The other memo could be released

With a busy week or so, here is a catch-up post of anything Donald Trump.

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to make public the Democratic memo rebutting GOP allegations that the FBI abused surveillance laws, a move that will put the issue back on Trump’s desk this week. If Trump refuses to approve, the House of Representatives will vote and if they get a majority, they could release the Democratic memo once the FBI and Department of Justice approves.

Trump claims that the House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes memo “totally vindicates me” in the Russian collusion. Another piece of propaganda. I think only his faithful will believe that.

Trump first learned of the House Intelligence Committee document last month from some Republican allies in Congress and he watched it take hold in the conservative media, including on some of his favourite Fox News programs. Trump told confidants in recent days that he believed the memo would validate his concerns that the “deep state” — an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests — had conspired to undermine the legitimacy of his presidency, according to one outside adviser.

Trump had dismissed forceful pleas from the FBI director, Christopher Wray, and the second-ranking Justice Department official, Rod Rosenstein, to keep the memo under wraps. They said the four-page document was inaccurate and lacked critical context, and they made their views known in a remarkable public statement objecting to its release. Democrats said the memo, which disclosed material about one of the most tightly held national security processes, selectively used Republican talking points in an effort to smear law enforcement.

Trump accused the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat “Little Adam Schiff” of criminally leaking sensitive information by “…illegally leaking confidential information.” Trump did not provide evidence that Schiff has illegally leaked confidential information. [Shocking!]

Former CIA Director John Brennan scorned Devin Nunes for the release of the controversial GOP memo alleging FBI surveillance abuses, calling aspects of the move “exceptionally partisan” and saying Nunes has “abused the office” in refusing to allow Democrats on his panel to make their rebuttal document public.

Stocks went into free fall on Monday with the Dow plunged almost 1,175 points, by far its worst closing point decline on record. The White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said in a statement that Trump was focused on “our long-term economic fundamentals, which remain exceptionally strong.” The statement cited strengthening economic growth, low unemployment and increasing wages for workers. The Dow and S&P 500 have lost just about everything they gained since the beginning of the year. [After always taking credit for the stock market increases since his first day in office, how will Trump react if the markets continue to fall.]

As Trump touted his economic agenda in Ohio, his face stared out of millions of television screens next to blaring red graphics and yellow numbers whirling like the reels on a slot machine, telling the story of a full-bore stock market plunge.

Trump has previously boasted that the stock markets broke 84 records at one point. Add the 85th: The worst single-day point fall ever.

As the market tanked, Trump was hitting Democrats for not applauding during his State of the Union speech last week. “They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘Treasonous.’ I mean, Yeah, I guess, why not,” the President said. You think someone said ” Treasonous” to him? Does he know the definition of the word?

The Trump administration is dismissing an immigration deal brokered by a bipartisan group of lawmakers as a non-starter just hours before it is expected to be formally introduced in the Senate. The bill would grant eventual citizenship to young undocumented immigrants who have been in the country since 2013 and came to the US as children, but it does not address all of the President’s stated immigration priorities. It would not immediately authorize the $30 billion that Trump is seeking to build the border wall. The bill is a companion to a piece of House legislation that has 54 co-sponsors split evenly by party.

Trump tweeted “March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!” Actually, 27 co-sponsors of the DACA bill were Democrats. More like he doesn’t care about them.

The House intelligence Committee was also prepared to interview Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, as part of the Russia probe. But that meeting was put off, as Bannon refused to be interviewed. He has been subpoenaed and has now delayed answering the panel’s questions three times as the committee negotiates with his lawyer and the White House over the terms of his interview.

At issue is whether the White House will allow Bannon to answer questions about his time in the Trump administration. It was unclear if the House would hold Bannon in contempt.

The Democrats raised questions about whether the committee chairman, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, coordinated with the White House in drafting the GOP memo. Nunes was asked during a Jan. 29 committee meeting whether he had coordinated the memo with the White House. “As far as I know, no,” he responded. [“As far as I know?” Either you did or you didn’t.] Trump praised Nunes in a tweet, calling him “a man of tremendous courage and grit, may someday be recognized as a Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!” [What did he “endure”? You say that to a person who risked his life – not for a memo lacking facts.]

A train derailment in South Carolina that killed 2 people and involved an Amtrak train could be some trouble for Amtrak as a piece of train technology was not implemented on that stretch of track that could of prevented the derailment. The same technology could of also prevented at least 2 other previous train derailment. Congress keeps on giving Amtrak and others postponement of implementing the technology continuously since it became a law to implement about 10 years ago. This includes the Trump administration.

In a since deleted Twitter post, but retweeted elsewhere, House Speaker Paul Ryan said a secretary at a school was “pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week”. Others criticized the tweet saying it isn’t much compared to the $500,000 he received from the Koch brothers. In addition, he has also said “I have heard time and again that the middle class is getting crumbs, but I’ll take it!”

