Trump on tour (part 1)

Donald Trump capped off his tumultuous two-day visit at NATO headquarters by boldly declaring that all NATO members agreed to increase their defense spending after he told them he was “extremely unhappy.” Trump came up empty when pressed to detail the new financial commitments he had secured, offering only that member countries “agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly” and pointing to spending increases over the last year.

Trump claimed that all countries said that all the countries have agreed to reach 2% before the 2024 deadline. Of course he is giving himself credit for this. Problem is that the other countries did not agree on reaching the target before 2024. He called himself in a hasty called news conference “stable genius”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “There was a communiqué released yesterday it was very detailed and I invite you to read it … It shows the measures approved by all the member states. This communiqué is clear, it reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024. That is all.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said spending will go up slowly over the next few years to reach at or near 2% GDP by the deadline.

Meanwhile Trump said that “everybody in that (NATO) room got along”. And yet Germany’s Angela Merkel wasn’t happy with Trump’s comments about her country and others when Trump called them “delinquents” for not paying their share.

Trump said he believes he “probably” could withdraw from the NATO alliance without congressional approval – but said that was “unnecessary.” Seems Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Does he ever read the legal information before he opens his mouth.

So another hussy fit from Trump? Threatening to leave NATO. One reason why NATO was created was to counter any aggression from the Soviet Union. Little has changed as it’s now Russia and Russia grabbed Crimea in 2014. Experts believe that without NATO, smaller Baltic countries are at risk for an invasion from Russia.

Trump has previously said that Russia grabbing Crimea wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as there are plenty of Russians living there. The same can be said about many countries formerly part of the Soviet bloc. The Soviet Union did it on purpose – moving Russians into those countries while occupying them.

Trump previously has told allies that if they don’t meet higher spending targets, they should leave the alliance and go it alone on military matters. Is he the NATO Secretary General? Nope. NATO police? Nope. NATO CFO? Nope.

“Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.” Paying what? NATO requires that a percentage of the countries’ GDP be used for the military – not to pay NATO [unlike the UN]. Maybe he should cut back on his military spending [and the $7 per screw] and maybe help his citizens.

Trump released a letter he recently received from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and praised the “great progress” being made in talks with Pyongyang. Trump also touted his meeting with the Kim Jong Un while at NATO, calling it “an amazing meeting” and saying the two “established very good relations.” And yet….

North Korean officials did not show up to a planned meeting with US officials at the demilitarized zone, where they were expected to continue discussions on repatriating the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War. Trump has touted the return of remains as one of the successes of his historic June 12 summit with Kim Jun Un in Singapore.

In England, Trump has already caused problems by claiming that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has “wrecked” the country’s exit from the European Union [Brexit] and likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. The audio was recorded and clearly showed him criticizing May even when he told reports that listen to the recording think that he didn’t say it. Forgetting things already?

Then Trump denied that he criticized May, the day after a British tabloid published an interview with him in which he did just that. He dismissed the interview, conducted by a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication [which are right wing leaning], as “fake news” saying it didn’t include his comments praising May. He also questioned her competence.

Trump said his comments came after he “read some reports” that suggested the United Kingdom would not be able to make a free trade deal with the US and said after he did apologized to May.

He also praised one of May’s political rivals, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who resigned from her government in protest this week – which is against protocol. He said Johnson would make a good Prime Minister and later back peddled by saying May is one.

He does think that the British like him a lot and yet demonstrators showed signs that said “Dump Trump,” “Lock Him Up,” and “There Will Be Hell Toupee.” The largest demonstration in years happened in London happened before Trump visited the Queen. A large giant balloon that flew over Parliament on Friday depicting him as a cell-phone-toting angry baby in a diaper.

Trump acknowledged feeling unwelcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the baby Trump balloon. Trump also blamed recent terrorist attacks there on Khan, who is Muslim. The president claimed Europe is “losing its culture” because of immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

It is also customary for anyone visiting The Queen to show up early. Trump showed up 10 minutes late.

With a news conference on and cameras “rolling” and in front of May, Trump refused to take an interview question from a CNN reporter saying CNN is a fake news network and instead took a question from Fox News.

Trump again blamed President Obama for Russian aggression in Crimea. Trump at times drew laughs from some British reporters, who jeered his criticism of the media and openly laughed at his numerous boasts. Finally, he defended his beliefs that immigration has damaged Europe.

US cable networks began cutting away to cover the Russian indictments. And calls from Congress grew louder for Trump to cancel the meeting in Helsinki with Poutine, whom Trump has previously declined to challenge on 2016 election meddling.

Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come. He has never expressed outright opposition to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal nationwide, and similarly has no record on gay rights and same-sex marriage, but he will face tough questions from Democrats on both issues.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case,” Kavanaugh said at the White House. Which will probably mean voting for all right leaning causes. The White House is hoping the Senate moves quickly to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections in November threaten to unfurl the narrow Republican majority in the chamber.

Attention will quickly shift to two moderate GOP senators, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who are supportive of abortion rights. Trump also hopes to pressure several Democrats into voting to confirm his nominee as three Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won by double digits.

Kavanaugh’s career path led him from doggedly investigating one president to later on arguing for more legal protections for presidents — after working for another one.

Despite Trump’s insistence that he didn’t consider the nominee’s political views, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, which provided the president with suggested appointees, did. Kavanaugh’s conservative ideology is compatible with these two interest groups and Trump’s most recent ideological posture.

Trump said that he has not brought up the issue of abortion with Kavanaugh. Sure Donnie. Will anyone believe that comment with your history of lies.

Democrats and a few key Republicans in the Senate have said that they will not support a Supreme Court nominee who does not view the Roe v. Wade decision as a settled issue.

Former Republican Presidential nominee, Rick Santorum, said that Trump “bowed to the elite in Washington” – the same people Trump said he would drain from the swamp.

A reminder that during the election of 2016, Trump had said that picks for any Supreme Court nominee would be a vote to end Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and thus punish women. According to a 2016 survey, nearly seventy percent of Americans believe abortion should remain legal in this country.

A federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department. The grand jury indictment, part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe, alleges intelligence officers of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) hacked into the computer networks of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and attempted to penetrate voting systems across the country.

The indictments could make things difficult for Trump as he meets Russian dictator Vladimir Poutine next week. He had previously said he didn’t want to offend the Russians but he claims he will ask Poutine flat out whether there was any hacking or other illegal activities. You expecting Poutine to say yes? And pigs will fly.

Of course, the chance of the 12 ever being prosecuted is very unlikely as the US has no extradition treaty with Russia. Trump, meanwhile, continues to be criticized for being reluctant to speak publicly about Russian interference into the campaign.

Trump expressed a remarkable opinion. Democrats “want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13,” he tweeted, referring to the international gang.

