Trump signs first [of many] vetoes

In another busy week [is there ever a quiet week?], Donald Trump vetoed legislation attempting to strike down his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. It will be the first time in his two years in office that Trump has used his presidential veto power to block legislation. Not surprising this is the first time. His administration has had a problem passing anything even when the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.

It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump’s veto, though House Democrats will try nonetheless on March 26.

So far, at least seven lawsuits have been filed challenging the declaration. The argument at the core of each lawsuit is similar: Trump exceeded his authority and circumvented Congress in an attempt to achieve his signature campaign promise for an emergency that, plaintiffs argue, doesn’t exist.

Trump tweeted shortly after the Senate passed the resolution condemning his unilateral action. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!” Ummm. A dozen Republicans voted against him. Not a good sign.

Trump and White House aides making clear to Republican senators that a vote against Trump on this issue would have ramifications come re-election time. Still, a White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators who opposed him want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. More thuggery. Trump said he had sympathy for the Republicans who voted against him and emphasized that he never truly twisted the arms of lawmakers, because he knew there were not enough votes to override the veto.

The Senate delivered a high-profile rebuke to Trump over his signature agenda issue when 12 Republicans joined Democrats to overturn Trump’s national emergency border declaration. The vote was 59-41, an overwhelming vote against the Trump’s executive action. However it isn’t enough to block Trump’s veto which he will do.

Trump had hoped the number of “yes” votes will stay below 60, aides say, a symbolic margin that he believes would save some embarrassment, though still require him to use his veto pen. But he reversed when asked if he would support a proposal to limit future national emergency declarations to 30 days which he could agree to – just not this national emergency. A number of prominent GOP lawmakers are against the emergency including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins.

“Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress,” Trump wrote. I wouldn’t mind knowing which prominent legal scholars he is referring to. And “authorized”? The House hasn’t and it looks like the Senate won’t.

[If this is such a national emergency, why didn’t he pushed for this national emergency when he was elected? What has changed? Nothing. it is his signature election promise and one of many he has failed to do in his 26 months of this “presidency”. He couldn’t get anything passed even when “his” party had a majority for the first two party and definitely won’t when the Democrats took over the House.]

The House of Representatives passed a resolution with 420 members voting in favor of the resolution and zero voting against it. The resolution is calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be released to the public once it is completed. The resolution is not legally binding. So 185 Republicans vote in favor. But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham moved to block a non-binding resolution in the Senate.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will serve a total of seven and a half years in prison for two cases. The latest sentencing was for two charges: conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice for attempting to tamper with witnesses.

“I have not even given it a thought as of this moment,” Trump said. “It’s not something now that’s on my mind.” Trump reiterated that he felt “badly” for his former aide.

After Manafort’s second sentencing, Trump said “Today, again, no collusion. The other day, no collusion.” Except the second sentencing had nothing to do with his collusion problems. Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing repeated Trump’s comments saying “So that makes two courts… Two courts have ruled no evidence of any collusion with the Russians.”

If Trump pardons Manafort for his federal convictions, the ex-lobbyist could still face years in jail on state charges that are beyond his reach.

Ex-acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker did not deny in a closed congressional meeting that he had spoken with Trump about a case involving Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen. This is involving Cohen’s allegation that a pardon had been dangled in exchange for him staying loyal to the President, in which he was purportedly told he could be sure he had “friends in high places.”

At best, such a conversation would appear inappropriate and unethical since the President is the country’s top law enforcement officer. At worst it could again raise suggestions that Trump may have obstructed justice.

An attorney who said he had been speaking with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani reassured Cohen in an April 2018 email that Cohen could “sleep well tonight” because he had “friends in high places.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would obey the law if he receives a written request from Congress to turn over Trump’s tax returns. “I will consult with the legal department within Treasury, and I will comply with the law.”

Republicans, who have argued that Trump has the right to privacy, quickly made clear they believe any request from Democrats wouldn’t be lawful — opening up the possibility of an extended fight over whether Mnuchin will hand over the returns if a request is made. Trump came the first major Presidential candidate in 2016 to refuse citing an ongoing audit. [That’s one long audit.] House Democrats have been preparing to ask the Internal Revenue Service for Trump’s tax returns under an obscure provision that gives the leaders of the House and Senate tax-writing committees the power to request taxpayer information from the Treasury Department. It states that “the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.”

Trump says he does not see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world following an attack targeting Muslims in New Zealand that killed at least 49 people.

Trump was just doing what he [thought] could to raise spirits when he signed Bibles at an Alabama church for survivors of a tornado outbreak, many religious leaders say, though some are offended and others say he could have handled it differently. Other Presidents have signed Bibles but they were generally one offs and for special occasions.

Trump should have at least signed inside in a less ostentatious way according to some faith leaders. Others said he shouldn’t of signed them at all. One said “It almost felt like a desecration of the holy book to put his signature on the front writ large, literally.” Others said it could be seen as a blurring of church and state and an endorsement of Christianity over other religions.

Trump wants to sell the military. No not that way. There are 100+ country that have US military presence. Trump wants to charge countries for the manpower and resources plus a surcharge [to make a profit]. Judging by how much it costs to buy a screw, that will be one big bill! They did, however, said it would be on a case by case basis.

Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and brother of Betsy Devos, proposed a plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan by turning military operations over to a mercenary force like his that wouldn’t be subject to Pentagon or civilian oversight and that would eventually fund itself by plundering the resources of the country. He sees that not only as a way of funding the occupation, but also as a way of making huge profits from the occupation of a foreign land. He envisages that as a template for future military adventures and seems to be in favor of deciding whether to engage in future oversees military operations not on the basis of US national interest concerns or human rights concerns but rather on the basis of whether a profit can be made. Not surprisingly, Trump seems to be in love with the idea.

Trump telling Breitbart News, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump — I have tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point and then it would be very, very bad.” Well, he should have support for the military but for military purposes – not to become thugs and do his dirty job – like say beat up Trump’s critics. The same goes for the police. Both groups should be impartial. As for bikers, not surprised he’d want to be associated with most or at least some of them. While not all, quite a few bikers belong to criminal gangs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration will deny or revoke visas for International Criminal Court staff. The move is meant to deter a potential investigation by the judicial body into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US troops in Afghanistan. The restrictions include “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation.”

There is a legal phrase for this: Obstruction of justice. Something the administration is all too familiar with.

Over part of two tweets, Trump said “How do you impeach a man who is considered by many to be the President with the most successful first two years in history, especially when he has done nothing wrong and impeachment is for “high crimes and misdemeanors”?” OK. You can stop laughing now. Seriously. Stop!

After the GOP tweeted “The NY Attorney General called President Trump an “illegitimate president.” She has proven to have a vendetta against @realDonaldTrump & is using her position of power to baselessly smear the President & the work he’s done for the American people,” Trump retweeted that and added “All part of the Witch Hunt Hoax. Started by little [former NY Attorney General] Eric Schneiderman & [Governor Andrew] Cuomo. So many leaving New York!” There were 19.85 million in New York state in 2017 and 19.88 million in 2018. Yup. Leaving in droves! [This was a second tweet after the first one was deleted because he couldn’t spell Cuomo’s name correctly.]

Let’s not forget the Trump still has properties in New York such as his trump Tower. You don’t see him leaving the state.

According to excerpts from the forthcoming book “Kushner Inc.” obtained by New York Times, Trump told former Chief of Staff John Kelly he wanted Ivanka and Jared Kushner gone. The White House is denying these reports, calling the book “completely false.” Boy this could been interesting the next time they see each other. “Is it true daddy?”

After the latest Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crash Trump tweeted “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” Trump tweeted. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All this cost for very little gain.”

“I’m not an email person,” Trump said during a July 2016 news conference. “I don’t believe in it because I think it can be hacked” as if no Twitter accounts have been hacked ever. Is tweeting any better? You send out an Email, it does normally to a finite number of users. You tweet something, it does to everyone of your followers.

Trump is also a big supporter of Boeing and has been a salesman for them. Most recently during his trip to Vietnam last month where he oversaw the sale of 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes — 20 of those MAX 8 models — for $12.7 billion. Vietnam has put the order on hold until the reason for the crashes are identified.

