Iran drove him nuts this week

“We have … targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture” and “if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets… Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,” Donald Trump wrote in a series of tweets. I’m surprised he didn’t list them. And what about American allies? Good chance Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others will be on heightened alert.

Attacking cultural sites is considered to be a war crime. A 2017 United Nations Security Council Resolution “condemns the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, including the destruction of religious sites and artifacts.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Trump’s tweet, arguing that such an action would not violate international law and instead suggesting it would be a continuation of the administration’s attempts at deterrence and defense.

And if you believe Trump wouldn’t go after Iranian cultural sites….

“They’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to torture and maim our people, they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people, and we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump said aboard Air Force One.

After the assassination of Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, Trump claims that killing Soleimani will actually prevent a war – with no reasons for saying that. I think most experts would probably disagree. To start, this fired up Iran and their allies with anti-American protests. Then Soleimani was immediately replaced. His replacement may or may not be as good when it comes to orchestrating attacks. Plus, every US ally in the region now are on high alert.

The Trump Administration told Congress it plans to send a formal notification under the War Powers Act of the Trump-ordered drone strike that killed Soleimani, according to a senior White House official. The notification was sent within 48 hours which was done.

Trump claimed that his tweets are sufficient notice to Congress of any possible US military strike on Iran, in an apparent dismissal of his obligations under the War Powers Act of 1973. Trump’s declaration was met with disbelief and ridicule from congressional Democrats, who called on the president to respect the role of the legislative branch in authorizing new military action abroad.

In that act, according to the Library of Congress web site, “The second part requires the President to consult with Congress before introducing U.S. armed forces into hostilities or situations where hostilities are imminent, and to continue such consultations as long as U.S. armed forces remain in such situations.” That didn’t happened until after the drone strike. Whether or not the drone operators were in country or somewhere else, armed forces were involved and now an additional 3500 troops heading to the area.

Senate Democrats and two key GOP senators – Mike Lee and Rand Paul – slammed a classified briefing on the strike that killed Soleimani, charging that administration officials failed to provide evidence to show the attack was imminent and dismissed the role Congress should play in deciding to take military action. Lee called the way the briefing played out “un-American” and “completely unacceptable”.

Paul and Lee also announced they would support the War Powers resolution sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, which would limit the President’s ability to use military force in Iran. The administration representatives ended up leaving before all questions were asked — departing after the allotted time of 90 minutes.

Trump originally said it was because an American contractor died. Later he said that a US embassies Baghdad was targeted by Soleimani. Later it was four including the one in Baghdad. Trump administration didn’t know precisely when or where the attack would occur, but insisted it was imminent. Those at recent security briefings said the 4 embassies weren’t mentioned then. Thought of on the spot? Of course knowing how Trump has changed stories in the last, it could be 6 embassies tomorrow or maybe 5 McDonald’s somewhere.

Russia said that the assassination was a “gross violation of fundamental international laws”. This coming from a country that assisted Syria in kicking thousands of Syrian enemies [both militants and civilians] over the past 5 years or so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives will vote this week on legislation to limit Trump’s military actions on Iran in the wake of increased tensions between the two countries after Trump ordered an airstrike killing top Soleimani.

A few hours after Trump praised Tucker Carlson and other conservative Fox News anchors, Carlson tore into Trump’s decision to authorize the US airstrike by saying “Is Iran really the greatest threat we face? And who’s actually benefiting from this? And why are we continuing to ignore the decline of our own country in favor of jumping into another quagmire from which there is no obvious exit?”

Carlson, if you noticed, said “the decline of our own country”. So even right wing conservatives believe the economy is starting to tank. They are ignoring Trump’s only indicator that the economy is doing well: stock market ticker. After all, who owns most of the stock? The rich. Not the middle or lower class. And yet, Trump’s followers [literally] don’t care.

Carlson added later “But Mexico and China are also linked to the deaths of Americans. Each has flooded our country with narcotics from which tens of thousands of Americans die every single year, not that anyone in power cares. So does that mean we get to bomb Oaxaca? Can we start assassinating generals in the People’s Liberation Army?”

Fox Business anchor/propogandist, Lou Dobbs, gushed about Trump the night after the attack, saying Trump has “set a standard” for presidents “that most mortals won’t be able to meet. He out-works them, he out-thinks, he is remarkably resourceful, he’s bright, his judgment is second to none.” Let’s just say critical weren’t thrilled with the comments.

Dobbs’ show even showed an on-screen banners said “TRUMP SECURES ANOTHER MIDDLE EAST VICTORY.” Victory? What victory?

The Iraqi Parliament voted to obligate Iraq’s government “to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” according to the media office of the Iraqi Parliament. This could allow Iran to further cement their presence in Iraq. Considering Iran and Iraq had two major wars within the past 50 years, this could be interesting.