During their trip to Moscow recently, an all-Republican delegation of U.S. lawmakers met with at least two Russian sanctioned Russians. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama spoke with Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who has been sanctioned since 2014 for Russia’s “illegitimate and unlawful” activities in Ukraine. The group also heard from Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Konstantin Kosachev, who complained about the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals. Kosachev was sanctioned in April over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and other “malign activity.”

The Trump administration is preparing another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, ramping up the US-China trade war. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday released a list of thousands of additional goods that could face 10% tariffs after a public comment period. It includes fruit and vegetables, handbags, refrigerators, rain jackets and baseball gloves.

The move comes after the United States imposed 25% tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion. Beijing immediately responded with its own tariffs on US goods worth $34 billion.

A one-year-old child who was separated from his father at the southern US border appeared in immigration court. The child is one of several toddlers who have had to appear in court without their parents present. Meanwhile, five pregnant women in immigration detention said they were denied adequate medical care while they were obviously miscarrying. ICE and Customs and Border Protection guards were either unwilling or unable to respond to medical emergencies.

The goal of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s latest trip to Pyongyang was to negotiate the details of the nuclear agreement Trump signed along with Kim. North Korea criticized Pompeo’s “gangster-like” demands in negotiations and said the “attitude” of the US was “regrettable”, while Pompeo signaled “progress” in the talks between the two nations.

Trump confirmed that he plans to give a copy of the Elton John hit song “Rocket Man” to the dictator of North Korea. Wonder if it would be just the song [maybe illegally ripped?] or a legitimate copy of Honky Château [from where the song first originated].

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is working with foreign clients as he continues to advise President Donald Trump on the Russia investigation, which raises conflict of interest and federal ethics issues. Giuliani told The Washington Post in interviews that he maintains clients in Ukraine, Brazil and Colombia. [Is this guy an actual lawyer? Seems to know little about law.] Giuliani has not registered with the Department of Justice for his work, arguing that it’s not necessary because Trump isn’t paying him for his counsel and he does not directly lobby the US government. White House officials told the Post they cannot be sure of Giuliani’s claim that he never discusses his clients with Trump.

Trump tweeted “The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people!” And no comments from him about the supposedly other 900+ people involved.

A federal judge in California flatly rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to modify a decades-old settlement agreement that limits the length of time and conditions under which US officials may detain immigrant children.

Trump’s former personal driver of more than 20 years has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization alleging that he was forced to work “thousands of hours” of overtime without fair compensation. The driver, Noel Cintron, claims in the lawsuit that he worked an average of between 50 and 55 hours a week for Trump without fair compensation. He is asking for more than $200,000 in unpaid overtime wages over the past six years. Noel Cintron received two raises in 15 years, but had to give up his Trump Organization health insurance in order to get a $7,000 pay increase.

Trump tweeted “Public opinion has turned strongly against the Rigged Witch Hunt and the “Special” Counsel….” I’d like to see that poll Donnie!

According to a Washington Post poll, 65% of women said they disapproved of Trump’s job as president, while 32% said they approved. 54% of men say they approved of Trump, while only 45% said they disapproved.

Trump tweeted “The Rigged Witch Hunt, originally headed by FBI lover boy Peter S (for one year) & now, 13 Angry Democrats, should look into the missing DNC Server, Crooked Hillary’s illegally deleted Emails, the Pakistani Fraudster, Uranium One, Podesta & so much more. It’s a Democrat Con Job!” [I’m wondering if he writes on a calendar when he should make the same comments over and over again.]

The Hudson’s Bay store chain in Canada has stopped selling anything from Ivanka Trump’s products due to poor sales online and phase the merchandise out during the fall. The chain didn’t say if any of the boycotts were the reason. However Shoes.com, Zulily, and Nordstrom stopped selling her products.

The gamble Trump is taking

Trump is putting all of his eggs in one basket when he claimed that there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

This even though there was actually no detailed agreement on when North Korea’s nuclear bombs will be disposed of, inspections and/or verifications, monitoring, etc.

It is estimated that North Korea has between a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs.

North Korea has previously reneged on denuclearization deals with former US Presidents. So why would this be any different.

North Korea has previously created huge facilities under mountains to shield the US and others from detections. While North Korea has blown up the front of at least two of these facilities, this doesn’t stop them from reopening them or maybe even a hidden “back door”.

But for Trump to say that North Korea is not a threat could come back to haunt him and his presidency if the agreement falls through during the more detailed negotiations or if it is discovered that North Korea is hiding nuclear bombs.

Part of the deal [that we know of] calls for the stop of military war games with South Korea and the eventual removal of US forces from South Korea. The official North Korean TV channel even stated that all sanctions would be lifted [nothing mentioned by Trump or anyone in his administration on this but could be logical to do].

If North Korea does fault on the deal, and [heaven forbid] North Korea uses a bomb [or threatens to] or even invades South Korea, Trump would probably go down as the worse President in the US ever.

And maybe all this so that Trump can receive a Nobel peace Prize – something President Obama received. [Of course so those who decides who gets the prize look at the person overall such as Trump with Iran?]

 

From mayhem at the G6 plus 1 to a summit with many unanswers

….. What a week!

Republican and Democratic leaders aren’t quite celebrating Donald Trump’s historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, saying the initial agreement they struck won’t mean much unless the North completely denuclearizes. The agreement on the North Korean side seems more like a pledge. Trump agreed to stop military maneuvers with South Korea and remove the US military from there as well but no other details. The 28,500 personnel would return home and Trump claims this is to save money.

Seems nothing was done with North Korea’s human rights records where for the simplest crime, it can send you to as gulag for years. Or shot at a firing squad or even blown up [the former is what he did to his own uncle].

Is Trump doing this to show he did something that no US leader in the last 60+ years could do and/or to increase his chances of getting a Nobel Peace Prize. Seems his critics said he gave everything away and got nothing in return as North Korea has previously reneged on deals. The Trump-Kim agreement does not define what denuclearization would mean. Wonder, as well, if this is a way for the North Korea to invade as the South Koreans could be defenseless.

Trump called Un someone he can trust and talented… Sure. Even an invitation to invite Un to the White House.

At least one Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took a harsher stance at Trump’s “agreement” with Kim Jun Un: “While I know @potus is trying to butter him up to get a good deal, #KJU is NOT a talented guy,” Rubio tweeted. “He inherited the family business from his dad & grandfather. He is a total weirdo who would not be elected assistant dog catcher in any democracy.”

At the G7, Trump said that his relationships with other Western leaders are perfect [this prior to the end of the summit]. Fat chance on that. Implementing tariffs, leaving trade pacts, leaving security pacts. He also insisted that the Quebec summit had been “tremendously, tremendously successful” despite accusing other nations of using the United States as a “piggy bank.”

