Will he ever learn to think before speaking?

Seems he’ll never learn: Donald Trump said he would accept damaging information from Russia and China [or others] on his 2020 Democratic foe. “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” He is now backtracking saying his words were taken out of context or didn’t say exactly that [but ABC has video], etc.

What Trump should do is refuse any information on any political foe – whether or not the individual is a foreign leader or a foreign spy. Some Republicans have also disliked this whole mess.

Mexico had already promised to take many of the actions agreed to in the immigration deal with the US — months before Trump’s tariff threat, officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations told the New York Times. So basically another fraud perpetrated by Trump. Trump moved to accept the existing agreements in a deal after negotiations prompted by his threat to impose growing tariffs on Mexico in response to the border situation dragged on over several days.

The Mexican government had pledged to deploy the National Guard nationwide with a focus on its southern border — a key part of the agreement — during secret meetings in March between former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican interior secretary Olga Sanchez in Miami. The deal’s key expansion of a program that would keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are processed was established in two heavily brokered two diplomatic notes exchanged between the two countries.

Trump argued on Twitter that his intervention and threat of tariffs had been instrumental in getting the promises down on paper. Trump also repeatedly threatened to close the border with Mexico earlier this year if it failed to halt migrant flows, before backing down amid domestic criticism.

Trump claimed that Mexico had agreed to more than what was revealed in the announcement, teasing that more would be announced soon. But he also claims that the Mexican government needs to vote on the agreement. He said while tariffs have been “indefinitely suspended”, tariffs will be reinstated if the agreement isn’t passed.

The additional unannounced part of the agreement could include the idea of Mexico becoming a “safe third country,” which would make it harder for asylum-seekers who pass through the country from other places to claim refuge in the US. Mexico has long opposed the safe country idea. The addition of 6000 Mexican national guard may not be much as they aren’t effective as the US national guard and probably filled with corruption.

Trump unveils four times what he says is the first page of his “secret” trade deal with Mexico on the White House lawn and claims that while he is in control of when it would go into effect, he will let Mexico decide when to announce the deal. Those with good cameras were able to zoom in on the page to actually see some of it.

Last year, Trump proclaimed a huge new trade deal with the European Union after backing off his threats to impose new automobile tariffs. In fact, the two sides agreed to talk about an agreement that is still yet to materialize. Trump has already said he will cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala accusing them of doing nothing to stop the migrant crisis. He has yet to do so.

“If President Obama made the deals that I have made, both at the Border and for the Economy, the Corrupt Media would be hailing them as Incredible, & a National Holiday would be immediately declared,” Trump said on Twitter. Because the “Corrupt Media” knows whatever deal Trump has made is almost always for show only and has little substance. Remember his “deal” with North Korea?

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “I think what the president is saying is, if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he’ll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that and certain guarantees,” Mnuchin said. Mnuchin’s words double down on the contradictory arguments made by Trump in May, after he put the Chinese 5G technology pioneer on the US’ blacklist.

Trump’s own top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, last month begrudgingly admitted that both sides [China and the US] are losing from the spiraling trade war, with American businesses and consumers among those who end up paying for it.

India has announced new tariffs on several US products that will go into effect on June 16, India’s finance ministry said. The goods targeted include American apples — which will be hit with a 70% tariff — as well as almonds, lentils and several chemical products. India first announced plans to impose new tariffs a year ago in retaliation for increased US import duties on Indian steel and aluminum.

The relationship between India and the US has soured in recent weeks after the Trump administration ended India’s participation in a preferential trade program earlier this month. The program exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from US import duties in 2018.

The administration with Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who led enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad, was supposed to be on a redesigned $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson, who was the populist, slave owner, a president and Trump’s favorite president, in 2020 so the bill can include modern security features.

