The US goes into uncharted territory

Congressional negotiators say they have reached an agreement in principle to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of this week. But the agreement falls short of Donald Trump’s required $5.7 billion to build the Trump Wall. In fact, the deal is for [just] $1.375 billion or 55 miles or a whopping $25 million per mile.

The number of beds administrated by ICE would drop to 40,520 [interesting number] from currently at 49,057. Republicans want 52,000 and the Democrats wanted in the low 30,000s.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did manage to avert the political disaster of a new Trump Shutdown by securing a pledge that Trump would sign a federal funding bill that lacks all the money for his Trump Wall.

But Trump announced a declaration of national emergency, which he would use to reallocate money for a total of $8 billion in government money to fund the Trump Wall.

If the move is not permanently blocked by the courts it could also come back to haunt Republicans, since it could provide a precedent for a future Democratic president to enact liberal priorities on an executive whim.

Already some states’ attorney generals are preparing to go to court. Trump already believes he will lose in the lower courts only to win at the Supreme court. He’ll be shocked when he loses but then will blame anybody and everybody but himself – as usual.

McConnell was forced to back off his previous opposition to declaring a national emergency in order to get Trump to sign the funding bill. Trump is to grab money from the Department of Defense, which doesn’t require approval from Congress.

“We have so much money we don’t know what to do with it,” Trump said. “I don’t know what to do with all the money they’re giving us.” That’s the $1.375 billion – not what he is siphoning [probably] illegally.

Prior to the agreement, Trump says he doesn’t expect another Trump Shutdown, but added if there is one, it’s the “Democrats’ fault.” He is obviously not happy with the deal. A few of his closest allies in Congress plus his some of his cronies at Fox News [maybe his real advisors] have come out against the deal.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is likely to invoke a clause in the 1976 National Emergencies Act that permits Congress to seek to terminate a President’s declaration that McConnell appears to have no power to stop from coming to the floor in the Senate.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement that declaring a national emergency would be a “lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency…. The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities.”

Note that the constitution states that it is Congress that is to handle monetary issues – not the President.

About 66% of Americans said in a poll released earlier this month that Trump should not declare a national emergency to build the Trump Wall. And only 64% of Republicans thought Trump should go ahead — a figure far lower than Trump’s approval numbers with GOP voters.

Trump also lamented that he wasn’t able to build the Trump Wall earlier in his presidency, blaming others. “Would’ve been great to do it earlier, but I was a little new to the job,” he said. “People did not step up – would’ve been easy, not easy, but it would’ve been a lot easier, but some people didn’t step up,” Trump said, apparently referring to the once-Republican controlled House. He likes to repeat himself.

Trump defended his decision to pull funds from the Department of Defense military construction budget in order to build Trump Wall, claiming that “Some of the generals think this is more important … far more important than what they were going to use it for,” Trump said. “It didn’t sound too important to me.”

“When you look and when you listen to politicians, in particular certain Democrats, they say it all through the port of entry. It’s wrong. It’s just a lie. It’s all a lie. They say walls don’t work. Walls work 100%,” Trump said. Except the Democrats got it from government departments and security agencies.

National emergencies can last for one year and then terminate – unless the President renews the declaration 90 days prior.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that it will file a lawsuit challenging Trump’s national emergency declaration with ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero saying “By the president’s very own admission in the Rose Garden, there is no national emergency. He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress, and decided to move along his promise for a border wall ‘faster.'”

Whatever you say on social media can bite you in the butt. For example, in November 2014, in which Trump tweeted, “Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.” This was when Obama was to use an national emergency to fix an issue. “Now he has to use executive action and this is a very, very dangerous thing that should be overwritten easily by the Supreme Court,” added Trump.

So what President Obama did 4+ years ago was not good in his opinion, but what he did is good?

In his immigration speech in the Rose Garden, Trump claimed that “two weeks ago, 26 were killed in a gunfight on the border a mile away from where I went.” Mexican authorities found a grisly scene that they described as a gang clash but the bodies were found near the Mexican town of Miguel Aleman, located nearly 130 miles northwest from McAllen.

As well, Trump said, “A big majority of the big drugs, the big drug loads don’t go through ports of entry.” About 90% of heroin seized at the border in the 2018 fiscal year was apprehended at ports of entry. The majority of meth is also detained at the border. In 2018, CBP seized 67,292 pounds of meth at legal ports of entry, compared with 10,382 pounds by Border Patrol agents in between ports, based on available data.

