Mueller report released but how much will be shown

So the big news this week was Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has been completed. The biggest question is whether on not all, most or small parts of the final report will be released to the public. The report was sent to Attorney General William Barr who will be looking at it this weekend. I’m sure it make interesting late night reading.

In a series of many tweets over the weekend Trump said “I am not happy that it [Lordstown, Ohio plant] is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING. I asked her [GM’s CEO] to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union – I don’t care, I just want it open!

A GM statement shot back saying “To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW [United Auto Workers].”

Trump had a big Twitter storm, venting out at just about everyone – mostly the usual “victims”. But of all the comments he made, he didn’t mention anything about the deaths of t50 people in New Zealand just a couple of days earlier.

“I don’t think anybody can say the President is anti-Muslim,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said when confronted with evidence like Trump’s demand to ban all Muslim immigration during the 2016 campaign and a remark that “Islam hates us.”

But even on “Fox News Sunday” Mulvaney said: “The President is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.” He did not explain why Trump has often had a chance to vigorously condemn white supremacists and has not done so. Mulvaney also dodged when asked whether Trump would give a speech condemning white supremacy.

Trump managed to find time to watch NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which he notably hosted twice in the past. He took to Twitter during his weekend Twitter storm to say “… how do the Networks get away with these total Republican hit jobs without retribution? Likewise for many other shows? Very unfair and should be looked into. This is the real Collusion!”. The episode he watched was a repeat from 4 weeks prior. Again. Does he know what collusion means?

[In 1969, the liberal-leaning CBS comedy show “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” mocked then-President Richard Nixon to the point where the comedic duo made it onto Nixon’s “enemies list.” Nixon then used his well-placed allies in the ranks of CBS executives, including CBS programming chief Robert D. Wood, to get the show canceled.]

Investigators in the Southern District of New York obtained a search warrant to access Michael Cohen’s Gmail account in February 2018. Google turned over some documents, but the tech giant “declined to produce data that it stored on computer servers located outside of the United States,” according to an affidavit submitted to the court by an FBI agent working on Cohen’s case.

Weeks later, Trump signed the CLOUD Act into law, which gave US law enforcement more legal pathways to pursue data stories overseas. The provision was tucked into the $1.3 trillion spending bill Trump signed to avoid a federal government shutdown. So Trump’s own approval may hurt him in the long run.

“I don’t mind. I mean, frankly, I told the House, ‘If you want, let them see it,'” Trump said when asked whether the American public had the right to see the fruits of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. This is an about change.

But, scratching your head time, he still says the investigation is “illegal” even though multiple court rulings said it isn’t.

Trump say recently that he “inherited a mess” with the Middle East but “doing very well”. But the Palestinians and Israel are no closer to any deal – maybe farther apart than in 2026, neither is the war raging in Yemen. ISIS is mostly defeated but the US primarily were in the sky – not on the ground. Meanwhile Bashar Assad is still leader in Syria.

Trump touted the humanitarian aid the US had sent to Venezuela and called on the country’s military to end its support for leader Nicolas Maduro by saying the US has been “really very happy to feed thousands and thousands of starving Venezuelans.” But I’m sure he won’t allow them to cross the border!

Expect Trump to pass out pardons like it was Halloween candy in order to protect those near him from testifying against him and use pardons to get them out of jail after sentencing as a reward. But Trump has completely bypassed the Department of Justice Office of the Pardon Attorney which is set up to handle petitions for pardons, utilizing established procedures, standards and rules. So no advice of the DOJ’s career professionals, including the prosecutors and agents who investigated and prosecuted these crimes.

All Americans should be thinking seriously now about Trump’s mental condition and psychological state, including and especially the media, Congress-and the Vice President and Cabinet,” George Conway wrote. He is the husband of Trump’s top White House counselor Kellyanne “The witch” Conway and while he’s a Republican, he dislikes Trump. She responded by saying “No, I don’t share those concerns.”

“A total loser!” Trump wrote, while retweeting a claim by his 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale that Conway was sore because Trump refused to give him an administration job he wanted.

“George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted,” Trump tweeted, referring to a post at the Justice Department. Conway decided [for family reasons] not to take the job – he wasn’t denied the job as it was offered.

Trump continued, “I barely know him but just take a look, a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!” Conway, a conservative lawyer, withdrew from consideration for the role early in Trump’s presidency. Seems he know much about him if he can describe him and his marriage. Surely they spoke at various gatherings that involved Conway’s wife.

Conway later replied “You seem determined to prove my point. Good for you! #NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder.” Later he wrote “You. Are. Nuts.”

Trump took aim at late Sen. John McCain for his vote against the GOP Senate majority during the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare in 2017. McCain, who died last year, was the third Republican to vote against the bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, former President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, in 2017. “Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain,'” Trump said.

Trump referred to McCain as being “last in his class” at the US Naval Academy. Well, he wasn’t and at least McCain was in the military. Trump dodged the military with fake medical issues [lacking a soul could be one of them].

“No one will ever love you the way they loved my father,” Meghan McCain tweeted after. “I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?”

Cindy McCain, the widow of McCain, posted a hateful message [on Twitter] she received from a stranger the same day Trump disparaged her late husband. Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson is planning to deliver a “whipping” against Trump in response to the Trump’s recent attacks.

And the feud between Trump and the McCain family continues when Trump bemoaned how he “didn’t get a thank you” for approving McCain’s funeral in August.

Bridget McCain, who has kept her life private, broke her silence by tweeting “@realDonaldTrump Everyone doesn’t have to agree with my dad or like him, but I do ask you to be decent and respectful.”

She then added “@realDonaldTrump Even if you were invited to my dad’s funeral, you would have only wanted to be there for the credit and not for any condolences … Unfortunately, you could not be counted on to be courteous, as you are a child in the most important role the world knows.”

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said his committee has obtained new information that several senior White House officials have used personal email and messaging accounts [i.e. WhatsApp] to conduct government business. This includes but is not limited to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Also included are former administration staffers Steve Bannon and K.T. McFarland. These may be in violation of the Presidential Records Act.

It has been a sort of unwritten rule for not to visit or host a foreign country leader within 2 weeks of that country’s election. Trump went against the rule as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting the US. Trump actually denied he knew there was an election!

Maybe to try and boost Netanyahu who’s slipping in the polls, Trump overturned another longstanding US policy regarding the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, announcing “it is time” for the US to “fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty” over the region. This should add some tension in the Middle East.

Ummm. In an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, asked Pompeo “could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?” Esther is the main heroine of the Jewish holiday of Purim, which was celebrated this week. “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Pompeo said and added that he is “confident that the Lord is at work here.”

“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” Trump tweeted which triggered rampant confusion among his own aides and administration officials.

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Trump goes after Sessions again

So I decided to do a mid-week blog with mostly leftovers plus the long weekend and I decided to hold off on the Bob Woodward bombshell until the next edition where by then we should see how Donald Trump responds. I wonder.

We’ve seen already that Trump knows very little about the law. Case in point….

Trump blasted his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and lamented the indictments last month of two lawmakers who were his earliest supporters in Congress during the 2016 election, suggesting they should not have been charged because they are Republicans.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California was indicted for using campaign funds for personal use and were charged with counts of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy. Rep. Chris Collins of New York was charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements related to an alleged insider trading scheme.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump tweeted. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…” Actually, New York and California tend to be pro-Democrat.

A decision by the Justice Department to hold off on prosecuting two Republican congressmen up for re-election in order to help them win would have been highly unethical and a blatantly politically motivated violation of the department’s nonpartisan mission. Trump believes his political allies should be immune from prosecution, regardless of the evidence stacked against them.

Under long-standing Justice Department custom but not law, prosecutors generally avoid public disclosure of overt investigative steps involving a candidate for office or election matters within 60 days of an election.