Trump rescinded his support for a closing communique he had endorsed only hours earlier. This is because Trump clearly took offence to comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who let Trump have it at his own news conference closing the event. Why was Trump upset with the comments made by Trudeau: “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”

Trump had left the summit early [and he showed up at the Saturday morning talks late], supposedly to get to Singapore early for him meeting with Kim Jun Un.  But he may have also left early because the last topics weren’t to his taste: environment and climate control.

It wasn’t just Trudeau who spoke after left. Trudeau’s comments were made before, during and after the summit – even to Trump in private meetings. Did this really upset Trump or maybe Trump felt he wasn’t the big winner at the summit [for his ego]. While Trudeau did it at a press conference, Trump’s remarks were on [of course] Twitter where no real reports can question him. Coward.

As for the communique, all seven leaders had agreed to what it said. To rescind it later for something another leaders said and not the contents of the communique is childish.
After saying that they are close to a deal in NAFTA, there are some hints that this spat could even halt or slow down the talks. Seriously?

Trump even said at one point that his relationship with the other leaders is “a 10”. This was before his Twitter comments and reneging on the communique.

Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Trump, said “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.” Great diplomacy there Peter.  Hilariously, Navarro said Trump “did the courtesy to Justin Trudeau to travel up to Quebec for that summit” and that Trump had “bigger things on his plate” than the G7 meeting. What leader has never attended a G7 summit? Navarro late did apologize.

Trump, in a tweet, asked why the US should allow countries to continue to make “massive trade surpluses,” asserting that it is “not fair to the people of America” and that the US is suffering under a “$800 billion trade deficit.” Whining again. Does he know economics? Would other countries’ leaders be whining about this subject? The US is a country that needs more resources than sales. In some cases, those resources are cheaper to bring in from elsewhere than manufacture domestically.

“Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense? We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!” Didn’t he say changes were coming last year?

Trump has whined about the tariffs protecting the Canadian industry when he forgets [or did he] that his government gives the US industry $22 billion in subsidies.

France and Germany have criticized Trump for threatening to pull the United States out of a joint statement with key G7 allies. This picture says it all.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made clear her disquiet with Trump’s policies, arguing that Germany may no longer be able to rely on its US ally. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “It’s actually not a real surprise. We have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal. In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters.”

Following the G7, Trump suggested that Russia be allowed back into the global group despite their continued occupation of Crimea. “I would say that the G8 is a more meaningful group than the G7, absolutely,” Trump said. “You’ll have to ask Obama, because he was the one that let Crimea get away” he said when asked about the annexation. “He allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude.”

This comments is sort of the equivalent of a mass murderer getting pardoned because it happened a couple of years ago and not on his “watch”. The other G7 counties [except Italy] plus the European Union do not want Russia to be back in the group as long as Crimea is in Russia’s hands.

The European Union backed a Group of Seven declaration that Trump abruptly left. European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas added that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thanked Trudeau “for the excellent preparation and chairing of this challenging summit.” British Prime Minister Theresa May also went out of her way to thank her Canadian counterpart “for his leadership and skilful [sic] chairing” of what she called “a difficult summit with at times some very candid discussions.”

Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron during their recent meeting in Washington that there are too many German cars in the United States. The source did not say that Trump explicitly said he wanted all German-made cars out of the US.

Trump declared he thinks the Russia probe is “very biased” and has reservations about being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, raising more questions on whether he will consent to an interview as part of the investigation. Not even a month ago he said he wanted to be interviewed. He [of course] didn’t say what changed his mind – if anything – but he changes his mind as often the stock market index changes.

Trump’s comments came a day after the Justice Department watchdog released a report critical of how former FBI Director James Comey handled the 2016 Hillary Clinton email probe. The report contained messages from FBI agents who spoke critically of Trump. Unsure how you equate FBI agents and a separate investigation by Mueller who isn’t even using FBI agents. The report didn’t find evidence that political bias influenced the investigation of Clinton’s email practices prior to the election.

Trump sought to further discredit the probe, saying the “problem with the Mueller investigation is everybody’s got massive conflicts.” And he doesn’t? He reiterated his longstanding contention there was no collusion between his campaign and Russians and the report exonerates him. He has said this before. The report isn’t really about him directly.

Trump tweeted “I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people” when asked about the US co-hosting the winning bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He sent signed letters [I’m sure written by someone else] to the FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Then he spoiled things by saying “Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?” to those nations that did vote for the Canada/Mexico/US bid.

There is talk of a bipartisan bill where announcements of tariffs would be removed from a president’s hands and to Congress.

Woops. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is in trouble again. It seems and aide and donors used their pull to find a job for Pruitt’s wife. When will he lose his?

Trump, it seems, broke a[nother] law. White House aides realized earlier on that they could not stop Trump from tearing up papers he must preserve to stay in line with the Presidential Records Act. So to avoid clashing with the law, some staffers have taped his pieces back together like a jigsaw puzzle. The Presidential Records Act requires presidential records be preserved and transferred to the National Archives. [The same act says tweets can’t be deleted.]

Trump hit back at Robert De Niro, calling him a “very low IQ individual,” after the Oscar-winning actor’s expletive-laden attack on the American president on live television for the Tony Awards. The network has a delay – so most Americans didn’t hear what Bobby said. Trump said he had watched the clip “and (I) truly believe he may be punch drunk.” I would guess prior to this De Niro is/was one of Trump’s favorite actors.

Fox News criticized former President Obama for his willingness to “talk to dictators.” Now, conservative media praises Trump’s work with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Trump administration is creating an office within the agency that grants US citizenship to root out fraudsters and have their citizenship taken away. The targets are people who have already been rejected from the US, but who create a new identity to gain citizenship afterward. A 2016 Homeland Security Department Inspector General report found that at least 858 people had been given US citizenship despite having been deported under a different identity, because their fingerprints had not been in the system.

Congressional Republicans distanced themselves from the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border, even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its “zero tolerance” approach to illegal border crossings. “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” said White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders.

When a reporter asked about her “very biblical” remark, Sanders suggested he was taking her words out of context, adding: “I know it’s hard for you to understand, even short sentences, I guess.” She sounds like her boss.

Trump accuses the Democrats of causing the problem with the separated children but he refuses to sign any bills that would fix the problem since he entered office. There are at least 2000 children separated from their parents in a period of 7 weeks. Yet the policy of separating children began this April.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will await his trial for foreign lobbying charges from jail. Two weeks after Robert Mueller’s prosecutors dropped new accusations of witness tampering on him, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail, which allowed him out on house arrest. Trump tweeted after ” Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob.” Yes. Trump is a mob boss.

