Trump seem to have battles in multiple fronts this week

[And in some cases he opened his big mouth to start them.]

Donald Trump defended embattled Alabama Republican Roy Moore, all but endorsing the Senate candidate who has been accused of sexual assault. Trump is taking Moore’s word at it even with at least 8 accusers. One or two could be questionable. But 8?

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And look, you have to look at him also.” Now what he said is confusing. What happened in the past 48 hours? And the last sentence?

Isn’t this a bit of favoritism? The Alabama Secretary of State said that on the election day and on the web site, the state plans to hand out how to write in a candidate on the ballot? This is like putting up a poster at the polling booth and say to write in another candidate. The Alabama secretary of state is a Republican, BTW.

The former Alabama GOP chairman said polls are useless and probably more Democrats were polled. This after a Fox News [not even a left wing] poll said Democratic candidate Doug Jones has a 12% lead. Wonder what he would of said if it was the other way.

The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and The Huntsville Times [all part of the Alabama Media Group] all rejected Moore saying that “there is only one candidate left in this race who has proven worthy of the task of representing Alabama. He is Doug Jones.”

Trump has not campaigned for Moore but one of his minions claimed as if it was because of the accusations when this issue came up after he won the Republican primary. As Trump has avoid commenting about Moore, looks more like he isn’t trying to help him. I guess Trump really doesn’t think he needs that Senate seat.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders previously said “Like most Americans, the President believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life. The President also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.” First, who is saying he hasn’t done anything more recently? Because it is [say] over 20 years ago that it is past a certain statute of limitations? If so what is the difference between a judge [and Senate candidate] and say a celebrity that has been accused 20+ years ago?

Trump shot back at Lavar Ball, the father of one of the UCLA basketball players arrested in China, for belittling the President’s role in the students’ release. “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar [sic] Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted. “I should have left them in jail!”

Even Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, fire back saying “Wannabe @Lakers coach, BIG MOUTH @Lavarbigballer knows if it weren’t for President @realDonaldTrump, his son would be in China for a long, long, long time! #FACT.” Did Trump actually tweet that? Sounds like him. The three players did thank Trump at a press conference before Trump’s latest tweets. [Wow! Trump really likes to have his ego stroked.]

Trump said: “It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.” And of course Trump has to go at Ball directly in his tweet by tweeting after “Too bad! LaVar is just a poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.” And in another tweet, he ended with “Ungrateful fool!”

Apex Marketing Group said that Ball’s Big Baller Brand has received an estimated $13.2 million in advertisement as Trump and Ball exchanged barbs in recent days.

In another head scratcher, out of the blue, Trump tweeted “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is good for the Republican party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!” [I think most of us miss the 140 character tweet limit.]

Let’s break the tweet down. Clinton actually had more votes in the 2016 election than Trump and only lost by the way the electoral college is set up. In most countries, Clinton would of won the election. “She just can’t stop”. Stop what? She has been quiet. It is Trump that has been bring up the topic. Finally, Clinton has already stated she does not intend on running in 3 years.

Clinton did respond that Trump is “obsessed with my speaking out” and “between tweeting and golfing, how does he get anything done?”

Days ahead of what should be a major moment for Ivanka Trump on the world stage at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t sending a high-level delegation to support her amid reports of tensions between Tillerson and the White House. One source said “Rex doesn’t like the fact that he’s supposed to be our nation’s top diplomat, and Jared [Kushner] and now Ivanka have stepped all over Rex Tillerson for a long time.”

It is said that this not related to his key project of slashing the Department’s budget. No one higher than the deputy assistant secretary is allowed to participate. The secretary and his top staff have insisted on approving all travel. Tillerson won’t send someone senior because they don’t want to bolster Ivanka.

Speaking to five branches of the military serving overseas via satellite from Mar-a-Lago, Trump highlighted how the US military is “really winning” since he took office. “We know how to win, but we have to let you win. You weren’t winning before. They were letting you play even. We want to let you win,” Trump said, referencing the Obama administration. If you can figure what he said, good luck.

Problem is that while ISIS is on the run, it seems to be the Russians who did the brunt of the work.

