Obstruction, tariffs, and subpoenas

Special counsel Robert Mueller announced that he would appear before the House Judiciary Committee tentatively on May 15th. That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and are hoping the Special Counsel will agree to it. The denial comes after two missed deadlines by the Treasury secretary, who has previously called the request by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal under an obscure statute of tax law “unprecedented.”

Donald Trump said Mueller should not appear before the committee just two days after telling reporters Attorney General William Barr should make that decision. Trump questioned why Mueller needs to testify after spending 2 years on his report. He, of course, had to throw in that there was no collusion or obstruction or the other usuals.

The White House has instructed former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony related to the committee’s obstruction of justice investigation from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, teeing up the latest in a series of escalating oversight showdowns between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats.

McGahn’s decision not to comply with the subpoena could push Nadler to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress, just as he’s moving to do with Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department defied a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Nadler directing the committee to request the documents from the White House, and not McGahn.

The White House requested that McGahn publicly state that Trump didn’t obstruct justice, but McGahn declined. McGahn previously told Mueller’s investigators he didn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.

The Justice Department has informed Nadler that the “President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials” and called the vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress “politically motivated and unnecessary.”

Nadler accused Barr of turning the Department of Justice “into an instrument of Trump personally rather than an instrument of justice and representative of the United States.” The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. for him to return and testify again, and the committee is now at a standoff with Trump’s eldest son. One option Trump Jr. is considering in response to the subpoena is to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, and another is just to not appear at all.

The subpoena for Trump Jr.’s testimony marks an escalation of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian election interference. The committee has recently begun re-interviewing witnesses, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who appeared for a second time earlier this year.

Hundreds of former Justice Department officials said in an open letter that Trump would be facing multiple felony charges stemming from the Russia investigation if he were not President.

The letter posted online by Justice Department alumni, who served under presidents from both parties, said the report from special counsel Robert Mueller contained repeated instances of Trump committing obstruction of justice, and that he would have been charged with obstruction if he was not protected as President by an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that Mueller cited.

Trump has escalated its trade war with China, hiking tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports hours after trade talks held in Washington failed to produce a breakthrough. Tariffs on the targeted exports increased from 10% to 25% at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, prompting a swift rebuke from Beijing. Last minute negotiations failed. Trump said the new tariffs were because China “broke the deal.” It seems China is backtracking on commitments to change laws over intellectual property and trade secrets, competition policy, and currency manipulation. Of course Trump claimed Iran has broken the nuclear deal – with nothing proven.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association estimates that a 25% tariff on apparel imports will increase costs for a family of four by $500 a year. If Trump thinks that this round of tariffs will help the American economy, he’s dreaming. Probably job losses because of higher prices. Limited manufacturing jobs as good luck in building a new factory to make more expensive shoes so fast.

Trump hoped to force China to further open its market to US exports, stop the forced sharing of intellectual property with China, and rewrite trade deals he said have unfairly benefited Beijing. The Chinese economy is fundamentally more vulnerable than that of the US. If China retaliates it could make quite a few things more expensive such as toys, shoes and iPhones [oh well].

The Trump Administration ordered the Pentagon to deploy a carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in order to send a message to Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was for security issues or threats that involve Iran and US allies in the region. Then Pompeo abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to Germany where he was planning to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel “due to pressing issues,” the State Department. In both cases, no specific explanation was given.

Iran announced it was partially withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal, marking a serious escalation in Tehran’s faceoff with Trump and the United States. President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech that Iran would reduce its “commitments” to the deal, but would not fully withdraw, amid heightened pressure from the US in recent weeks.

Rouhani said Iran will keep its excess enriched uranium and heavy water, rather than sell it to other countries as previously agreed to limit its stockpile. The move comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal, over the stringent objections of other signatories.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied a request from House Democrats for access to six years of Trump’s personal tax returns. “I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfill the Committee’s request,” Mnuchin wrote in his letter, written in consultation with lawyers from the Department of Justice.