We know that Sessions should be losing his current job following the November mid-term elections.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,” the senator’s daughter Meghan McCain said in a stunning eulogy laced with grief, anger, pride and love. “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly.” She was obviously aiming her comments at Trump without naming him. Trump wasn’t invited to the funeral.

Trump spent the morning of the funeral at the White House, attacking Canada [see later on in the blog], hitting out at Obama, whose name he misspelled in a Twitter post, and assailing the FBI and the Justice Department over the Russia investigation before heading to his golf club in Virginia. During his campaign, Trump said McCain was not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam and he initially declined to release a statement marking his death.

In the third row, behind three ex-presidents, their wives and their Secret Service details, sat Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also in the congregation.

Convicted former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has publicly contradicted Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ sworn testimony to Congress, saying both Sessions and Trump apparently supported his proposal that Trump meet with Vladimir Poutine during the 2016 campaign, according to a court filing.

The Trump administration will hold back more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s service because the White House and the Department of Justice have determined they are protected by constitutional privilege, according to a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump again threatened to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] if Canada doesn’t concede to new terms. Trump said there is “no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal,” referring to the tentative bilateral agreement the United States reached with Mexico earlier this week.

“If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump said. He also urged Congress not to “interfere” with negotiations “or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off.”

“Remember, NAFTA was one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made. The U.S. lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. We were far better off before NAFTA.” Show proof that NAFTA is the worst ever….

The United States and Mexico announced a preliminary bilateral trade deal after resolving an issue over auto manufacturing. Canadian officials rejoined the talks this week. But the fate of NAFTA became uncertain when the United States and Canada failed to come to an agreement on rewriting the three-nation trade pact before a US-imposed deadline that would have allowed them to sign a new deal before Mexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office on December 1.

Trump wants Canada to end its steep tariffs on US dairy products, claiming they hurt US farmers. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to protect his country’s dairy industry. Trump also threatened new tariffs on Canadian cars if the country doesn’t comply with US-terms of a new trade deal. Yup. This is blackmail – Trump style.

It is questionable whether Trump can continue with most of his threats. For example, it is Congress which approves or tear up free trade agreements. Not him. He can apply more tariffs but we have seen already that it will hurt Americans just as much.

The Pentagon says it’s taken final steps to cancel $300 million in planned aid to Pakistan. The move earlier this summer reflects the Trump administration’s dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s commitment to assisting the US strategy for pressuring the Taliban, whose leaders use Pakistan as a sanctuary. Pentagon officials say a request was submitted to Congress this summer for authorization to use the $300 million for other purposes.

Nine current and former White House staffers and administration allies expressed concerns that the West Wing is simply unprepared for the potential troubles ahead. They spoke on the condition of anonymity over concerns about estranging colleagues.

The White House press office is down to four press secretaries working on day-to-day White House matters, including Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, and the regional and Cabinet affairs media teams in the communications office have been hollowed out.

Trump picked the state of West Virginia to announce his plan to roll back Obama-era pollution controls on coal-fired power plants. Trump left one thing out of his remarks, though: northern West Virginia coal country will be ground zero for increased deaths and illnesses from the rollback on regulation of harmful emission from the nation’s coal power plants.

The Trump administration says it will impose preliminary anti-dumping duties on large-diameter welded pipe from Canada and five other countries. The other countries being hit with duties include China, Greece, India, Korea, and Turkey, with penalties ranging from 3.45 per cent for Turkey to over 132 per cent for China. Canada gets hit with 24.38 per cent.

The United States imposed 25% tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods. The tax affects 279 Chinese products, including chemical products, motorcycles, speedometers and antennas. China responded immediately with 25% tariffs on an equal amount of American goods, such as chemical products and diesel fuel.

Trump tweeted recently that it was “outrageous” that China-produced fentanyl, a cheap and deadly synthetic opioid at least 50 times stronger than heroin, continued to “pour into the US” through international mail. A senior official with China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, said in a press briefing Wednesday that Trump’s comments were “unacceptable”. “The United States has no proof that most fentanyl in the country comes from China,” he said. “It’s highly irresponsible to draw such a conclusion based on some individual cases.” Who would you believe? Hmmmm. I’ll get back to you later.

Seems Trump is blaming China for everything. China has denied an accusation by Trump that it hacked the emails of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election. Trump tweeted that China had hacked Clinton’s emails, without offering any evidence or further information, and suggested that the FBI and Department of Justice should investigate. The same two departments he doesn’t trust?

Trump accused China even though The Justice Department has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic Party. Again it shows you how much he trusts his own departments. He is again helping Russia. He defending/helping “Crooked Hillary”? Who would you believe? Hmmmm. I’ll get back to you later.

Here is an example of Trump’s tariffs not helping Americans: When the tariffs were imposed in 2017, Trump expected more jobs in the US as companies would be buying US lumber. Nope. Lumber mills have jacked up the pricing of lumber [probably just ever so slightly less than Canadian lumber]. This has increased the cost of putting up or repairing buildings and other infrastructures. Those buying a new house have to pay extra.

The price of framing lumber had been $358 per thousand board feet shortly before the levies were announced, and rose steadily for the ensuing year, reaching a peak in June of $582 — a 62 per cent increase. That represented an average $9,000 more per house, according to NAHB calculations. Prices have since fallen back to around $440 per thousand board feet, still adding $4,000 to the average home, the builders claim.

The Washington Examiner came out with a story that says an online betting website from Antigua and Barbuda are claiming that Trump will win the 2020 election with a 3-2 bet. His closest challenger is California Sen. Kamala Harris, listed at 10-1. And Trump [of course] retweeted about this. Unsure if related, he added “…And according to Polls, would do even better today!” [related to the 2016 election]. The Washington Examiner is not even in the top 10 circulation of newspapers and is listed under the heading “weeklies and specialty newspapers”. It is as influential as the Plattsburgh [NY] Post-Republican.

A bill that would have significantly bolstered the nation’s defenses against electoral interference has been held up in the Senate at the behest of the White House, which opposed the proposed legislation.  The bill was supported by both parties.

As it currently stands, the legislation would grant every state’s top election official security clearance to receive threat information. It would also formalize the practice of information-sharing between the federal government-in particular, the Department of Homeland Security-and states regarding threats to electoral infrastructure. A technical advisory board would establish best practices related to election cybersecurity. Perhaps most significantly, the law would mandate that every state conduct a statistically significant audit following a federal election.

Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan, says that her father would be appalled by the leadership of Trump. Will Trump respond? He went after previous Republican presidents and leaders. So why not go after Davis.

The Washington Post has been counting: Trump has made 4229 false or misleading claims in 558 days [just over 7.5 per day].

Trump told lawmakers he was scrapping a planned pay raise for civilian federal workers [not the military], saying the nation’s budget couldn’t support it. An across-the-board 2.1% pay increase for federal workers was slated to take effect in January. In addition, a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where a worker is posted — the “locality pay increase” — was due to take effect. But a day later Trump is planning to spend the weekend studying up on the issue of government compensation.

According the NBC News/GenForward survey, the bimonthly survey found that in the past year, millennials’ impression of the Democratic Party remained split between favorable and unfavorable views. Still better than the Republican Party where there are hovering mostly in the low 60s unfavorable for the past year and mid-twenties for favorable.

Trump hit a new low when over 60% of them in a poll disapprove of Trump.

A bit of humor:

For the services for the late Senator John McCain, in the audience was Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump.

Jared had a question for Ivanka at one point but decided to hold off until later on. After the services, while in their limousine on the way back to their home, Jared finally asks his question:

“Honey. I could not figure this out. Meghan McCain had a beautiful eulogy. But at one point she skirted around naming someone. Who was that?”

Five seconds later, Jared had a black eye.

