Fired or resigned? In this WH, nobody knows

Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has repeatedly insisted that the White House fired him from his job at the department. The White House says Shulkin resigned. If he resigned, the White House should have his resignation letter.

When Donald Trump announced on Twitter last week that Shulkin would depart the agency and that a Defense Department official, Robert Wilkie, would serve as acting secretary, he side-stepped Shulkin’s deputy, Thomas Bowman, who was next in the line of succession. Given the lengthy process for Senate confirmation, Wilkie could serve in an interim capacity for months should Wilkes want the job permanently.

Trump nominated White House physician Ronny Jackson to become the VA’s next secretary, but lawmakers and veterans’ groups have raised questions about whether or not he has the right experience to lead the government’s second largest bureaucracy. [Will the chief janitor at the White House be the next secretary in charge of infrastructure?] There are allegations about nominee Jackson’s questionable behavior including excessive drinking [even on the job], overprescribing drugs and a “toxic” work environment under his leadership. Hearings into Jackson’s appointment has been delayed because of the allegations.

Jackson drunkenly banged on a woman’s hotel door on an overseas trip and was known as “the candy man” inside the White House, according to a senator.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders defended Jackson’s experience calling him a “very highly qualified, highly respected person in the military and the medical community.” Sanders suggested that Jackson’s current position as the White House physician meant that he had been more thoroughly vetted than other Cabinet nominees.

But in the end, Jackson withdrew his nomination. Jackson slammed allegations of improper behavior leveled against him as “completely false and fabricated.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee have voted against Mike Pompeo to be the next secretary of state which would lead the committee to report out his nomination without a favorable recommendation. Pompeo may still have enough votes to barely get approved for the position as one Democrat had agreed to vote in his favor.

Trump tweeted “Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before.” Hello. There is something called democracy. What Trump is saying is vote for someone who may or may not be appropriate for the job.

Remember the individual who as seeking some legal job in the government and yet never tried a case or knew some basic terminology?

Trump’s pick to replace Pompeo leading the CIA, Gina Haspel, isn’t scheduled to have her confirmation hearing until May 9, but late last week the agency declassified an internal memo that absolves Haspel of responsibility for destroying videotapes showing the waterboarding of terrorism suspects in 2005, an issue that’s been a key sticking point for senators weighing her confirmation.

In the end, the Senate approved Pompeo’s nomination as the next secretary of state on Thursday, installing the former CIA Director as the nation’s top diplomat at a time when several high stakes negotiations are underway around the globe. With a 57-42 vote, Trump can’t whine about the lack of Democrats approving. Just days before Trump tweeted [of course] “Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people….”

Trump twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true: He never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, Trump told the former FBI director, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations. Trump said the Moscow trip was so quick that his head never hit a pillow — even for one night.

Trump flew to Moscow on a Bombardier Global 5000 private jet owned by Phil Ruffin, his partner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas in the morning of November 8, 2014 and landed at Vnukovo airport early morning. He attended a birthday part of Miss Universe pageant’s host and developer Aras Agalarov followed by the pageant and after-party. Trump even tweeted “I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!”

Trump acknowledged for the first time that his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is representing him with regards to legal matters involving Stormy Daniels, the porn star who says she had an affair with Trump. The revelation came after Cohen asserted his Fifth Amendment rights in the matter. Cohen filed court papers indicating he would assert his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in the Daniels case. The case has been put on hold for 90 days.

Trump distanced himself from his personal attorney, whom Trump said has overseen “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. If so, the President may have inadvertently boosted the arguments of prosecutors who have said that communications between the two men shouldn’t be considered confidential under attorney-client privilege provisions.

Prosecutors have argued in federal court that because Cohen has few clients and has done little legal work, there wouldn’t be a lot of privileged information in documents seized by the FBI earlier this month.

Trump insists he “won’t be involved” in any attempt to interfere with the investigation into Russian election meddling but “I may change my mind at some point, because what’s going on is a disgrace.”

Trump is increasingly relying on his personal cell phone to contact outside advisers as Trump returns to the free-wheeling mode of operation that characterized the earliest days of his administration. Part of chief of staff John Kelly’s job was to restrict who Trump contacts and who contacts him. Now by using his cell phone, he is bypassing Kelly. Maybe even to push Kelly out or at least Trump doesn’t want Kelly to know who he’s talking to.

Trump said North Korean dictator “Kim Jong Un, he really has been very open and I think very honourable from everything we’re seeing.” The same man he berated by calling him “Little Rocket Man”. Honorable? Him and his father have consistently broke deals that were approved by all parties. Trump has threatened to deliver “fire and fury” upon North Korea and taunted Kim Jung Un on Twitter that his nuclear “button” was larger than the one in Pyongyang.

Sanders said that the US goal was the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea would probably accept not developing any new nuclear weapons but not accept losing the weapons they currently have.