Democrats initially directed their request to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, the only person with the legal authority to turn over the returns, but Mnuchin has interceded twice in the matter, citing his role overseeing the federal tax collector.

The Trump administration is considering deporting migrant families with court-ordered removals, a move that senior Department of Homeland Security officials have resisted in the past. The idea, described as a way to “send a message” to smugglers, is “under serious consideration.” The Department of Homeland Security, suffering from a lack of resources, is unable to deport all those who are ordered to be removed from the country and has said it focuses on the people it deems the most dangerous.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens accused Trump of exceeding his presidential powers in an interview published Thursday, telling The Wall Street Journal that Trump “has to comply with subpoenas.” Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from his appointment by President Gerald Ford in 1975 until his retirement in 2010, is a lifelong Republican whose rulings often leaned left.

The Pentagon has diverted an additional $1.5 billion in Defense Department funds from various accounts in order to fund the Trump Wall, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said and has found a way to reprogram the $1.5 billion without harming readiness. However, he added that the Pentagon wouldn’t be diverting any more funds to the wall.

In 1985, Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses – largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 – more than $250 million each year – were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

Trump responded in a series of tweets by saying “Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered ‘tax shelter,’ you would get it by building, or even buying.” Doesn’t sound like his tweeting. Too adult like wording.

He’s cheating his own government with tax shelters. If this was another businessman, would Trump as President allow this to continue or send off abusive tweets.

This can’t end well. Trump has laid tentative plans to upend the traditional Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, moving the fireworks show from the National Mall and perhaps including an address from Trump himself. Major backlash if he goes political. The fireworks display on the Mall has been a time-honored nonpartisan tradition for nearly half a century. The plans involve moving the fireworks show closer to the Potomac River and adding a second stage for entertainment.

“Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back…..,” Trump said in a tweet. Stolen? He didn’t do much. So very little can be “stollen”.

At a rally in Florida, Trump said “And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?” Someone in the audience interrupted Trump, shouting: “Shoot them!” With Trump replying “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”

In the sports section…

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora will not join the team during its visit to the White House soon because of displeasure with the Trump administration’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico. There were parts of the country without power for almost a year, and nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico alone as the result of the hurricane. A few other players will also not attend.

At the Kentucky Derby, after the horse Maximum Security was disqualified for having illegally impeded other horses, Trump had to give his 2 cents work by saying “”The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one” and “Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!” Ummm. “Political correctness”?

After Facebook barred seven users from its services, citing its policies against “dangerous individuals and organizations,” Trump is siding with the people who were banned and railing against social media “censorship”. In various tweets he said “It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!” He ignored the fact that some of the banned users are extremists who make a living by deceiving their fans.

Legal issues for Trump continue

It was a relatively quiet week for Donald Trump. But you know that can change quite fast.

Trump accused the New York attorney general’s office of illegally investigating the National Rifle Association. “The NRA is under siege by (New York Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office announced in a statement it had launched an investigation into the NRA and had issued subpoenas to the organization, but did not confirm what the probe was in regard to. The investigation could be about chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, for financial misconduct where LaPierre improperly used $200,000 of NRA funds to purchase clothing from an NRA vendor. Another example of Trump’s obstruction of justice and him using his power to help friends.

Trump, three of his children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka — and his business are suing two banks to block them from turning over financial records to congressional committees that have issued subpoenas for the information. “The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family….” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit in New York’s Southern District claims that the subpoenas the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee sent to Deutsche Bank and Capital One aren’t valid because they violate banking privacy law and they are not for shaping legislation. Yet at least one other court has said previously that claims like those can’t stop congressional subpoenas.

Seems Robert Mueller is not happy with Barr’s summary report, saying in a letter to Attorney General William Barr: “As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office’s work and conclusions. The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25.”

