Trump vs Comey – round 1

Former FBI Director James Comey accused the Trump administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple” about him and the FBI in the aftermath of his abrupt firing. Comey declared that the administration “defamed him and more importantly the FBI” by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership.

Trump demanded his “loyalty” and directly pushed him to “lift the cloud” of investigation by declaring publicly Trump was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.” Trump, in a strange private encounter near the grandfather clock in the Oval Office, pushed Comey to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He did this after asking everyone else to leave the Oval Office.

“The Russians interfered,” Comey stated firmly. “That happened. It’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.”

Comey was also asked if he believed he was fired because of the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election as well as Russia’s ties with Trump’s campaign. “Yes,” Comey said. “Because I’ve seen the president say so.”

The White House had said that Comey was fired for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, while Trump said in an interview that Comey was fired in relation to the Russian hacking probe. Both are odd. If you believe the White house, why did he stay around when Trump took over. As for Trump’s reason, you could say Trump either wasn’t happy with the direction or was not going his way.

Comey said that Trump told him: “I hope you could see your way to letting [national security adviser Michael] Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey testified Thursday that he took that as “direction” from the president, even though Trump did not explicitly order him to drop the investigation into Flynn.

The RNC and other Trump allies worked feverishly to lessen any damage from the hearing, trying to undermine Comey’s credibility by issuing press releases and even ads pointing to a past instance where the FBI had had to clean up the director’s testimony to Congress.

Trump’s defenders argued that it supported Trump’s claims that the former FBI chief had told him three times that he was not personally being investigated in the Russia probe – according to their interpretations. Trump also continues to deny the allegations. Fine, but it sounds like Trump may have meddled in the investigation.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted if something was wrong, why didn’t he stop accepting contacts with his father. The obvious answer is that Trump is his boss and you don’t ignore him.

A pair of Democrats in Congress are drafting up articles of impeachment against Trump, saying that his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey constitutes an obstruction of justice.

Comey said he had never felt the need to document his conversations with former presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush [Comey served as deputy U.S. attorney general during the Bush administration].

Trump had contacted Comey 9 times within 4 months compared to 2 times when Barrack Obama was president.

Various bars, at least around Washington, were having hosting “Comey Viewing Parties”.

House and Senate investigators fired off a series of requests after Comey’s testimony, seeking memos of his private discussions with Trump and any records the White House kept of their discussion including audio recordings.

Meanwhile, Trump said he was willing to testify under oath about his conversations with Comey.

After the London attacks, Trump tweeted “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'” But as usually he took things out of context. Mayor Sadiq Khan was actually informing Londoners not to be alarmed by the increased police presence in the city following the attack.

Trump then tweeted the day after that that Khan had offered a “pathetic excuse” and “had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement.” What about thinking? Such a diplomat.

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne The Witch Conway condemned what she called the media’s “obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.” So what has he done again since he took office besides tweet?

Trump [or someone handling his Twitter account] started to block Twitter accounts that are unfriendly to Trump. Press Secretary Sean Garlic Spicer said Trump’s tweets from his personal account are considered official White House statements. Some legal experts say, raises First Amendment concerns about what Trump is doing. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University says it’ll consider a lawsuit if Trump doesn’t unblock Twitter users. If Trump’s tweets are considered official White House statements then is a designated public forum. Some of the tweeters claim they were block for something as simple of a joke about covfefe.

According to White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka, on Trump’s tweets he says “It’s not policy. It’s social media.” So whatever Trump tweets are not official? Or official depending on the tweet.

Trump finally came around to blast Qatar for supporting terrorism. Trump said Arab leaders he met with in Saudi Arabia last month had urged him to confront Qatar over its behavior. If so, why did it take him close to a week to come out and say something. Did Arab leaders really ask him? He said Qatar had “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.” Wonder how things will continue as Qatar hosts some 10,000 U.S. troops and a major U.S. air base.

