Trump continues with another week of racist comments

“I was down there also, but I’m not considering myself a first responder,” Donald Trump said. “But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you.” Except Trump was a bystander on the day — watching the events unfold from his offices (and home) at Trump Tower, which was several miles from Ground Zero. This according to politico.

He has also claimed that he helped pay for several hundred workers to help clean up the wreckage in the aftermath of 9/11.

He also said later on after 9/11 that “40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest-and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest. And now it’s the tallest.” He seems to care more about tallest building than what happened.

Trump attacked another prominent African American lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, tweeting that his Baltimore district is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Trump suggested that conditions in Cummings’ district, which is majority black and includes parts of Baltimore, are “FAR WORSE and more dangerous” than those at the US-Mexico border. Trump said the “district is considered the Worst in the USA” and “no human being would want to live there.”

Trump attacked Cummings for erupting at acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over border conditions during a congressional hearing on July 18.

Cummings’ committee has also launched a number of investigations into the Trump administration related to Trump’s finances and White House practices, including security clearances and Hatch Act violations.

Trump gave no indication of the basis of the claim but the tweets followed a segment that aired an hour earlier on Fox News, in which a Republican strategist said conditions in Cummings’ district were worse than those at the southern border. So definitely no proof. The Maryland chapter of the NAACP dubbed Trump’s tweets racist and called for launching impeachment proceedings into Trump.

The district is actually one of the most affluent black areas in the US with a high percentage of educated residents. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney insisted that Trump would criticize any lawmaker, no matter their race, in a similar way if he felt the person spoke unfairly about his policies. “It has absolutely zero to do with race,” he said. Sure Mick. Sure.

“Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” Trump tweeted sarcastically.

Ironically, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, owns many of the dilapidated buildings in Baltimore that Trump may be complaining about. Kushner’s properties have been fined many times over the years for various infractions related to bad conditions. However, drug and murder rates have gone up over the past while.

Kushner’s family real estate firm owns thousands of apartments and town homes in the Baltimore area. Residents have complained about mold, bedbugs, leaks and, yes, mice — plenty of mice. And they say management appears in no hurry to fix the problems. The Kushner Cos. had violated housing codes more than 200 times in just 10 months and only moved to fix the problems after being threatened with fines.

In a statement, the Kushner Cos. said it was proud of its Baltimore-area apartments and has worked to maintain a “high quality residential experience for our tenants” by investing “substantial amounts” in upkeep. The Kushner Cos. told the New York Times at the time that it is had spent $10 million on its properties, but their age means issues can still arise.

A Baltimore Sun story in 2017 found the Kushner Cos. used the courts to arrest tenants late on rent more than any other landlord in the state. A Lawsuit seeking class-action status for residents alleges Westminster Management, the Kushner subsidiary that oversees rental properties in Maryland and other states, often charges tenants illegal and excessive fees that keeps them in constant fear of eviction and guessing what they owe.

Now Trump is going after longtime African-American activist, Al Sharpton. This time Trump tweeted “I have known Al for 25 years. Went to fights with him & Don King, always got along well. He “loved Trump!” He would ask me for favors often. Al is a con man, a troublemaker, always looking for a score. Just doing his thing. Must have intimidated Comcast/NBC. Hates Whites & Cops!”

He then added “Al Sharpton would always ask me to go to his events. He would say, “it’s a personal favor to me.” Seldom, but sometimes, I would go. It was fine. He came to my office in T.T. [Trump Tower] during the presidential campaign to apologize for the way he was talking about me.” Now how much of this is true. Well, you know the man.

Trump told reporters “The African American people have been calling the White House. They have never been so happy as what a president has done….. But they’re so happy that I pointed out the corrupt politics of Baltimore. It’s filthy dirty. It’s so horrible. And they are happy as hell” and that African Americans are so delighted with his attacks on the city of Baltimore and Cummings. You can stop laughing now.

In a Quinnipiac University poll conducted from July 25 to July 28 — two days before the tweets, the day of the tweets, and one day after the tweets — Trump had a 6% approval rating and 84% disapproval rating with black voters. Eighty percent of black voters said Trump is racist, while just 11% said he is not.

A Fox News poll conducted from July 21 to July 23 had Trump at 75% disapproval among black registered voters, with 22% approval. 76% in the Fox News poll said it is racist to tell a person of color to “go back” to their country of origin, while 9% said it was not. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted June 28 to July 1, 81% of African Americans said they disapproved; 18% approved. Both of those approval numbers were substantially better than the one in the new Quinnipiac poll, but still: On the whole, large majorities of African Americans were displeased with him.
In the 2016 election, just 8% of African Americans voted for Trump. I can not see him getting that amount in the next election.

The Trump administration announced it has formally withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Moscow, putting an end to a landmark arms control pact that has limited the development of ground-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement adding “Russia failed to return to full and verified compliance through the destruction of its non-compliant missile system.”

NATO allies said in a statement that Russia remains in violation of the INF Treaty, “despite years of US and Allied engagement,” adding that they fully support the US decision to withdraw and added that over the past six months Russia had a “final opportunity” to honor the treaty but failed.

National Intelligence director Dan Coats resigned and will leave office on Aug. 15, after a somewhat tumultuous relationship with Trump. The former senator became director of national intelligence at a difficult time and spent his tenure in the administration at odds with Trump, helming a constellation of over a dozen agencies that the President has publicly mocked, ignored and dismissed.

Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, who aggressively questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller last week during Congressional hearings involving his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, will be nominated by Trump to replace Coats.

Trump tweeted “Trade talks are continuing, and during the talks the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 billion dollars of products coming from China into our country.” But after a setback in negotiations in May, he announced that he’d put them off indefinitely of any further tariffs.

The Justice Department inspector general’s office referred former FBI Director James Comey for potential prosecution over his handling of memos that the FBI later determined contained classified information. But Justice Department prosecutors declined to prosecute Comey, in part because they didn’t believe there was evidence to show Comey knew and intended to violate laws on handling classified information. Expect Trump to complain.

Oh Trump was at a rally this past week in Cincinnati. As usual, he made false or misleading comments about his 2016 win, the environment, immigration, etc. the usual. Waste of space to post his comments here.

Trump tweeted “Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA, the gutless Radical Left Wack Jobs who go around hitting (only non-fighters) people over the heads with baseball bats, a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others). Would make it easier for police to do their job!” But it has prompted a backlash in Germany, where thousands of social media users have pledged solidarity with the group.

Trump said that he prefers American wine over French wine even though he doesn’t drink wine. He said “I just like the way they look.” How do they look better? The label? But he did say “we make the finest [Trump labeled] wine.” He never attested wine. How does he personally know they are good?

Trump retweeted a post from an account operating under the name “Lynn Thomas” that accused Democrats of being “the true enemies of America.” The account, which created in September 2018, described itself as a “Fierce Trump supporter.” Just a few hours later, Twitter had suspended the account saying the account had broken the platform’s rules.

Trump once called Twitter an “incredible way of communicating,” as well as a way to combat negative coverage. Or in his case creating negative coverage.

He claimed that Twitter was making it difficult for people to follow him on the platform, claiming at the time, “People come up to me: ‘Sir, we want to follow you; they don’t let us on.” Sure Donnie.

Nearly 1,400 people were detained in a violent police crackdown on an opposition protest in Moscow as well as some people were hurt. Police justified their response by saying that the rally was not sanctioned by authorities. Don’t expect the “leader of the free world” Trump criticize his buddy/mentor Vladimir Poutine about this.

