Trump pressures evangelists to vote for him

In a closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders, Donald Trump said [in a secret recording] “This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much.” If the GOP loses, he said, “they [the Democrats] will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people.”

Someone is getting nervous. So not only is he lumping the Democrats and Antifa [a violent anti-Fascist group] as one, he is expecting violence to occur after the mid-term elections and the Democrats to undo everything he’s done. Which was? Of course, Trump can veto any bill that the Democrats attempt to push through – but he doesn’t tell them that.

He also added “… you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.” Huh? Are there more than one Sunday in a week?

Then  Trump repeated his debunked claim that he had gotten “rid of” a law forbidding churches and charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates. In fact, the law remains on the books, after efforts to kill it in Congress last year failed.

The law that Trump says he got rid of is the so-called Johnson Amendment which says churches and charities “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for elective public office.”

With the death of Senator John Sidney McCain III, Trump has not been invited to the funeral. Probably the first in a long time for a well-known politician.

Trump went against the advice of senior aides to issue an official White House statement praising McCain for his heroism and decades of service, telling aides he instead wanted to post a brief tweet. Trump’s tweet did not mention McCain’s military or Senate service nor include any praise for the late Arizona Republican.

Melania Trump and Mike Pence both sent tweets mentioning McCain’s service to the nation and offered condolences – unlike Trump.

Trump gave in twice in one day. First the veterans American Legion requested that the flag go back until half mast according to protocol. Then after being hounded by reporters all day [he wouldn’t answer back], late in the day, and after urging from senior aides, he relented, offering brief plaudits for the recently passed lawmaker in a statement after responding to questions earlier only with silence although most was about the logistical details and not about the man.

Trump told some advisers he believed the television coverage of McCain’s death was over the top. But this is part of his inflated ego. An important politician died and Trump still thinks that the politician’s death is making more news than anything he does.

US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson dealt a blow to Trump’s efforts to “promote more efficient” government, ruling that key provisions of three recent executive orders “undermine federal employees’ right to bargain collectively” under federal law.

Departments and agencies were directed to engage in tougher negotiations over collective bargaining agreements and to conclude talks in under a year to limit the expense of “drawn-out bargaining.” Contracts were to be renegotiated to limit the amount of time authorized employees could spend on union business during official work hours, known as “official time.”

Michael Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said that he “could not independently confirm” the claims he made on television recently that Cohen witnessed Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand. Davis is also hedging suggestions he made on television recently that Cohen could tell special prosecutor Robert Mueller about whether Trump was aware of and encouraged Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign before it became publicly known.

Trump and his then personal attorney Cohen devised a plan to purchase potentially damaging stories about Trump from AMI, The New York Times reported. The information gathered on Trump dating back to the 1980s includes older stories and notes about Trump’s marital woes, lawsuits and tips about alleged affairs, among other things.

Three anchors on Fox News say Trump is lying about Cohen and Stormy Daniels. Even they are beginning to turn on Trump.

“White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court….” Trump tweeted. With trump’s history, he will probably be shown the white door before confirmation.

McGahn’s standing in the White House has been the subject of much speculation following the disclosure earlier this month that he has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s probe, participating in several interviews spanning 30 hours over the last nine months. Trump approved the interviews but doesn’t know what was talked about.

Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo says that the midterm elections will be all about impeachment and it is getting closer.

Trump warned at a campaign-style rally in Indiana that he would “get involved” if the FBI and Justice Department don’t “start doing their job.” Speaking later at the event in Evansville, Trump suggested the leadership of the department and bureau were biased against Republicans and “people are angry.”

A Justice Department lawyer, Bruce Ohr, whose ties to the infamous dossier about Trump and Russia has drawn the ire of Republicans told House lawmakers that he was told Russian intelligence thought they had the then-candidate “over a barrel” during the 2016 campaign.

Dossier author Christopher Steele shared the information with him at a July 2016 breakfast. Ohr said that his wife, Nellie Ohr, who was a contractor for Fusion GPS — the firm that employed Steele to dig up dirt on Trump — also attended the breakfast.

Trump accused NBC News of altering the tape of an interview during which he cited the Russia investigation as a reason for why he fired James Comey as FBI director. In a series of tweets, Trump railed against the media and took aim at NBC, seeming to accuse the network of “fudging” an interview he gave about 18 months ago, just days after he abruptly fired James Comey as FBI director. Trump offered no proof of the claim. So why claim after 18 months the interview was “fudged” as the interview was released then.

Calling Comey a “showboat” and “grandstander” who led the agency into turmoil, Trump contradicted the White House and the explanation given in a termination letter for Comey’s firing, which said his dismissal was based on recommendations from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But since the NBC interview last year, the president has denied that Comey’s firing was connected to the Russia investigation.

