The ever revolving White House employment door

Is Attorney General William Barr the next to be given a pink slip by the ever revolving White Houses human resources department? More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials who served in Republican as well as Democratic administrations posted a statement calling on Barr to resign.

“Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice,” the officials wrote in a statement.

Even with all the hot water Barr has endured, he is ordering a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including that of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Barr had also been pressing for a sentence for Flynn that would spare him from prison.

In recent months, Flynn changed lawyers and has waged a campaign to portray himself as a victim of malicious prosecutors. He is asking a judge to dismiss his case or allow him to change his plea to not guilty. Flynn’s new counsel, has included unfounded conspiracy theories in the counsel’s filings and accused Robert Mueller of suppressing exculpatory evidence and scheming against Flynn for political purposes. Flynn has said under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors with the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are considering whether to charge Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and at least one of his business partners with misleading potential investors for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company that paid Giuliani $500,000. That payment to Giuliani for work with Fraud Guarantee came just as Parnas and an associate began helping Giuliani arrange meetings in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

In the case of Fraud Guarantee, investigators have focused on the marketing pitch, specifically examining whether the men duped investors about the value of the company and how they intended to use the proceeds, the people familiar with the investigation say.

US intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost Trump’s re-election. But Donald Trump’s Republican allies on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee questioned the assessment presented by officials of the Office of National Intelligence.

Trump rebuked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing his staff to appear before the committee and he was replacing Maguire on an acting basis with Richard Grenell, a strong Trump loyalist who has served as ambassador to Germany since 2018. Grenell has no experience in the intelligence community.

So here we go again. Over 3 years of Trump thinking [or otherwise] that the country thinks he won the election because of election interference from Russia and it is starting again before the elections. And again, Trump prefers not to believe his own intelligence agencies or maybe he thinks friend [or master] Russia President Vladimir Poutine would never do this or maybe he wants Russia to help him.

And yet, the US, UK, and Georgia [the country] accused the Russian military of being behind a major 2019 cyber-attack on Georgia that disrupted “several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.”

Trump’s acting [aren’t they really all?] chief of staff Mick Mulvaney railed against the so-called “deep state” during an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK recently. Federal workers are not in their jobs to “make decisions” and should quit if they disagree with Trump’s agenda. Damn, if workers followed that, there would be huge government openings.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has sentenced Roger Stone, an adviser and friend to Trump, to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for the President’s 2016 campaign. Stone also receive two-years probation on each count, running concurrently.

“Roger has a very good case for exoneration in my opinion” said Trump after the sentence was handed down. Of course, he will decide who gets pardoned!

“He was treated unfairly.” Trump says that for any friend of his who was arrested and/or sentenced.

Trump claims that the forewoman of the juror had a heavy bias during Stones trial. Now he mentions it? The judge will look into it. But you know how Trump is – no proof.

Unsure why now [is there ever a reason with him?] but Trump gave clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich [corruption] and financier Michael Milken [securities laws] as well as pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik [tax fraud and lying to DoHS] and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. [gambling fraud]. Seven others, some Republican supporters, were also given clemency or pardons.

“I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” Trump said after the pardons and clemencies. Though the President is the head of the executive branch, America’s real chief law enforcement official is Barr. But he can believe what he wants. He can be the chief toilet bowl cleaner as well.

Not surprisingly, Barr had considered resigning over Trump’s interference in his department, including Trump’s tweets that he said recently made it impossible for him to do his job. Barr probably would deny this.

Hackers are taking advantage of tweets from Giuliani that contain typos in domain names. Hackers buy the mistype domain names and redirect visitors to fake pages to spread malware. One would lead users to a website prompting visitors to download a Google Chrome extension, which would read people’s browsing history and change their default search engine.

“How bad were the Academy Awards this year, did you see? ‘And the winner is … a movie from South Korea,’…. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea with trade, on top of it they give them the best movie of the year?” Trump said. The distributor responded with “Understandable, he can’t read,” as the movie has subtitles.

Trump will headline the most expensive fundraiser of his presidency at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire Nelson Peltz where each couple donates the $580,600 price of entry. Odd number. Over $10 million will go to his campaign, the Republican National Committee and 11 state Republican parties.

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that a former US congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, offered him a pardon on behalf of Trump, in exchange for denying Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee email leak. The White House and the congressman have strongly denied Trump’s involvement in the matter. Rohrabacher said he had never spoken to Trump about Assange and that the visit was “my own fact finding mission.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham dismissed Fitzgerald’s claim as “a total lie…. The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.” Sounds like her boss. Hence the Parrot name.

Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to unanimously pass three election security-related bills, marking the latest attempt to clear legislation ahead of the November elections. The Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission (FEC) about foreign offers of assistance, as well as legislation to provide more election funding and ban voting machines from being connected to the internet.

Previous attempts by a bipartisan group’s hopes were dashed in December when a GOP senator insisted the bipartisan legislation had been “designed” to be bad for Donald Trump, and must, therefore, be defeated. Various rejected bills included voting systems to use backup paper ballots and mandate tech safeguards, require candidates to notify law enforcement authorities in the event of a foreign power offering campaign assistance, etc. Seems the GOP do want election interference.

Democratic presidential nominee Michael Bloomberg has been accused of allegations of profane, sexist comments against women. When White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway was asked if that was worse than Trump’s “Grab them by the p***y” comments, she said of course it is way worse. But just remember that there has been no proof of the allegations against him.

In the ever revolving door, John Rood, the Pentagon’s top policy official, is leaving his post. Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, had lost support among senior national security leadership and was asked to resign. He has differed with the administration on a number of issues including Afghanistan and Ukraine. Rood was against withholding Ukraine aid.

As well, Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is leaving the National Security Council and going to the Energy Department. Rumors have been circulating that Coates was the anonymous administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in 2018 and published a book last November titled: “A Warning” by Anonymous. A senior administration official said that Coates’ move has been in the works for some time and she’s not involved in the authoring.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly rejected Trump’s claim that Ukraine is corrupt. Trump claimed that Ukraine is known as the third-most corrupt country in the world.

Trump has said that he will look to block the release of John Bolton’s upcoming book over claims that their discussions were classified, adding that his former national security adviser is a “traitor.” He insisted that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” shouldn’t be published before the November election.

After President Barack Obama tweeted “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history”, Trump tweeted “Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”

Seriously? If Trump thinking that he is taking sole credit for the economic upswing… Trump didn’t kill the Recovery Act Annualized GDP growth averaged about 2% after it bottomed out in 2009 through the end of Obama’s term but 2.4% average growth rate during the last three years of Obama’s last term. Under Trump, it is slightly better at 2.5% but Trump promised 4%. Another broken promise. I’m sure he will blame someone else for not getting to 4%.

Trump claimed the US now has the “best jobs numbers ever” except in the last 36 months of Obama’s second term there were 8.1 million jobs created. Under Trump’s first 36 months there were 6.6 million jobs created.

Trump can’t claim the economy is doing well when in 2019, US retailers announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018 and the highest number since Coresight Research began tracking the data in 2012.

Remember when Trump bullied 16-year old Greta Thunberg on Twitter telling the teenager she needed to “chill out” and “work on her anger management”? White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham implied that social media attacks on a minor are fair game as long as that child is a public figure. Say if a 7 year old who has parents as public figures said something that Trump didn’t like, it would be OK for Trump to bully a 7 year old?

Trump is nothing but a big bully, picking on a 16 year old that is less than a quarter of his age. He is an adult and [we assume] has some common sense and some experience. But this is Trump who will fight back hard if any negative comments [no matter how small] are directed at him.

Trump takes lap around track to open Daytona 500 as the Grand Marshal, commanding: “Gentlemen, start your engines.” He is the second American president to do so, behind George W. Bush who attended the Daytona 500 in 2004. Speaking of which, an image was posted by a Trump doofus showing the presidential jet near the race track. It was pulled after it was discovered that the jet was from 2004, when Bush attended the race.

Trump, always like to inflate his already inflated ego, decided to take a full lap around the track prior to the race with “The Beat” [his limousine] as well as other vehicles. But in the end the race was postponed for 214 hours because of bad weather.