Last week, Mueller’s team alleged they found evidence Manafort had tried to tell possible witnesses in his case to lie about their lobbying efforts under him in the US. The witness tampering allegations, which also resulted in new criminal charges, were enough for him to lose his house arrest privileges.

China accused the United States of firing the first shot when the White House said that it would impose tariffs of 25% on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. The Chinese government said it would respond in kind to the US tariffs, which will apply to roughly 1,100 exports and will target China’s aerospace, robotics, manufacturing and auto industries.

Beijing will impose tariffs on 545 US items worth $34 billion [same amount as the first wave of American tariffs] starting on July 6. Tariffs on the remaining 114 items will start later.

Trump endorsed GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart, a candidate who the National Republican Senate Committee is refusing to endorse for his extreme views.

With this busy week, looks like I will add another posting early next week!

 

 

Trump at the G6 + 1 plus other mayhem

So the big G7 summit is on in a town north of Quebec City [in Canada] and already there are problems at the G7. No not protester but a protester. Donald Trump has decided not to attend most of the Saturday sessions because he engaged in a bitter back-and-forth with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Twitter.

Trump was questioning why he would attend a G7 meeting where he’s outnumbered on key issues like trade and climate change. Some had already nicknamed it “G6 + One” [He’s the “One”] This is in reference to the days where Russia was invited but not quite a full member.

Coincidently, he is skipping sessions on climate change and the environment. He doesn’t believe in them – so no real loss there. An aide will take his place – which means some nobody.

Supposedly Trump said he needs the extra time to prepare for his North Korean meeting. But just days before he said he didn’t. As well, why would you agree to a meeting so close to the G7 summit?

Anyone surprised that Trump showed up at the G7 Summit later than expected?
Just prior to the beginning of the summit, Trump used the social media platform to accuse Canada of charging US customers with astronomical tariffs on dairy products.

“Tey didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!,” Trump whined like a little girl on Twitter. [Apologies to the little girls out there.] A few hours later, he added, “Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!”

He also accused that his host, Trudeau, is being “indignant.” Trudeau fought back saying “I’ve been firm, I’ve been clear, but I don’t think descending into insults is right for the way Canada engages with the world.”

Republican Sen. John McCain and former Vice President Joe Biden both blasted President Trump’s suggestion that Russia should be re-admitted to the G7. Russia’s membership suspended in 2014 after a majority of countries allied against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which Russia continues to hold.

Trump asserted an “absolute right” to pardon himself of any federal crimes but said he has no reason to do so because he has not engaged in any wrongdoing. “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Trump wrote on Twitter. He did not name any numerous legal scholars. Legal scholars differ on the issue of whether a president can pardon himself.

“He probably does,” said Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani if Trump has the ability to pardon himself. ‘He has no intention of pardoning himself, but he probably – not to say he can’t.” That’s not a definite answer.

Unsure if Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani ever really went to law school [or maybe he’s just losing it]. Giuliani said in an interview that Trump’s presidential power extends so far that “in no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted. … I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.” Giuliani also said that hypothetically Trump could have shot the former FBI director James Comey to end the Russia investigation and not face prosecution for it while in office.

Giuliani also said that President Trump “probably” has the power to pardon himself, but has no intention of doing so. Already experts are saying that is probably something that can’t be done. Some are claiming as chief law enforcement officer [is that even valid?] he has the right to do it.

As well, Trump should face no legal liability for his actions including the firing of Comey even though it would be an obstruction of justice.

Former President Richard Nixon took steps to examine the question during the Watergate scandal only to see his own Justice Department advise him that he could not do so on the grounds that “no one may be a judge in his own case.” So is Trump any different?

Giuliani might have inadvertently tipped his hand when he said that Trump should not testify before special counsel Robert Mueller because “our recollection keeps changing.”
In 2000, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo concluding that the job of the President is so important that he has effective immunity from being indicted and criminally prosecuted while in office. The Supreme Court, however, has not definitively resolved the question.

Giuliani’s comments came less than 24 hours after the revelation that the president’s legal team argued in a confidential January memo to Mueller that Trump could not have obstructed an FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election because, as president, he has total control over all federal investigations.

Sen. Ted Cruz was speechless for 18 seconds before sidestepping a question from a reporter about whether Trump can pardon himself.

Giuliani denied that the disclosure by Trump’s attorneys that Trump dictated a crucial statement on the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting — a reversal from past denials — constituted a lie, instead claiming it was a routine mistake.

Giuliani said that Mueller’s team includes “13 highly partisan Democrats … (who) are trying very very hard to frame him to get him in trouble when he hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office has accused Paul Manafort of attempting to shape potential witnesses’ testimony and has asked to send him to jail as he awaits his trial, according to a filing in DC District Court. Prosecutors accused Manafort and one of his associates of repeatedly contacting two witnesses in an attempt to get them to lie about the nature of work he directed on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

Manafort is currently out on house arrest and a $10 million unsecured bail, and is awaiting a trial in Virginia scheduled for late July and a trial in DC scheduled to begin in September.

Trump tweeted “As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of ‘Justice’ have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign?” Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg responded by tweeting “Donald, Nice selective memory. … You hired Paul because you were losing the delegate fight during the primary. If you stuck with Lewandowski, you wouldn’t have been the nominee. You’re lucky Paul worked for you.”

Prosecutors have filed a new indictment against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort that also names as a defendant Konstantin Kilimnik, a close business colleague of Manafort’s who prosecutors have said has close ties to Russian intelligence.

Giuliani says Trump’s decision to initially cancel a summit brought North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to “his hands and knees” to beg to reschedule the meeting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is breaking with Trump, agreeing with others who say there’s no evidence that the FBI planted a “spy” in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in an effort to hurt his chances at the polls. Both Ryan and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy attended a classified briefing last month following reports that the FBI used an informant in its Russian election meddling investigation to speak to members of the Trump campaign who had possible connections to Russia. Gowdy said afterward that the FBI was doing its duty.

Trump and Trudeau had a testy phone call on May 25 over new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports coming from Canada, including one moment during the conversation in which Trump made an erroneous historical reference.

Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a “national security” issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812 [the White House was burned down in 2014]. The problem with Trump’s comments to Trudeau is that British troops burned down the White House during the War of 1812.

Trump has hinted at bilateral talks between the US and Canada and the US and Mexico instead of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But both Mexico and Canada want the trilateral agreement. Canadian officials confirm that months ago Trump personally assured Trudeau that Canada would likely be exempt from steel and aluminum tariffs. So another lie by Trump.

Trudeau has publicly denounced the “national security” justification for the new tariffs. “The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is, quite frankly, insulting and unacceptable,” said Trudeau.