[Note that I am not being negative to the military. I stand by them. I am more against the continuous exaggeration and taking credit by Trump.]

In his Thanksgiving speech, Trump said [among other things]:

  • “I still haven’t figured out how people take their boats out into a hurricane.” – I think no one would, except him.
  • “You saved 16,000 lives — nobody knows that — 16,000 lives.” – No one knows what that figure is about or came from. The Coast Guard did say they rescued 11,000 during Hurricane Harvey.
  • “But if you were looking at it as a brand, there’s no brand that went up more than the Coast Guard, with what happened in Texas.” – As if the “brand” is like Nike, Reebok or others. You can’t buy the Coast Guard – hopefully.
  • “I don’t know — I mean, they go out in a boat and they think, I guess, they’re — you know, they’ve got a wonderful boat, they’ve had it for years, it can weather anything.” – You scratching your head? I am.
  • “And it’s nice that you’re working for something that’s really starting to work.” – Another scratcher but I think he’s trying to say, they didn’t work under Obama but will with him. Need a Star Trek type Universal Translator to speak “Trump”.
  • “You know, when we sell to other countries, even if they’re allies — you never know about an ally. An ally can turn.” – That should help in selling American goods.

Remember those tax returns Trump didn’t want to be released claiming that he was being audited? Well, now the IRS has securely locked away those tax physical records in a vault. Very few have access. So what is he [or they] hiding?

Michael Flynn’s lawyers have told other defense lawyers in the ongoing Russia probe, including President Donald Trump’s legal team, that they’re no longer able to share information. The source added that the decision to cease informal information-sharing could be an indication Flynn is preparing to plead guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump said on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t have time to golf [“never see them (his golf courses) again”]. Well, as of November 24th, he has spent roughly a quarter of his first year in office at the golf courses.

Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said “we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through” less than a week after Conway said that “no Senate seat is worth more than a child” in the wake of a series of sexual allegations against Moore. So getting the tax bill is more important than this alleged sexual harasser? [Although by the way this tax bill is going, whomever wins the Senate seat will be voting on it a few times next year.]

Trump tweeted “ObamaCare premiums are going up, up, up, just as I have been predicting for two years. ObamaCare is OWNED by the Democrats, and it is a disaster. But do not worry. Even though the Dems want to Obstruct, we will Repeal & Replace right after Tax Cuts!” So he’s not twinning Obamacare and his tax bill now?

Trump slammed Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, calling his political career “toast” after he was caught on mic criticizing Trump and Moore at an event a couple of nights prior. [Why so long in the delay?] Flake was fielding questions about the Republican tax reform plan and a possible 2020 run against Trump when the incident occurred.

Trump said “Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls)” Again, like previous times, Flake is stepping away as Senator, not because of “anemic” pools [how did Trump spell “anemic” right?]. But his polls are as anemic as Trump’s.

After photographs surfaced showing Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch standing during the Mexican national anthem and sitting during the US national anthem at a game against the New England Patriots in Mexico City, Trump called for his suspension and he had to add “Attendance and ratings way down”. Now you know of course attendance and ratings have dropped but Trump is as usual exaggerating. Of course the Raiders’ owner is probably laughing right now since it is unlikely that the NFL Players Association would allow that.

[Of course it is a rule for him to criticize anything he doesn’t like and then give some incorrect or exaggerated facts. The same in reverse when he praises something.]

Trump criticized a reported proposal that would ask NFL players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem rather than kneeling. “That’s almost as bad as kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league!” Until 2009, players weren’t asked to be on the sidelines for the anthem.

Days later he added for no apparent reason “Can you believe that the disrespect for our Country, our Flag, our Anthem continues without penalty to the players. The Commissioner has lost control of the hemorrhaging league. Players are the boss!”

Trump had said previously he would push Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad out of office a number of times. But it looks like you can add this as another failure as Al-Assad’s military who once controlled just 19% of Syria a couple of months ago, now controls at least 50% of Syria including most of the major Syrian cities.

“Today the United States is designating the North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump said. So after his name calling and threats, he only now decided to do it. 10 months into office. Trump said that North Korea has “repeatedly” sponsored acts of terrorism, including “assassinations on foreign soil.”