Pigeons with tiny Make American Great Again hats glued to their heads were released in downtown Las Vegas this week in what appears to be a sarcastic statement of loyalty to Trump and a mock protest of Nevada’s coming Democratic presidential caucuses. A group calling itself P.U.T.I.N., Pigeons United To Interfere Now, claimed responsibility for the stunt.

The Senate saves Trump

Right after the Senate easily voted not to remove him from office on the two impeachment charges, Donald John Trump tweeted “I will be making a public statement tomorrow at 12:00pm from the @WhiteHouse to discuss our Country’s VICTORY on the Impeachment Hoax!” He was [typically] 20 minutes late. Not surprising he went after just about everyone who opposes him.

He said “We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers and liars. And this should never, ever happen to another president, ever.” Trump told an East Room packed with conservative lawmakers, media pundits, and a number of Cabinet officials, who cheered as Trump meandered through a list of grievances and musings.

“As everybody knows, my family, our great country and your president have been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people,” he said. Uh huh.

He apologized to his family “for having them have to go through a very phony rotten deal by some very sick people.” And whose fault was that? “I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it; some people said no, they wouldn’t have.”

He called Sen. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who voted to convict: a “failed presidential candidate” who “used religion as a crutch.” And yet Trump calls himself a church going Christian but he probably hasn’t stepped in a church since the last funeral that he was invited to.

He then went after others:

  • “A dirty cop” who represented “top scum” at the agency for James Comey, the FBI director he fired.
  • “It was all bullshit” regarding the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • “In my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who led the effort to oust him from office.

At one point, he claimed but didn’t mention who – if even existed – that he got a call from a world leader praising the outcome. Blah. Blah. Blah. With his reputation, if you can’t offer the leader’s name, it didn’t exist.

Trump took the opportunity during the state of the union address to describe what he calls “the great American comeback” when he took office to revive the U.S. economy by “slashing a number of job killing-regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements.”

But let’s look at what he has done:

  • In the case of blue-collar workers and lower-income earners, in particular, the facts and the rhetoric don’t always quite match because of slowing median wage gains, as well as the struggles of certain sectors that tend to employ lower- and middle-income earners.
  • The farm bailout is twice what was given to the auto sector back in the financial crisis [of 2008] and this was because Trump applied tariffs on China.
  • The stock market is soaring. But the vast majority of stocks are held by the wealthiest Americans.
  • The GDP is still growing at a respectable pace, but it’s down from the high points under Barack Obama.
  • Job growth has slowed. There have been a large uptick in company bankruptcies costing thousands of permanent jobs. There has been large job loses in manufacturing, some replaced in the service industry.
  • Trump pushed for easing regulations for the coal industry, promising jobs. But the coal industry has actually lost jobs since he has been in charge.
  • The federal budget deficit surpassed $1 trillion last year – doubling 2017 and 2018 combined. Trump promised he would start paying down the national debt, but his tax cuts and sweeping spending plans have seen the deficit soar to record highs.
  • The national debt went over $22 billion for the first time ever – jumping 10% since he took charge.
  • Even with tax cuts, the economy grew 0.6% less from 2018.

Trump’s buddy, former convict Conrad Black, was on CTV News in Canada after and rambled on and on and on. He roasted Mitt Romney for voting in favor and says his career as a politician is finished. This genius was even against Richard Nixon’s impeachment. He says what Trump was doing wasn’t illegal. Telling his staff not to participate in the House impeachment is not obstruction of justice? Black then said that Trump will easily win the next election by a landslide. Time for Black to retire with the millions he frauded people of.

Trump began his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast by taking veiled shots at Pelosi, who was on the stage with him as he spoke, and Romney, the morning after the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him. Man child.

You may lose your hair scratching vigorously after reading this: Senator Marco Rubio gave his reason why he would vote against the articles of impeachment by saying in a statement that “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office… I will not vote to remove the President because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation.”

So Rubio’s comment is basically saying the [near] equivalent that individual can kill someone but because the individual is the breadwinner of the family, the individual won’t be arrested or tried in a court. Trump has already inflicted plenty of damage on the nation and the rest of the world. He is unstable.

Ummm. When Trump went to the front of the House, he shook Vice President Mike Pence’s hand but did not shake Pelosi’s hand. At the end of his speech, she tore up his speech that he did give her. I guess they are still angry at each other. Pelosi called Trump’s State of the Union address a “manifesto of mistruths”.

The pro-Trump Conservative base went after her calling her “classless” or “childish” but they didn’t seem to care that Trump did not shake her hand before the speech when she held it out.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo badly trolled Pelosi’s ripped speech by showing a screen capture of Lisa Simpson crying while ripping up a sheets paper. Yeardley Smith [does Lisa’s voice] took to Twitter to scold Pompeo. “Be a leader and fight you own fight!” she tweeted. “Oh, wait I forgot, you’re a follower.”

Trump could be working on [another] shake-up at the White House. He effectively lost confidence in his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, months ago but was told not to remove him until the impeachment was over. Trump denied Mulvaney is out – but you know him. North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows has been floated as a possible replacement.

Mulvaney himself is increasingly unhappy in the role. Trump has never graduated Mulvaney from his “acting” role, often ignores Mulvaney’s input and has opted on multiple occasions to do the opposite of whatever he suggests. Mulvaney has taken an active role in the administration’s efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China and he travels regularly when Trump leaves town.

Trump was enraged when Mulvaney acknowledged a quid pro quo in Trump withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Mulvaney was not a visible presence in the impeachment proceedings.

Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, was pushed out of his role earlier than expected. Vindman was not slated to leave until July. Trump has continued to fume privately about Vindman’s testimony during the impeachment inquiry, and some Democrats say the move is clearly retribution for it. Vindman is expected to return to the Pentagon.

Also fired was the US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who testified at the impeachment inquiry. Sondland’s ties to the White House and Trump had deteriorated since his testimony. He was also pulled from overseeing the Ukraine portfolio, which wasn’t directly related to his position as EU ambassador.

The Department of Justice revealed in a court filing that it has two dozen emails related to Trump’s involvement in the withholding of millions in security assistance to Ukraine — a disclosure that came just hours after the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional documents and witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for his acquittal.

The filing marks the first official acknowledgment from the Trump administration that emails about Trump’s thinking related to the aid exist, and that he was directly involved in asking about and deciding on the aid as early as June. The administration is still blocking those emails from the public and has successfully kept them from Congress.

Days before the July 2019 call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, US officials were still working to expedite the delivery of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the country, according to emails and other internal documents. In an email to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, a top Defense official communicated his concern over Trump’s “reported view that the US should cease providing security assistance” to Ukraine and its impact on national security.

What a classy man. Just before the Super Bowl Trump ranted away. “I see the hatred. … They don’t care about fairness, they don’t care about lying,” Trump said in a taped interview with Fox News Channel.

In the same interview, Trump claims former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, of making a special request for a box to stand on if he qualifies for future presidential debates. Bloomberg’s campaign denies that is the case. Trump’s campaign and Bloomberg’s will be running dueling, multimillion-dollar ads during Sunday night’s game. “Why should he get a box to stand on? … Why should he be entitled to that, really?”

Minutes after the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in 50 years, Trump sent a congratulatory tweet to the team’s fans and the state of Kansas. But the team is based in Missouri. “Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure,” Trump tweeted. “You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well. Our Country is PROUD OF YOU!” It was corrected 10 minutes later.

Trump tweeted “The Democrat Caucus is an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works, just like they ran the Country. Remember the 5 Billion Dollar Obamacare Website, that should have cost 2% of that.” No shocker that he is confusing the state Democrats from the federal Democrats. It is the state Democrats that decide how voting takes place and are tabulated. The website’s final bill was $1.7 billion.

With the mess going on in the Democratic Iowa caucus, Trump was tweeting “I had the largest re-election vote in the history of that great state, by far, beating President Obama’s previous record by a lot. Also, 97% Plus of the vote!” Nope. Trump received just 24%. Ted Cruz beat him.

Trump, like presidents before him, typically invites anchors from all the major networks to dine with him at the White House in advance of his State of the Union address. The lunch conversation is considered off the record. This year, he has not invited CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer from attending with no reason given [other than his usual dislike for CNN].

In another one to laugh at, a tweet “My Approval Rating in the Republican Party = 95%, a record! Big Iowa win. Approval Rating overall = 53%, a new high. With our great Economy and other major successes, would be 20 points higher without the phony Witch Hunts and Hoaxes???” He thinks he would be at 73% if it wasn’t for the impeachment? He also looks at the Rasmussen poll because it always favors him – instead of all the other polls which consistently have him in the 40s.