Trump still pushing for his “travel ban” after being blocked twice. This time he will try the Supreme Court. He then tweets “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” He has also hinted that UK wouldn’t of had the recent attacks if they had “extreme vetting” [does anyone know what that really entails?] but how many of them were born in the UK?

Even The Witch‘s husband, George Conway, who declined a justice job [claiming family reasons], tweeted out against Trump’s ban.

Seems like lack of diplomacy doesn’t fall far from the tree. After saying critics of his father are “not even people” in an interview on Fox, Eric Trump calls DNC chairman Tom Perez “a total wackjob.” Trump says Democrats “have no message of their own” and are “imploding”. Yup, a chip off the old block when it comes to exaggerations.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord could hit his family hard in the future. The Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the soaring apartment towers bearing his name on Miami-area beaches and his Doral golf course are all threatened by rising seas, according to projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. The same goes for other low-lying South Florida properties such as his beloved National Doral Miami golf course. Other properties near water include The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, his golf course in Ireland, Vancouver, Panama City, Uruguay and India.

As a photo op, Trump met two families while in Cincinnati who were hit with rising health care costs. He called them “ObamaCare victims” in a tweet. They may not have any coverage with TrumpCare as experts estimate that over 20 million Americans will be off the government plan. As well, Trump spoke in Cincinnati at a marina, with a barge carrying West Virginia coal behind him.

In a meeting, Trump “joked” that Jared Kushner, who is married to his daughter Ivanka and also serves as a White House strategist, has “become much more famous than me,” adding: “I’m a little bit upset about that.” Turn the calendar back about a few months ago. He said “He’s become more famous than me” about FBI director James Comey. A month later, Comey was fired.

Scratching you head time: If true Jared Kushner suggested that it would be better if to contact the Russian government, it would be better to do it from the Russian embassy. If so, the US has no proof or documentation [or recording] of what was said. This goes against US laws which require government communication needs to be recorded.

Like many, President Barrack Obama would not use Trump’s name at a speech in Montreal this week. For example, he said “Obviously I’m disappointed with the current American administration’s decision to pull out of Paris,” when asked about the Trump’s administration to leave the accord. He continued to elude Trump’s name when he said “In an age of instant information, where TV and Twitter can feed us a steady stream of bad news — and sometimes fake news….”

Remember how Trump was boasting following his Saudi Arabia part of his trip that he has deals worth $110 billion signed? Not really. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but no contracts signed. With the drop in oil prices, Saudi Arabia are even cutting back on military purchases.

The family and close friends have repeatedly ask Trump to dial back or tone down his tweeting as it is costing him [what’s left of his] respectability.

In another sign that the economy doesn’t like the administration, Ford is offering 15,000 employees money to leave the company. If not, they’ll probably lay off many.

On March 11, 45% of Americans approved of the job Donald Trump was doing in Gallup’s daily tracking poll. The latest Gallup track on June 3 put Trump’s job approval at a dismal 36% — a single percentage point away from the lowest ebb of his time in the White House. (On March 28, Trump’s job approval was at 35%.) A Quinnipiac University poll released in late May put Trump’s job approval at 37%. A Monmouth poll conducted in mid-May put Trump’s job approval at 39%. In comparison, President Obama was at 61% in the Gallup tracking poll in early June 2009. George W. Bush was at 55% in Gallup at this time in 2001.

Since 1946, according to Gallup, when a president’s job approval rating is above 50%, the average number of seats his party loses in a midterm election is 14. When a president’s job approval rating is below 50%? Try an average 36-seat loss.

 

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TrumpCare maybe – Maybe not

The Republicans finally release a “release candidate” of their health care bill. Not surprising it sounds like another Donald Trump election promise is going out the window. The Affordable Care Act [a.k.a. Obamacare] will not be completely ditch. Instead pieces will be kept.

Trump has warned of an electoral “bloodbath” in the 2018 mid-terms if it doesn’t get passed. He’ll blame the Democrats because Trump doesn’t have the 60 senators needed to kill Obamacare. I’m sure the Democrats are sitting back with all smiles.