Trump pressures evangelists to vote for him

In a closed-door meeting with evangelical leaders, Donald Trump said [in a secret recording] “This November 6 election is very much a referendum on not only me, it’s a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment. It’s a referendum on so much.” If the GOP loses, he said, “they [the Democrats] will overturn everything that we’ve done and they’ll do it quickly and violently, and violently. There’s violence. When you look at Antifa and you look at some of these groups — these are violent people.”

Someone is getting nervous. So not only is he lumping the Democrats and Antifa [a violent anti-Fascist group] as one, he is expecting violence to occur after the mid-term elections and the Democrats to undo everything he’s done. Which was? Of course, Trump can veto any bill that the Democrats attempt to push through – but he doesn’t tell them that.

He also added “… you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.” Huh? Are there more than one Sunday in a week?

Then  Trump repeated his debunked claim that he had gotten “rid of” a law forbidding churches and charitable organizations from endorsing political candidates. In fact, the law remains on the books, after efforts to kill it in Congress last year failed.

The law that Trump says he got rid of is the so-called Johnson Amendment which says churches and charities “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of [or in opposition to] any candidate for elective public office.”

With the death of Senator John Sidney McCain III, Trump has not been invited to the funeral. Probably the first in a long time for a well-known politician.

Trump went against the advice of senior aides to issue an official White House statement praising McCain for his heroism and decades of service, telling aides he instead wanted to post a brief tweet. Trump’s tweet did not mention McCain’s military or Senate service nor include any praise for the late Arizona Republican.

Melania Trump and Mike Pence both sent tweets mentioning McCain’s service to the nation and offered condolences – unlike Trump.

Trump gave in twice in one day. First the veterans American Legion requested that the flag go back until half mast according to protocol. Then after being hounded by reporters all day [he wouldn’t answer back], late in the day, and after urging from senior aides, he relented, offering brief plaudits for the recently passed lawmaker in a statement after responding to questions earlier only with silence although most was about the logistical details and not about the man.

Trump told some advisers he believed the television coverage of McCain’s death was over the top. But this is part of his inflated ego. An important politician died and Trump still thinks that the politician’s death is making more news than anything he does.

US District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson dealt a blow to Trump’s efforts to “promote more efficient” government, ruling that key provisions of three recent executive orders “undermine federal employees’ right to bargain collectively” under federal law.

Departments and agencies were directed to engage in tougher negotiations over collective bargaining agreements and to conclude talks in under a year to limit the expense of “drawn-out bargaining.” Contracts were to be renegotiated to limit the amount of time authorized employees could spend on union business during official work hours, known as “official time.”

Michael Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said that he “could not independently confirm” the claims he made on television recently that Cohen witnessed Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand. Davis is also hedging suggestions he made on television recently that Cohen could tell special prosecutor Robert Mueller about whether Trump was aware of and encouraged Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign before it became publicly known.

Trump and his then personal attorney Cohen devised a plan to purchase potentially damaging stories about Trump from AMI, The New York Times reported. The information gathered on Trump dating back to the 1980s includes older stories and notes about Trump’s marital woes, lawsuits and tips about alleged affairs, among other things.

Three anchors on Fox News say Trump is lying about Cohen and Stormy Daniels. Even they are beginning to turn on Trump.

“White House Counsel Don McGahn will be leaving his position in the fall, shortly after the confirmation (hopefully) of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court….” Trump tweeted. With trump’s history, he will probably be shown the white door before confirmation.

McGahn’s standing in the White House has been the subject of much speculation following the disclosure earlier this month that he has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s probe, participating in several interviews spanning 30 hours over the last nine months. Trump approved the interviews but doesn’t know what was talked about.

Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo says that the midterm elections will be all about impeachment and it is getting closer.

Trump warned at a campaign-style rally in Indiana that he would “get involved” if the FBI and Justice Department don’t “start doing their job.” Speaking later at the event in Evansville, Trump suggested the leadership of the department and bureau were biased against Republicans and “people are angry.”

A Justice Department lawyer, Bruce Ohr, whose ties to the infamous dossier about Trump and Russia has drawn the ire of Republicans told House lawmakers that he was told Russian intelligence thought they had the then-candidate “over a barrel” during the 2016 campaign.

Dossier author Christopher Steele shared the information with him at a July 2016 breakfast. Ohr said that his wife, Nellie Ohr, who was a contractor for Fusion GPS — the firm that employed Steele to dig up dirt on Trump — also attended the breakfast.

Trump accused NBC News of altering the tape of an interview during which he cited the Russia investigation as a reason for why he fired James Comey as FBI director. In a series of tweets, Trump railed against the media and took aim at NBC, seeming to accuse the network of “fudging” an interview he gave about 18 months ago, just days after he abruptly fired James Comey as FBI director. Trump offered no proof of the claim. So why claim after 18 months the interview was “fudged” as the interview was released then.

Calling Comey a “showboat” and “grandstander” who led the agency into turmoil, Trump contradicted the White House and the explanation given in a termination letter for Comey’s firing, which said his dismissal was based on recommendations from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But since the NBC interview last year, the president has denied that Comey’s firing was connected to the Russia investigation.

Trump’s legal team is preparing a report that will contain sections rebutting a series of potential conclusions special counsel Robert Mueller could reach in his eventual findings, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said. The report will include rebuttal sections on everything from collusion with Russia in the 2016 election to fired national security adviser Michael Flynn to obstruction of justice in order to be prepared for what may be included in Mueller’s expected report.

Trump tweeted out an untrue conspiracy theory about Google’s own search results being rigged against him. Trump accused Google and others of suppressing Conservative voices and even threatened to “address” the situation. But Trump’s whole theory is based on a flawed methodology. Anyone can see that Fox News ranks quite highly in Google search results about Trump.

Trump has been pushing for over a year to either renew or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]. While the US and Mexico [who had big differences] seemed to settle the issues what was agreed upon is not binding. Even then, conflicting answers from various Mexican officials whether the two will/can go alone without Canada.

Trump said during an off-the-record conversation with Bloomberg News said that he would not make any compromises at all in the talks with Canada. The deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” He really wants the deal to fail. Trump said he would move ahead with a bilateral agreement with Mexico. Of course Trump has also said one thing but never follows up [easiest example is his threatened lawsuits].

He will sign a deal replacing NAFTA with or without Canada in 90 days. This is to get the deal before the Mexican President-Elect takes over. Congress could still block the deal. It’s unlikely any rewrite of NAFTA would come up for a vote until 2019. The governments of Canada and Mexico must also ratify the agreement. If they don’t, there’s no deal.

Trump and his minions have also said they would go alone with Mexico if Canada doesn’t sign on. Yet, Trump most likely legally can’t. Additionally many US politicians [including quite a few Republicans] are against a deal unless Canada is included. Some would create legislation that would bar Trump from going against Congress. Others say, constitutionally it is up to Congress to agree to any free trade agreement.

Canada is particularly concerned with how Chapter 19 of the original NAFTA — the dispute settlement mechanism that can be used to challenge anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases. The US has yet to win a challenge [and just lost another one related to news print very recently]. The potential new agreement would last 16 years with the option to open the agreement after 6 years.

GOP state Sen. Michael Williams [who is African-American] said he would not have an issue if Trump used the n-word in the past and argued that holding a president accountable for mistakes made before entering office would “set a bad precedent.” If that is true, does that mean he is in a different league than Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and others? While not the president [well Spacey was sort of!] why should Trump be any different. Does this mean that Trump gets a pass for his groping and other alleged things he did prior to being elected. If he killed someone and never convicted? Where is the line drawn.

Comedian Kevin Hart joked that anything could happen at the MTV Video Music Awards. “Things pop off, bad language, people run to the bathroom and send out crazy tweets,” he said. “It’s basically like your typical day at the White House.”