“If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before ever,” Trump said aboard Air force One. “We have a very extraordinarily expensive air base that’s there. It cost billions of dollars to build. Long before my time. We’re not leaving unless they pay us back for it.” Everything with him is money.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, praised Trump for ordering the drone strike that killed Iran’s top general last week and said the only ones outside of the regime who are upset about his death are Trump’s domestic political opponents. “The only ones that are mourning the loss of Soleimani are our Democrat leadership, and our Democrat presidential candidates,” Haley said.

“You don’t see anyone standing up for Iran. You’re not hearing any of the Gulf members. You’re not hearing China. You’re not hearing Russia,” Haley said. False allegations is typically something that Trump would say but I thought she was sane. Syria, Lebanon and other Iran backed countries plus China and Russia have all condemned the strike.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that the Iranian cabinet members decided the country will no longer limit itself to the nuclear restrictions set forth by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran and a handful of other countries including the US.

Not even days later, Iran fired over a dozen ballistic missiles at 2 Iraqi bases where US and other allies are stationed. While Iraqi soldiers were hurt or killed, no American soldiers. The thinking is that Iran avoided where Americans were stationed as it could of increased tensions even further. After, Iran said if any Iranian location is attacked, Iran will attack the US from within.

Sen. Lindsey Graham just tweeted that US retaliation for Iran’s overnight missile strikes “is not necessary” right now, marking a dramatic shift in tone from his comments previously. This is just one of a few “hawks” who have flip-flopped. He is also a huge Trump supporter.

“In my view, retaliation for the sake of retaliation is not necessary at this time,” Graham tweeted. “What is necessary is to lay out our strategic objectives regarding Iran in a simple and firm fashion.” Graham is like a propaganda arm of the administration. He also added “A homerun speech by President Trump about the challenges we face with Iran. It was measured and firm.” Is that propaganda or what?

Trump held off on any retaliation as well as any response for over 12 hours. Then at a press conference Trump said that “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world.” Hmmm. Wonder how he decided that they were standing down and then announced more sanctions against Iran.

Some believe Iran didn’t specifically go after US military personnel [even though Iraqi soldiers were injured or killed. But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told reporters “I believe based on what I saw and what I know that they were intended to cause structural damage destroy vehicles and equipment and aircraft and to kill personnel.”

Without providing any evidence to support their claim, Iranian media are reporting that “80 US military personnel have been killed” and more than “200 US military personnel were injured” in the missile attack on two Iraqi military bases.

Meanwhile, Iraq received “an official verbal message” from Iran about the missile attack before it happened. Iraq said the warning was reportedly passed to the US.

The House of Representatives voted to approve a resolution aimed at restraining Trump’s ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval, amid simmering tensions between the US and the country. Some representatives crossed party lines. The Senate will vote and likely defeat the resolution.

An Ukrainian International Airlines flying from Tehran to Kiev crashed after take-off in Iran. All perished. This was a Boeing 737 aircraft and the Iranian government does not want to give up the “black boxes” to Boeing [or the US]. I am guessing the tensions between the US and Iran are a reason for Iran’s refusal. At one point, a missile fired at the jet wasn’t ruled out. After all, the Russians supposedly shot down an Ukrainian jet a number of years ago. [This was a 737-800 – not the 737-MAX which crashed twice last year.]

Ukraine is investigating multiple possible causes of the deadly jetliner crash that killed 176 passengers and crew shortly after takeoff in Tehran. These include the theory that the plane was hit by at least one anti-aircraft missile. Some experts believe that because of the way the airplane exploded that it may not be a mechanical issue but maybe a missile.

Even Trump climbed on this missile option but didn’t blame Iran directly but maybe a rogue group. Iran denied any Russian-made missile was fired but it looks more and more like that. Over 80 Iranians were on the flight plus a number of dual nationals.

Iran may have also cleaned up some of the wreckage in the days since the crash as some videos before and after shows quite a bit of the wreckage was missing. Investigators from Canada and elsewhere expected to be allowed on scene.

Iran, late in the week, finally admitted that the flight was mistakenly shot down by at least one missile and announced that those involved will be reprimanded. It claimed that the flight flew too close to a military site.

The head of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham, said he wants the Senate to launch an impeachment trial of Trump within days and wrap it up this month, even if it means changing Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate cannot proceed with a trial under its rules until it receives them. McConnell has argued that any decision on potential witnesses should come after senators have heard opening arguments and have had a chance to ask questions.

Pelosi said she’s preparing to send the impeachment articles to the Senate next week to start the trial of Trump. The House needs to pass a resolution naming impeachment managers before the articles are formally sent to the Senate, and the Senate will also have to take procedural steps before the trial gets underway.

Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he is willing to testify — if he is subpoenaed — in the Senate’s impeachment trial of Trump. Bolton issued a statement after the courts did not rule whether he would be compelled to testify during the House’s impeachment proceedings, saying he was trying to meet his “obligations both as a citizen and as former national security adviser.”

The economy is doing so great [sarcastically] that there are now to large dairy producers in the US to file for bankruptcy. Dean Foods file in November and Borden Dairy filed this week.