Instead, the bill has been delayed until 2028 even though the engraving plate for it was completed “as recently as May 2018” a Treasury Department employee told the New York Times. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has indicated that there are technical difficulties. Uh huh. In 2016, candidate Trump told NBC that stripping his favorite president, the populist and slave owner, Andrew Jackson, from the $20 bill was “pure political correctness.” Maybe that’s the technical difficulty.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that he prefers to always “follow the process” for approval when it comes to foreign arms sales, comments that appear to put him at odds with Trump’s decision to declare an emergency to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The House approved a resolution greenlighting the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce its subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony and to seek grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report as well as authorized the House panel to take its subpoena of Attorney General William Barr to court, but an agreement struck between the Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department means the committee won’t take that action — at least for now.

Trump claimed he never said he wanted to fire Mueller. Instead McGhan lied to make himself a good lawyer and wanted Mueller gone. I guess McGhan got thrown under the bus and driven over a few times.

The Department of Justice informed the House Oversight Committee that Trump has asserted executive privilege over some materials related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Those documents have been insufficient and are either publicly available documents, heavily redacted or just not responsive to the request at all and unrelated.

The Democratic-led committee will be considering a census contempt resolution that recommends that the House of Representatives find Barr and Ross in contempt of Congress “for refusal to comply with subpoenas.” The contempt resolution itself includes citations for both civil and criminal contempt. Census data serves as the basis for decisions about how to allocate federal resources and draw congressional districts.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month. Trump said that that Sanders will return to her home state of Arkansas and floated the possibility of a gubernatorial run. But there won’t be an opening until 2023 [assuming the current governor resigns or whatever]. Seriously?

Trump claims that Iran was all over the place pushing their might before he was elected and then said that they aren’t anymore and are in “deep deep trouble”. Ya? You sure? They’re still helping one side in Yemen’s civil war. They are still Hezbollah’s benefactor. They are still around in Syria.

Kim Jong Nam, the slain half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives. Trump denied Nam was a CIA asset.

The US Office of Special Counsel [unrelated to Robert Mueller and his investigation] is recommending that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal service, saying she violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions. Conway erred by making “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” The recommendation carries no actual power to remove Conway.

“If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in her removal from her federal position,” Special counsel Henry Kerner said. “Never has (the office) had to issue multiple reports to the President concerning Hatch Act violations by the same individual.”

Trump makes the final decision. “No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person,” Trump told his propaganda department, Fox News. “…it seems to me to be very unfair, it’s called freedom of speech.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she’s “done” with Trump. “I don’t even want to talk about him,” she said, adding, “My stock goes up every time he attacks me, so what can I say, but let’s not spend too much time on that because that’s his victory, the diverter-in-chief, the diverter-of-attention-in-chief.” Would this mean she won’t have meetings with him now?

Analysts believe Trump may hit a trade version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. He can only threaten tariffs so many times before other countries relax knowing that Trump will offer a deal and in return the company getting hit with tariffs won’t have to do much. This allows Trump to show that he is making what his base will think are great deals built are mostly for show.

Fox News ‘personalities” [unsure if you can call them journalists] have started a health war on former Vice President [and Democrat candidate] Joe Biden claiming Biden has various ailments. As Trump spends hours a day watching Fox News, expect him to include their unproven information and conclude the information is true.

In an interview with CNBC:

  • “I’m a member of the US Chamber — maybe I’ll have to rethink that, because when you look at it, the chamber is probably more for the companies and the people that are members than they are for our country.” – This coming from a man who easily is in favor of big business.
  • “We should be entitled to have a fair playing field, but even without a fair playing field — because our Fed is very, very destructive to us.” – Confusing but the “Fed” is Jerome Powell, who Trump nominated as the Chairman of the Fed in November 2017.
  • “This country is allowing this French wine which is great, we have great wine, too, allowing it to come in for nothing. It is not fair.” – Now he will start a trade war with France over Wine?
  • “Because without tariffs, we would be absolutely, outside of something that I won’t even mention….” – And why won’t he mention it? Nothing there.
  • “Nobody’s going to be able to get through. And then [Mexican national guard] they’re also going to protect our southern border.” – So no need of a wall at the border?
  • “And China will, in my opinion, based on a lot of facts and a lot of knowledge…” – Who’s facts and knowledge. He definitely lack both.
  • “I can tell you they discriminate against me….. You know, people talk about collusion. The real conclusion is between the Democrats and these companies.” – Trump claims, without citing any evidence, that the big technology companies are biased against him.