In Arizona primaries, Trump did not endorse any of the 3 candidates. The winner was a GOP establishment favorite. The other two [one is Joe Arpaio, the controversial former Maricopa County sheriff] are both considered a bit too to the right. Arpaio was pardoned by Trump for criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor just over a year ago.

Puerto Rico’s government officially raised the death toll from last year’s storm to 2,975, which surpasses that of both Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which is responsible for 1,833 deaths, and the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane in Florida, which killed 2,500 people. Until the recent update, Puerto Rico’s government had said only 64 people died as a result of the storm. The Trump administration initially still refuses to use the higher death toll.

Trump offered a still-rosy outlook of his administration’s handling of the hurricane Maria disaster. “I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico,” Trump said. Just days afterward the storm had resulted in a relatively small number of deaths, he compared Maria to a “real catastrophe like Katrina.” He also awarded himself a “10 out of 10” on disaster recovery efforts and said “Did we do a great job?”

A light week from lightweight Trump

It was actually a quiet week for Trump controversies.

Donald Trump lashed out at Omarosa Manigault Newman, saying the former White House adviser — who is promoting a tell-all book and airing secret audio recordings — “got fired for the last time.” When was the other times? His show. In one of the recordings released by Omarosa, Trump didn’t even know that Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her even though Trump and Omarosa were friends going back to her Apprentice days.

He went after her after the audio was released by saying “Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her.” Aside from calling her a less than presidential name, how much of that tweet is true. Probably very little.

He then tweeted “When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!” If what Kelly said was true, it shows us that Trump doesn’t know how to hire people – let alone not listening to advisors.

Omarosa said that she recorded a number of conversations in the White House for her own protection. She has further recordings. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Omarosa may have broken the law by recording private conversations at the White House. May? He’s a lawyer. Doesn’t he know? Not surprising White House staff lashed out [wondering if told to do so].

Trump continued to go after Omarosa saying “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” Funny how none of his accusations never became public until now. “Quickly”? She was fired a long time ago and he ignored Kelly’s advice in not hiring her in the first place.

Trump calling her a “dog” could add to the further criticisms that he is a racist even though he has called some white people dogs as well.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders claimed that Trump’s description of his former aide as a “dog” had “nothing to do with race and everything to do with the President calling out someone’s lack of integrity.” As well, she was claiming he was “voicing frustration” and he was “particularly” frustrated with her actions following her time at the White House.

Trump tweets: “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people….” His definition of “fake news” is not the same as everyone’s.

His tweet came after 350 newspapers all have one thing in common this past week: A statement supporting the free press and decrying Trump’s attacks against the media. Each paper wrote its own editorial. Some of the participants are emphasizing the local nature of most news coverage, and saying Trump’s extreme rhetoric — labeling journalists “enemies of the people” or “fake news” stories — hurts everyone, not just the political reporters who enrage him the most.

Not surprisingly, some Trump supporters on Fox News called this collusion as well as Trump himself.

Trump announced that he had revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president’s authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics. The White House provided no evidence that Brennan has misused his security clearance since leaving government. Trump claims nobody knows who Brennan is. Seriously?

Retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, issued a stunning rebuke of Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of Brennan, defending the former spy chief as “one of the finest public servants I have ever known.”

Sixty former CIA officials warned Trump in a statement that “the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.” The letter, which comes after Trump’s decision to revoke former Brennan’s security clearance, was signed by former CIA officials who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations in positions such as analysts, senior analysts and officers.

Trump said that he canceled a US military parade planned for Veterans Day weekend, blaming Washington city officials for inflating costs amid reports that indicated the event’s price tag had soared over initial estimates. An estimated half the cost is non-military related such as security. I would guess security is critical for him? Even then, maybe another $45 million is military related.

Earlier this year, the White House budget director told Congress that the cost to taxpayers could be $10 million to $30 million. Those estimates were likely based on the cost of previous military parades, such as the one in the nation’s capital in 1991 celebrating the end of the first Gulf War, and factored in some additional increase for inflation.

The city estimated its expenses would be $21.6 million, and the Washington mayor said the city would have expected to have been reimbursed by the government. About $13 million of the city’s expenses would be for police costs. Other expenses include fire, emergency medical services and transportation. So already that is way more than the way under estimated $10 million.

Trump claims there will be a parade in 2019 and will be cheaper. Good luck there. Tanks and heavy equipment were ruled out of the parade as it would rip into the Washington infrastructure and would cost quite a bit just to transport.

Laughingly, the Trump administration want a sixth part of the US armed forces that could be called Space Force. You read that right. Costing billions of dollars to set up there isn’t even a definite strategy of what it would do in space. Reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars “initiative”.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he is satisfied that creating a Space Force as a separate military service is the right way to reorganize the Pentagon’s approach to space. But in July 2017, Mattis said he didn’t want a separate Space Force before they “could define the problem”.

The Pentagon first will establish a Space Force to oversee and co-ordinate space operations and a Space Development Agency to accelerate the development and fielding of space technologies for the military. It also will build up larger numbers of servicemen and servicewomen with expertise in space operations.

According to a poll, a majority of Americans (55%) say they don’t support the new plans to establish a Space Force; only 37% said they do. Among veterans, 47% back it, 50% oppose it.

Peter Strzok, a longtime agent who once worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was fired by the FBI after he sent text messages criticizing Trump to a colleague. Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team a year ago after the texts were discovered. Question is why wait a year before firing him.

Strzok’s lawyer said his client was fired by FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich. He said the 21-year veteran of the FBI was removed because of political pressure and “to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the First Amendment.” The lawyer said the FBI had overruled the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which he said had determined that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was “the appropriate punishment.”

Trump has signed an order that reverses the Obama-era Presidential Policy Directive 20, which sets forth a specific process that must take place before cyberweapons can be deployed. Presidential Policy Directive 20 required multiple agencies to sign off on offensive cyber operations.

“Simpleton” Sanders issued a rare correction [she rarely admits her mistakes] after falsely declaring that Trump has created three times as many jobs for African-American workers as former President Barack Obama did during his two terms in office. “I’m sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump.” Obama created 3 million in 8 years.

In another usual ridiculous claim by him [with no evidence], Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller is waiting for a verdict in the trial of Paul Manafort before resuming negotiations for a presidential interview.

After a new military spending bill was named after Trump nemesis senator John McCain, not at one time did Trump mention McCain’s name in his speech. Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act into law. Along with allocating $716 billion in defense funding, the bill put restrictions on government use of products manufactured by a number of China-based technology firms like ZTE and Huawei.

Magician Penn Jillette, one half of the duo Penn &Teller, claims he heard President Donald Trump say “racially insensitive” remarks during his time appearing on the reality competition show, “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Asked if tapes of Trump making those comments exist, Jillette said, “Yeah, I was in the room.”

David Glosser, uncle to White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, defended an editorial excoriating his nephew and the administration’s immigration policy saying “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”

The two sides of Trump

{Nice with North Korea, nasty with Iran.]

Donald Trump: “When I make promises, I keep them.” [OK, you can get off the floor when you are finish laughing.]

So not surprising, Trump is killing the Iranian nuclear deal. He cited [as some of his excuses] the flawed and dated argument from Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu.

“Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.” And then “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise was a lie,” Trump said. But the Director of National Intelligence, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have all said in last two months they are complying with the deal.

Iran has stated that the US would suffer if the deal disintegrates. However, short of using nuclear weapons, they can’t do too much of their own. However, leaving the deal could cause oil prices to rise as well as affect other areas of the economy. [Even if the oil prices don’t rise much if any, local gas stations will jack up the price anyways. Gougers.]

At one point Trump said “It didn’t bring calm. It didn’t bring peace.” Of course not, the deal says nothing about Iran stopping buying or using non-nuclear military hardware.

Now there is talk that at least one Sunni Muslim country, Saudi Arabia, who now intend on building their own nuclear missiles. Saudi Arabia and Iran are considered enemies.