The Trump administration keeps on saying replace and repeal Obamacare but it hasn’t been either. More like fixing it according to the Republicans.

Senator Rand Paul described the House bill as “Obamacare lite,” saying he breaks with the Trump-endorsed bill because of tax credits, continuation of Obamacare taxes, subsidies to insurance companies and what he called a “form of the individual mandate.” Trump said later that “He’s a friend. He’s going to end up voting for it.” Uh huh.

Mike Pence said the American Health Care Act will give Americans more freedom of choice and “if you like your Obamacare, you can keep it.”

Trump has whined that he’ll blame the Democrats if the bill doesn’t pass. Interesting considering he controls Congress. If anything, renegade/unhappy Republicans would be to blame. He also went after various Conservative groups for using the term “Obamacare lite” or “Trumpcare” or “Obamacare 2.0”.

This has angered some of the GOP. Under the new bill called the American Health Care Act:

  • Medicaid would be overhauled American Health Care Act by sending states a fixed amount of money per enrollee, known as a per-capita cap. This would limit federal responsibility, shifting that burden to the states. However, since states don’t have the money to make up the difference, they would likely either reduce eligibility, curtail benefits or cut provider payments.
  • Those making $20,000 at any age will see cuts roughly between 25% and 60% that Obamacare issued. Older Americans will pay more. Also chopped are part of the tax credits.
  • This means that younger Americans would likely see their annual premiums go down. Enrollees age 20 to 29 would save about $700 a year to $4,000, on average a refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 to offset the cost of their premiums.
  • The American Health Care Act would once again let insurers sell skimpy plans. But these bare-bones offerings — which come with lower premiums — are all some healthier Americans want. Restoring these options would draw in some folks who’ve opted to remain uninsured and pay a penalty.
  • Higher-income Americans could pay fewer taxes, get more tax benefits as it would eliminate two taxes that Obamacare levied on the wealthy to help pay for the law. Nearly everyone in the Top 1%, who earn more than $774,000 a year, would enjoy a hefty tax cut, averaging $33,000. Those in the Top 0.1% would get an average tax cut of about $197,000.
  • Insurance companies could get a big tax break. Obamacare allowed insurance companies to deduct only $500,000 of their executives’ pay as a business expense. The GOP bill would repeal that limitation, starting in 2018.
  • AHCA clearly is helping Trump’s buddies in big business. Wonder if Occupy Wall Street will come back. Experts fear with the changes that particularly hurt the lower class, many in the lower class will lose their benefits they had under ACA.

With some of the thousands of CIA documents stolen by WikiLeaks came what the CIA hackers thought of the security applications protecting computers. Some of the documents may be old as they deal with vulnerabilities that have been previously fixed. As one of the major vendors with easier access, F-Secure’s chief research officer said the CIA “considered it more important to keep everybody unsecure … and maybe use the vulnerability for its own purposes or counter terrorism purposes.” He didn’t defend their application but others who were on the CIA’s radar [such as AVG and Kaspersky] claimed their vulnerabilities were previous fixed or was simple to fix.

During the elections, after Hillary Clinton’s mail server was hacked and exposed by WikiLeaks, Trump said “I love WikiLeaks!” But is he saying the same thing after WikiLeaks exposed almost 9,000 documents of the CIA – this while he is the country’s leader?

Trump is concerned and yet it could be to his advantage saying that Obama’s “tapping” could of used some of the CIA’s technologies.

China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for Donald Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services, public documents show. Some are registered to a Delaware company that is owned by Trump [trying to hide something?]. There are still over 200+ trademarks with the Trump name in it – from other escort services to toilet maker to pacemakers to a hotel.

From September to November last year, while Michael Flynn was working as a top adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, Flynn was lobbying for a firm linked to the Turkish government, earning $530,000. He and his company Flynn Intel Group Inc. filed retroactive documents with the Department of Justice two days ago to register as a foreign agent.