Borden noted that more than 2,700 family dairy farms went out of business last year, and 94,000 have stopped producing milk since 1992. Higher milk prices and less consumption are part of the blame.

Trump said during a press conference that he “cares for the environment”. Yes Donnie, like you basically dismantled the EPA, relaxed environmental regulations including vehicle emissions, pushed for more coal [one of the dirtiest environment damage], etc.

In fact, the Trump administration plans to rewrite decades-old regulations to make it easier to build major infrastructure such as pipelines, which would have the effect of relaxing government efforts to fight the climate crisis.

The Washington Post and ABC released a poll that found 49% of those surveyed said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, and 71% think he should allow senior administration officials to testify in a likely Senate impeachment trial.

Even on vacation, he causes trouble

Well a new year and a new decade brings more of the politics of Donald Trump. Even while “vacationing” in Florida [of course golfing!] he couldn’t help in causing more problems.

Trump retweeted an attack that included an unsubstantiated name of the intelligence community whistleblower at the heart of the Ukraine scandal as part of a series of rants and conspiratorial posts recently. Trump or someone with access to his Twitter account removed the retweet. Publicly naming a whistleblower is illegal. Of course Trump may think he’s above the law.

Nearly every public official involved in the impeachment inquiry agreed that the identity of the original complainant should be protected. Some far-right media outlets and personalities have published stories claiming to know the name of the whistleblower but legitimate new media organizations have refused to name the individual.

An official from the Office of Management and Budget made it clear that the order to keep the freeze in place came directly from Trump, according to unredacted documents reviewed. It is from the documents that were released under court order last month but were either partially or completely blacked out.

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, continues to stun people on both sides. He wants to testify as a witness and to help defend Trump. Of course you can’t be both. If he is thinking of being on Trump’s defense team, he probably hasn’t been a lawyer in a courtroom in 40 years.

Trump tweeted “So sad to see that New York City and State are falling apart…. Governor Cuomo has lost control, and lost his mind.” Yes. This coming from the President of the United States. Isn’t that bullying? And something his wife is trying to get teenagers not to do in school?

Joe Biden says he will refuse any subpoena from the Senate because he has no knowledge of any personal knowledge of Trump and his infamous phone call. Clearly the Republicans would ask him questions that would have nothing to do with the trial but instead to try and dig up some “dirt” against him [possibly ruining his Democratic nomination] or his son.

Trump had the military assassinate an Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, and are celebrating. Meanwhile, the deputy leader took over. You think this changed anything? Just briefly slowed down any further attacks. Probably a way to get impeachment and trial off the front page [briefly]. Democrat leadership was not notified but I’m sure just about everyone in the Republican party knew.

Note that prior to Trump entering office, Iran had limited access to Iraq. About three years later, militant Iranian leader assisting the Iraqi military? The assassinated militant even had his Iraqi assistant die in the same strike. Initially the US claimed it was a drone attack while Iran says it was a helicopter attack.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo [and Trump later] said the airstrikes disrupted an “imminent attack” in the region that put American lives at risk. There is no way to verify this claim, of course.

White House lawyers — in consultation with national security officials — put together a “strong rationale” claiming that the strike against Soleimani would not lead to war and that Trump, as commander in chief, had the authority to not ask for congressional authorization over a matter of self-defense. Of course the White House lawyers have been wrong before – more than once.

At a right wing evangelist conference for the King Jesus Ministry in Miami, Trump insisted that his administration is a “peaceloving” [sic] one. “Peace loving” nations don’t generally assassinate a top official of another country [in a third country].

Interesting development. The leader was subject to a 5 year travel ban by the United Nations. If he would of complied with the ban, he probably would still be alive today. Could the Trump administration use that as an excuse [he left Iran so he was fair game]?

The US and other governments really need to look at the Iraqi government and exactly what side they are on. First letting in Iranian backed militants to enter the supposedly fortified embassy area and now Iran advising Iraq on military issues?

[While I am not against the assassination, will it actually change anything? He has already been replaced. Will tension in the area escalate? I’m sure. Were allies (Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.) notified? I doubt it. Those US allies could feel the brunt of possible reprisals.]

From the White House Twitter feed: “At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani…” So an admission – which could be used for legal reasons.

The Selective Service website crashed hours after the announcement that Soleimani was killed by a US airstrike ordered by Trump. The hashtag #WorldWarIII was one of the top trends on Twitter the day after the assassination.

Trump had already condemned Iran for “orchestrating” the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. He urged the Iraqi government to protect the embassy from further intrusion and attack. He also said Iran “will be held fully responsible” for the attack from Shiite militia forces.

“This will not be a Benghazi. Benghazi should never have happened. This will never, ever be a Benghazi,” he said, without explaining how protesters were able to breach layers of embassy security in Baghdad to begin with. The embassy at Benghazi was stormed during a President Obama term. The State Department has said that while the protesters forced their way into the embassy compound, there had been no “breach” of the facility itself.

