The new year starts continuing from the last year… a mess

Now in his second tweet of the year, what President would say “Happy New Year to everyone, including the haters and the fake news media! 2019 will be a fantastic year for those not suffering from Trump derangement syndrome”?

Donald Trump said that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to use military funding to build The Trump Wall on the US-Mexico border, saying “I can do it if I want.” Trump also said he believes he doesn’t need congressional approval to build the wall. How legally he can request to build a wall could end up in the courts.

“We can call a national emergency because of the security … I haven’t done it. I may do it but we can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” he said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden. How do you build a wall “quickly”?

A US official said that there is other money available that Trump could use for the emergency spending of construction funds but that he would have to cancel existing military construction projects to do so. There are $13 billion in obligated funds from prior years that have not yet been spent and $10 billion in FY 19 funds already earmarked for various military projects.

A plan to end the Trump Shutdown late last year that was approved by the Senate was also approved with basically the same plan in the Democratic controlled House in 2019. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t allow any House approved plan to be voted in the Senate if Trump rejects the plan before a Senate vote.

Trump is now calling the shutdown the “Schumer Shutdown” even though he said at the beginning that the shutdown is all his. He knows the longer it goes on the less good it looks for him.

The Democrats proposed several plans to end the shutdown giving pay for all the agency except DHS for a year and DHS until mid-February. The plans doesn’t give any money for the Trump Wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear he will not move forward on any legislation until Trump signs off on it. Didn’t take long for Trump to outright reject them because of no money for the Trump Wall.

Trump “said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time — months or even years,” according to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who spoke to reporters in the White House driveway. “Absolutely I said that,” Trump affirmed from the Rose Garden shortly afterward. “I don’t think it will, but I’m prepared.”

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the Trump shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports. At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, as many as 170 TSA employees have called out each day this week. Call outs have increased by 200%-300% at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where typically 25 to 30 TSA employees call out from an average shift.

This Trump Shutdown is not only affecting the 800,000 works but will also affect immigration asylum cases as the judges who preside over those cases aren’t working. Also affected are small businesses who have contractors working for the government. While small businesses are paying their contractors working at government sites, the small businesses may not get paid – possibly forcing some to close shop.

Trump tweeted “Mexico is paying for the Wall through the new USMCA Trade Deal. Much of the Wall has already been fully renovated or built. We have done a lot of work. $5.6 Billion Dollars that House has approved….” The USMCA trade deal [which has not been approved by any of the 3 governments] mentions nothing about paying for the wall and any money that comes from the deal must be approved by the House and Senate.

In addition, what part of the Trump Wall was built or renovated? Initial estimate said over $20 billion was required to build the Trump Wall and fix already built walls. Most likely none of the Trump Wall has been built but some was “renovated”. As for the House approving, when? Definitely not $5 billion.

Trump tweeted “The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election. The Democrats know they can’t win based on all of the achievements of ‘Trump,’….” Blah. Blah. Blah. So he thinks that the Democrats are trying to find ways to beat Trump in the 2020 election with all the 2-3 achievements Trump did in the last 2 years.

The American Federation of Government Employees is suing the Trump administration alleged that the government is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing employees deemed essential to work without pay. 420,000 will work without pay due to the shutdown. The union’s president, J. David Cox, called the requirement that some federal employees work without pay “inhumane”.

Trump sought to deflect blame for the deaths of two Guatemalan children in US custody by claiming they were “very sick” when they arrived, even though immigration authorities have said both children passed initial health checks. The mother of the boy who died Christmas Eve told The Associated Press that her son was healthy when he left with his father on their journey hoping to migrate to the US. Attorneys for one of the children’s family have also denied claims that officials “hadn’t given her water in days,” as Trump wrote.

At least one of the laws Trump’s administration has blamed — legislation that prevents the immediate deportation of unaccompanied children from Central American countries — was signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, a Republican.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s border security rhetoric — including the assertion that “any deaths of children” at the border are “strictly the fault of the Democrats” — after a second migrant child died in US custody earlier this month. “They’re being promised something that people can simply not deliver upon.” So the Democrats promised this? When? They must of put up posters and radio ads in Central American countries. Right?

Outgoing chief of staff, John Kelly, claimed in an interview that Trump has toned down his push for a concrete wall over the past year with Kelly claiming he’d accept a wall made of slats, “barrier” or “fencing”. But Trump tweeted back it will be a concrete wall.

