One wacky week with wacky Trump

Warning: It is a nutty week. This blog is “extended today”.

In a signed letter, Donald Trump informed [former] FBI Director James Comey that he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately,” explaining that he reached the conclusion that Comey is “not able to effectively lead the bureau.” Trump was praising Comey during and after the election. 5 months later, Trump had a change of heart?

The White House said that Comey was fired based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In a separate letter, Rosenstein laid out the reasons for Comey’s firing, arguing that it was his transgressions over the Clinton email investigation that were the cause of his dismissal. Errr. Trump didn’t even meet him. Comey was in Los Angeles.

In his letter to Comey firing him, Trump thanked him for telling him three times “that I am not under investigation.” The FBI has not confirmed that Comey ever made those assurances to the president. Former FBI agents said such a statement by the director would be all but unthinkable.

Comey reportedly thought his removal was a prank. Trump had been planning to oust Comey for at least a week Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been charged with finding a good pretext.

Then Trump tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.”

Days before he was fired by Trump, Comey requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the possible involvement of Trump associates, U.S. officials say, fueling concerns that Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency. That same type of action help bring down Richard Nixon.

Trump said that he was going to fire Comey with or without Rosenstein’s memo criticizing the director. Meanwhile White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “…the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.” Sure Sarah. Took a poll?

Seems Trump was also jealous that Comey was getting more of the spotlight than him saying he was a show-off, agreed about Obama’s surveillance and would not exonerate him in the Russia mess. White House officials said Trump’s confidence in Comey had been eroding for months and Trump was persuaded to take the step by Justice Department officials and a scathing memo, written by Rosenstein, criticizing the director’s role in the Clinton investigation.

Andrew McCabe, top deputy to ex-FBI Director Comey, could be a contender for the Director’s role. He is now acting director. But McCabe’s actions are among the decisions being scrutinized in an ongoing Justice Department inspector general probe of the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. One issue is whether McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton case after his wife [running for senate] received large campaign contributions from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally.

As well, Trump may kill the press briefings [what will Sean “Garlic” Spicer do?] by releasing press releases to keep the answers accurate. This maybe because deputy WH press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contradicted some things Trump said.

Garlic literally hid in the bushes to avoid press after Comey was fired. Didn’t know what to do. Maybe unrelated, Spicer is spending his week at the Pentagon for Navy reserve duty for the rest of the week. Huckabee-Sanders replaced him.

“When James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” Trump tweeted. Clapper, however, qualified his remarks by saying he had been unaware of an FBI investigation into the matter until Comey announced it to the public at a House hearing in March. So Trump using more outdated information.

President Barack Obama warned then-President-elect Trump in November against hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser during their Oval Office meeting on November 10, former Obama administration officials confirmed to CNN.

Trump’s travel ban is back in the spotlight with a high-stakes legal battle in front of a dozen federal judges in Richmond, Virginia. Normally, such an appeal from a district court’s decision would be heard by a randomly assigned panel of three judges, and the losing party may ask for it to be reheard by the full court. Yet in this case, the judges on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided it should be heard by the full court — otherwise known as “en banc” — in the first instance. Ten of the 15 active judges on the court are either Clinton or Obama appointees.

“Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” said Raul Labrador, the Republican congressman in response to a statement by a woman that the “lack of health care was essentially asking people to die.” The Democrats confirmed with this quote that they are out of touch with the average person and simply don’t understand (or don’t care) about the real-world implications of their policy proposals.

Canada may retaliate against Trump’s softwood [a.k.a. house] lumber by either adding stiff tariffs to Oregon plywood, wine, flooring, wood chips and packaging materials [a congressman from there was one of the hawks in the lumber tariffs] or maybe coal from Washington state [which is shipped through harbors in British Columbia] to Asia [Trump wants to increase coal productivity. Another option is to lean heavily on 35 states that trade quite a bit with Canada. While none of the tariffs would affect Canadians as much, it would affect 2 US industries. The Trump administration says it won’t be pressured by trade threats from the Canadian government. I guess they don’t care who gets hurt.

Several American companies that rely on Canadian softwood say thousands of American jobs are at risk unless the U.S. Department of Commerce exempts them from hefty duties imposed on imported softwood lumber.

In an interview, Trump said “Oh, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job.” This won’t stop him for being prosecuted if he said something that contradicted his tax returns such as owning property in Russia.

Revelations that the sister of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, promoted a program offering a path to U.S. citizenship to Chinese backers in a Kushner family project bring new scrutiny to a foreign investor visa program. Marketing materials for the event promoted Nicole Kushner Meyer as Jared’s sister, and cited the Kushner family’s “celebrity” status. Yes, celebrities like in one of Trump’s shows. The project promoted by Meyer in Beijing is a 79-story apartment building called Kushner 1.

As part of such deals, investors typically accept below-market investment returns to qualify for a visa, allowing the developer to pocket the savings on financing costs. After as little as two years, participants can apply for a fast-track green card and later U.S. citizenship.