It took around 3 weeks from the time Mueller’s report was sent to Barr and Barr released his shortened version of the report. Between then, Barr claimed that Trump was vindicated but Barr’s version left out many key findings and didn’t summarize the right findings in others. Barr has since been grilled in a Congressional committee and now may not answer further questions but could be charged with contempt.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler sent his latest offer Attorney General William Barr to try to reach an agreement in his effort to obtain the unredacted special counsel report and the underlying evidence before Nadler moves forward with holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress.

Trump indicated that he’s not willing to allow former White House counsel Don McGahn — a key figure in the Robert Mueller report and Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation — to testify before Congress. So more obstruction of justice.

White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said that Trump could use executive privilege to block McGahn from complying with a congressional subpoena. McGahn was a key player with direct knowledge about Trump’s efforts to undermine the Russia probe.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Poutine spoke by telephone for “over an hour,” during which they briefly discussed special counsel Mueller’s report and other issues, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. I’m sure there was Trump saying “There was no collusion with you but of course there was.”

In a Kremlin’s readout, Poutine warned Trump against “outside interference” in Venezuelan affairs, saying such efforts would “undermine the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.” Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro was ready to leave the country when Russia told him to stay put. That’s not outside interference? The Kremlin denied this.

The Democrats agree with Trump on a $2 trillion infrastructure bill but may not pass the senate as GOP senators are balking because warn that they will oppose any measure that adds to the deficit. You think Trump will still whine that the Democrats aren’t working with him? The agreement calls for a 35 cent a liter tax to help. Republican lawmakers were not invited to the White House meeting that involved Trump and Democrat leaders that hammered out the agreement.

The city of San Francisco is suing the Trump administration over its new rule protecting religious providers when they object to providing certain types of care. The lawsuit claims the administration’s rule will restrict access to contraception, abortion, HIV treatment and a host of other medical services.

Economic commentator Stephen Moore has withdrawn his name from consideration to sit on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Moore previously said that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men’s college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life “where men can take vacation from women.” In a 2000 column, Moore complained about his wife voting for Democrats, writing, “Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there’s a gender gap.” And there are other gender comments that aren’t good either. Too many Republican senators are against him to win the bid.

Joseph Yun, the former State Department Special Representative for North Korea, confirmed that he signed an agreement to pay North Korea $2 million for the release of American student Otto Warmbier in 2017. He did so with the approval of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that it was his understanding Trump had also signed off on the decision. But the Trump administration has said no money has been paid for release of Warmbier.

White House national security adviser John Bolton also confirmed that Yun signed a document pledging $2 million for Warmbier’s release and that the US has not made any payments. It happened before Bolton joined the administration.

Recently Trump tweeted, “‘Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States. 20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid.’ Cheif (sic) Hostage Negotiator, USA!” It is one thing he can probably be proud of in this less than stellar administration.

At a Wisconsin rally, Trump’s claimed that mothers and doctors are permitted to execute a baby after it leaves the womb. Obviously false. The bill he referred to would mandate that health professionals do all they could to keep a baby alive if it was “born alive” and would penalize anyone who let a baby die [after the baby was born].

Wisconsin governor, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, planned to veto a GOP-backed state bill that could have meant life sentences in prison for doctors who intentionally did not provide medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion but Trump [maybe confusing the two or not] said “shockingly stated that he [Evers] will veto legislation that protects Wisconsin babies born alive.” The legislation doesn’t say that.

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation, ending a two-year run defined by his appointment of a special counsel to investigate connections between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. His last day will be May 11. The departure had been expected since the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general in February.

Trump, upset that a major firefighters union have endorsed Joe Biden, went on a Twitter storm, sending out about 60 tweet, many related to the endorsement for Biden and claiming that many firefighters support him. No actual proof of course. He even tweeted “I’ve done more for Firefighters than this dues sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!” Doesn’t help him.

The White House Correspondents’ Association came and went with no comedian. Trump of course still skipped the dinner even if no one was expected to roast and filet him. He ended up at a rally in poor Wisconsin.