Impeachment inquiry ramps up

Andrew Bakaj, a lawyer for the whistleblower who raised alarms about Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said his client is willing to answer written questions submitted by House Republicans. Attorney Mark Zaid tweeted that the whistleblower would answer questions directly from Republican members “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury,” part of a bid to stem escalating efforts by Trump and his GOP allies to unmask the person’s identity. Trump said Bakaj should be sued. For what?

“Reveal the Whistleblower and end the Impeachment Hoax!” Trump tweeted. Trump pushed the news media to divulge the whistleblower’s identity, asserting that the person’s accounting of events is incorrect. The whistleblower’s complaint has been corroborated by people with firsthand knowledge of the events who have appeared on Capitol Hill.

A lawyer for the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint document triggered the House impeachment inquiry of Trump, has sent a letter to the White House warning Trump to “cease and desist” attacking his client. “I am writing out of deep concern that your client, the President of the United States, is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger,” Bakaj wrote to White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Remember how the Republicans whined that the impeachment inquiry was bad because they were behind closed doors [even though they forget to tell their base that 47 Republicans were present? Now Trump said “They shouldn’t be having public hearings. This is a hoax. This is just like the Russian witch hunt.”

Just moments before his deposition was scheduled to begin, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s lawyer informed impeachment officials that he had been directed by the White House not to comply with the authorized subpoena and asserted “absolute immunity.”

Trump attacked the whistleblower who set off the impeachment inquiry as an, “Obama person,” a “never Trumper,” and “a radical.” To know all this information, Trump must know who the whistleblower is. So why is he asking?

Fox News has told their anchors and others not to reveal the whistleblower’s identity. I guess they are getting tired of Trump.

Trump asked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for help to discredit former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. Trump called Johnson to ask for the favor on July 26 – only two days after the prime minister took office, according to the Times of London. This was also one day after his much-scrutinized phone call to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, Trump told Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Barr would contact his Australian counterpart for information on how the Mueller probe was linked to a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.

US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland amended his previous closed-door testimony with House impeachment investigators to say that he told a top Ukrainian political aide that the release of US security aid was likely conditioned on Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation that would help the Trump politically.

After his recent testimony, Trump claimed he does not know Sondland well. Trump previously called Sondland “a really good man and great American” and “highly respected.” Can he say that to a man he now claims he doesn’t know him?

Former US Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker rejected the conspiracy theories about Ukraine and Joe Biden that have been promoted by Rudy Giuliani, according to excerpts of his testimony to lawmakers. The conspiracy theory alleges that Biden held up $1 billion in aid for Ukraine to pressure their government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, an energy company where Biden’s son had a high-paid board seat.

White House senior counselor Kellyanne “the Witch” Conway said that she does not know if Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine, but stood by the White House’s response that there was no quid pro quo between Trump and the country. So even she is unsure. Conway contended that asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival is “not impeachable” – except if it was to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival. She also said Joe Biden is not a top political rival of Trump. Until the Democratic nominee is announce, he is a rival. Makes no difference if he is at the top. He’s roughly in the top three. Obama came out of nowhere to win the nomination and eventually the Presidency [without asking for foreign help!].

Former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, who testified behind closed doors on October 16, said that he raised [the former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch matter with Pompeo three times and proposed releasing a statement of support for the former diplomat, who was abruptly recalled from her post.

Yovanovitch felt threatened by what was coming out of the White House. McKinley did not receive a response from the secretary of state, including when he told Pompeo he was leaving the department.

When asked about it after Yovanovitch testified, Trump said she did a bad job. If she did a bad job, why was she ambassador for so long? Incompetence from Pompeo [we already know Trump is incompetence]. If a person is doing a bad job, the person should be dismissed.

The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry are hoping to hear from Robert Blair, an assistant to Trump and senior adviser to Mulvaney, though that looks unlikely considering Blair’s attorney said he has refused to testify in the probe.

Trump says he’s not concerned about depositions from current and former administration officials in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Yet he continues to bully them and telling those still working for him not to give testimony. A future obstruction charge?

GOP leadership has officially assigned Rep. Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee ahead of the upcoming televised impeachment hearings, a move designed to bolster Trump’s defense as Democrats take their probe public. Rep. Rick Crawford has agreed to temporarily step aside for Jordan, who is seen as one of Trump’s best attack dogs on Capitol Hill. Transcripts of the interviews released this week show Crawford hasn’t been asking many questions during the closed-door sessions.

Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Per a judge’s order, the Justice Department will continue to release new tranches of the Mueller investigative notes monthly.

A retelling of events from former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, who served alongside campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is the fullest detail revealed by the Justice Department yet on discussions within the Trump campaign as it pursued damaging information about its Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. The documents were stolen by the Russians, the American intelligence community has found.

The anonymous senior Trump administration official claims in their forthcoming book [“A Warning”] that Trump officials considered resigning together last year in a “midnight self-massacre” in hopes to sound an alarm about Trump. It is written by the same senior Trump administration official who was behind a 2018 New York Times op-ed expressing profound concern about Trump’s competence.

The book describes Trump as dealing with each new political crisis “like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.”

After some tweets by Trump, “It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time.”

The book also contains an allegation that senior White House officials were certain Pence would support an effort to have Trump removed from office over concerns about his mental state.

The Justice Department is going on the offensive against the anonymous author, telling them in a letter that he or she may be violating “one or more nondisclosure agreements” by writing the anti-Trump book. The author’s publisher is rejecting the argument and saying the book will be released as scheduled and the author’s agents are accusing the government of trying to unmask the author.

A federal appeals court rejected Trump’s effort to block New York prosecutors from accessing his tax records and Trump’s sweeping claims of presidential immunity. The Manhattan District Attorney is investigating hush-money payments made in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election. The ruling does not mean that Trump’s tax records will not be turned over immediately. Local prosecutors agreed to delay enforcement of the subpoena to Trump’s longtime accounting firm if Trump’s lawyers move quickly to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

Trump continues to says he is under an audit. He supposedly has had no income other than his salary for the last [almost] 3 years. An audit is generally for a year, not 10+ years.

There were three state elections recently.

“Our big Rally on Friday night moved the numbers from a tie to a big WIN.” tweeted Trump. Mississippi is a state that the Republicans always win. Was it his “polling”? See a bit father down this blog.

Meanwhile in Kentucky, where Trump won by 30 points in 2016, the Republican governor just barely lost the state. Trump predicted an easy win the night before.

Trump tweeted prior to the election that “Virginia has the best Unemployment and Economic numbers in the history of the State. If the Democrats get in, those numbers will go rapidly in the other direction. On Tuesday, Vote Republican!” – Except the politicians with low unemployment and great economic numbers are Democrats! And you know he probably inflated the “best” part anyways.

In Virginia, where the Republicans had slim majorities in the state legislature and senate, they lost both. The Democrats control both and the governor’s seat.

The Trump administration announced that it will begin formally withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord, the first step in a year-long process to leave the landmark agreement to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases. Trump said in 2017 that he intended to pull the US out of the agreement, the latest move is a procedural step that would lead to a complete withdrawal just after the 2020 presidential election.

The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification. Is it a coincidence that the final pull-out will be around election time in 2020? When Trump loses the 2020 election, a new president could rejoin the agreement, but would have to put forth new climate commitments to the UN. A recent poll said that about 7 in 10 Americans think global warming is happening, and at least 6 in 10 are “somewhat worried” about it.

“I have the real polls. I have the real polls,” Trump claimed. “The CNN polls are fake. The FOX polls have always been lousy, I tell them they ought to get themselves a new pollster, but the real polls, and you look at the polls that came out this morning, people don’t want anything to do with impeachment. It’s a phony scam.” Trump did not give any more details on what he says are the “real polls.”

Trump tweeted that he may cut off federal government help in funding to help stop the fires raging in California saying [as usual] bad fire management. More like climate change and deforestation.

A judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million to a collection of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement with the New York state attorney general’s office to resolve a civil lawsuit that alleged “persistent” violations of charities law that included unlawful coordination with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Filed in June 2018, the lawsuit alleged that Trump and his three eldest children — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — violated federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s tax-exempt status. According to the lawsuit, the Trumps allowed the foundation to be used “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” The foundation is dissolved.

