Trump’s national emergency challenged on all fronts

So far, sixteen states filed a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration. Led by the California Attorney General, it was filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. The attorneys general from Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia joined California in the lawsuit.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Border Network for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union also announced lawsuits. At the core of each lawsuit is the argument that Trump is circumventing Congress to fund the wall along the US-Mexico border by declaring an emergency.

Not surprising Trump tried to hit back at California after the lawsuit announcement by tweeting “The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!” Trump of course exaggerates especially when a mile of the Trump Wall is expected to cost $25 million. No whining about the other 15 states?

Just 24 hours after California and 15 other states filed a lawsuit challenging Trumps “national emergency” that the Department of Transportation cancelled a nearly $1 billion grant for California to build a high speed rail line. The grant stipulated to build the rail line and said nothing about the rail cars that would be used. Trump used the words “fast train” in a tweet instead of the adult sounding “high speed rail”.

Right after declaring a national emergency, Trump went golfing.

House Democrats introduced a resolution to block Trump’s effort to build a wall on the southern border through his emergency powers, setting up votes in Congress to rebuke Trump’s proclamation. The Democratic-controlled House appears all but certain to pass the resolution Tuesday and put pressure on Republicans in the Senate, many of whom have concerns with Trump’s action.

Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats.

The 24-page report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee is based on internal White House documents and the accounts of unnamed whistle blowers. It said the objectors — including White House lawyers and National Security Council officials — opposed the plan out of concern that it violated laws designed to prevent the transfer of nuclear technology that could be used to support a weapons program.

Trump tweeted “Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught….. This was the illegal and treasonous “insurance policy” in full action!” Mr. Trump, what is the definition of the word treason?

McCabe recently came out with a memoir called “The Threat” and not surprising those in the Trump administration are fighting back the best they could. Not surprised they were calling McCabe a “disgrace”, a “liar”, Trump’s “illegal and treasonous”. Interesting how they were quiet before the book was released. The book’s release date was delayed because due to the lengthy pre-publication review process conducted by the Justice Department and FBI. I would guess that both of them didn’t have much objection to the content.

The White House argues that McCabe has no credibility because he is under criminal investigation for allegedly misleading investigators in their probe of the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. But he suggested that an independent departmental report used as justification for his dismissal was improperly influenced by Trump.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia [and related] investigation could be complete as early as next week. Attorney General William Barr may be preparing to announce the completion of the Russia investigation.

Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March, according to a Justice Department official. A departure next month could potentially serve as another signal that special counsel Robert Mueller’s work is coming to a close.

A judge has approved a request from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to delay his date to report to prison from March 6 to May 6. In the request, Cohen’s lawyers cited his recent shoulder surgery and upcoming congressional testimony as reasons to delay the report date.

A report came out said that Trump called acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker late last year to ask whether it was possible that Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was recused from the case, could take over anyway.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office have prepared a criminal case against Paul Manafort in the event that he receives a presidential pardon. The New York state attorney general’s office has also been putting together a case against Manafort. Although double jeopardy laws generally prevent defendants from being prosecuted twice for the same offense, New York has a tax-related exemption.

The revolving door continues. White House officials have begun to have preliminary discussions about replacing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats amid concerns that Trump may soon dismiss him, despite Trump’s public denial he’s considering the move. Of course we have heard this before.

Trump said he intends to nominate the current American ambassador to Canada, Kelly Knight Craft, to be the new US ambassador to the United Nations. Craft would be replacing the popular [and one of the very few competent people under Trump’s nominees] Nikki Haley. Trump’s announcement comes a week after his first pick to replace Haley, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, withdrew her candidacy.

You would figure that the Trump Wall would be built near the actual border but in some cases the Trump Wall could be as far as a half a mile away from the actual from the border turning the land between the actual border into no-man’s land.

Actor Alec Baldwin reprised his Trump impersonation for an “SNL” skit that recreated the president’s speech about the border, the budget, and assorted other subjects. Then Trump’s tweet asked “How do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into.”

Peter Baker of The New York Times noted on Twitter that “no other president in decades publicly threatened ‘retribution’ against a television network because it satirized him.” In the past, Trump has also suggested that NBC station licenses should be challenged, without any evident follow-up.

After Trump’s tweet, Baldwin tweeted, “I wonder if a sitting President exhorting his followers that my role in a TV comedy qualifies me as an enemy of the people constitutes a threat to my safety and that of my family?”

Mike Pence was in Munich for a security conference when Pence announces “I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump”. Now Pence paused for about 5 seconds or so, expecting to get some applause but none [noticeable] came. Awkward!

Meanwhile, also speaking at the same Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called out the Trump administration over Trump’s claim that German cars pose a security threat. Merkel says a large chunk of BMW cars are built in the US. Ivanka Trump was at the conference.

Puppet, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that “The President far and away was the better candidate. He had a better message and he outworked Hillary Clinton. That’s why he’s President. He didn’t need to, nor did he, collude with the Russians.” She might as well record what she wants to say to save her voice.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has refused to deny that he nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in helping to ease tensions with North Korea. Do you blame him? Trump has claimed week that Abe had submitted the nomination to the Nobel committee. A Japanese newspaper reports that Abe made the recommendation after the US government “informally” sought his support for the prestigious award in the wake of the historic US-North Korean summit in Singapore last June. Trump made frequent references to the Nobel peace prize, saying in May last year that “everyone thinks” he deserves it.