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Of blocking borders and flip flopping

Donald Trump threatened on several occasions last year to close the US-Mexico border, including at one point saying the US would close the border “permanently.” Of course there is always threats but the border never closes and the immigrants continue to come in.

Trump was “100 per cent” ready to shut all, or part, of the US border with Mexico to gain leverage in his ongoing fight with Congress over immigration and his dream of a wall. A few hours later, during an evening speech at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner, he suggested that his threats are working so well that he won’t be able to carry through with the plan.

He said that [with no proof] “And they’ve apprehended over 1,000 people at the southern border, their southern border. And they’re bringing them back to their countries.” The following morning, he was on Twitter demanding immediate measures from the House and Senate. “If no action, Border, or large sections of Border, will close. This is a National Emergency!” Did the 1,000 people exist? I’d say no.

In the meantime, nobody it seems wants the border closed. Not even fellow Republicans. Among the statistics: 500,000 people legally cross the border each day in Texas alone, $726 million US is the estimated losses to US businesses and farmers, per day, if the border is closed and 1 million manufacturing jobs that would be at risk. Auto parts, produce and fruits are exported to the US from Mexico.

Trump changed his mind again on closing the border with Mexico. Initially he said “We’re going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop or (are) largely stopped, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular, the cars … and if that doesn’t stop the drugs, we close the border.” This he said to reporters. But later he said “I don’t think we’ll ever have to close the border because the penalty of tariffs on cars coming into the United States from Mexico, at 25%, will be massive.”

When asked if his comments suggested that his new auto tariffs mean the southern border will remain open for at least a year, Trump responded: “No, I didn’t say that.” But he did when he spoke to reporters. Previously he said he would give Mexico one week to increase apprehensions of migrants from Central America from coming toward the US — and threatened a border closure as a consequence.

“Congress has to meet quickly and make a deal. I could do it in 45 minutes. We need to get rid of chain migration,” Trump said. “We need to get rid of catch and release and visa lottery. And we have to do something about asylum. And to be honest with you, we have to get rid of judges.”

Trump has been running the country for about 27 months now. Why hasn’t he proposed anything to the Republicans to fix these problems instead of continuously whining about it. As well “get rid of judges” – we will assume he means immigration judges and not judges in general.

Trump announced the US would be cutting funding to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, blaming them for migrant caravans that have come to the southern border recently and saying the cuts were because “they haven’t done a thing for us.” The three countries get close to $1.3 billion in aid.

“It’s something that I’m sure we’ll be looking into and studying,” Kevin Hassett, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers when asked about the economic impact of closing the border crossings with Mexico because Trump has claimed Mexico hasn’t done enough to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US through Mexico.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that when it comes to the contacts members of Trump’s campaign team had with Russians during the 2016 election, “the issue is not whether it’s ethical.” Then he said “the voters are going to decide about the ethics and morality of the people they vote for on either side.” Ummmm. If it is possibly illegal it is not the voters who should decide.

Shocker. Some of Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team said Attorney General William Barr left out some parts of the report that wouldn’t look good for Trump.

Republicans criticized efforts by House Democrats to obtain Trump’s tax returns with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy warning that the request “sets a dangerous standard of having the federal government used as a political weapon” and dismissing the move as “a waste of time.” Laughingly, McCarthy argued that Democrats have not accepted Trump’s victory in the last presidential election and are trying to “use the power of government” for political retaliation.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal formally requested Trump’s tax returns from the IRS. Trump said that he wouldn’t be inclined to provide his tax returns to Congress until he was no longer under audit. Damn that’s one long audit! Is he still being audited from 2016 and before?

Trump has already hinted that he is willing to go to the Supreme Court to block Congress in accessing his tax returns. Exactly what is he hiding? There is obviously something damaging [and not some excuse like a privacy issue]. And if the Supreme Court doesn’t side with him will he still withhold the information?

Trump said that Republicans are working on a new health care plan but won’t introduce it until after the 2020 election. Trump’s statements come a week after his administration announced that it now agreed with a judge’s ruling that the entire Affordable Care Act should be scrapped. The opinion was a dramatic reversal from the administration’s previous stance that only portions of the act could not be defended.

Trump’s latest move allows him to wait on the issue as legal challenges against the health care law, also known as Obamacare, make their way through the federal court system. If it’s ultimately overturned, Trump can claim he made good on a campaign promise in time for his 2020 re-election campaign. If it’s upheld, he can rail against a “liberal” court system.

So not killing ObamaCare is another failed campaign promise. No matter how he spins it, he never replaced it.

“Everybody agrees that ObamaCare doesn’t work. Premiums & deductibles are far too high – Really bad HealthCare! Even the Dems want to replace it, but with Medicare for all, which would cause 180 million Americans to lose their beloved private health insurance,” Trump tweeted. Except the Democrats aren’t in a rush to replace it and ObamaCare works for 20+ million who would be left off any plan under Trump’s plans.

According to Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, one part of Trump’s healthcare plan would increase the out-of-pocket limit by 2.5% more than it would have otherwise – $8,200 per person or $16,400 per family.

A White House staff member has told House investigators that senior officials have overruled concerns raised about 25 individuals whose security clearances were initially denied over a range of disqualifying issues.

Jared Kushner goes on Fox News for an interview. He is asked about the whistle-blower who said maybe 25 people including him and Ivanka sidestepped the security process. He rambles on about collusion [his father-in-law would be proud], answering various questions from investigations, etc. – but never answers the interviewer’s questions. Sounds like a politician.

While having a chat with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg [who’s from Germany], Trump claimed [for the third time] that his father was born in Germany when he was actually born in New York. In fact, his paternal grand-father was]. Years ago, Trump denied his father was German.

Trump pushed in February for his nomination of the Internal Revenue Service’s chief counsel [Michael Desmond], to be fast-tracked in the Senate, even before the chamber held confirmation hearings on Trump’s pending nominee for attorney general. The Senate eventually confirmed Desmond in late February. Trump may need Desmond to block attempts by the Democrats to release his taxes.

Trump said that he’s recommending his friend Herman Cain, a former pizza executive of Godfather’s Pizza, who dropped his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination amid sexual harassment allegations, for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. From 1992 to 1996, he served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Possibly a reason to hire him is because Cain is black.

A long-time sportswriter, Rick Reilly, who claims in a new book that Trump frequently cheats at golf likened Trump’s habit to a way of “showing you that he’s better than you.” Reilly even allegedly Trump cheating against professional players. I guess Reilly won’t be playing golf with Trump anymore!

According to Reilly, Trump hit two balls in the water when he played professional golfer Tiger Woods and then claimed to have almost tied with him, kicked sportscaster Mike Tirico’s ball into a bunker when the two played, and claims to have a 2.8 handicap despite professionals such as Dustin Johnson assessing him to be a 9 or 10.

Trump’s caddies also allegedly know to accommodate his penchant, Reilly said — “He kicks the ball out of the rough so many times, the caddies call him ‘Pele,'” after the famous soccer player.

“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75% in value…. And they say the noise causes cancer.” Last month it was 65% and he uses the word “they” which is his code word for no one. The fastest-growing occupation in the US in 2017 was wind turbine technician, although it’s still a small part of the economy. More than 105,000 Americans are employed in the wind industry across all 50 states.

Former Fox News contributor Morgan Ortagus, the expected pick to become the next State Department spokesperson, repeatedly criticized Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Ortagus publicly lambasted then-candidate Trump over what she called his “isolationist foreign policy approach,” and blasted behavior she qualified as “disgusting” and “not serious.”