Republicans won the special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, but once again Democrats have over performed in a deep red district, in another sign the national environment is in the their favor. Republican Debbie Lesko won over Democrat Hiral Tipirneni by about a 5-point margin. But in 2016, Trump won by a 21 point margin.

Trump tweeted “Congratulations to Republican Debbie Lesko on her big win in the Special Election for Arizona House seat. Debbie will do a Great Job! Press is so silent.” Press wasn’t silent – more like Lesko was expected to win in a safe seat. Was only a big win because she could of easily lost if there was a scandal [like Roy Moore] but she was clean.

Trump tweeted ” Arizona, please get out today and vote @DebbieLesko for Congress in #AZ08. Strong on Border, Immigration and Crime. Great on the Military….” That sounds like what he wants, not what she is running for. Surprised no Trump Wall mentioned or it would be obvious it was what he wants.

Is Trump plagiarizing himself? In another tweet, he said “@MarshaBlackburn is a wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her. Great on the Military, Border Security and Crime.” Look at the previous tweet quote.

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration must resume DACA, a program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. It would also require the administration to accept requests from first-time applicants for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

After Kanye West launched an ongoing series of tweets about his admiration of Donald Trump calling him “my brother”, he sort of retracted by saying “I don’t agree with everything Trump does.” However, he did get his hat signed. Trump then tweeted “Kanye West has performed a great service to the Black Community.” Like what service?

Trump tweeted “The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?” Maybe either because of your comments or the fact that sporting events and politics shouldn’t mix or maybe because soccer [football] is bigger elsewhere.

Trump tweeted “Kim Strassel of the WSJ just said, after reviewing the dumb Comey Memos, ‘you got to ask, what was the purpose of the Special Counsel? There’s no there there.’ Dan Henninger of the WSJ said Memos would show that this would be one of the weakest obstruction cases ever brought!” Are they [practicing] lawyers? Probably just Trump loving reporters.

Trump admitted on Fox News that he’s been too busy to get a birthday gift for his wife, first lady Melania Trump, who turned 48 years old this week. Trump added that he did get the first lady “a beautiful card and some beautiful flowers.” [Of course actually bought by someone else. Did he actually pay?]

Trump tweeted “I would rather deal just with France. The [European] Union is very tough for us. They have trade barriers that are unacceptable.” Is there anything acceptable to him?

As part of the fallout from Trump’s tariff increases on steel and aluminum, prices for everything from razor blades to pop/soda will be increasing up to 30% this year.

A former Cambridge Analytica director claims that during the 2016 election campaign, the company had exclusive access to user data from breitbart.com – former chief of staff Stephen Bannon’s web site.

The Washington Post reported that only two companies still sell Trump-branded products, down from 19 listed by Trump in 2015. A Trump cologne, one of his few remaining items, costs $9.99 an ounce, marked down from $42.

Canadian singer Shania Twain “apologize to anybody I have offended in a recent interview with the Guardian” where she said she would of voted for Trump if she was an American.

“I can die happy now with Trump Job performance,” stated Mary Matalin and tweeted by Trump. “A great overall President, stunning!” Of course she works with the Republican Party. If he was doing so well, wouldn’t these comments be more often?

Another firing, more lies and half truths

Looks like we will go another week with another firing by Donald Trump.

Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin by tweet in the wake of a bruising ethics scandal and a mounting rebellion within the agency, and nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to lead the agency. Well at least Shulkin was told by Chief of Staff John Kelly before Trump tweeted that he was fired. In a statement, Trump praised Jackson as “highly trained and qualified.” That is probably code for “I found someone who will do what I say and not cause problems.”

But not surprising a major veterans’ organization expressed concern over Shulkin’s dismissal and Trump’s intention to nominate Jackson, whom they worried lacked experience to run the huge department.

Just this past week, Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow announced that Joe diGenova and his wife [and lawyer] Victoria Toensing, would be joining the team. Not even a week late, both will not, citing “conflicts”. diGenova  is a former US attorney for the District of Columbia. Just 4 days after, the two lawyers met with Trump. So what changed? Hmmmm. Some members of Trump’s legal team had opposed their hiring.

Trump tweeted “Problem is that a new lawyer or law firm will take months to get up to speed (if for no other reason than they can bill more), which is unfair to our great country – and I am very happy with my existing team.” Ummm. Wouldn’t that be the same for any law firm. He’s happy with his team even though John Dowd left recently and he was obviously looking as other lawyers declined jobs.

Trump tweeted “Many lawyers and top law firms want to represent me in the Russia case.” Yup all those lawyers who pick up clients at hospitals looking for big pay days.

Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats the US identified as intelligence agents and the closure of a Russian consulate in Seattle in response to Russia’s alleged use of a nerve agent in the United Kingdom. Trump announced it only after UK and other European countries were expelling diplomats as well. Better late than never! Not surprising, the Russian expelled 60 American diplomats.

White House spokesperson Sara “Simpleton” Sanders said that the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle was tied to the consulate’s “proximity to one of our submarine bases and Boeing.”