Not even hours before his New Year’s Eve party, he sent a series of tweets and retweets going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and French President Emmanuel Macron. He’s got nothing else to do.

Trump was seen playing golf but abruptly stopped and then said “I did NOT! [play golf]” he insisted, “I had meeting in various locations, while closely monitoring the U.S. Embassy situation in Iraq, which I am still doing.”

Trump cronies are spinning the facts saying how fast the Trump administration got the Shiite militia forces to leave the embassy area but failed to acknowledge how easy it was for them to get so close to the embassy. The embassy area [and not just the US embassy] are supposed to be in a heavy secure area in Baghdad but the militants got through too many checkpoints.

Later Trump was tweeted say that it was a “victory” for the US. Results were better than Benghazi. What exactly did the US do aside from throw some gas grenades? Can’t call it a victory when the militants got to the gates of the embassy. What happened to the security?

North Korean dictator/crazy-man Kim Jong Un is reversing all the potential deals with the US to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. On top of that Un announced on New Year’s Day that his regime will soon unveil a new strategic weapon.

Trump said Un had signed a “contract” and believed Un would abide by the “contract”. That isn’t happening. Trump doesn’t need another “deal” to fall apart especially getting so close to an election. However, like everything else he will say as part of his term that he arranged a deal with Un and not that it fell apart. Will voters remember or care?

Trump tweeted “California and New York must do something about their TREMENDOUS Homeless problems. They are setting records!” Well, when you get increased homeless, the economy is at least partially to blame. But Trump’s indicator is the stock market with more “records” set.

These are also two heavily Democratic voting states with two heavy political foes [Governor Cuomo in New York and House Speaker Pelosi in California]. Coincidence?

Trump signed a bill that increases fines on criminal robocall violations and cracks down on companies making the calls, as part of a federal push against telephone scammers. This had bipartisan support. So much for Trump saying nothing has been done because of the impeachment inquiry.

45 judges left the immigration courts in 2019. Some retired or passed away. Other went onto to other jobs. In comparison 24 left in 2018 and 21 left in 2017. The reasons why individual judges have moved on from their posts on the bench vary, but in interviews with judges who left in recent months, one theme ties them all together: frustration over a mounting number of policy changes that, they argue, chipped away at their authority.

Trump also re-tweeted about “illegal alien” Juan Sanchez, who was supposedly deported six times, was arrested after killing a mother-of-six in Denver, Colorado. That means the border guards and legal system aren’t doing their jobs. You think a wall would of stopped him? No.

Obama lists his favorite 2019 books. Maybe Trump will list his favorite comic books. Actually while Obama’s books included fiction, non-fiction and sports with none related to politics, Trump’s list are all pro-Trump books including from his son. Whether or not he actually read them is a different story.

Obama also list his favorite movies [a few well known] and 3 TV shows. Is there any pro-Trump movies or TV shows? Maybe he’ll invent some.

The Trump New Year’s Eve at the Mar-A-Lago party has nearly doubled its ticket prices for guests of Mar-A-Lago members. In 2016, just weeks after Trump was elected, guests could get in for $575. Now it is at $1000. After last year when Trump decided to stay in Washington during a government shutdown, you would of figured he’d give a discount to those who attended last year.

Trump’s 4 adult children and significant others [and in some cases children] appeared with only Eric Trump going a bit political. Others tried to avoid reporters.

According to the UK betting site paddypower.com:

  • 1/12 chances of completing his term and 7/1 chance he doesn’t
  • 1/50 chance that he won’t be convicted by the senate and 12/1 chance he does
  • 2/1 chance that Area 51 will be opened to the public during his first term in office
  • 200/1 chance Melania to run for President against Trump in 2020
  • 12/1 chance Mexico to directly fund construction of a border-wall with the US [Mexico must state this – not what Trump says]
  • 7/1 chance a US navy ship will be named after him
  • 12/1 chance a US military base will be named after him
  • 50/1 chance to surgically enhance his penis
  • 500/1 chance to surgically enhance his hands
  • 7/1 chance Trump to withdraw the US from the UN
  • 3/1 chance Trump will ban abortions in his first term
  • 6/1 chance Trump will ban gay marriages in his first term
  • 9/1 chance Trump will ban burkas or hijabs in his first term
  • 500/1 chance Trump will ban stairs [!!!] in his first term

The a web site that keeps track of how many times Trump has golfed since becoming president – 230 times – or roughly one out of every 4 days in his term.

Tension between Trump and Iran increases

Trump was ready to authorize the attack on Iran but reversed course “10 minutes before the strike” when he learned 150 people could die in the attack, Trump said in a series of tweets. But according to Fox News [of all places], it was reported that Trump knew about the estimation of casualties hours before his decision.

In addition, Trump initially said he thought “Iran made a very big mistake” [negatively] but later said “I have a feeling it was a mistake”. And now he’s back to his war mongering mode. What will he said next? It wasn’t Iran?
“Everybody says he is a war monger and now they say I’m a dove… I’m a man with common sense” said Trump before boarding Marine One. Who said he is a “dove”? Probably nobody.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the White House is “suffering from mental disability” and behaving as “no sane person,” in the wake of new sanctions. Sounds like he’s talking more about Trump.

