would be up by 15 points in the polls based on our tremendous success with the economy, maybe Best Ever! If the Corrupt Media was actually fair, I would be up by 25 points. Nevertheless, despite the Fake News, we’re doing great!” So he thinks the “corrupt” media plays a major role in the polls.

But Trump was blaming special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for the state of his poll numbers. “Without the ILLEGAL Witch Hunt, my poll numbers, especially because of our historically ‘great’ economy, would be at 65%.”

Next month he’ll blame Queen Elizabeth or maybe France’s Emmanuel Macron.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has continued to hold stock in a company she said she would divest from a year prior. Chao’s financial disclosure forms and related documents, the Trump Cabinet official has maintained her holdings in Vulcan Materials — holdings that have gained more than $40,000 over the past year. She was instead compensated for exiting the company in shares of the company stock and continued to hold it, rather than be cashed out. Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Hmmm. Ever notice how Trump will say “Donald Trump is a…” or “Everybody knows Donald Trump…” Well maybe he watches The Muppets often as Elmo says the same third person talk. Who also does the same thing? Some very young children just learning how to talk. Hmmmm.

So without naming names, on the season finale of the TV show Supernatural, the son of Lucifer is tired of people telling lies and so he uses his power to force everyone to tell the truth. Shortly after, a TV anchor announces that “The President” has disclosed all of his tax information and admits to hiding various dealing with Russia and North Korea.

A Texas high school teacher who thought she was private messaging anti-immigration tweets to Trump has been fired for asking Trump to deport undocumented students. “Fort Worth] ISD is loaded with illegal students from Mexico… I really do need a contact here in FW who should be actively investigating & removing illegals that are in the public school system.”

As the school district investigated the tweets, a confidential memo revealed that students came forward and said she made racist statements in class the same day that she posted the tweets. When a student asked to go to the bathroom afterward, Clark allegedly said, “show me your papers that are saying you are legal.” A number of community members voiced very strong opinions against her tweets. The school board voted unanimously to terminate Clark’s contract with good cause.

Microsoft to force feature updates on near out of support Windows 10 installations

Microsoft announced this week that for Windows 10 devices that are at, or within several months of reaching end of service, Windows Update will automatically initiate a feature update…. The Windows 10 April 2018 Update (Windows 10, version 1803) will reach end of service on November 12, 2019 for Home and Pro editions.

Starting this June [2019], Microsoft will begin updating devices running the April 2018 Update and earlier versions of Windows 10.

[Ed’s comments: Expect a flood of complainers/whiners plus some butchered installations.]

Trump goes to Japan and still gets into trouble

On a long weekend [Memorial Day weekend] where Americans pay tribute to those who have fallen defending the country through various wars and Trump decides to visit Japan to do business, visit the new Emperor and play golf. And a reminder that Japan brought the US into World War II 78 years ago. Could he have chosen the following weekend?

Trump told reporters as he was preparing to leave he would be witnessing “something that hasn’t happened in over 200 years,” though didn’t specify what he meant. Nobody ever does.

While Japanese President Shinzo Abe took Barack Obama, to what is regarded as the best sushi restaurant in the world [Sukiyabashi Jiro], Abe will be taking Trump to a Japanese BBQ restaurant. I was expecting McDonald’s or Burger King.

No shock that Trump is whining that Japan is another country that has a big trade surplus over the US and Trump is thinking of dumping tariffs on Japanese made vehicles. It seems every country in the world has a trade surplus over the US – at least in Trump’s mind.

Tradition holds that American presidents and political candidates avoid politicking while on foreign soil, but Trump frequently disregards such norms. But Trump commented negatively against a fellow US politician by saying that he agreed with Kim Jong Un that Joe Biden has a low IQ. He is siding with a dictator over a former Vice-President. But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump “agrees” with the assessment. Is there a difference here? Trump also thinks that it is a “signal” that he will beat Biden if Biden wins the nomination. From a dictator?

In a press conference in Tokyo [something he doesn’t do in the US], Trump claims that there has been no testing done by North Korea recently. Wasn’t there one in mid-May? Trump also claimed that since he killed the arms deal with Iran, that Iran hasn’t been behind any terrorist activities and he claims Iran has economic issues. So why sending a fleet of ships towards Iran?

Trump said he also has no problem if North Korea fires off short range missiles [that will ultimately end up near Japan]. But National Security Adviser John Bolton says it is an issue.

An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson called Bolton a “war monger”, “ignorant” hard-liner and “human defect” after he described its recent tests of short-range missiles as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Bolton told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that there was “no doubt” that North Korea’s recent missile launches violated UN resolutions, and that sanctions against the North must be kept in place. Trump later downplayed the missile tests.