Within 48 hours, Trump was forced to order the halting of the airplanes because after Canada grounded them, they weren’t flying anywhere except in the US and even passengers were worried about them.

After Trump accused “The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party,” press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders wouldn’t say whether Trump believes Democrats hate Jews, which is what he reportedly told Republican donors over the weekend at his Florida estate.

When Sanders claimed that the Democrats refusal to specifically condemn a freshman lawmaker for her controversial comments amounted to an “abhorrent” display, she was asked whether Trump condemned Rep. Steve King’s comments noting that King has a history of making what can be called racist comments but only recently stripped of various committee postings. She deflected the question. The Democrats did condemn the freshman who also apologized.

Trump also claimed that Jews are switching to the Republican party. Of course various polls from the past few elections say that Jews vote for the Democrats anywhere between 70% and 80% of the time.

A vote this week on Yemen was the first time Congress invoked the decades-old War Powers Act to try to rein in a president. That resolution seeking to end US backing for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen was approved in the aftermath of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and is expected to be the subject of Trump’s second veto.

The Trump administration is proposing $2.7 trillion in spending cuts following a directive by Trump to reduce spending by 5% across federal agencies, except for defense spending, as part of its budget plan for fiscal year 2020, which begins on October 1. The Democrats already have said that Trump will not get the $8.6 billion he plans to request for the wall.

“President Trump added nearly $2 trillion to our deficits with tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and now it appears his budget asks the American people to pay the price,” said Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee. “With severe cuts to essential programs and services that would leave our nation less safe and secure, the Trump budget is as dangerous as it is predictable.”

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that Trump’s “record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election,” a significant difference from comments the he made earlier in the week where he described how he thought some Democrats could beat Trump in the 2020 election.

One of the very few items that Trump managed to check off on his platform list is sinking. Unless the Trump administration lifts the punishing tariffs it has imposed on Mexican steel and aluminum imports — duties it also imposed on Canada — Mexico is prepared to keep the status quo with the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump tweets “Republican Approval Rating just hit 93%. Sorry Haters!” From which poll he gives no data. So his “poll” [the one he invented in his mind] says 7% don’t like him. Still not good.

In 2011, Trump questioned whether President Obama was a born American in addition to his academic record. According to the Washing Post [and in recent testimony by Michael Cohen], days after he had threatened his high school, college and college board not to release his grades or SAT scores. In fact, Trump wanted all of his transcripts [which were on paper only] to be given to alumni Trump could trust.

In the more than two years since Trump took office, he has not hosted a women’s championship sports team for a solo event at the White House. WNBA teams were frequently invited to the White House during the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. NCAA women’s basketball champion teams have visited the White House for the previous five administrations. The sole exception is of a November 2017 event honoring multiple NCAA championship teams.

Case in point: The North Dakota State Bison NCAA division 2 football team were at the White House and again they were served Big Macs, fried chicken sandwiches and other fast food on silver platters using fine china. “We could’ve had chefs, we could have, but we had fast food — because I know you people.”

Trump suggested the decision was aimed at supporting American business. “We like American companies, OK?” he said. Trump encouraged the team to “go and eat up,” noting that he would have a sandwich at the podium himself, but it would cause “too big a stir” with the reporters present. Ya. Sure Donnie.

In the computer department:

A researcher from France has detected in an app, nicknamed “Yelp for Conservatives”, was found with an open API [a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications] leaking reams of user data without any real hacking. The developer said the app is designed “to keep conservatives safe as they eat and shop” has not taken kindly to the findings. He’s accusing the researcher of hacking his database and has threatened legal recourse.

The same researcher found another app called “Donald Daters” [coincidentally also pro-Conservative] which leaked users’ names, photos, personal messages and users’ authentication tokens. It is a MAGA-themed dating experience.

A recent polls says that 50% support Cohen, 35% support Trump.

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Another crony sentenced

After his former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to just 47 months after the prosecution asked for 19 to 25 years, Donald Trump spinned it differently tweeted “Both the Judge and the lawyer in the Paul Manafort case stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia” as the conviction was for bank and tax fraud and not for colluding with Russia.

However, on the counts that Manafort wasn’t found guilty, it was only because a single individual held out on guilty on those counts. [One could say that the individual could be a Trump supporter who knew the consequences if found guilty on the Russian related charges.] But the less than four-year term shocked many legal observers and sparked looks of astonishment among prosecutors. The judge only said that collusion wasn’t an issue for him to consider in the case. He did not assess whether it happens or not.

A judge in Washington, who has been less well disposed toward Manafort, will sentence him next week in a separate case, in which he has been accused of lying to Mueller and breaching a plea deal.

“They should be ashamed of their horrendous treatment of Paul Manafort who they pressured relentlessly because, unlike Michael Cohen, he wouldn’t lie for them,” said Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a statement. Except, Manafort is accused of lying in the other court case.

Even Manafort’s lawyer said outside court: “There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved in any collusion with any government official from Russia.” Seems for them Russian collusion is way more important than tax fraud.

Trump went on a two hour rambling speech – sometimes swearing – at the Conservative Political Action Conference rambling about the usual: collusion, witch hunt, presidential harassment, Green New Deal, Hillary Clinton’s Emails, etc. Would you want to hear the same ramblings over and over again?

At CPAC, Trump says he’ll be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech. “If they want our dollars and we give them by the billions,” Trump said, “they’ve got to allow people to speak.” We’ll see if it backfires when those speaking go against him. If so, what he does after. This was because a conservative activist was punched on the campus of the University of California Berkeley last month.

Trump also said that all of the territory of the ISIS caliphate in Syria has been taken back, despite previously saying something similar just days ago. “As of today or tomorrow, we will have 100% of the caliphate defeated.”

During a stopover in Alaska on the way back from Vietnam, Trump said 100% of the caliphate had been taken. An official of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces disputed that statement, saying that the fight is ongoing and that they were surprised by Trump’s statement.

Trump said as well that he was being “sarcastic” when he asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s emails. If so, why does he keep on bringing it up? 28 months later, he still thinks the Democrats will null and void his election win and talks about Clinton’s emails. And yet, there is no way to erase his 28 months in office. He is [like it or not] the 45th president. Yes. It’s a form of fear mongering and definitely lying.

Trump claimed he fired former FBI Director James Comey in 2017 claiming “the good news is that this is going to be so bipartisan, everyone’s going to love it” since the Democrats were angry at Comey because of his investigation right before the election.

Trump said regarding possible obstruction from the firing of Comey “If you use your rights, if you use your power, if you use Article Two, it is called obstruction. But only for Trump, for nobody else.” So there are laws that don’t apply to him.

Trump reacted to a House vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, saying, without evidence, that the Democratic party is “anti-Jewish”. The House of Representatives passed a resolution broadly condemning hate and intolerance, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination, in the wake of controversy over Democratic freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar.

The vote was 407-23. Twenty-three Republicans voted against the measure, and all Democrats – including Omar – who voted in support of the resolution. But it seems like it is the Republicans who are against the resolution broadly condemning hate and intolerance, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim discrimination.

A photo published in the Miami Herald shows the founder and one-time owner of a spa, Li Yang, implicated in a human-trafficking ring attended Trump’s Super Bowl watch party at his West Palm Beach country club in February. Yang snapped a blurry selfie with a smiling Trump, who turned in his chair to look over his right shoulder for the photo.

Nineteen days later, Trump’s long-time friend and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in nearby Jupiter, which Yang had founded more than a decade earlier. None of the spas are registered to Yang or her family. They were sold 6 years ago and the current owner was charged with racketeering and running a house of prostitution and has pleaded not guilty.

Trump had pressured his then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations. While Trump has the legal authority to grant clearances, most instances are left up to the White House personnel security office, which determines whether a staffer should be granted one after the FBI has conducted a background check.

But after concerns were raised by the personnel office, Trump pushed Kelly and McGahn to make the decision on his daughter and son-in-law’s clearances so it did not appear as if he was tainting the process to favor his family, sources told CNN. After both refused, Trump granted them their security clearances.