Meanwhile, after seeing advertisements for what was described as a “Kushner event featuring Jared’s sister,” in Beijing a Canadian reporter decided to attend. Then she was asked to leave. The Beijing-based correspondent for the Washington Post, was seated apart from her colleague, who faced similar resistance from the hosts. Some of her colleague’s video and audio was deleted by the event organizers on the Chinese side. “I later heard from another reporter — who tweeted a picture — that there was indeed a picture of President Trump … on a slide that said ‘key decision makers.'” Seems that Nicole Kushner Meyer has now been removed of her duties.

In signing an omnibus bill, Trump said in a statement: “My administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender … in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.” This could be code wording for “Unlike previous administrations, I won’t give historically black college financing, Native American housing block grants and minority business development anything more than what is required by law.” [i.e. Bare minimum.] I am assuming someone wrote this because I’m not sure how much of the constitution he knows and it doesn’t sound like him.

Maybe Trump finally did something right. The recently signed cybersecurity executive order requires federal agencies to adopt the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (Cybersecurity Framework; the agency heads have 90 days to prepare a report describing how they will implement the Framework. The previous administration had encouraged adoption of the framework, but did not make it a requirement.

Don’t you just love Trump? “[Former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper reiterated what everybody, including the fake media already knows- there is “no evidence” of collusion w/ Russia and Trump.” Except Clapper said that he was unaware of evidence suggesting there was any.

Then he said “Biggest story today between Clapper & Yates is on surveillance. Why doesn’t the media report on this? #FakeNews!” Except the idea that the surveillance story is a bigger deal than Russia having compromising information about the national security adviser is nonsense.

Steve Munoz, a political appointee hired by the Trump administration for a significant State Department role was accused of multiple sexual assaults as a student several years ago at The Citadel military college. Five male freshmen alleged that Munoz used his positions as an upperclassman, class president and head of the campus Republican Society to grope them. So he fits in well with Trump’s crowd.

Ivanka Trump was reportedly reduced to tears by her father after he refused to issue a full apology for his comments about groping women. But according to the New York Times [one of the “fake news” outlets – so Papa will not accept it!], Ivanka repeatedly attempted to convince him to offer a full apology for the comment, but he had only agreed to say sorry for any offence he caused.

Another court loss for Trump: A US federal court has declined to rehear a case in which telecommunications companies seek to overturn net neutrality rules established during the Obama administration by the FCC.

If Trump were an officer in the Air Force, with any connection to nuclear weapons, he would need to pass the Personnel Reliability Program, which includes thirty-seven questions about financial history, emotional volatility, and physical health. (Question No. 28: Do you often lose your temper?) “There’s no doubt in my mind that Trump would never pass muster,” said a researcher.

Ivanka Trump, at a Berlin conference on women called W20 Summit, drew scattered groans and hisses for describing Trump as “a tremendous champion of supporting families.” “Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he’s such an empoweree for women,” said the moderator of the summit. Ivanka responded saying the media continues to bring that up. Then she said “I grew up in a house where there was no barrier to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and my own tenacity.” Of course, if you are a daughter of a billionaire, there are few barriers.

 

Just too much Trump stuff… I couldn’t wait!

[Blogger’s note: I tend to wait until Friday to deliver the latest in funnies…. Errr. Trump…. But just too much has happened since Friday. Towards the bottom are some older stuff that didn’t make the cut originally.]

Trump continues to pull out the most ridiculous ideas out of his … The latest has Trump accusing President Obama of wiretapping his place at Trump Tower in New York prior to the election. No proof or investigation says someone with direct knowledge who was from the Department of justice.

If Trump Tower was wiretapped, how did the secret Service not find it? They didn’t do their job? Surely the Secret Service made sure his floors at the Trump Tower was secured from things such as wiretaps?

The FBI asked the Justice Department on to refute Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump’s phones last year. The FBI made the request because such wiretapping would be illegal, since the President cannot just order the eavesdropping of a U.S. citizen’s phones.

“Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer – if there will be an investigation. Many former officials deny the accusation including the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Trump may have somehow put two and two together [equals three!] from Conservative conspiracy nut and talk show host Mark Levin who made a comment recently claiming how many Republicans are being wire tapped. It isn’t the first time that Trump went on a Twitter tyrant after watching or hearing someone else make unverified wacky comments. [I guess Trump isn’t original – he has to plagiarize like the way Melania plagiarize Michelle Obama’s speech].

Seems in those accusation tweets against Obama, Trump can’t even spell. He twice had to change the spelling of “here by” and also misspelled “tap”.

The allegations also may be related to anonymously sourced reports in British media and blogs, and on conservative-leaning U.S. websites, including Breitbart News. Those reports claimed that U.S. officials had obtained a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to review contacts between computers at a Russian bank and Trump’s New York headquarters.

[I am assuming you can’t take the commander in chief to court for libel, slander, etc.]

