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.

Advertisements

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?

Trump sends the military to Iran and battles the Democrats at home

Donald Trump warned Iran not to threaten the United States again or it’ll face its “official end,” shortly after a rocket landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad overnight. The Trump administration recently deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over still-unspecified threats.

Trump has given his approval to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to deploy additional military resources to the Persian Gulf region to deter Iranian threats, according a senior US official. The new deployment includes Patriot missile batteries, reconnaissance aircraft and accompanying necessary forces to provide further deterrence against what the Pentagon believes is a rising Iranian threat against US troops in the region.

The Trump administration is considering using a pre-existing rule that would allow it to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia. A section of the Arms Control Act allows the White House to waive a traditional 30-day congressional notification period for arms sales if Trump declares an emergency, thereby preventing Congress from being able to put a hold on those arms deals.

Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy said if Trump took such a step, he would be exploiting an “obscure loophole” in arms control law and the result “would be a complete abuse of power.” Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, warned about the precedent the move could set, while Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky said they opposed the idea.

Trump says he told Democratic leaders at the White House he couldn’t work with them while they were pursuing investigations into him and his administration. The meeting with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning on infrastructure. [Just cancel the meeting instead of wasting time. Of course it gives him time to watch Fox News and catch up on his tweeting.] Trump sort of claimed that Pelosi’s comment that it was a “cover-up” was his excuse to cancel the meeting as he wanted to discuss infrastructure. “I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said.

Trump tweeted “Everything the Democrats are asking me for is based on an illegally started investigation that failed for them, especially when the Mueller Report came back with a NO COLLUSION finding. Now they say Impeach President Trump, even though he did nothin wrong, while they fish!” Yes. You can impeach someone for doing nothing. I don’t think the 25th amendment allows that. In addition, Mueller’s report didn’t exactly say Trump was completely innocent.

Pelosi has repeatedly shown hesitance – and flat out refusal – to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. She has justified her position by saying that going after Trump is not “worth” the division impeachment would bring to the country.

Rejecting Pelosi’s characterization of his decision to scrap a meeting with Democrats because of their continued investigations as a “temper tantrum,” Trump accused Democratic officials of being “bad people,” referred to Pelosi as “crazy Nancy” and enlisted several White House officials to publicly corroborate his account that he had addressed Democrats calmly — and not in anger — the previous day.

“The Democrats have done nothing in the House, they’ve done absolutely nothing — I mean other than investigate. They want to investigate.” As for himself, Trump once again proclaimed: “I’m an extremely stable genius.”

Trump lashed out at the media by saying “This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the President of The United States. And honestly you ought to be ashamed of yourselves the way you report it so dishonestly.” [He didn’t call it treason…. Yet.]

Former White House counsel Don McGahn was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the Mueller report – but he defied the committee’s subpoena and skipped the hearing.

“Let me be clear: This Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said. “We will not allow the President to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness.” Nadler says he believes the episodes in the Mueller report would have led to Trump being charged with obstruction had he not been president, and that his obstruction has continued since the end of the Mueller probe.

Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court has told the accounting firm Mazars it will need to turn over Trump’s accounting records from before he was President to the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee. In a 41-page opinion, Mehta dealt a significant blow to the White House as he rejected Trump’s attempt to block the committee’s subpoena, asserting that Congress is well within its authority to investigate Trump.

Trump tweeted back with the usual comments when things go against him plus the judge was Obama appointed. Trump complained that Democrats are trying to “get a redo” on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and “The Democrats were very upset with the Mueller report, as perhaps they should be.”

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders argued that House Democrats have not accomplished anything legislatively while defending her boss in walking out of the talks. But House Democrats have also passed 235 pieces of legislation since January, including several major bills. Of those, only a handful have been taken up by the Republican-held Senate.

Of the bills that have passed, 17 were also passed by the Senate and became law, including legislation to end the shutdown, to address the Colorado River Drought, and address conservation and outdoor recreation.

Trump ordered all US intel agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has long maintained — without any evidence — that entities in the US government were “spying” on his campaign. Trump and his allies also want to know how the Russia investigation got started. Trump was particularly bothered by the subpoena for Hicks, who earned familial status in Trump’s eyes.

The House Judiciary Committee issued its latest subpoena for a top Trump aide to testify, this time setting its sights on his former communications director Hope Hicks [she’s an executive at Fox now]. They also issued a subpoena for Annie Donaldson, former chief of staff McGhan, who was deputy White House counsel, seeks documents and her appearance at a deposition in June.

Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering specialists once recommended that transactions involving entities controlled by Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a US agency that investigates financial crimes, according to a new report in the New York Times. The Times reports that Deutsche Bank employees flagged the transactions in 2016 and 2017, and that at least one of the reports involved the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is now defunct.

Democrats in New York state passed a pair of bills that would allow Congress to get hold of Trump’s state tax returns amid an escalating fight with top administration officials over access to Trump’s federal returns.
Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen alleges that Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow knew that Cohen’s claim to Congress that the Trump Tower Moscow project ended in January 2016 was false, Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee in March. The claim comes from a transcript of the roughly 15 hours of closed-door testimony that Cohen gave the committee.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani also came to Sekulow’s defense, saying that he was “one of the very most ethical lawyers and honest men I have ever known.” Shockingly [not!] Giuliani then said “Michael Cohen is a serial liar. Cohen should be prosecuted for his blatant perjury before the House committee. Jay should receive the most effective and ethical lawyer of the year award.”

The Michael Flynn court records show that the fired first national security adviser helped Mueller’s investigation on at least three prongs: as the special counsel looked into interaction between the Trump transition team and Russia, WikiLeaks’ release of emails during the presidential campaign and the President’s efforts to interfere with the investigation.

Flynn also assisted the Eastern District of Virginia and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s National Security Division with a now-open case against his former lobbying partner, who allegedly worked illegally for Turkey.”

Trump responded with a tweet: “It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge.” Flynn isn’t under investigation. Trump, you are.

When Trump chose Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state, he praised his “tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics.” In a tweet touting the pick, Trump called Tillerson “one of the truly great business leaders of the world.”

Now, he says “Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree….” I don’t think Vladimir Poutine cares actually – maybe he’s just laughing at the show.

Why now? A reporter on the trip said “Trump has been presented with a large binder of preparation materials for his trip to Europe” for a G20 summit in Poland but didn’t bother reading much of it. This is typical since he barely reads any security reports. Tillerson said roughly the same thing recently. But meanwhile, Trump did hire him on 2016. So who’s fault is it for hiring this “dumb as a rock”?

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas objected to passing a disaster relief bill, meaning the more than $19 billion in aid may not go to Trump’s desk for his signature before June. Roy cited the lack of money for the border and the $19 billion price tag as two reasons for his objection. Lawmakers had hoped to advance the bill using unanimous consent which would quickly pass it out of the chamber. But it only takes one person to object to unanimous consent.

I’m sure you will ask this question: What does money for Trump’s Wall got to do with a disaster relief bill – unless he considers Trump’s Wall a disaster – which it is. Surprisingly, Trump has said publicly that he would sign this bill even without the border funding he had previously requested.

The Trump Administration has proposed a rule that would roll back an Obamacare regulation that prohibits discrimination against patients who are transgender or have previously undergone an abortion. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.”

A Republican congressman Justin Amash became the first member of Trump’s party on Capitol Hill to accuse him of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He stopped short of calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, which many Democrats have been agitating for. No shocker, Trump lashed out at him.

Canada and the US came to an agreement regarding the removal of tariffs that the Trump admission put on Canada and Canada responded in the spring of 2018. Gone are importing of Canadian steel and aluminum tariffs and [ummmm] playing cards, licorice and bourbon have officially been lifted. This may allow the upgraded NAFTA agreement to be passed by the Canadian government.

Canada had also had retaliatory tariffs slapped extra import duties on aluminum and steel coming from the United States but also 75 other products including sleeping bags, toilet paper, soy sauce and ketchup.

At a Montoursville, Pennsylvania rally recently, Trump said:

  • “Man, this is a lot of people.” – Why on earth show up in the middle of nowhere to a rally where the town’s population is 4,000.
  • And then “I think next time we’ll just have to get a bigger hanger….”
  • “Crazy. You’ve got a thing called the sun. We like the sun better than the artificial not sun.” Huh?
  • “Do we keep our logo? Do we keep our slogan? Make America Great Again or it’s very risky. Changing the most successful slogan has to be.” How do you measure the success of a slogan?
  • “Oh, we have the most beautiful fighter jets in the world being delivered now every day.” He likes to say the word “beautiful”. Probably would say it about poop as well.
  • “And you know what, if we aren’t smart it will end for you with the Second Amendment.” There is no one on record favoring the removal of the amendment.

[Sidebar: National Constitution Center: “In simple odds, the chance of any constitutional amendment being repealed would be roughly the same as a person living to 80 years old being struck by lightning during their lifetime, according to National Weather Service data.”]

