Trump still likes to cause problems

It seems as one issue he started dies down, he starts up another issue.

The immigration issue keeps on coming up. A new Trump administration policy changed the status of migrants who try to enter the US. Instead of eventually sent back, they are jailed. Any children with them are separated and put in detention centers. Thousands of children are now detained. Over 2000 in the past 6 weeks or so.

Donald Trump has blamed the Democrats for the change but it is his administration that made the change by saying “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall….” Most are guessing that he would change the policy if the Democrats agree to have his wall built. Blackmail?

Mercedes Schlapp, the White House’s director of strategic communications, said that Trump is “fully committed to enforcing the law” when it comes to separating young children from their parents. Except there is no law – just a Trump administration policy.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had said basically don’t bring your kids to the US. If you are trying to escape hardship and violence, why would you leave your children behind?

A CNN poll said that 58% of Republican voters still approve of the separation policy. But just 5% of Democrats and 27% of independents approve. So overall, maybe 24& of Americans approve.

Trump told GOP members, who attended a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hil, that “the crying babies doesn’t look good politically,” the member said.

Trump has threatened to retaliate against any country that slams tariffs on US goods. And now he has threatened China with tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after the Trump administration slapped $50 billion recently in tariffs on Chinese goods. The US only ships around $130 billion a year to China. So the two combined [original $50 billion plus the $200 billion] is the equivalent of almost 2 years’ worth.

Continuing a bit more on the G7 summit, Trump declared there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” a dubious claim following his summit with leader Kim Jong Un that produced no guarantees on how or when Pyongyang would disarm.

New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleges a pattern of persistent illegal conduct over more than a decade that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign. Underwood is asking a court to dissolve the Trump Foundation and wants $2.8 million in restitution plus additional penalties.

As he landed in Washington following the summit, Trump declared on Twitter that America and the world can “sleep well tonight. … There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” Trump wrote, even though North Korea has yet to give up any of its fissile material, estimated by independent experts to be enough for between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs.

In the brief, four-point joint statement signed at the summit, North Korea committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” – a promise it has made and reneged on several times in the past 25 years. The statement made no mention of verification, despite Trump’s longstanding insistence on “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out that the statement makes reference to a previous agreement that did mention verification, and argued that as a result, the Trump-Kim statement automatically “incorporates” verification without having to state it outright.

Over a week later, Trump still wants credit tweeting “If President Obama (who got nowhere with North Korea and would have had to go to war with many millions of people being killed) had gotten along with North Korea and made the initial steps toward a deal that I have, the Fake News would have named him a national hero!”

Pompeo has said there will be no sanctions relief for North Korea while it maintains nuclear weapons, contradicting North Korean state media who said it could take place “as progress is made.”

The former head of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, and former chief strategist in the Trump White House said that he has “never” known Trump to lie or even say something that misleads. [What was he smoking?]

Trump attacked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a tweet over the New York Democrat’s criticisms of the North Korea summit saying “Thank you Chuck, but are you sure you got that right? No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more!” Question is what was given up to get those results.

“The denuclearization deal with North Korea is being praised and celebrated all over Asia.” Ya? Where are the celebrations? South Korea is quite happy [no war games and US military could leave].

The New York attorney general sued Trump’s charitable foundation along with its directors — Trump, his sons Eric and Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka, alleging they violated state and federal charities law.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has touted his political contributions as a form of business savviness, boasting that he has “given to everybody” for favors in return. A review of the Trump Foundation’s tax records finds that although the charity has received more than $4 million in contributions from other organizations and individuals and in turn donated millions to various charitable causes since 2009, Trump has not made any personal contributions to the foundation in that time.

Private family foundations traditionally fund charitable causes at least in part through their founder’s personal wealth.

The Palm Beach Police Foundation has hosted annual fundraiser balls at Trump’s ritzy Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, yet the police charity paid to rent Trump’s club, such as $276,463 paid to the club in 2014. Trump has his property in Palm Beach and has donated to the foundation.