The House passed a resolution calling for the end of any US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, sending the proposal to the White House where it is expected to be vetoed by Trump. The Senate passed the resolution and made clear their votes were also aimed at expressing their frustrations with Trump’s continued support for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Even though 18 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, Trump is making fun at recent claims against former Vice President Joe Biden on the same.

During an interview Trump kept on saying “oringes” – that was even list on White House web site transcript.

Trump publicly bragged about pressuring Canada to accept his terms for a new North American free-trade agreement after he said the negotiators were “not at all nice” during the talks, but he “made them nice.” In previous speeches and tweets, he called Canada “very spoiled”.

Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a foe of Trump, would prefer a Democrat win the 2020 election than have Trump serve a second term, saying that “four years is difficult enough to unravel some of the damage” done internationally by the administration.

Former first lady Barbara Bush didn’t consider herself a Republican after rump took office, according to a forthcoming book by author Susan Page wrote in an excerpt adapted from her new book, “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty.”

Family problems and more departures

The Washington Post published a bombshell report that at least four countries had discussed how to use White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s sparse experience, financial troubles and intricate business arrangements to manipulate him.

The security clearance of Kushner has been downgraded. Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the “top secret/sensitive compartmented information” level for more than a year. Now he is only authorized to access information at the lower “secret” level.

The news set off rampant speculation among Donald Trump allies that Kushner’s days in the White House might be numbered. Another announcement saw the departure of a top Kushner aide in the White House, deputy communications director Josh Raffel, the third departure of a Kushner ally in the West Wing in as many months.

With the downgrade in clearance, Kushner may not be able to fulfill his job as a foreign policy advisor such as the Middle East peace process – which itself went from not good to worse since Trump announced that it would move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Is that advising? He also can’t be in any room where a higher security clearance is required.

He can’t even see intercepted communications or the most secret CIA information about their informants. Unless Kushner is cleared by the FBI to receive a permanent security clearance or gets a waiver from Trump [I can see that happening!], his diminished role will spur fresh speculation about his longevity as a White House staffer.

He also worked on trade deals for the United States’ relationships in Asia has been dying a slow death over the last year due to a combination of his lack of experience, lack of respect from world leaders and the actions of his boss and father-in-law, President Donald Trump. The drop in clearance will also affect Ivanka Trump.

Trump pledged to hire the most qualified people in the world to serve in his administration, and made the alleged mishandling of classified material by his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton a key argument of his campaign. But yet, his “qualified” people have either resigned [more likely fired] or can’t get a top secret security clearance. Yet many others also can’t get a clearance approved.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders insisted that the change in Kushner’s security clearance would not impact his standing in the White House. “He is a valued member of the team and will continue to do the important work he has been doing since he started in the administration,” she said. He won’t be too valuable if he doesn’t have the access needed to do his job – maybe except for maintenance work [gardener, pick up trash from baskets, etc.] Trump has the ability to declassify information and could do so in order to allow Kushner to see certain documents, which might not fly well with the national security and intelligence communities. But he doesn’t care about them since has already degraded them in the past.

Kushner’s family real estate group obtained business loans after Kushner met with the company heads in his official government capacity where Kushner met with Joshua Harris, one of the founders of Apollo Global Management, on multiple occasions while advising the Trump administration on infrastructure policy. The size of the loan was triple the size of their average property loan.

As well, Citigroup’s chief executive, Michael Corbat, met with Kushner in the spring of 2017 and a short time after, the group lent Kushner Companies $325 million for some of its Brooklyn properties.

The chief White House calligrapher has greater access to sensitive information than Kushner with a top secret clearance. The clearance is supposedly required because of the knowledge of the President’s schedule, as well as the calligrapher’s proximity to world leaders.

Not to be outdone by her hubby, US counterintelligence officials are scrutinizing one of Ivanka Trump’s international business deals. The FBI has been looking into the negotiations and financing surrounding Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. The scrutiny could be a hurdle for the first daughter as she tries to obtain a full security clearance in her role as adviser to President Donald Trump. Wonder how her father will respond to this news. Twitter storm against the FBI?

Adding to this is that Trump was already under ethical fire for breaking anti-nepotism conventions by hiring family members.

Trump indirectly notified Chief of Staff John Kelly against removing Kushner’s clearance. So instead, Kelly reduced his clearance. But with Kushner’s job requirements, it is the same as removing as Kushner will now be mostly useless at his job. This could push Trump to remove Kelly from his job. If you remember, Kushner had to adjust his security clearance at least three times to add further information previously left out.

Trump has begun floating possible names for a future chief of staff in conversations with outside advisers. This includes budget director Mick Mulvaney, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Mark Meadows and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

So now Communications Director Hope Hicks has resigned. Hicks explained her decision saying she told colleagues that she had accomplished what she felt she could with a job that made her one of the most powerful people in Washington, and that there would never be a perfect moment to leave.

But one day after she spent hours testifying in front of the House Intelligence Committee regarding its investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 presidential election where she acknowledged that she sometimes told white lies for Trump but insisted that she had never done so in regard to the Russia investigation.

Supposedly Trump berated Hicks after her testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. She was considered one of his closest allies. And now? Betrayal?

During Hicks’ testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, she reportedly admitted to telling white lies on behalf of Trump, but said she never had to lie on substantial issues for him. But “It truly was just a setup of this witness [Hicks], who was trying to be forthright and honest,” according to Utah Rep. Chris Stewart. Funny how no one else complained and why 3 days later?

The Supreme Court said that it will stay out of the dispute concerning the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for now, meaning the Trump administration may not be able to end the program March 5 as planned.

Trump right away blamed the Democrats on inaction. Trump has previously claimed his plan will allow 3 times more DACA people than the previous Obama administration. The current DACA program could help protect potentially 1.9 million people [1.3 million at this time] who are eligible – the same as Trump’s plan.

Trump called Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson [the deputy who didn’t enter the school building in Parkland] a “coward” as well as other comments. Not only did Peterson, the armed school resource officer, had not entered the building, but three other deputies were also outside the school and had not entered. The deputies had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles and not one of them went into the school. Maybe because you don’t go up against a shooter with a handgun while the shooter has an AR15. Why isn’t Trump going after them?

While Trump is pushing for teachers to be armed at schools, the majority of state governors, at a meeting are against that though saying that teachers are there to teach – not police.

Trump hilariously said he would have stormed into the Florida high school to stop the gunman perpetrating the nation’s latest mass shooting “even if I didn’t have a weapon” as he lambasted the inaction of a sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school.

Trump raised eyebrows in a meeting by suggesting that law enforcement officials should be able to confiscate people’s firearms without a court order to prevent potential tragedies. Guarantee the NRA won’t like that or Second Amendment hawks.

Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign used a photo of a survivor of the Parkland, Florida, shooting in an email that asks its recipients to donate money to the campaign. The email contains a photo of 17-year-old survivor in a hospital bed surrounded by her family, Trump and the first lady. Very tacky. A privacy issue?

Trump appears to be backing away from his call to increase the age limit to 21 for some weapons. Surprised? There was a bipartisan bill to “raise the minimum purchase age for non-military buyers from 18 to 21.” But now Trump has indicated how a soldier could be told he or she could use an assault weapon on the battlefield but not at home to protect his or her family.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he isn’t supportive of the proposals to impose new restrictions on gun purchases, telling reporters “we shouldn’t be banning guns for law abiding citizens.” But then he said “we should be focusing on making sure that citizens who shouldn’t get guns in the first place don’t get those guns.” That last part was right but he is assuming like just about every pro-NRA politician that new rules would apply to those who haven’t been in trouble before.

Asked about arming teachers, Ryan suggested that the issue was not something Congress should take the lead on. But Trump is suggesting to do just that and both are gun related which is probably a federal jurisdiction.