Add retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal who have criticized Trump for his approach to the presidency. The former top commander of the US and international forces in Afghanistan label Trump as dishonest and immoral. “I don’t think he tells the truth.” When asked if he thought Trump was immoral, McChrystal responded: “I think he is.”

Took a few days for Trump to respond. “‘General’ McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama,” Trump tweeted. “Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!” McChrystal resigned in 2010 over comments he and his top officers made in an article that belittled other administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. Obama allowed him to retire at his full pay grade.

And then Senator-elect Mitt Romney said that Trump’s behavior since taking office “is evidence that the President has not risen to the mantle of the office.” Should be interesting on how much Romney follows the party or decides to be more independent and go against some of the legislation Trump likes or dislikes.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says he would not resign if pressured to do so by Trump. While Trump appointed him and approved by the Senate, there is a clause which states that the Federal Reserve Chairman cannot be fired if a disagreement over policy. So Trump can ask and Powell can refuse. However if Trump did something else [make comments about Trump’s mental state for example], then that would be an excuse.

Vice President Mike Pence and senior political aides may see their paychecks go up soon if Congress does not pass legislation that would extend a pay freeze for those officials, according to documents from the Office of Personnel Management.

After a meeting before the New Year, Trump it seems [and again] back paddled on the idea of removing troops from Syria. But it is unclear if he put the removal on hold or just removing them at a slower pace. Of course, this is Trump, any time within the next 30 days he could completely halt the removal or speed up the removal or denied he ever slowed or halted the removal.

After Trump defended for 18 months that the economy was doing great in the US as what seems to be the only factor, the stock markets in the US had their worst December since 1931. But I’m sure he will blame anybody but himself.

The US national debt stood at $21.974 trillion at the end of 2018, more than $2 trillion higher than when Trump took office, according to numbers released Thursday by the Treasury Department. That’s almost a 10% increase in 2 years.

With Trump’s second anniversary in office coming up this week, what accomplishments can he boast?

  • Economy? While there are less unemployed, the stock market [one of his early boasting] is tanking. There are still plenty of major bankruptcies and job losses.
  • Border security? Nothing. Even with a majority in the House and Senate he couldn’t pass any legislation to fund the Trump Wall.
  • Less taxes? He did this at the end of 2017 for corporations to pay less taxes. This resulted in a higher national debt and limited amount of bonuses passed down to employees while most corporations had higher revenue.
  • Added Supreme Court Justices? Is that considered an achievement? Most tend to be nominated and approved without an issue.
  • Definitely not shutdowns. He can boast that there has been three shutdowns in one year – the first time ever for any President.

 

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Trump getting hit on all sides

Wow! Donald Trump said that if Democrats “want to play tough” when they control the House of Representatives next year, he will declassify documents that will be “devastating” to them. “If they want to play tough, I will do it,” Trump told the New York Post in an interview. “They will see how devastating those pages are.” Democrats are poised to launch a series of investigations after winning a majority in the House in November.

Is this a so-called president of the U.S. or a blackmailer or a man child? And whether he can legally release them without damaging the country. If he can threaten the Democrats with this surely the Republicans know he can do the same to them if he doesn’t get his way.

It should be interesting with all the bashing Trump has had against the Supreme Court that if and when Trump [well his lawyers] go in front of the Supreme Court for one of this many legal issues [either personal or as part of the administration] whether the justices will have in back of their mind think of what Trump has said about them.

Trump publicly chastised General Motors CEO Mary Barra over her decision to close four plants in the U.S. because of sagging demand for sedans. “I was very tough. I spoke with her when I heard they were closing and I said, you know, this country has done a lot for General Motors,” Trump said, referring to the federal bailout of the company after the 2008 financial crash. Trump said he told Barra she had “better” reopen plants in the US soon. Don’t count on it.

“We have a lot of companies moving in,” Trump said at a rally, adding that the number of companies making products in the US is “actually going to be increasing.” Some 8,000 salaried employees and 6,000 hourly workers will either lose their jobs or be reassigned to other plants.

“Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland,” Trump tweeted. “We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.” He left out Wisconsin. Not surprising, the subsidies don’t exist. GM is unaware of any significant federal subsidies the company is receiving beyond a $7,500 plug-in tax credit, which goes to the consumer, not the company.