Conservative political provocateur Roger Stone met in May 2016 with a Russian who offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton in exchange for $2 million, Stone and former Trump campaign communications official Michael Caputo have said.

Trump said his administration was hiring “thousands and thousands” of immigration judges, that the US already has “thousands” of immigration judges and that other countries don’t have immigration judges. In reality, there the Justice Department’s immigration courts division has 335 judges nationwide, with more than 100 more judges budgeted for. Trump also claimed the United States was “essentially the only country that has judges” to handle immigration cases. But that is incorrect.

Trump also claimed falsely that when immigrants are let into the country to have their cases heard by a court, they virtually all go into hiding with just 3% showing up. In reality, the number of immigrants who don’t show up to court proceedings is far lower and many of the immigrants released from detention are given monitoring devices such as ankle bracelets to ensure they return.

Mexico, Trump said, “does nothing for us.” Experts say the country’s crackdown on immigrants within its borders has been a major help to the US in recent years. Each of the last three years, Mexican removals exceeded US removals to those countries. Mexico is also apprehending tens of thousands of Central Americans before they reach the US. According to the data, Mexico intercepted 173,000 Central Americans in fiscal year 2015, 151,000 in fiscal year 2016 and just under 100,000 in fiscal year 2017.

Deep in the heart of Trump country, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is being met with protests by farmers and ethanol producers concerned that he is undermining the industry with his strong support of oil and gas. Their unhappiness is being broadcast on billboards, at rallies and in meetings the EPA chief is holding during a tour of heartland states. Trump promised to support the ethanol industry. Another broken promise.

Michael Cohen’s personal attorney asked a federal judge to sign a gag order to stop porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer from speaking with reporters and releasing information about the case to the public. The lawyer argues that Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels, has been tainting the case with a “publicity tour” that has included more than 100 television interview since March.

Meanwhile, Cohen has indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with the Robert Mueller federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. Cohen has expressed anger with the treatment he has gotten from Trump, who has minimized his relationship with Cohen, and comments from Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the body of bias against US ally Israel and a failure to hold human rights abusers accountable including some on the council. This is mostly symbolic. The council will go on and nothing will happen.

[I have said it before: On the diplomacy side, the UN has become useless. Countries on the Security Council can veto a resolution against them, human rights abusers on the Human Rights Council, etc.]

With the White House has even teamed up with a conservative group, the Conservative Partnership Institute, to recruit Republican congressional aides for administration jobs at a job fair. The White House is claiming this has been in the works since April. Many staffers are leaving between now and the mid-term elections, some fearing that either they will eventually be involved in various investigations or don’t want to be associated with the administration.

Trump has spent the better part of a year trying to demonize NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, and he opened a new line of attack, telling Fox News the protesters, who are trying to raise awareness about racial injustice, don’t “have a real issue.”

The deal with ZTE [recall that they were banned from doing any business for 7 years for some shenanigans] was a ‘personal favour’ to the Chinese president, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has said, and it boosted ‘goodwill’ for the North Korea summit. Unsure what goodwill to North Korea. In addition, this is another fact of the Trump administration: Get banned for something and then pay your way to be in their good graces. In this case ZTE payed a $1 billion fine and had to make changes ib management among other things.

Employment in auto production has declined 22 per cent in the last 2 decades, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said when the investigation was announced May 24. But how much of that is because the automakers are using automated systems instead of manual labor?

Another departure: Joe Hagin, the White House official who orchestrated logistics for the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will depart the administration next month.

Trump’s approval has ticked slightly downward, to 39%, compared with 41% in May and 42% in March.  Immigration is one of the issues where Americans rate the President the poorest, with his approval on the economy at 49% and on foreign affairs and foreign trade tied at 39%, and only 33% of people approving how he is handling health care policy. Almost 80% of Americans support continuing the DACA program, which allows some immigrants who were brought to the US illegally to stay without risk of deportation.

