45*’s week in review

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is willing to testify before federal and congressional investigators in their ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the US elections, but only if he is granted immunity. Both Flynn and Donald Trump commented about how various Hillary Clinton associates received immunity and with Flynn saying “when you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.” Trump doesn’t even mind if Flynn testifies. If you want immunity then you probably did something wrong. But why Trump would let it happen?

Meanwhile, Sean “Garlic” Spicer continues to claim that internal “leaks” [i.e. those anonymous sources] are more important to find than verifying if Russia did hack the country’s democracy. Sure.

Democrats are calling on Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from an investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, widening a stunning partisan split over the probe. CNN reported that Nunes visited the White House grounds one day before going to the President with evidence that his transition aides’ communications were picked up in surveillance by US intelligence.

Garlic says that Trump has stopped commenting about the wiretapping that happened before the election but at any time. And now it is “surveillance”.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is possibly in a bit of trouble as he met with the chairman of a Russian state-run bank, Sergey Gorkov, in December. VneshEconomBank [or VEB] has been under US sanctions for almost 3 years. He was appointed to his job by Russian President Vladimir Putin after eight years at Russia’s biggest state-owned commercial bank. The meeting is raising questions both because of the sanctions and because Kushner spent years as a real-estate developer and was trying to attract financing for a building project of his in Manhattan. VEB confirmed the meeting with Kushner, though described Kushner in his role as head of Kushner Companies, not as a representative of Trump.

Trump signed a sweeping executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency, which officials said looks to curb the federal government’s enforcement of climate regulations by putting American jobs above addressing climate change. The order initiates a review of the Clean Power Plan and rescinds the moratorium on coal mining on US federal lands. Specifically, the order rescinds at least six Obama-era executive orders aimed at curbing climate change and regulating carbon emissions.

“I will also cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama/Clinton,” Trump said in October 2016. Bill Clinton’s administration is 20 years old. Hillary had Secretary of State – nothing really to do with the environment directly.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who routinely sued the EPA, argued incorrectly that carbon dioxide isn’t the “primary contributor” to climate change, a comment that goes against most scientific research. So if coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, is bad for them, wouldn’t it be bad for the environment?
“They [coal miners] have not been treated well, but they’re going to be treated well now” said Trump in March. Yup with higher healthcare costs due to CWP.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt said the executive order signed by Trump will undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants. The 2015 rule has been on hold since last year while a federal appeals court considers a challenge by coal-friendly Republican-led states and more than 100 companies. Pruitt himself has sued the EPA numerous times before becoming the EPA head.

Meanwhile, the amount of coal miner jobs have been decreasing for the last decades under many Democrat and Republican presidents. In addition, various environmental groups are ready to take the government to court.

Steven Mnuchin is under fire promoting Lego Batman as a producer of the movie as he indirectly promoted his movie against ethics laws.

The House voted to block online privacy regulations issued during the final months of the Obama administration, a first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell the browsing habits of their customers.

After the Trumpcare disaster, Trump blamed the Democrats but now is putting [some of] the blame on at least a couple of conservative group who voted mostly against Trumpcare. Trump said he believes moderate Democrats could help him in the future. Good luck there.

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” tweeted Trump as the Freedom Caucus was one of the guilty parties behind Trumpcare’s failure. The tweet represented a bold strike against the most conservative members of the House GOP coalition, who often come from safe districts and are frequently impervious to pressure from party leaders.

Trump, has reacted to the defeat of health care by predicting that Democrats will be willing to work with him down the road, especially if Obamacare spirals into decline. In his dreams.

Congress must pass and Trump must sign a spending bill that authorizes federal funding to succeed a current temporary spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, the current version of which expires on April 28. If not, there could be a government shutdown on April 29th – Trump’s 100th day in office. Once again, the GOP could be split along the same lines as the Obamacare repealing failure.

More complications if the GOP use the “nuclear option” confirmation of Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch to changing Senate rules to get around a Senate filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. Such a step would inflame passions even more in polarized Washington and likely leave Democrats even more resistant to crossing the aisle and working with Trump.

According to a report, the White House approved almost $1 billion to build 48 miles of a new wall on the border with Mexico and to replace another 14 miles. Considering these pieces of the wall are in areas [Rio Grande Valley region, San Diego] where it is mostly easy to move equipment to, I wonder what the price tag will be like in areas in the wilderness where there is no roads nearby or even a town.

It cost the NYPD and the New York City Fire Department a combined total of $25.7 million to protect President Trump‘s family, private home and office for the 75 days between Election Day and Inauguration Day [about $343,000 per day].

The U.S. Secret Service has also requested an additional $60 million in funding for the next year — $26.8 million of which would go toward guarding President Trump’s family and Trump Tower home [about $74,000 per day].

Finally, each weekend costs an extra $3.3 million per weekend [about $1.1 million per day] to protect Trump (and family) at the Mar-A-Lago location.

While campaigning in 2016 Trump claimed that “I don’t have time” for golf if President. Spicer has defended Trump’s golfing habit by citing the time he hosted the Japanese leader, arguing Trump utilized golf to “foster deeper relations.” And the other 12 times he has golfed [as of the end of March]?