Trump himself had vowed to fight the lawsuit, tweeting last year, “I won’t settle this case!” and politically motivated. The attorney general’s office had sought several outcomes, including $2.8 million in restitution, plus penalties, and a ban on Trump and his children serving on the board of any other New York nonprofit.

Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation over what she says were his lies denying her public accusation in June that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. The lawsuit, which includes a detailed account of the incident in which Trump allegedly raped Carroll in a dressing room at luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman, was filed in New York state Supreme Court.

Trump said of Carroll that he “never met this person” Except there is a picture of them from about 7 years earlier.

Trump continues to be happy by tweeting that his approval rating is 50% [or better] according to polling firm Rasmussen. Problem is that a dozen legitimate polling forms say Trump is around 40%. Who’s right? Hmmmm. Oh and 49% in that same poll are against him.

A federal judge in Oregon temporarily blocked a Trump administration proclamation that would have required prospective immigrants to prove they would have US health insurance within 30 days of their arrival or enough money to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

Prospective immigrants had been scrambling to figure out how to get the necessary coverage, navigating a complex healthcare bureaucracy that has, for the most part, not previously catered to those who are not yet in the country.

Trump was met with loud, sustained boos and some cheers as he entered Madison Square Garden for the Ultimate Fighting Championship recently in New York. A handful of signs reading “Remove Trump” and “Impeach Trump” dotted the crowd. The day after, Trump didn’t address any negative reception he received the night before, instead writing that walking into the venue “was a little bit like walking into a Trump Rally. Plenty of MAGA & KAG present. Great energy.” Sure Donnie.

His trip to New York was just a handful of days after he changed his residence to Florida from New York and badmouthed the city and state. He was me with protesters outside as well.

Trump’s campaign web site is selling a “Read the transcript” t-shirt for $30 [plus shipping]. A plain white t-shirt with red text on the front. Wonder if the t-shirt is made in China like his MAGA hats.

If you want a book that will knock you out in minutes if you can’t sleep: Donald Trump Jr wrote a book. No. It’s not in crayons. But it could be a belong in multiple top 10 book categories, political fiction, science fiction, very young children, bathroom books, etc. Soon to be in the $5 bins.

According to one newspaper the “Trump Organization scrubs name from two Central Park ice skating rinks in a bid to rebrand and ‘downplay their connection to the president’s name”. Yes. That will do it.

Impeachment inquiries continue and Trump isn’t helping himself

Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that Donald Trump froze security aid to Ukraine in part to pressure that country into investigating Democrats. He later backtracked his comments for which Trump responded with “I think he clarified it.” Hmmmm. Nobody believes them.

House Republicans are going to try and force a House floor vote on a resolution to censure Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff “for certain misleading conduct” in dramatizing a phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president – as if anything Trump said is not misleading. The censure will fail as the Democrats control the House.

Trump continues to claimed at his Cabinet meeting that the whistleblower who complained about his July phone call with the president of Ukraine “gave a false account” and has been “discredited.”

The top US diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testified that he had been told Trump would withhold military aid to the country until it publicly declared investigations would be launched that could help his reelection chances — including into former Vice President Joe Biden.

Taylor said he was told that “everything” Ukraine wanted — from a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to hundreds of millions in security aid — was dependent on publicly announcing an investigation that included Burisma, the company that hired Biden’s son Hunter, and Ukraine’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he never had — or at least doesn’t recall having — a conversation with Trump in which he described Trump’s call with Zelensky as perfect. Trump asserted earlier this month that McConnell deemed the White House transcript of the conversation, which is at the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump, completely innocent.

Roughly two-dozen House Republicans stormed a closed-door deposition in secure House Intelligence Committee spaces to rail against the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, a political stunt ratcheting up the GOP complaints about the process that delayed the scheduled deposition for five hours. The conservative lawmakers barged into the deposition and demanded they be allowed to see the closed-door proceedings where members of three committees planned to interview Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Laura Cooper as part of the impeachment probe into Trump.

Why do this? 47 Republicans are in the hearings. They are hearing the testimony and asking questions. Childish and incompetent Republicans who stormed the session.

Trump used a racially charged term to describe the House of Representative’s impeachment inquiry, calling the process a “lynching” today. This marks his first use of the term “lynching” to describe the inquiry – a term deeply intertwined with horrific racial violence and a dark era in the United States.

His tweet was “So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching.” Even some Republicans are upset at the word being used.

“The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!” Trump tweeted.

“To call anybody human scum is beneath the office of the presidency. You can’t say that, right? You’re the president. You have different standards,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican. Where was Kinzinger when Trump has called Democrats and other foes words that are such as bad?

Sen. Lindsey Graham and other congressional Republicans have slammed House Democrats for conducting their impeachment inquiry with depositions behind closed doors, but Republicans also used closed-door depositions during their impeachment inquiry of former President Bill Clinton two decades ago.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro declined to answer questions about whether China opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son has come up during trade talks with the US. Trump raised Biden’s political prospects during a June 18 phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trump claimed that the Bidens have received millions of dollars from China, implying they capitalized on the then-vice president’s political power and connections. The allegations stem partly from an official trip both Bidens took to China in 2013, meant as a diplomatic mission to help ease tensions in the region.

Trump’s lawyers has asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his attempt to stop a subpoena of his longtime accounting firm, this time with Trump asking the full appellate court to reconsider his case. Trump lost his attempt to stop the House subpoena of accounting firm Mazars USA before a trial-level judge and 2-1 before an appellate panel.

“We have secured the oil and, therefore, a small number of US Troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. So now you know that Trump cared more about the oil than ISIS, the lives of the Kurds, etc. He said a “small number” of American troops will stay in Syria to protect oil in the region.

“We were supposed to be there for 30 days. That was almost 10 years ago.” Ummm. The US went after ISIS in 2014 and after Syria in 2017. Not even close to 10 years. He also lifted all sanctions against Turkey.

Jim Jeffrey, the US envoy for Syria and the coalition against ISIS, says the US believes that Turkish-supported opposition (TSO) forces in Syria have committed war crimes. Jeffrey said that he specifically was not consulted or advised in advance on President Trump’s decision to pull US troops from northeastern Syria.

Jeffrey also said that over 100 ISIS fighters have escaped since the pull put. Trump maintains that the ISIS fighters who escaped Kurdish jails during the attack have “been largely recaptured.”

Trump claimed that those service members who were in Syria will be coming home. Not according to the Pentagon, where they will be moved to Iraq. But “The [Iraqi] government has stated that it has not given permission to US forces that have withdrawn from Syria to remain in Iraqi territories, as some media had reported,” from a statement released today from Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi. Even the UK was not told about the US troop pullback from Syria in advance, UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said.

A cease fire deal made it clear that Turkey and Russia are not interested in including the US in plans regarding Syria’s future. Russian President Vladimir Poutine and Turkish President/Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the southern Russian resort city of Sochi and unveiled a 10-point memorandum about Syria.

The US was not included in a Syria deal reached by Russia and Turkey. Trump tweet says it all: “Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border. Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us.”

Three-quarters of Americans, however, are concerned about the situation in Syria, and about 40% of Americans approved of Trump’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria, while half disapproved, according to a new poll conducted by SSRS.

Trump has been forced into a humiliating climb down over plans to host the next G7 meeting at his own luxury resort, following a political outcry. “Therefore, based on both media & Democrat crazed and irrational hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the host site for the G-7 in 2020,” Trump wrote. Quite a few Republicans also objected but he didn’t dare mention that.

“I would have been willing to do this for free, and it would have been the greatest G7 ever,” Trump said. Greatest based on what? Because he is chairing it or because it is supposedly free. Trump’s Doral resort was in need of a boost: in May the Washington Post reported that its operating income had fallen 69% since 2015.

More than 200 people attended Trump’s speech at Benedict College, but only about 10 actual students were invited to the event — his first appearance at a historically black college – and only seven students ultimately attended the speech. The others were brought in from somewhere else. More than 2,100 attend the school.

Months after Trump declared the GOP would become the “party of health care,” House conservatives are set to announce a sweeping health care proposal — one that has virtually no chance of becoming law. The Republican Study Committee unveiled what members described as a “framework,” nine months in the making, even as the White House continues to develop its own set of principles behind closed doors. It includes no legislative text and does not have the formal backing of the White House or broader GOP conference.