Continuing to really know nothing about trade, Trump claims that a major newspaper [he didn’t say which] said that Canadians are shopping for shoes [didn’t mention anything else], buying them, scuffing them up slightly and wearing them because the tariffs are so high. Huh? Confusing tariffs and duties. On top of that, shoes aren’t aren’t subject to duties when crossing back into Canada – just sales tax.

Note: This Friday’s usual post may not be available until the weekend.

 

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Trump moves embassy, Middle East takes a turn for the worse

While it has always been a US policy to keep the US Embassy in Tel Aviv so that it doesn’t increase tensions, Donald Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem brought tensions higher. Just on the day of the opening of the “new” embassy in Jerusalem, clashes killed quite a few and many more injured.

“While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner said. Actually few if any previous president promised to move the embassy knowing the problems it could bring. As for making a promise, it is one of the few election promises that he kept.

Trump said he remained committed to “facilitating a lasting peace agreement” except few believe this will actually help bring peace to the region and most think it will raise tensions. More than half the representatives from various countries did not attend the opening.

A minor woops. Ivanka Trump, with microphone in hand, she beamed her 100-watt smile and welcomed the attendees on behalf of “the 45th President of the United States on America” to the “new” US Embassy in Jerusalem. If you missed it, she said “on” instead of “of”. But aside from the goof, aside from the fact that the embassy was a actually a consulate upgraded to an embassy – and it still cost US taxpayers millions to “upgrade”.

Thousands of pages were released by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The voluminous testimony and exhibits pertaining to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting tell us much about two key prongs of interest in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The first is attempted coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the second is possible obstruction of justice regarding the investigation into that potential collusion.

Mueller’s team has informed Trump’s attorneys that they have concluded that they cannot indict a sitting president – this according to Rudy Giuliani. That conclusion is likely based on longstanding Justice Department guidelines. The inability to indict a sitting president has been the position of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department since the Nixon administration and reaffirmed in the Clinton administration, but it has never been tested in court.

But Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, says he thinks Trump could be indicted, despite Giuliani expressing otherwise.

Giuliani said that Mueller has agreed to narrow the scope of a potential interview with Trump from five topics to two. Giuliani claims that the President has “complete discretion to fire anybody he wants.”

Giuliani said “he [a president] can [obstruct justice], but in the case of firing a subordinate who is going to be replaced by somebody else on an active basis immediately.”

A recent New York Times report that at least one government informant met several times with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. But Giuliani said he didn’t know for sure if there were informants embedded with the Trump campaign who spoke to federal authorities. Trump’s lawyers “were told there were two embedded people in the campaign” but where did they get their information from. Trump tweeted about the “all time greatest political scandal.”

[Giuliani is always making comments that conflict (or not verified to be factual) with what others have said. The above are further examples.]

US officials said that the confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the campaign to provide information to investigators. The identity of the informant had been closely held at the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community, and the individual has been a source for the FBI and CIA for years.

“Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit,” Trump said.

Trump blamed Democrats for immigration laws that force federal immigration agents to break up families during a roundtable to discuss California sanctuary state policies. “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough. But those are the bad laws the Democrats gave us,” Trump said during the meeting with California officials.

“We have to break up families,” Trump said. Interesting since Trump has undo many Obama era laws. So why not these? As well, an odd comment since getting rid of DACA will surely split up families, let alone deporting non-Americans from the US – the estimated 11 million.

The administration is using protocols described in a 2008 law designed to combat child trafficking that gave special protections to Central American children at the border. While the bill was authored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, it unanimously passed both houses of Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush as one of his last acts in office. A democrat authored law approved by Congress and a Republican president.

“These [MS-13 gang and other criminals] aren’t people, these are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level, at a rate, that’s never happened before and because of the weak laws…” And yet he has done nothing in 16 months to fix those laws.