A former director of the US Office of Government Ethics says he filed an official complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for what he argues was a violation of the Hatch Act after she attacked GOP Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore’s opponent on television.

“I found the video. She’s standing In front of the White House. It seems pretty clear she was appearing in her official capacity when she advocated against a candidate,” said Walter Shaub.

 

Advertisements

Trump vs Comey – round 1

Former FBI Director James Comey accused the Trump administration of spreading “lies, plain and simple” about him and the FBI in the aftermath of his abrupt firing. Comey declared that the administration “defamed him and more importantly the FBI” by claiming the bureau was in disorder under his leadership.

Trump demanded his “loyalty” and directly pushed him to “lift the cloud” of investigation by declaring publicly Trump was not the target of the FBI probe into his campaign’s Russia ties.” Trump, in a strange private encounter near the grandfather clock in the Oval Office, pushed Comey to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He did this after asking everyone else to leave the Oval Office.

“The Russians interfered,” Comey stated firmly. “That happened. It’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.”

Comey was also asked if he believed he was fired because of the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election as well as Russia’s ties with Trump’s campaign. “Yes,” Comey said. “Because I’ve seen the president say so.”

The White House had said that Comey was fired for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, while Trump said in an interview that Comey was fired in relation to the Russian hacking probe. Both are odd. If you believe the White house, why did he stay around when Trump took over. As for Trump’s reason, you could say Trump either wasn’t happy with the direction or was not going his way.

Comey said that Trump told him: “I hope you could see your way to letting [national security adviser Michael] Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey testified Thursday that he took that as “direction” from the president, even though Trump did not explicitly order him to drop the investigation into Flynn.

The RNC and other Trump allies worked feverishly to lessen any damage from the hearing, trying to undermine Comey’s credibility by issuing press releases and even ads pointing to a past instance where the FBI had had to clean up the director’s testimony to Congress.

Trump’s defenders argued that it supported Trump’s claims that the former FBI chief had told him three times that he was not personally being investigated in the Russia probe – according to their interpretations. Trump also continues to deny the allegations. Fine, but it sounds like Trump may have meddled in the investigation.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted if something was wrong, why didn’t he stop accepting contacts with his father. The obvious answer is that Trump is his boss and you don’t ignore him.

A pair of Democrats in Congress are drafting up articles of impeachment against Trump, saying that his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey constitutes an obstruction of justice.

Comey said he had never felt the need to document his conversations with former presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush [Comey served as deputy U.S. attorney general during the Bush administration].

Trump had contacted Comey 9 times within 4 months compared to 2 times when Barrack Obama was president.

Various bars, at least around Washington, were having hosting “Comey Viewing Parties”.

House and Senate investigators fired off a series of requests after Comey’s testimony, seeking memos of his private discussions with Trump and any records the White House kept of their discussion including audio recordings.

Meanwhile, Trump said he was willing to testify under oath about his conversations with Comey.

After the London attacks, Trump tweeted “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'” But as usually he took things out of context. Mayor Sadiq Khan was actually informing Londoners not to be alarmed by the increased police presence in the city following the attack.

Trump then tweeted the day after that that Khan had offered a “pathetic excuse” and “had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement.” What about thinking? Such a diplomat.

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne The Witch Conway condemned what she called the media’s “obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.” So what has he done again since he took office besides tweet?

Trump [or someone handling his Twitter account] started to block Twitter accounts that are unfriendly to Trump. Press Secretary Sean Garlic Spicer said Trump’s tweets from his personal account are considered official White House statements. Some legal experts say, raises First Amendment concerns about what Trump is doing. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University says it’ll consider a lawsuit if Trump doesn’t unblock Twitter users. If Trump’s tweets are considered official White House statements then is a designated public forum. Some of the tweeters claim they were block for something as simple of a joke about covfefe.

According to White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka, on Trump’s tweets he says “It’s not policy. It’s social media.” So whatever Trump tweets are not official? Or official depending on the tweet.