Trump has repeatedly said he would never and should never have hired attorney general Jeff Sessions, called him “beleaguered,” “very weak” and “disgraceful,” and reportedly refers to the former Alabama senator as “Mr. Magoo”. At a FEMA briefing in which Trump and a number of his Cabinet officials were seated around a table, Trump when on and on praising each cabinet member on their job performance except Sessions who he said “Thank you, Jeff. Thank you very much.”

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt had a top aide seek a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel [unsure if actually received or paid] and perform other personal chores for him, including house-hunting and booking personal travel to a football game [supposedly paid $130 for a ticket where organization pay millions].

Federal ethics rule prohibit supervisors from directing their subordinates to carry out personal errands. Since arriving at EPA last year, the aide’s government salary jumped from $48,000 to $114,590. The aide has since resigned her position.

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit has been canceled due to the controversy over standing for the National Anthem at NFL games, Trump announce. Many players from the team were not planning on attending the ceremony as a protest of Trump, his policies and his outspoken criticism of players who chose to kneel during the anthem. In response to Trump’s announcement, former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith called the move “a cowardly act.”

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a statement. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

“If it wasn’t a political stunt, they wouldn’t have planned to attend the event and backed out at the last minute,” White House press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. White House blames “political stunt by the Eagles franchise”. Errr. No. Trump canceled the visit.

Fox News apologized after receiving a torrent of criticism over the network’s use of photos of various players for the Philadelphia Eagles kneeling in prayer, creating the misleading impression that they were demonstrating during the national anthem. The photos ran during a segment on the previous night, after Trump announced that he had uninvited the reigning Super Bowl champions from a traditional visit to the White House.

Trump said he wants to meet with NFL players and other athletes who kneel during the National Anthem so they can recommend people they think should be pardoned due to unfair treatment by the justice system.

Trump said he won’t be asking basketball stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry or their respective teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, to the White House after the NBA Finals. James, who has called Trump a “bum” in the past, said “no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite,” which Curry agreed with.

“I didn’t invite Lebron [sic] James and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team, but we have other teams that are coming,” Trump said. The conference final losers? The NHL’s Washington Capitals are invited [for now] even though some players have hinted they may not go. Unlike the NFL and NBA, many of the players in the NHL [including the Capitols] have a big chunk of their rosters filled with Canadians and Europeans.

Trump used Twitter this week to mark his 500th day in office. In an earlier tweet, he said he had “accomplished a lot – many believe more than any President in his first 500 days.” The president ticked off a series of accomplishments, including “Best Economy & Jobs EVER.” Who are the many?

After Trump pardoned Alice Johnson, who probably shouldn’t of received the sentence she got [Trump did something right!] and there are talks of further pardons. The wife of Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying about his Russian contacts, asked Trump to grant him a pardon. Right after maybe the family of Jesse James?

Trump seems to be on a pardon roll. He wants to pardon Muhammad Ali even though the athlete’s attorney said that is “unnecessary” because the Supreme Court overturned his previous conviction.

Trump suggested that a main reason the US Coast Guard was so busy rescuing people during Hurricane Harvey was that people were watching the storm on boats. The Coast Guard “saved 16,000 people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is,” in a comment he said at FEMA. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters he had “no information one way or another about” the President’s claim. One report says nearly 12,000 but that is with all agencies involved.

Trump is congratulating Republican John Cox for his second-place finish in California’s primary for governor, saying the “Trump impact was really big” and predicting a possible “big Red Wave” of Republican wins. He’s joking. Right? Cox still faces long odds in a state where Democrats are increasingly dominant.

The US Air Force has canceled a $24 million [yes, that much] contract for new refrigerators for Trump’s presidential jet. It was a sole-source contract. The Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.6 million contract to replace two of the five “cold chiller units” aboard the aircraft used by Trump.

Quietly, Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who made a imprudent comment about Republican Sen. John McCain’s health, was let go nearly a month after making the insensitive remark. Typical Trump administration tactics.

After Melania Trump finally showed up in public after taking about 3 weeks off for a kidney operation and recuperation, Trump tweeted that during his wife’s recovery, “they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse.” Of course, this is probably unlikely to be true. I heard nothing about these comments. Did you? [If Sanders did her actual job, she would of announced that Melania went in for an operation and what kind instead of all the suggestions of where she was.]

Giuliani told an audience that he does not think first lady Melania Trump believes that Trump had an affair with Stormy Daniels. He doesn’t think. As well “… a woman who sells her body for sexual exploitation I don’t respect,” Giuliani said. “Tell me what damage she suffered. Someone who sells his or her body for money has no good name.”

“Mr. Giuliani is an absolute pig for making those comments, he’s basically stating that women that engage in the adult film industry and other forms of pornography don’t have reputations and are not entitled to respect,” replied Daniel’s lawyer Michael Avenatti. Avenatti wants Giuliani fired for his comments.

Colin Kaepernick’s legal team is expected to seek subpoenas for Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other campaign officials relating to the quarterback’s collusion case against the NFL. The new move intends to explore NFL owners’ ties with Trump adding that several owners, as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, have already been deposed in the case.

With all the talk from Trump on saving or creating jobs in the US, his administration backtracked on ZTE from China [after a $1 billion fine plus some changes] which saves Chinese jobs and maybe a few in the US.

Unbelievably busy week in Trumpland

Donald Trump, continuing to be the Liar in chief, answering questions from reporters following the announcement that the summit in Singapore is back on [for now] on June 12th, initially said he read the contents of an envelope given to him by an envoy of Kim Jun Un. Minutes later he said he didn’t and said he would if someone paid him [unsure if joking].

Trump alleged – without providing any evidence – that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will meddle in the midterm elections to benefit Democrats. Trump’s claim is his latest attack on the credibility of the Russia investigation as being politically motivated, though it’s a significant new step in his attacks on what is intended to be an independent probe working to get to the bottom of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Mueller intends on releasing his findings by September 1st.

“The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls,” Trump tweeted. Trump ignoring the fact that Mueller is one of quite a few Republicans on his team.

Trump questioned why the FBI never warned his campaign that Russians might try to infiltrate his team. “Why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or ‘Justice’ contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?” Except he was briefed on the matter in August 2016. In October 2017, senior Justice Department officials gave lawmakers from both parties a readout on the 2016 briefing after Republicans demanded to see documents about the Russia investigation and related matters.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said he is now “more convinced” that the FBI acted appropriately in its handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections to Donald Trump’s campaign even as Trump continues to attack the department and the bureau over the handling of the Russia investigation.

At a recent rally, Trump said, “So how do you like the fact the fact they had people infiltrating our campaign? Can you imagine?” US officials have disputed this characterization, saying a confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the campaign.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has turned over a memo he drafted related to the firing of his former boss, FBI Director James Comey, to the special counsel’s office. The document details McCabe’s impressions of a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein where the subject of Comey’s firing came up after he had been dismissed. Rosenstein ultimately authored a controversial memo outlining the ways Comey had flouted Justice Department protocols leading up to the 2016 election but did not mention the Russia probe.