“We’re building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we’re building a wall in Colorado,” Trump said. Colorado, located directly north of New Mexico, is not on the US-Mexico border. Colorado? And from the last blog, still no new wall built along Mexico, just fixing walls.

Trump backtracked on his Colorado wall comment with a more confusing tweet by saying: “We’re building a Wall in Colorado”(then stated, “we’re not building a Wall in Kansas but they get the benefit of the Wall we’re building on the Border”) refered to people in the very packed auditorium, from Colorado & Kansas, getting the benefit of the Border Wall!” Love the spelling and a bit confusing. Eh?

Trump went after Barack Obama for a book and Netflix production deal that were made after he left office, claiming Obama wasn’t scrutinized for business dealings. But the difference is that Obama did the deals after he left the White House and Obama doesn’t have a supposedly billion dollar business.

Talking about childish: The White House is urging all federal agencies to cancel their subscriptions to The New York Times and the Washington Post. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving for taxpayers — hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Kit just so happens to be the two newspapers that Trump probably hates the most. Coincidence?

The Energy Secretary said he is resigning effective later this year. Perry’s resignation comes amid scrutiny over his role in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine. Today Trump said he’ll nominate Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to replace Perry.

Summer Zervos, who is a Republican, is a former “Apprentice” contestant who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007, presented evidence Thursday in a new court filing to back up her claims. She is suing Trump for defamation after he essentially called her a liar following her public statement in October 2016 about the alleged assault.

Trump recently tweeted that a new poll saying that most Americans don’t approve of the impeachment inquiry. Then when you take a look at this “nation-wide” survey, about 180 people were questioned by a pollster that nobody knows of. The percentage or error is probably huge but not even listed.

Trumpworld is shaking

Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said “The corruption of the country, whether or not other countries participating in support of Ukraine, and whether or not cooperating in an ongoing investigation with the department of justice. That is completely legitimate, yes.” When reporter then questioned Mulvaney on his explanation saying it sounds like a quid-pro-quo to which Mulvaney said: “We do that all the time with foreign policy.”

Mulvaney confirmed that Donald Trump asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry to work with Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on policies related to Ukraine, but he denied doing so constituted a “shadow foreign policy,” as multiple witnesses have said Giuliani conducted.

Trump threatened to sue top congressional Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. Trump has a long track record of calling for lawsuits against his critics and not following through. Article 1, section 6 of the Constitution protects members of Congress from being sued over their statements made on the floor, which also would apply to committees.

Trump said he spoke to his lawyers about Schiff and told them, “Sue him anyway, even if we lose, the American public will understand.” Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence committee, is spearheading the impeachment inquiry. “And sue Nancy Pelosi,” Trump continued. “Or maybe we should just impeach them, because they’re lying and what they’re doing is a terrible thing for our country.” Members of Congress cannot be impeached, according to the Constitution. So, again, Trump knows nothing about the Constitution.

Giuliani said that he’s not aware he’s under investigation for his involvement with the unraveling Ukraine scandal, saying “No, nothing but leaks, which has to tell you whether they are or are not investigating, it’s a political attack. Otherwise, why leak it [the investigation]?” Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking into whether Giuliani violated foreign lobbying laws in his dealings with Ukraine.

Trump also denied knowing the two Giuliani associates arrested last week, but admitted they had donated to his campaign. “They’re donors,” Trump said, “but I have many donors.” Hmmm. You tend to know the names of the big donors and not the “small fish”. You think he doesn’t know them? There is a photo of one of them and Trump acting like friends.

“Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!” Trump added, perpetuating his baseless claim that bureaucrats are out to get him. It was unclear from Trump’s tweet whether he was attacking his own Justice Department or the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Behind closed door, Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, had detailed to Congress how Giuliani smeared her to Ukrainian officials and questioned whether Giuliani’s associates were looking to benefit financially from her removal. According to the indictment, they had asked former Rep. Pete Sessions, to help get Yovanovitch fired at the same time they committed to raising tens of thousands of dollars for that congressman’s reelection.

Even as House Republicans mount a vigorous defense of Trump amid the impeachment inquiry, some are growing uneasy about the role that Giuliani played in carrying out US policy with Ukraine. Several Republicans who sit on the key committees say more needs to be learned about Giuliani’s role, while also revealing new concerns about the continuing revelations that are emerging.

Meanwhile, Giuliani is parting ways with the lawyer representing him so far in matters related to the impeachment inquiry. His current attorney, Jon Sale, is ending his representation of the former New York City mayor shortly. People close to Giuliani are advising him to hire a criminal lawyer as questions linger about his connections to two of his associates who were indicted last week for campaign-finance violations.

Trump questioned why the US government is protecting the whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. So basically he doesn’t like whistleblowers [that are after him] but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if they went after his [political] enemies. There goes democracy.

Recently Trump said “I used to think she [Nancy Pelosi] loved the country. She hates the country. Nancy Pelosi hates the United States of America, because she wouldn’t be doing this.” Why doesn’t he charge her with [say] treason. A government official hating her country. That should be enough [in his mind].

Trump tweeted “Republicans are totally deprived of their rights in this Impeachment Witch Hunt. No lawyers, no questions, no transparency!” No not Republicans. Just you and your swamp cronies. The House is following the same rules as the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

While Vice President Mike Pence called it a ceasefire, Turkey called it a 120 hour [5 day] pause in fighting. Trump called the US-announced ceasefire in Turkey an “incredible outcome”. Turkish operation would supposedly end when the Kurd forces complete the withdrawal.

Trump claims all are happy, yet the Kurds say they aren’t. They don’t know where they are going. Those in the US against the deal say Turkey got everything it wanted. Expect Trump to claim this “pause” as a ceasefire in the upcoming election – no matter how this works out.

So even with the “ceasefire” in place, the fighting still continues. Looks like another failure for Trump.

Trump continues to change his “facts” saying other US administrations have been trying to negotiate a Turkish-Syrian deal for “years”, then later said “10 years” [in Texas] and even later he said “15 years”. But p residents Barack Obama and George W. Bush never sought to give Turkey anything like the concessionary terms of Trump’s deal. In addition, the Syrian civil war had not even started 10 years ago or 15 years ago.

At a meeting in the White House regarding the Syrian invasion by Turkey, the Democrats walked out of the meeting after Trump started calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “third-grade politician” among other things. Trump later called Pelosi “a very sick person!” Of course the White House has a different story that reeks of bull crap.

Trump said that Turkey’s incursion of northern Syria “has nothing to do with us” and added that former US allies — the Kurds — “… are much safer now. The Kurds know how to fight and as I said, they’re not angels.” Trump also called his sudden and controversial decision to remove US troops from Northern Syria “strategically brilliant.”

Scratching your head time: “But they fought with us. We paid a lot of money for them to fight with us and that’s OK. They did well when they fought with us. They didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us,” he added. When was the latter [aside from the wrong tense]?

Meanwhile, Turkish President/Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he’s not worried about American-imposed sanctions or the advancement of Russian-backed Syrian forces toward the Turkish border. “Declare a ceasefire, they say. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan said. “We do not sit at the table with terrorist organizations.” [We will assume he meant the Kurds and not the US.] Erdogan is scheduled for a visit to the US soon. He has indicated that he may not take the trip now.

While Kurdish officials and Republican and Democratic lawmakers have argued that the pullback helped provide a de facto green light for the Turkish attack, senior members of the Trump administration have insisted Turkey would have invaded regardless of whether US troops had remained and that the US has not deserted the Syrian Kurds.

Trump tweeted “Kurds may be releasing some [ISIS followers] to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly.” The Kurds never released anyone, so none were captured quickly because none were released. However, Turkish warplanes and artillery have also repeatedly struck several detention camps, allowing the escape of several ISIS prisoners and others.

The invasion by Turkey has forced the SDF to strike a deal with the Syrian government. Under this deal, the SDF will disband as an entity and become integrated into Syrian forces, several units of which are currently under Russian control. A strange frenemies setup.

Then Trump wants to mediate a truce. If he didn’t pull the troops out of Syria, none of this would of happened. Or maybe it’s just a plan by him to show how he can mediate between warring parties [boast at election time]. Trump is also accusing Turkey of potential war crimes.