Trump said “You know, we already have national emergencies out there. you know President Obama, President Clinton, President Bush they’ve declared many national … this is not unique….” Except those were real reasons like 9/11 – not an imaginary issue created by him to get his only major campaign promise completed.

One of the sticking points in the shutdown negotiations is the number of detained migrants that can be held at a time. The Democrats want a cap on the amount. The Republicans are refusing saying that the proposal would allow “violent criminals to be released”. But in a statement from the Democrats “This cap will force the Trump administration to prioritize arresting and deporting serious criminals, not law-abiding immigrants.”

[I can see why a cap is needed. The amount of detained migrants which will cost extra resources [security, food, detention centers, immigrant officials, etc.].

Trump tweeted “They are offering very little money for the desperately needed Border Wall & now, out of the blue, want a cap on convicted violent felons to be held in detention!” Which basically means he thinks all migrants are convicted violent criminals. The cap isn’t the only issue stalling the funding process but Trump thinks it is.

Trump continued tweeting “It was a very bad week for the Democrats, with the GREAT economic numbers, The Virginia disaster and the State of the Union address. Now, with the terrible offers being made by them to the Border Committee, I actually believe they want a Shutdown.” While the Virginia mess is a mess, none of what he said otherwise is valid. Even his SoTU address wasn’t a success and the economy is beginning to stall.

Republican and Democratic negotiators are exchanging border security proposals that contain far less funding for the border wall than Trump has demanded, with just days left before a deadline to release their bill ahead of another potential government shutdown. The latest proposals peg the topline funding number for border barriers around $2 billion. Trump has said before that he won’t accept anything less than $5.6 billion – however he caved in to stop the first Trump Shutdown. So anything is possible.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said “He [Trump] would be out of his mind and irresponsible. I think the President has no choice. If he is the least bit sane and responsible.” But “if the President illegally seizes power to reallocate money, he is violating the constitution and his oath of office and the Congress should act accordingly.”

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is confirming for the first time publicly that there were high-level discussions at the Justice Department about recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office in the aftermath of former FBI Director James Comey’s firing. The Justice Department has denied involvement.

The White House called McCabe’s investigation “completely baseless.” Trump, who has frequently criticized McCabe, called him a “disgrace” on Twitter and accused him of being politically biased during his time at the FBI. [That’s par for the course. Trump says that about anyone who goes against him.]

The Senate confirmed William Barr as attorney general. This will be Barr’s second tour as attorney general; he led the Justice Department during the George H.W. Bush administration. He takes over a department that Trump has repeatedly criticized for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Barr said he would not let Trump make corrections to the report before a possible publication, and promised to protect the investigation until its finish. Trump himself was upset as he watched television coverage of his nominee for attorney general describing a warm relationship with the special counsel Robert Mueller in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Unsure why. Barr told him in 2017 he knew Mueller and his wife. Trump nominated Barr last year.

Paul Manafort “intentionally” lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, breaking the plea agreement that made him the star cooperator in the Russia probe, a federal judge found. Manafort “made multiple false statements to the FBI, the OSC and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the investigation,” including his contacts with his Russian associate during the campaign and later.

Mueller’s team has interviewed White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders. It was conducted late last year, around the same time as the special counsel interviewed then-White House chief of staff John Kelly. One likely area of interest was how Sanders composed statements she made on the podium defending the President regarding the Russia investigation.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings says that his panel has obtained information that calls into question previous statements made by attorneys representing Trump to federal officials about 2016 hush-money payments to keep an alleged Trump extramarital affair under wraps. Cummings’ committee has obtained new documents showing that Trump’s personal attorney Sheri Dillon and Stefan Passantino “may have provided false information” when they were questioned by federal ethics officials about hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.

The Justice Department is investigating the leak last year of confidential reports about Michael Cohen’s personal bank records which led to revelations that the former Trump lawyer was profiting by selling his access to the White House. Meanwhile Cohen’s congressional testimony has been postponed for a third time.

Joseph Votel, the top American general in the Middle East, who has been leading the war against ISIS said that he disagreed with Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and warned that the terror group was far from defeated, in a stark public break with Trump. Votel also said that the US-backed forces on the ground in Syria were not ready to handle the threat of ISIS on their own.