Trump pressured Gary Cohn, the former director of the National Economic Council, to tell the Justice Department to block AT&T’s Time Warner deal. At the heart of the theories is Trump’s public dislike of CNN, which was a division of Time Warner, and his close relationship with Fox News. Justice Department filed its lawsuit to block the deal.

While Trump openly criticized the AT&T-Time Warner deal, he publicly congratulated Murdoch for selling most of 21st Century Fox to Disney even before the deal had received regulatory approval. Rupert Murdoch is a close friend of Trump and the Murdoch family will make more than two billion dollars.

“FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes,” Trump tweeted. But some are questioning whether he is biased towards areas of the country that were hit by disasters but in areas that favor Trump over the Democrats. He was less than positive to the devastations in California [pull funding] and Puerto Rico [blame local leaders for slow relief efforts].

“When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn! The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!” tweeted Trump. So he is already suggesting that Democrats cannot beat him fairly — raising the specter that if he loses next November, he will suggest that the election was not legitimate.

In the unemployment and employment section:

The White House is expected to announce that Trump will nominate Kelley Eckels Currie to serve as an ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues. That position, established under President Barack Obama’s administration, had been vacant since Trump took office. Currie currently serves as the representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Lynne Patton, a long time Trump family associate who made a controversial appearance at last week’s House hearing with Michael Cohen, says she has the President’s blessing to follow in his footsteps as a reality TV star, even as she serves as a high-ranking federal housing official. She will appear on a still-developing show about black Republicans.

The latest to jump the trump ship is White House deputy chief of staff and de facto communications director Bill Shine, who has stepped down to join the Trump campaign. He is the sixth to have the job in just over 2 years. But scuttlebutt said that Trump had questioned Shine’s judgment on a number of issues in recent months, from the midterm election to the government shutdown.

Shine had been slated to travel with Trump to Vietnam for the second North Korea summit but unexpectedly dropped off the trip two days before. Shine was wandering the halls of the Conservative Political Action Conference. Asked why he was there, he declined to answer. Dropping from communications director to a senior adviser is interesting.

In addition, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has resigned and plans to return to academia in the weeks ahead. Wilson had long been skeptical of Trump’s plans for a separate branch of the military devoted to space as much of the new organization would be formed from pre-existing Air Force units.

Trump did hire Kayleigh McEnany as national press secretary. She is an American political commentator and writer. She is also a former CNN contributor and a former national Spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has ended the controversial phone call record surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden. The program was launched under the USA Patriot Act of 2001, originally to permit the collection of call records from telecommunications providers to search for patterns of connections between persons of interest.

Even Trump 2020 campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany got into the act by saying “These desperate Democrats know they cannot beat President Trump in 2020, so instead they have embarked on a disgraceful witch hunt with one singular aim: topple the will of the American people and seize the power that they have zero chance at winning legitimately.”

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said “They continue to be a group totally taken by small radical leftist fringe of their party and they’re completely controlled by it, they know that’s not enough to beat this President so they’re going to look for other ways to do that.”

Trump doesn’t like to lose even when he wins when three weeks after winning the 2016 election [but lost the popular vote] he said “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” It wasn’t considered a landslide.

Trump said he does not hold North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un responsible for American student Otto Warmbier’s death. He did however later said what he was “misinterpreted” but says he now hold North Korea responsible.

If Trump thought his so called Presidential Harassment is bad now, he hasn’t seen anything yet. Investigations into many of Trump’s cronies, former cronies and even family members are starting to take shape.

Trump tweeted “Presidential Harassment by “crazed” Democrats at the highest level in the history of our Country. Likewise, the most vicious and corrupt Mainstream Media that any president has ever had to endure – Yet the most successful first two years for any.” Considering that Trump invented the phrase “Presidential Harassment” how can you compare it against any level? And how do you measure it?

Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is suing the Trump Organization, saying it failed to fulfill its contractual obligations to indemnify him or pay his attorneys’ fees relating to his work after he began cooperating with federal investigators. In his complaint, Cohen says his legal bills for the criminal investigations he faced totaled $1.9 million.

Trump claims now that Cohen wanted a pardon from Trump in person if convicted even though Cohen said under oath that he didn’t. So that could be a perjury charge. Problem is that it also sets up Trump that he would have to testify what Cohen had said – which could open up things.

The New York State Department of Financial Services has opened an inquiry into the Trump Organization’s insurance practices, sending a subpoena to the company’s long-time insurance broker.

GOP leaders and key committee chairmen are making clear that they believe there is no reason to probe whether Trump broke the law in engaging in a scheme to hide payments made to two women to keep their stories quiet in the days running up to the 2016 elections.

The US gained 20,000 more jobs but way less than the past few months. Trump touted growing wages, low unemployment and the stock market. On the stock market, Trump said, “Certainly since my election it’s up, getting close to 50%.” These statements are [of course] untrue as the stock market took a big tumble late last year and early this year and is slowly recovering.

It hasn’t reached its October 2017 peak and has tumbled since late February again. Dow Jones was at around 20,000 at the inauguration day and stands at around 25,000 at this time. [In comparison, with President Obama he started with about 8,200 and finished at around 20,000.]

Trump leaves Hanoi empty handed while Cohen blasts him

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen will present to a House panel a check to support his testimony. It is dated August 1, 2017 for the amount of $35,000. While the image does not show what the payment was for, Cohen will say in his testimony the check was signed by Trump and was part of the reimbursement for “illegal hush money I paid on his behalf.”

Cohen testified that Trump was aware of long-time adviser Roger Stone’s efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks in advance of its release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen said, according to his prepared testimony. Trump responded, according to Cohen: “Wouldn’t that be great.”

Cohen’s allegations, if true, would amount to the first time anyone with direct knowledge has said that the President had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton emails.

“Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately),” he wrote from his hotel in Hanoi. “He is lying in order to reduce his prison time.” Trump also said that Cohen “did bad things unrelated to Trump.” If you know your lawyer has done illegal activities elsewhere why would you continue to retain him? There has been no mention of anything illegal other than what he did for Trump.

Trump wasn’t too thrilled when Cohen’s testimony was scheduled during his summit calling it a “terrible thing”. But would there be a difference if he was back in Washington other than maybe tweeting that Cohen is a liar, no collusion, witch hunt, etc.

“I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now,” Cohen told Congress. Trump obtained medical deferments to avoid serving in the Vietnam War claiming he had bone spurs.

The New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan has disbarred Cohen after Cohen pleaded guilty last year to multiple felony charges, according to a decision. In New York, conviction of a federal felony triggers disbarment if the offense would constitute a felony under state law.

In his testimony, Cohen said:

  • He wouldn’t take a pardon even if offered.
  • Trump lied about his wealth to look richer to Forbes magazine [ranked 766] and less wealthy for tax authorities.
  • Trump said that black people “would never vote for him because they were too stupid” and “only black people could live that way.”
  • Trump may have been aware in advance of a 2016 meeting set up by Donald Trump Jr. and Russians at Trump Tower — something that Trump and his eldest son have long denied. Cohen will tell Congress that he witnessed Trump Jr., in June 2016, tell his father: “The meeting is all set.” Cohen acknowledges not knowing for sure that Trump’s son’s comments were in reference to the meeting with Russians.
  • Trump had told him [Cohen] that the Trump Jr. “had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.”
  • Trump Jr. “would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father.”
  • Asked: You called Trump a cheat. What would you call yourself? Cohen: A fool.
  • Asked: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf? 500 times? Cohen: Probably, over the 10 years.
  • Cohen hired someone to rig two online polls for Trump. He said Trump knew about it and directed him to do so. Both attempts failed to help.

After North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un insisted all US sanctions be lifted on his country, there was no joint agreement. Trump left the summit early saying said Kim offered to take some steps toward dismantling his nuclear arsenal but not enough to warrant ending the debilitating sanctions regime on the country. This after he said Presidents before him couldn’t make a deal – he didn’t either.