Continuing with the feud between Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and Trump, Arnie said “With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show.” When “The New Celebrity Apprentice” ended its season last month, Trump tweeted that Schwarzenegger “did a really bad job as governor of California and even worse on The Apprentice, but at least he tried hard.” By most reports the Governator actually did quite well. But you knew that.

Ben Carson made his debut as secretary of Housing and Urban Development telling agency employees about the virtues of the “can-do” American society. Carson said this value system was best exemplified by slaves [from Africa], whom he characterized as immigrants who came to the United States with very little and worked very hard. Not the only time he has made odd comments. In 2013, Carson said Obamacare was “the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

The software call Confide, used by some White House staff [supposedly including Trump], has been found to contain two vulnerabilities [both recently patched according to the company]. Of course not everyone updates the apps on their smartphone. Some experts suggest this “military grade” communication software doesn’t do a proper job in encrypting communication. In addition, using it by White House staff may be against some federal laws.

Over the last five weekends, Trump has visited his luxury resort four times – each trip costs American taxpayers about $3 million – and at one point, Trump had spent 31% of his presidency at Mar-a-Lago. He’s now played golf eight times since taking office six weeks ago [wonder how much that cost in security].

 

Just too much Trump stuff… I couldn’t wait!

[Blogger’s note: I tend to wait until Friday to deliver the latest in funnies…. Errr. Trump…. But just too much has happened since Friday. Towards the bottom are some older stuff that didn’t make the cut originally.]

Trump continues to pull out the most ridiculous ideas out of his … The latest has Trump accusing President Obama of wiretapping his place at Trump Tower in New York prior to the election. No proof or investigation says someone with direct knowledge who was from the Department of justice.

If Trump Tower was wiretapped, how did the secret Service not find it? They didn’t do their job? Surely the Secret Service made sure his floors at the Trump Tower was secured from things such as wiretaps?

The FBI asked the Justice Department on to refute Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s phones last year. The FBI made the request because such wiretapping would be illegal, since the President cannot just order the eavesdropping of a U.S. citizen’s phones.

“Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer – if there will be an investigation. Many former officials deny the accusation including the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Trump may have somehow put two and two together [equals three!] from Conservative conspiracy nut and talk show host Mark Levin who made a comment recently claiming how many Republicans are being wire tapped. It isn’t the first time that Trump went on a Twitter tyrant after watching or hearing someone else make unverified wacky comments. [I guess Trump isn’t original – he has to plagiarize like the way Melania plagiarize Michelle Obama’s speech].

Seems in those accusation tweets against Obama, Trump can’t even spell. He twice had to change the spelling of “here by” and also misspelled “tap”.

The allegations also may be related to anonymously sourced reports in British media and blogs, and on conservative-leaning U.S. websites, including Breitbart News. Those reports claimed that U.S. officials had obtained a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to review contacts between computers at a Russian bank and Trump’s New York headquarters.

[I am assuming you can’t take the commander in chief to court for libel, slander, etc.]

Prior to his speech to Congress, Trump was with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and other state attorneys general who met at the White House, told BuzzFeed News Trump made confounding claims comments about the bomb threats during their sit down. Shapiro said “He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people, or to make others, look bad,’” which implied that Jews were responsible for the bomb threats and tombstone desecrations aimed at the Jewish community across the US. “This is not what he said or meant,” a White House spokesperson told the New York Daily News in an email. “He means (he) was referring to protesters.” Protesters doing this to the Jewish community?

Former campaign adviser, Anthony Scaramucci, tweeted, “It’s not yet clear who the JCC offenders are. Don’t forget the Democrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies.” So basically he’s indirectly accusing the Democrats of the bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers and the desecration of tombstones. Just like his ex-boss, no proof. More like fake news! [About 74% of Jews voted for the Democrats in November.]