Trump recently criticized European allies for not taking back their own captured citizens. Many countries are reluctant to repatriate them because of the difficulty of prosecuting suspected ISIS members based on evidence collected on the battlefield, causing frustration among US national security officials.

Some 59 Americans are believed to have joined the Islamic State, and 13 have faced terror-related charges after being returned to the US. Many more are believed to have died on the battlefield. Us citizens are small in numbers compared to the UK and France who have hundreds who went to fight.

Trump said that he directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda Muthana, an Alabama woman who left in November 2014 to join ISIS, to return to the United States — despite her recent public plea to come back and stand trial in America.

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Under US law Muthana would be a US citizen by nature of her birth in the country, though the State Department could argue that her claim to citizenship is flawed because of the immigration status of her parents at the time of her birth. A family representative of Muthana showed her birth certificate to the press.

[Personally, she should be allowed back in the US to stand trial. You can’t remove someone’s citizenship for someone born in the country – especially without any type of legal proceedings. A court should decide her citizenship. Trump and Pompeo have no right to do this. Soon, they will use this tactic to toss out US born citizens for robbing a bank or maybe just a speeding ticket.]

Muthana filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, to prevent what he calls an “unlawful attempt” by the United States to rescind his daughter’s citizenship. The lawsuit filed by her father “seeks injunctive relief preventing the United States government from unconstitutionally robbing [Muthana and her son] of their rights as United States citizens.”

Regarding the Jussie Smollett “scandal”, Trump got in the act [surprised?] by tweeting “@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!?” The so-called attackers were Trump supporters after the attack. This coming from a man who has made racist comments to just about anyone not part of his base supporters.

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Comey vs Trump, round 2

Former FBI Director, James Comey, cited “some evidence of obstruction of justice” in Trump’s actions and speculated that Russians might have dirt on Donald Trump. Does that include the “Pee Tape”?

Trump said in a tweet that Comey was not fired because of the Russia investigation — a statement directly at odds with his own comments on Comey’s dismissal. However, Trump had told NBC News last year that he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he decided to fire Comey saying “regardless of (Rosenstein’s) recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”

Trump tweeted “Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, [Andrew] McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” Wonder how he got his information and which crimes for which Comey hasn’t been arrested for. He also tweeted that Comey “will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!” I will like to see how that is measured.

Trump tweeted “Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!” Of course it makes no sense. You don’t investigate your future boss in public just so that you can get yourself a job with her.

Counselor to Trump, Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, seems to be pushing her vision that FBI is a mess with Comey, McCabe and basically the rest of the FBI.

Interesting to note that Sanders said in November 2016 “When you’re attacking FBI agents because you’re under criminal investigation, you’re losing.” Then 15 months later she said “Former FBI Director Comey is a disgraced hack and a liar.” So she’s a loser like her boss. Whom would of through that.

A recent ABC News poll showed that Americans found Comey more believable than Trump, by a margin of 48% to 32%. If the fierce campaign by Trump world to discredit the former FBI director’s book fails to shift that number, it could suggest that the President is in for lasting political damage.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he doesn’t believe Trump will fire special counsel Robert Mueller, adding he doesn’t want legislation on the issue. A bipartisan group introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which protects Mueller, including ensure that the special counsel can only be fired for “good cause” by a senior Justice Department official. Several GOP senators saying the bill is unconstitutional. Others said it’s simply not good politics to try and tell Trump what to do.

Trump’s personal attorney Cohen used the same Delaware limited liability company to facilitate payments to two women. Essential Consultants LLC was used for the partial payment of a $250,000 fee paid to Cohen for negotiating a non-disclosure agreement with a former Playboy model who claimed she was impregnated by Elliott Broidy, a venture capitalist and former deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.

The former Playboy model’s lawyer, Keith Davidson, is also represented former adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

Essential Consultants was also used to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to prevent her from speaking publicly about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. It was partly these payments that led authorities to raid Cohen’s home, office and hotel.

In 2013, Cohen also tamped down a developing US Weekly magazine story about an alleged affair between Donald Trump Jr., who was a judge on his father’s NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice,” and Aubrey O’Day, a contestant on the show.

A judge ordered Cohen’s attorney to reveal Cohen’s third client [aside from Trump and Broidy] which is Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.

Cohen’s lawyers have called the raid “completely unprecedented” and asked the judge to let their lawyers review the documents or put in place a special master to comb through the seized material and separate communications that should be protected by attorney client privilege. Sounding Trump-ish the lawyers said “This is perhaps the most highly publicized search warrant in the history of recent American criminal jurisprudence….”

After Cohen was forced to reveal that Fox host Sean Hannity was his third client, weirdly, Hannity explicitly stated that he was never represented by nor had he ever retained Cohen and implied that his own exchanges with Cohen did not entail the silencing of any alleged sexual partner.

To get the search warrant in the first place for Cohen’s places, the government had to have convinced the court that Cohen and his so-called clients were not actually in an attorney-client relationship, and therefore their conversations were not privileged. Hannity isn’t asserting the privilege, so Cohen lacks any basis not to disclose the information or to prevent the government from looking at any communications between himself and Hannity.

The Democratic National Committee is suing the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and several associates of Trump alleging a grand racketeering, hacking and fraudulent conspiracy that harmed Democrats through WikiLeaks’ publication of internal party emails during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Those named in the lawsuit include several top Trump advisers who attended the now-infamous June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and others.

The 66-page lawsuit lays out how the Trumps curried favor in Russia through their family business, and then Russia allegedly worked with Trump advisers before the presidential election to disseminate the spoils from a cyberattack of the DNC.