Trump tweeted a statement saying he would soon authorize via executive order new sanctions on current and former Turkish officials. He said he’d also reimpose heavy duties on Turkish steel and cut off trade talks. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. Former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for.

While Treasury Department has “very significant new sanctions authorities” against Turkey over its actions in Syria, nothing has been done. Trump tweeted that he is working with Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and unnamed Democrats to impose “powerful sanctions” on Turkey. The unnamed Democrat means there is no Democrat in the talks.

But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen introduced an outline for strict sanctions on Turkey, and the proposal has quickly picked up support among members from both parties which would be stronger sanctions than the white house has offered. It would sanction the assets of top Turkish leaders — including its President — and bar transactions involving the Turkish defense and energy sectors, among other penalties.

“The United States of America did not give a green light for Turkey to invade Syria,” Vice President Mike Pence said. Except Turkey really doesn’t need the US’s approval. Do they?

Several US military and defense officials, including personnel deployed to Syria, expressed dismay at how the Trump administration has handled the situation. One US official [although there are probably others] said it is well known that some senior US military officials are livid at how the Kurds have been treated given their role in helping the US fight ISIS.

The latest delivery of a Russian-made S-400 missile defense system — which Washington opposes Ankara buying — will arrive in November or December. The first delivery of components arrived in July and Erdogan’s comments are likely to further rile up US officials, who have threatened to level sanctions against Turkey if the system ever became operational. Unsure how Turkey, part of NATO, can use a Russian made defense system.

Trump tweeted hours after the 4th Democratic debate “Our record Economy would CRASH, just like in 1929, if any of those clowns became President!” Yes this coming from an economics expert whose only plan is to apply sanctions to get what he wants or to fix his mistakes.

Trump’s fight to keep his tax returns private is at odds with his own thinking in 2013 and 2014 that releasing them as part of a presidential bid would make him look like a smart businessman who had spent years lowering his taxable income. Trump ultimately changed his mind after an adviser says he convinced him not to release his taxes, and he has spent years claiming he can’t because he’s under audit by the IRS.

Claiming that he would pay little [or no taxes] would actually have backfired because people would look negatively at him. They would see this supposedly rich businessman not paying his taxes [finding loop holes] while the common middle and low class people have to pay taxes because they don’t have a team of accountants who can find ways for him not to pay taxes.

In May 2014, Trump told an Irish television station that he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he entered the race. “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely,” he said. “And I would love to do that.” It wasn’t until November 2014 that Trump abandoned the idea. At that point it was still eight months before Trump announced for president.

Trump’s real estate business reported different financial figures for 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower to lenders than to New York tax authorities. The different sets of numbers on expenses, profits and occupancy figures resulted in the two buildings appearing more lucrative to lenders and less so to city officials assessing property taxes.

The Trump National Golf Course Westchester, which Ossining, New York, said was worth $15.1 million, but which Trump, fighting for a smaller tax bill, argued in court was worth just $1.5 million. In a 2017 financial disclosure, Trump said the club was worth far more than the $15 million claimed.

A popular web development tool called Laravel was left with debug mode on. It seems that the developer of the campaign site for Trump left the debug mode enabled, exposing credentials to the site and other details.

As host for the next G7 summit, the US will have the economic summit take place at the Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami. “Doral was by far and away the best physical facility for this meeting,” White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said. “It’s almost like they built this facility to host this event.” Uh huh.

Mulvaney said Trump would not profit from use of the property and defended the decision and that the administration selected Trump’s resort after initially looking at about 12 potential locations in various other U.S. states. So let’s see. $5 for a can of Coke. $150 per rental chair for the main gala. $3 for a small pad of paper.

During a speech, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted that Trump’s comments didn’t bother him. Mattis riffed that he “earned my spurs at the battlefield” while Trump “earned his spurs from a letter from the doctor” in a pointed jab at his former boss’ cited reason for avoiding the Vietnam War draft.

Mattis went on to joke that “the only person on the military that Mr. Trump doesn’t think is overrated” is “Colonel Sanders,” the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant chain.

Retired four-star Admiral William McRaven, the architect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said Trump was working to “destroy” the country from “within” and “without.”

Hundreds of Trump supporters this week were left stranded by bus company US Coachways after the organizers for a “March for Trump” rally against House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry in Washington DC failed to pay them. After the buses never showed up, however, Trump supporters claimed that the bus company was part of a “deep state” conspiracy aimed at silencing their voices.

A new book detailing 43 new allegations of inappropriate behavior by Trump – including 26 alleged instances of unwanted sexual conduct – is coming out soon. Many of the allegations in the book, All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, published by Hachette, have been leveled before.

At a rally Dallas rally this week:

  • Trump said the Obama administration spent “no money on that [AIDS/HIV].” – Except the Obama administration spent $10.8 billion on domestic HIV/AIDS research between the 2013 fiscal year and 2016 fiscal year alone and $85.1 billion more on domestic HIV/AIDS care Trump claimed that the Democrats “want to give more to illegal aliens than they give to American citizens.” – False.
  • Trump repeated his promise to “always protect patients with pre-existing conditions.” – Except the Trump administration and congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills and filed lawsuits that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Trump claimed that President Barack Obama left him “142” judicial vacancies. – Except there were 104 vacancies on January 1, 2017. And what was his point of this?
  • Trump claimed that presidents before him were “always” left zero judicial vacancies to fill. – Except there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Barack Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office. And so on.
  • Trump claimed the US did not win “any cases” at the World Trade Organization before he came along. Except the US had won 86% of the cases it had brought since 1995.
  • Trump said his wall on the Mexican border is “going up rapidly.” – Except no additional miles of border wall had been built during Trump’s presidency in places where barriers had not existed before, according to a fact sheet from Customs and Border Protection. 69 miles of barriers were fixed.
  • Trump claimed that there were “close to 30,000” outside the arena in Dallas. – Except the Dallas Police Department spokesman said at most 5000.

The shutdown continue into the 4th week and no end in sight

Boy this was a busy week in Trumpland.

Donald Trump offered familiar warnings but scant detail on how he will negotiate an end to a partial government shutdown in an address to the nation meant to convince Americans of a swelling border crisis that most experts say does not exist. Trump warned of “a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” one that most experts say is at odds with the facts. But he did not declare the situation a “national emergency.”

Among his comments that were misleading or false:

  • “[Senate Minority Leader] Sen. Chuck Schumer has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past.” But Schumer supported a fence in 2006 – not a wall. Like later on in this blog, does he know the difference between a fence and a wall?
  • “At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.” In fact, the Democrats have long opposed Trump’s campaign promise that he would build a concrete wall on the US-Mexico border and they never proposed a steel barrier as an alternative.
  • “More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.” Some 58,220 Americans died as a result of the Vietnam War. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of total drug overdose deaths was 70,327. But since the topic is primarily about the Trump Wall, you cannot say all or most of those killed came from drugs coming into the US from Mexico.
  • “Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border.” While Trump’s statistics on heroin deaths are true, it’s unclear what a border wall would do to reduce the amount of heroin coming across the border. There are plenty of ways to ship drugs across a border. According to the DEA’s 2018 annual drug threat assessment, most drugs come in from vehicles [not mules or other individuals] that are trying to enter the US legally [mingling with legal goods].
  • “All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration. It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African Americans and Hispanic Americans.” While some African Americans with little education are affected, economists have determined that immigrants — undocumented or not — tend to help American workers by serving in low-skilled jobs that create more opportunities for the native born to move into managerial and knowledge-based roles.
  • “1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.” While the statistics is true and 68.3% of migrants and refugees entering Mexico reported being victims of violence during their transit toward the United States, the numbers decrease when traveling in caravans.
  • “How much American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?” he asked. Who’s blood? If he is claiming [for example] the number of illegals killing Americans, what about those Americans killing Americans? How many died in Chicago in 2018? [650 murders, BTW.]

Trump said he had not wanted to deliver the televised speech or make an upcoming trip to the border, finding the new publicity strategy useless but that his advisers had talked him into it. But he did do the speech and took the trip.

In a trip to the Texas-Mexican border, one law enforcement person shows Trump that some are digging tunnels under walls that are currently in place. I don’t think Trump really cared.