Prior to his speech to Congress, Trump was with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and other state attorneys general who met at the White House, told BuzzFeed News Trump made confounding claims comments about the bomb threats during their sit down. Shapiro said “He just said, ‘Sometimes it’s the reverse, to make people, or to make others, look bad,’” which implied that Jews were responsible for the bomb threats and tombstone desecrations aimed at the Jewish community across the US. “This is not what he said or meant,” a White House spokesperson told the New York Daily News in an email. “He means (he) was referring to protesters.” Protesters doing this to the Jewish community?

Former campaign adviser, Anthony Scaramucci, tweeted, “It’s not yet clear who the JCC offenders are. Don’t forget the Democrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies.” So basically he’s indirectly accusing the Democrats of the bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers and the desecration of tombstones. Just like his ex-boss, no proof. More like fake news! [About 74% of Jews voted for the Democrats in November.]

So the new travel ban came out. Down to 6 countries [Iraq excluded]. Visas currently authorized will be allowed. When asked why there was no fanfare or press allowed in for the signing, Spicer said, “I tweeted a picture out,” which was greeted by groans from the press.

Expect the lawsuits to be flying. A good time to be a lawyer!

Trump claims Jeff Sessions “Didn’t say anything wrong” but did he get a transcript. Makes no difference if he didn’t say anything wrong. He met with the ambassador to Russia who is also known to be a spy. As well, Sessions used campaign funds even though he claims the talks were senate related business.

Trump is extremely frustrated with his senior staff and communications team for allowing the firestorm surrounding Sessions to steal his thunder in the wake of his address to Congress. Oh. Poor baby.

Trump suggested he felt that Sessions’ move to recuse himself from any investigation into administration links to Russia felt like an admission of defeat.

Trump has vowed repeatedly that only steel from American steelmakers could be used on Keystone as well as other U.S. oil pipelines. But the fine print in the Executive Order says the ruling only applies to new pipelines.

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he left The New Celebrity Apprentice. Trump tweeted [of course] “he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show”. Who do you believe? If the show isn’t canceled then either Arnie left or the producers ditched him. Trump is one of the producers. Wouldn’t he know if Arnie was terminated? With the “Sad” part, it looks like the show may be canceled and that is usually because of bad ratings. So you can’t be fired or quit. But what does Trump know?

So Sarah Palin won’t be the US Ambassador to Canada. Instead a Republican fundraiser from Kentucky – assuming she’s confirmed.

The son of Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport and questioned about his ancestry and religion for 2 hours and even asked “Are you Muslim?” even though he is born in the US. A US Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed he was held for questioning by customs officers, but said “it wasn’t because he’s a Muslim and it wasn’t because of his Arabic-sounding name.” Uh huh. Sure.

Trump has amassed 3,643 domains under his name [adding 490 in the 18 months prior to his inauguration]. Some to stop cybersquatting, some to stop scams, and some to stop complains aimed at him [DonaldTrumpSucks.com, TrumpisFired.com and ImBeingSuedByDonaldTrump.com]. Even his trump University has 157 domains registered that are related to the university. The way Trump bought domains also shows how he methodically planned his political rise. In 2012, the Trump Organization acquired VoteAgainstTrump.com, TrumpMustGo.com, and NoMoreTrump.com. The vast majority are just blank pages [someone is lazy that they can’t forward to an actual site?]. Only 50 of these domains are unique websites for Trump businesses. Another 400 redirect you to Trump websites.

A commentator from the government controlled Rossiya channel suggested that “intransigent radical liberals” who oppose Trump are “plotting a revolution” against the U.S. president. As well, popular publications also indicated that Russia’s infatuation with Trump is waning.

At a recent [small] rally in support of Trump in Washington, someone was holding up a sign saying “Fire Obama Appointees”. Hmmmm. Probably 99% of them were gone by January 20th. Maybe the sign holder should watch some news.

Members of the European Parliament have called for the European Commission to impose visas on US citizens visiting Europe amid an ongoing dispute over visa restrictions against five EU nations. MEPs called on Washington to grant the same visa-free access to nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Cyprus as enjoyed by citizens of the other 23 EU nations. EU rules require equal treatment for all member states.

Patrick Stewart [best known in the X-Men movies and Start Trek: The next Generation] is unphasered by Trump. In fact, the “Star Trek” captain wants to become a US citizen so he can “fight” his presidency.

Trump’s original nominee for secretary of the Navy, Philip Bilden, has withdrawn his name from consideration as his business interests created complications.

Sean Spicer once criticized the then-presidential candidate for saying that Sen. John McCain, who was held as a POW for six years in Vietnam, was not a war hero because he was caught. “He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said during a town hall when on the campaign trail. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK?” Then Spicer later said that “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably” after the comments made about McCain. McCain has been one of Trump’s biggest advisories since.

“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” Trump said last summer when he accepted the GOP nomination in Cleveland. One man government. He can do it all!