Between 2009 and 2014, the Energy Department provided loans and grants toward the development of electric vehicles and energy saving technology. Tesla, Nissan and Ford participated, but GM did not. Chevy Suburbans are a staple for the Secret Service that protects Trump and other federal officials. GM also manufactured “The Beast,” the souped-up Cadillac that transports Trump.

Despite his last-minute requests and hopes, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will still have to start his 14-day prison sentence on Monday for lying to federal investigators in the Russia probe. Papadopoulos’ full sentence includes the prison time, a $9,500 fine, a year of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia by making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen said he lied about the timing of the tower negotiations and other details to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.”

One idea considered for the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow was to offer Russian President Vladimir Poutine the penthouse, according to Felix Sater, who was working on the project with Cohen. The penthouse was planned to be valued at $50 million but gifted to Poutine. It was not clear if Trump was informed of the idea.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight separate charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in co-ordination with Trump. At that time, Cohen said he secretly used shell companies to make payments used to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.

Departing for the G20 summit in Argentina, Trump called Cohen “a weak person” and said his former lawyer was just trying to finagle a more lenient sentence from prosecutors. When asked why he retained Cohen for so long, “Because a long time ago he did me a favour,” Trump said, without offering specifics. Trump has previously said that co-operating with prosecutors “should almost be illegal”.

Cohen, who is now a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was under the impression Trump would offer him a pardon in exchange for staying on message in support of Trump in discussions with federal prosecutors. After the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen’s office and home, people close to Trump assured Cohen that Trump would take care of him.

Donald Trump Jr. has provided testimony under oath to at least three congressional committees where he was asked about the proposed deal. Most of that testimony is not public and it isn’t clear how detailed the questions were about the project. Yet it could place him in legal jeopardy if anything he told Congress conflicts with information provided by Cohen if it is supported by other evidence.

Heading to the G20 in Argentina, Trump announced that he wouldn’t meet Poutine because “ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia”.

Trump woke up and one of the first things he did was tweeted “Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.” If he said “a few are stone cold criminals” people may take him seriously. But nobody does. In any case, does he think his border guards and immigration officials can’t do their job and weed out the “criminals”? I guess that is another two agencies he doesn’t trust.

Trump tweeted “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border, or if originating countries would not let them form (it is a way they get certain people out of their country and dump in U.S. No longer). Dems created this problem.” Actually I don’t think Mexico was hired to be the U.S.’s immigration department. In addition, being in power for almost 2 years he has done nothing yourself to fix the problem. Legislation? Trump Wall? All failures. Will he continue to blame the Democrats for something he could of fixed just before the 2020 elections?

Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan said there is only one type of tear gas used by them in their arsenal. This after Trump claimed “First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe. The ones that were suffering to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out there but it’s very safe.” So border agents suffered more than the migrants. OK.

McAleenan said hundreds — perhaps more than 1,000 — people attempted to rush vehicle lanes at the San Ysidro crossing. Mexican authorities estimated the crowd at 500.

Trump suggested without evidence that some of the migrants who were tear-gassed at the U.S.-Mexico border recently were “grabbers” who took others’ children in order to protect themselves. “They grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child. You know, you have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws that frankly Congress should be changing.” I don’t think a child can enter the U.S. with a non-parent so easily. And again, almost 2 years and he hasn’t changed anything.

Trump said that three U.S. agents were “very badly hurt” by rocks and stones thrown by migrants during the unrest. McAleenan said four agents were struck with rocks but were not injured because they were wearing protective gear.

Trump denied that women and children were among those affected by the tear gas. But in his remarks to reporters here, he shifted his response, first claiming that the tear gas was “very safe,” then blaming migrants with children for being in harm’s way and finally questioning whether the children were theirs at all. Umm. Maybe because the children’s parent[s] were there.

Trump asked why parents were “running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming.” More like they were already there when agents shot the tear gas.

Trump retweeted a bunch of false facts. Among them, Trump retweeted: “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program. Our social security checks are on average $1200 a month. RT if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.” If he dislikes this why doesn’t he fix it. He’s been in office for 22 months. Stop complaining [or retweeting] and fix it then. [The $3,874 is for a family of 5 refugees in Canada – not the US. As for Social Security checks, the average payment is $1,413 a month, with a maximum payment of $2,788.]