“By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be President,” Democratic presidential candidate Elisabeth Warren said to voters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, gathered at the Veterans Memorial Building. “In fact, he may not even be a free person.” Earlier in the day she said “Every day, there’s a racist tweet, a hateful tweet, something really dark and ugly,” Warren said of Trump. I’m expecting Trump will react his usual way.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Trump’s eldest son, Donald, made light over the weekend of the US government’s history of genocide against Native Americans as part of a slam against Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her claims of American Indian heritage. Donald Trump Jr.’s comment on social media was in response to a tweet from his father, who attacked Warren and emphasized the word “trail” in a tweet widely construed to be a mocking reference to the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of thousands of Native Americans which led to thousands of deaths.

Trump tweeted “Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!”

Trump. Jr later captioned his tweet by saying “Savage!!! Love my President.”

While not a Republican hot bed, Trump decided to have a rally in El Paso. He claims that the border wall that was previously built has meant huge cuts in the city’s violent crime. Trump did not mention the agreement – which may not be a good thing.

As his crowd belted out “Build the wall” — Trump tried to grope for a way out: “You really mean ‘finish that wall,’ because we have built a lot of it.” Except the portions of the wall prior to his election were fixed a bit but there has been no new wall built since 2017.

Trump claims that the arena for the rally holds 8,000 and the fire department let in an extra 2,000 while as many as 57,000 [!!!] were outside watching on big screens. [He later claimed there was 35,000 – what happened to the other 34,000? Died? Left?] The El Paso fire department says the arena hold just 6,500 with at most another 3,500 outside and they wouldn’t allow more people than the arena could accommodate. He then went on to claim that Democrat Beto O’Rourke [who was holding a rally nearby] had 200 people or 300 people or 50 people [he said all 3 in his speech].

Trump personally paid to have a “golf simulator” installed in the White House residence that allows him to play virtual rounds of golf but has not yet used the new system, which cost about $50,000 and was installed in the last several weeks. [His new “executive time” option.]

Remember at the end of 2017, the Trump administration pushed out sweeping tax reforms where everyone would get lower tax rates – which should mean higher tax refunds? The new rules lowered most individual rates and nearly doubled the standard deduction. But the average refund is down about 8% under the first full year of the overhauled tax code, according to data released by the IRS. Some experts expect to see a drop in the economy because of the lower refunds.

When asked if he would ever get a dog, Trump said “I don’t know … I don’t feel good. Feels a little phony, phony to me”. Trump said “a lot of people” have encouraged him to get a dog, saying “it’s good politically.” Nearly 4 in 10 households, or 38 per cent, owned at least one dog, the highest estimated rate of dog ownership since 1982. I wonder how dog owners will react to his “phony” comment.

Another sign of how economy is doing under the Trump administration is Payless shoes closing their 2,100 US stores and an estimated 10,000 employess will be out of a job. Unknown what will happen to the 1,500 location worldwide and maybe 8,000 employees.

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State of the Union address goes south

Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, not surprisingly, went all over the place. At time he was try to please his base, then holding a [short] olive branch to the Democrats, followed by threatening the Democrats, etc.

Trump insisted that if Democrats wanted peace and prosperity, then they could not carry on “partisan investigations.” A sort of way not to get in trouble because just one investigation that opens up a can of worms can ruin him. But investigations can further divide Congress. Or if you want economic prosperity, you can’t investigate the President. One doesn’t work with the other.

He, of course, repeated his push for the wall giving the same excuses we heard before – most not quite true.

He touted the low unemployment rate which it is for now but with the economy showing signs of slowing down, that may not last.

Trump pushed for bipartisan unity because he knows he will have a tough time getting any legislation passed through the House. “We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution…” Doesn’t that describe what he has done?

Trump continues to exaggerate the border and Trump Wall issue while hinting of declaring a national emergency to get it built even though the democrats as well as some Republicans are against it. Some Republicans fear if he did declare, then when the Democrats have power they could also declare a national emergency on issues which aren’t really. A veto by the senators may not so out of reach.

Trump railed against illegal immigration, which he said results in lower wages for the American working class. But what about those who were fired after working at the Trump Organization’s golf courses [see later].

Just a few hours before this speech, he hosted a lunch with TV anchors where he, according to a New York Times report, attacked Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and John McCain — a national hero who has been dead for over five months. Classy.

In his address, Trump called for the elimination of HIV transmissions in the United States by 2030, raising hope and questions about putting an end to the epidemic. The initiative aims to reduce new HIV infections by 75% in the next five years and by 90% in the next 10 years, “averting more than 250,000 HIV infections in that span,” according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump’s plan will fund programs in geographic hot spots, data to identify and track the spread of HIV, and the creation of local efforts in targeted areas to expand HIV prevention and treatment.