Trump is reacting to a report on Mueller’s spending, slightly overstating the figure for the Russia probe by tweeting “AP has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast.” The Justice Department says a large portion of the costs, about $9 million, would have been spent regardless of the special counsel’s appointment. It’s also a drop in the bucket compared to other government spending such as the Secret Service protecting his wife and kid in New York while he was in Washington.

Trump’s legal team would advise that he refuse to submit to an interview with Mueller unless the team can review classified information shared with select lawmakers about the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, defended the President’s political attacks against Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign, suggesting that the origins of the probe are illegitimate. “You get the Comey thing, which is the leak of a confidential memo, which is illegal for an FBI official to do. I’m not saying Mueller is illegitimate. I’m saying the basis on which he was appointed was illegitimate,” Giuliani remarked.

Rather than distancing himself from Rosanne Barr’s racist remarks, Trump jumped right into the argument about whether she was subjected to a double standard. “Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”

Wonder what if anything that ABC has done to Trump was so “HORRIBLE”. Probably nothing of course. Trump is implying that he is the victim of a liberal media double standard. So instead of really defending his friend Barr, he’s tried to defend himself. Barr frequently uses her Twitter account to deride Democrats. Now he is asking for an apology for all the comments made by various networks? Get real.

On the announcement of the series cancellation, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said “That’s not what he’s spending his time on. And I think that we have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now, certainly that the President is spending his time when it comes to policy.” So I guess this is very important for Trump and the country.

Think about it. Did a [real] President prior to him in office ever ask for an apology that someone made about a President? It goes to the known fact that Trump likes to be at the center of attention [hijacking the Barr story] and doesn’t take criticism. Maybe he should apologize for his vulgar remarks that he has said to individuals and minorities.

Trump specifically complained about an erroneous report last year by an ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross. Ross was suspended and told he could not report on Trump. ABC did apologize. So again, Trump doesn’t remember things or is a liar [or both].

Donald Trump Jr, taking a piece of his old man’s playbook re-tweeted Barr’s tweet which said that billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish, was a Nazi sympathizer. Doesn’t Junior know Soros is Jewish? As well he retweeted Barr’s comments that falsely claim that Chelsea Clinton is married to Soros’ nephew. Soros has also been accused of wanting to take over the US government. Why aimed at Soros? He is a mega Democratic donor.

Laughingly, Trump Jr’s “advisor” said that “One Retweet certainly doesn’t mean Don endorses every single thing someone believes…” If he retweets it, it sounds like endorsing to me. He has previously retweeted that a shooting survivor was coached by his FBI father to make comments against Trump Sr. Trump Sr. liked the tweet. He also tweeted positively about Mike Cernovitch, where Cernovitch claimed the Clintons were behind a child sex ring. Trump Jr. has also previously made Holocaust jokes.

Not surprising, Trumps Memorial day tweet results in the media and politicians upset at what he said. “Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!”

“Happy Memorial Day”? It is a day to remember those who sacrificed their life for their country. Then he decides that those who did die would be happy knowing the economy is supposedly doing great [meanwhile how many jobs lost and how many bankruptcies – something he’s an expert at] and then aim at minorities. Then finally mentions rebuilding the military and “nice”. Nice?

Compare Trump’s tweet with South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s tweet: “On #MemorialDay we honor the American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our values and protecting our freedoms. We owe them a debt of gratitude we can never repay.” Which one is more appropriate?

Republicans on Capitol Hill were fuming after the White House abruptly announced it would begin imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on US allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Trump decided to impose the tariffs, 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports. The Trump administration announced an investigation into whether automobile imports are hurting US national security as well. Everything with national security. The US military purchase steel from Canada because of the high quality of material.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union have announced retaliatory tariffs. Some of those are aimed at specific markets in the US where top GOP leaders are from – for example Bourbon in Kentucky where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is from or Harley Davidson motorcycles since Paul Ryan is from Michigan.

So now Trump’s arrogance and lack of knowledge in the economy will result in Americans seeing increase in everything from vehicles to beer [aluminum cans]. Let alone Canada, Mexico and the EU.

The Trump administration would proceed with its proposal to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods from China, and place new limits on Chinese investments in US high-tech industries.

Trump is imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from three of America’s biggest trading partners – Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The trade penalties, 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum, took effect already.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner lamented that “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party”. Expect a thank you tweet from Trump soon.

Nearly every president in modern history has lost congressional seats during their first midterm election, a fact that Trump has told advisers he doesn’t believe necessarily applies to him. Of note, Trump filed his re-election papers at the time of his inauguration, more than two years earlier than his two recent predecessors. A trait of a narcissist.

In a Playboy interview in 1990, Trump said “The show is Trump, and it is sold-out performances everywhere.” Hmmmm.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told a journalist, “I will take you for every penny you still don’t have,” in 2015 after the reporter wrote a story about Trump and his first wife, Ivana Trump. Trump’s first wife recalls a “violent assault” and alleged she was raped by Trump. She later took back what she said. Cohen defended his former client in a telephone call claiming that “you can’t rape your spouse”. Oh ya? He’s a lawyer? Spousal rape has been illegal in New York City, where the couple lived, since 1984. Ivana Trump’s account is from 1989.

Trump said he regretted choosing Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a continuation of his frustrations over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who continues to cause problems, defended his “konnichiwa” response to a Japanese-American congresswoman by suggesting it was an “appropriate salute” given he has “friends that were Japanese families” who lived through the US internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. He saw her ethnicity, not her position.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will name the son of his close friend and business associate as deputy chief of staff.

Trump endorsed a congressman facing a tough primary battle, but in doing so he misstated the New York Republican’s record on taxes. Trump tweeted said U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan is “strong on Borders,” “loves our Military” and “voted for Tax Cuts.” Yet Donovan was one of only a few Republicans who voted against the Trump-backed tax law that passed last year. This is probably the standard script that Trump uses any endorsement. Just change the name.

A close aide to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt last year ordered a set of 12 fountain pens that cost the Environmental Protection Agency $1,560, according to agency documents. Each $130 silver pen bore the agency’s seal and Administrator Pruitt’s signature.

Trump is still boasting his win 19 months ago by saying the only way former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton filled arenas was by having Jay-Z perform during campaign rallies and even then he said “I drew in bigger crowds than Jay-Z”. Seriously. What an ego.

Trump falsely accused the New York Times of using an unnamed source “who doesn’t exist” in a story on negotiations between the United States and North Korea, but the official cited spoke to reporters three days earlier in a briefing arranged by the White House.