At Trump’s flagship super PAC, America First Action, $33,000 was spent last year on a single event at the Prime Rib, a swanky DC steakhouse. The most expensive item on the menu is $65. Even with some booze, taxes and tip, did they have [say] 330 people there at $100 per person. AFA paid $120,000 to two firms tied to former Milwaukee sheriff [and Trump super-fan] David Clarke [for what work?], and the more than $460,000 spent over two years at Trump-owned properties [no shocker there but for what?].

In the 2018 cycle, AFA and its affiliated non-profit together raised about $75 million, well short of its $100 million goal. About $39 million of that went to the super PAC. By comparison, the Republican National Committee raised more than $233 million in individual contributions in the same cycle.

AFA was paying the equivalent of annual salaries to firms attached to Trump associates such as Sean Spicer, Katrina Pierson and Corey Lewandowski, not to mention Clarke, fueling the perception that the group has become a safe harbor for various Trump cast-offs and family friends.

The Trump administration is planning a costly Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial, despite its failure to pay off $7 million in debt from the 2017 inauguration. To cover the lack of funds from the federal government, the District of Columbia will be pulling money out of its Emergency Planning and Security fund that is typically dedicated to security measures for emergencies and diplomatic events.

A bit of humor:
Reporter: Are you inviting the Raptors to the White House?
Trump: Those beautiful beasts? Sure
Reporter: No I mean the Toronto Raptors?
Trump: Who?

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Trump sends the military to Iran and battles the Democrats at home

Donald Trump warned Iran not to threaten the United States again or it’ll face its “official end,” shortly after a rocket landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad overnight. The Trump administration recently deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over still-unspecified threats.

Trump has given his approval to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to deploy additional military resources to the Persian Gulf region to deter Iranian threats, according a senior US official. The new deployment includes Patriot missile batteries, reconnaissance aircraft and accompanying necessary forces to provide further deterrence against what the Pentagon believes is a rising Iranian threat against US troops in the region.

The Trump administration is considering using a pre-existing rule that would allow it to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia. A section of the Arms Control Act allows the White House to waive a traditional 30-day congressional notification period for arms sales if Trump declares an emergency, thereby preventing Congress from being able to put a hold on those arms deals.

Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy said if Trump took such a step, he would be exploiting an “obscure loophole” in arms control law and the result “would be a complete abuse of power.” Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, warned about the precedent the move could set, while Republican senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rand Paul of Kentucky said they opposed the idea.

Trump says he told Democratic leaders at the White House he couldn’t work with them while they were pursuing investigations into him and his administration. The meeting with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning on infrastructure. [Just cancel the meeting instead of wasting time. Of course it gives him time to watch Fox News and catch up on his tweeting.] Trump sort of claimed that Pelosi’s comment that it was a “cover-up” was his excuse to cancel the meeting as he wanted to discuss infrastructure. “I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said.

Trump tweeted “Everything the Democrats are asking me for is based on an illegally started investigation that failed for them, especially when the Mueller Report came back with a NO COLLUSION finding. Now they say Impeach President Trump, even though he did nothin wrong, while they fish!” Yes. You can impeach someone for doing nothing. I don’t think the 25th amendment allows that. In addition, Mueller’s report didn’t exactly say Trump was completely innocent.

Pelosi has repeatedly shown hesitance – and flat out refusal – to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump. She has justified her position by saying that going after Trump is not “worth” the division impeachment would bring to the country.

Rejecting Pelosi’s characterization of his decision to scrap a meeting with Democrats because of their continued investigations as a “temper tantrum,” Trump accused Democratic officials of being “bad people,” referred to Pelosi as “crazy Nancy” and enlisted several White House officials to publicly corroborate his account that he had addressed Democrats calmly — and not in anger — the previous day.