Sanctions could return within 90 days against Iran. Companies that deal with Iran [including for an example an $8 billion US deal with Boeing] are at stake. Trouble could hit companies based in other countries who signed the original deal which could cause some further issues. The remainder of the countries that were part of the deal are still trying to work with Iran.

Is Trump playing with the lives of North Korea detainees? Last week, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s so-called lawyer but more like another spokesman who doesn’t know facts, claimed that three Americans detained [or taken hostage] by North Korea will be released that day. Two days later they still weren’t but he Giuliani said “there is a good chance” that three Americans detained in North Korea “will be released over the next several days.”

The question is whether Trump kyboshed the release so they can be released closer to when he is expected to have a meeting with Kim Jun Un in June. So are the three detainees being kept in a North Korean prison [which are probably far from being as nice as a room at the Trump Hotel in Washington] longer than they should? Just so that Trump an show he can make a “deal”? And if anything what is Trump giving up?

White House and State Department officials were still working to verify reports the three Americans had been moved from labor camps to a hotel in Pyongyang.

Trump, by making such a splash of the prisoners’ return, could be accused by critics of exploiting them as props for a presidency in crisis. Alternatively, Kim Jun Un could boast that an American president came to see him – something his father couldn’t do – and maybe use it for propaganda. Even with the three prisoners released, Un could say in North Korean media that Trump begged for their release.

Un has had various high profile American dignitaries come to North Korea before to seek release of American prisoners. Since all the prisoners were arrested and convicted on trumped [errr] up charges, Un could be taking prisoners in exchange of future public appreciation. Un took the hostages in order to release them later and to get rewarded for it. Trump himself thanked Un for the release – but as head of the country, it was probably on his orders to have them arrested.

Even though Trump has claimed there is an agreement for where and when to have his meeting with Un, all bets are off if Trump cancels the meeting.

Trump said at 3 AM, “I think you probably broke the all-time in history television rating for three o’clock in the morning.” Ummm. 3 AM? The administration probably did not notify US citizens when the prisoners would land on US soil. As usual, what ratings? You can’t get any ratings results at the same time you are at the location. There are ratings for TV shows and events that are announced. This isn’t either. Does he thinks this is like reality TV like The Apprentice? Trump has tweeted the word “ratings” 263 times since 2010.

Trump suggested that “angry Democrats” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team could face legal action over alleged “conflicts of interest.” Trump did not provide proof of the alleged conflicts. Trump also suggested that the investigation was being dragged out so it could damage Republicans in the midterm elections.

Mueller’s investigators have questioned a Russian oligarch about hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments his company’s US affiliate made to Cohen, after the election. Viktor Vekselberg, chairman of asset manager Renova Group, is an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and last month the Trump administration placed him on a list of sanctioned Russians for activities including election interference.

The purpose of the payments, which predate the sanctions, and the nature of the business relationship between Vekselberg and Cohen is unclear. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti alleged the $500,000 from Vekselberg went into the bank account for Essential Consultants, a shell company that Cohen set up before the election that was used to pay Daniels. Avenatti added that the payments occurred from January to August 2017.

The Russian was questioned as well about $300,000 in political donations by Andrew Intrater, Vekselberg’s American cousin who is the head of Columbus Nova.

AT&T confirmed that it paid President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017 for “insights into understanding the new administration.” At the time, AT&T was seeking government approval for its acquisition of Time Warner.  A document released by Avenatti stated that “Essential received $200,000 in four separate payments of $50,000 in late 2017 and early 2018 from AT&T.”

Almost like a lobbyist, Cohen has been advertising him as the man who has Trump’s ear by saying “I’m the guy you should hire. I’m closest to the President. I’m his personal lawyer.” This is how over a period of time, he pulled in over $4.4 million from AT&T, Novartis, Korea Aerospace Industries, and others. Many were looking for supposedly information about Trump and his administration.

Even after he wasn’t offered a job in Trump’s administration after inauguration day or since, he nevertheless continued to portray himself as Trump’s go-to guy.

AT&T has claimed the company only paid Cohen to gain “insights” into Trump and that there was no legal or lobbying work. However, if it went farther than that, then there could be some legal issues. AT&T said they wish they didn’t do it.

As for Novartis, Cohen received $400,000 just before dinner Trump reportedly had with a Novartis executive in Davos, Switzerland. That could raise a few red flags. Novartis has regrets now.

Gina Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination as Trump’s pick to head the CIA after some White House officials raised concerns with her about her ability to get confirmed but she agreed to continue with her nomination. The White House has been concerned about her past involvement with the CIA’s controversial interrogation program.

Trump tweeted regarding Haspel “There is nobody even close to run the CIA!” And there is a possibility she won’t be approved!

“Our administration has provided more than a million documents; we’ve fully cooperated in it, and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up,” Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview. Can you say “obstruction of justice”? Two Republican senators replied that Pence has no decision making in the matter.

White House chief of staff John Kelly said he believes the vast majority of undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border into the US are “… not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society” because they are poorly educated.

At a rally, Trump claimed President Obama paid $1.8 billion for hostages from North Korea while he paid nothing. Where did he get that amount from? He didn’t say [as usual].

Trump commented that he would like to actually withdrawal the right for some journalists from reporting at the White House. Of course these are those who [in Trump’s mind] are anti-Trump. Of course this goes against the First Amendment.

Rudy Giuliani continues to be possibly big mistake in hiring when he left open the possibility that Cohen might have doled out payments like the one he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to other women. When asked if there were other women paid, Giuliani said “I would think if it was necessary, yes.”

A reminder that Trump has also been accused by at least 15 women of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and lewd behavior. Trump has denied all the allegations, and at one point during the 2016 campaign, threatened to sue his accusers, although he has yet to do so.

Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen got into a lengthy, heated argument during a Cabinet meeting focused on immigration. Trump was furious with Nielsen, telling her he didn’t think she was doing enough to secure the border. Nielsen told colleagues she was close to resigning after the incident.

The Trump administration has decided to refer every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution, a policy that could result in the separation of far more parents from their children at the border. The move would also mean that even if immigrants caught at the border illegally have valid asylum claims, they could still end up with federal criminal convictions on their record regardless of whether a judge finds they have a right to live and stay in the US.

At least eight alt-right website domain names were registered to Columbus Nova, the company that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Within hours of assuming his new post, Trump appointed Richard Grenell triggered harsh criticism in Germany when he said “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.” The timing and tone struck some German politicians, journalists and business executives as a threat, offensive and inappropriate. The criticism was echoed by top officials elsewhere in Europe including Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister. Grenell claimed this was the “exact language” that the White House told him to use.

Trump continues to go after Amazon because he claims that the US Postal Service got a bad deal for shipping Amazon packages. Problem is that the deal hasn’t been publically disclosed [if it can be]. So we can assume that Trump is over blowing another issue. That and he dislikes Amazon owner Jeff Bezos who owns The Washington Post who aren’t a fan of Trump.

Trump’s luxury golf resort in Turnberry, Scotland, has banned the sale of Irn-Bru on the premises. The ban came to light after guests asked for Scotland’s favourite non-alcoholic beverage to be supplied at an event but were refused because staff were concerned about potential spills.

Trump tweeted “Thought he [James Comey] was terrible until I fired him!” So Comey was great after he was fired?

Trump urged voters in West Virginia to reject controversial Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship in the state’s primary. Blankenship’s campaign — from its nativist tendencies to its use of conspiracy theories — takes many cues from the President’s 2016 playbook.

Blankenship is a former CEO of Massey Energy and who until recently was serving a year-long sentence for a misdemeanor conviction over his involvement in the deadliest US mine explosion in four decades. But Democrats have also tried to boost Blankenship. A super PAC linked to Democrats has been running ads in West Virginia attacking the two other Republicans nominated for weeks. In the end Blankenship came in third.

