Trump hit on all sides this week

Another busy week. Long post!

Seems like every day there is a major news item. You would figure that Donald Trump would learn to keep quiet and maybe not do anything. Instead he has an interview with a “fake news” organization and then hires someone without telling his top aides.

Today, White House Press Secretary and quasi Communication Director, Sean “Garlic” Spicer, has resigned.

After Donald Trump decided to hire Anthony Scaramucci as the new White house Communication Director, this cut into Spicer’s job and coupled with others issues, he decided to resign. Trump didn’t even notify chief strategist Steve Bannon or White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus of the decision. Maybe they’re out next?

Spicer has been unhappy. Among other things, he was getting some flak from Trump [not surprised there] but also wasn’t invited on various trips including The Vatican [where he really wanted to go] and France. But he has been the subject of various media attacks including the Saturday Night Live skits. He also didn’t have a good start as Press Secretary when he over-inflated the crowd size of trump inauguration.

Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, who has been doing most of the press briefing, has said she doesn’t want to be Press Secretary. White House staffers are said to be shocked. But looks like she has it for now.

Trump asked Spicer to stay on in another capacity but Spicer declined. However, he will help in the transition.

Big question: What will Melissa McCarthy do now? 🙂

Scaramucci is a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser with little to no experience in Washington politics or as a communication director. Trump likes him because he’s fiercely loyal and likes to attack opponents. During the presidential campaign two years ago, Anthony Scaramucci called President Trump “another hack politician” who is “anti-American.” He is also known to say to Trump that “He’s got a big mouth” and that Trump is “probably going to make Elizabeth Warren [a Democrat] his vice presidential nominee.”

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, twice with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials. Sessions was then a top foreign policy adviser to candidate Trump.

Trump said that he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself over matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions was one of his earliest political allies. Is this a no confidence vote? Trump scolded Sessions for telling the Senate judiciary committee that he had not met with any Russians during the campaign. It was later revealed he had met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, at least two times. So Sessions should of lied.

This past Thursday marked 6 months for Trump as dictator or ruler or “fake president”. In that time…

  • He made 397 comments that were not completely or partially true. In the average of polls, his approval rating is a low 38% and just 50% in counties he won in the election.
  • 42 bills were signed into law – none of them big – and no major piece of legislation signed into law.
  • In addition he had 5 campaign style rallies [all in states where he won in 2016] and just one solo news conference. In comparison Barrack Obama had 11 in the first 6 months.  George W. Bush had 5. He has visited 16 states [as well as DC], most to visit his properties and all east of the Mississippi.
  • Not one mile of the wall between the US and Mexico has been built. Nothing may happen until early next year at the earliest.
  • Trump spent 40 days on Trump properties including 21 of 26 weekends. He claimed in 2012 that the Obamas gone on vacation 16 times in 3 years.
  • He pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – the only one of 21 campaign promises he kept. He also pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord [although some hints he may flip flop on this].
  • He has 1003 tweets of which former President Barack Obama has been named 36 times. “Obamacare” has featured in 45 posts. As well, “fake” news, media or stories have been mentioned 82 times. Hillary Clinton was mentioned in 22 tweets [mostly early o] and “jobs” have shown up on 46 times.

Trump’s signature campaign promise to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act came to a massive halt after Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas came together to announce that they won’t support the bill. Trump tweeted that Republicans should come together to pass a full repeal and worry about crafting a replacement with Democrats later. “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” he tweeted. If they can’t pass the current bill, forget about repealing.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be to vote on a bill to simply repeal Obamacare with a two-year delay. That won’t fly either. It is also expected that in 2 years, there could/should be less Republicans in congress.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine announced that they could not support any plan that would roll back significant parts of Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. This kills McConnell’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He still wants to hold a repeal-only vote “in the very near future.”

White House [deputy] press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the White House’s message to Congress is “do their job.” Aren’t they already?

Trump said that his new plan is to “let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.” Sure Donnie.

Of the 21 promises by Trump during the campaign, the only one to be completed is to withdrawal from TPP and that needed just an executive order.

‘We’ll let Obamacare fail’ Trump said after the health care bill was defeated [again]. But according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, experts say the market has been on the mend this year. Many insurers stemmed the bleeding in early 2017 and some are on the path to profitability. The expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults is working well in the 31 states that chose to expand, extending coverage to roughly 11 million people. It could fail in rural areas [where Trump did well in the last election] which typically mean that all insurers pull out, leaving consumers who buy their own policies with no choice of subsidized coverage on the Obamacare exchange — or in some cases, any individual market coverage at all.