  • “They want to knock down all buildings in Manhattan and rebuild them without windows.” What New York City has proposed is retrofitting buildings of 25,000 square feet or more to make them more energy-efficient.
  • “We’ve lost 60,000, not jobs, listen to this. Sixty thousand factories, here’s the good news. We’re building them all back. They’re coming back. All coming back.” 60,000 FACTORIES lost because of NAFTA are coming back?
  • “Look at the thousands and thousands of people we have, now he said he had 600 people.” He was comparing his crowd and not that large versus former Vice President Joe Biden crowd in Philadelphia – estimated at 6,000.
  • “And don’t forget Biden deserted you. He’s not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here, but he left you folks. He left you for another state.” Biden left his home state of Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old! Not much of a choice for him. Not really sure that counts as having “deserted” the people of Pennsylvania.
  • “Our country is full. We don’t want people coming up here. Our country is full. We want Mexico to stop….” Is he said he doesn’t want immigrants in general or just Mexicans? I’m sure he’ll accept wealthy foreigners.
  • “We passed a largest package of tax cuts in the history of our country.” Except some found out they are still paying more than the previous year. Only the wealthy got reductions across the board.

Windows 10 19H1 finally released

Very [almost] quietly, Microsoft finally has released Windows 10 19H1 [a.k.a. v1903]. It is based on build 18362.30 – although there are already up to 18362.116.

By the old title [“v1903”], this was to be released in March or early April. We are in the last full week of May. They were obviously some issues but they didn’t want the fiasco of v1809 which was released in November 2018.

v1809 release only managed to pick up around 30% of the Windows 10 users. Many holding out and hoping for a stable 19H1.

The next feature release is expected sometime in the second half of 2019 but is expected to be more like a traditional “service pack” – mostly fixes and corrections and less of new or updated features.

As usual, consumers will probably get notification with the best likely systems [newest usually] to be offered it first.

ISO images are available from the usual sources as well as the Media Tool creation tool is available from Microsoft.

Trump’s Tariffs

Donald Trump tweets “…But China has taken so advantage of the U.S. for so many years, that they are way ahead (Our Presidents did not do the job). Therefore, China should not retaliate-will only get worse!” [Double header. Takes jabs at China and previous Presidents.] Right after China announced it will be raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods beginning on June 1. And right after that, the stock market tumbled again.

Trump has promised as much as $15 billion in aid to the agricultural industry to make up for China’s retaliatory tariffs, but farm trade associations say they don’t know yet how the assistance would work. “There is a lot of speculation about what form it might take and how much it might be, but it does sound like it is on a faster track than the first package was,” said Mace Thorton, spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the leading agricultural trade association.

The Trump administration has previously provided aid to farmers to cover the impacts of retaliatory tariffs, announcing last year that it provide as much as $12 billion to the industry of which only $8 billion was actually given.

So let’s get this straight. Trump claims that the tariffs will have little to no effect on Americans and yet the government could shell out as much as $27 billion to help farmers [or about $7.50 per American] so he can look like he’s doing something and feed his ego.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani intended but cancel a trip to investigate matters connected to the release of negative information about Paul Manafort. The former New York mayor also said he will continue to pursue questions about Vice President Joe Biden’s call in 2016 to remove the top Ukrainian prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Biden’s son. So Trump is aiming at Biden already.

Giuliani claimed, in 2016, while then-Vice President Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to oust its top prosecutor as part of a broad anti-corruption push by the US, his son Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian company under investigation by that same prosecutor. Ukraine’s new prosecutor general dismissed the case against the natural gas company controlled by one of Ukraine’s top oligarchs.

But the Ukrainian government’s case against the company had been “dormant” since 2014, two years before Biden successfully pushed to remove the prosecutor general. Biden was also joined in his anti-corruption push against the prosecutor by numerous leaders in Europe as well as the International Monetary Fund — none of whom had any family ties to the company.

I think someone got to him finally to cancel the trip. Giuliani reversed course and canceled the trip a day later, claiming without evidence that the Ukrainians surrounding president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky are “enemies of the President … in some cases enemies of the United States” who have ties to Democrats.

Others [including I] would of thought it was because he is getting a foreign government to get dirt on competitor in the US elections was basically what Trump has been accused of for the 2016 elections. He denied these accusations, saying that it wasn’t meddling since the presidential election is a year and a half away. When the dirt you are going for is a potential nominee for president, it makes no difference when.

The Trump Administration is preparing to release a broad outline of proposed immigration reforms that will make the Republicans happy but not the Democrats. But the proposal is short of concrete details and omits discussion of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Democrats have repeatedly said they want resolved.