Trump whined why the US is protecting oil shipping lanes, contradicting what his own Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said about the Strait of Hormuz. Pompeo said just the week before that they would do everything to make sure ships can go through the Strait. Trump is also complaining that the US is paying for something to protect that it doesn’t use.

Trump doesn’t believe he needs congressional approval to make a military strike against Iran. “I do like keeping them — they have ideas, they’re intelligent people, they’ll have some thoughts. I actually learned a couple of things the other day when we had our meeting with Congress, but I do like keeping them abreast, but I don’t have to do it legally.” So he’s doing it illegally?

Trump signed an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes and told reporters the sanctions will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office. Already 80% of Iran’s economy is sanctioned. Khamenei obviously has no wealth stashed in the US and probably little elsewhere

Trump claimed the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the order was in the works before last week’s downing, but was in response to that as well as to previous Iranian actions in the Gulf.

In a non-shocker, Senate Republicans tallied enough votes to block a largely Democratic-backed amendment that would require Trump to get congressional approval before striking Iran militarily.

Trump announced that he’s delaying for two weeks US Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that were planned to take place in 10 major US cities, saying deportations will proceed unless Congress finds a solution on the US-Mexico border. Of course you know that if nothing occurs in the two weeks, Trump will blame the Democrats and not his part for the failed talks.

“Some cities are going to fight it, but if you notice, they’re generally high crime cities. If you look at Chicago, they’re fighting it. If you look at other cities, they’re fighting it. Many of those cities are high crime cities and they’re sanctuary cities,” Trump said. You know he has no statistics to back him up other than knowing Chicago has crime issues but no correlation that it is related to illegal immigrants.

The House of Representatives voted by 230-195 to approve $4.5 billion in aid for the growing crisis at the US southern border — a vote that followed Democratic infighting over the package and a White House veto threat. It is not clear whether the House and Senate will be able to reach an agreement the President will sign off on. Four liberal Democratic freshmen voted against the measure, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. 3 Republicans voted with the Democrats.

With a man and his 23 month-old child found dead near the US-Mexican border, Trump right away blamed the Democrats for what happened. He puts the blame on them even though both the House and Senate approved $4.5 billion in spending while he may veto the spending and he has pushed to block migrants desperately trying to enter the US from Mexico. Where will they go?

On top of this, there are major issues at the detention centers where young children there are lacking food, water, sanitation, medical or psychological help. Parents weren’t supposed to be separated from their children but it is still happening.

Trump left the White House last weekend for a last-minute trip to Camp David. Maybe it was to escape Washington at a moment when he appears increasingly disenchanted by advice from his inner circle and out of sorts with some of the mainstays in his Cabinet. No members of Trump’s cabinet came along, nor did his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Ahead of the G20 summit in Japan, Trump said “We have a treaty with Japan. If Japan is attacked, we will fight World War III. We will go in and we will protect them and we will fight with our lives and with our treasure. We will fight at all costs, right? But if we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us at all. They can watch it on a Sony television, the attack.” Got that?

There was some talk of Trump killing the treaty. [The treaty says that Japan can’t have a full military except for defensive purposes in exchange for US to defend Japan if attacked and allow US forces to have bases in Japan – this during the Cold War.] Trump also went after Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany saying that Germany isn’t paying their share of the NATO budget while “We pay for close to 100 percent of NATO” and “seven are paid up”. In fact, the US pays 22% and none of the countries are behind their payments. The seven are actually those who spend 2 percent of their national economies on their own armed forces by 2024 and not what they pay for NATO’s budget. Makes him look like a fool… again.

Robert Mueller’s long-awaited public testimony in mid-July will give Democrats their best and perhaps last chance to seize on the Russia scandal to try to inflict a decisive political wound on Trump. Of course, expect Trump to start calling Mueller name and other comments. He already said “Presidential Harassment!” after the announcement. Trump also claimed that Mueller deleted FBI text messages.

Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders is resigning amid the dramatic increase in the number of undocumented migrants crossing the border, a fight over how to address it and controversy over how children are being treated. Reports say children are living in such bad condition full of filth, sickness and other issues.

As usual, Trump claims that he is concerned about what’s happening at the detention centers and claims [don’t ask me how he measured it] that it is better now than under President Obama’s eight years. Interesting because I don’t remember so much media coverage and the fact that there has been a large increase of immigrants crossing the border compared to when Obama was President.

Tom Homan, the former ICE director and now a Fox News contributor, seemed to suggest that Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan leaked information about the ICE operation to media. McAleenan was resistant to the plan, concerned in part that it could hurt negotiations with congressional Democrats for ICE funding. Trump named Honan as “border czar” but Honan has not yet accepted the job.