Trump has warned Congress that he will never sign another foot-tall, $1 trillion-plus government-wide spending bill like the one he did in March.

Ivanka Trump’s fashion and homewares business received initial approval from the Chinese government for five trademark applications days before her father announced a U-turn in policy on ZTE, a Chinese telecoms firm that has admitted breaking US sanctions on Iran and North Korea. The five approvals, for applications made in 2017, came through on 7 May. Trump made the announcement on the 13th.

Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, the controversial conservative author. He also floats the idea of also pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich [considered one of the most corrupt governors ever].

Trump reported on his financial disclosure, filed with the US Office of Government Ethics and released Wednesday, that his golf-related revenue made him about $67 million less in 2017 in comparison with 2016. Trump carries as much as $1.25 billion in mortgages that will mature in the next five to seven years for three of his golf courses.

An Obama administration critic convicted of campaign finance fraud says Trump called him at his office to tell him he was pardoned because he had been “screwed.” Dinesh D’Souza told “Fox & Friends” on Friday that Trump told him he was a “great voice for freedom” and that the case against him was “fishy” from the start. D’Souza pleaded guilty to violating federal election law by making illegal contributions to a US Senate campaign in the names of others. If he pleaded guilty, sounds like he’s guilty.

Step by methodical step, the Trump administration is remaking government policy on reproductive health — moving to limit access to birth control and abortion and bolstering abstinence-only sex education. But women’s-rights activists and some medical experts view the multi-pronged changes as a dangerous ideological shift that could increase unintended pregnancies and abortions.

Regulators have sent the White House a proposal seeking to scale back Obama-era rules to combat climate change through tougher fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration delivered the proposals to the Office of Management and Budget for review, one of the required steps before a federal rule is adopted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s “premature” to tout Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in pursuing a peace deal with North Korea. McConnell chuckled as he mentioned the “chagrin” it would cause the Nobel committee to award Trump the world’s most coveted diplomatic prize. [I am wondering if Trump would try to get the award at all costs – even to cave in on some of North Korea’s demands just so he can match President Obama.]

A man who opened fire at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami had been yelling “anti-Trump … rhetoric” there. The gunman is in stable condition after police shot him in an exchange of gunfire.

 

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 and Kim Jun Un to meet, or will they

North Korea, it seems, is looking to do some negotiations for possible peace talks. When Donald Trump was asked who should take credit for the change of heart by North Korea, Trump said “Me”. Wow. No American president has ever met with a North Korea leader.

Trump immediately approved of a meeting by May with Kim Jun Un even before most of his cabinet knew. For example, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson didn’t know. He also agreed even before there were any plans for the meeting. All we know is that there will be no missile testing [but nothing about research] at least until the meeting and the North Koreans aren’t expecting any sanctions to be lifted.

No matter what is the outcome of this expected meeting [after all, you got two men with huge egos and histories of scrapping plans], Kim Jun Un will be the real winner as it will put him on the world stage diplomatically. Unlikely but if the meeting is held on US or North Korean soil, it will be a bigger win for Kim Jun Un.

Trump accused the Obama administration of using the investigation into potential ties between his campaign and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. He tweeted “Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November?” It’s unclear exactly what pre-election investigation Trump was referring to.

The surveillance of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign associate Carter Page was approved by the secret court that oversees domestic surveillance of American citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In Page’s case, the FBI and Justice Department presented enough evidence to the court to convince Republican-appointed judges to continue the surveillance into mid-2017.

Trump also tweeted “Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling”. Except Obama applied new economic sanctions on the Russian government, ordered the State Department to shut down Russian compounds in Maryland and New York, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats that he described as “intelligence operatives.”

Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg said he refuses to comply with a grand jury subpoena in the Russia investigation. “Screw that. Why do I have to go? Why? For what?” He blamed the investigation’s existence on Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director including an interview where Trump said he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Comey and the fact that he held a meeting with top Russian officials in the Oval Office. “Donald Trump caused this because he’s an idiot.”

Nunberg said that he would not appear before a grand jury or spend time reviewing his communications in order to comply with the subpoena. “No I’m not protecting him, but he didn’t do anything,” Nunberg said. “You know what he did? He won the election.” The Trump campaign fired Nunberg in August 2015 after a series of racist Facebook posts came to light.

A Middle East specialist named George Nader with ties to Donald Trump’s team attended secret meetings during the presidential transition between the United Arab Emirates and Trump associates, and is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. Nader is a low-profile diplomatic go-between who has forged close ties to the Emirates, was stopped and questioned by the FBI at Dulles International Airport in January.

The Trump team says it views jobs in the steel industry as an economic-security issue, and therefore a national-security issue. Trump has excluded Canada and Mexico for steel and aluminum tariffs for now while the NAFTA talks continue. Previously he said that if Trump didn’t get his say during those talks, he would impose tariffs on them. But NAFTA is unrelated to national security, and excluding Canada and Mexico for that reason could prompt legal challenges at the World Trade Organization.

Trump has lobbed a grenade of uncertainty onto the NAFTA negotiating table, suggesting that tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel are now dependent on whether the countries agree to a new trade pact. He will implement the tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, a little-known trade law from 1962. To do that, Trump must claim that steel and aluminum imports hurt the country’s national security.

Trump escalated threats of a trade war, saying he would slap a new tax on European cars if the EU retaliated against his proposed steel and aluminum tariffs. “We will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he tweeted. I’m sure they don’t come into the US without any type of tax. If imposed, they would target, as retaliation, tariffs on the main industries for key [mostly] Republican Congressmen and Senators. Trump has declared that trade wars are “easy to win”.

A February 22 SEC filing shows Carl Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in the Manitowoc Company a week before Trump’s announcement, which is a leading global manufacturer of cranes for heavy construction based in Manitowoc, Wis., according to the company’s website. Since Trump’s announcement, Manitowoc’s stock has plummeted to about $26. Icahn had sold his shares for about $32 to $34 each, according to the SEC disclosure. Icahn is a major Trump supporter. Coincidence?

Trump actually claimed [as a great economist] that trade wars are actually a good thing. In a news conference, Trump promised his proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum will be applied in a “very loving way.” Whatever that “loving” means. Maybe he said he may exempt some other countries while some may see increases or decreases in percentages.

General Motors and Ford could each take a US$1 billion profit hit if the tariffs are put in place, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs and layoffs could be in cards as companies adjust to changing prices as much as 45,000 jobs.

Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn is resigning. Cohn, who had been rumored just weeks ago as a potential next chief of staff, will leave the White House in the wake of his fierce disagreement with Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

A new lawsuit filed by the porn star known as Stormy Daniels claims Trump never signed a hush agreement regarding an alleged sexual encounter between the two and therefore the agreement is void. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, signed the document on behalf of the President instead. She claims in the lawsuit to have had an affair with Trump several years prior to his presidency. The lawsuit says Cohen has continued his attempts at silencing Clifford — including as recently as February 27, 2018. Cohen also used a Trump Organization Email account when negotiating the payoff.