Ailing Senator John McCain is said to requested that Trump should not attend his funeral. He also has requested that George W Bush and Barrack Obama to deliver eulogies.  Wonder if Trump will comment about it on Twitter. Oh he probably will.

Trump tweeted “Five Most Wanted leaders of ISIS just captured!” Wow! All 5! Does that mean ISIS has no leadership? Not. Resolve Army Col. Ryan Dillon tweeted originally “5 key” – not “5 Most Wanted”. So Trump blows things out of proportions again. #FakeNews

Trump told reporters “Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it” when asked if he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the warming of relations with North Korea, the only prize he wants is a victory for the world. Wait until there is actually what could be described as peace before claiming your prize! In the meantime, is he forgetting Iran? He just killed a nuclear deal which has heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Could be something, or nothing. According to Senator Tim Kaine, the 4 American soldiers killed in Niger in 2017 were at least partially on an unauthorized mission when they were ambushed and killed by ISIS in a village. They were searching for a high value target, a mission they were not authorized, trained or equipped to conduct. They later reverted to an advisory capacity with the Nigerien forces they were working with.

 

Trump’s troubles continue…

… But if he kept his mouth shut, he wouldn’t have half of them.

Donald Trump urged House members to adopt the Senate’s budget and follow through on tax reform during a House GOP conference call. “We are on the verge of doing something very, very historic,” Trump said. Trump claimed the plan “will bring back trillions” of American dollars currently overseas. Something historic like another failure in passing this legislation? Money back from overseas? Never explains his “thinking”.

The Republican tax reform framework proposes eliminating the State and Local Tax deduction, a popular tax break that affects nearly one-third of filers but 30 GOP members may balk at it. Assuming no Democrats agree, if more than 22 GOP disagree, the budget will fail.

But in the end the House of Representatives narrowly passed a budget resolution that clears the path for Congress to fast-track tax reform legislation. The vote was 216-212, with 20 Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the measure. Not a good sign even though it passed. The budget includes reconciliation rules that will allow the Senate to pass tax reform with only a simple majority rather than the usual 60 to overcome a filibuster. Cheating again.

John Kelly, before he was Chief of Staff, warned Trump at the beginning of his term not to call the widows of servicemen who died. Kelly also said that [without saying it] Trump was wrong. All presidents have written the widows but very few have called because no matter what they say, it won’t help in grieving.

Trump continue to go after Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson saying “Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action & vote R!”. “Niger is @realDonaldTrump’s Benghazi. He needs to own it,” Wilson tweeted after. Wilson claims she heard Trump call a serviceman’s widow and said to her “[he] knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.” Sanders backtracked her “inappropriate” comments later after defending Kelly.

In an interview with Good Morning America, the widow of the serviceman who spoke to Trump said “I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn’t remember my husband’s name.” She said she also wants to know why she hasn’t been allowed to see her husband’s body. “The phone was on speaker phone. Why would we fabricate something like that?”

I’m sure it was after that interview that Trump tweeted “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!” Why doesn’t he give up. He lied again.

Everything in the White House, from phone conversations to Emails, are recorded. So why doesn’t Trump release the recording of his conversation with the widow to finally put this issue to rest and see who told the truth and who didn’t. I can guess who didn’t.

Then Trump said “Sen.[Bob] Corker is the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the U.S. has done. He doesn’t have a clue as…..” Do you have a clue? And then “People like liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back…”

The he tweeted “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!” [Does he know how to spell Tennessee?] and “Isn’t it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn’t get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!” [Corker has said he is retiring from the Senate and not seeking re-election.]

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced that he will not seek re-election in 2018, and then promptly took the Senate floor and began a lengthy screed against the state of Republican politics in the Trump era. Among other things he talked about “the flagrant disregard for truth or decency”, “the degradation of our politics”, and “such mercurial behavior”.

With Flake, Bob Corker and John McCain all claiming that they probably will not vote in favor of any Trump legislation, the probably of any legislation passing with at least a few Democrats is unlikely.

Then Trump dismissed scathing criticism by Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, saying the real reason they are retiring is because of unfavorable election odds, not dissatisfaction with their party’s standard-bearer. [So Trump admitted that Corker was retiring and not running again. Finally.]

Trump tweeted “The meeting with Republican Senators yesterday, outside of Flake and Corker, was a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!” Multiple standing ovations at a lunch? Wish there was video footage to confirm.

Hillary Clinton, on a 15 city book tour promoting her book “What Happened” came to the Montreal stop with a fractured her right foot talking about her book and explaining what did happen. She blames a number of reasons why she didn’t win: from her campaign errors to the Email server to the FBI investigation and others. [Yes, Trump, she did blame her campaign for mistakes made which includes herself.]

So surprising was Trump’s victory to her that she had not prepared a concession speech, she said, and was not prepared to deliver one in the early hours of November 9th. Clinton said that attending Trump’s inauguration was like a “root canal on steroids. I really did not want to go.”

She does not think Trump was qualified to be president, she said. But what she came to realize in time was that “this was the reality-TV campaign and he was the reality-TV candidate. I was the candidate of reality — and I was just not as entertaining.”

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders is really drinking the Trump Kool-Aid. After both Presidents Barrack Obama and George W. Bush made comments about Trump without using Trump’s name, Sanders claims that both were not talking directly about Trump in their speeches as they would of used Trump’s name. Unsure about Obama but Bush has not said anything about Trump in probably over a year.

Huckabee also claimed Trump “helped defeat ISIS”. Unfortunately, ISIS abandoned Raqqa [their quasi-capitol] but are still fighting. She also said Trump “brought unemployment to a 16-year low” but it has been Obama’s final years that helped drive the drop in the unemployment rate according to experts.

With all the cases brought up of sexual harassment [and worse], a reporter asked Sanders if the White House officially thought those women were lying. Sanders offered a very short non-answer: “We’ve been clear on that in the beginning and the President’s spoken on that.”

The allegations from the White House come amid news that the Clinton campaign and DNC helped fund research that led to the dossier that included salacious allegations about Trump, his conduct in Russia and included allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Sanders sought to turn the Russia spotlight on Democrats, arguing that “if any collusion took place, it would be between the DNC and the Clintons.” She declined to answer a follow-up asking what evidence Trump has to accuse Hillary Clinton of colluding with the Russians.

Trump invited some of the kids belonging to the media and asked the kids “How does the press treat you?” I think the kids didn’t know what to say.

Trump is claiming by reducing the corporate tax it will also give an extra $4000 [and at one point he said up to $5000] to each US households. He is getting this from the economic council of advisors. But all this was based on a study from Harvard but the author says maybe $800 but under the right conditions? Trump likes to increase things.

The judge sentencing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had to delay his decision following Trump’s comments about the case could affect the public’s perception of the military justice system. Trump’s recent comments are preventing a fair proceeding.

Five former Presidents got together in Texas at a relief concert to help Texas. Trump? Sent a video message that was very stoic and scripted. No expression.

Trump tweeted “…9 months than this Administration. Over 50 Legislation approvals, massive regulation cuts, energy freedom, pipelines, border security….” Not 50 Legislative approvals as they were executive orders. Does he know the difference? Border security? Travel bans continue to be shot down by courts. Everything else from executive orders.

Trump also tweeted “It is finally sinking through. 46% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE MAJOR NATIONAL NEWS ORGS FABRICATE STORIES ABOUT ME. FAKE NEWS, even worse! Lost cred.” Wonder where he got that percentage from. I guess he wanted high enough to make it slightly believable and not say 76% which sounds like a dictatorship percentage.

An early Happy Halloween to The Witch, KellyAnne Conway.