A spokeswoman for the Washington Nationals said that the White House said Trump would not be at next week’s game at Nationals Park against the Miami Marlins because of a scheduling conflict. This breaks a tradition that was started in 1910 where the President through the first pitch to start the baseball season.

Wow! Despite President Donald Trump’s lack of evidence for his claim that millions of votes were cast illegally in last year’s election, some of his supporters are standing by the conspiracy theory. One New Hampshire Trump voter, said he saw “busloads of people” coming into New Hampshire to vote illegally. He did not provide specific details or evidence, but said he thought they were either undocumented immigrants or US citizens coming from other states. Another said he saw cars with out-of-state license plates full of people coming to vote, though he couldn’t provide any more details about them.

Katie Walsh, the White House’s deputy chief of staff, has left the administration but joined a nonprofit group supporting the President’s agenda. Second staff member to exit after disgraced Michael Flynn.

Not surprising LGBQ will not be an option in the next census due in 2020.
Although unknown which model, Trump finally switched to an iPhone but he may still have his Galaxy S3.

While there was a settlement approved in November after the election, where student should get about 90% of their fees back, a Trump university student/victim doesn’t want to settle until she sees Trump in court. The court still has yet to approve the settlement.

Two polls released recently asked Republican voters if what Trump said was true about the wiretapping and 60% believe him. “Trump would have never said that [Obama wiretapped him] unless it was true. That’s too much of a gamble for him to take. His reputation, you know?” said a senior in Ohio. Reputation? Trump?

A group of Democratic members of Congress are playing the clever acronym game again. One of the latest to be introduced and to target the Trump administration: the “Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act.” Yes, the “MAR-A-LAGO Act.”

The legislation would require the publication of White House visitor logs, something that was done regularly by the Obama administration but has since ended since President Trump took office. It would also mandate the release of visitor logs at other locations where the president conducts business — for example, Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort that he has recently called the Southern White House.

After claiming she would be one of the most photographed people in the world after threatening any media from claiming she was a high priced escort, she rarely steps outside of Trump tower in New York. Even at gatherings [from a White House luncheon to celebrate International Women’s Day to reading a Dr. Seuss book at a school], the media have been ordered to leave the premises when she speaks [hiding her accent?].

The hashtag #FreeMelania is now a pillar of Twitter-speak, while questions about the Trumps’ marriage inspire headlines such as “Melania’s Struggle,” an Us Weekly yarn that claimed the first lady is “secretly miserable.”

After Melania finally did something as First Lady by doing a keynote speech at a conference empowering women, her hubby claims her polling numbers went through the roof. Of course there wasn’t any poll. Of course he could have been joking. [She probably would have better polling numbers than he does and she’s basically done almost nothing.]

If you walk into Trump Tower in New York, you can find Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line is on display in the lobby. Visitors can find books, coffee mugs and after-shave lotion bearing the name and visage of him. Can imagine what they charge.

While campaigning in 2016 Trump claimed that “I don’t have time” for golf if elected president. Spicer has defended Trump’s golfing habit by citing the time he hosted the Japanese leader, arguing Trump utilized golf to “foster deeper relations.” And the other 12 times he has golfed [as of the end of March]?

[Note: “45*” is the 45th President of the United States. The asterisk is borrowed from the days when Roger Maris had an asterisk besides his name (for some) when he beat Babe Ruth’s then homerun record in a season but played more games to do it.]

 

Another typical Trump week

The Justice Department warned the Trump administration last month that Michael Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians. Flynn would later apologized.

The concern was raised after Flynn claimed he did not discuss with the Russian ambassador the sanctions being imposed by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russia’s interference in the election. Flynn was not yet in government. Flynn spoke to the ambassador on the same day Barrack Obama announced sanctions for Russia meddling in the US elections.

The message was delivered by then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Other top intelligence officials, including James Clapper and John Brennan, were in agreement the White House should be alerted about the concerns.

The chief of the propaganda department, Kellyanne Conway, stated just hours before Flynn’s resignation that Trump had full confidence of his National security adviser. So who was right?

Spicer first said Flynn was fired by Trump and then said Flynn resigned. Spicer blamed the Department of Justice for sitting so long even though Trump knew of Flynn’s mistake for almost 3 weeks. Flynn himself had the shorted time as National Security Advisor at 24 days – typical average is 2.5 years.

Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice-president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, citing a slow but steady erosion of trust, White House officials said.

Trump slammed intelligence officials and the media over what he called “very, very unfair” treatment of his ousted national security adviser Flynn. How else do you treat him. In addition, so he is again criticizing the CIA, NSA and others – the same departments that he just recently praised. I’m sure he is not going after the right wing media as they seem to be the only media he will take questions from.

Trump also accused holdovers from the Obama administration of leaking out information about his alleged contacts with Moscow to hammer his administration. No proof, of course.

“The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred.” He added that the news reporting was “merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign.” She lost 3 months ago. Get over it. You think they’ll still be covering up things in 2 years?