“The Democrats have done nothing in the House, they’ve done absolutely nothing — I mean other than investigate. They want to investigate.” As for himself, Trump once again proclaimed: “I’m an extremely stable genius.”

Trump lashed out at the media by saying “This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the President of The United States. And honestly you ought to be ashamed of yourselves the way you report it so dishonestly.” [He didn’t call it treason…. Yet.]

Former White House counsel Don McGahn was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about the Mueller report – but he defied the committee’s subpoena and skipped the hearing.

“Let me be clear: This Committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said. “We will not allow the President to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness.” Nadler says he believes the episodes in the Mueller report would have led to Trump being charged with obstruction had he not been president, and that his obstruction has continued since the end of the Mueller probe.

Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court has told the accounting firm Mazars it will need to turn over Trump’s accounting records from before he was President to the Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee. In a 41-page opinion, Mehta dealt a significant blow to the White House as he rejected Trump’s attempt to block the committee’s subpoena, asserting that Congress is well within its authority to investigate Trump.

Trump tweeted back with the usual comments when things go against him plus the judge was Obama appointed. Trump complained that Democrats are trying to “get a redo” on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and “The Democrats were very upset with the Mueller report, as perhaps they should be.”

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders argued that House Democrats have not accomplished anything legislatively while defending her boss in walking out of the talks. But House Democrats have also passed 235 pieces of legislation since January, including several major bills. Of those, only a handful have been taken up by the Republican-held Senate.

Of the bills that have passed, 17 were also passed by the Senate and became law, including legislation to end the shutdown, to address the Colorado River Drought, and address conservation and outdoor recreation.

Trump ordered all US intel agencies to assist Attorney General William Barr in his review of surveillance issues surrounding Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has long maintained — without any evidence — that entities in the US government were “spying” on his campaign. Trump and his allies also want to know how the Russia investigation got started. Trump was particularly bothered by the subpoena for Hicks, who earned familial status in Trump’s eyes.

The House Judiciary Committee issued its latest subpoena for a top Trump aide to testify, this time setting its sights on his former communications director Hope Hicks [she’s an executive at Fox now]. They also issued a subpoena for Annie Donaldson, former chief of staff McGhan, who was deputy White House counsel, seeks documents and her appearance at a deposition in June.

Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering specialists once recommended that transactions involving entities controlled by Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a US agency that investigates financial crimes, according to a new report in the New York Times. The Times reports that Deutsche Bank employees flagged the transactions in 2016 and 2017, and that at least one of the reports involved the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is now defunct.

Democrats in New York state passed a pair of bills that would allow Congress to get hold of Trump’s state tax returns amid an escalating fight with top administration officials over access to Trump’s federal returns.
Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen alleges that Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow knew that Cohen’s claim to Congress that the Trump Tower Moscow project ended in January 2016 was false, Cohen told the House Intelligence Committee in March. The claim comes from a transcript of the roughly 15 hours of closed-door testimony that Cohen gave the committee.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani also came to Sekulow’s defense, saying that he was “one of the very most ethical lawyers and honest men I have ever known.” Shockingly [not!] Giuliani then said “Michael Cohen is a serial liar. Cohen should be prosecuted for his blatant perjury before the House committee. Jay should receive the most effective and ethical lawyer of the year award.”

The Michael Flynn court records show that the fired first national security adviser helped Mueller’s investigation on at least three prongs: as the special counsel looked into interaction between the Trump transition team and Russia, WikiLeaks’ release of emails during the presidential campaign and the President’s efforts to interfere with the investigation.

Flynn also assisted the Eastern District of Virginia and prosecutors from the Justice Department’s National Security Division with a now-open case against his former lobbying partner, who allegedly worked illegally for Turkey.”

Trump responded with a tweet: “It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge.” Flynn isn’t under investigation. Trump, you are.

When Trump chose Rex Tillerson to be his secretary of state, he praised his “tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics.” In a tweet touting the pick, Trump called Tillerson “one of the truly great business leaders of the world.”

Now, he says “Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree….” I don’t think Vladimir Poutine cares actually – maybe he’s just laughing at the show.