Trump asked Republican senators not to leave town for their August recess without passing a health care reform plan that makes good on seven years of promises to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Trump’s position is also at odds with comments he made over the last 72 hours, when he publicly pushed to let Obamacare fail and to repeal it without a replacement plan. Meanwhile Trump may still take his time off… to golf.

A super PAC tied to Trump ran ads against Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada who is up for re-election in 2018 and voted against the health care reform. After the Heller had a friendly exchange, Trump said, “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he?”

While Republican Senator John McCain recovers from serious surgery, the vote for the revised health care bill was put on hold [and eventually canceled]. Although he isn’t a fan of Trump he would of voted for the bill.

Senator John McCain is in a hospital after it was revealed that a blood clot near one of his eyes revealed that he has brain cancer. He will be sidelined for a while and with this type of cancer and at his age, it doesn’t look good in the long term. It also doesn’t look good on Trump either. While McCain was a very vocal critic of Trump [especially after Trump’s comments about McCain’s time in Vietnam] he did vote in favor of Trump’s health care bill.

But without McCain, there are 99 senators in which 51 are Republican. The previous legislation that went to the Senate [such as the health care bill] failed because at least 3 Republican senators voted against the legislation – which means the legislation would fail even with Mike Pence’s tie breaker vote. Now with one less Republican [until McCain either comes back or resigns and a special election is called], if at least 2 Republicans vote against, legislation dies.

Trump aides Marc Short and Brian Blase argued that Americans and lawmakers should give “little weight” to CBO projections that millions would lose coverage under the Senate GOP bill. “The CBO’s methodology, which favors mandates over choice and competition, is fundamentally flawed.” They have to blame someone when their facts aren’t proven right.

At closed door meetings with GOP and then all governors at the National Governors Association, Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma didn’t come away too happy. Their efforts left major questions unanswered, Republican and Democratic governors said. They urged governors to ignore Congressional Budget Office estimates that 15 million fewer people would be covered by Medicaid by 2026 and that $772 billion would be cut from the program, compared to current law. [BTW, at the same conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first foreign leader to speak at the NGA conferences and walked away with a standing ovation.]

It was disclosed that Trump and an undisclosed [until now] second meeting with Vladimir Poutine at the G20. A senior White House said the discussion was “nearly an hour” but another said it was brief [not an hour]. Another one said it was a very long time. Trump spoke with Putin through Russia’s translator. The US translator at the dinner spoke Japanese, as Trump was sitting next to the Japanese. The White House statement said the conversation took place in full view of other world leaders and said Trump went over to his wife and spoke with Putin near the dinner’s end.

The lack of a US translator or other support meant the US would be without a scrupulous translation or a record of what was discussed. Since Trump didn’t bring a US translator and relied on Putin’s, a senator called it a “basic failure in terms of national security protocol.”

From a previous post, Trump did not have his Russian interpreter when he had his second chat with Vladimir Poutine at the G20 conference dinner. That was because each leader was granted just one translator at the dinner and he chose a Japanese interpreter as he was sitting next to the Japanese Prime Minister’s wife. Turns out the interpreter wasn’t used much as she didn’t want to chat with Trump – almost implying that she spoke no English. In fact she is fluent in English.

Trump suggested it would be wrong for Robert Mueller to investigate his family’s finances and said it would cross a line. He would not say what action, if any, he would take. “I think that’s a violation,” Trump said. “Look, this is about Russia.” Unless he has dealings in Russia which he has denied.

The Washington Post reported in June that Mueller was also investigating if Trump had obstructed justice. “I don’t think we’re under investigation,” Trump said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.” As a legal expert [sarcastically], does he knows what obstruction of justice means?

Trump’s legal team was trying to find ways to undercut Mueller’s role by amassing allegations of conflicts of interest against him.

The same team is exploring how Trump can use his pardoning powers. That include pardoning family, cabinet members and even himself before any charges are brought against them related to the Russian probe. [President Ford pardoned President Nixon before he was actually charged but they knew he would be charged.] Experts say it would be legal to pardon his family [but still not quite Kosher] and cabinet members and others but pardoning himself may or may not be quite legal. In addition, unsure how Congress would react.