The Trump administration announced in June it would open a temporary shelter for up to 360 migrant children in an isolated corner of the Texas desert. It is now up to 2,349 largely Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were sleeping inside the highly guarded facility in rows of bunk beds in canvas tents, some of which once housed first responders to Hurricane Harvey. More than 1,300 teens have arrived since the end of October alone. More people are detained in this tent city than in all but one of the nation’s 204 federal prisons, yet construction here continues.

Costs appear to be soaring more than 50 per cent higher than the government has disclosed: What began as an emergency, 30-day shelter has transformed into a vast tent city that could cost taxpayers more than $430 million. Per child it’s $1200 a day and not $775 per day officials have publicly disclosed. Current average is $12 million a week.
Under federal policy, migrant youth shelters generally must have one mental health clinician for every 12 kids, but shelter officials told AP the facility has just one mental health clinician for every 50 kids.

Recently, 13 federal agencies working in coordination — released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a detailed document featuring the conclusions of more than 300 scientists that the planet is getting warmer, human activity is contributing to that warming and we are approaching a point of no return in terms of the damage to the climate.

The economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars — or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP — by the end of the century. Without significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or more by the end of this century the report says.

Then “We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. “It’s based on — it’s not data-driven. We’d like to see something that is more data-driven.”  So they are rejecting the findings of that study don’t comport with Trump’s long-held beliefs that climate change just isn’t a real thing. And yes, 13 more agencies the administration doesn’t believe [add to the list that includes the FBI, CIA, DoHS, ….].

The report’s findings run counter to Trump’s consistent message that climate change is a hoax. Trump tweeted, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” as some Americans faced the coldest Thanksgiving in over a century. He obviously doesn’t know the difference between climate change and global warming.

“There really is no equivalency,” [versus Hillary Clinton’s mail issue] Ivanka Trump said in an interview regarding her personal mail account adding that her emails were focused on “mainly scheduling and logistics and managing the fact that I have a home life and a work life.” She was emphatic that “everything has been preserved” and stored in the White House system. What was not said is what kind of an account was it. Hotmail? Gmail?

Whether or not they were preserved, it is still a non-government server being administrated by who knows who with still confidential information. Clinton’s mail fault was the deletion of Email but at least she controlled the server where they were stored on. And after this mess with Clinton, you would think Ivanka Trump would know better by only using a government Email address for government purposes?

If she wanted an Email account that is not government controlled for her “home life”, that’s fine, but as long as she doesn’t use it for government purposes. Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants.

As world leaders denounced Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Trump waited more than a day before offering a muted response about the clash, leaving the task of criticizing Moscow to the outgoing US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. He refused to condemn Russia after they open fired and seized Ukrainian ships and blocked the sea route. Russia actually accused Ukraine of provocation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained silent on the serious escalation in tensions between the two countries.

Again this shows that “friends” of Trump [but possibly not of the U.S.] can do what they want while Trump stays in the background. First the Saudi Arabia killing of as journalist and now this.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has “breached” his plea agreement with the Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office two months after he started cooperating in the Russia probe.

Manafort shared extensive information with Justice Department prosecutors since he began cooperating, but that prosecutors also believe they are able to verify or refute that information. Manafort lied “on a variety of subject matters,” violating his plea agreement, prosecutors allege in the three-page filing signed by both the defense team and the prosecution.

So Trump has submitted his answers in the Mueller investigation questionnaire. I’m sure a team of people checked Trump’s answers for grade level writing and grammar, spell checking, profanity, orange ooze, …. And finally answers to the questions to make sure they were truthful-ish.

Want a good laugh? In Tupelo, Mississippi, which Trump called the “proud birthplace of the King of Rock n Roll,” Trump said “Other than the blond hair when I was growing up they said I look like Elvis.” When Trump attended New York Military Academy as a young man, it wasn’t even close to Elvis.

Wow. Another busy Trump week

At a rally in July, Donald Trump said: “And we will say, ‘I will give you [Sen. Elizabeth Warren] a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian … we’ll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no but we will hold it for the debates.” Now after DNA test prove that Warren has Native American ancestry he says “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.”

Trump can now really call Warren “Pocahontas”. He was using that term after she claimed for the last 6 years she has Native American ancestry but only now decided to take the test. It is suspected that it will further her bid to run for President in 2020. She now leads the Democrat’s potential nominees.

“Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed…. She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American. Now Cherokee Nation denies her, “DNA test is useless.” Even they don’t want her. Phony!,” Trump’s tweeted.