The House passed a bill was attached to another a proposal that loosens gun regulations and allows those with permits to carry concealed weapons to legally travel with those firearms to other states. Take them on airplanes?

Florida state House approves only one part of a gun bill – ban bump stocks [sale and possession]. Failed to ban assault weapons, arm teachers or mental health background check.

Donald Trump Jr. liked a tweet promoting a false conspiracy theory that claimed that Parkland survivor Lauren Hogg’s older brother, David, had been coached by his father — a former FBI agent — to speak out against President Donald Trump.

Of all the congress members only 6 Republicans did NOT receive any financial support from the NRA. In comparison only 24 Democrats did receive support from them – with the most at just $49,000 for his career. Eight Republican lawmakers have been on the receiving end of at least $1 million in campaign contributions from the NRA over the courses of their careers. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is among them.

The state of Georgia is threatening to kill a tax break on jet fuel for Delta airlines after Delta abandoned its relationship with the NRA unless delta goes back to the status quo. Blackmail? Just over a dozen individuals used Delta’s NRA discount.

Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a frontrunner in the state’s gubernatorial race this year, vowed to “kill any tax legislation” that helps Delta unless it reverses course. “Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” he tweeted. We know where he is getting some of his donations from.

Vermont is home to the nation’s most permissive gun laws saying all you have to do was Google “AR-15 Vermont,” get in touch with a seller, and a few emails later and you could had arranged to exchange the weapon in a parking lot — no ID, background check, license, or wait required.

While some expect Kelly to leave the administration, White House national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster could leave his position in the White House by the end of the month and more likely that McMaster will not return to the military and ultimately will retire as a three-star general.

Out of the blue, Trump wants to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminum. Unsure what brought this on [but with him does anything have a reason?]. It was not immediately clear whether Trump would exempt some countries from the tariffs, as his national security advisers have urged him to do to avoid hurting key US allies. Already the move has divided top advisors and caused the Dow Jones to drop 400 points.

He had tweeted “Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!” If you look at the tweet, it is basically the same word he uses when he thinks the US has had a bad deal. For example, with NAFTA he complains about Canada taking advantage of the US but yet it is Canada that has a trade deficit.

Aside from the industries that use Canadian aluminum and steel, various Trump backers and politicians have already complained about how it will actually hurt Americans in the end. For example, American companies will have to purchase more American steel and aluminum which is more expensive. The extra costs would be passed on those that use them. Molson Coors [which uses aluminum for beer cans] are estimating it will add 10% to the price of a beer can. That could cause job loses because of probable loss in beer sales.

According to a report, special counsel Robert Mueller is asking questions about Trump’s business dealings with Russia before Trump’s campaign, a potentially significant development in the investigation. Mueller is also taking a look at Trump’s finances in the run-up to his decision to run for president.

Trump publicly chastised Attorney General Jeff Sessions again over an investigation into alleged surveillance abuses. He tweeted “Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!” Isn’t this meddling in investigations that involve himself? The attorney general is supposed to be independent – not take orders from the President every time things don’t go his way or has nothing else to tweet about.

Trump’s personal pilot, John Duncan, is on a short list to head the Federal Aviation Administration. [Can Homer Simpson be the new Secretary of the Department of Energy?]

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has called off an official trip to Washington to meet with Trump after a tense phone call brought the two leaders to a policy-driven standstill. Peña Nieto called off the trip in March after Trump would not agree to publicly affirm Mexico’s position that it would not fund construction of a border wall. At least one Mexican official said Trump “lost his temper.”

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has firmly denied reports about its involvement in secret negotiations with a “Russian intermediary” from whom the agency, along with the NSA, allegedly tried to retrieve a trove of stolen hacking tools. “The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false,” the CIA said in a statement. The agency added that the only “people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg,” the authors of the Friday reports in the New York Times and the Intercept.

The vague descriptions of the alleged spy saga described how the US spies were conned by a man they believed was linked to Russian intelligence, who fed them $100,000-worth of ‘gossip’ about Trump instead of the material they were after. The National Security Agency (NSA) has not yet officially commented on the issue.
Former adviser to Trump’s campaign Carter Page claims that the US government [i.e. Obama administration] meddled in more on the last election than the Russians. Page always wasn’t working with a “full deck”.

 

Flynn pleads guilty, Trump feeling the heat

Donald Trump’s tweet about firing former national security adviser Michael Flynn is garnering a lot of attention from critics — with some calling it a possible admission of obstruction of justice.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” The tweet immediately caught the attention of critics, who questioned whether Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when the President asked then-FBI Director James Comey to let the investigation into Flynn go.

Then-transition adviser KT McFarland, who later became deputy national security adviser under Michael Flynn, who was on President Donald Trump’s transition team wrote in a December 29 email that Russia “has just thrown the USA election to him,” according to a report. A White House lawyer said that McFarland meant only that Democrats were painting Russia’s role in the election that way. Uh huh. Sure.

Jared Kushner is the “very senior member” of Trump’s transition team who directed incoming Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador to the United States and other countries about a UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements in 2016.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s ambassador and disclosed that he is cooperating with the special counsel’s office. Flynn is the first person inside Trump’s administration to be reached by special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Trump tweets “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.” Wasn’t Trump buddy buddy with Comey? Why did he keep Comey on as head of the FBI when he started his term?

Lobbying regarding the UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements was a well-known and a collaborative effort by various transition officials including Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, Flynn and Kushner. None of them “ordered” or “directed” the others and all were working towards the same goal of standing by Israel, one of the country’s greatest allies, as the President’s very public comments at the time made clear.

At this time Trump has yet to tweet [or comment] on Flynn or Kushner, but a White House official said only nice things about Flynn including that Trump is thinking of his family. [Knowing Trump’s history, he said no such thing.]

Seen in the open, you could hear some people yell say Flynn “Lock him up”. This after Flynn said the same thing about Hillary Clinton a year earlier.

Some are wondering if Trump may now decide to finally muzzle Mueller before the bleeding of the Trump administration really begins.

Special counsel Robert Mueller removed one of the FBI’s top Russian counterintelligence experts from his team of investigators after an internal investigation found messages he sent that could be interpreted as showing political bias for Hillary Clinton and against Trump.

Trump responded by tweeting “ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE Now it all starts to make sense!” Oh yes. A sole agent actually led the probe and not Mueller?

The Senate Republicans’ tax bill hangs in the balance, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that GOP leaders grapple with how they can satisfy the conference’s deficit hawks. The Joint Committee on Taxation, the Congressional scorekeeper for tax bills, estimates that the Senate tax bill could generate enough growth to create nearly $408 billion in net new revenue over a decade. But even with that additional revenue, the bill would still add an estimated $1 trillion to deficits.

Trump tweets “Republicans Senators are working hard to pass the biggest Tax Cuts in the history of our Country. The Bill is getting better and better. This is a once in a generation chance. Obstructionist Dems trying to block because they think it is too good and will not be given the credit!” Biggest tax cuts which will add to the country’s debt. When you can’t get politicians in your own party to agree, then you have a problem.

Some Democrats complained that before the Senate vote, they were given roughly an hour to read the 500 page bill. Speed reading?

Reports that the White House has a tentative plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that emerged were an effort to express Trump’s deep displeasure and publicly shame his secretary of state. The news that the White House is seriously considering replacing Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo comes as Trump remains deeply frustrated with his secretary of state.

Tensions have been high between Trump and Tillerson for months now, and they were exacerbated after it was reported that Tillerson privately referred to the President as a moron over the summer. Trump, of course, has denied this.