Trump finally came around to blast Qatar for supporting terrorism. Trump said Arab leaders he met with in Saudi Arabia last month had urged him to confront Qatar over its behavior. If so, why did it take him close to a week to come out and say something. Did Arab leaders really ask him? He said Qatar had “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.” Wonder how things will continue as Qatar hosts some 10,000 U.S. troops and a major U.S. air base.

Trump still pushing for his “travel ban” after being blocked twice. This time he will try the Supreme Court. He then tweets “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” He has also hinted that UK wouldn’t of had the recent attacks if they had “extreme vetting” [does anyone know what that really entails?] but how many of them were born in the UK?

Even The Witch‘s husband, George Conway, who declined a justice job [claiming family reasons], tweeted out against Trump’s ban.

Seems like lack of diplomacy doesn’t fall far from the tree. After saying critics of his father are “not even people” in an interview on Fox, Eric Trump calls DNC chairman Tom Perez “a total wackjob.” Trump says Democrats “have no message of their own” and are “imploding”. Yup, a chip off the old block when it comes to exaggerations.

Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord could hit his family hard in the future. The Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the soaring apartment towers bearing his name on Miami-area beaches and his Doral golf course are all threatened by rising seas, according to projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. The same goes for other low-lying South Florida properties such as his beloved National Doral Miami golf course. Other properties near water include The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, his golf course in Ireland, Vancouver, Panama City, Uruguay and India.

As a photo op, Trump met two families while in Cincinnati who were hit with rising health care costs. He called them “ObamaCare victims” in a tweet. They may not have any coverage with TrumpCare as experts estimate that over 20 million Americans will be off the government plan. As well, Trump spoke in Cincinnati at a marina, with a barge carrying West Virginia coal behind him.

In a meeting, Trump “joked” that Jared Kushner, who is married to his daughter Ivanka and also serves as a White House strategist, has “become much more famous than me,” adding: “I’m a little bit upset about that.” Turn the calendar back about a few months ago. He said “He’s become more famous than me” about FBI director James Comey. A month later, Comey was fired.

Scratching you head time: If true Jared Kushner suggested that it would be better if to contact the Russian government, it would be better to do it from the Russian embassy. If so, the US has no proof or documentation [or recording] of what was said. This goes against US laws which require government communication needs to be recorded.

Like many, President Barrack Obama would not use Trump’s name at a speech in Montreal this week. For example, he said “Obviously I’m disappointed with the current American administration’s decision to pull out of Paris,” when asked about the Trump’s administration to leave the accord. He continued to elude Trump’s name when he said “In an age of instant information, where TV and Twitter can feed us a steady stream of bad news — and sometimes fake news….”

Remember how Trump was boasting following his Saudi Arabia part of his trip that he has deals worth $110 billion signed? Not really. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but no contracts signed. With the drop in oil prices, Saudi Arabia are even cutting back on military purchases.

The family and close friends have repeatedly ask Trump to dial back or tone down his tweeting as it is costing him [what’s left of his] respectability.

In another sign that the economy doesn’t like the administration, Ford is offering 15,000 employees money to leave the company. If not, they’ll probably lay off many.

On March 11, 45% of Americans approved of the job Donald Trump was doing in Gallup’s daily tracking poll. The latest Gallup track on June 3 put Trump’s job approval at a dismal 36% — a single percentage point away from the lowest ebb of his time in the White House. (On March 28, Trump’s job approval was at 35%.) A Quinnipiac University poll released in late May put Trump’s job approval at 37%. A Monmouth poll conducted in mid-May put Trump’s job approval at 39%. In comparison, President Obama was at 61% in the Gallup tracking poll in early June 2009. George W. Bush was at 55% in Gallup at this time in 2001.

Since 1946, according to Gallup, when a president’s job approval rating is above 50%, the average number of seats his party loses in a midterm election is 14. When a president’s job approval rating is below 50%? Try an average 36-seat loss.

 

Can Trump do nothing and still cause problems?

We’ll see. Trump is off to the Middle East and Europe.

Trump asked James Comey to end the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a request documented in a memo written by the former FBI director. According to Comey’s memo, Trump said “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” This is obstruction of justice.

At one point, Trump claimed that he fired Comey on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Previously he said he would fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation. But Rosenstein said Trump was ready to fire Comey prior to the release of Comey’s memo.