Presidential historian Ron Chernow gave a speech in lieu of a comedian. Among Chernow’s jokes:

  • “I was puzzled by this news [Trump banning anyone in his administration from attending], but then I learned a rumor was circulating in Washington that I was going to be reading from the redacted sections of the Mueller report and everything was explained.”
  • While referencing Trump’s recent comment that America “is full” when speaking about immigration, joked that Alexander Hamilton [from the musical “Hamilton”] was an immigrant who arrived, “thank God, before the country was full.” He added, “Frankly I don’t know why they let the guy in, clearly someone slipped up at the southern border.”
  • “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” Chernow remarked, “As best I can tell, [George] Washington committed only one major blunder as President: He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding.” He wryly added, “Clearly deficient at the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle at the lowly title of ‘Father of his Country.'”
  • Chernow finished his speech by paraphrasing a line by Mark Twain: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often — and for the same reason.”

Trump has now said more than 10,000 false or misleading things [said or tweets] in his first 827 days in office, according to The Washington Post Fact Checker – or just over 12 per day [one every 2 hours]. In just 3 days from April 25-27 [at a rally and the NRA conference], he 171 in those 3 days alone. The last seven months have 3 times the rate of his first 600 days.

The University of Virginia men’s basketball team will not be celebrating its national championship with Trump at the White House, per a statement from the head coach. “With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation,” Bennett said in the statement.

The Baylor women’s basketball team, whose members also became national champions this year, announced Wednesday that it would be attending a ceremony at the White House that will include Trump.

In a poll commissioned by CNN, Trump’s approval rating actually as at its highest [at 43%] in over 2 years. When you scratch your head, don’t take out too much hair – if you have hair. In addition 44% of Democrats and 46% of independents believe the Democrats are going too far to investigate Trump.

About two-thirds still say Trump ought to release his tax returns (66%, including 52% who consider it important for a president to do) and 54%, say the President is not doing enough to cooperate with Democratic investigations. 37% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 59% say they do not feel that way.

Bad week for Trump

This past Tuesday may go down as the worst day for Donald Trump in his administration.

In a busy day, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to eight criminal counts, admitting that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” he acted to keep information that would have been harmful to the candidate and the campaign from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle. Cohen faces up to 65 years in prison.

Cohen’s under-oath admission — in which he said he violated campaign finance law “in coordination and at the direction” of Trump — holds specific and significant weight for Trump. If the prosecution can show that a candidate knew about the violation and knew about the act and participated, then the candidate can be personally liable.

The charges expose, through the criminal information filed against Cohen in court, that he acted with Trump and his allies, including David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc., to suppress potentially damaging claims against the now-President. Though Trump himself isn’t named, the court filing refers to an Individual-1, who by January 2017 had become president of the United States. Pecker has received immunity.

The National Enquirer kept a safe containing documents about hush-money payments and damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump leading up to 2016 presidential election. The contents were removed them from the safe in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration. It was unclear whether the documents were destroyed or simply moved to a location known to fewer people.

Not surprising, Trump lashed out at Cohen of making up “stories in order to get a ‘deal”‘ from federal prosecutors. Trump, a legal expert [sarcasm], said, “Michael Cohen plead (sic) guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime.”

Cohen’s lawyer already stated that Cohen isn’t looking for a pardon and I don’t think Trump would giving him one after throwing him under the bus.

Trump also complained that “President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!” Trump was apparently referring to a fine levied on the former president’s 2008 campaign over missing and delayed disclosure of high-dollar donors in the final days of that race. I don’t think you can compare as one clearly influenced the election.

Trump changes his story again saying “What Michael Cohen pled to weren’t crimes,” Trump told Fox News, suggesting Cohen accepted a plea deal on the campaign finance violations because the other crimes he admitted to were more serious. “He made a great deal. He was in another business totally unrelated to me where I guess there was fraud involved.”

Trump forgets [or maybe not] that Cohen’s testimony against him is not that Trump paid Cohen who paid the two women but did so to use campaign money for something that wasn’t campaign related and possibly alter or hide information that could affect the election outcome.