Seems the Trump administration doesn’t want a NAFTA deal with Canada and Mexico. The administration wants [for example] auto content made in the US up at a least 50%. This would increase the cost and the price of autos [higher US labor costs at least] which would probably decrease auto sales and maybe even reduce jobs. Even various experts such as the US Chamber of Commerce want a proper NAFTA deal.

“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” Trump said. “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now….. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.” Worse than the 60s and early 70s with the drugs? He declared a nationwide health emergency, a designation that will not automatically be followed by additional federal funding for the crisis.

In just 9 months, Trump has personally attacked 1 in 5 GOP senators.

Democratic mega-donor and billionaire Tom Steyer is spending more than $10 million on a national TV ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment.

Sen. Thom Tillis went to a lunch with Republican lawmakers carrying a bag of popcorn, ready for Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill after Trump feuded with Sen. Bob Corker.

Trump wished country singer, Lee Greenwood, a happy birthday – except he tweeted to the wrong Lee Greenwood [a New York lawyer]. Trump then deleted the original tweet [is he embarrassed?] and tweeted the right one. [Deleting a tweet by the “president” is probably illegal under American laws.]

While not even at the end of the year, Trump’s administration added $80 billion to the country’s deficit which will hit $666 billion this year [hmmm – 666]. Of note, corporate income taxes fell by $2.5 billion year over year to $297 billion while individual income taxes rose by $41 billion to $1.587 trillion.

The State Department’s inspector general has looked into complaints that the US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, Scott Brown, made inappropriate comments to women during an official visit to the Samoan capital of Apia. He was appointed by Trump.

Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company, linked to the Trump campaign contacted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016 regarding thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails kept on a private server while she was secretary of state.

Fox News leads the number of Trump interview with 19. All the others combined have one more than Fox News. The New York Times has had four interviews with the President, NBC and Reuters have had three each, and the Wall Street Journal has had two.

According to an early analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, bottom 95% of households, by contrast, would get a bump of just 0.5% to 1.2% [average]. Compare that to the top 1% [those making $730,000+] who would see a 8.5% increase and the top 0.1% [those making $5+ million] who’s after tax income would jump 10%. But 13.5% of middle income filers as well as some in a higher bracket would actually pay primarily because the GOP framework calls for the repeal of most itemized deductions, including the lucrative state and local tax deduction.

Of course, if you reduce taxes to just about everyone, someone has to pay. Otherwise, it will be added to the debt.

Trump accidentally referred to the Virgin Islands’ governor as their President during a speech saying “I met with the President of the Virgin Islands” — even though he is technically their President.

Trump has endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie in the Virginia gubernatorial race. But the candidate appears to go out of his way to avoid mentioning his most prominent supporter. Trump’s endorsement isn’t mentioned anywhere on Gillespie’s campaign website or his social media pages. Gillespie doesn’t discuss Trump unless he’s prompted to do so. He doesn’t criticize the President, but he also doesn’t make an effort to embrace him, either.

[When was there ever a governor who didn’t want the sitting President’s endorsement before? Another first.]

CNN had a former Republican politician who claims that 1800+ false or exaggerated claims by Trump since January [as researched by the NY Times] are all exaggerated because she thinks the way they were checked. All 1800+? In addition, she claims that the period under Obama was the slowest growth in economy. This after digging out of the recession with George W. Bush. Towards the end of 2008, in Bush’s final term, it hit a low of -8%. During Obama’s 8 years it hit a high of about 5.5% in 2014.

New Yorkers with views of the East River may have spotted a row of bright-red digital numbers affixed to a building on the Queens waterfront. The mysterious display is actually a clock counting down the time left in Trump’s first term. Can it tick down faster?

A slim majority of Americans (52%) oppose Trump’s recent tax reform proposals, according to a poll, while only one-third (34%) say they support the Trump plan.

In a poll taken in mid-October, overall, 37% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 57% disapprove — virtually identical to his marks in late September. But the percentage who say things in the country are going well has fallen from 53% in August to 46% now, about the same as after Trump’s tumultuous first weeks in office.

38% say the policies Trump has proposed will move the country in the right direction, 56% say the wrong direction. 32% approve of the way the President is handling his relationship with Republicans in Congress while 54% disapprove. Nearly half (47%) overall say they have more confidence in the GOP in Congress to handle major issues facing the country vs. 30% who say they have confidence in Trump. A sizable 17% trust neither.

 

Trump and his [dis-] like for Republicans

Donald Trump blamed Senate Republicans, not himself, for the stalled GOP agenda ahead of a crucial White House lunch meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on getting make-or-break tax legislation back on track.

“They’re [the Senators] on another vacation right now. I think that we would all be a lot better off if the Senate would stop taking vacations and start staying here until we actually get some real things accomplished,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said. In other words, Trump is trying to get all the available time in Congress to try and pass his first major piece of legislation.

Trump said he feels “closer than ever before” to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a man he’s publicly criticized for his handling of the GOP agenda and on whom the President is relying for getting a legislative accomplishment in the first year of his term. Come back within a couple of weeks. That “closer” won’t be that close. Remember that over the August recess, Trump publicly bemoaned McConnell’s leadership ever since the Senate failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in July.

San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich says that “Unfit intellectually, emotionally, & psychologically to hold this office & the whole world knows it.” He’s also a “soulless coward” following his false assertion former Presidents Barrack Obama and George W. Bush did not reach out to families of fallen soldiers. This after Trump said about the soldiers killed in Niger: “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls … I call when it’s appropriate.”

Trump, in defense of his claim that President Obama didn’t call the loved ones of fallen soldiers, said that Obama did not call his chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, after his son died in Afghanistan. I’m suspecting the President does not call every family after someone dies – even John Kelly who was a lieutenant general at the time. 466 American troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan in Obama’s first year, compared to 25 in Trump’s first 9 months.

Trump “wasn’t criticizing predecessors, but stating a fact,” Sanders said even though her boss went back on his comments. Is she on the same page as her boss?

It took Trump 12 days to personally publicly say something regarding the 4 soldiers who died in Niger. A statement was ready but never released. Spokeswoman Sanders did give condolences the day after but not specifically from Trump.

Trump called the widow of one of the 4 soldiers and, according to Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson [who was with the widow at the time of the call], Trump said that the serviceman killed “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”

But Trump tweeted “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” The widow had already sided with the “Democratic” Congressman and said that Trump did say his comments. The soldier’s mother also confirmed he said it. I would guess there is proof from Trump. [In fact, the conversation should be recorded as all communication is.]

Trump said he’d written letters to the family of the for that were killed but the letters had not yet been mailed. Supposedly they had been awaiting information before proceeding

Trump sent a $25,000 personal check to the family of a fallen soldier the same day that The Washington Post reported that he had promised the soldier’s father a personal donation during a June condolence call but never followed through. According to the Post, Trump called Chris Baldridge in June, weeks [not days] after his son was killed. During the call, the Post reported, Trump offered him $25,000 and said he would instruct his staff to establish an online fundraising page for the family.

Kelly is starting to sound like his boss. He accused Wilson of claiming credit for securing $20 million in federal funding to build a new FBI field office in Miami in 2015. In fact, in her speech at the dedication ceremony, she took credit for shepherding legislation naming the FBI building. Kelly digging up things that have nothing to do with the issue at hand?

Trump, hours after Sen. John McCain delivered a speech that repudiated Trump, warned the Arizona Republican to “be careful” because at some point he will “fight back.” He hasn’t already? McCain warned the United States against turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

Trump sent this tweet “Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?” He is suggesting that a dossier prepared by a former member of British intelligence has not only been totally discredited but that it might have been funded by some combination of Russia, the Democratic Party and, wait for it, the FBI!