Trump tweeted “So funny, the Democrats have sued the Republicans for Winning.” Am I missing something. Last I checked he won the last election. In the past, Trump has referenced the DNC’s computer servers in an attempt to raise questions over Democrats’ claims that Russians hacked DNC computer systems in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Trump tweeted “Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!” Well, don’t raise the rates! But just days before, the Treasury Department published a report saying that no US trading partner is manipulating its exchange rate. Just so happens Trump is at odds with both countries recently.

Before the presidential election, Trump vowed to label China a currency manipulator on Day 1 of his administration. But he’s repeatedly backed away from that promise. In May 2017, in fact, he said China had stopped manipulating its currency, and he personally took the credit.

In the continuing tit-for-tat trade war, China’s Commerce Ministry said that customs officers will charge importers a fee of about 179% on US sorghum after an investigation found the shipments were unfairly subsidized and damaging Chinese producers. Sorghum is a grain that is used to feed livestock and make a liquor that’s very popular with Chinese drinkers. This will affect Kansas, a state that backs Trump. China’s imports of the crop were worth about $960 million last year.

After The US, France and the UK’s joint mission to bomb chemical factories and some military installations in Syria, Trump tweeted “Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!” We will see if it is really accomplished when [and if] Syria uses chemical weapons soon. George W. Bush said mission accomplished and yet the US is still in Iraq.

The UK has accused Syria and Russia of preventing independent chemical weapons experts [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] from entering the city of Douma, hit by a suspected gas attack that Western leaders have blamed on the Syrian government. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the OPCW team’s arrival was hampered by the weekend air strikes. If he called the accusations “groundless”, then why would he stop OPCW from entering the area to prove that he is right – unless Syria or Russia is removing evidence.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, got ahead of Trump’s decision-making when she hit the Sunday talk show circuit and said the US would level new sanctions the next day targeting Russian companies that facilitated the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program. The sanctions have yet to come. After a meeting a couple of days prior, others also thought there would be more sanctions announced in the coming days but Haley did not clear her talking points about the sanctions with other administration officials.

After Nikki Haley announced that more sanctions were coming to Russia and the Trump administration said that wasn’t true, Trump personally made the decision to abandon plans to impose more sanctions on Russia for supporting Syria’s chemical weapons attack on civilians. The Trump administration informed the Russian government there won’t be an additional round of sanctions.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s comment that “there might have been some momentary confusion” from the UN ambassador prompted a sharp rebuttal where Haley said “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow took back the comment. But after being one of the few bright spots in administration, whether this drops her in Trump’s rankings of those he can trust and work with.

Interesting that in a conversation between Trump and Vladimir Poutine, Poutine says that Russia has some of the most beautiful hookers. Why would that come up unless Poutine offered or Trump asked?

“If I think that if it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful we’re not going to go. If the meeting when I’m there is not fruitful I will respectfully leave the meeting,” said Trump at a news conference when asked about his impending meeting with Kim Jun Un. His way of having a back door in case he decides not to have the meeting.

Trump tweeted “While Japan and South Korea would like us to go back into TPP, I don’t like the deal for the United States. Too many contingencies and no way to get out if it doesn’t work. Bilateral deals are far more efficient, profitable and better for OUR workers. Look how bad WTO is to U.S.” Wondering if he knows that the WTO is not a trading pact and WTO may have been bad for the US only because the US slams countries with ridiculous tariffs only to see the WTO say it isn’t right. Didn’t he recently say he wanted to get back into the TPP?

Trump was upset that the US had expelled 60 Russian diplomats, believing the US would match the number of diplomats expelled by individual European countries — not as a whole. Last year he spoke in Pennsylvania during the same event.

The Trump campaign announced that he will hold a campaign rally in Washington Township in Michigan on April 28 while the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner will be going on in Washington.

Michael Catanzaro, adviser for energy and environmental policy, will be returning to the law and lobbying firm where he previously worked. Catanzaro had headed domestic energy issues for the White House’s National Economic Council.

Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Victor Joseph reportedly sent an email instructing Major Crimes detectives to bring full uniforms and riot gear to work “until further notice” should Trump fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A group has called for a “Nobody is Above the Law” rally in Pittsburgh if Mueller gets fired.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passes away. And what does Trump tweet about? Comey, someone who he says never existed [attacked Stormy Daniels], and sanctuary cities in California. Not a condolence to the family. But he did comment verbally. In a White House statement “To avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family and friends attending the service, President Trump will not attend”. Surprised? Added security? 3 former Presidents will be there.

Trump finally landed new personal lawyers in the newly enlisted lawyers from the firm Spears & Imes in New York. As well, Rudy Giuliani is joining Trump’s personal legal team according to Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow but his role on the legal team will be “limited.” Giuliani said his focus will be on interfacing with special counsel Robert Mueller in his Russia probe.

In Congress, those leaving office without a clear next political step tend to come from places where Trump is less popular. On the flip side, Republicans are more likely to leave the House to seek higher office if Trump was more popular in their districts. So far, twenty-five Republicans have announced they will retire and leave Congress and 13 have announced they will leave Congress to run for another office.

Mike Pence’s pick for his national security adviser, Jon Lerner, has withdrawn after his hiring created tensions in the administration. There was a report that Trump attempted to block Pence from hiring Lerner because of his “never Trump” views.

Trump tweeted “Just hit 50% in the Rasmussen Poll, much higher than President Obama at same point.” Except Rasmussen is the least reliable poll and a right wing leaning pollster. He’s happy at 50%?