At one point Vice President Mike Pence said he would accept $2.5 billion. When Trump was asked about $2.5 billion, he insisted on the $5.6 billion without asking who suggested $2.5 billion.

Three weeks and counting for the Trump Shutdown – or as he calls it a “strike”. Seriously? Does he knows the difference between a shutdown and a strike? Seems the “Art of the Deal” author doesn’t know how to make a deal.

While Trump says he “relates” how those workers who aren’t getting paid feel [hah!], those not getting paid are starting to look for other jobs to make up for the income, others have major issues because of medical problems to deal with, others are having problems paying bills, some may be hit with foreclosure, filing for unemployment, etc.

Department of Labor says that 4,760 federal employees applied for unemployment in the first week of the shutdown. This was a 400% increase over the previous week. Employees who are deemed essential and are currently working without pay are not eligible to claim unemployment.

Trump is still claiming that many of those in government who are not working or who are working without pay are on his side – even though he says they are [all] Democrats. He is getting this information from social media [i.e. his Twitter account]. Even if true, unsure if that is a valid way of polling people. Some could of said yes or no multiple times.

Trump walked out of discussions to end a partial government shutdown, now entering its fourth week, calling discussions with congressional Democrats “a total waste of time.”

“He asked Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no. And he just got up and said, ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Trump said he asked about boarder security and not the Trump Wall. Sure Donnie. Your wall is the only thing on your mind.

When Trump threatened to call the Trump Wall a national emergency to get his money for the wall, it would be challenged in the courts and could cause possibly a constitutional crisis. Even some Republicans are against calling it a national emergency as it could be an abuse of power – no matter how legal it is. South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham supports the move.

If this is a national emergency, it definitely doesn’t compare to real nation emergencies such as after 9/11. There are currently 28 of them that are active since the days of George H. W. Bush [except for Jimmy Carter blocked Iranian government property from entering the country]. Other countries [Venezuela, Yemen, South Sudan and others] are included for blocking their nationals from owning US property or US investing plus terrorism related but nothing involves infrastructure in the US.

Trump claims the Republican party is “totally unified” behind him and later said “extremely united”. Next it will be “extremely totally united”.

He also claims he never said that Mexico would pay for the Trump Wall even though he has clearly said it numerous times since the primaries in 2016. Uh huh.

You would figure that Trump would ease his demands regarding the border wall. Instead, he slightly added to his demands for more money for the Trump Wall and then added further money requests for money to hire further border personnel, detention centers, etc.

He is also changing what the Trump Wall will be made of – from concrete to steel to whatever. He claims “whatever the Democrats” will call it. Doesn’t he know what his wall is made of? After all he has said previously that the wall is already being built. Where? Who authorized paying for what was built? Does he know the difference between building and repairing?

Trump claims that every single living US President wanted a border wall. Not even former Vice president Joe Biden knows of any. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney equates the George H. W. Bush fence with a wall. But he also can’t say which president wanted a wall. He should seriously look at the definition of what a wall is.

Here’s the list of shutdown over the past few presidents: Trump 3 [including this one – all in 2018; in just 2 years], Obama 1 [over 8 years], Clinton 2 [over 8 years], George H.W. Bush 1 [over 8 years], Reagan 8 [all a few days or less and over 8 years], Carter 5 [over 4 years], Ford 1 [2.5 years].

White House strategic communications director Mercedes Schlapp acknowledged in an interview that US taxpayers will foot the bill for a border wall.

Trump revived his criticism of California, insisting again the state has mismanaged forest management programs and allowed wildfires to rage. Trump’s threat to withhold Federal Emergency Management Agency funds from recent wildfire survivors drew a swift rebuke from California Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential Democratic challenger to Trump for the White House in 2020, as well as the state’s other top Democrats, newly elected Gov. Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who represents the Bay Area.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whose office manages the Russia investigation, is planning to leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, the President’s nominee for attorney general, is confirmed. The source said Rosenstein is not being forced out, and he has conveyed his thinking to the White House. The move may be the clearest signal to date that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is close to wrapping up.

Trump claims that the stock market is up over 30% since his election. Not really. Dow Jones was just under 20,000 on his first day in office and is over 23,000 today. Until a year ago it was a steady climb. Since then, it was gone up and down like a yoyo. At its peak Trump would of been right except for the recent tumble.

In the last 12 years, the number of apprehended illegals crossing the border from Mexico have dropped from over a million in 2006 to 310,000 in 2017. [With a low estimate of $20 billion to build the Trump Wall, it comes out to almost $64,000 per illegal if using the 2017 statistics.] Here is the statistics.

Trump said that he is “in no hurry” to name official replacements for several Cabinet-level positions in his administration. There are acting Interior Secretary, acting EPA director, acting White House chief of staff, and acting secretary of defense. Add as well acting US ambassador to the United Nations and acting attorney general.

Another upcoming resignation. Michael Bright has been effectively running the federal mortgage backer Ginnie Mae as chief operating officer since 2017. Bright was formally nominated to take over the post last May, but his confirmation has been bottled up in the Senate. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that Bright had submitted his resignation, effective January 16.

[If you do comparisons, in Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, there has been just one resignation from cabinet (and it was this past week) as the individual is leaving politics. This excludes those who lost their cabinet job.]

Mulvaney said when he got promoted, some friends congratulated him or consoled him. Wonder why. He also put the blame of the extra $2 trillion added to the national debt on the House and Senate even though Trump has the right to veto any spending bill and Trump allowed the cut in taxes to the large corporations at the end of 2017.

“Working in the White House is a tremendous privilege and a tremendous opportunity, and if you do it properly, I think it can be a lot of fun,” Mulvaney added. “Fun”?

Just a couple of weeks after saying that he wanted all the troops in Syrian home, Trump has really back peddled. First it could be a very slow withdrawal – if there is even a withdrawal. Now Trump never said there would be a withdrawal. National Security Advisor John Bolton says there is no timetable for America troops leaving Syria. He is promising that the pullout would not occur until the Islamic State was fully eradicated from the country and Turkey could guarantee the safety of Kurdish fighters who have fought alongside American personnel.

Iowa House Republican, Steve King, who has repeatedly expressed xenophobic sentiment and cozied up to politicians affiliated with white nationalist sentiments and movements claims he is just a “nationalist”. That is the exactly the word Trump describes himself. King has retweeted far-right comments, endorsed far-right politicians elsewhere, etc.

 

Can Trump’s presidency get any worse?

Maybe.

Between this past week and the week before, it is probably the worst two week stretch since the Nixon presidency.

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, was sentenced to three years in prison. Cohen was sentenced for eight criminal counts he pleaded guilty to in August. The judge gave him an additional two months for the special counsel charge, to be served concurrently with the US attorney’s New York office term. He has been ordered to surrender on March 6. The judge imposed $500,000 in forfeiture to Cohen, and $1.39 million in restitution.

“I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America,” Cohen said. “Recently the President tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”

“I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law,” Trump tweeted. Trump was privately seething about Cohen’s sentencing, telling associates that Cohen is a “liar,” according to one administration official. The problem is that Cohen was hired by Trump and Trump is ultimately responsible for anyone he hires.

“He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence,” Trump tweeted about Cohen the week before the sentencing. Will the same be said when he is sentenced because of his multiple lies?

After charges brought on to Cohen, Trump and current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani [we haven’t heard much from him lately] both said there is no collusion with Trump tweeting “Time for the Witch Hunt to END!” And yet, if you look at the evidence, clearly Trump could be involved. But what Trump has said could be illegal – tampering with an investigation related to him.

Then Trump also quoted noted constitutional expert [I’m kidding here] Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera, saying “this is collusion illusion” and “there is nothing impeachable here.”

Not surprising, Trump GOP supporters are downplaying the implications by prosecutors in two crimes committed by Cohen. Either they are saying until Mueller releases all the facts or the fact that the payoffs were done prior to Trump getting elected or that Cohen is a liar.

However while the payoffs were done prior to the election, they may have involved campaign money which is illegal if not listed in the expenses. As well the fact that the payoffs were kept quiet just prior to the election. Interesting that Cohen is a liar now but not a month or so ago.

The owner of the parent company of magazines including the National Enquirer, Us Weekly and In Touch has admitted to engaging in a journalistically dubious practice known as “catch-and-kill” [exclusive rights but not use the story] in order to help Trump become president.

