Trump blames Democrats for shutdown after he said it was his

So it is the holiday season. You think Donald Trump will be “normal” on Christmas Day? I thought So. No.

Trump said a partial shutdown would drag on “for a very long time” and he tried to lay blame on congressional Democrats if there’s no deal over his demand for Trump Wall money. A week ago Trump said “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.” But now he has tweeted “If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown!” And later “The Democrats now own the shutdown!” So which is it?

“I’ve made my position very clear,” he said at a White House event. “Any measure that funds the government must include border security.”

The House is set to vote on a bill where the Senate has already approved the bill, which would fund the government to Feb. 8. It would keep funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, for border security and fencing but not for the Trump Wall.

Trump tweeted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should move to change the Senate rules to require just a simple majority to move forward on legislation [the “nuclear option” to end the 60 vote threshold.] McConnell has explicitly said multiple times on the record that he won’t. And even if he tried, he wouldn’t even have enough GOP votes to carry out the nuclear option since a number of his members are opposed as well.

Could be interesting. Trump will probably want to settle prior to the 3rd of January as on the 3rd, the Democrats take control of the House and will be even more difficult to get something passed that he likes.

The vote would be for a bill where the House passed a bill which includes $5 billion for the Trump Wall. In the Senate, McConnell will need 50 senators to vote to advance the measure but won’t get it because of holiday absences and some GOP are unhappy with how it was handled. If goes further, it would need 9 Democrats [unlikely] to break the filibuster.

If that failed, either a fast compromise or the bill the Senate passed where it doesn’t include the $5 billion. Even if they agreed on that, Trump would most likely not sign the bill as it excludes money for his Trump Wall.

The partial shutdown will affect The Department of Homeland Security [but 90% of 245,505 employees are deemed essential and won’t be], The Justice Department, The Interior Department, The State Department, and The Department of Housing and Urban Development. If a shutdown were to take place, it would be limited in scope. That’s because lawmakers have already funded roughly 75% of the federal government through September 2019 [fiscal end of year].

“We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,” White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said. If it forces a shutdown, Miller replied, “If it comes to it, absolutely.” But that didn’t last long as an option.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested that the White House has found an alternative way to get its requested $5 billion in funding for a US-Mexico border wall, marking a reversal from Trump’s previous position, where the White House could support a compromise bill to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Trump administration officials were looking for ways to build the wall but have not provided details of that effort but leading Democrats have warned that shifting funds around in such a way would have to be approved by Congress.

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion [for a border wall],” Sanders said. “There’s a piece of legislation that’s been pushed around that Democrats actually voted 26-5 out of committee that provides roughly $26 billion for border security including $1.6 billion for the wall,” she said. “That’s something that we would be able to support as a long as we can couple that with other funding resources.” But that’s $1.6 billion – not $5 billion.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer initially offered this as an option to avoid a shutdown, but said the bill wasn’t on the table anymore because it couldn’t pass the House. That was in part because House Democrats are opposed to the $1.6 billion in wall funding. Republicans have warn that “caving” on Trump’s repeated wall promises could hurt his 2020 re-election chances, and other Republicans’ as well.

In a meeting recently with Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer, Trump had said he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.” Proud?

Before the senators adjourned for the night just as the shutdown began, the Senate passed a bill to ensure federal employees who are furloughed get back pay. This is the first time in 40 years that the government has been closed three times in a year. In addition, government workers won’t return until after Christmas at the earliest and maybe longer. Trump had already declared Monday, Christmas Eve, a federal holiday – thinking he may get a brownie point or two.

“I am in the White House, working hard,” tweeted Trump, who cancelled his Florida holiday getaway to his club Mar-a-Lago due to the shutdown. Yes, he is probably watching Fox News while tweeting. As a Fox News reported told Sanders recently “Do your job.”

Trump’s re-election campaign sent out a fundraising email launching what he called “the most important membership program ever – the OFFICIAL BUILD THE WALL MEMBERSHIP.” Trump urged donors to sign up. I wonder what you get for the membership. If he’s aiming at the wealthy, wonder how legal that would be.

That didn’t take long. Trump has at least twice in the past few weeks vented to his acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, angered by federal prosecutors who referenced Trump’s actions in crimes his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to. Trump pressed Whitaker on why more wasn’t being done to control prosecutors in New York who brought the charges in the first place, suggesting they were going rogue.

“This is from the President of our country, lying about the lawful execution of a search warrant issued by a federal judge [for Cohen’s establishments]. Shame on Republicans who don’t speak up at this moment – for the FBI, the rule of law, and the truth,” former FBI director James Comey wrote.

Trump has begun polling advisers about whether he has the legal authority to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Some described Trump as newly furious at the Federal Reserve chief as markets tumble. But Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin claims Trump never asked about removing Powell.