Trump said he walked away from his second summit with dictator Un because Kim demanded the US lift all of its sanctions, a claim that North Korea’s delegation called a rare news conference in the middle of the night to deny. They insisted Kim had asked only for partial sanctions relief [United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed since March 2016] in exchange for shutting down the North’s main nuclear complex.

During an expanded session with aides, Trump and Kim discussed the prospect of opening a US office in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

Here’s a shocker. Just before Trump and dictator Un were to meet in Vietnam for their second summit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that North Korea remains a threat. In January, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review stated that North Korea remains an “extraordinary threat” to the United States.

So another contradiction in the administration as this contradicts Trump tweet in June 2017 after the first summit when Trump tweeted “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Trump has never changed his mind since. When Pompeo was asked about what Trump had said, Pompeo try to spin it such that Trump meant to say that there is still a threat but not like what it used to be. [His tweet clearly says otherwise.]

Pompeo also said that core sanctions from the U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea will be removed only after it fully denuclearizes but North Korea is moving its nuclear and ballistic weapons to hide them from potential US military strikes, according to a confidential UN report.

Trump tweeted that he has a “Great relationship with Chairman Kim!!” Yes. How did Un execute a defector? With a flamethrower. He imprisons, tortures and kills those accused of “political crimes.”

Chefs were still struggling to get a menu approved for the first dinner because officials from both the US and North Korea kept adjusting the menu to make it “super simple.”

Some administration staff are worried that Trump may finalize a deal with Un but may give too much in return. Trump could agree to ending the Korean War, an attractive prospect for someone intent on winning a Nobel Peace Prize. South Korea would have to agree. Luckily this didn’t happen.

Trump also tweeted that “without nuclear weapons” North Korea “could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World… Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!” True. North Korea has an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people in labor camps – many for “re-education” – manufacture items and no pay to the workers.

Even before leaving Washington, Trump was giving off some hints that Americans shouldn’t expect too many positive changes from the summit. Of course if there is a [real] deal or progress, I’m sure he will take all the credit.

Dictator for life Un arrived in Hanoi at least a day before Trump and has been given a huge welcome by Vietnam. With Trump and his huge ego, I’m surprised he didn’t want to get to Hanoi before Un did.

Trump tweeted “So funny to watch people who have failed for years, they got NOTHING, telling me how to negotiate with North Korea. But thanks anyway!” This coming from a man with 4 bankruptcies.

Trump said he does not hold Un responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death after Kim denied knowledge of the American student’s maltreatment. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.” This continues Trump’s “friendship” with Un just like his “friendship” with Vladimir Poutine. Warmbier died days after returning to the US from over a year in a North Korean prison that caused brain damage.

The family of Warmbier rebuked Trump for siding with dictator Un, who denied knowledge of their son’s maltreatment during his imprisonment.

Trump ordered then-chief of staff John Kelly to grant Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law and adviser — the clearance the day after the White House Counsel’s Office urged against it. White House officials had previously said that Kushner’s security clearance was handled “in the regular process” without pressure from anyone in the administration.

Trump wants to waste taxpayer’s money by holding a second parade which he is already calling it “one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C.”. He treated it” will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!” In his first two years, he played golf on July 4th.

A major 4th of July parade already takes place in the nation’s capital each year. The parade, called America’s National Independence Day Parade, goes through the heart of downtown Washington.

The House passed a resolution to overturn his emergency declaration to unlock money for wall construction at the US southern border. The vote was 245-182. Thirteen Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the measure. The Senate has 18 days to vote on the resolution. At least 3 GOP senators have signaled they will vote for the resolution.

In 2016 and prior, when there was a crisis in the world where two US allies got into an argument that escalated with a possible outcome of a military conflict, the US would come in and help stabilize the situation. In 2019, India and Pakistan have a bit of a conflict. Where is the US? Where is Trump ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the area in order to defuse the situation?

[Not saying he would, but the US could actually profit in this if there is a conflict. Both countries would need new arms and hardware to replace what was used or destroyed. After all, Trump is/was supposedly a businessman.]

Two of Trump’s closest allies on the House Judiciary Committee referred Cohen to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution, claiming to have evidence that Cohen “committed perjury and knowingly made false statements” to lawmakers during his day-long testimony. These include that he did not seek a job in the Trump White House, his denial of committing bank fraud, as well as his assertion that the did not have any reportable contracts with foreign entities.

A staffer on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign says he kissed her without her consent at a small gathering of supporters before a Florida rally, an interaction that she alleges in a new lawsuit still causes her anguish. The staffer said she turned her head and the unwanted kiss landed on the side of her mouth, which she called “super-creepy and inappropriate.”

“This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” wrote White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders in a statement. Of course, what else would she says? It happened?

In [of course] a tweet, Trump accused filmmaker Spike Lee of making a “racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans…. than almost any other Pres!” Then he said it would “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all.” But it is unclear exactly what part of Lee’s speech Trump interpreted as “racist.” Did Trump watch the right awards show.

Trump announced that because of “substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues” tariffs imposed by the United States on certain Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent has been delayed.

Trump tweeted “Since my election as President the Dow Jones is up 43% and the NASDAQ Composite almost 50%…. We are bringing back America faster than anyone thought possible!” Except the [real] presidents prior to him had higher increases. And “back” from where? Hell? [This was mentioned in a previous blog.]

Since the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families apprehended at the southern border last June under its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, at least 245 children have been separated from their parents, according to a new court filing. The administration said the basis for the separation in the majority of cases was “criminality, prosecution, gang affiliation or other law enforcement purpose.”

The Department of Health and Human Services received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors from 2014-2018, according to internal agency documents. In addition,1,303 complaints were reported to the Justice Department during that same time frame, according to the documents.

Trump supposedly tweeted “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard.” Hello? We still don’t have 5G widely available. Or maybe the genius thought 5G was already fully deployed. 6G specifications may not even be finalized if it even exists.

There was a Trump look-a-like in Hanoi. He’s Canadian and his first name is Donald. Better skin complexion though.

Government re-opens after Trump caved in

Congressional leaders and Donald Trump agreed to reopen the federal government, that includes a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the government through February 15. The agreement includes a furloughed employees back pay provision and money to fix the current border wall but not build the Trump Wall. Trump has said he may declare a national emergency if no deal is reached on what to do with the Trump Wall.

[So, Trump caved in. With this agreement, Trump didn’t gain anything. He didn’t get funding for the Trump Wall. Even after February 15th, it could be another shutdown. Trump hinted at going nuclear by going with the national emergency option (see below) but that could be bad for him.]

It is possible that the White House is preparing a draft proclamation for Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for the Trump Wall. As mentioned previously, lawsuits could by flying all over as many [including in the Republican Party] do not feel that this constitutes a national emergency.

According to options being considered, the administration could pull: $681 million from treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds.

Some land to be used for the Trump Wall fall on private property which the government would expropriate. Of note, the last time a wall was built, in 2006, there was a bunch of legal action by the property owners.

Trump had a proposal which includes funds for humanitarian assistance, technology, border agents, law enforcement personnel, and immigration judges. Trump laid out additional concessions that include providing three years of deportation relief to about 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children and 300,000 immigrants with temporary protected status.

Trump’s new proposal would not provide a pathway to citizenship for those DACA recipients and would provide $5.7 billion for physical barriers. 10 months ago, Democrats supported a bipartisan bill that would have not only provided a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients but also provided $25 billion in border security which would contribute to a border wall and border-related security.

The Democrats want the Trump Shutdown to end and provide a pathway to citizenship for those DACA recipients.

Trump tweeted “If we create a Wall or Barrier which prevents Criminals and Drugs from flowing into our Country, Crime will go down by record numbers!” He will [of course] have no data to back up this false claim.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked legislation for the fourth time that would reopen most of the government currently closed during the partial Trump Shutdown. McConnell claims that he doesn’t want any Senate vote if he know that Trump won’t agree. But it could be embarrassing to McConnell and Trump if quite a few Republican senators agree to end the shutdown. McConnell finally allowed 2 votes but both were defeated in the Senate – almost along party lines.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who just wrote a letter to Trump saying she will not pass a resolution to hold the State of the Union in House chambers, said she did so “because the government is closed.” Trump responded saying the Democrats “become radicalized.” Radicalized? Does he know the definition? White House officials said having the State of the Union outside of Washington is possible.