Meanwhile, Russian officials bragged in conversations during the presidential campaign that they had cultivated a strong relationship with former Trump adviser retired Gen. Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Donald Trump and his team.

Flynn told Russia’s ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak, that the Trump administration would look favorably on a decision by Russia to hold off on retaliating with its own sanctions. The next day, Putin said he wouldn’t retaliate. Flynn also told Kislyak that the incoming Trump administration would revisit US sanctions on Russia once in office.

Trump bragged to two top Russian officials last week that firing “nut job” Comey eased “great pressure” on him.

Trump lashed out at the appointment of a special counsel to investigate allegations that his campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election, saying that it is “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” But the day before, he was happy for the investigation to once and for all clear him. The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the investigation. Mueller will have sweeping powers and the authority to prosecute any crimes he uncovers. Maybe Trump has a change of heart because of Mueller.

The announcement was made by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The White House counsel’s office was alerted only after the order appointing Mueller was signed. Mueller has butted heads with the White House previously. Mueller is a lawman with deep bipartisan respect.

Trump tweeted “With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!” He did not provide examples or evidence of any alleged “illegal acts” as usual. And another piece of evidence that he can’t spell.

First reactions from Congress were mainly positive. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee are among the Republicans who welcome Mueller. We will see if they have a change of heart in the upcoming months.

The author of Trump’s controversial travel ban, Stephen Miller, which targeted people from six-majority Muslim countries, is the principal speechwriter for the President’s speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the US in a White House meeting last week. Two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed. Supposedly the information Trump leaked came from Israel regarding using laptops on bombs on airlines. CNN was cautioned by Trump administration officials not to report certain details about the threat, including the city in which the intel was collected. Trump later revealed that city in a meeting with Russians.

Vladimir Poutine has said that Russia is ready to provide US Congress with a transcript of the talks between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. One has to wonder why the Russians recorded the conversation [we’ll assume without Trump’s knowledge] and whether the tapes could be doctored. How would it look if Trump allowed Putin to defend him? Is this Russia meddling in US affairs? Poutine dismissed outrage over Trump’s disclosures as U.S. politicians whipping up “anti-Russian sentiment” for being either “stupid” or “dangerous” and “political schizophrenia”.

Trump contradicted his aides-and confirmed on Twitter that he had indeed shared sensitive information: “As President I wanted to share with Russia which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”

The disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk and Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol.

Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence in last week’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. An excerpt to an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” he said.

Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information. And him?

A senior White House official was asked would accelerate President Trump’s demands for a crackdown on national security leaks, the aide simply replied, “Oh, definitely.”

A senior Trump appointee involved in counter-ISIS policymaking said “I miss candidate Trump. Now he’s just a pathetic mess.” Another former FBI official said “I think he shared because he thinks he’s playing chess when he’s actually playing checkers. International affairs is not like buying a golf course.”

A former FBI official said “He thinks he’s arranging some business deal except that he’s not.”

In front of United States Coast Guard Academy graduates [a good place to mix politics, eh?], Trump complained that ” No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Wonder how he knows? Maybe he’ll sue the government and ask for compensation. Some in the crowd wore “Make America Great Again” hats. Wonder if his people gave them out – hats that weren’t sold in November.

In the same speech, he said “We’ve saved the second amendment,” he said, after touting his work on immigration, job creation and tax reform. What did he do again?

As of May 11, Trump’s odds of being impeached during his first term were sitting at a whopping 60 percent. The odds are part of a host of “Donald Trump Specials” offered by the Irish betting house Paddy Power. (Vegas doesn’t let you bet on anything but sports.) It includes bets that Trump will be impeached for treason (6/1 odds) and on who his next FBI Director will be (Trey Gowdy leads with 4/7 odds). On the more soothing side, Paddy Power has 13/8 odds — 38 percent — that Steve Bannon will be the next one fired from the White House.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said the wave of negative stories related to Trump and intelligence meant the White House is in a “downward spiral.” Republican Susan Collins, a Maine senator, said “Can we have a crisis-free day? That’s all I’m asking.”