A day after reports suggested Trump has it in for Amazon, the U.S. president added gasoline to the fire on Thursday, tweeting that the company is dodging its tax obligations.

Trump tweeted ” Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.).” They actually pay their share of taxes and while they get a bulk discount from the USPS, they are still paying. Unsure what “loss” he is referring to. In fact, online shipping is the one bright spot for the USPS.

Amazon’s annual report shows the company set aside $769 million US to pay various income taxes for fiscal 2017. Amazon’s tax bill next year is likely to be even smaller: the company admits it expects to book a massive $789 million tax break this year as a result of the tax overhaul package Trump signed at the end of last year.

If Amazon doesn’t use the USPS, they would be using another courier to deliver their packages and it is a big business for any company that works with them. Amazon – or more specifically its CEO Jeff Bezos — is a frequent target of Trump. Amazon founder Bezos also owns the Washington Post, one of the newspapers that has been most critical of Trump’s administration’s moves.

Then Trump tweeted “…it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars.” Has he ever heard of volume discounts? And knowing him, he doesn’t even know how much the USPS “loses”. Amazon does not receive a special rate; it pays the rate that the post office charges other bulk shippers.”….does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a ‘lobbyist’ and should so REGISTER,” tweeted Trump. Will Fox News register then? Does he know the definition of a lobbyist [let alone freedom of the press].

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not naming a new special counsel to investigate Republican-driven accusations against the FBI — at least for now. Instead, Sessions revealed that Utah’s top federal prosecutor, John Huber, is looking into allegations that the FBI abused its powers in surveilling a former Trump campaign adviser, and claims that more should have been done to investigate Hillary Clinton’s ties to a Russian nuclear energy agency. If a special counsel was named, it could be a tit for tat when the next Democrat administration is in office. They could have a lot to investigate with this administration.

“Our children are dying! Trump is golfing!” Those seven words, which appeared on one of the thousands of signs at the recent “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, succinctly summed up the sentiment of so many. Trump’s motorcade driving him to play golf at his country club reportedly took a different route so that Trump would not see the local “March for Our Lives” protesters.

Yet Trump has not tweeted one single tweet about the young people, and their adult allies, who took to the streets in Washington and in other cities at hundreds of sister rallies to demand action on gun violence.

Trump has privately floated the idea of funding construction of a border wall with Mexico through the US military budget in conversations with advisers. It was not immediately clear how serious Trump was about pursuing this option, but the move would likely face steep hurdles with appropriators in Congress. Trump has said he would seek that payment in the form of a refund from Mexico, either through trade negotiations, remittance payments or other means.

Congressional budgeting is done with very specific instructions for how dollar amounts are spent. Any repurposing of funds requires express congressional approval, which Trump is unlikely to get. Trumps other idea to fund the wall is increasing fees that a person has to pay when they cross the border from Mexico into the United States. But that would take a long time to amass a decent fund.

He tweeted this excuse “Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense.” Trump saw the increased funding for the military as a reason it could afford to foot the bill for the border wall.

The Trump administration has added to the 2020 Census a question regarding citizenship which could penalize immigrants and threaten civil rights. Now progressives, states and civil rights advocates are preparing a flurry of legal challenges against it. California is fighting it.

Not to be outdone, the Trump administration are suing California because of its sanctuary status.

Federal revenue is declining because of Trump’s tax cuts, so the government needs to borrow more to make ends meet. At the same time, Washington’s borrowing costs have climbed rapidly in recent months. The government plans to sell about $294 billion of debt, according to the Treasury Department. That’s the highest for a week since the record set during the 2008 financial crisis.

Oh jeez. Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway signaled she’d be open to taking the White House communications director job, in a marked departure from her earlier comments on the job. But within the past month she said “I’ve been offered that job many times, and no, I work on policy here at the White House.”

Stormy Daniels filed a lawsuit for defamation against Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen. This is in additional move in an ongoing suit by Daniels against Cohen, Trump and the limited liability company Cohen has said he established to facilitate a payment to Daniels ahead of the presidential election. “It was reasonably understood Mr. Cohen meant to convey that Ms. (Stephanie) Clifford is a liar,” the complaint reads, referencing Daniels’ real name. A friend of Daniels, Alana Evans, also plans on suing Cohen, for defamation.

Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves. A group of advisors to then President-elect Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands.

The Council of Energy Resource Tribes, a tribal energy consortium, estimated in 2009 that Indian energy resources are worth about $1.5 trillion. In 2008, the Bureau of Indian Affairs testified before Congress that reservations contained about 20 percent of untapped oil and gas reserves in the U.S.

Trump tweeted “…. I think President Trump was right when….” Why does he like using third person in his tweets? Is he a Jekyll and Hyde person?

Even after 14 months in office, Trump only amassed 49 million followers on Twitter. A “retired” Barack Obama has 101 million.

There are about 265 million privately-owned guns in America. But half of those guns are owned by only 3 per cent of the population.