Eric Trump said he was spat on by an employee at a Chicago-area restaurant. “It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems” and who then cast blame for the incident more broadly on the Democratic Party. So he thinks the Democrats were the ones who told the individual to do it and is the only party who have followers with “emotional problems”? Maybe the employee was a Republican voter who dislikes his father.

And the real witch hunt begins: The House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena testimony from White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway after a federal agency recommended that she should be fired for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act that limits the political activities of federal employees. The panel would vote to hold Conway in contempt if she ignores the subpoena.

Earlier this month, the independent Office of Special Counsel sent the Trump administration a letter outlining Conway’s “numerous violations” of the Hatch Act, finding that from February to May she publicly criticized the field of Democratic presidential candidates and sought to boost the Trump campaign while in her official role at the White House.

Trump’s protocol chief, Sean Lawler, has been suspended indefinitely just ahead of the G-20 meeting in Japan pending the outcome of a State Department investigation into his conduct. A large chunk of the protocol office was aware of this behavior for a long time. They’re surprised, to be honest, that this hadn’t been dealt with sooner.

In something that is not a real shocker, the Palestinians and allies aren’t really already panned the economic part of a peace plan proposed by Trump and delivered by Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner which includes $50 billion in grants, low-interest loans and private investments over 10 years. The political portion will be announced after the Israeli elections in September.

The New York Post’s former top editor, Col Allan, a supporter of Trump and an old “lieutenant” of owner Rupert Murdoch and current paper advisor, ordered the removal of a story about writer Jean Carroll’s sexual assault allegations against Trump. The Post’s story about Carroll’s sexual assault allegations was mysteriously scrubbed from the tabloid’s website. Was Allan thinking that nobody reads, watches or listen to the news other than the Post?

Tweets that Twitter deems to involve matters of public interest, but which violate the service’s rules, will be obscured by a warning explaining the violation and Twitter’s reasons for publishing it anyway. Users will have to tap through the warning to see the underlying message. Twitter said the new policy applies to all government officials, candidates, and similar public figures with more than 100,000 followers. This will include Trump.

Trump claimed he wouldn’t watch the first Democrat debate – but did. After 30 minutes into the debate, he tweeted “BORING!”

Former President Jimmy Carter suggested that a full investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election would show that Trump didn’t win the presidency. Expect a Twitter storm by Trump shortly. Until now, the former one-term Democratic president had shared a warmer relationship with Trump more than Trump has had with any other living president.

The battle over adding a citizenship in the Trump administration proposed census could affect future voting. The Census Bureau’s own experts concluded including a citizenship question on the census would discourage undocumented individuals and other minorities from participating. It would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. Advocates for those groups say their absence from the count would disadvantage their communities when government resources are distributed and dilute their constitutionally granted representation in Congress.

Trump picked Stephanie Grisham to be the new White House press secretary and communications director. Grisham has been a member of Trump team since the summer of 2015, when she signed on as traveling press secretary. She went on to become a close confidante of not just Trump but, just as importantly, first lady Melania Trump — for whom she has served as communications director. Grisham is keeping that role. We will see how often she has press briefings.

American women’s soccer co-captain Megan Rapinoe, on asking about going to the White house if the team wins the world cup: “Psssh, I’m not going to the f_____g White House,” she fired back before the reporter finished the question. “No. I’m not going to the White House. We’re not gonna be invited. I doubt it.”

Trump extended a White House invite to Rapinoe and the team, regardless of whether they win or lose. The only problem? Trump tagged the wrong person. He later corrected the tag and saying “…but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!…”

Ummm. While tweeting about the Rapinoe issue, trump also adds ” Other than the NBA, which now refuses to call owners, owners (please explain that I just got Criminal Justice Reform passed, Black unemployment is at the lowest level in our Country’s history, and the poverty index is also best number EVER), leagues and teams love coming to the White House.” So he’s putting the NBA, criminal justice reform and black unemployment in there for what reason? Oh ya.

“Megan should never disrespect our country, the White House, or our flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team,” Trump tweeted. I don’t think it is really any of the three Rapinoe has a problem with, just one person.

The US was that close to another war

A military operation to strike Iran over the downing of a US drone was set to begin when the Donald Trump called it off. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said it shot a US drone over its airspace while the US said it was shot over international waters. At first Trump had tweeted that “Iran made a very big mistake!” as he and his national security officials huddled. For now, all US and several other airlines have been warned not to fly in the Strait of Hormuz area.

Trump said “I have a feeling it was a mistake” when Iran shot down the US drone, saying he finds it “hard to believe it was intentional” and that it would have made a “big, big difference” if there was someone inside the drone. Is he defending Iran? Her added “Nobody died, but an expensive resource of ours, we don’t have many of, got blown up. We obviously care about that.” So he flip flopped quite fast.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” claimed Trump in a tweet. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

“President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus 1.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out.” Wonder which right wing crackpot gave him those numbers. 2.5 years into his mandate and he is still whining about his predecessors and what has he claimed to done and actually did?