Except the Cherokee Nation hasn’t objected and she never asked for any type of Native American status. “Slammed”? By whom except this idiot. He also called her to apologize. Seems it is his way of not paying the $1 million he betted on. As well I guess the professor of genetics at Stanford and adviser to Ancestry and 23 and Me is fake to him.

[Some Native Americans have said that she hasn’t helped the Native Americans in any case. It could be said that she added her ancestry only to gain a few extra votes. If you are looking to do that shouldn’t you be looking after their interests?]

So Trump has received information regarding the missing and possibly murdered Washington Post journalist. He announced that he will speak to the Saudi king within 24 hours. Why wait that long? Talking to the king instead of the crown prince shows how serious it could be. [Plus the crown prince may have a bit of a temper.]

Trump said he spoke to the Saudi king who “firmly denied any knowledge” of what happened to the Saudi journalist and dissident. Trump now believes “rogue killers” may have killed the journalist, suggesting that was a possible explanation the king offered up during their conversation.

He says that if Saudi Arabia is involved there will be “severe” punishment but won’t kill any arms deals. Maybe sanctions against the government and anyone involved. Ah the power of money. Later, some threats were removed but the Saudi stock market took a hit as most companies on that exchange took a big hit.

“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!” tweeted but he made millions selling apartments in his New York buildings to the kingdom, and the Trump Organization has benefited from Saudi business at its hotels in Washington, New York and Chicago. And why would he add Russia to his tweet?

Now there is talk that Saudi Arabia may announce that he actually was killed while interrogated [or is that “interviewed”]. And I’m sure after Trump’s threats, there won’t be any punishment.

Trump said “it certainly looks” like the journalist is dead. But, Trump said he is “waiting for the results” of investigations being conducted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, after which he pledged to make “a very strong statement.”

Asked what consequence Saudi leaders would face if they are found to be responsible, he replied: “It will have to be very severe. It’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens.” Yes, “bad” like a slap on the diplomatic wrist because he knows he can’t upset the Saudis too much without the Us paying dearly economically. Look how they went after Canada because of a simple tweet.

Well, it was announced that the journalist is dead. And the world is waiting for Trump’s “severe” punishment.

Among what trump said in an interview for 60 minutes:

  • Russian President Vladimir Poutine is “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country.”
  • “They [Russia] meddled [in the 2016 election]. But I think China meddled, too. And I think other countries …”
  • Trump said he knew about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s human rights violations, but that his efforts have resulted in fewer threats to the United States.
  • “I think something’s happening [regarding climate change]. Something’s changing, and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made. ….. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t want to be put at a disadvantage.” Until this he has generally said that climate change is a hoax.
  • Pressed about scientists who have said climate change is worse than ever, Trump said, “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.” Yes. Scientists are busy with politics more than science.
  • “I’m not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn’t matter. We won” after a comment about Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford lying. I thought Kavanaugh won the confirmation.

After their interview with Trump, 60 Minutes has said they cut any Trump answer or comment that they couldn’t independently verify. Must have been plenty!

Of course many of the comments above and those I didn’t include haven’t been proven.

The ever revolving front door of the administration. Trump said in an interview that he was unsure how long Defense Secretary James Mattis planned to stay in his administration. “Well, I don’t know,” Trump said when asked whether the Pentagon chief would be leaving. “I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth.” He didn’t know that when he was hired?

Already Trump has hinted that he will take credit if the Republican party does well in the mid-terms in just over 2 weeks but at the same time he won’t be taking the blame for any major loss. He claims he is not running to be elected. Meanwhile he has been doing quite a few rallies introducing candidates and interviews [see below]. His way of preparing for the worse.

In contrast, when the Democratic party got trounced in one of his two mid-term elections, President Obama did take the blame.

Russians working for a close ally of Vladimir Poutine engaged in an elaborate campaign of “information warfare” to interfere with the midterm elections, the Justice Department’s prosecutors announced that they had charged a woman in an effort “to spread distrust towards candidates for US political office and the US political system,” prosecutors said.

The woman managed millions of dollars for a company owned by Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch who was previously indicted on charges of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, to finance foreign influence activities directed at the United States.