After Trump retweeted anti-Muslims videos, multiple State Department officials said the department communicated to the White House that there was concern that protests could happen at US embassies. Trump retweeted three videos sent from far-right British activist Jayda Fransen that claimed to depict Muslims assaulting people and desecrating a statue of the Virgin Mary.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough issues on his plate, Trump is expected to announce very soon that the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This will definitely anger Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere who are already fuming because of those retweets.

Trump is expected to make the announcement as he signs a waiver to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv for another six months but says his administration will move the diplomatic mission to Jerusalem at some point — a goal long sought by Israel. He may by specify only West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as opposed to the eastern part of the city, which Palestinians want to claim as their own seat of government.

[The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 requires the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem or face the financial penalty of losing half the State Department’s appropriated funding for the acquisition and maintenance of buildings abroad. Every six months, however, presidents can sign a waiver to avoid these penalties on national security grounds.]

In more lies, Trump said at a speech in St. Charles, Missouri “The rich people actually don’t like me.” Unsure where he gets that from. His tax plan [corporate, estate, AMT] will save the rich millions.

Trump tweeted “Many people in our Country are asking what the “Justice” Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and “acid washed” 33,000 Emails? No justice!” Aren’t you going to blame Jeff Sessions? Why don’t you fire him if he isn’t doing his job.

Trump tweeted “The jury was not told the killer of Kate [Steinle] was a 7 time felon. The Schumer/Pelosi Democrats are so weak on Crime that they will pay a big price in the 2018 and 2020 Elections.” Meanwhile where is his wall? How many miles have been built? Who was it that said the wall would be built in his first year?

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter said Steinle “would still be alive if we had a wall,” referring to Trump’s call for the construction of a border wall between the US and Mexico. She was killed in 2015. No real wall then. No real wall now. Federal immigration officials said they tried to deport the killer but failed. And yet Trump blamed the Democrats?

[As I reminder, unless it is part of a tweet or conversation, my policy is never to put Trump’s actual title in front of his name. He doesn’t deserve it.]

 

A big week of failures, exaggerations and blunders

When Donald Trump tweeted recently “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”, it still didn’t go against Twitter’s posting rules which state users “may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.” Twitter is citing “newsworthiness” and the public interest as reasons why it didn’t remove Trump’s tweets.

[We always knew that one of Trump’s tweets would land him in hot water – not by Twitter but how someone would interpret his tweets.]

Under the UN Charter, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said, North Korea has the right to self-defense and “every right” to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers even when they’re not yet inside the airspace border of our country.” Funny how North Korea will use the UN Charter to their advantage whenever it suits them but ignore the UN otherwise.

In July 2016, Pyongyang said US sanctions imposed on Kim were “a declaration of war” against North Korea and it made a similar statement after a new round of UN sanctions in December. While the December sanctions were from the UN, North Korea has blamed the US and declared war on them.

Meanwhile, the North Korean regime officials have been quietly attempting to set up meetings with Republican analysts in an apparent attempt to better understand the mixed messages coming from the Trump administration. Good luck in understanding him.

Trump’s son-in-law and official White House adviser, Jared Kushner, used a private email server – set up after the election – to conduct White House business. Kushner used the private account in tandem with his official White House email account to correspond with current and former senior White House officials, outside advisers and others, about subjects ranging from media coverage to event planning.

His lawyer stated that “Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.”

Wasn’t this what happened to Hillary Clinton? He didn’t notice they contained confidential information or contacted the sender about it? Expect Trump to have a double standard saying Kushner is innocent.

While Trump was upset with even owners who joined in the protest, when friend, supporter and New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft made some comments about Trump’s comments, Trump said “he’s a good friend of mine and I want him to do what he wants to do.” So Kraft gets a “pass” on Trump’s barrage of nasty comments.

Trump supports called this whole episode a win for Trump. Unsure how he won. In fact he has divided the country even more.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on ABC’s “This Week” that players have “the right to have the First Amendment off the field.” But what about on the field – especially if the ownership agree or have no opinion?

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says it is about police brutality – so they should protest at the police that protect them on the field. Seriously?

Trump tweeted about the athletes criticism 22 times over the weekend, more than all the other major items [health care, North Korea, etc.] combined. Nice priorities.

After the weekend, Trump tweeted “The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard.” Yes, his hearing is a perfect way to judge things just like his eyesight during his inauguration.” But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem. Big progress being made-we all love our country!” Is he taking credit for this? “Progress”?

“It’s really caught on. It’s really caught on,” Trump said of his NFL comments to attendees at the dinner with conservative group leaders, according to someone who attended. “I said what millions of Americans were thinking.”

The First Amendment so often cited as a blanket justification for “free speech” doesn’t protect the employment of football players or race car drivers when they speak their minds. But NFL’s rulebook states it does not say players must stand during the national anthem.

Most sports do have clauses like in the NBA where “loyalty to the Club, and to conduct himself on and off the field with appropriate recognition of the fact that the success of professional football depends largely on public respect for and approval of those associated with the game.” But if the team isn’t against the idea…..

Following Trump’s tweets last week that players should be fired for going down on one knee during the national anthem and calling them “sons of bitches”, he tweeted “I never said anything about race.” While it is technically true, but many players were protesting because of how minorities in the US have been pushed around or abused.

Trump claims he spoke with NFL’s Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He was one of the owners who kneeled before his team played this past weekend. [I would guess he is a friend of Jones.] I guess Trump wants them to stand next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did – not because Trump wants them to but because it was a one weekend protest.

In another interview, Trump said “Because you look at the ratings [for the NFL], the ratings are going way down … the stadiums, there are a lot of empty seats, I couldn’t even believe it.” If only he had proof to back it up. At least in the early Sunday afternoon games, no one knew that the players [and management] would be protesting. Not those who went to the game or watched on TV.

49% of Americans disapprove of the NFL protests in a poll that came out. So, like everything else, America is divided.

Not a good piece of news: Twitter testing to increase to 280 characters!

Trump is calling Facebook “anti-Trump.” Trump’s comments came days after Facebook said it will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators and make political advertising on its platform more transparent related to the 2016 election. Trump tweeted: “Facebook was always anti-Trump.The Networks were always anti-Trump hence,Fake News, @nytimes(apologized) & @wapo were anti-Trump. Collusion?” Errr. They were requested by at least one of the ongoing investigations?

Trump tweeted “Virtually no President has accomplished what we have accomplished in the first 9 months-and economy roaring.” Yup. He accomplished nothing in 9 months. Who is he kidding?

Trump’s most recent tweets urging Alabamians to vote for Sen. Luther Strange mysteriously disappeared from his verified Twitter account after the candidate was projected to lose the Republican primary runoff for a Senate seat. “Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for ‘Big Luther'” was one of them. Obviously he didn’t “shoot” up the polls! Took him almost 2 hours to congratulate the winner, Roy Moore, after Strange conceded.

Trump is infuriated at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP establishment after they pushed trump to back Luther Strange. Strange lost by 9.2%.

Trump often deletes tweets from his personal account over spelling mistakes and then quickly tweets corrected versions. Deletion of tweets have raised questions about how presidents’ social media should be handled and preserved. The question has also been raised whether Trump is violating the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which requires all the president’s records be preserved for eventual release to the public on a delayed basis long after the commander in chief leaves office.

So Trump just loves to poke at his [so-called] enemies. Case in point. He tweeted about the problems facing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria by including “massive debt” and “with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with” instead of comfort or compassion for the humanitarians crisis. Does that mean Puerto Ricans won’t be given any clean water to drink until Wall Street gets its cut? He also said “Texas & Florida are doing great.” But still flooded, lacking power, heavily damaged. Has he seen the Florida Keys?