The US is escalating cyber-attacks on Russia’s electric power grid and has placed potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system, The New York Times reported. It would be used in the event of evidence that Russian interferes in the 2020 election.

But Trump may had not been briefed in any detail about the US computer code being implanted inside the Russian grid. Trump tweeted “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country…. These [“fake media”] are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Virtual act of treason? Hmmm. We already knows that he uses the “t” word now for just about anything that offends him. Media, Democrats, WASPS, dogs, exercise, … Maybe instead of looking at the “fake media”, if the story is actually true, they should find out who in the cyber ops leaked the information.

Trump issued new authorities last summer to the United States Cyber Command, which is part of the Pentagon and runs the US military’s defensive and offensive online operations. The classified document gives the commander of Cyber Command, Gen. Paul Nakasone, the power to conduct offensive online operations without needing presidential approval. That lack of approval is more concerning – however at least any command would be thought about thoroughly – unlike anything Trump would decide.

Secretary of State Mike “Pompous” Pompeo has denied the story but said if Cyber Command did do it, he says it should have been done by the previous administration. Not George W. Bush’s administration?

With Trump expected to meet with Chinese Prime Minister Xi soon, “Pompous” Pompeo claims Trump has always been a defender of human rights and will ask Xi about the current issues in Hong Kong. You don’t see Trump and the phase “human rights” in the same sentence as there has been at most a couple of times where Trump has complained about human rights and meant it. Xi himself may just say it is an internal matter and mind your own business [or point to Trump’s human rights record on immigrants].

From Trump’s first official campaign rally in Florida [is there any difference between this and any other rally?]:

  • “We are, by the way, the number-one producer of energy in the world because of what we’ve done right now.” – The Energy Information Administration, said in 2016: “US petroleum and natural gas production first surpassed Russia in 2012, and the United States has been the world’s top producer of natural gas since 2011. Only thing surpassed under Trump was crude oil production in 2018.
  • “And in September, just before the election, the FBI told President Obama about possible Russian interference, …. He did nothing.” – Except Obama authorized an extraordinary public statement in October 2016 blaming the hacking on “Russia’s senior-most officials,” and top administration officials issued multiple warnings to top Russian officials. Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Poutine directly, at a G20 meeting in September 2016. After the election, in December 2016, Obama imposed sanctions on Russia.
  • “And not only did we fill it up, but we had 120,000 requests.” – Except if the arena was filled up and so many requests, why didn’t they move it to a stadium or put up screens outside the arena.
  • “…no president has had to deal with before, because we did, in the middle of the great and illegal witch hunt, things that nobody have been able to accomplish, not even close.” – Except immediate proof of a crime is not required to make a probe legal, and the probe eventually resulted in the convictions of multiple Trump associates.
  • “It’s beautiful. I changed the design. It’s stronger, bigger, better and cheaper.” – To describe a wall that way and considering that earlier this year he said the wall was being built but wasn’t. And then there is no comparison on the second sentence since nothing was ever built or any plans were made public.
  • “This election is a verdict on whether we want to live in a country where the people who lose an election refuse to concede and spend the next two years trying to shred our Constitution and rip your country apart.” – Even over 2 years later, still whining about the election. Still don’t see anyone from the Democrats contesting the election. The same goes for the missing emails.
  • “And they spent $40 million on this witch hunt, $40 million. That’s right. They spent $40 million, probably a hell of a lot more than that.” – Except current estimates is a bit above $25 million but the US government is expected to receive $11 million as a result of asset forfeitures from Paul Manafort.
  • “And you know we couldn’t get the wall approved by the Democrats, even though they voted for it four years ago and six years ago…” – Except some Democrats voted to authorize 700 miles of border fencing. But the fencing was different than the Trump campaign proposal the Democrats opposed 10 years later, which was for a giant concrete wall.
  • “….we are creating a future of American energy independence, and yet our air and water are the cleanest they’ve ever been by far.” – According to whom?
  • “A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism, and the destruction of the American dream.” – No comments.

Trump also whined about the usual stuff: Clinton, hoax, no collusion, vindicated in the Mueller Report, draining the swamp, overturn the election, etc.

Several pollsters have paid with their jobs after revealing lagging early swing state data that raises doubts over Trump’s ability to make political lightning strike again in 2020. Leaks showed that he is losing in several swing states. Then he tweeted “Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew. We are looking really good, but it is far too early to be focused on that.”

So he is behind in several states already and rumored to be angry for days about the internal polls leaked to the media last week that showed him losing to Democrats, including Joe Biden, in states like Michigan and Wisconsin. But then he blames the “fake media”. What would his comment be if he was winning? Hmmmm.

Trump said that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has “decided not to go forward with his confirmation process.” His resignation comes amid reports detailing his contentious divorce, which dragged out over six years. “….he can devote more time to his family.” Shanahan released a statement saying he withdrew from consideration after details surfaced related to “a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago.” That sort of contradicts Trump. No shocker there.