Trump claimed payments to women shouldn’t be a campaign finance issue because “they didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.” Let him prove he used his money and it sounds like he admits to knowing that money was paid. He also claimed that Cohen worked for him for a decade, saying he was just a “part-time attorney” who had many other clients. With the trouble Trump gets into, I doubt many. Or many continuously.

Trump suggested that Cohen’s legal trouble stemmed from his other businesses, including involvement with the New York City taxi cab industry, and that he decided to offer “lies” about Trump to reduce his own legal exposure. I don’t think Cohen’s issues with the taxi industry is anything but small potatoes compared to his political side.

White House press secretary, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, said “I’m not getting into the back and forth details. I can tell you as the President has stated on numerous occasions, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him in this. Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn’t mean that implicates the President on anything.” Except Cohen is under oath and doesn’t need additional jail time for lying under oath and we already know Trump knows nothing about the law.

When a reporter asked Sanders if Trump ever lied to Americans [for example where Trump said he knew nothing about the payments but now seems to remember], Sanders replied ” I think that’s a ridiculous accusation. …. There are no charges against him.” So she didn’t really answer and no charges yet. She referred substantive questions to the president’s personal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, who was at a golf course in Scotland – nice coincidence.

“It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time,” Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said. Is he serious? If so, Trump was fooled with Cohen doing this as his lawyer for 12 years. What does that tell you about Trump [that we already don’t know]?

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate said “President should not be held responsible for the actions of the people he’s trusted.” Ummm. Trump is their boss. He has the ultimate responsibility.

A former federal prosecutor said “No longer can you say Mueller is on a witch hunt when you have his own lawyer pleading guilty to things that were designed to impact the election.” But Trump, not a lawyer, will ignore that and his followers will as well.

And Cohen’s lawyers get even more busy as investigators in New York state issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of their probe into the Trump Foundation. Cohen could potentially be a significant source of information for state investigators looking into whether Trump or his charity broke state law or lied about their tax liability.

If evidence of alleged crimes is found, the matter could be referred to prosecutors, who could pursue criminal charges and seek the release of Trump’s tax returns.

Meanwhile, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, a major victory for special counsel Robert Mueller. But jurors were unable to reach a verdict on 10 charges, and Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those counts. Manafort was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. He faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.

One of the jurors from Paul Manafort’s trial said that although she “did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty,” the evidence was “overwhelming. … We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail. We laid it out in front of her again and again and she still said that she had a reasonable doubt.” The juror held out on 10 counts but agreed on 8.

He still faces a second set of criminal charges in a Washington, DC, federal court, of failure to register his foreign lobbying and of money laundering conspiracy related to the same Ukrainian political work that was central to the Virginia case.

Not surprising, Trump said that the charges Manafort was convicted of have “nothing to do with Russian collusion” and criticized Mueller’s investigation for arriving at this point.

Some higher up Republicans are already saying Manafort shouldn’t be pardoned as it could add “interfering with an investigation” according to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, whose entanglements with Trump’s finances are extensive, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen. The interview, which focused on Cohen and the payments, happened weeks ago under a deal negotiated by his attorney.

Weisselberg, whose relationship with Trump dates back decades, is also the treasurer of Trump’s charity, helped prepared Trump’s tax returns and is the only non-family member to serve as trustee of the trust that holds the President’s interest in his own companies. “Allen knows where all the financial bodies are buried. Allen knows every deal, he knows every dealership, he knows every sale, anything and everything that’s been done” said one person.

“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job,” Trump said in response in an interview, who asked if he believes Democrats would try to impeach him if they win back control of Congress. Doing a “great” job has nothing to do with doing something illegal or un-American. “If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor.” I don’t think the market crashed from the previous impeachments.

“I give myself an A+. I don’t think any President has ever done what I have done,” Trump said inflating his ego by himself even more. “…Soon to be two unbelievable Supreme Court justices…” He judges his performance by maybe getting 2 supreme court justices appointed? If normal justices are nominated, there shouldn’t be any doubt they get appointed.