Trump acknowledged for the first time that he repaid his lawyer Michael Cohen more than $100,000 for expenses Cohen incurred during the 2016 presidential election, according to a financial disclosure form. The document did not explicitly state what the payments were for.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced that it agreed with the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton. Tell me something we don’t know…..

There goes Trump’s Nobel Prize. North Korea has threatened to cancel the planned summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, saying the US should carefully consider the fate of the upcoming meeting, in view of what it calls “provocative military disturbances with South Korea.” What they mean is the annual joint military drill conducted by South Korea and the US.

Trump reported on his financial disclosure, filed with the US Office of Government Ethics and released Wednesday, that his golf-related revenue made him about $67 million less in 2017 in comparison with 2016. Trump carries as much as $1.25 billion in mortgages that will mature in the next five to seven years for three of his golf courses.

A man who opened fire at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami had been yelling “anti-Trump … rhetoric” there. The gunman is in stable condition after police shot him in an exchange of gunfire.

Previously, at the White House, Kelly Sadler, an aide to Trump “joked” that John McCain’s opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel was largely immaterial because “he’s dying anyway.” The Trump White House has refused to apologize for the remark. Now the White House is saying that is a secondary matter and are claiming that the real problem is that information was leaked from the meeting. Seriously? After how many days they came up with this excuse.

Then Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and husband of White House adviser Mercedes Schlapp, said on CNN’s “New Day” that Sadler is “a little bit of a victim here.” Yes. You read right. And still, she hasn’t apologized except to McCain’s daughter.

Christopher Wylie, a former Cambridge Analytica employee who blew the whistle on its alleged misuse of Facebook data, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the company offered services to discourage voting from targeted sections of the American population. He alleged that African-Americans were particular targets of Cambridge Analytica’s “voter disengagement tactics,.

“Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics. It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL (Cambridge Analytica’s parent company), a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population,” Wylie claimed, referring to Trump’s former top political adviser Steve Bannon.

Cambridge Analytica is under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI. The probe into the firm has led to prosecutors querying its former employees and banks that handled its business dealings.

Andrew Hughes, 32, who is now serving in a powerful senior level position as chief of staff to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, is a former Uber driver who lacks any government, policy and relevant experience at the agency. The department’s deputy chief of staff, Deana Bass, is leaving in June. She was Carson’s press secretary for his badly failed 2016 presidential campaign.

Not really surprising because Carson himself is a medical doctor with no government experience prior to taking the reins of HUD. Meanwhile nominees for three key assistant secretary slots have not yet been confirmed – 16 months after the election.

Trump has characteristically taken to Twitter to announce that he has directed the US Department of Commerce to allow ZTE to operate again as there are mounting job losses in China. ZTE said it was ceasing “major operating activities” due to export sanctions placed on it by the US government, after the Department of Commerce said ZTE lied to the Bureau of Industry and Security about disciplinary actions supposedly enforced on senior employees relating to the illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea, and paid full bonuses to employees who had engaged in illegal conduct.

So Trump decides that what ZTE was doing wasn’t so illegal. On top of that Trump seems to be caring more about Chines jobs than US jobs. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in April “ZTE misled the Department of Commerce. Instead of reprimanding ZTE staff and senior management.” So that went out the window. The company was subsequently slapped with a ban on purchasing components and software from US manufacturers for seven years.

Bill Gates talked recently about when he first met Trump. In one case, Trump didn’t know the difference between HPV and HIV. In another case he left a horse show only to return 20 minutes later ” o make a grand entrance in a helicopter”.

While still pathetically low for a president, Trump’s approval ratings have actually went up slightly in 3 areas 50-64 year olds and oddly those who weekly attend church and those who seldom or never attend church. At 42% it is around the same percentage when President Obama had his two lowest approval ratings [2011 near shutdown and a 2013 shutdown] as well a President G.W. Bush [right after Hurricane Katrina].