So the new travel ban came out. Down to 6 countries [Iraq excluded]. Visas currently authorized will be allowed. When asked why there was no fanfare or press allowed in for the signing, Spicer said, “I tweeted a picture out,” which was greeted by groans from the press.

Expect the lawsuits to be flying. A good time to be a lawyer!

Trump claims Jeff Sessions “Didn’t say anything wrong” but did he get a transcript. Makes no difference if he didn’t say anything wrong. He met with the ambassador to Russia who is also known to be a spy. As well, Sessions used campaign funds even though he claims the talks were senate related business.

Trump is extremely frustrated with his senior staff and communications team for allowing the firestorm surrounding Sessions to steal his thunder in the wake of his address to Congress. Oh. Poor baby.

Trump suggested he felt that Sessions’ move to recuse himself from any investigation into administration links to Russia felt like an admission of defeat.

Trump has vowed repeatedly that only steel from American steelmakers could be used on Keystone as well as other U.S. oil pipelines. But the fine print in the Executive Order says the ruling only applies to new pipelines.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he left The New Celebrity Apprentice. Trump tweeted [of course] “he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show”. Who do you believe? If the show isn’t canceled then either Arnie left or the producers ditched him. Trump is one of the producers. Wouldn’t he know if Arnie was terminated? With the “Sad” part, it looks like the show may be canceled and that is usually because of bad ratings. So you can’t be fired or quit. But what does Trump know?

So Sarah Palin won’t be the US Ambassador to Canada. Instead a Republican fundraiser from Kentucky – assuming she’s confirmed.

The son of Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion for 2 hours and even asked “Are you Muslim?” even though he is born in the US. A US Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed he was held for questioning by customs officers, but said “it wasn’t because he’s a Muslim and it wasn’t because of his Arabic-sounding name.” Uh huh. Sure.

Trump has amassed 3,643 domains under his name [adding 490 in the 18 months prior to his inauguration]. Some to stop cybersquatting, some to stop scams, and some to stop complains aimed at him [DonaldTrumpSucks.com, TrumpisFired.com and ImBeingSuedByDonaldTrump.com]. Even his trump University has 157 domains registered that are related to the university. The way Trump bought domains also shows how he methodically planned his political rise. In 2012, the Trump Organization acquired VoteAgainstTrump.com, TrumpMustGo.com, and NoMoreTrump.com. The vast majority are just blank pages [someone is lazy that they can’t forward to an actual site?]. Only 50 of these domains are unique websites for Trump businesses. Another 400 redirect you to Trump websites.

A commentator from the government controlled Rossiya channel suggested that “intransigent radical liberals” who oppose Trump are “plotting a revolution” against the U.S. president. As well, popular publications also indicated that Russia’s infatuation with Trump is waning.

At a recent [small] rally in support of Trump in Washington, someone was holding up a sign saying “Fire Obama Appointees”. Hmmmm. Probably 99% of them were gone by January 20th. Maybe the sign holder should watch some news.

Members of the European Parliament have called for the European Commission to impose visas on US citizens visiting Europe amid an ongoing dispute over visa restrictions against five EU nations. MEPs called on Washington to grant the same visa-free access to nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus as enjoyed by citizens of the other 23 EU nations. EU rules require equal treatment for all member states.

Patrick Stewart [best known in the X-Men movies and Start Trek: The next Generation] is unphasered by Trump. In fact, the “Star Trek” captain wants to become a US citizen so he can “fight” his presidency.

Trump’s original nominee for secretary of the Navy, Philip Bilden, has withdrawn his name from consideration as his business interests created complications.

Sean Spicer once criticized the then-presidential candidate for saying that Sen. John McCain, who was held as a POW for six years in Vietnam, was not a war hero because he was caught. “He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said during a town hall when on the campaign trail. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK?” Then Spicer later said that “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably” after the comments made about McCain. McCain has been one of Trump’s biggest advisories since.

“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” Trump said last summer when he accepted the GOP nomination in Cleveland. One man government. He can do it all!