As they are not a state, Puerto Rico can’t vote for the president in an election and their congressman has limited power. So he’s not going to help them as fast as Texas or Florida – both large states with many Republican voters. Trump has tweeted how well the island is doing after the hurricane when in fact little has been done. Of note, some of his cabinet have big stakes in Wall Street.

Only 54% of Americans believe Puerto Ricans are American citizens according to a poll.

In addition, there is an obscure act called the Jones Act which is century-old law that requires all goods ferried between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. When it was established in 1920, was meant to promote shipping by U.S.-owned and operated vessels. But it’s also had the unintended consequence of making it twice as expensive to ship things from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico as it is to ship from any other foreign port in the world, according to Republican Senator John McCain’s office.

Trump so far has not waived the rule, but that he is “thinking about” it. He claims “We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.” The shippers have a monopoly, so they want the act kept. The kicker is that Trump waved the acted for Florida and Texas after their hurricanes.

Critics say the Jones Act costs American jobs by encouraging residents in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii to buy foreign-made goods that are shipped on foreign flagged vessels, rather than goods made in America. Cars, for example, cost about 40% more in Puerto Rico than on U.S. mainland, partly because of the law.

Even over a week after since Puerto Rico was hit with the hurricane, Trump still has to somehow throw in a point that the territory is in debt. Why? Does it make a difference now?

Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida traveled to Puerto Rico, something Trump still hasn’t done, and said that aid was not flowing out from the airport and port because of communication problems and confusion.

Yes. Strike 4. A four time failure Trump is now in trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump cited an unnamed senator being in the hospital as part of the reason why Republicans are unable to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Trump assailed two top Republican senators in a local Alabama radio interview when he took aim at Sen. John McCain for opposing the latest effort by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by saying “… what McCain has done is a tremendous slap in the face to the Republican Party”. He also blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the “ridiculous filibuster rule” that he believes prevents his administration from having legislative accomplishments.

“That’s [60 votes in the filibuster rule] the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. So that means we need eight Democrats, and the Republicans can end it. And Mitch wants to keep it, which is ridiculous by the way,” Trump said. So Trump still wants to change rules so everything can go his way.

In the latest proof that Trump doesn’t came for Puerto Rico much, he still hasn’t gone there to see the problems there but was in Florida and Texas within a week and then again later.

Trump said he may soon sign an executive order on health care that would affect millions of people. Trump now seems to be backing health insurance reforms pushed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul, who opposed the Senate repeal bill, wants insurers to be allowed to sell policies across state lines and for people to be able to form groups to buy coverage. Opponents say that it would split the market so that healthier folks would flock to the skinnier plans, while the sick would stay in the more comprehensive plans, pushing up their rates even more.

As if Trump doesn’t have enough on his plate, he tweeted “Iran just test fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!” But US intelligence radars and sensors “picked up no indication” of an Iranian ballistic missile launch in the days surrounding a reported test. Seems Iran was playing games, releasing footage of a previous test.

The Trump administration has unveiled new travel restrictions on certain foreigners from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen as a replacement to a central portion of its controversial travel ban signed earlier this year.

Some are new to the list of affected countries. The new restrictions on travel vary by country and include a phased-in approach. Most of them are there for show as few Americans would visit those countries [maybe except for humanitarian reasons]. For example, of the under 100 from North Korea who come to the US, they are almost all diplomats serving at the UN. Would you really want to take a vacation in Syria?

Trump told a rally audience in Alabama that the media won’t show his crowd as the crowd was being broadcast. And yet CNN and other news outlets did show the crowd.

A mid-week Trump update

[Well for me it’s mid-week as I usually post updates on Friday.]

Not knowing constitutional law [or for that matter ethics] Donald trump thinks he has the right to pardon himself if it comes to it. This would be like a judge pardoning himself before shooting someone.

Of course, the new White House Communication Director, Anthony Scaramucci, said that he just said the pardon part in a tweet but it doesn’t mean he’s thinking of it. Scaramucci even denies Trump has talked about it with advisors. Interesting that a constitutional expert said it is possible that Trump can pardon himself if it comes to it. Politically, it may not be advisable.

Scaramucci also said that he still believes that Russia did not interfere with the US elections even though his own intelligence leaders said he did. Hiding behind the fact that he doesn’t have a security clearance yet [fill out that section properly on meeting foreigners!], he said that once he does, he will analyze the documents and advise Trump. Is that the job of Trump’s advisors?

Meanwhile, Scaramucci was busy taking down tweets he said in the past – some within the past couple of years – including praising Hillary Clinton and criticizing Trump. Ooops.

Scaramucci, in a January 2016 op-ed for FoxBusiness.com, wrote a scathing column in early 2016 aimed at then-GOP presidential candidate Trump, warning that the abandonment of “common decency out of primeval fear” echoed some of the worst examples of US history.

“If a populist prevails in the primary, as appears increasingly likely, the party faces either devastating defeat in the general election or a new, unrecognizable identity. In either scenario, a large swath of the GOP electorate will be forced to eat crow and reevaluate its affiliation. Call it, if you will, a moral debt restructuring, one caused by the reckless behavior of a man who knows a thing or two about bankruptcy.” And they are friends?

So if Trump considers media outlets like the New York Times as “fake news” creators, why did he have an interview with them? Hypocrite.

Trump also complained in a Twitter-storm about Attorney General Jeff sessions having discussed the campaign with the Russian ambassador last year [as mentioned previously, Sessions denied]. Not that there was a discussion but there was a “leak”. What leak? The ambassador told his superiors and American intelligence intercepted the information. Is it a leak if there isn’t anything considered confidential? Trump also tweeted about a leak of Comey’s information but, again, nothing confidential. Did he lie to congress?

The House and Senate reached a deal to slap Russia with fresh sanctions and give Congress new veto power to block any easing of those sanctions – an agreement that could send a new bill to Trump’s desk before the end of the month. It would include new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Democrats and some Republicans have expressed concerns that Trump is considering giving Russia back two compounds in Maryland and New York that were seized by the Obama administration in December. Congressional aides say they expect Trump will sign the bill because it will likely pass both chambers with strong, veto-proof majorities.

Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump will work with congress regarding further sanctions against Russia and limit Trump in killing any sanctions. Yet, Scaramucci said Trump wouldn’t do that.

“After 1 year of investigation with Zero evidence being found, Chuck Schumer just stated that “Democrats should blame ourselves, not Russia,” the President tweeted, later adding, “So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” First, why does Sessions stay instead of this bullying? Some think trump want sessions to quit. Look better than fired. Second, does he know of no evidence. And yet, Trump will probably continue think the Democrats will be blaming Russia for Clinton’s loss. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agreed with Schumer.

Trump, once again, mislead the US people. In December 2016, helped convince Carrier not to move its Indianapolis furnace plant to Mexico, but now the company is eliminating hundreds of jobs. Trump originally saved 1100 of 1400 jobs and carrier got $7 million in incentives from the state. But what trump failed to say is that starting this week 600 will lose their jobs as part of the agreement. Carrier also promised in upgrading the facility but that may go to automation which means more job cuts.

A week ago Donald Trump Jr said he would be willing to testify in public. Now both Trump Jr and Paul Manafort have an agreement where they won’t testify in public, would give documents related to their infamous meeting in June 2016. At this point they may not be even testifying under oath.

A report cited seven unnamed sources saying Jared Kushner spoke with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the phone at least twice between April and November 2016. Kushner’s lawyers denied the story when it came out in May.