Many health experts applauded the effort, but some also criticized the White House for cutting funding for HIV/AIDS programs in the past. This include undermining access to affordable health insurance, HIV drugs and cutting funds for HIV research. Also chopped was some funding for other countries.

From CNN commentator Ana Navarro: “If you had been in a coma for the last three years, and suddenly awoke in time to hear just the opening minutes and closing minutes, you would think Trump was a unifying, bipartisan, gracious leader.”

Seems Trump has slimmer pickings for “designated survivor” for the State of the Union address as you can’t choose someone in the cabinet that was not approved by the senate or not born in the US. There are 5 interims who are rejected. 65% of Trump’s top aides have been replaced at least once. Presidents Clinton and Obama were in the low 70s but that was over 8 years.

It is almost a tradition for a member of Congress to bring guests according to the issues they support. From furloughed government works, to someone related to a LGBTQ issue to someone who lost everything in a disaster to someone who is a shooting survivor. In the address after 9/11, a single seat honored those who died in the attack.

To run it through Congress on time, to avert another Trump Shutdown, a deal would have to be reached by Friday or at latest during the weekend. Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would accept a bipartisan agreement reached by the committee.

The border briefing was conducted by unnamed career officials, not Trump administration appointees, at the agency, an effort to turn down the political and emotional rhetoric of the debate so negotiators could more soberly assess the needs on the border and reach a deal. The career officials reported that they agreed with Democrats that new technologies — like sensors and drones — were a higher priority than new barriers.

Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met with contractors at the White House to discuss building the border wall very recently. Trump is seriously considering an emergency declaration to bypass Congress and using an emergency declaration to build his Trump Wall.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff announced he was launching a wide-ranging inquiry into Trump’s finances and whether financial considerations were driving decisions made by the administration.

Schiff said the investigation would include a continued probe into Russia’s actions during the 2016 election and contacts between the Russia and Trump’s team, as well as an examination of “whether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business, or his associates.” Schiff said the investigation would also look at whether Trump or his associates have “sought to influence US government policy in service of foreign interests” and any potential obstruction into the various investigations.

When Trump responded to a reporter asking him to comment on Schiff’s opening of a broad investigation, Trump responded by saying “he’s just a political hack trying to build a name for himself,” and then adding that Schiff had no “reason to do that.” and he calls it “Presidential harassment”. Well at least Schiff is a politician and I think Schiff is already well known. You don’t see him putting his hat in the ring to become a real president for 2020.

Schiff has hired officials with experience at the National Security Council to help with his panel’s oversight of Trump’s administration. Trump wasn’t happy. No recent hire came directly from the White House but no idea if any worked in the Trump administration.

Since the day after the 2018 midterm elections, Trump has spent around 60% of his scheduled time [297 hours] in unstructured “executive time.” Some meetings are listed as “executive time” to keep them hidden from West Wing staff members out of fear of possible leaks. He spent 77 hours in meetings and just over 38 hours at events.

On the day after the midterms, Trump’s schedule contained a 30-minute meeting with then-chief-of-staff John Kelly and more than seven hours for “executive time.”

Trump spends his mornings in the residence [until 11 am], watching TV, reading the papers, and responding to what he sees and reads by phoning aides, members of Congress, friends, administration officials and informal advisers.

White House spokeswoman Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders says that “…there is time to allow for a more creative environment that has helped make him the most productive President in modern history.”

The commander of US Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, said in a hearing he “was not consulted” prior to Trump’s December announcement that the US would withdraw its troops from Syria. Votel said the fight against the terror group is “not over” and warned ISIS could regroup after US troops leave.

The Trump administration ordered approximately 3,750 additional US forces will deploy to the southwest border to provide additional support to Customs and Border Protection. That support includes a mobile surveillance capability through the end of September 2019 as well as placing 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry. The Defense Department said the total active duty forces supporting CBP at the border will be approximately 4,350.

The governor of New Mexico has pulled the National Guard from border patrols saying “I’m not going to participate, nor do I think it’s appropriate in any shape or fashion to use the National Guard to attempt to militarize the border where we’re dealing with asylum seekers who their constitutional rights continue to be breached.”

Trump is refusing to meet a legal requirement to send Congress a report that requires the White House to determine whether Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is personally responsible for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would require mandatory sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi’s death, prohibit certain weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and report on human rights within the Kingdom.