The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker blog has been keeping a strict count of Trump’s many misstatements, untruths and outright lies. And, over the weekend at a rally in Michigan, Trump hit a milestone: He topped 3,000 untrue or misleading statements in 466 days in office. Averaging 6.5 per day, over the past 2 months he’s averaged 9 per day.

“Girls. We left open the first female President of the United States if you want it.” Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said to pre-teen children at the White House during Easter. So the US could have to wait probably at least 40 years before the first female president?

Rachel Crooks, who alleged that Donald Trump kissed her without her consent in 2005 when she was working as a receptionist in Trump Tower, secured her primary bid for state office in Ohio.

 

Another week of controversies with Trump

[This is summer time. You would think things would slow down. Nope. Like this past week, I may have to add a mid-week post as well.]

In the wacky world of this Trump administration, Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, relieving him just days after Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the Trump’s senior staff. This came at chief of staff, John Kelly’s request. Scaramucci lasted 10 days.

Trump insisted there was “No WH chaos!” but in a day or so, he let go Scaramucci. Some are saying the Scaramucci was getting too much attention when he wants most of it. Scaramucci not only lost his job but he may not even be invited back to his chief strategy officer post at the Export-Import Bank.

Scaramucci and his wife are reportedly calling it quits as she has filed for divorce just days after Scaramucci took on his new role in Trump’s administration. Deidre Ball was tired of Scaramucci’s “naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end,” and that “Deidre is not a fan of Trump and she hasn’t exactly been on board and supportive of Anthony and his push to get back into the White House.” Married for 3 years and 2 kids.

Prior to the election, Scaramucci sold his own company thinking that he would get a posting in the administration. Well, he didn’t then. Seems another reason why Scaramucci was in his wife’s doghouse [filing for divorce] is because he supposedly missed the birth of his latest kid. But a divorce could be a windfall for her: his/there assets exceed $50 million. Still, low down on the asset scale compared to others in this administration.

Scaramucci had been blocked from joining the administration during the transition by Priebus, only to eventually be hired by Trump a week-and-half ago. That decision, over the objections of Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, led to the resignation of Spicer and fueled Scaramucci’s profane vows of vengeance against White House staffers who had opposed him or leaked to the press. Priebus was force out last week but it was obvious as he wanted to stay but was gone later on.

Kelly has stated that he is in charge of the White House and none will go around him to speak to Trump. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kelly “has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit” and that all White House staffers will report to him, including powerful aides such as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Wonder what Sean “Garlic” Spicer thinks of all this. Spicer was at the White House the day Scaramucci was fired and escorted off White house grounds but only for the “transition” phase of his ex-job.

Trump had tweeted in 2012 during President’s Obama’s first term the number of chiefs of staff that have changed [three in over 2.5 years]. Well, Trump is already on his third in not even 7 months – let alone the other senior staff members that left [supposedly] or were fired.

Trump unveiled a new immigration plan to move to a merit-based system, favoring green card applicants who speak English and can financially support their families. The over-arching goal for this bill is to install a system where immigrants are allowed into the US based on their skills and contributions, rather than familial connections or a lottery. But some of those who enter will have family connections that will allow them into the country. I would guess few current immigrants [who aren’t well off] have connections. These applicants won’t be allowed on welfare when they come into the country. No more of that “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” More like “Give me your filthy rich.”

Stephen Miller, an adviser to trump, claims at least part of the new immigration bill to bring in more Anglophones is based on the Canadian and Australian “points” system – where points are added or deducted according to the immigrant’s background. Extra points for example if fluent in English or advanced degrees or make 150% of the national average income. Deduct points if spouse is less skilled. Interesting – extra points for high achievers such as Olympic medals, Nobel prizes, etc. As it is, the bill won’t pass the senate.

There is some hints that lie detectors could be used to see who is doing the leaks in the administration, according to Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway.

Trump is planning to take a 17 day vacation. But will he still tweet?

While the US has gained about 1 million jobs in his tenure, the US dollar has hit a 15 month low. The biggest gains in jobs were from restaurants and bars – low wage earners.