The Somalia-based al-Shabab is mocking U.S. President Donald Trump in a new video that said U.S. voters elected “arguably the most stupid president a country could ever have” and says Trump is “making the United States the greatest joke on earth and is now propelling it further to its eventual defeat and destruction.”

Recently, Trump promoted products made in the US. Well you probably can’t count on much – if anything – from his or Ivanka Trumps clothing or accessories line. Most or all of their products are made in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh or elsewhere. He should stop complaining on import and export issues with Canada and Mexico and concentrate on his family’s use of low wage labor in these countries. Ivanka trump has even been pushing for better lives for women. While they are getting jobs, she can start by giving them better wages and working conditions.

Meanwhile Trump opened the doors in another mess: He is now getting around to try and “fix” NAFTA. He is required by US law to announce the sections he wants to fix. Already there will be rumblings as he wants [for example] Canada to remove protectionism for dairy and steel and yet he is going around with his buy American products this week. The removal of the independent arbitration panel will also be a sticky point. Trump wants that removed because every time Canada complained about some US protectionism, Canada won.

A federal judge in DC declined to block Trump’s voter integrity commission from collecting data on voters from 50 states in a ruling, handing a win to an administration inundated by lawsuits over the commission’s request. The commission’s vice chairman, Kris Kobach, sent a letter to all 50 states requesting a slew of voter roll data in late June.

Kobach said he was only asking for what was publicly available under the laws of each state, but the request nevertheless triggered rapid-fire litigation in federal courts, including a suit by a privacy rights group in which claimed the commission had failed to comply with federal law and the request violated constitutionally-protected privacy rights.

Former US attorney general Eric Holder assailed Trump’s voting commission and unsubstantiated claim that voter fraud is widespread, calling the commission “another frightening attempt to suppress the votes of certain Americans.” “The creation of this new federal commission on election integrity by this administration is another frightening attempt to suppress the votes of certain Americans. Make no mistake, this commission, led by a fact-challenged zealot [Kris Kobach], will come up with bogus reasons why further restrictions should be placed on the right to vote.”

A while back the New York Post [owned by conservative Rupert Murdoch] had a blunt assessment by the Post’s editorial board last month about Trump’s Twitter habits at the end of June said, simply, “Stop. Just stop.” That’s it. A 3 word editorial. The New York Post recently labeled Donald Trump Jr. an “idiot” and “criminally stupid.”

Wall Street Journal, also owned by Murdoch, ran an eye-popping editorial in its opinion pages called “The Trumps and the Truth”, which the editorial scolded the president’s family for withholding information about Russia-related meetings and discussions. It said the political realities of Washington “will destroy Mr. Trump, his family and their business reputation unless they change their strategy toward the Russia probe.” The editorial also said that “denouncing leaks as ‘fake news’ won’t wash as a counter-strategy beyond the President’s base, as Mr. Trump’s latest 36% approval rating shows.”

One of Murdoch’s British papers, The Sun, published what it said was a “transcript of the chat” between Trump and British prime minister Theresa May. The leak was embarrassing for Trump: The headline was “Donald Trump begs Theresa May to fix a ‘warm welcome’ for his state visit — and says he won’t set a date for it until he knows he’s going to get ‘a better reception.'”

Fox News, Trump’s favorite media outlet, decided to go after Hillary Clinton recently, trying to deflect all the criticism that hit Trump. They went after her for scandals she has been involved in, why wasn’t she and Bill questioned by the media like Trump has been regarding Russian communication, money Bill received for speaking engagements, etc. A chunk of the stuff mentioned was innuendo or crybaby talk. “Old News” and maybe some “Fake News” thrown in.

In the latest wacky idea from Trump, he says that maybe the wall between the US and Mexico should be transparent. Why? Because Mexican drug smugglers are known to use catapults to send shipments over the wall and he doesn’t want any Americans to get injured by a 60 kg bag of cocaine. Hmmmm. Except for those in urban areas or those graffiti “artists” I can’t see too many people hanging around near the wall. “Hi Sue Ellen. Ready to go sun bathing near the wall?” Nope.

As part of a department-wide reorganization, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly will be merging the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues into the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Yes. They have synergy. Not. It’s like merging Windows administration with marketing.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and his golf course in Jupiter, Florida, have filed documents to bring in additional foreign workers under the H-2B visa program, which allows foreigners to fill temporary non-agriculture jobs in the United States that supposedly cannot be filled by US workers.

Buy American, hire American” is what Trump said recently. So why is he bringing in foreigners to work at his properties to do menial labor? As for buying American, think of what an iPhone would cost if it was made in America [it was “designed” in America but that isn’t buying].

Washington Post/ABC News poll found only 36% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance in the Oval Office, the lowest approval rating at the six-month mark of any president in 70 years. Trump claiming that 36% isn’t so bad but still complains that the poll is skewed. In fact, the ABC News/Washington Post poll was probably the closest to the actual results of the November election in terms of votes.

In a SSRA poll, 35% in the poll say they’d like President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress to give up their plans for repealing and replacing Obamacare, up from 23% who said the same in a March survey. A majority still favor some form of repeal (34% would prefer repeal with replacement at the same time, and 18% favor repeal regardless of whether the law is replaced at the same time).

In another ABC News/Washington Post poll, Trump is barely handling the economy. 43% for, 41% against. 52% think Democrats don’t stand for anything other than being against Trump while 37% do think they stand for something. At the same time, 42% give them a favorable review, 48% don’t.

Support for Trump among Republicans matches the third-highest approval among a president’s own party during a new president’s first six months in more than 60 years, according to Gallup. But his base doesn’t like him using Twitter.

 

Trump Jr now in the spotlight

Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had a meeting with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya [who has ties with the Kremlin] just over a year ago. Now it has been learned that there were others. A Russian-American lobbyist named Rinat Akhmetshin said he also attended the June 2016 meeting with Donald Trump Jr as well as publicist Rob Goldstone, who helped set up the meeting. Now were are told there are 2 others.

According to lobbying records, Akhmetshin is a registered lobbyist for Veselnitskaya’s organization, which has focused on lobbying Washington to overturn the Magnitsky sanctions. Akhmetshin denied that he was ever an intelligence agent but said he did serve two years in a Soviet military unit that handled counter-intelligence. Sounds like an intelligence agent to me. [The Magnitsky Act allows the US to withhold visas and freeze the assets of Russians thought to have violated human rights.]

Was Trump Jr. hiding this? How can he forget?

Seems one day earlier when this issue came out, a statement from Donald Trump Jr. made no mention of Hillary Clinton. In his initial depiction of the meeting last June, the president’s son said the discussion focused on a disbanded program that used to allow American adoptions of Russian children. [In retaliation for some financial sanctions, the Russians put a freeze of adoptions of Russian children by Americans.] He had a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign occurred at the behest of a Moscow-based singer with family ties to Trump’s businesses, according to a participant in the talks. Reports say that Trump Jr. was told ahead of time that the source of the information was the Russian government.

When the attorney has negative information about Clinton that is part of the Russian government’s efforts to help Trump in the campaign. The then-candidate’s son responds: “I love it.” This new setback raises new questions about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Moscow during the election, a charge the president has denied for months.

Trump Jr. released an email chain that shows him discussing plans to hear damaging information on Clinton that were described as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” This was before the meeting at Trump Tower with Veselnitskaya. The emails with music publicist Rob Goldstone show that Trump Jr. was told that the Russian government had information about purported illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee.

But he decided that her information was most likely bogus and she just wanted to contact his father. This was just after Donald Trump clinched the nomination.