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke claims that “I’m a geologist… A geologist will tell you there is little, if any, oil and gas.” In his autobiography, Zinke wrote that he majored in geology at the University of Oregon. But Zinke, however, has never held a job as a geologist.

Several geologists have flagged his comments as disingenuous, saying that someone with a 34-year-old degree who never worked in the field is not considered a geologist. He is not a member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists or the Association of State Boards of Geologists.

The Senate recently passed a banking bill that would shield large regional banks from tough scrutiny that requires them to sit on extra cash to weather the next financial storm. Regional banks could reward shareholders with up to $53 billion if Congress rolls back Dodd-Frank, which refers to a comprehensive and complicated piece of financial regulation born out of the Great Recession of 2008.

More than one-fifth of the $3.9 million that President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign has spent this year has gone to legal fees, the campaign’s latest quarterly Federal Election Commission filing shows. Trump’s campaign raised $10.1 million in 2018’s first three months and has $28.3 million in the bank.

The campaign spent another $58,000 on costs listed as “rent” divided between three recipients: Trump Plaza, Trump Restaurants and Trump Tower. $58,000. That’s it?

 

Trump fires two in one week – for now a first

You know that for every week, there has to be at least one major bombshell. It is sort of like a law.

Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and said he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him, ending Tillerson’s difficult tenure by tweeting an ouster that had been long expected and yet was shocking in its abruptness.

The writing was probably on the wall when Trump announced the potential meeting with Kim Jun Un and Tillerson new nothing about it. The two had their differences in polities and Tillerson supposedly called Trump a “moron” at one point.

Trump said he was nominating the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency. Pompeo may surely approved in the senate as he was already confirmed for CIA director as the confirmation will be in April. Haspel may have an issue because she ran a secret prison in the Middle East where she approved the use of waterboarding in 2002. Trump has previously said he supports waterboarding.

Haspel, first woman nominated as CIA director, also helped carry out an order that the agency destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

How was Tillerson fired? Trump asked Chief of Staff John Kelley to call Rex Tillerson on Friday night. Kelly told Tillerson that he will be replaced but did not specify the timing. Trump tweeted the firing Tuesday morning. “This is how the President wanted to do it,” said a senior White House official.

Just after Tillerson’s sudden firing, American diplomats at posts spanning the globe were surprised to receive guidance from Washington telling them not to post or retweet the statement from Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein on how Tillerson was fired by Trump.

Goldstein said Tillerson found out he was fired that morning in a tweet from Trump; Goldstein himself was then fired after that statement conflicted with the White House’s official line that Tillerson was notified by Kelly three days earlier in a late-night phone call.

“There was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State,” Trump tweeted as he fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Well Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the actual firing, but you know who really did it. McCabe was set to officially retire on March 18, but he will lose his pension after a more than two-decade career at the bureau. He was out just under 48 hours before his retirement. That would be typical of this administration.

His dismissal was recommended by a panel of career disciplinary officials [FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility] at the bureau after they found he had shown a lack of candor under oath, a career killing lapse for any FBI officer. The issue stems from findings in an internal Justice Department watchdog report that claims he misled investigators about his decision to authorize FBI officials to speak to the media about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Revelations that McCabe had both kept [fired FBI Director James] Comey-style memos of his conversations with Trump, and that McCabe had been interviewed by the special counsel’s team, stoked new intrigue around the question of whether Trump obstructed justice by firing his first FBI director, who was leading the inquiry into whether his campaign colluded with Russia.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said. “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation [Robert Mueller], which continue to this day.”

Trump’s attorney John Dowd called for the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling. Dowd said he was speaking on his own behalf, although he had earlier told the Daily Beast, which first reported the statement, that he was speaking on behalf of Trump. Now they are saying Dowd’s comment wasn’t authorized by Trump. If Trump did authorize the comment, he could be in trouble for interfering with the investigation.

As if this isn’t enough, Trump has apparently grown sick of H.R. McMaster and is preparing to jettison his national security adviser in the not-too-distant future. Stories came out late in the week that Trump wants him out and already has someone waiting to take his place in John Bolton. Unlike Tillerson, who was fired through a tweet, is this better? Waiting to be fired? Or maybe Trump wants McMaster to do the honorable thing and resign [or fall on his sword like a 3 star general should].

Bolton is known as an architect of the Iraq War, an enemy of multilateralism and foe of the United Nations, where he served during the George W. Bush administration through a recess appointment when he could not win Senate confirmation. He is also a harsh critic of the Iran nuclear deal and of North Korea, and is seen as someone who might promote conflict in both cases.

With Tillerson gone there are still potentially up to 8 in the cabinet [including McMaster] who could be fired. Trump has hinted for some major changes. And yet he said back in October that he was very happy he was with the cabinet he selected.

Trump’s personal aide Johnny McEntee was also fired because he is currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes which caused problems in getting a security clearance. But the Trump campaign announced McEntee would be joining the reelection effort as a senior adviser for campaign operations. So they hire crooks in the campaign?

Trump addressed UK PM Theresa May’s comments that it is “highly likely” Russia poisoned a former spy, saying if it is fact “we will condemn Russia.” So meanwhile, not surprising, he’s siding with Russia. But UN Ambassador Nikki Haley ignored Trump and went with a scathing speech at the UN going after Russia.

Only days later, Trump is asked about the spy poisoning: “It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it”. So after Haley said so at the UN, Trump finally caved in and admitted it.