A CNN employee discovered copies of Department of Homeland Security documents, along with other sensitive DHS material, in the seat-back pocket of a commercial plane. The documents critiquing the response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday were marked “For Official Use Only” and “important for national security.”

Trump said that it was “disgraceful” that Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was killed by a man who police believe is an undocumented immigrant in a suspected drunk driving accident over the weekend. “We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!” Trump tweeted. So he has to take advantage of a death for his own gain.

Already at least 4 members of the Super Bowl winners, Philadelphia Eagles, will not visit the White House. Chris Long, who didn’t attend last years as a member of the losing New England Patriots, won’t attend this year either.

The U.S. trade deficit hit the highest level in nine years in 2017 at $566 billion in 2017, highest since 2008. This defying Trump’s efforts to bring more balance to America’s trade relationships. Another failure of his.

Eleven Democratic state attorneys general sued Trump’s administration over its decision to delay implementation of an Obama-era rule that would have expanded the number of wetlands and small waterways protected by the Clean Water Act. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said last week’s decision by the Republican administration to postpone implementation of the 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years is an assault on public health.

The latest figures means nearly $2 of every $10 the campaign has spent last year has gone toward legal fees. And in the last three months of 2017, about 41% of the Trump campaign’s spending went toward legal fees, according to the campaign’s most recent Federal Election Commission filing. The firm representing Trump’s former private attorney Michael Cohen, who was also a top surrogate during the campaign, was paid $214,467 by the campaign in the final months of 2017.

Seems Trump continues to like to be a “sh?t disturber”. Trump attacked the UK’s National Health Service, claiming it is “going broke and not working” and then claimed that the “Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care.”

Britain’s Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt replied that ” I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m [as in 28 million] people have no cover…. where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance.”

Since at least May of 2016, the National Security Agency prominently displayed a mission statement with “honesty” atop its core values. It appears its priorities have changed. On January 12, the NSA removed the mission statement before replacing it with a newer version. The new “Mission & Values” statement not only removes “honesty” as its top priority, but strips any mention of “trust,” “honor,” and “openness” from the page.

A National Security Council official presented senior members of the Trump administration and other agencies with information suggesting that the United States needs to centralize its 5G network by the end of Trump’s first term [if he gets that far] as a safeguard against Chinese cybersecurity and economic threats, according to the documents.

Sanders said “the country would be better for it” if Nancy Pelosi smiled more often. Seriously?

An FBI special agent, Josh Campbell, says he’s turned in his badge so he can publicly voice his concerns over the politicization of the bureau by Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration. Campbell served as a special assistant to former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last year.

The Trump administration has withdrawn its controversial nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, whose selection a year ago had failed to gather momentum with some Senate Republicans raising questions about her expertise. Not surprising, her position stirred controversy because of her statements on climate change where leading scientific assessments have repeatedly found that recent climate change is fueled largely by human greenhouse gas emissions.

UN Relief and Works Agency is claiming that “We signed our new framework agreement with the U.S. in the beginning of December in which every aspect of our relationship from funding to reform discussions was covered and agreed,” Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl told The Associated Press. “They did not explain the current decision by reform-related elements.” He said he believed the funding cut was linked to the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a subsequent vote by the UN General Assembly to denounce the decision.

New polling on that first year of Trump shows that he has a lot of work to do in bringing the country together. There are just 12 states where Trump’s job approval rating was above 50% for the entirety of 2017. That pales in comparison to the 41 states where then-President Barack Obama was above 50% approval for his first year on office.

Analysts believe a government run 5G network would be costly. Most likely the US government will simply offer financial incentives to encourage US carriers to avoid using Chinese equipment, rather than building its own network. This would reduce the choice of hardware to choose from. The same would go for any phone connecting to the network.

Crackpot dictators and wanna be dictators are using Trump’s fake news and media assaults to go after their own media. But they are going further including [errrr] trumped up charges like distributing fake news, national security issues and conspiracy. [Wonder when that will hit the US.]

Trump said he would apologize for retweeting a series of posts by a UK far-right group in November, saying he didn’t know who they were at the time. Far right groups aren’t racist? Seriously?

In an impromptu news conference [scratching your hard time], Trump said “When you have a river that is un-crossable, that you cannot cross, you don’t build a wall, OK?” And then “But we’re saving hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars, by building that wall.” {which is it? A big difference.] Then after talking about the current immigration lottery system and how flawed it is, he adds “… we are going to build a wall.” Are they related?

Something Trump can try soon: Eugene V. Debs, who had been imprisoned for speaking out against World War I and had run for president from prison.

 

 

 

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.