Trump said he is postponing his state of the union address until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a weeklong showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. With the shutdown now over [for now], I guess the address is now on for January 29th.

Trump conceded that “no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber” and that he was not looking for an alternate option after Pelosi served notice that he won’t be allowed to deliver the address to a joint session of Congress next week.

Trump tweeted “She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date.” She changed her mind but only because she didn’t expect the record Trump Shutdown to last this long. From her original letter from earlier this month, Pelosi denied Trump the chance to have the speech at the House.

When Pelosi told Trump the House wouldn’t approve a resolution allowing him to address Congress until the shutdown ended. Trump shot back that Pelosi was afraid of hearing the truth about the need for better border security.

A president cannot speak in front of a joint session of Congress without both chambers’ explicit permission. A resolution needs to be approved by both chambers specifying the date and time for receiving an address from the president.

Trump claimed this has never happened before. There is no precedent for a state of the union invitation being rescinded but there has been times when the State of the Union address was either delayed, filmed/printed or sent in print.

Trump tweeted “Nancy Pelosi has behaved so irrationally & has gone so far to the left that she has now officially become a Radical Democrat. She is so petrified of the “lefties” in her party that she has lost control…And by the way, clean up the streets in San Francisco, they are disgusting!” there is a party called Radical Democrat? And I don’t think it is the responsibility of a Congressperson to clean streets but the municipality.

Protesters packed the Senate’s Hart Office building to protest the Trump Shutdown. Many held signs made out of paper plates, with slogans demanding an end to the shutdown so furloughed federal employees can go back to work.

About 5,000 IRS workers cited hardships and did not show up for work and 9,000 others were not able to be reached. Meanwhile, 12,000 thousand of the 26,000 in the division who were called back from furlough showed up for work. The average time to answer the phone was 25 to 40 minutes. But in the last filing season it was 7 to 10 minutes.

This past week, the last of the food stamps were released. As well, the number of Transportation Security Administration that didn’t work this past Sunday was 10% of the work force. They took the “day off” because of financial issues [although I’m sure some wanted to watch the (American) football games or hunker down from the bad weather].

Trump ally and advisor, Roger Stone, has been indicted by a grand jury on seven counts brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who alleges that the long-time Trump associate sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trump’s opponents at the direction of “a senior Trump Campaign official.”

Stone has maintained publicly that he did not know in advance about what WikiLeaks would release. That alleged lie, which he also told to Congress, forms the basis for some of his other criminal charges in the indictment. The indictment also alleges that Stone lied to Congress about “his communications with the Trump Campaign about Organization 1.” In the indictment, Organization 1 is WikiLeaks.

Stone said at one point that the charges are false even as people were chanting “lock him up”. He also lied to Congress which may be hard to deny. White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders threw Stone under the bus saying it has nothing to do with Trump. Uh huh.

Unsure where his brains are: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he doesn’t “really quite understand why” federal workers who have missed paychecks due to the partial government shutdown don’t just take out loans to cover the gap. Ross who made his fortune buying distressed debt.

Previously, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said earlier this month that furloughed federal workers who are not getting paid during the partial government shutdown are “better off” because they won’t be docked vacation days and will eventually get paid anyway.

Even Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, says federal employees currently furloughed or working without pay due to the partial government shutdown are experiencing a “little bit of pain” for the “future of our country.”

Trump told advisers that he felt his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had obscured what he believed was a public relations victory: the special counsel’s rare public statement disputing portions of a BuzzFeed News story that Trump instructed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie before Congress. Giuliani’s media blitz was filled with a dizzying array of misstatements and hurried clarification. Some of Trump’s allies have suggested that Giuliani be barred from evening interviews because of concerns that he was going on TV after drinking.

“I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump.’ Somehow, I don’t think that will be it,” Giuliani told The New Yorker. “But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead. I figure I can explain it to St. Peter.”

Cohen was subpoenaed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in mid-February. Senate Intelligence traditionally does their interviews behind closed doors, not publicly.

Cohen announced he is postponing his public congressional testimony that was scheduled for February 7, citing “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump” and his attorney.

Cohen’s wife and father-in-law feel threatened by comments by the Trump and Giuliani. Trump suggested without evidence that he was aware of damaging information about Cohen’s family. Trump suggested that Cohen had cut a deal “to keep his wife out of trouble,” as well as his father in law. A sked if it was OK to go after Cohen’s father-in-law, Giuliani responded, “it is, if the father-in-law is a criminal. Isn’t this witness tampering or something?

Cohen’s taxi business was linked closely to his family members, including his father-in-law, from whom Cohen bought some medallions. During the course of his taxi medallion purchases, Cohen and his wife took out several loans of unspecified value. His father-in-law pleaded guilty in 1993 to a financial crime relating to the taxi business, according to court records.

The House Oversight Committee has opened a probe where there were “grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump administration” and alleges that the White House and the Trump transition team “appear to have disregarded established procedures for safeguarding classified information.” The probe could yield information about how Jared Kushner gained high-level security clearances despite myriad concerns.

The Supreme Court allowed Trump’s transgender military ban to go into effect, dealing a blow to LGBT activists who call the ban cruel and irrational. The policy blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It also specifies that individuals without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court once again did not act on the Trump administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leaving protections for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children in place for at least the next several months.

Tower in Trump’s Washington hotel is technically a monument and requires federal workers. So they aren’t getting paid but are working.

The many lawsuits filed against Trump [let alone by him and other lawsuits] are on hold because of the shutdown. They are not essential – but it seems the Supreme Court is.

At Capitol Lounge, federal employees who walk in after midnight can order cocktails for $5. Some of the lounge’s highlights? “Nothing Really Mattis,” “Butina’s on the Rocks,” and “Border Wall Banger.”

As a major snow storm is dumping snow over a big chunk of the US, Trump tweets “Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!” Yup. This coming from that climate expert. We already know, he doesn’t know the difference between global warming and climate change. Did he comment about Australia where a city was hit with over 3 weeks of over 40C/104F. Certain areas hit 50C/122F.

Supposedly, White House adviser Jared Kushner was rejected for a security clearance by two White House security specialists after red flags raised by the FBI background check about potential foreign influence raised concerns, but their supervisor overruled them and approved Kushner’s top secret clearance. That supervisor overruled at least 30 others granting them clearance. Prior to the supervisor’s arrival, it happened once in 3 years.

As one of Trump’s top aides, he was seeking an even higher clearance known as “sensitive compartment information.” That clearance is granted by the CIA. A CIA agent wondering how Kushner got even a top secret clearance. The CIA has not granted the “sensitive compartment information” clearance.

Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform has launched his investigation into the White House’s security clearance process citing “grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump Administration.”

Pope Francis has taken another shot at wall-building politicians, telling thousands of Catholics in Panama and taking a jab at Trump, “This is the criteria to divide people: The builders of bridges and the builders of walls, those builders of walls sow fear and look to divide people.”

In his upcoming book, Trump supporter, former New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie, dubbed former national security adviser Michael Flynn a “Russian lackey and future federal felon,” former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt “greedy and inexperienced,” former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price — who was ousted in 2017 for using private jets for multiple government business trips — “high flying,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions “not-ready-for-prime-time” and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “a stranger.”

Trump tweeted “The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press.” Inaccurately? If she says something, how can the media report something else with so many news outlets [including pro-Trump] reporting. If she said “train”, the media can’t report “airplane”. As for rudely, look back at any “daily” [or should I say monthly] briefing. It has always been like that. Everybody yelling for her to pick them and for her to actually respond to the question with a real answer.

There are two endorsement resolutions that are circulating by some Republicans. One resolution would also declare Trump the party’s “presumptive nominee” more than 18 months before the 2020 nominating convention, and it would specifically authorize the party to re-elect Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence. The second, offered by RNC insiders, would declare the committee’s “undivided support” for Trump.