The Trump administration announced it is enacting new sanctions on Russia, including individuals indicted last month by special counsel Robert Mueller, in a sweeping new effort to punish Moscow for its attempts to interfere in the 2016 US election. The measures come a month-and-a-half after the administration missed a congressionally mandated deadline to impose the new sanctions.

The Trump administration has accused Russia of remotely targeting the US power grid, as part of its newly unveiled sanctions on the country. It also included sanctions on the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm that produced divisive political posts on American social media platforms during the 2016 presidential election. Russia has attempted to attack targets that include “energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors” since March 2016 said the Department of Homeland Security.

Raise your hand if you are surprised ion this bit of news: The Trump administration backpedaled on the idea of increasing the minimum age to buy certain firearms — a policy Trump had said he would support. But at least they are still providing some school personnel with “rigorous” firearms training and backed a bill to improve criminal background checks. The NRA has filed a lawsuit claiming that a Florida law violates 2 amendments. Is the administration nervous they could be next?

In not so good news for the Republicans, Democrat candidate Conor Lamb has squeaked out a slim majority win in Pennsylvania’s 18th district. This was a district won by Trump by 20 points in the last election. The Republicans and White House claimed they had a “weak candidate” in Rick Saccone. Notice they said this after he lost. [So basically they are running Saccone over with a bus a few times followed by a steamroller for good measure.] Here’s a crackpot. The losing Saccone says his political opponents hate Trump, America and God.

Do you think Trump’s popularity had anything to do with the loss? Nah. Just a thought. Surely he won’t take any blame in the loss. Even if Saccone would of won by a slim majority, it wouldn’t be good. The Republicans are also saying they aren’t nervous as it is just one loss. They still have a huge majority. Sure. Trump even claims that Lamb won because Lamb is like him. Sure.

At an event in Pennsylvania supporting Saccone, Trump touted his role in South Korea’s hosting of the Winter Olympics, claiming credit for temporarily reducing the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. “It’s little hard to sell tickets when you think you’re going to be nuked,” he said. Problem is that he had nothing to do with North Korea joining the Olympics.

At the same event, Trump claims that it was he who got North Korea to join talks with him when in fact South Korea got them together.

Trying to get some kind of win, Trump may soften his stance to get the NAFTA deal renegotiated before July 1st when Mexico has their elections. Otherwise than man behind “The Art of a Deal” will look like [another] failure. He has also hinted that he may try to join the Trans Pacific Partnership – the same trade deal he left right after taking office.

Trump boasted at a private fundraiser of making up trade claims [no surprise there] during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before knowing whether they were true. Trump claimed they had a deficit but according to figures provided by the Commerce Department, the US ran a $2.77 billion surplus with Canada for 2017.

During the fundraiser, Trump also reportedly called the North American Free Trade Agreement a disaster and blamed the World Trade Organization for allowing other nations to box in the US on trade. Trump mocked other politicians for supporting NAFTA, attacking Mexico as “spoiled” and arguing that Canada had outsmarted the US.

Now it seems porn star Stormy Daniels has faced physical threats for going after Trump according to her lawyer. Her lawyer also said that six additional women have come forward alleging sexual relationships with Trump — including some he says who also claim to have nondisclosure agreements. Her lawyer alleges also that some of the accusations she’s making against Trump occurred while Trump was in office.

Trump accused Japan of using a “bowling ball test” to cheat US auto companies out of selling cars to Japanese consumers. The test is when a bowling ball is dropped to the hood of the car, if dents, fails.

Facebook has announced it is suspending Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign, over concerns about violations of the social media site’s policies. Facebook claimed a University of Cambridge psychology professor, Aleksandr Kogan, had passed Facebook user data he gained through an app on to third-parties, including Cambridge Analytica.

A poll of leading economists from the University of Chicago has found rare unanimity on the topic, with a newly released survey showing that zero per cent of economists surveyed believe tariffs will help Americans.

Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, someone who has little experience in this field, stumbled her way through a tense interview, struggling to answer some basic questions about schools in her home state of Michigan and admitting that she does not “intentionally” visit underperforming schools. Biased? Not doing her job?

Russian President [for life] Vladimir Poutine, in an interview on NBC, suggests that Jews or Tatars or other minorities in Russia were behind the alleged election meddling in 2016. Maybe they were paid by Americans or maybe on their own. No proof of course. And while just about everyone in congress condemned the comments, one individual didn’t. Take a guess who?

Trump’s approval rating in a new poll conducted by SSRS stands at 35%, down five points over the last month to match his lowest level yet. Overall, 80% of self-identified Republicans say they approve of Trump, one point below his previous low mark of 81%, hit in late September of last year. Just 13% of Republicans say they disapprove of Trump’s performance. Approval for the President stands at just 5% among Democrats and 35% among independents.

Almost three-quarters (72%) say they are concerned about foreign government interference in US elections generally, including 90% of Democrats, 68% of independents and 53% of Republicans, and 60% say they are not confident the president is doing enough to prevent foreign countries from influencing future American elections, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS.

Hundreds of parishioners gathered at a Pennsylvania church got married Wednesday holding AR-15s as church members say the ceremony was scheduled months before the Parkland shooting, and they were following God’s will to honor the Second Amendment. Guns were zip-tied at the door and ammunition was not allowed in the church.

Trump gives a no confidence vote to the FBI and DoJ

House Republicans, with the approval of Donald Trump, released a disputed GOP intelligence memo that alleges FBI abuses of its surveillance authority. The memo from the GOP and House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes alleges that then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee that no surveillance warrant would have been sought for a Trump campaign aide without a disputed opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia.