Trump sharply decried those who testify against former confidants to ease legal trouble, bemoaning the longstanding practice. “It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” Trump said in the interview. So he now wants to rewrite the justice system. “I know all about flipping, 30, 40 years I have been watching flippers.” So he knows a lot of people who ended up in prison. What a good judge of personality.

Trump tweeted “‘Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.’ Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks,…” Or maybe Sessions meant something coming from Trump or his minions.

As we know already, Trump knows nothing about the legal system. Case in point. There is no such federal crime for collusion and yet he keeps on saying it. Trump could be damaged politically should there be findings of conspiracy or obstruction of justice in a report special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to deliver at the conclusion of the investigation.

White House counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s probe, participating in several interviews spanning 30 hours over the last nine months. McGahn has provided “detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice,” including providing information that the Mueller team otherwise would not have learned about.

McGahn’s decision to cooperate was partly due to the fact that the President’s initial legal team had decided to fully cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump tweeted “I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction.” I don’t think there is anything to compare between previous probes such as Watergate and this mess.

Yes. There is other news related to Trump.

If the administration can’t get any lower or more controversial, now there is talk of pulling President Barrack Obama’s security clearance. This would be unprecedented. It has been a long standing that any living president had access [if they wanted it] to the latest security briefings [for example]. While they ate not a leader and of limited influence, they were given continued access when they met foreign leaders or even if the current president requires advise. In the case of possibly revoking Obama’s access this is all political.

Regarding the removal of the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and probably nine others former and current security official from his and President Obama’s administration, Trump tied his dislike of the Russian probe to them. But White House spokeswoman Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said it was his “erratic conduct and behavior”.

Trump joined supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, for a political rally to celebrate his administration’s proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. The move would reverse Obama administration efforts to combat climate change and marks the fulfillment of a campaign promise at the heart of his appeal.

The EPA formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide. If there is a bright side, the states [assuming they are sane] can keep the current regulations as is or limited modifications. Since 2007, coal production has dropped from around 1150 “short” tons in 2007 to about 750 “short” tons in 2017.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler argued the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — the policy being replaced by this week’s proposal — “exceeded the agency’s legal authority” and argued the old regulations led to rising energy prices which have “hurt low and middle income Americans the most.” EPA says the rule could cut electricity prices by 0.2% to 0.5% around 2025. So for a $100 invoice, someone will save 20 cents or a bit more. Meanwhile, what about the pollution? Lung disease, asthma or premature deaths?

Giuliani used the line “truth isn’t truth” when he was trying to make the case that having Trump sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team wouldn’t accomplish much because of the he-said-she-said nature of witnesses’ recollections.

Giuliani cited as an example former FBI Director James Comey, who has said that Trump pushed him at a private meeting to ease up in the federal investigation of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has disputed that. But as a lawyer doesn’t he know that it is the court to decide who is saying the truth [with witnesses]? Did he actually go to law school?

Giuliani said that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior Trump campaign officials and Russians “was originally for the purpose of getting information about (Hillary) Clinton,” but denied any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. If you remember, Trump and others said the meetings originally for adoption matters. This further hammers a nail against Donald Trump Jr. who stated it was for adoptions. Perjury?

Trump tweeted “… But virtually everybody is saying this, & when our Trade Deals are made, & cost cutting done, you haven’t seen anything yet!” Yes. Cost cutting usually means jobs cuts. “Companies are moving back to the U.S.A.” They moved out? Who came back?

Trump tweeted “Our Economy is setting records on virtually every front – Probably the best our country has ever done. Tremendous value created since the Election. The World is respecting us again! Companies are moving back to the U.S.A.” Yup. Records? After shutting down more than 5,000 stores in 2017, there have been more than 4,000 store closures announced so far this year [after 8 months].If the world was respecting the US, North Korea wouldn’t still be developing nuclear bombs, no need for tariffs, etc.