FBI investigation into Trump intensifies while Trump acts like a child

And I thought last week was busy.

Donald Trump, in response to reports that the FBI began an investigation of him last year to find out whether he had a clandestine agenda to help Russia, said that former FBI director James Comey and other “losers” at the bureau “tried to do a number on your President.” He called Comey a “total sleaze” and “crooked cop.”

The inquiry forced counterintelligence investigators to evaluate whether Trump was a potential threat to national security, and they also sought to determine whether Trump was deliberately working for Russia or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow.

Trump tweeted “Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!” Except he thinks a few FBI “leaders” considers as the leaders of all of the FBI. There are 35,000 people at the FBI.

Regarding the New York Times story, on Fox News, Trump said it was “the most insulting article I have ever written“. Umm. He didn’t write it. [Note: I emphasized the “written” part.]

He claims no other president ever taken a harder stance against Russia than he does. So not Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and others during the cold war – unless he considers Russia and the Soviet Union not the same or similar.

From BuzzFeed, two federal law enforcement officials said that Trump directed former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen to claim negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended months earlier than they actually did and that Cohen confirmed to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that Trump issued the order to lie to Congress.

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said “If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.” But the information didn’t come from Cohen but the two federal law enforcement officials. As well, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office disputes report that Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress. The BuzzFeed report has a checkered past.

Cohen hired an IT firm to rig online polls in favor of Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Cohen promised to pay $50,000 to the small tech firm run by the evangelical Liberty University chief information officer to help distort online polls on CNBC and the Drudge Report. Cohen claimed it was carried out “at the direction and for the sole benefit of Donald J. Trump. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.”

Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Poutine, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former US officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Poutine in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. US officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

Trump retweeted “No one accused Obama of being a Russian agent after he asked for “more flexibility” until after the election, or when Obama ignored Putin’s invasion into Crimea, or when Assad used chemical gas in Syria and Obama’s red line was crossed.” So the tweeter claimed Obama did nothing in all cases? Meanwhile, under Trump’s watch, Assad used chemical gas against civilians, and did what? And Russia is still in the Ukraine and Trump has done what?

Giuliani says he never claimed that there was no collusion involving the Trump campaign, and that he only ever said this about Trump himself. “I said the president of the United States – there is no evidence that the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC [Democratic National Committee].” Sounds like he’s throwing the campaign under the bus. Giuliani just contradicted 18 months of “no collusion” talk.

Trump responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s letter suggesting they reschedule his State of the Union address by informing Pelosi that an apparent trip she had planned to “Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed” while the government shutdown continues. “Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”

The President of the United States has the authority to direct the Defense Department to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters. This support includes air transport and additional security procedures.

As usual Trump got it wrong. The Pelosi delegation headed to Afghanistan with a stop in Brussels for pilot rest as well as to say hello to NATO. No Egypt on the itinerary. Meanwhile, Trump went to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as well as a separate delegation with Rep. Lee Zeldin. Some WH staff [all Republicans] are going to Davos for the World Economic Forum even though Trump isn’t going. So for Trump to kill the Pelosi delegation’s trip was childish and had more to do with her request to delay the State of the Union address than the Trump Shutdown.

Pelosi said she received a report from Afghanistan that said “the President outing our trip had made the scene on the ground much more dangerous… We had the prerogative to travel commercially and we made plans to do that until the administration then leaked that we were traveling commercially and that endangers us.”

Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo officially banning all congressional delegations from using taxpayer-funded aircraft ” without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff”. Except it was Trump who denied Pelosi.

Trump plans to offer Democrats another proposal to end the shutdown for what officials are describing as his third offer to end the shutdown. Trump’s idea is to put something on the table to get Democrats to engage with negotiations. Trump is not expected to back down from his demand for a border wall, but the plan will seek to entice Democrats by offering other concessions.

With the government mired in shutdown week four, Trump rejected a short-term legislative fix and dug in for more combat, declaring he would “never ever back down.”

Trump has now been briefed on an alternate plan to divert billions of dollars, earmarked for disaster relief in Puerto Rico, Texas and elsewhere, to pay for his Trump Wall.

When a group of House and Senate Democrats were on a retreat in Puerto Rico, Trump argued that they were partying on a beach rather than negotiating. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who have been the negotiators, were not on the trip.

Trump has made explicitly clear he will not support reopening the government before a deal on border wall funding is completed and GOP Leader McConnell’s position remains unchanged – he will not bring anything to the Senate floor without Trump’s support.

“The government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: the Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said. Actually the Democrats want to include money for border security – just not the Trump Wall.

The White House has been trying to peel moderate Democrats away from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Its first effort at that strategy failed when moderate Democrats were invited to the White House for lunch – and they didn’t show. Another group will attend but they have no clout. So a free lunch.

“We’re going to stay out for a long time if we have to,” Trump said in a meeting with supporters. “We’ll be out for a long time.”

Trump was supposed to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January but blames the Democrats for the shutdown for him not to attend. Steven Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo will lead the US delegation at Davos.

Because of the partial shutdown, at least 80 US government web sites are running with expired certificates which causes problems with web site security and other issues. In addition, with government employees not working [and if contractors involved, they aren’t getting paid], computers throughout the governments are running unsecure because of the lack of maintenance including patches.

The Trump administration keeps designating more and more of the federal government essential, or excepted from the furlough, ordering many thousands of workers back to the office to process tax returns, perform safety inspections and more — all without pay. 36,000 IRS workers are now forced to work without pay.

Federal courts, which are not controlled by the administration, have now twice announced that existing funds could help their work force limp along with pay. The latest guidance is that court offices will run out of money January 25, at which point essential staff will work without pay.

Food and Drug Administration food inspectors, who hadn’t been inspecting food since the partial shutdown began  would return, without pay, to start inspections again. The Federal Aviation Administration announced it would recall an additional group of furloughed employees adding thousands of unpaid workers to the air traffic controllers.

Delta airlines is claiming that it lost  $25 million revenue this month. Fewer government contractors are traveling and the shutdown could delay the launch of the new Airbus 220 jet, which is scheduled to go into service on January 31 from New York’s LaGuardia. FAA inspectors, who are currently furloughed, need to certify the airline’s operational plans.

Many federal employees are scrambling to make ends meet. Some have turned to GoFundMe to raise money for living expenses. But what they could be doing is illegal. The federal law the government employees might be running afoul of is part of the United States Code that deals with the salaries paid to government officials and employees, under a section called “Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest.” In a nutshell, it says federal employees aren’t supposed to supplement their salaries with outside income.

Trump cited a number from a Montreal researcher to prove his argument that the US needs the Mexican border wall on which he wants to spend $5.7 billion. The researcher replied to Trump’s tweet saying that while walls have been built, research shows that they are ineffective. There are 70 walls built with and 7 could be built as they have the funding.

Some estimates suggest that the US economy loses $1.2 billion each week the shutdown continues.

The web site to report identity theft is shut down because of the Trump Shutdown. 25,000 identity thefts per day [yes – per day].

A federal judge in New York has struck down the Trump administration’s proposal to reintroduce a citizenship question into the 2020 census. The ruling effectively puts a freeze on a deeply contentious move that critics said would discourage non-citizens from participating in the Census. The Justice Department has said it needed better data on the voting age population to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Trump was told when he wanted to leave Syria within 30 days that ISIS was not defeated. He had to be convinced. Eventually he relented and slowed down the departure. This past week, US service members died in a US controlled Syrian area after an explosion claimed by ISIS.

Love this tweet [and it wasn’t even fixed] “Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House. Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!” I will have a hamberder with cheese. At 85 football players and around 15 coaches that averages out to 10 hamberders per person [excluding pizza, fillet-o-fish, nuggets, fries and maybe something healthy like salad. In a separate video he said 300 hamberders. More like it.

Food served on white china and silver serving trays. Very classy.

With about 85 players [usually the amount on a team] and maybe 15 coaches [usually the amount on a team] plus Trump and a few extras, even with 300 hamberders, that is almost 3 per person [plus the Fillet-O-Fishes, pizza, fries, etc.].