Trump then named Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to be the new Acting Secretary of Defense. Unlike Shanahan who wasn’t from the military, Esper has been in the military and is respected.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to halt the Trump administration’s push to circumvent Congress and expedite $8.1 billion in arms sales to Gulf countries by declaring an emergency. Trump is expected to veto the package of resolutions of disapproval and the votes were far short of the two-thirds of the chamber needed to overrule Trump.

Magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll alleged Trump had sexually assaulted her at a New York luxury department store in the late 1990s. Carroll details the allegations in her forthcoming book.

Carroll claims that she encountered Trump in the fall of 1995 or spring 1996 at the Bergdorf Goodman department store, where she says he attacked her in one of the dressing rooms. According to Carroll’s account, Trump sought her advice in buying a gift, and the two had met previously.

“Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda — like Julie Swetnick who falsely accused Justice Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said as a reply to the allegation. He said he has never met Carrell. He then added “Worse still for a dying publication to try to prop itself up by peddling fake news” taking aim at the New York Magazine which published the excerpts.

When a Time magazine journalist tried to take a picture of a letter received by Trump from Kim Jong Un that was off the record, saying to the journalist “Well, you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you….” why bother showing the letter even off the record.

Then he rants “Because I’m sure it will be the 28th horrible story I have in TIME Magazine because I never – I mean – ha. It’s incredible. With all I’ve done and the success I’ve had, the way that TIME Magazine writes is absolutely incredible.” An then “Some day within the next 20 years, maybe you’ll pick me as Man of the Year. O.K., big deal.” Except he was picked in 2016.

Later Trump said it was a personal letter. White House sources said it was just a birthday greeting. So why would Trump not show the letter?

In a Trump tweet, he is threatening that “millions” of undocumented immigrants would be deported next week. Now that he said it in public, I can see him tell his fan base that he did it when he didn’t. A day later, a senior immigration official with knowledge of the administration’s plans painted a different picture. “There is no operation next week to pick up millions… No clue where he got that impression.” Well, he said he’d kick out millions of criminals following his election win. That never happened.

Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks refused to answer questions about her time working in the White House as she testified behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee. “The president’s lawyers are directing her not to answer any questions even as we are recounting stuff she told to the special counsel” said a Democrat and member of the panel.

As part of the ongoing trade battles with China, Canada got caught in the middle. After the US requested the extradition from Canada of a Huawei executive [which has been caught in legal issues], China arrested 2 Canadians right after the executive was arrested on [err] trumped up charges. Since then China has also rescinded deals or blocked imports. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Washington to work with Trump on that issue, NAFTA 2.0 and other issues. Trump said that he has promised to take up the matter of the two Canadians with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week at the G20 summit in Japan. We’ll see.

Marc Lotter, the director of strategic communications for the Trump 2020 campaign, said that a new Quinnipiac showing Trump losing to 6 Democratic presidential candidates is “meaningless.” He also said their polls are not accurate. I wonder if he would say the same thing if Trump was leading. The Democratic candidates had anywhere between a 1% and a 9% leads over Trump.

“They’re after my financial statement – the Senate, they’d like to get my financial statement. At some point I hope they get it,” Trump said in an interview. “It’s a fantastic financial statement.” He claims he is being asked for statements “they’ve never asked another President for.” Trump has refused to release his tax returns while in office, making him the only modern president to refuse to do so.

From a tweet [referencing that he has 6 years left as president] “…do you think the people would demand that I stay longer?” Again, does he know the constitution? Not the first time he joked [or not] that he wants a longer than 8 year term [maybe in prison].

Seems the new cold war has invaded cancer research. A resignation of a leading Chinese researcher at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the departures in recent months of three other top Chinese American scientists, stem from a Trump administration drive to counter Chinese influence at US research institutions. The aim is to stanch China’s well-documented and costly theft of US innovation and know-how.

The National Institutes of Health has contacted 61 research institutions about suspected diversion of proprietary information by grant recipients and referred 16 cases, mainly involving undisclosed ties to foreign governments, for possible legal action. FBI agents are reading private emails, stopping Chinese scientists at airports, and visiting people’s homes to ask about their loyalty.

Oh acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is in trouble. During an interview recently Trump told him to leave the Oval office after Mulvaney coughed during one of Trump’s answers. “I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that,” Trump said.

When French President Emmanuel Macron came to Washington in April 2018 for his first state visit, he and Trump planted a European sessile oak tree on the South Lawn of the White House. It was meant to symbolize friendship between the two countries and the 100th anniversary of when American troops fought in France during World War I. Now the tree is dead. How do you kill a tree?

The so-called Environmental Protection Agency said states can set their own carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants — a rule that the agency itself says could result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan it will replace.

The move fulfills part of Trump’s promise to help the coal industry. Trump thinks this will help the coal industry but less and less companies are using coal because of carbon emissions and the fact that it is dirty. US coal consumption has plunged 39% to the lowest level in 40 years, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Oh. Happy Birthday Donnie!

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.

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.

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.