Trump’s legal team is preparing a report that will contain sections rebutting a series of potential conclusions special counsel Robert Mueller could reach in his eventual findings, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said. The report will include rebuttal sections on everything from collusion with Russia in the 2016 election to fired national security adviser Michael Flynn to obstruction of justice in order to be prepared for what may be included in Mueller’s expected report.

Trump tweeted out an untrue conspiracy theory about Google’s own search results being rigged against him. Trump accused Google and others of suppressing Conservative voices and even threatened to “address” the situation. But Trump’s whole theory is based on a flawed methodology. Anyone can see that Fox News ranks quite highly in Google search results about Trump.

Trump has been pushing for over a year to either renew or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. While the US and Mexico [who had big differences] seemed to settle the issues what was agreed upon is not binding. Even then, conflicting answers from various Mexican officials whether the two will/can go alone without Canada.

Trump said during an off-the-record conversation with Bloomberg News said that he would not make any compromises at all in the talks with Canada. The deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He really wants the deal to fail. Trump said he would move ahead with a bilateral agreement with Mexico. Of course Trump has also said one thing but never follows up [easiest example is his threatened lawsuits].

He will sign a deal replacing NAFTA with or without Canada in 90 days. This is to get the deal before the Mexican President-Elect takes over. Congress could still block the deal. It’s unlikely any rewrite of NAFTA would come up for a vote until 2019. The governments of Canada and Mexico must also ratify the agreement. If they don’t, there’s no deal.

Trump and his minions have also said they would go alone with Mexico if Canada doesn’t sign on. Yet, Trump most likely legally can’t. Additionally many US politicians [including quite a few Republicans] are against a deal unless Canada is included. Some would create legislation that would bar Trump from going against Congress. Others say, constitutionally it is up to Congress to agree to any free trade agreement.

Canada is particularly concerned with how Chapter 19 of the original NAFTA — the dispute settlement mechanism that can be used to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases. The US has yet to win a challenge [and just lost another one related to news print very recently]. The potential new agreement would last 16 years with the option to open the agreement after 6 years.

GOP state Sen. Michael Williams [who is African-American] said he would not have an issue if Trump used the n-word in the past and argued that holding a president accountable for mistakes made before entering office would “set a bad precedent.” If that is true, does that mean he is in a different league than Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and others? While not the president [well Spacey was sort of!] why should Trump be any different. Does this mean that Trump gets a pass for his groping and other alleged things he did prior to being elected. If he killed someone and never convicted? Where is the line drawn.

Comedian Kevin Hart joked that anything could happen at the MTV Video Music Awards. “Things pop off, bad language, people run to the bathroom and send out crazy tweets,” he said. “It’s basically like your typical day at the White House.”

In Arizona primaries, Trump did not endorse any of the 3 candidates. The winner was a GOP establishment favorite. The other two [one is Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Maricopa County sheriff] are both considered a bit too to the right. Arpaio was pardoned by Trump for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor just over a year ago.

Puerto Rico’s government officially raised the death toll from last year’s storm to 2,975, which surpasses that of both Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which is responsible for 1,833 deaths, and the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane in Florida, which killed 2,500 people. Until the recent update, Puerto Rico’s government had said only 64 people died as a result of the storm. The Trump administration initially still refuses to use the higher death toll.

Trump offered a still-rosy outlook of his administration’s handling of the hurricane Maria disaster. “I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico,” Trump said. Just days afterward the storm had resulted in a relatively small number of deaths, he compared Maria to a “real catastrophe like Katrina.” He also awarded himself a “10 out of 10” on disaster recovery efforts and said “Did we do a great job?”

Some of Trump’s campaign promises that he has failed to fulfil

As we get close to the first year of the Trump administration, here are the mostly misses in campaign pledges:

  • Repealing the Obama era health care law [Affordable Care Act] is a promise unfulfilled.
  • Withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] remains unfulfilled.
  • Congress has yet to approve money Trump has requested for his promised border wall. Even the sample walls have yet to receive any endorsement/approval.
  • The successful confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch [but was it a campaign pledge]. This is also probably the easiest to accomplish in this list.
  • He refused to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, but left the matter of new sanctions to Congress.
  • He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement but left open the possibility of rejoining it later.
  • He ordered an end to a program protecting young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as kids [DACA], but gave Congress six months to find a way to protect them from deportation.
  • He pledged during the 2016 campaign to recognize Israel’s claim to the city and to move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. He offered no timeline for the embassy relocation and signed a waiver officially delaying any move for six months.
  • He three times released executive order for travel bans only to have them go to courts. Only the second ban has gone through – but just partially.

Did you notice that many of the items what could be considered a “done deal” have backdoors which allow him to switch back or let others take the blame in case it doesn’t go through.