In addition, did he pay out of his own pocket? Did he expense it? Did the burger chains give it for free [can they?]? Maybe big Clemson supporters paid for it. Most likely.

He also tweeted [since deleted] that he was going to a farmer’s convention in Nashville when it was actually in New Orleans.

Trump claims that he hasn’t been following news surrounding Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s recent comments to The New York Times which were sympathetic to white supremacists.

In 2014, Trump, ahead of the fundraiser, said King was a “special guy, a smart person, with really the right views on almost everything.” Trump also told the newspaper that his ideology is so in sync with King’s that “we don’t have to compare notes.”

Trump retweeted from Donald Trump Jr. “Since January 1, neither CNN nor MSNBC has booked a single Angel Mom – mothers of children brutally murdered by illegal aliens.” Are they supposed to? A new law?

“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!” Trump tweeted. Aside from the fact that it is a racist comment, he just can’t get away from this Pocahontas stuff even though she admitted about her heritage.

Trump lashed out at acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney during a Situation Room meeting with Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, earlier this month. “Stop, stop, just stop — What are you doing? You’re f—ing it all up, Mick,” Trump said, according to the official who was in the room for the negotiations. Well I guess Mulvaney may not get the job now.

Trump retweeted: “Prior to 2018, unemployment has only been below 4% 5 times since 1970 Under Donald Trump, in 2018, unemployment dipped below 4% 7 TIMES-in ONE year!” Hmmm. So it dipped below 4% then went above 4% at least 6 times this past year. So every time it went over 4%, jobs were lost. Nothing to be proud of.

Trump said the US would “devastate Turkey economically” if the NATO-allied country attacks Kurds in the region. He added, “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” but followed up in a second tweet, “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

Another legal loss for the Trump administration. A California federal district court judge halted the Trump administration’s weakening of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, a day before the new rules were to take effect. The injunction, however, only applies in the coalition of 13 Democratic states, plus the District of Columbia, that brought the lawsuit. In his ruling, Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr., said the states “face potentially dire public health and fiscal consequences from the implementation of the Final Rules.”

Trump blames Democrats for shutdown after he said it was his

So it is the holiday season. You think Donald Trump will be “normal” on Christmas Day? I thought So. No.

Trump said a partial shutdown would drag on “for a very long time” and he tried to lay blame on congressional Democrats if there’s no deal over his demand for Trump Wall money. A week ago Trump said “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.” But now he has tweeted “If enough Dems don’t vote, it will be a Democrat Shutdown!” And later “The Democrats now own the shutdown!” So which is it?

“I’ve made my position very clear,” he said at a White House event. “Any measure that funds the government must include border security.”

The House is set to vote on a bill where the Senate has already approved the bill, which would fund the government to Feb. 8. It would keep funding at current levels, $1.3 billion, for border security and fencing but not for the Trump Wall.

Trump tweeted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should move to change the Senate rules to require just a simple majority to move forward on legislation [the “nuclear option” to end the 60 vote threshold.] McConnell has explicitly said multiple times on the record that he won’t. And even if he tried, he wouldn’t even have enough GOP votes to carry out the nuclear option since a number of his members are opposed as well.

Could be interesting. Trump will probably want to settle prior to the 3rd of January as on the 3rd, the Democrats take control of the House and will be even more difficult to get something passed that he likes.

The vote would be for a bill where the House passed a bill which includes $5 billion for the Trump Wall. In the Senate, McConnell will need 50 senators to vote to advance the measure but won’t get it because of holiday absences and some GOP are unhappy with how it was handled. If goes further, it would need 9 Democrats [unlikely] to break the filibuster.

If that failed, either a fast compromise or the bill the Senate passed where it doesn’t include the $5 billion. Even if they agreed on that, Trump would most likely not sign the bill as it excludes money for his Trump Wall.

The partial shutdown will affect The Department of Homeland Security [but 90% of 245,505 employees are deemed essential and won’t be], The Justice Department, The Interior Department, The State Department, and The Department of Housing and Urban Development. If a shutdown were to take place, it would be limited in scope. That’s because lawmakers have already funded roughly 75% of the federal government through September 2019 [fiscal end of year].

“We’re going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration,” White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said. If it forces a shutdown, Miller replied, “If it comes to it, absolutely.” But that didn’t last long as an option.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested that the White House has found an alternative way to get its requested $5 billion in funding for a US-Mexico border wall, marking a reversal from Trump’s previous position, where the White House could support a compromise bill to avoid a partial government shutdown.

Trump administration officials were looking for ways to build the wall but have not provided details of that effort but leading Democrats have warned that shifting funds around in such a way would have to be approved by Congress.

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion [for a border wall],” Sanders said. “There’s a piece of legislation that’s been pushed around that Democrats actually voted 26-5 out of committee that provides roughly $26 billion for border security including $1.6 billion for the wall,” she said. “That’s something that we would be able to support as a long as we can couple that with other funding resources.” But that’s $1.6 billion – not $5 billion.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer initially offered this as an option to avoid a shutdown, but said the bill wasn’t on the table anymore because it couldn’t pass the House. That was in part because House Democrats are opposed to the $1.6 billion in wall funding. Republicans have warn that “caving” on Trump’s repeated wall promises could hurt his 2020 re-election chances, and other Republicans’ as well.

In a meeting recently with Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer, Trump had said he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security.” Proud?

Before the senators adjourned for the night just as the shutdown began, the Senate passed a bill to ensure federal employees who are furloughed get back pay. This is the first time in 40 years that the government has been closed three times in a year. In addition, government workers won’t return until after Christmas at the earliest and maybe longer. Trump had already declared Monday, Christmas Eve, a federal holiday – thinking he may get a brownie point or two.

“I am in the White House, working hard,” tweeted Trump, who cancelled his Florida holiday getaway to his club Mar-a-Lago due to the shutdown. Yes, he is probably watching Fox News while tweeting. As a Fox News reported told Sanders recently “Do your job.”

Trump’s re-election campaign sent out a fundraising email launching what he called “the most important membership program ever – the OFFICIAL BUILD THE WALL MEMBERSHIP.” Trump urged donors to sign up. I wonder what you get for the membership. If he’s aiming at the wealthy, wonder how legal that would be.

That didn’t take long. Trump has at least twice in the past few weeks vented to his acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, angered by federal prosecutors who referenced Trump’s actions in crimes his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to. Trump pressed Whitaker on why more wasn’t being done to control prosecutors in New York who brought the charges in the first place, suggesting they were going rogue.

“This is from the President of our country, lying about the lawful execution of a search warrant issued by a federal judge [for Cohen’s establishments]. Shame on Republicans who don’t speak up at this moment – for the FBI, the rule of law, and the truth,” former FBI director James Comey wrote.

Trump has begun polling advisers about whether he has the legal authority to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Some described Trump as newly furious at the Federal Reserve chief as markets tumble. But Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin claims Trump never asked about removing Powell.

Earlier this year, Trump’s advisers told him that it was doubtful he would have the law behind him if he fired Powell. The law states Trump can fire a Federal Reserve governor for cause, but it hasn’t been tested on the firing of a chairman.

Top West Wing economic advisers have warned Trump that firing Powell would only exacerbate the problem Trump is ostensibly trying to solve: nose-diving markets. The unprecedented move would likely cause more turmoil. A senior member of the Senate banking committee said that the Federal Reserve is “set up to be independent of the President”.

Remember when Trump early on claimed he was the “law and order” president?  His version of this is contradicting or attacking legally supported investigations, putting his political goals ahead of what is in the constitution and elsewhere, and meddling in court cases before or while they are tried.

Remember how after the invasion of Iraq was “completed” and President George H.W. Bush stood in front of a “Mission Accomplished” sign and from the deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. And yet 15+ years later, US soldiers are still in Iraq?

As Trump tweeted that he wanted US troops out of Syria in 30 days he also tweeted “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” Politicians from both parties were surprise, shocked and perplexed that he announced the decision – without even asking for advice from the military or others. There were multiple times within the past month where politicians and military official claims a lot of work is needed to finish off ISIS.