In an interview with Associated Press:

  • Trump still thinks it could be “rogue killers” who killed the journalist but how did they get access into the Saudi Consulate?
  • “We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way” except it wasn’t a trial and there was no court or jury.
  • “Look, I’m 48 and 1 in the primaries, and actually it’s much higher than that…” What score is that? Those he endorsed? If so, I am sure most were wins even before the primary took place.
  • “No, I think I’m helping people.” In which Trump rejects that if Republicans lose control of the House or Senate, he will have any blame to bear for it.
  • “And I was getting literally tens of thousands of people, also, more than Hillary in the same location.” He’s still going back to the elections 2 years ago. He still considers crowd size an indicator of popularity. I have prefer a specific candidate or party but I don’t go to rallies.
  • “I would say, without question, first two years of office, I’ve had the most successful two years in the history of this country as a president.” This is, of course, totally unverifiable given that it’s difficult to know what Trump means by “most successful.”
  • “Oh, absolutely he’s lying. And Michael Cohen was a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work…. He represented me very little. It’s a very low-level. And what he was is also a public relations person.” Michael Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer and the guy who fixed the problems no one else wanted to or could for more than a decade in Trump world.
  • “He wasn’t in trouble for what he did for me; he was in trouble for what he did for other people.” Cohen testified under oath that he coordinated at the behest of and in coordination with Trump for two campaign finance violations.
  • “….I have a natural instinct for science.” Didn’t know he was into science. Maybe he is a professor with a PhD in all sciences from Trump University.
  • “And even people that are not my friends say that was a horrible thing that he did to the president, a horrible thing…. He should be ashamed of himself for doing it.” This about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself in the Russia probe.

Trump went a bit nuts when he found out that 3200 [and growing] Central Americans were making their way slowly through Central America to reach the US. He warned countries along their path that if they don’t stop these migrants, he would cut off their foreign aid. He then told Mexico that he would seal the US/Mexico border and then threatened to new NAFTA, USMCA.

“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border. All Democrats fault for weak laws!” Hmmmm. He’s been in power for almost 2 years and are still blaming for issues that he can’t fix or doesn’t have the political strength to do so. He is also claiming that these migrants [mostly women and children according to reports] and criminals.

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match.

Trump threatened to shut down the southern border, took Bolton’s side during the argument. Bolton favors a harder line approach to the issue and criticized Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the argument. Nielsen used to serve as Kelly’s deputy when he ran DHS. Bolton reportedly said Nielsen needed to start doing her job, which incensed Kelly.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders pushed blame onto Democrats in a statement, insisting that her colleagues are “not angry at one another.” “We are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis.” Seriously? The Republicans control the House and Senate. They are disorganized.

“They should be ashamed for pushing an open borders agenda and are only doing this for strictly political reasons. Despite us having the worst laws in the world and no help from Democrats, our Administration is doing a great job on the border.” She said. And again. Almost 2 years and the administration has fixed nothing. Stop blaming the Democrats.

Trump finally tours the damage that was done by Hurricane Michael – over a week since the storm came though. Probably too busy with rallies and golf.

A federal judge has dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump. Daniels sued Trump after he said in a tweet that her story of a man threatening her not to come forward with her story of her alleged affair with Trump was “a total con job.”

Trump has framed the 2018 midterms elections as a choice between Republican law and order and Democratic “mobs.” In a new line for the campaign, he said “Democrats create mobs. Republicans create jobs.”

Trump has raised more than $100 million for a re-election battle that is more than two years away, giving him a massive financial advantage over a crowded field of potential Democratic contenders jockeying to challenge him in 2020. Small-dollar contributions of $200 or less represent nearly 98% of the money he collected during the third quarter of the year, campaign officials said.

In a rally in Montana, Trump said:

  • “But a lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that’s a negative for us….” They are getting paid supposedly by the Democrats. He later claimed, they were paid by George Soros, the liberal billionaire.
  • “You have some hardened, bad people coming in.” Again, with no proof, but reports show plenty of women and children.
  • “You know, I just walked in, and a big, strong guy grabbed me. And he was almost crying. It happens every time. And many times. And he said, sir, ‘Mr. President, thank you so much for saving our country.'” At every rally, it seems there is a big guy crying and hugging him.
  • “We have the hottest economy on Earth. People are moving back in.” Yes. Global warming is causing people to stay in doors.
  • “But maybe they’re at the State Department. They could very well be at the Department of Justice…” again 2 years later, Trump is now whining that Hillary Clinton’s Email are being kept by one or two departments without his knowledge.
  • “Justice Kavanaugh, number one in his class at Yale” except Yale doesn’t have class rank.
    Trump praised Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter during his campaign last May, saying “any guy who can do a body slam … he’s my guy” and made a gesture mimicking a body slam.
  • “But all of a sudden are Republicans making big progress. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in that race.” Yes, for the California governor’s race. A Los Angeles Times poll that came out two days ago showed Democrat Gavin Newsom with a 23-point lead over Republican John Cox. The Republicans will win the governor’s race!