Meanwhile, Trump also wants to go after the people who leaked the documents that got Flynn sacked. Of course we know that nothing will ever come out of it because there will not be any investigation. It will just be another part of Trump’s arsenal where he can whine about, to reflect blame, etc.

Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down Trump’s offer to be national security adviser replacing Flynn.

As well, the FBI is not expected to pursue any charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn regarding a phone call with Russia’s ambassador, barring new information that changes what they know.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said that firing Flynn for his contacts with Russia is “not just paranoia but something even worse.” I guess they wanted him so he can be blackmailed.

Conway got a verbal spanking when she promoted Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. One of the rules state that senior government employees cannot promote and product. Conway was pushing Ivanka’s brand after the Nordstrom shopping chain dropped her brand. Normally anyone who violates the rule is let go. She wasn’t.

At his news conference Trump claimed he had the “biggest Electoral College win since Reagan”. Nope. President Obama won 332 electoral votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008. President Clinton got 379 in 1996 and 370 in 1992. The first President Bush received 426 in 1988. Trump couldn’t even get his total right. He said 306 when he got 302. Can’t remember 3 long months ago?

He also claimed that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had “set a record” of being overturned by the Supreme Court 80% of the time. In fact, the Supreme Court overturned 87% of the cases by the 6th Circuit Court and 85% by the 11th Circuit during the same period.

A year ago candidate Trump was whining that Boeing would close their South Carolina plant and move it to China. The plant is still there and Trump is there to tell Boeing to add more jobs.

After hiring 6 foreign workers in December, Trump Vineyard Estates LLC [owned by son Eric] wants to hire another 23 foreign workers. Here’s another kicker. The winery is using H-2 visa program – when allowed to bring in foreign workers when no American workers can do the job. Huh? You bring in someone high in the scientific field for a H-2 visa. Not someone to pick grapes or drive a tractor.

Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination as Labour Secretary because of his past. Quite a few Republicans wouldn’t approve of his nomination.

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said that he’d like to see the U.S. Embassy in Israel moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but noted that “we’re looking at it with great care.” That sounds a bit more like a bit of a reversal of his election campaign where he said he would move the embassy if elected. Another campaign promise out the window.

Supposedly, Trump may have blabbed about some top secret information at a supper he was at [I would assume with some people who didn’t have a proper level of clearance]. No. It wasn’t at McDonalds.

Trump said that he will do “everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism.” Problem is that the right [who voted him in] is more known to be anti-Semitic, anti-Islam and just racist than the left [think Fascism, KKK, etc.] Trump notes that he won 306 [not 302] electoral votes and fostered “tremendous enthusiasm” during his campaign. But some ugliness also appeared during his campaign and even now.

Trump his still using his unsupported [and outdated] Samsung Galaxy S3 [not made in the US, BTW] for his tweeting and Email. He is using it even though he was given a more secure phone to use. Two US senators have filed a letter [complaint?] to the US Department of Defense Secretary.

“I do get good ratings”, Trump said at a rare news conference. He’s looking for TV ratings?

“I inherited a mess. It’s a mess. At home and abroad, a mess.” Huh? It’s only a mess since he became the Commander in Tweet.

Trump continues to invent things that didn’t exist or was incorrect. Trump is even posting on Instagram with a quote from Abe Lincoln that were never attributed to Lincoln. And it wasn’t surprising that already someone investigated the quote.

Spicer said the recent Yemen raid was “obviously a huge success” and that “anyone who suggests it was not a success does a disservice” to William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL who was killed during the mission. That turned heads. Using his death for political reasons.

Recently, Spicer was scrutinized for saying, on three separate occasions over two days, that there was an unspecified terror attack in Atlanta. There wasn’t. They were in Orlando.

It seems that even Trump “is disappointed in Spicer’s performance during the first two weeks of the administration.” I’m sure both will deny that.

Spicer has repeatedly called for individual journalists to apologize for mistakes. Many of the White House correspondents aren’t too happy with him from day one.

Joining the Department of Propaganda is Stephen Miller. He claimed that Trump has done more in his 3 weeks of office than most presidents in their entire term.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visited Trump this past week. Seems that Trump feels the portion of the NAFTA deal with Canada won’t be tweaked/modified much compared to the US/Mexico portion of the deal.

Trudeau did get big brownie points when he presented a framed picture of Trump with Justin’s father [Pierre Elliot Trudeau] at a gala in 1981 when Trump spoke as the elder Trudeau was awarded a family man of the year award in New York. In addition Trump also got a Canadian made sculpture with the rock itself coming from Cleveland.

Spicer called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Joe Trudeau. A few cartoon images have since appeared.

joe_trudeau

Of the 19 hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, 15 were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon. Yet none of these countries were listed in the executive order. With the exception of Lebanon, Trump has business interests in all those other countries plus Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Woops. At least 6 players of the Super Bowl winners, New England Patriots, are saying they will not visit the white House and Trump. The Patriots’ owners a good friend of Trump. See if he changes any mind.