Trump is upset with White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders over her responses regarding his alleged affair with porn star Daniels. Sanders told reporters that the arbitration was won “in the President’s favor.” In fact it is a temporary restraining order last week to prevent a pornographic film star from speaking out about her alleged affair with Trump. The statement is an admission that the nondisclosure agreement exists and that it directly involves the President. It is the first time the White House has admitted Trump was involved in any way with Daniels.

Lawrence S. Rosen, a lawyer representing Trump’s legal counsel Michael Cohen, said in a statement that an arbitrator, who “found that Ms. Clifford had violated the agreement,” barred her from filing her lawsuit and making other disclosures of confidential information. Daniel’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said that he did not consider the restraining order, dated Feb. 27, valid because it was brought on behalf of Cohen not Trump.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 of his own money using his home equity line, which he admitted to in February. Cohen and Sanders has said Trump “vehemently denies” any sexual encounter between the two. Then why pay her that amount?

When adult film star Jessica Drake accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct a month before the presidential election, Trump said through a spokesperson that he didn’t know the woman and had “no interest in ever knowing her.” Less than a week later, a woman named Angel Ryan was listed in a secret settlement agreement negotiated by Cohen. They are the same person – confirmed by Ryan’s lawyer.

The US Office of Special Counsel announced that White House aide Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act on two occasions by “advocating for and against candidates” in last year’s Alabama Senate special election. The agency said Conway “impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election.” The agency sends its results to Trump for “punishment”. Good luck there!

Plans by the Trump administration to rescind an Obama-era rule that allows spouses of thousands of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States has been delayed until June, according to a court filing from the Department of Homeland Security.

Several tech companies – including Etsy, Kickstarter, Foursquare and Shutterstock – filed a petition challenging the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of net neutrality protections. Many states are also taking the FCC to court over the issue.

A ProPublica report claims that the Trump Organization placed an order for golf tee markers displaying the presidential seal, which may be a violation of federal law.

Trump tweeted: “Lowest rated Oscars in HISTORY. Problem is, we don’t have Stars anymore – except your President (just kidding, of course)!” He was actually right regarding the ratings. I won’t comment on his other comment. Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel responded with his own tweet “Thanks, lowest rated President in HISTORY.”

A day before the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House, Jared Kushner, who was the lead negotiator for the US paid him a visit. Remember that Kushner has lost some of his security clearance access.

he administration has hinted they are close to revealing a plan. Problem is that the Palestinian negotiators have refused to meet with the US following Trump’s announcement that the US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but that hasn’t stopped the US from moving forward with the plan.

Diamonds from first daughter Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line were allegedly used in a massive money-laundering and fraud scheme. The Commercial Bank of Dubai in late June sought and later got permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, claiming its diamonds were vehicles in a scheme to hide about $100 million owed to the financial institution. This was based on filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York made over the summer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently consolidated power. Trump told a luncheon for Republican donors: “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great.” Trump added, “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”

Trump had a meeting with the top executive is the video game industry in the unproven thought that violent video game users could be a contributing factor for mass shootings in the US. Of course, Trump has suggested rating both games and movies for violence. Such ratings already exist.

The Trump administration has quietly decided once again to allow Americans to import the body parts of African elephants shot for sport, despite presidential tweets decrying the practice as a “horror show.” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a letter dated March 1 announcing that the importation of elephant trophies will now be approved on a “case-by-case basis.” Trump’s two adult sons are trophy hunters.

After nearly a year of threats, the Trump administration made its most aggressive move to date against a familiar target of its ire: California and its immigration policies. The Department of Justice filed a federal lawsuit against the state and its top officials to stop a cluster of so-called “sanctuary state” bills — a move that puts the administration on offense but is nonetheless likely to generate heated litigation over the boundaries of immigration authority.

It wasn’t a good week or so for the Trump administration last week:

  • Joseph Yun, a top U.S. diplomat overseeing North Korea policy, announced his retirement.
  • Elaine Duke, the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, announced her retirement.
    Sally Donnelly, a prominent adviser to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, is resigning.
  • Reed Cordish, a senior aide to Jared Kushner, announced his departure from the White House.
  • George David Banks, a special assistant to Trump for international energy and environmental policy on the National Economic Council, resigned because of reported difficulties with his security clearance.

The National Rifle Association is suing the state of Florida after Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 7026 into law, the first gun control legislation enacted in the state after the Parkland school massacre on February 14. The NRA says it goes against the Second Amendment.

The new Florida law raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 from 18, bans the sale or possession of bump fire stocks, gives law enforcement greater power to seize weapons and ammunition from those deemed mentally unfit, and provides additional funding for armed school resource officers.

Trump reached a presidential milestone at his Palm Beach County, Florida, golf club recently with one hundred days in office at a golf club that bears his name. So roughly a quarter of his term has been spent at that specific golf course [true, he probably did SOME work that he was voted in to do on most of those days]. The same man who said in 2014 “Can you believe that, with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf” and during the 2016 campaign he said “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”

Since Trump entered office the number of GOP leaning independent voters have dropped at least 6% but those went to the “undecided” as the Democrats barely picked up anything.

People easily disgusted by body odors seem to prefer authoritarian leaders and were likelier to support Donald Trump, an unusual study into the origins of ideology. The seemingly obscure link, it said, may be rooted in a deep-seated instinct to avoid disease — whether in individuals whose smell suggests they are germ-carriers, or “unfamiliar” people such as immigrants or minorities.

A 2015 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence pegged the total at 2,885,570 people for confidential and secret clearances and 1,363,483 for top secret clearances.

The 2018 Presidents and Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey and found Abe Lincoln the best president ever and Trump dead last. In fact, the first 7 presidents in the survey didn’t change from the same order when the survey was done 4 years ago. In order, the best 7 were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

Trump even ranked 40 out of 44 presidents when looking at Republicans and conservatives voters. Bill Clinton, who fell to 13th best after being ranked eighth in 2014. Obama came in eighth, up 10 spots from 18th in 2014. George W. Bush moved up five spots, from 35th to 30th. Reagan also moved into the top 10, ranking ninth. In 2014, he was at 11.

In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, sixty-two percent of respondents said Trump is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings and 77% say Congress is doing an inadequate job on the issue. 57% said mass shootings in the United States were more of a reflection of problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems, while 28% blamed “inadequate gun laws.” Nine percent blamed both equally. Some 58% of those polled said stricter gun control laws would have prevented the Florida shooting.