Why would you pardon something if they haven’t done anything wrong? If, for example, Trump claims he has no dealings or properties in Russia, why pardon? [He recently hinted that he may have – he isn’t sure or doesn’t really know.]

The House Republicans are unveiling a budget resolution that would dramatically reshape the federal government, requiring more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs and set the path for a major overhaul of the tax code. The conservative House Freedom Caucus continue to call for more sweeping spending cuts. Without them, the budget would fail.

After the mess with Trump Jr., Democrats are seeking to have Jared Kushner’s security clearance revoked. This would effectively have him removed from the White House. Kushner had to revise his security clearance form at least twice [at least 100 foreigners added to the form compared to the original version] and failed to disclose exactly how many people attended that meeting over a year ago with a Russian lawyer.

Most agree that if you are offered information about an opponent from another American, it may be at most unethical. If offered from a “friendly” contact [such as from the UK or France] it is probably unethical. But to get information from a country that isn’t friendly is an issue.

The eighth person to attend the Trump Jr meeting has been identified as US citizen Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at the company founded by the Russian oligarch who initiated the meeting. Kaveladze was asked to go to the meeting at Trump Tower last June with the understanding he would be Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s translator because she didn’t speak English, but she brought one. Kaveladze has been tied to a money laundering probe.

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow suggested that the United States Secret Service may bear some responsibility for allowing Donald Trump Jr. to meet with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. The secret service is there to protect Trump and family. Not to tell them who they can or can’t see. They are not people who you can ask legal questions. Just another blame game.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney who has been the lead lawyer on the Russia investigation, will see his role recede. John Dowd, the attorney defending Trump in the Mueller investigation, along with Jay Sekulow, will now be the President’s primary personal attorneys for the investigation. The spokesman for Trump’s legal team, Mark Corallo, resigned.

There was still more news [although not as critical]. Will probably send it off after the weekend.

 

Trump and company lawyering up

Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. The three officials Mueller is interviewing are Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers and Richard Ledgett, the recently retired deputy NSA director. Mueller has been tasked with leading the executive branch’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any potential collusion between Russia and Trump associates. It took a few days but Trump finally admitted he was under investigation but not specifically notified.

The Justice Department is also looking into the financial dealings of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Trump’s longtime attorney and adviser Michael Cohen has hired a lawyer to represent him in the investigations into Russian meddling. Even Mike Pence has brought in a personal lawyer.

“Never has there been a president….with few exceptions…who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than I have,” said Trump this past week in a cabinet meeting. Oh ya? Aside from executive orders which are mostly like request, there was nothing passed by congress itself. Every new cabinet secretary sucked up to Trump with praise and other positive comments followed by all the other secretaries.

During the campaign, Trump signed a “Contract With the American Voter,” in which he promised to work with Congress to introduce 10 bills “and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration.” But he only had introduced one – the American Health Care Act – and the initial version was never voted on. The second version passed by a single vote but will probably not pass the Republican controlled senate. Experts agree it is impossible to pass 10 legislative bills in the first 100 days.

Trump said that after the shooting in Virginia, where a Republican congressman and others were shot, that the shootings could bring unity to a divided nation. He wishes that. We wish it. But I doubt it. Just look at some comments that came after the shooting and after the shooter was found to be anti-Trump. Some Republicans said the shooting happened because of the Democrats – either their rhetoric or their actions.

Oh, the Democrats won 11-2. But at least the booing was toned down, even when Trump was on the video screen prior to the game.

In the weirdness of Washington, Mike Pence’s lawyer is the godfather of Comey’s daughter. That’s “the swamp” for you.

The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia plan to sue Trump, alleging that he has violated the Constitution by accepting foreign money through his business empire, according to a person familiar with the plans. The suit will allege that Trump has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from accepting payments from foreign governments without the consent of Congress, according to the person. It will cite not just the president’s luxury hotel in Washington but his worldwide network of hotels, golf courses and other commercial properties The suit will argue that Maryland and the District of Columbia have been harmed by Trump’s ongoing ownership of the business. They plan to cite convention centers and other properties in Maryland and the district that compete with the Trump hotel.

Trump keeps on playing around whether or not there are tape recordings of conversations [in the Oval Office] between he and others such as Comey. A sort of un-presidential hide and seek. Is he hiding something? Maybe there are tapes and the tapes show him doing things he shouldn’t have.