Earlier this year, Trump’s advisers told him that it was doubtful he would have the law behind him if he fired Powell. The law states Trump can fire a Federal Reserve governor for cause, but it hasn’t been tested on the firing of a chairman.

Top West Wing economic advisers have warned Trump that firing Powell would only exacerbate the problem Trump is ostensibly trying to solve: nose-diving markets. The unprecedented move would likely cause more turmoil. A senior member of the Senate banking committee said that the Federal Reserve is “set up to be independent of the President”.

Remember when Trump early on claimed he was the “law and order” president?  His version of this is contradicting or attacking legally supported investigations, putting his political goals ahead of what is in the constitution and elsewhere, and meddling in court cases before or while they are tried.

Remember how after the invasion of Iraq was “completed” and President George H.W. Bush stood in front of a “Mission Accomplished” sign and from the deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. And yet 15+ years later, US soldiers are still in Iraq?

As Trump tweeted that he wanted US troops out of Syria in 30 days he also tweeted “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” Politicians from both parties were surprise, shocked and perplexed that he announced the decision – without even asking for advice from the military or others. There were multiple times within the past month where politicians and military official claims a lot of work is needed to finish off ISIS.

Even though the US will continue to maintain troops in Iraq with the capability of launching strikes into Syria, a US withdrawal of ground forces would fulfill a major goal of Syria, Iran and Russia and risks diminishing US influence in the region. Trump tweeted, “we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” ISIS will obviously use this as part of their propaganda saying they beat the US.

Trump claimed one day that ISIS was “defeated” in Syria and were withdrawing troops. The next day he tells other countries to help out in the effort to defeat ISIS.

Next, there are plans to pull out half the 14,000 troops in Afghanistan by summer time. The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers and spent over $900 billion in the 17+ years. Sen. Lindsey Graham went on a trip to Afghanistan, where he fears about pulling US troops out of Afghanistan too early.

Trump announced he would replace Defense Secretary James Mattis at the start of the new year, two months earlier than Mattis’ planned departure. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. “Acting” again? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Mattis about the change.

The Pentagon released Mattis’ resignation letter and Trump began watching the coverage and realized the former general was leaving in protest of him — and not quietly, either. The stream of praise that followed from Democrats and Republicans alike irked Trump.

Right after Mattis’ resignation, Brett McGurk, who is Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL., resigned as well. McGurk also believed that leaving Syria was a mistake. When hearing of the resignation, Trump didn’t know who he was [hired by President Obama]. But look at his title. How can he have that title without Trump knowing him?

The Donald J. Trump Foundation has agreed to dissolve under judicial supervision amid an ongoing lawsuit concerning its finances, according to a document filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by the New York state Attorney General’s office.

It is “a foundation that took in $18,800,000 [US] and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000,” in a tweet back in June by Trump. Gave out more than took in? Even with taxes and administration of the foundation, that looks a bit like money laundering.

Trump continued his rant about his foundation closure saying that his foundation has “done great work and given away lots of money.” $19 million really isn’t that much considering who the foundation donors probably are.

He went after the Democrats, the New York Attorney General, the governor, former Attorney General and the state’s attorney general-elect claiming they all went after him personally. And yet, his base will agree with him even though the attorneys for the Trump foundation agreed on a court-supervised process for shutting down the charity.

Senator Bob Corker blasted Trump after Trump claimed that the Republican was forced to retire after not getting Trump’s support. “Yes, just like Mexico is paying for the wall,” Corker tweeted, before using the hashtag “#AlertTheDaycareStaff.” Earlier, Corker called the standoff over a border wall that has shut down federal agencies a “made-up fight” that is more about Trump scoring political points.

Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack claimed that Trump had pushed the Tennessee senator to run again [instead of retiring] and offered his endorsement should Corker decide to do so. Corker has been repeatedly critical of the Trump administration, and has previously referred to the White House as an “an adult day care center.”

The Trump administration is finally banning bump-fire stocks. Those who possess the devices, which make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster, will have 90 days to turn in or otherwise destroy them from the date that the final rule is published. Expect the NRA to complain.

Trump tweeted “A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?” Let’s see him try and test it. “Dem commercials”? Where? One sided coverage? So Fox and all the right wing media is also against him? Once again he whines about anything that hurts his overinflated orange ego.

After a federal judge in Texas ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, Trump said “I believe we’re going to get really good health care…. he gave few details of his vague plans to provide a better alternative to Obamacare.

Thanks to the Trump tax breaks, millionaires, including these senators, collectively saved an estimated $17.4 billion according to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation. The same men who pushed this law through, and their donors and backers likely even more so, also benefited immensely from it.