Trump still likes to cause problems

It seems as one issue he started dies down, he starts up another issue.

The immigration issue keeps on coming up. A new Trump administration policy changed the status of migrants who try to enter the US. Instead of eventually sent back, they are jailed. Any children with them are separated and put in detention centers. Thousands of children are now detained. Over 2000 in the past 6 weeks or so.

Donald Trump has blamed the Democrats for the change but it is his administration that made the change by saying “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda. Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall….” Most are guessing that he would change the policy if the Democrats agree to have his wall built. Blackmail?

Mercedes Schlapp, the White House’s director of strategic communications, said that Trump is “fully committed to enforcing the law” when it comes to separating young children from their parents. Except there is no law – just a Trump administration policy.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had said basically don’t bring your kids to the US. If you are trying to escape hardship and violence, why would you leave your children behind?

A CNN poll said that 58% of Republican voters still approve of the separation policy. But just 5% of Democrats and 27% of independents approve. So overall, maybe 24& of Americans approve.

Trump told GOP members, who attended a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hil, that “the crying babies doesn’t look good politically,” the member said.

Trump has threatened to retaliate against any country that slams tariffs on US goods. And now he has threatened China with tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after the Trump administration slapped $50 billion recently in tariffs on Chinese goods. The US only ships around $130 billion a year to China. So the two combined [original $50 billion plus the $200 billion] is the equivalent of almost 2 years’ worth.

Continuing a bit more on the G7 summit, Trump declared there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” a dubious claim following his summit with leader Kim Jong Un that produced no guarantees on how or when Pyongyang would disarm.

New York state Attorney General Barbara Underwood alleges a pattern of persistent illegal conduct over more than a decade that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign. Underwood is asking a court to dissolve the Trump Foundation and wants $2.8 million in restitution plus additional penalties.

As he landed in Washington following the summit, Trump declared on Twitter that America and the world can “sleep well tonight. … There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” Trump wrote, even though North Korea has yet to give up any of its fissile material, estimated by independent experts to be enough for between about a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs.

In the brief, four-point joint statement signed at the summit, North Korea committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” – a promise it has made and reneged on several times in the past 25 years. The statement made no mention of verification, despite Trump’s longstanding insistence on “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out that the statement makes reference to a previous agreement that did mention verification, and argued that as a result, the Trump-Kim statement automatically “incorporates” verification without having to state it outright.

Over a week later, Trump still wants credit tweeting “If President Obama (who got nowhere with North Korea and would have had to go to war with many millions of people being killed) had gotten along with North Korea and made the initial steps toward a deal that I have, the Fake News would have named him a national hero!”

Pompeo has said there will be no sanctions relief for North Korea while it maintains nuclear weapons, contradicting North Korean state media who said it could take place “as progress is made.”

The former head of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, and former chief strategist in the Trump White House said that he has “never” known Trump to lie or even say something that misleads. [What was he smoking?]

Trump attacked Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a tweet over the New York Democrat’s criticisms of the North Korea summit saying “Thank you Chuck, but are you sure you got that right? No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more!” Question is what was given up to get those results.

“The denuclearization deal with North Korea is being praised and celebrated all over Asia.” Ya? Where are the celebrations? South Korea is quite happy [no war games and US military could leave].

The New York attorney general sued Trump’s charitable foundation along with its directors — Trump, his sons Eric and Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka, alleging they violated state and federal charities law.

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump has touted his political contributions as a form of business savviness, boasting that he has “given to everybody” for favors in return. A review of the Trump Foundation’s tax records finds that although the charity has received more than $4 million in contributions from other organizations and individuals and in turn donated millions to various charitable causes since 2009, Trump has not made any personal contributions to the foundation in that time.

Private family foundations traditionally fund charitable causes at least in part through their founder’s personal wealth.

The Palm Beach Police Foundation has hosted annual fundraiser balls at Trump’s ritzy Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, yet the police charity paid to rent Trump’s club, such as $276,463 paid to the club in 2014. Trump has his property in Palm Beach and has donated to the foundation.