Republican Senator John McCain said that the recent developments had reached “Watergate size and scale” and if Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, then it is “deeply disturbing.”

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, said simply, “It would be helpful to have less drama emanating from the White House.”

In my previous blog, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that FBI employees had “lost confidence” in James Comey go. But former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who works with the FBI, says FBI employees at the FBI were shocked.

In a letter sent to Republican and Democrat Congress and Senate leaders, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that Trump “intends to initiate negotiations with Canada and Mexico regarding modernization” of NAFTA. The letter gives Canada and Mexico a 90-day notice before the negotiations could begin.

Nonpartisan congressional research concluded in 2015 that NAFTA had not caused an exodus of jobs, nor was it a major job creator. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, 14 million US jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico. Exports and imports between the three countries have boomed since NAFTA became law in 1994.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program promises to cancel any remaining student debt for those who work for the government or non-profits if they have been making on-time payments for 10 years. Many teachers, public defenders, Peace Corps workers, and law enforcement officers fit the qualifications. This numbers 400,000 student loans with some exceeding $300,000 in debt. The median borrower in the program has more than $60,000 in student debt and almost 30% of them have more than $100,000 in debt.  The Department of Education is planning to propose ending the program. Another cut from the Trump administration.

Trump signed his long-awaited executive order on cyber security, laying out his plans for addressing security in federal IT and across US infrastructure. The most ambitious mandate was that all federal IT systems move to the cloud.

One of Trump’s new surrogates, Conrad Black, looks like is defending Trump for Canadians. Black is a billionaire Canadian who spent time in prison related to 8 counts of fraud. Black also said that James Comey was not likable at the FBI.

Trump claims his book The Art of the Deal [out since 1987], is “the No. 1 selling business book of all time.” While hard to put business books in a specific category [since an biography such as the book Steve Jobs is business related], Trump’s book sold an estimated 1 million copies. In comparison, the Steve Jobs book sold 3 million copies and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People sold at least 10 million copies.

Trump is taking credit for a phrase. For “prime the pump” he said ” I just… came up with it a couple days ago and I thought it was good”. It actually dates back to 1933.

A bill called Stop Waste and Misuse by the President (SWAMP) Act, states that Trump’s travel “results in the American taxpayer effectively subsidizing the president’s businesses.” The bill would also require that Trump reimburse the government for Secret Service costs derived from visits to his properties.

As the $6 million in “campaign funds” that Trump spent in the first quarter of 2017, $500,000 was directed right back into Trump-owned hotels, restaurants and golf clubs. In total, since the start of his campaign, over $14 million has been funneled back into Trump-owned properties.

Congress is set to approve $61 million to reimburse local police departments for protecting Trump and the first family when they travel outside of Washington. Most of it will head to New York as Melania and Barron are there. New York estimates it spends between $127,000 to $146,000 a day to protect the first family when Trump is not in town, and more than $308,000 a day when he visits.

The Trump administration is discontinuing a signature girls education initiative, “Let Girls Learn”, championed by former first lady Michelle Obama, according to officials. Also being modified is Michelle Obama’s lunch program. [Make America Fat Again?]
There are 238 members of the House Republican conference, and just 21 of them are women (that’s less than 9%). As for Democrats in the House, 62 of the 193 members are women (that’s 32%).

Bebe Stores [168 stores across Canada and the US with unknown number of employees] will close its stores in May adding to the other store chains that are closing stores [Macys, Sears and JC Penney among others] and those that want news owners [Neiman Marcus and Staples among others]. Trump won’t take credit but I’m sure he’ll blame the Democrats. Ford will cut roughly 9600 jobs in the US. Let’s see if Trump can save them and at what cost to taxpayers.

“South Koreans are more concerned that Trump, rather than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will make a rash military move, because of his outrageous tweets, threats of force and unpredictability,” said an intellectual from South Korea.

Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, said he was arrested at the West Virginia State Capitol after trying to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price a question about the House-passed healthcare bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Dictatorship?

As if Trump has nothing else to butt in, he tweeted “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader.” Manning stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks and served 7 years before being pardoned by Obama. Ungrateful because she went after Obama even though Obama released her. Wow. Trump defending Obama.

 

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.