In a statement, Trump Jr.’s New York-based attorney Alan Futerfas called the Times report “much ado about nothing.”

Veselnitskaya stated in an interview with NBC that she had no information about Clinton. Veselnitskaya said she received a phone call from a man she didn’t know and was told to meet with Trump Jr.

Vladimir Poutine’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that the Kremlin is unaware of a meeting between Trump’s senior staff and a Russian lawyer, that it doesn’t know who Kremlin-linked lawyer Veselnitskaya is. Veselnitskaya’s clients include state-owned businesses and the son of a senior government official whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting.

This all started because Kushner filed a revised version of a form needed to obtain a security clearance. His attorney has previously acknowledged that Kushner’s first security clearance submission was incomplete. Kushner supplemented the list of foreign contacts three times, adding more than 100 names, people close to him said. Kushner played down the significance of the meeting and omitted significant details, according to two people who were briefed on the exchange.

Over the last few days, members of the pro-Trump media have settled on their answer, characterizing the lawyer, Veselnitskaya, as a leftist with ties to the Obama administration. She part of a sinister Democratic plot to entrap the Trump campaign. Of course this was started more than a few days after this story broke. So the pro-Trump media is inventing ways to try and quash the story and came up with this one. Of course only the right will believe it and expect Trump to tweet it. Even Republican [and anti-Trump] John McCain is in on it. I guess anyone – Democrats or Republicans will be a target.

Senator Tim Kaine, said Donald Trump Jr. may have committed treason when he agreed to meet with a Russian lawyer under the pretense of getting dirt on Clinton. “We are now beyond obstruction of justice. This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason.” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and not a fan of Trump, said any time you’re in a campaign and you get an offer from a foreign government the answer is “no.”

The chief ethics lawyer to George W. Bush, Richard Painter, also likened it to treason. Barack Obama’s White House counsel, Bob Bauer, said it’s illegal to assist foreign nationals seeking to influence a federal election, illegal to solicit their help, and illegal to co-ordinate with them.

Trump has questioned the quality of advice he has received from senior staff, including chief of staff Reince Priebus. There has also been a difference of opinion within the West Wing as to how to handle the crisis, with some aides favoring more transparency than others. Some of the unhappiness centers on Trump’s legal team, which is led by New York attorney Marc Kasowitz.

Trump blasted the current Russia controversy as “the greatest witch hunt in political history” while defending his son as being “open, transparent and innocent” during his interview with Fox News [where else?]. Trump later lashed out against Hillary Clinton, charging her with unspecified wrongdoings. “Why aren’t the same standards placed on the Democrats. Look what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful!” he tweeted.

Trump said he had not been told last summer that his son was meeting with a Russian lawyer. “No, that I didn’t know until a couple of days ago when I heard about this,” he said.

Former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and several of her Democratic colleagues called for Jared Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked “immediately,” saying that he “clearly participated in collusion.” – let alone forgetting information on his SF-86 security clearance form. Except for the fact that he supposedly left the meeting early, Kushner also should of known better and not attend the meeting. It remains unclear whether Kushner was briefed before the sit-down with Veselnitskaya. Kushner had previously undisclosed calls to Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak and undisclosed meetings with Kislyak and the CEO of Vnesheconombank, a state-run Russian bank under US sanctions.

Here’s another thought: you are the son of the presidential nominee. If someone wants to meet you during an election campaign – whether foreign or not – you can almost assume that the meeting isn’t to discuss sports. Trump Jr. was a fool to personally attend such a meeting. Other campaigns would have used surrogates.

“It’s an honor to meet you” is what Trump said to Putin at the G20 meeting . Ya. Right.

Trump initially said there would be some type of cyber security deal with the Russians which surprised even people within the Republican Party. But later on backtracked said there was no deal – more like preliminary talks. This after most in the US believe the Russians tinkered with last year’s election.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted: “Partnering with Putin on a ‘Cyber Security Unit’ is akin to partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit'”.

On a 30 hour trip to France, Trump said the French President’s wife “You’re in such good shape. She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful.” This in front of his own wife. Wonder what she was thinking. She’s 64. Media is calling it sexist.

Trump Jr. tweeted a video of a doctored clip of the 1986 military thriller “Top Gun”. In it, President Donald Trump’s face is superimposed over Tom Cruise’s character as he shoots down a Russian jet with a CNN logo on it. Trump is seen in the clip repeating his “you’re fired” catchphrase before launching a missile.

CNN said that it has confirmed the real and online identities of the individual behind the original CNN video shared by Trump. CNN also found a slew of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic posts from the same user. CNN says it spoke to the video creator by phone after the apology was posted. CNN left the door open to identifying the user in the future, should he go back to his “trolling” ways. Donald Trump Jr equates that to blackmail and somehow knows that the video creator is 15 years old. Maybe he or someone near his father hired the author?

In adding further sanctions against Russia and Iran, a bill has been stalled. The bill would require a congressional review if Trump attempts to ease or end penalties against Moscow. I would guess this would have to be related to Trump’s suspected ties with Russia. Officials from the Treasury and State departments said the provision would infringe on the president’s executive authority.

Trump tweeted that sanctions against Russia at the G20 meetings were not discussed at his meeting with Putin. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted Trump, telling reporters a day later that “sanctions specific to election-meddling were discussed” in the meeting.

Trump on Twitter claimed that the White House “is functioning perfectly” and claiming that “I have very little time for watching T.V.” Yes, at least 10 of the Trump’s tweets since Monday have been about TV shows or links to videos from the Fox News Channel.

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University are suing Trump, saying some of his critics have been unconstitutionally blocked from following him on Twitter by asking a judge to stop Trump and his media team from blocking critics from following his personal account.

In another no-brainer, Trump tweeted that he is “working hard to get the Olympics for the United States.” He was pushing for Los Angeles bid. Unsure why. The IOC will choose one city for 2024 and another for 2028 – and there are just 2 cities left: Paris and Los Angeles. So what is there to “work hard” for?

Hackers breached the systems used by 14 different Trump Hotels properties between August 10, 2016 and March 9, 2017, managing to steal sensitive information like guests’ credit card details and other personal information. Trump Hotels informed customers that hackers managed to breach the systems of Sabre Hospitality Solutions (Sabre) and not its own systems, though it confirms that personal information has been exposed.

The Trump administration removed Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab from two lists of approved vendors used by government agencies to purchase technology equipment, amid concerns the cyber security firm’s products could be used by the Kremlin to gain entry into U.S. networks. The action was taken “after review and careful consideration.” Government agencies will still be able to use Kaspersky products purchased separate from the GSA contract process.

Last month the Senate Armed Services Committee passed a defense spending policy bill that would ban Kaspersky products from use in the military. The move came a day after the FBI interviewed several of the company’s U.S. employees at their private homes as part of a counterintelligence investigation into its operations.

A Bloomberg Businessweek article claims Kaspersky Lab can “quietly embed the software in everything from firewalls to sensitive telecommunications equipment-none of which carry the Kaspersky name,” going on to say that it does much work at the behest of the FSB, which is the successor to the KGB in the Russian spy world. Kaspersky vehemently denied the accusations. Bloomberg even claimed Kaspersky Lab’s chief legal officer was a KGB officer when he actually worked for the Border Service.

The Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the CIA, NSA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency unanimously told the Senate Intelligence Committee they wouldn’t trust, or use, Kaspersky software in their work.

The Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak, at the center of a political firestorm over his encounters with associates of President Donald Trump, is leaving his post — but Russia says the move is not unexpected.
An author released a book called “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents From Wilson to Obama”. I’m wondering if the author can do a separate book just on Trump.