Conservative political provocateur Roger Stone met in May 2016 with a Russian who offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton in exchange for $2 million, Stone and former Trump campaign communications official Michael Caputo have said.

Trump said his administration was hiring “thousands and thousands” of immigration judges, that the US already has “thousands” of immigration judges and that other countries don’t have immigration judges. In reality, there the Justice Department’s immigration courts division has 335 judges nationwide, with more than 100 more judges budgeted for. Trump also claimed the United States was “essentially the only country that has judges” to handle immigration cases. But that is incorrect.

Trump also claimed falsely that when immigrants are let into the country to have their cases heard by a court, they virtually all go into hiding with just 3% showing up. In reality, the number of immigrants who don’t show up to court proceedings is far lower and many of the immigrants released from detention are given monitoring devices such as ankle bracelets to ensure they return.

Mexico, Trump said, “does nothing for us.” Experts say the country’s crackdown on immigrants within its borders has been a major help to the US in recent years. Each of the last three years, Mexican removals exceeded US removals to those countries. Mexico is also apprehending tens of thousands of Central Americans before they reach the US. According to the data, Mexico intercepted 173,000 Central Americans in fiscal year 2015, 151,000 in fiscal year 2016 and just under 100,000 in fiscal year 2017.

Deep in the heart of Trump country, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is being met with protests by farmers and ethanol producers concerned that he is undermining the industry with his strong support of oil and gas. Their unhappiness is being broadcast on billboards, at rallies and in meetings the EPA chief is holding during a tour of heartland states. Trump promised to support the ethanol industry. Another broken promise.

Michael Cohen’s personal attorney asked a federal judge to sign a gag order to stop porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer from speaking with reporters and releasing information about the case to the public. The lawyer argues that Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels, has been tainting the case with a “publicity tour” that has included more than 100 television interview since March.

Meanwhile, Cohen has indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with the Robert Mueller federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. Cohen has expressed anger with the treatment he has gotten from Trump, who has minimized his relationship with Cohen, and comments from Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the body of bias against US ally Israel and a failure to hold human rights abusers accountable including some on the council. This is mostly symbolic. The council will go on and nothing will happen.

[I have said it before: On the diplomacy side, the UN has become useless. Countries on the Security Council can veto a resolution against them, human rights abusers on the Human Rights Council, etc.]

With the White House has even teamed up with a conservative group, the Conservative Partnership Institute, to recruit Republican congressional aides for administration jobs at a job fair. The White House is claiming this has been in the works since April. Many staffers are leaving between now and the mid-term elections, some fearing that either they will eventually be involved in various investigations or don’t want to be associated with the administration.

Trump has spent the better part of a year trying to demonize NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, and he opened a new line of attack, telling Fox News the protesters, who are trying to raise awareness about racial injustice, don’t “have a real issue.”

The deal with ZTE [recall that they were banned from doing any business for 7 years for some shenanigans] was a ‘personal favour’ to the Chinese president, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro has said, and it boosted ‘goodwill’ for the North Korea summit. Unsure what goodwill to North Korea. In addition, this is another fact of the Trump administration: Get banned for something and then pay your way to be in their good graces. In this case ZTE payed a $1 billion fine and had to make changes ib management among other things.

Employment in auto production has declined 22 per cent in the last 2 decades, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said when the investigation was announced May 24. But how much of that is because the automakers are using automated systems instead of manual labor?

Another departure: Joe Hagin, the White House official who orchestrated logistics for the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will depart the administration next month.

Trump’s approval has ticked slightly downward, to 39%, compared with 41% in May and 42% in March.  Immigration is one of the issues where Americans rate the President the poorest, with his approval on the economy at 49% and on foreign affairs and foreign trade tied at 39%, and only 33% of people approving how he is handling health care policy. Almost 80% of Americans support continuing the DACA program, which allows some immigrants who were brought to the US illegally to stay without risk of deportation.

Continuing to really know nothing about trade, Trump claims that a major newspaper [he didn’t say which] said that Canadians are shopping for shoes [didn’t mention anything else], buying them, scuffing them up slightly and wearing them because the tariffs are so high. Huh? Confusing tariffs and duties. On top of that, shoes aren’t aren’t subject to duties when crossing back into Canada – just sales tax.

Note: This Friday’s usual post may not be available until the weekend.