Remember when one of Trump’s few indicators that the economy is going great [even though, for example, there were constant job losses] was that the stock markets were climbing to record levels? Well, he has kept quiet – or at least not mention the stock market – as the Dow Jones sunk below 23,000. Nasdaq has dropped 20% since August 29th record high.

Actual witches would prefer if Trump stop using the phrase “Witch hunt”.

Hilarious but true, someone in Florida started a GoFundMe page to build the Trump Wall. In 6 days, almost $16 million was raised from 255,909 donors. The goal is $1 billion. Good luck there. [The total is slowing down a bit from close to 3 million per day for the first 4 days.]

In a recent Gallup poll, 38% approve of Trump’s work, 60% disapprove. The latter is the highest in almost a year. Approval of those aged 18-29, who went from 35% approval of Trump to 28%.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that found that 62% of respondents believe Trump has not been truthful about the Russia investigation.

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And the resignations continue

Note: With the upcoming possible partial shutdown of the government coming Friday at midnight, I’ve decided to post some of the week’s news now and the remainder probably on Saturday after whether there is a shutdown or not.

James Mattis, Defense Secretary, is the latest to leave the administration. He resigned the day after Donald Trump surprised just about everyone with his withdrawal from Syria. Mattis was one of the many who didn’t like the decision. This will add to the list of vacancies to fill in addition to Senate approval for many of them.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote in a pointed two-page letter that he hand-delivered to Trump. Mattis rejects out of hand Trump’s “America First” foreign policy that had led to clashes with a slew of longtime allies — from Germany to Britain to Australia and back.

“We are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries,” tweeted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio  shortly after the news of Mattis’ resignation broke.

After Mattis, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be the latest to depart from the Trump administration at the end of the year. Trump tweeted “The Trump Administration will be announcing the new Secretary of the Interior next week.” Zinke became the fourth Cabinet member to leave under an ethical cloud, having sparked 17 investigations into his actions on the job, by one watchdog’s count.

One report has it that White House had been pushing Zinke to resign for weeks and that he was told he had until year’s end to leave or he would be fired. In a private resignation letter, Zinke blamed “vicious and politically motivated attacks” for his departure. The Justice Department is investigating Zinke for possibly using his office for personal gain following a referral from the Interior Department’s inspector general.

Another report describes suppression of science, denial of climate change, the silencing and intimidation of agency staff, and attacks on science-based laws that help protect our nation’s world-class wildlife and habitats.

So if you need to review, Mattis, Zinke, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, chief of staff John Kelly and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will all be out of the White House by early January at the latest and will need replacements and probably all but Sanders needs Senate approval.

Mick Mulvaney, the new interim Chief of Staff at the white House, like other administration and Republican politicians, have in the past objected to Trump’s politics and administration but still either work for him or side with him. At a November 2016 event in South Carolina, Mulvaney said “Do I like Donald Trump? No” but added that he was a better choice for president than Hillary Clinton and in a video said “…he’s a terrible human being.”

Trump and Rudy Giuliani used Twitter and television interviews to deliver a series of broadsides against special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York. Giuliani said he was “disgusted” by the tactics used by Mueller in his probe into Russian election interference, including in securing guilty pleas from the president’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on a charge of lying to federal investigators. Trump, Giuliani said, would not submit to an interview by Mueller’s team. Isn’t it legal still in the U.S. to make a plea deal?

“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started,” Trump tweeted. “They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!” Actually, the FBI executed a search warrant obtained from a judge in conducting a raid in April on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room and seizing records on a variety of matters, among them a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Cohen. The application for the warrant was approved high in the Justice Department.

Document shows Trump signed a letter of intent to move forward with negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Russia, despite Giuliani claiming the document was never signed. The documents are dated October 28, 2015, and bears Trump’s signature. It was a signed letter of intent that set the stage for negotiations for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property in the heart of Moscow.

“It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it,” Giuliani said in an interview. Trump repeatedly said during the 2016 presidential campaign that he had “nothing to do with Russia.” The deal would of gave Trump’s company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales and control over marketing and design. The deal also included an opportunity to name the hotel spa after Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

After almost two dramatic hours in a courtroom discussing his crimes, former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked to postpone his sentencing for several months so he can have more of an opportunity to cooperate in federal investigations and attempt to mitigate the judge’s disgust with his actions.

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents in a January 24, 2017 interview in the West Wing of the White House. Flynn and a former business associates are accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey.

After winning an auction to name a newly discovered blind amphibian, a British company chose Trump as the creature’s namesake, likening its behavior to Trump’s stance on climate change. Dermophis donaldtrumpi was discovered in Panama and has a propensity for burrowing its head in the ground.

Humor time: Looks like there could be a sequel to All The President’s Men. It will be called All The President’s Convicts.