The White House is selling the plan as addressing border security and moving toward a merit-based immigration system, which gives preference to highly skilled and educated individuals. The officials touted Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan as examples of where merit-based immigration systems work. Except in Canada, they also allow those with no merit and some with merit who were [say] a doctor in their old country is now driving a taxi because their qualifications aren’t at the same level to practice in Canada.

Meanwhile, Stephen Miller, who is widely known as Trump’s key adviser on immigration, was not the author of the immigration proposal. Instead it was Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Expect Trump to whine if the Democrats don’t allow the proposal to pass in the House – probably complain that they are “soft” on immigration. We’ve heard it before. But If the proposal doesn’t address some Democrat concerns, why would they pass it?

Trump is embracing a controversial Florida proposal to import cheaper drugs from Canada, which Republicans have long opposed and many health experts have questioned. Health Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, originally called drug importation a “gimmick” seems to be more on the fence now. He’s not against it now.

“Canada simply doesn’t have enough drugs to sell them to us for less money, and drug companies won’t sell Canada or Europe more just to have them imported here,” said Azar a year ago. In addition he said that the last four commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration have said there’s no way to effective ensure that the medication is really coming from Canada, and not a counterfeit factory in China.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented a military plan at a meeting of top national security officials recently that would send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran strikes American forces in the region or speeds up its development of nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported.

Trump signed an executive order barring US firms from using telecom gear from sources the administration deems national security threats. White House officials declined to identify China and Huawei as the intended target of the executive order. Commerce Department formally added Huawei to the list of companies the U.S. government considers to be undermining American interests and therefore covered under the new order.

“The administration is like a shit show in a dumpster file,” George Conway said once. He is the husband of Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway and is staunchly anti-Trump. Recently he called Trump a “malignant narcissist.”

In further chopping of some money from those who need it to questionably those who don’t, money for Pell Grants for college education [which help low-income students pay for college] will now mostly go to NASA “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!” Trump tweeted. Because of declining enrollment in the Pell Grant, with a surplus of $9 billion, $1.9 billion was added to the already $2 billion taken away.

Trump had initially also pulled money to help clean up the Great Lakes but caved in after three Republican lawmakers from Michigan lobbied him during a ride from the Grand Rapids airport. Previous cuts included Special Olympics but he also reversed that.

Trump made at least $479 million in 2018, according to his annual financial disclosure by the White House. Since taking office, Trump has broken presidential precedent by maintaining his interest in the Trump Organization, which is run on a day-to-day basis by his adult sons Don Jr. and Eric.

Not surprising here. In the 1990s, Trump would quietly purchase stock in companies. He would then claim that he was thinking of buying shares in the company which would generally increase the price of the shares of the company. Then he would quietly sell the shares, making profit. Eventually investors caught on when he never bought.

Occupancy of Trump Towers, where Trump called it a great place [what else!], in New York has dropped from 99% in 2012 to 83% in 2019 – twice Manhattan’s average. Plus it also has 42,000 square feet of vacant office space. 13 condos since the election in 2016, with 9 where the selling price was listed and 8 lost money on the sell. Issues for this drop include political reasons and security issues getting in the building.

Meanwhile, at Doral in Miami-Dade, which is Trump’s biggest moneymaking hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income – a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid – had fallen by 69 percent. The club expected to take in $85 million in revenue in 2017 but took in just $75 million.

Eric Trump, who runs the business day-to-day, rejected the idea that the Trump brand is damaged. “This story is completely senseless,” he said in a statement. “Our iconic properties are the best in the world and our portfolio is unrivaled by anyone.” A Trump Organization issued a statement implicitly contradicted its own tax consultant and blamed factors that had nothing to do with Trump’s name. The company cited fears of the Zika virus in 2016, and hurricanes in 2016 and 2017, for driving tourists away from South Florida.

Trump to claim that his unwillingness to release any past tax returns — the first post-Watergate president not to do so — was a non-factor in the 2016 election. Instead, he claimed that was a reason that people voted for him. It is impossible to verify.

There are major issues across the globe that is affecting the US including instability in Venezuela, trade pact with China and heightened tensions with Iran and Russia. What did Trump do recently? Play a round of golf [did he cheat?]. I guess he doesn’t think they are critical.

You know that this will happen often. Trump has pardon 2 friendlies. One is Patrick Nolan, a former Republican legislator who allied with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. He pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge after an FBI sting and spent 29 months in federal custody. The other is Lord Conrad M. Black who wrote a book about Trump and who was convicted on four counts of fraud in 2007 and spent three-and-a-half years in prison.