The memo alleges that ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele had an anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations that were not included in the FISA application. Senior DOJ officials knew about Steele’s anti-Trump bias, according to the memo. Nunes admits he did not read the FISA applications before writing the memo.

A FISA court granted a warrant to monitor former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page and approved three subsequent renewals during the Trump administration, according to the memo. A judge has to approve of the warrant and renewals which includes verifying the evidence.

The memo alleges that the FISA application cited a September 2016 Yahoo News article on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow, but the application “incorrectly assesses that Steele did not provide information to Yahoo News. … The article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo news,” the memo states. They and discussed quid-pro-quo deals relating to sanctions, business opportunities and Russia’s interference in the election.

The Nunes memo glaringly omits any revelation of what other supporting information might have been submitted to the FISA judge, choosing instead to focus on cherry-picked alleged omissions.

Former FBI Director James Comey signed three applications, and McCabe and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates signed at least one. But the memo also states that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on at least one FISA application for Page. Rosenstein’s role in renewing the FISA warrants has sparked Trump’s ire. Dana Boente, who is currently the FBI general counsel and was appointed by Trump’s FBI director, signed off as well on one or more of the applications.

Trump believes the purported bias was a “disgrace” and said certain people should be “ashamed of themselves.” When asked whether he retained confidence in Rosenstein or if he planned to fire him, Trump said “You figure that one out.” What he is forgetting that many he is blaming were appointed by himself or his administration. This includes McCabe and Rosenstein.

Trump continues to tell his associates he believes the highly controversial Republican memo would expose bias within the agency’s top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him. [Must be interesting to be a FBI agent when the president of the US doesn’t trust you. Would you want to take a bullet for him?]

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff is accusing Nunes of sending a different version of the memo, crafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, alleging FBI surveillance abuses to the White House than what the committee approved. This would now make four versions of the same memo are around.

Justice Department and intelligence community, both of which opposed the release of the document, which is based on classified intelligence.

Sen. John McCain blasted Trump for approving the release of the highly controversial GOP-Nunes memo, saying “if we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.” McCain characterized the memo and its release as “partisan attacks” on the FBI and the Department of Justice.

FBI Director Christopher Wray sent a striking signal to the White House, issuing a rare public warning that a controversial Republican memo about the FBI’s surveillance practices omits key information that could impact its veracity. Trump had already been angered by a letter that the Justice Department sent to the House Intelligence Committee last week warning the release would be “extraordinarily reckless.”

“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Specifically, these intelligence officials are concerned that the memo will reveal what goes into a decision to monitor targets, including what kinds of communications are targeted, and how those communications are intercepted.

Trump slammed McCabe, who has resigned, and said that he didn’t remember asking who the long-time law enforcement official voted for in 2016 in May 2017. McCabe did not vote in the 2016 presidential general election, but did vote in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. McCabe was set to leave the FBI later in the year.

The Dow closed down 666 points [hmmmm], or 2.5%, its biggest percentage decline since the Brexit turmoil in June 2016 and steepest point decline since the 2008 financial crisis. The drop is on the same day as the memo being released by the Trump administration.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says Russia did meddle in the US election – going against Trump’s beliefs.

Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller and the Russia investigation, could be next to be fired. Trump is frustrated with the way the investigation has gone and may put the blame on him. He could argue that Rosenstein failed to scrutinize the information initially used to request the warrant and therefore didn’t do his due diligence.

The Trump administration has released a sweeping list of prominent Russian business and political figures, in defiance of Moscow and implementing a Congressional law designed to punish Russia for election meddling. It listed every senior member of the political administration at the Kremlin, and every Russian oligarch with a net worth of $1 billion or more. The administration stopped short of imposing any new punishments, saying the legislation was already doing its job.

Russia said a US Treasury report that could extend sanctions against Moscow for meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections is “a direct and obvious attempt” to interfere in its own upcoming presidential vote. They claim this because the Treasury must send Congress a list of rich Russian business figures and detail their ties to Russian President Vladimir Poutine.

Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks could be considering obstructing justice after a comment she reportedly made about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians, according to a New York Times story. Hicks allegedly told President Donald Trump on a conference call that the Trump Jr. emails “will never get out.”

Unsure how US sanctions [in the US] affect some billionaires in Russia and their election unless the billionaires are using their US money to support Poutine. Russian elections are not for another 7 weeks or so in which Poutine is expected to easily win a fourth term in office [the main opposition leader is barred from running as he has a conviction for embezzlement, a charge that critics say is politically motivated.].

Haley is rumored to have an affair with Trump. The Grammy Awards had a skit of various celebrities who were reading from Michael Wolff’s best seller about Trump, Fire and Fury. She tweeted her disapproval over a skit involving Hillary Clinton candidate “auditioning” to perform the audio version of the book. She didn’t seem to care about the others in the skit.

Donald Trump Jr., tweeted his displeasure as well as some snark at Clinton claiming it was “a great consolation prize for losing the presidency”.

As if Trump’s end of the week wasn’t busy enough, Trump threatened to cut off aid to countries that allow drugs into the United States during a visit to the Customs and Border Protection National Training Center in Virginia. Trump specifically name-checked El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico in his criticism of countries whose citizens are coming into the United States illegally. [Maybe it’s cheaper if those countries cracked down on smuggling than him building his wall. Note that Guatemala is/was in Trump’s good graces when they agreed to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the US’ decision].

Trump’s campaign website is offering this chance for a few seconds of fame to supporters who donate to his re-election effort. The campaign’s original pitch was $35, but a subsequent email from the Trump campaign provided a link for donors to contribute as little as $1 to have their name displayed during a livestream of President Trump’s State of the Union address.