Why now? A reporter on the trip said “Trump has been presented with a large binder of preparation materials for his trip to Europe” for a G20 summit in Poland but didn’t bother reading much of it. This is typical since he barely reads any security reports. Tillerson said roughly the same thing recently. But meanwhile, Trump did hire him on 2016. So who’s fault is it for hiring this “dumb as a rock”?

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas objected to passing a disaster relief bill, meaning the more than $19 billion in aid may not go to Trump’s desk for his signature before June. Roy cited the lack of money for the border and the $19 billion price tag as two reasons for his objection. Lawmakers had hoped to advance the bill using unanimous consent which would quickly pass it out of the chamber. But it only takes one person to object to unanimous consent.

I’m sure you will ask this question: What does money for Trump’s Wall got to do with a disaster relief bill – unless he considers Trump’s Wall a disaster – which it is. Surprisingly, Trump has said publicly that he would sign this bill even without the border funding he had previously requested.

The Trump Administration has proposed a rule that would roll back an Obamacare regulation that prohibits discrimination against patients who are transgender or have previously undergone an abortion. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities.”

A Republican congressman Justin Amash became the first member of Trump’s party on Capitol Hill to accuse him of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He stopped short of calling on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, which many Democrats have been agitating for. No shocker, Trump lashed out at him.

Canada and the US came to an agreement regarding the removal of tariffs that the Trump admission put on Canada and Canada responded in the spring of 2018. Gone are importing of Canadian steel and aluminum tariffs and [ummmm] playing cards, licorice and bourbon have officially been lifted. This may allow the upgraded NAFTA agreement to be passed by the Canadian government.

Canada had also had retaliatory tariffs slapped extra import duties on aluminum and steel coming from the United States but also 75 other products including sleeping bags, toilet paper, soy sauce and ketchup.

At a Montoursville, Pennsylvania rally recently, Trump said:

  • “Man, this is a lot of people.” – Why on earth show up in the middle of nowhere to a rally where the town’s population is 4,000.
  • And then “I think next time we’ll just have to get a bigger hanger….”
  • “Crazy. You’ve got a thing called the sun. We like the sun better than the artificial not sun.” Huh?
  • “Do we keep our logo? Do we keep our slogan? Make America Great Again or it’s very risky. Changing the most successful slogan has to be.” How do you measure the success of a slogan?
  • “Oh, we have the most beautiful fighter jets in the world being delivered now every day.” He likes to say the word “beautiful”. Probably would say it about poop as well.
  • “And you know what, if we aren’t smart it will end for you with the Second Amendment.” There is no one on record favoring the removal of the amendment.

[Sidebar: National Constitution Center: “In simple odds, the chance of any constitutional amendment being repealed would be roughly the same as a person living to 80 years old being struck by lightning during their lifetime, according to National Weather Service data.”]

  • “They want to knock down all buildings in Manhattan and rebuild them without windows.” What New York City has proposed is retrofitting buildings of 25,000 square feet or more to make them more energy-efficient.
  • “We’ve lost 60,000, not jobs, listen to this. Sixty thousand factories, here’s the good news. We’re building them all back. They’re coming back. All coming back.” 60,000 FACTORIES lost because of NAFTA are coming back?
  • “Look at the thousands and thousands of people we have, now he said he had 600 people.” He was comparing his crowd and not that large versus former Vice President Joe Biden crowd in Philadelphia – estimated at 6,000.
  • “And don’t forget Biden deserted you. He’s not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here, but he left you folks. He left you for another state.” Biden left his home state of Pennsylvania when he was 10 years old! Not much of a choice for him. Not really sure that counts as having “deserted” the people of Pennsylvania.
  • “Our country is full. We don’t want people coming up here. Our country is full. We want Mexico to stop….” Is he said he doesn’t want immigrants in general or just Mexicans? I’m sure he’ll accept wealthy foreigners.
  • “We passed a largest package of tax cuts in the history of our country.” Except some found out they are still paying more than the previous year. Only the wealthy got reductions across the board.