Trump tweeted “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!” Only thing he may be right is the highest stock market ever and his billionaire friend thank him for that. Unemployment rate is lowest in 16 years. Border may be secure but they are still coming in from Mexico.

Trump claimed 33,000 mining jobs created since his inauguration but just 1,000 are coal mining related [and 100 less today than a month ago]. The others are for oil and metals. As well coal mining jobs “created” in a mine near Pittsburgh actually started 2 months prior to his inauguration. He had nothing to do with it.

The administration may subpoena media outlets but could have problems as the journalists don’t have to divulge their sources [first amendment] but the government could go to court to force them to reveal sources or go to jail.

Trump dictated the initial statement from his son, Don Jr., regarding a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and publicist Rob Goldstone, who had promised the younger Trump dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign courtesy of the Russian government. Trump has claimed that he knew nothing of the meeting until the issue blew up and yet he was able to dictate the initial statement?

“I wasn’t involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President,” Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow said in July.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner offered an explanation to congressional interns why it was not possible for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia during the election: It was too disorganized for such a conspiracy.

Trump is upset because special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, will probably convene a grand jury aiming specifically at the Russian probe.

The White House worked with Fox News and a wealthy Republican donor to push a story about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, according to a lawsuit. The story was pushed in an attempt to discredit the US intelligence community’s determination that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and obtained the emails released by Wikileaks, the lawsuit said. The plaintiff is Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective hired to investigate Rich’s death, who alleges that he was misquoted as part of the effort to put the story together. At this time, Fox News website doesn’t mention it.

Trump has reluctantly signed a new sanctions bill from last week against Russia but Russia has already retaliated by telling hundreds of American government employees to leave the country. The bill also added sanctions to Iran and North Korea. Trump said he signed it so the country wouldn’t be so divided. He had no choice. Couldn’t veto and a total of 5 congressmen [House & Senate combined] voted against the bill.

According to a Wall Street Journal interview transcript obtained by Politico, Trump claimed the leader of the Boy Scouts called him to thank him for his Jamboree speech, telling him it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” Of course, this is Trump. An official with the Scouts said they were not aware of any phone calls between the group’s leadership and Trump. I don’t think the Boy Scout President has his number.

Then Trump said “Even the President of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment.” Except President Enrique Peña Nieto hasn’t called Trump recently.

The Trump administration announced it will waive 37 environmental and other laws and regulations that would impede the first phase of construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. The waiver applies to “a variety of environmental, natural resource, and land management laws” in the San Diego sector. The 15-mile stretch identified in the waiver also includes 14 miles of replacement secondary fencing. Despite the waiver, construction will not begin for at least several more months because federal officials are currently reviewing a protest by a company that competed for, but was not awarded, a building contract.

Trump, in a conversation with Mexican President Nieto, labeled New Hampshire saying “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den” according to a transcript of Trump’s January 27 call that was published by The Washington Post. But Trump was again wrong as he narrowly lost the state to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election. Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan called Trump’s comments “disgusting.”

While North Korea tested an ICBM that could theoretically reach half of the United States, Trump was too busy sending out a bunch of tweets bashing the Republicans. [Can I really say his fellow Republicans?] But yes, he did mention North Korea.

After North Korea fired a ICBM, Trump said “We will handle North Korea. We are gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything,” but he offered no specifics about what he plans to do. He didn’t do anything when the first ICBM was fired earlier this month. He’s putting the blame game on China for failing to do anything.

Trump threatened to end required payments to insurance companies unless lawmakers repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law. He tweeted that if “a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Except wheat the government is sending them is not a bailout but subsidies. Unsure if he knew that or used bailout so those with less knowledge would think the government is helping to keep insurance companies afloat.  The payments reduce deductibles and co-payments for consumers with modest incomes.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it included a Republican amendment that forces members of Congress and their staff to purchase their health insurance on the law’s new online marketplaces. But unlike individuals purchasing their insurance on the exchanges, Capitol Hill customers would receive subsidies from their employer, the federal government.