Melania Trump went to the State of the Union before her hubby. White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders claims it is to greet various politicians [as if she knows them by name] while the hubby can walk straight in.

Almost half of Americans who watched President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address [48%] say they had a “very positive” impression of the speech, down from 57% of speech-watchers after his first address to match Barack Obama’s rating after his first State of the Union address, according to a conducted by SSRS. There were more Republican voters who were watching the speech as SSRS conducted the poll only for those watching

Where have we heard this before? Trump said the 45.6 million people who watched his State of the Union was “the highest number in history.” Obama, Bush and Clinton had higher. He did tell the truth [for once] when he said Fox “beat every other Network, for the first time ever, with 11.7 million people tuning in.”

Trump, in remarks at a Republican congressional retreat in West Virginia, knocked Democrats for a lack of applause or standing up during his State of the Union address and “To get it done we’ll have to make some compromises unless we elect more Republicans.”

Outside lawyers created a limited liability company called the Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust, which will raise money from donors to pay legal expenses for multiple individuals, according to emails between those attorneys and a government agency. This is for White House officials and former Trump campaign aides embroiled in the Russia investigation.

It will “pay for or help defray legal expenses, which can include attorneys’ fees, court filing fees, litigation costs or other related fees and costs,” according to a draft document.

This week was so busy [particularly with the memo], that expect another blog posting sometime early next week.

 

The shutdown [part 1] fallout

Well, with a week off, I won’t be going over some of the things that came up in Trumpland.

Now onto business real – not fake – business.

The shutdown has been finished – well for 3 weeks. On February 8th, another shutdown could occur. The agreement says that immigration issues will be tackled very soon.

There are some on the Republican side who suggest that the Democrats lost when they “caved in” to the Republicans. When in fact they got their way. It will force the republicans to settle the DACA issue while looking good by ending the shutdown after one business day.

And if the Republicans don’t settle the DACA issue by February 8th [the next scheduled possible shutdown] it will paint the Republicans as a part that can’t be trusted or to negotiate in good faith. If Trump allows DACA recipients to stay, it could be a move that could hurt him with some of his most fervent supporters. Trump said during his campaign that he would “immediately terminate” what he called President Barack Obama’s illegal executive amnesties.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume negotiations over the future of DACA and other issues. If those talks don’t yield a deal in the next three weeks, the Republican promised to allow the Senate to debate an immigration proposal — even if it’s one crafted by a bipartisan group and does not have the backing of the leadership and the White House Senate passed the final bill by the same 81-18 vote but some members of both parties opposed it.

Well, the US government was in shutdown mode. And of course you know that the Democrats will blame the Republicans and vice versa.

Consider House Speaker Paul Ryan’s comments that what has DACA got to do with the shutdown. Ummmm. What legislation in any government doesn’t include pieces that have nothing to do with the main chunk? In fact, even Trump’s Wall is included in the mess.

McConnell must be losing it. He kept on repeating the same thing over and over again about 12 hours after the shutdown – blaming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer withdrew funding for Trump’s border in negotiations over immigration issues with the White House. A staffer who works for Schumer called the White House on Monday and said the proposal, which Schumer put on the table during a Friday meeting with Trump, was no longer operative. Meanwhile, Trump had a framework for an agreement with Schumer on Friday but two hours later, Trump changed his mind. Trump later said there will be no DACA funding if there is no wall funding.

The Republicans failed to remind others that it wasn’t just DACA that the Democrats wanted to be included but as well the same increase in funding the military is receiving to be applied elsewhere.

In order to protect the Dreamers, Democrats will have to agree to the White House immigration wish list — scrap the diversity lottery program, end so-called chain migration and give greater latitude to immigration officials to deport people who are apprehended.

A more recent plan calls for 1.8 million people []so not only DACA people] to gain citizenship eventually but another 1 million or so other immigrants. In exchange, Trump wants $25 billion fund for the wall plus drastic changes to the immigration lottery using “merit” [not diversity] and preventing people from sponsoring their parents, adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US. The staunch conservatives are upset of the extra immigrants added to the total. Some democrats are upset over the other concessions and changes to the immigration lottery.

Trump only seemed to have time for a short mid-day meeting with Schumer. That’s it. Is that what you call leadership? [Seems White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders thought so.] Unlike the useless [probably photo-op] meeting, Schumer at least negotiated. At the last shutdown in 2013, with President Obama in office, Trump then said it is the President that is lacking leadership.

The Republicans released right after a TV ad which called Democrats “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.” Last I checked, with exception of the DACA issue and Trump’s Wall funding, there is no connection. [Even if the government added money for Trump’s Wall that wall won’t go up overnight and the way it looks, it won’t go up for a long while.] Even Ryan said “I don’t know if that’s necessarily productive.”

Trump tweeted at one point his call for McConnell to invoke the so-called nuclear option and thereby remove leverage for Senate Democrats. Senate Republican Conference does not support changing the 60-vote rule. Senate rules impose a threshold of 60 votes to break a filibuster, and Senate Republicans currently hold a slim majority of 51 votes.

Eliminating the 60-vote threshold to break a legislative filibuster would remove significant powers for the minority party in the Senate, and party leaders have been reluctant to do so in the past because of the consequences it would pose when their party returns to the minority. Wonder if Trump knows this or cares. He could be a head of a probably minority in the senate after November and even in the house.