Trump has personally interviewed candidates for US attorney positions in New York and Washington, but since these particular candidates for US attorney positions are the chief federal prosecutors who are going to decide whether to indict Trump campaign advisers or staff if there’s collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians proven and possibly consider criminal charges against Trump himself.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon implored conservative activists at a Washington gathering to continue fighting the GOP establishment, attacking a number of Republican members of Congress by name, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Bob Corker. “Right now, it’s a season of war against a GOP establishment.”

Bannon is recruiting conservative candidates for the 2018 midterm election and forming a donor network to back them in primary races against incumbent Republican senators – those against Trump. Bannon backed former Judge Roy Moore to oust Sen. Luther Strange in an Alabama Republican primary last month. Oddly Trump backed Strange, who lost to Moore. Moore, a former judge, has defied federal court orders, described Islam as a false religion and called homosexuality evil.

In a speech to religious conservatives recently, Bannon suggested that GOP incumbents may avoid challengers from the right flank of the party if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions. Looks like Bannon is pushing for hard conservatives who may be a bit too right/strong for soft leaning Republicans and those undecided.

So with the wildfires in California killing at least 40 people and destroying many acres of land including the now devastated wine industry, Trump said he had spoken with Gov. Jerry Brown and that the federal government would stand with the “people of California and be there with you in this time of terrible tragedy and need.” No visiting, no help, nothing since. Not even a condolences to those families who have suffered.

A federal judge in Hawaii issued an order blocking major parts of Trump’s newest travel ban, suggesting it violated immigration law. Challengers to the ban said it would hurt Hawaii’s state university system, which has students, professors and visitors from the blocked countries, as well as the Hawaii tourism industry. Individuals who sued said the ban would prevent their relatives from immigrating to the U.S. and visiting.

Larry Flynt, best known as the publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler, placed a full page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post with no pictures, just bold, all-caps text dominating the top third of the page: ” Million For Information Leading To The Impeachment And Removal From Office Of Donald J. Trump.” [Smaller text below it.] I guess Trump won’t be “reading” his magazine anymore.

According to Forbes, Trump’s fortune fell by $600 million to $3.1 billion. As a result he dropped to #248 on the American list, after coming in at #156 last year. The magazine attributed his decline in wealth to “a tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign.” On Bloomberg’s worldwide billionaires list, his net worth at $2.86 billion.

Of note, Trump has two golf resorts in Scotland and their combined losses was $25 million in 2016. They have lost a combined $53 million since Trump acquired them in 2014 even after he supplied both businesses with huge loans: at the end of 2016 they owed him $200 million. He is still the owner.

Trump tweeted “I was recently asked if Crooked Hillary Clinton is going to run in 2020? My answer was, ‘I hope so!'” This even though Clinton in September “I am done with being a candidate.” Hopefully he doesn’t. Does he bother with the news other than what someone says about him?

When asked what kind of rating Trump would give his administration on the response to Puerto Rico, Trump gave the administration a 10. [OK. Stop laughing. You are laughing too much.] San Juan mayor responded by saying Trump got a 10 – but out of 100.
It could take at least 2 months or more for some in Puerto Rico to have power. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he hopes that power will be restored to 95% of the island’s energy grid by December 15. Right now it’s 22%. Some said it could be between 6 months and a year for all. In comparison, power was restored to close to all Floridians a week after Hurricane Irma.

In mid-September, 64% of Americans said they approved of Trump’s handling of the US hurricane response. Now, as many Puerto Ricans remain without access to clean water or electricity nearly a month after Maria hit, just 44% say they approve. {And surely most of those are the people who choose to side with Trump no matter what he has done.] His ratings are down 9 points among Republicans, 22 points among independents and 25 points among Democrats. [That 64% approval rating was the highest approval in any poll since he took office.]

Looks like Trump’s wish to have one piece of good news before the end of the year will not happen. The negotiations to renegotiate NAFTA won’t be completed by year end. US negotiators are pushing for changes in the current agreement that Canada and Mexico won’t agree to. This includes 50% of parts in vehicles made in the US. Trump had already warned he’d kill the agreement and this could be a way.

In an article in The New Yorker, Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ stance is highlighted, as well as a joke made by Trump to a legal scholar that the scholar shouldn’t ask Pence about gay rights because Pence wants to “hang them all.” The article also talks about how Trump often mocks Pence’s religious beliefs. Denied, of course, by Pence spokeswoman.
In his speech to GOP donors, Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Pence, served up a dim projection for the midterms: “We’re on track to get shellacked next year,” he said.

With Trump’s decision to halt funding for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies, many states had already allowed insurers to steeply hike Obamacare premiums for 2018, anticipating that Trump may cut off federal support for the subsidies. The federal government will have to spend an estimated $7.2 billion more next year because it will have to shell out more in premium subsidies to cover these higher rates.

Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican, has withdrawn his name from consideration to become the nation’s next drug czar. This comes after a joint CBS “60 Minutes” and Washington Post report revealed that Marino took nearly $100,000 from the pharmaceutical lobby while sponsoring a bill that made it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across American communities and thwart the Drug Enforcement Agency. Trump claims it was a “conflict of interest”.

NFL’s Colin Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL will heavily discuss the impact of Trump. The quarterback has claimed teams colluded to keep him out of the league this season, and his recent lawsuit suggests Trump helped foster this negative culture toward him.

In September, the president said NFL teams should fire players who take a knee during the national anthem, which Kaepernick had done since the start of last season. Trump followed up his thoughts with a series of tweets discussing those who kneel during the national anthem and recently stated these players should be suspended. Trump has relationships with the owners of the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys among others.

“Because we’re going to have a major announcement, probably next week, on the drug crisis and on the opioid massive problem,” Said Trump but in August that he was on the verge of declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency. He never did.

“We are getting close to health care. We’ll come up in the early- to mid-part of next year. We’re going to have a vote; I think we already have the votes,” said Trump. If he had the votes, wouldn’t he vote now?

Even after CNN Jake Tepper told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that by not actually denying [or said that he did say it] that he called Trump a “f?cking moron” must people would assume he said it. Tillerson again said he didn’t want to be caught up in petty comments like this – a bit similar to Senator bob Corker calling the White house a daycare center.

An FCC Commissioner stated that Trump’s suggestion that the FCC should challenge NBC’s license due to their coverage. But in fact the FCC only gives out licenses to TV stations and not a network. So once again, Trump doesn’t know what’d he’s talking about.

A Yahoo correspondent said that Russians who worked for a St. Petersburg “troll factory” were required to watch Netflix’s “House of Cards” to help them write messages that would influence Americans against their own government. The trolls were used to influence the election to get people to vote for Trump by pushing negative comments about Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.

Lawyers for one of the women who have accused Trump of sexual assault subpoenaed his campaign for all documents relating to her, all communications with or about her and “all documents concerning any woman who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.” This comes in the case of Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007. The accusations were made in October of last year at a news conference.

Trump’s re-election campaign spent more than $1 million on legal consulting from July through September. Most of the reelection effort’s legal spending went to the law firm Jones Day and the offices of lawyer Alan Futerfas, with tens of thousands directed to a handful of other offices, including more than $25,000 to the Trump Corporation.  Republican National Committee spent more than $230,000 in August to cover legal fees for Trump, including more than $130,000 to his personal attorney Jay Sekulow.

According to Forbes, Trump’s fortune fell by $600 million to $3.1 billion. As a result he dropped to #248 on the American list, after coming in at #156 last year. The magazine attributed his decline in wealth to “a tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign.” On Bloomberg’s worldwide billionaires list, his net worth at $2.86 billion.

Of note, Trump has two golf resorts in Scotland and their combined losses was $25 million in 2016. They have lost a combined $53 million since Trump acquired them in 2014 even after he supplied both businesses with huge loans: at the end of 2016 they owed him $200 million. He is still the owner.

Trump defaulted on his payments for his golf course in Puerto Rico a long while ago [dumping $32.7 million to them] but then he commented about the territory’s debt.