Federal prosecutors revealed they had agreed not to prosecute American Media Inc. for secretly assisting Trump’s campaign by paying $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. The company then intentionally suppressed McDougal’s story until after the election.

Trump tweeted: “Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun…No Collusion.” If you missed it, twice he used the work “Smocking” instead of “Smoking”. I wouldn’t be surprised if late night talk show hosts or political cartoonists make some comments on this.

But then he said in part 2 of the tweet “So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution….” So Trump is admitting that Stormy Daniels was paid off. Now special counsel Robert Mueller just needs to see if the money came from the campaign. Even if it didn’t, is this enough to be considered some type of election tampering?

Trump lashed out at Comey over testimony he gave to the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, accusing the former FBI chief, without evidence, of lying to lawmakers and questioning his inability to recall events related to certain questions. “On 245 occasions, former FBI Director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked.”

At least 16 associates of Donald Trump had contacts with Russians during the 2016 campaign or transition, according to public statements, court filings, and reporting from news outlets. These communications came in the form of face-to-face meetings, phone calls, text messages, emails and video chats.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi privately questioned Trump’s “manhood” after a contentious meeting bout funding his wall at the southern border. She also compared Trump  to a skunk. Vice President Mike pence sat through the whole thing without saying a word.

Pelosi also told members that she and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer got Trump to take full accountability for the possible partial shutdown. Government funding runs out for about 25% of federal government spending on December 21. “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other … I will shut down the government,” Trump said.

After the meeting, Pelosi revealed to Democrats that Trump had claimed in their private session that Mexico would pay for the wall — his oft-stated campaign promise that he has abandoned since taking office. Trump said Mexico will pay through the new NAFTA – money that would go to American workers and the economy.

It is now official: Chief of Staff John Kelly will be out of the White House by the end of the year. Trump has announced his final choice in the chief of staff sweepstakes: Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. He will be the “acting” chief of staff even though he is permanent. I guess with the number of people who left the administration, nobody is permanent probably other than family members.

One of the leading potential replacement to Kelly is Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff. But supposedly because of family commitments, he would only accept the job for a short term. Chris Christie had a meeting for the vacancy be he claimed he didn’t want the job. So why go to the meeting then?

New York Yankees President Randy Levine was reportedly in consideration to become Trump’s chief of staff and is a “wild card” for the post, according to MSNBC.

Trump said this week that he might intervene in the Huawei case [where the Chinese CEO has been held in Canada on a US arrest warrant and caused political problems] if it would help clinch a trade agreement with China, upending U.S. efforts to separate the court proceeding from U.S.-China trade talks and contradicting Canadian officials who said the arrest was not political. China has since arrested two Canadians on most likely bogus charges [in retaliation].

Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee is currently being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for his inauguration, according to sources familiar with the matter. Prosecutors are also looking into whether the committee accepted donations from individuals looking to gain influence in or access to the new administration.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said, “That doesn’t have anything to do with the President or the first lady.” She’s laying the groundwork to cover Trump from any activity so blame can be laid on the organizers. The committee reported had raised a record-setting $107 million, received much of its funding from wealthy donors who gave $1 million or more.

Trump’s inaugural committee spent funds on hotel rooms and meals at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC and also rented space there at rates negotiated partly by Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump. A Saudi-backed veterans’ group booked nearly 500 nights at the hotel in the months after Trump’s inauguration.

The inaugural committee organizers complained to Ivanka Trump that the hotel was attempting to charge $175,000 per day for use of a ballroom and other meeting rooms. That is one heck of an overcharge. So Trump is benefiting financially for the inaugurations with money possibly coming from potential illegal donations to pau for the inauguration.

Trump always claimed his senior staff is “a fine tune machine” but the turnover rate is 62% and that’s more than any “modern” presidency. This includes the most “permanent” Chiefs of Staffs of any modern presidency as well [President Obama had 3 but one was known to be temporary].

During President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said in a statement that “committing crimes of moral turpitude such as perjury and obstruction of justice go to the heart of qualification for public office… This great nation can tolerate a president who makes mistakes,” Hatch said. “But it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up. Any other citizen would be prosecuted for these crimes.”

But with evidence of Trump covering up the payouts, “The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president.” When reminded that it is not the Democrats, but the Southern District of New York, making the allegations, Hatch said, “I don’t care, all I can say is he’s doing a good job as president.”

Some Democrats are saying they may not be able to impeach him while in office but will get him indicted once he leaves. Of course you’ll have those who said he can’t be impeached because it happened out of office will then say he can’t be indicted for something he may have done in office!

Trump has expressed concern that he could be impeached when Democrats take over the House, said source close to Trump. The source said Trump sees impeachment as a “real possibility.” But Trump isn’t certain it will happen. Trump remains confident at this point that, while he could be impeached in the House, he doesn’t believe he would be convicted in the Senate as the GOP remains in control there.

Trump tweeted “We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall.” Exactly how would billions be saved? Is there a limited time offer on substandard steel? There is some talk to allow $5 billion over two years but considering the Trump Wall already received $1.6 billion and what exactly has come out of it except to spruce up some walls that are already there.

Trump seized on an apparent terrorist attack in France to promote his border wall, the latest example of Trump using fear to push his political agenda. “Another very bad terror attack in France. We are going to strengthen our borders even more,” Trump tweeted. “Chuck and Nancy must give us the votes to get additional Border Security!” The suspect sought in the attack was born in France.

Trump posted a series of tweets threatening that if Democrats do not provide enough votes to build the wall, “the Military will build the remaining sections.” He did not elaborate on how that would be funded.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker [GOP] plans to offer a measure as soon as Tuesday to rebuke Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the first formal response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and an implicit rebuke of Trump’s handling of the killing. This will guarantee result in Trump making some nasty comments about Corker.

The Trump administration is doing everything it can to cut the Affordable Care Act costs by slashing advertising by 90% and cut funding for enrollment assistance by 80%. The average number of people signing up daily on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, for 2019 is down roughly 8% as of December 1 from the same period a year ago.

The Trump administration will reverse an Obama-era coal emissions rule as part of its effort to loosen restrictions on the coal industry, just days after a US government report warned that aggressive action is needed to curb greenhouse gases and ease the impact of global warming.

The demonstrations in Paris have erupted into the worst riots France where a movement began as a rebuke of the country’s fuel price hikes and evolved to a broader protest against the cost of living pressures and anger at Macron’s government. And yet Trump blamed the Paris climate accord [which has nothing to do with the demonstrations] as well he claims in a tweet people are “Chanting ‘We Want Trump!'”. Laughable.

The lawyer for four women who claim they were undocumented workers at Trump National Golf Club is calling for state and federal investigations into the Trump Organization’s hiring practices. One claims that managers at the club arranged for fraudulent documents to keep her employed. They don’t believe Trump knew of what was going on. After hired, another one was taken off the club premises to an off-site location and provided with a bogus Social Security card and ID.

Top law enforcement officials pushed back on comments from Trump suggesting the prosecution of a Chinese telecommunications executive from Huawei could be used as leverage in trade negotiations. “What I do, what we do at the Justice Department, is law enforcement. We don’t do trade,” assistant Attorney General John Demers, the department’s top national security official said.

The Trump administration is planning to announce the indictments of multiple hackers suspected of working for a Chinese intelligence service and participating in a long-running espionage campaign targeting the U.S. Additionally, the government is planning to declassify intelligence relating to the breaches, which date back to 2014.

Outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said she used Trump’s “unpredictable” behavior to her advantage in order to “get the job done” as ambassador. “He would ratchet up the rhetoric, and then I’d go back to the ambassadors and say ‘you know, he’s pretty upset. I can’t promise you what he’s going to do or not, but I can tell you if we do these sanctions, it will keep him from going too far,'” Haley said in an interview.

As if lagging sales in Apple’s new iGadgets are hurting them, Trump is considering widening the tariffs on Chinese-made imports to the US, which could mean new duties on Apple products of between 10 and 25 percent. Trump said the tariffs could impact Apple iPhones and laptops that were made in China, arguing that, “I can make it 10 percent, and people could stand that very easily.”

Trump wants the iPhones to be built in the U.S. If not, he will slap on a 25% tariff. But building them in the U.S. could at as much as 35% to the cost – on a line of phones already faltering because of low sales and high costs to the consumer.