North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and 9 – first time in 17+ months.

“I hereby award you the United States President’s Cup,” Trump told Asanoyama, the sumo champion, as he read from a scroll. Trump, Abe and wives went to a sumo wrestling match and didn’t sit on cushions as they usually do but chairs. Wondering if the trophy will end up on eBay. Trump managed to squeeze in some cheeseburgers for lunch yesterday with PM Abe. I wonder what Abe thought of this. In a foreign country. Can’t eat that country’s food?

Trump claimed in a tweet that “numerous” Japanese officials had told him that Democrats would rather see the US fail than see Trump or his Republican Party succeed.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller says that “If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” His investigation could not clear President Donald Trump and that charging the President was not an option his office could consider. He emphasized that Justice Department guidelines did not allow him to charge a sitting President, and as a result, his office did not determine whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.

House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler said “He [Trump] is lying about the special counsel findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the special counsel’s report, and above all, lying and saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no collusion.” Trump previously said Mueller’s investigation found him innocent when Mueller’s investigation could not charge a sitting President.

Yet Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks today confirmed what we already knew. There was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and there was no case for obstruction. President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated.”

Speaker of the House Pelosi says it is Congress’s duty to “investigate and hold the President accountable”. Many of the Democratic candidates for President have already said this pushes close to impeachment.

So if Trump thinks that he is still exonerated in the Russian investigation by Mueller, why did he send out the day after many tweets attacking Mueller? Trump said:

  • The investigation cost $40 million. The Justice Department estimates maybe $25 million but excludes the last 7 months.
  • Trump said, “Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!” except by longstanding Justice Department guidelines which said that a sitting President can’t be indicted Trump said Mueller had “unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation,” except Trump and his son, Donald trump Jr., refused to answer any questions.
  • Trump said Mueller was “highly conflicted,” except the Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts when he took the job in 2017.

Trump tweeted that he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected,” then minutes later, telling reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected.” He also insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Hillary Clinton as president [with no proof of this].

Asked about impeachment by Congress, he called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said. Except it is not the court that will impeach him but congress. Does he know anything about the constitution?

Attorney General William Barr has said he was surprised Mueller did not reach a conclusion, though Mueller in his report and again in his statement said he had no choice. Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then stepped into the void, deciding on their own that the evidence was not sufficient to support a criminal charge.

Trump threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexico if the country does not step up its immigration enforcement actions, combining his boiling border-related frustrations with his preferred method of punishing foreign countries. Trump said in a White House statement that the first round of tariffs would begin on June 10 at 5% “on all goods imported from Mexico.”

The statement said Trump would carry out his threat under authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and that he would lift tariffs only “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.” The news sent the Dow Jones dropping 300 point at one point the day after. In addition, it may push Mexico not to sign the new NAFTA agreement just as Canada is about ready to sign.

Vice-President Mike Pence visited Canada’s capitol, Ottawa [not Toronto], for a visit and chatted with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about trade, China, abortions, etc. Seems that US news site for the most part, didn’t know about it. I guess Pence’s boss is more interesting.

White House and lower-level US Navy officials traded emails about keeping a warship named from the late John McCain’s father and grandfather out of sight ahead of the President’s trip to Japan. Trump claimed he denied knowing about the plan and said that he wouldn’t have supported it. The ship ultimately was not moved nor was anything done to obscure McCain’s name. Petty.

Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California blocked Trump from tapping into Defense Department funds to build parts of his Trump Wall. It blocks the administration from moving forward with specific projects in Texas and Arizona, saying Trump couldn’t disburse the funds without congressional approval. The ruling does not prevent the Trump administration from using funds from other sources to build the projects.

Current and former officials have described White House trips on Air Force One as grueling endeavors accompanied by long hours, but several privately said the flights overseas are easily the worst. The duration can stretch nearly 20 hours. Sleeping space is limited. The televisions are streaming Fox News constantly. And if the headlines flashing across the bottom of the screen are unfavorable to their boss, aides know it’s time to buckle up for a turbulent ride.

When staffers can sleep, finding space is a problem. With no designated sleeping spots, they claim miniature couches or lean back in office chairs and prop their feet up on the desk. Some spread out on the floors of conference rooms or on leather benches along the side of the plane, and more seasoned staffers have learned to bring yoga mats to soften the floor. Trump had promised to renovate Air Force One and the backup[s] but hasn’t.

Trump is scoffing at Democrats’ attempts to pry loose his tax returns, saying his refusal to release the records as a candidate didn’t hurt him in 2016 and voters “didn’t care” about the issue. Was this one of his “polls” where he asked one of staffers whether or not they care about his taxes and then used the answer as an assumption for all Americans?