A close friend of Trump suggests that Trump wanted to dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller, who is appointed to lead the FBI investigation into Russia’s potential ties to the 2016 election. Legally, the attorney general is the one who has to fire him. [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions is recused here, so it would be up to [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein, who was the person who just appointed Bob Mueller a couple of weeks ago. Respected by both parties, but Mueller has brought in three lawyers [among the others] who have donated to the Democrats in the past.

Adam Schiff said if Mueller was ousted, Congress would have to re-establish the Independent Counsel Act that expired following the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Newt Gingrich tweeted in mid-May “Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity.” 4 weeks later he says ” Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair.”

Trump accused Comey of “cowardly” leaks and predicted many more from him. “Totally illegal?” he asked in a tweet. “Very ‘cowardly!'” Wondering if he knows the definition of coward.

In a sarcastic outburst, Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed at former FBI director James Comey’s disclosure of his conversations with Trump, saying the move has made Comey eligible for political asylum in Russia.

Donald Trump Jr said in an interview on Fox News that when his father says to do something – no matter how he says it – you do it.

Trump reported hundreds of millions of dollars in income Friday in financial disclosure forms that shed more light on his vast business holdings. At his golf courses alone, Trump reported $288 million in income in the past year The numbers were reported in a 98-page disclosure form signed by Trump this week and made public by the Office of Government Ethics. The report covers January 2016 through April 15, 2017. This is not his tax returns.

Chief of Staff Reince R. Priebus is said to have until the Independence Day holiday to put the West Wing in order. If he fails to do so, Trump may reportedly ship him off to serve as the ambassador to Greece.

While Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion of 36 F-15QA fighter jets. Maybe he’ll send those to Hamas or Hezbollah. The Qatari ambassador to the U.S. tweeted “…creating 60,000 new jobs in 42 states across the United States.” Sounds to me like he was told to say that – something the administration would want.

NBC’s Megyn Kelly’s forthcoming interview with controversial media personality Alex Jones. His extreme right wing views has some of her sponsors dropping her at least for the show. Jones called Sandy Hook and Aurora hoaxes. Jones has said Sandy Hook massacre could have been a “false flag” operation to win support for new gun control measures. Trump was interviewed by Jones during the 2016 campaign, and he reportedly thanked Jones for his support after winning the election.

Another federal appeals court has upheld a decision blocking Trump’s revised travel ban. This ruling from a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deals the administration another legal defeat as the Supreme Court considers a separate case on the issue. The judges say the president violated U.S. immigration law by discriminating against people based on their nationality and that Trump failed to show their entry into the country would hurt American interests.

Trump tweeted in early June “In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!” It sounds like his so-called extreme vetting is being used but I wonder if it is any different than vetting done 6 months ago. The courts are always slow – they want to come out with the proper answer – not some sloppy decision making Trump is accustomed to. As for the political part, not all of the justices – who are supposed to be impartial – are Democrats.

The proposed changes in US-Cuba relations that Trump will unveil in Miami could adversely impact hotel brands that directly compete with Trump’s business empire, making it more difficult for them expand their foothold in Cuba. Trump’s changes in Cuba policy include prohibiting “financial transactions, including transactions incidental to travel with GAESA and its affiliates, subsidiaries, and successors.” Gaviota, the tourism arm of the government-run GAESA, currently operates the Four Points by Sheraton Havana.

Melania Trump finally moved into her not so new digs with son Barron. We will see if this will have some type of change on the hubby. The good thing is the cost to protect the family will drop as they will rarely be in New York. I’m sure the city of New York is also happy with the extra costs as well as traffic issues.

Trump hosted 13 Republican senators for lunch at the White House in a bid to help the lawmakers find common ground to move forward with health care reform legislation this summer. He would probably have to add more funding in order to get some law approved.

A Democratic congressman introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement or COVFEFE act with the goal of ensuring presidential social media posts are archived. It would amend the Presidential Records Act to include the term social media.

There are 21 states where someone bought the vanity license place “COVFEFE” by checking online. This is one.

In addition some are using the alternative spelling “COVF3F3”. Not all states have the option to check online.

The Guardian reported that Trump told Prime Minister Theresa May that he doesn’t want to come to the UK if there will be protests — a likely prospect. [On top of that, May’s government may not even last that long.] London Mayor Sadiq Khan last week said the visit should be called off, after Trump insulted him in tweets following the London Bridge attack.

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!