Trump also told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reduce the number of votes in the senate to pass his healthcare bill to 51. Doesn’t he know that it was already set for 50 votes to pass and yet they still failed to pass?

Trump’s statement encouraging police officers to be “rough” with people they arrest has drawn criticism in law enforcement circles for sending the wrong message at a time of heightened tensions with the public. Trump praised the aggressive tactics of immigration officers and suggested that police shouldn’t protect the heads of handcuffed suspects being put in the back of a car.

The group Blue Lives Matter tweeted that Trump’s remarks were made in jest. “Trump didn’t tell police to go out & brutalize people as the media would have you believe,” the tweet said. “It was a joke.” Later Trump tweeted it was a joke but most police departments across the US didn’t think so.

Republican Sen. John McCain slammed Trump amid reports [including from NBC News] that Trump is weighing firing Gen. John Nicholson, the top US military commander in Afghanistan. “Our commanders-in-chief, not our commanders in the field, are responsible for this failure,” he added, referring to Trump and former President Barack Obama. Trump’s deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, said the President is confident in Nicholson’s military leadership in Afghanistan. That means Nicholson could be out very soon.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Afghanistan strategy would be decided upon by mid-July but the plan has been delayed for months amid sharp disagreements between national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who is arguing for an increase of several thousand troops, and the President’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is opposed to getting the US more deeply involved in the conflict. More of Trump’s “no chaos” here. Shouldn’t he make decision?

 

Trump and immigration

Businesses run and owned by Donald Trump and his adult children have been certified to legally hire 1,371 foreign visa workers since 2001. In addition, Trump-branded real estate has raised at least $50 million in foreign investor money through a program that gives foreign investors access to green cards, according to the company that did the development of the real estate. The Trump enterprise has made use of low-skilled permits for vineyard seasonal workers, for example, and has used high-skilled visas to bring in models for its modeling agency.

Trumps’ businesses have received 283 H-1B visas since 2001. The high-skilled visas have been used for Trump’s modeling venture, Trump Model Management, Mar-A-Lago, the Trump Corporation and businesses associated with his hotels and resorts. Yes, the H-1B visa is to be used for scientists, doctors and the like – not for models, cooks and accountants [all which can be found quite easily].

Trump businesses have received 1,024 H-2B visas since 2000, according to Labor records. Those visas have gone to Mar-A-Lago, Jupiter Gold Club, Lamington Farm and the Trump National Golf Club for jobs like cooks, waiters and waitresses and housekeepers. Trump Vineyards has received 64 H-2A permits since 2006 for agricultural work.

Melania Trump is Slovenian, but began modeling in the US with H-1B visas and was given a green card in 2001, before she married Trump. Trump self-sponsored herself for residency, according to a letter by her attorney released during the campaign. She became a US citizen in 2006. [She also had some run-ins with others claiming she was an escort while at Trump Model Management.]

Trump’s first wife, Ivana, was also an immigrant, coming to the US via Canada from Czechoslovakia. Ivana became a US citizen in 1988, 11 years after she married Trump.

Trump faced a lawsuit in the 1980s that accused him and business partners of withholding wages from undocumented Polish immigrants and union workers hired by a contracting company called Kaszycki & Sons to demolish the building that would make room for Trump Tower.

A judge ruled in 1991 that Trump and his associates owed the workers more than $300,000 plus interest. The ruling was appealed, and the case was eventually settled under a sealed agreement, according to a source familiar with the proceedings.

The Washington Post reported in 2015 that it interviewed workers on the construction of Trump’s hotel in the nation’s capital who said they entered the country illegally, several of whom were still lacking authorization to live and work in the US.

Ever notice that the only Trump business that didn’t fit the same area of ownership is the Trump Model Management which would have little to do with the other businesses unless the models need a room to stay or take a vacation at Mar-A-Lago.