Even though the US will continue to maintain troops in Iraq with the capability of launching strikes into Syria, a US withdrawal of ground forces would fulfill a major goal of Syria, Iran and Russia and risks diminishing US influence in the region. Trump tweeted, “we have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.” ISIS will obviously use this as part of their propaganda saying they beat the US.

Trump claimed one day that ISIS was “defeated” in Syria and were withdrawing troops. The next day he tells other countries to help out in the effort to defeat ISIS.

Next, there are plans to pull out half the 14,000 troops in Afghanistan by summer time. The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers and spent over $900 billion in the 17+ years. Sen. Lindsey Graham went on a trip to Afghanistan, where he fears about pulling US troops out of Afghanistan too early.

Trump announced he would replace Defense Secretary James Mattis at the start of the new year, two months earlier than Mattis’ planned departure. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. “Acting” again? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Mattis about the change.

The Pentagon released Mattis’ resignation letter and Trump began watching the coverage and realized the former general was leaving in protest of him — and not quietly, either. The stream of praise that followed from Democrats and Republicans alike irked Trump.

Right after Mattis’ resignation, Brett McGurk, who is Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL., resigned as well. McGurk also believed that leaving Syria was a mistake. When hearing of the resignation, Trump didn’t know who he was [hired by President Obama]. But look at his title. How can he have that title without Trump knowing him?

The Donald J. Trump Foundation has agreed to dissolve under judicial supervision amid an ongoing lawsuit concerning its finances, according to a document filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by the New York state Attorney General’s office.

It is “a foundation that took in $18,800,000 [US] and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000,” in a tweet back in June by Trump. Gave out more than took in? Even with taxes and administration of the foundation, that looks a bit like money laundering.

Trump continued his rant about his foundation closure saying that his foundation has “done great work and given away lots of money.” $19 million really isn’t that much considering who the foundation donors probably are.

He went after the Democrats, the New York Attorney General, the governor, former Attorney General and the state’s attorney general-elect claiming they all went after him personally. And yet, his base will agree with him even though the attorneys for the Trump foundation agreed on a court-supervised process for shutting down the charity.

Senator Bob Corker blasted Trump after Trump claimed that the Republican was forced to retire after not getting Trump’s support. “Yes, just like Mexico is paying for the wall,” Corker tweeted, before using the hashtag “#AlertTheDaycareStaff.” Earlier, Corker called the standoff over a border wall that has shut down federal agencies a “made-up fight” that is more about Trump scoring political points.

Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack claimed that Trump had pushed the Tennessee senator to run again [instead of retiring] and offered his endorsement should Corker decide to do so. Corker has been repeatedly critical of the Trump administration, and has previously referred to the White House as an “an adult day care center.”

The Trump administration is finally banning bump-fire stocks. Those who possess the devices, which make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster, will have 90 days to turn in or otherwise destroy them from the date that the final rule is published. Expect the NRA to complain.

Trump tweeted “A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal?” Let’s see him try and test it. “Dem commercials”? Where? One sided coverage? So Fox and all the right wing media is also against him? Once again he whines about anything that hurts his overinflated orange ego.

After a federal judge in Texas ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, Trump said “I believe we’re going to get really good health care…. he gave few details of his vague plans to provide a better alternative to Obamacare.

Thanks to the Trump tax breaks, millionaires, including these senators, collectively saved an estimated $17.4 billion according to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation. The same men who pushed this law through, and their donors and backers likely even more so, also benefited immensely from it.

Remember when one of Trump’s few indicators that the economy is going great [even though, for example, there were constant job losses] was that the stock markets were climbing to record levels? Well, he has kept quiet – or at least not mention the stock market – as the Dow Jones sunk below 23,000. Nasdaq has dropped 20% since August 29th record high.

Actual witches would prefer if Trump stop using the phrase “Witch hunt”.

Hilarious but true, someone in Florida started a GoFundMe page to build the Trump Wall. In 6 days, almost $16 million was raised from 255,909 donors. The goal is $1 billion. Good luck there. [The total is slowing down a bit from close to 3 million per day for the first 4 days.]

In a recent Gallup poll, 38% approve of Trump’s work, 60% disapprove. The latter is the highest in almost a year. Approval of those aged 18-29, who went from 35% approval of Trump to 28%.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that found that 62% of respondents believe Trump has not been truthful about the Russia investigation.

And the resignations continue

Note: With the upcoming possible partial shutdown of the government coming Friday at midnight, I’ve decided to post some of the week’s news now and the remainder probably on Saturday after whether there is a shutdown or not.

James Mattis, Defense Secretary, is the latest to leave the administration. He resigned the day after Donald Trump surprised just about everyone with his withdrawal from Syria. Mattis was one of the many who didn’t like the decision. This will add to the list of vacancies to fill in addition to Senate approval for many of them.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote in a pointed two-page letter that he hand-delivered to Trump. Mattis rejects out of hand Trump’s “America First” foreign policy that had led to clashes with a slew of longtime allies — from Germany to Britain to Australia and back.

“We are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries,” tweeted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio  shortly after the news of Mattis’ resignation broke.

After Mattis, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be the latest to depart from the Trump administration at the end of the year. Trump tweeted “The Trump Administration will be announcing the new Secretary of the Interior next week.” Zinke became the fourth Cabinet member to leave under an ethical cloud, having sparked 17 investigations into his actions on the job, by one watchdog’s count.

One report has it that White House had been pushing Zinke to resign for weeks and that he was told he had until year’s end to leave or he would be fired. In a private resignation letter, Zinke blamed “vicious and politically motivated attacks” for his departure. The Justice Department is investigating Zinke for possibly using his office for personal gain following a referral from the Interior Department’s inspector general.

Another report describes suppression of science, denial of climate change, the silencing and intimidation of agency staff, and attacks on science-based laws that help protect our nation’s world-class wildlife and habitats.

So if you need to review, Mattis, Zinke, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, chief of staff John Kelly and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will all be out of the White House by early January at the latest and will need replacements and probably all but Sanders needs Senate approval.

Mick Mulvaney, the new interim Chief of Staff at the white House, like other administration and Republican politicians, have in the past objected to Trump’s politics and administration but still either work for him or side with him. At a November 2016 event in South Carolina, Mulvaney said “Do I like Donald Trump? No” but added that he was a better choice for president than Hillary Clinton and in a video said “…he’s a terrible human being.”

Trump and Rudy Giuliani used Twitter and television interviews to deliver a series of broadsides against special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York. Giuliani said he was “disgusted” by the tactics used by Mueller in his probe into Russian election interference, including in securing guilty pleas from the president’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on a charge of lying to federal investigators. Trump, Giuliani said, would not submit to an interview by Mueller’s team. Isn’t it legal still in the U.S. to make a plea deal?

“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started,” Trump tweeted. “They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!” Actually, the FBI executed a search warrant obtained from a judge in conducting a raid in April on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room and seizing records on a variety of matters, among them a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Cohen. The application for the warrant was approved high in the Justice Department.

Document shows Trump signed a letter of intent to move forward with negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Russia, despite Giuliani claiming the document was never signed. The documents are dated October 28, 2015, and bears Trump’s signature. It was a signed letter of intent that set the stage for negotiations for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property in the heart of Moscow.

“It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it,” Giuliani said in an interview. Trump repeatedly said during the 2016 presidential campaign that he had “nothing to do with Russia.” The deal would of gave Trump’s company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales and control over marketing and design. The deal also included an opportunity to name the hotel spa after Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

After almost two dramatic hours in a courtroom discussing his crimes, former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked to postpone his sentencing for several months so he can have more of an opportunity to cooperate in federal investigations and attempt to mitigate the judge’s disgust with his actions.

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents in a January 24, 2017 interview in the West Wing of the White House. Flynn and a former business associates are accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey.

After winning an auction to name a newly discovered blind amphibian, a British company chose Trump as the creature’s namesake, likening its behavior to Trump’s stance on climate change. Dermophis donaldtrumpi was discovered in Panama and has a propensity for burrowing its head in the ground.

Humor time: Looks like there could be a sequel to All The President’s Men. It will be called All The President’s Convicts.