With the shutdown, Trump canceled his appearance at his first inauguration anniversary at Mar-A-Lago where Republican donors shelled out $100,000 a seat to be there. Instead, they will get Eric Trump and his wife. Is that an improvement?

When calling the White House at one point you would get the message: “Unfortunately, we cannot answer you call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding – including funding for our troops and other national security priorities – hostage to an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.” Isn’t the White House supposed to be neutral?

A recent re-election campaign ad from Trump, released just hours after the shutdown began, that called Democrats “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

Trump has hinted that he may push the DACA deadline in March back further. There goes another promise.

Meanwhile on the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, aside from the shutdown, tens of thousands were protesting across the US in anti-Trump rallies mixed in with Women’s rallies across the world.

Trump supposedly said “I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things.” This is about his White House chief of staff John Kelly. It’s not just because of Kelly’s interview on Fox News recently, in which Kelly said Trump’s policy for the US-Mexico border wall had “evolved.” But the day after the interview Trump reportedly said “He is great, I think he is doing a great job.”

Round 6 of talks for updating NAFTA will began in Montreal. Trump made NAFTA a core campaign issue. He argues that Mexico is taking jobs and billions of dollars in commerce away from the United States. He also believes a new deal will help the U.S. finance payment for the border wall. [How’s that?] Trump also wants NAFTA to be terminated every five years unless all three countries agreed to sign on for another five years. Mexico and Canada object to this.

Trump’s trade team wants to raise that threshold up to 85% from 62%. The problem is that Trump’s negotiators are proposing that half of auto parts sourced from North America come specifically from the United States. About 14 million U.S. jobs in about two-thirds of the states depend on trade with Canada and Mexico with a potential 300,000 jobs lost if NAFTA is killed.

Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, said that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.” Short said the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to question Trump, and news that his team has already interviewed fired FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, indicate that the special counsel has a clear picture of where he is headed in what could turn into an obstruction of justice case, legal experts said.

If called upon, a poll says the 95% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 59% of Republicans think Trump should testify.

Trump called for Mueller’s firing last June, White House counsel Don McGahn refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller because he disagreed with Trump’s reasoning, the source said. However, according to the source, McGahn did not threaten to resign directly to Trump.

Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign staffer who pleaded not guilty in October to eight charges of money laundering and failing to register foreign lobbying and other business, may be ready to cooperate with Mueller.

The White House said Trump was ready to declassify a memo written by GOP committee staff in the House claiming misconduct by FBI officials investigating Trump. [But remember, they haven’t yet. Is there a memo?]

FBI Director Chris Wray threatened to resign as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on him to fire his outgoing Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is eligible to retire in March and to clean out senior leadership figures dating from the Comey era who the President believes are biased against him. Trump has publicly called on McCabe to step down over the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and his connections to anti-Trump messages sent between two FBI employees during the campaign.

Trump had asked acting FBI director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election in an introductory Oval Office meeting in May 2017, The Washington Post reported. McCabe responded by telling Trump that he didn’t vote.

McCabe’s wife, when she was a candidate for state Senate in 2015, got a $467,000 contribution from a super PAC associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Yes, McAuliffe is a long-time friend of the Clintons.

This is laughable. Conservative media is aflame of late with talk of a “secret society” within the FBI which has as its goal the undermining of Donald Trump’s presidency. This all starts with text messages exchanged between two senior FBI officials named Peter Strzok and Lisa Page during and after the 2016 election.

Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said that he had seen a text message between the two officials on the day after the November 2016 election that said [jokingly], “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Another Republican also threw in the Department of Justice as part of this “society”. A third GOP says that “we have an informant talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site” but never mentioned who.

All this on top of 5 months of missing texts between FBI agents on government phones which according to the Department of Justice, this is actually normal but it is not from specific people but everyone at the FBI – an estimated 10% of all texts. The texts have since been recovered.

“As a business person I was treated well by the press … I’ve always had a good press. It wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean … how fake the press can be, as the cameras start going off in the background,” Trump said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was booed by the press.

Trump claims that 84 stock market “records” were set this past year in his first year in office. This is the equivalent of saying that a baseball player hits 75 home runs [breaking the record of 70 in a season] that the player set 5 records [one for each home run] when in fact it is just one record.

With no real facts, Trump claims that the stock market would be down 50% if Hillary Clinton won.

He also said that a few people [he never named anyone of course] said Davos this year was harsher [or rougher] than previous years and equated it to the Academy Awards.

In case you missed it, there are allegations that porn actress Stormy Daniels and Trump engaged in a sexual affair in the 2000s and she was paid $130,000 in hush money just prior to the 2016 elections. She has kept mum on the subject but never really denied. Trump, obviously, denies it [it would of happened while he was just at the beginning of his marriage to Melania].

If the affair never existed, then why did Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, set up a company in Delaware [a state notorious for its lack of corporate transparency] and make a $130,000 payment to Daniels right before the 2016 election? Cohen did not deny making the payment.

The president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said “These alleged affairs, they’re alleged with Trump, didn’t happen while he was in office.” Oh sure, he’s in office for just a year but has 70+ years otherwise out of office. Probably no proof he hasn’t had anything since in office. And this from a man who’s made various vulgar comments and on his third wife.

Trump approved tariffs on both washing machines [but not dryers?] and solar panels in order to protect U.S. manufacturing. Prices could jump 15% to 20%. Because washers and dryers are typically sold as a pair, prices for both appliances could go up.

In Zurich, according to a New York Times photographer in the press pool, someone had written “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL” in the snowy patch next to the landing zone in Davos so it was visible from the air.