In an interview with CBS, Trump said:

  • “…Of the thirty-four people [who pleaded guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation], many of them were bloggers from Moscow — or they were people that had nothing to do with me.” Yes but what about Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and soon add Roger Stone.
  • “Roger is somebody that I’ve always liked, but a lot of people like Roger.” But in 2008 Trump said “Roger is a stone-cold loser.” As well wait until Stone works with the investigation. Trump will change his mind.
  • “And this really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers.” If there is an investigation, why wait 3 weeks for Congress to solve things instead of acting now.
  • “First of all, Roger Stone didn’t work on the campaign.” But in August 2015, “Donald Trump’s campaign said Saturday it has fired top political adviser Roger Stone — who promptly denied being let go and insisted he had quit.”
  • “Even the Mueller report said it had nothing to do with the campaign.” But the report isn’t out yet.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s acting administrator Andrew Wheeler has maintained the custom of his predecessor Scott Pruitt of meeting with far more industry executives and lobbyists than environmental groups. Wheeler held or attended more than 50 meetings with representatives of companies or industry groups regulated by the EPA between April and August of last year, including a company he previously lobbied for.

During the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Trump was not granted a loan from Deutsche Bank following an extensive debate within the ranks of the bank. Trump’s loan request said the decision ultimately came down to senior bank officials thinking that Trump’s bombastic candidacy made the loan too high of a risk for the bank to take on. The Trump Organization’s request was made in order to get financing for work on a golf property in Turnberry, Scotland, by borrowing against the organization’s Miami property.

The White House announced that Trump’s former physician, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, will serve as assistant to Trump and chief medical advisor. There were allegations that he was “abusive” toward colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain medications and was periodically intoxicated.

Trump also resubmitted his nomination for Jackson to receive a military promotion to two-star admiral. That nomination will not move forward while the Defense Department investigation is ongoing.

Federal prosecutors in New York subpoenaed Trump’s inaugural committee for documents related to donors, vendors and finances, according to a copy of the subpoena, a step that appears to escalate that office’s ongoing investigation of the committee’s activity. It demands documents related to any “benefits” offered to donors, including “tickets, photo opportunities, and/or small group receptions.”

It discloses that prosecutors are investigating a litany of potential crimes: conspiracy against the US, false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, inaugural committee disclosure violations, and violations of laws prohibiting contributions by foreign nations and contributions in the name of another person, also known as straw donors.

Trump campaign lawyers laid out in a court filing he tactics they could use to hold back evidence related to the presidential transition from federal investigators and in lawsuits. They are pushing that the presidential transition should have as much protection around it for being a quasi-governmental operation as the executive branch has.

Trump Organization has reportedly fired over 18 undocumented employees, while admitting that they never fully used the federal system to check their workers’ immigration status in the first place. This in addition to 11 undocumented employees go at its Westchester County golf club. All this after undocumented employee Victorina Morales went public with her story to the New York Times in December. The evidence of the Trump organization’s shady hiring practices-including the alleged use of fake green cards and social security numbers-has reportedly been turned over the New Jersey Attorney General’s office.

While I won’t go into it fully because this blog is about Trump, American Media Inc., publishers of the National Enquirer, could lose their immunity related to the investigation on Michael Cohen when recently the National Enquirer threatened and tried to blackmail primary Amazon owner Jeff Bezos.

Officials from the Trump administration said it would require too much effort to reunite the thousands of families it separated before implementing its “zero-tolerance” policy in April, according to a declaration filed as part of an ongoing lawsuit between the American Civil Liberties Union and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As Trump claimed how well American manufacturing is doing at the State of the Union address, 4,000 salaried staff at General Motors were laid off as part of the job reductions announced late last year the day before the address. One of the plants closing is in Lordstown, Ohio, that Trump personally promised to revive during the 2016 campaign. Trump claimed GM would soon announce steps that could counteract the effect of the plant closures, though what those actions are remain unclear.

Trump’s apparent gaffe during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast lit up social media when he referenced the “abolition of civil rights”. It’s not hard to read a screen in front of you that has your speech!

Trump still has ignored doctor’s orders by eating plenty of junk food [brought in from outside by aides] or when eating out having well cooked steak and fries. He has never used the fitness room in the White House. His only exercise besides walking between rooms is golfing but he uses a cart between holes. Because of an increase in bad cholesterol he was prescribed with an increase dose of Crestor.

A new CBS poll found that a majority of Americans – 66% – say Trump should not declare a national emergency to build the wall if Congress refuses to fund it but 73% of Republicans favor it. As well 73% of those polled want Trump to continue negotiating while keeping the government open if he doesn’t get wall money by February 15.

Government re-opens after Trump caved in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump blames Democrats for shutdown after he said it was his

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The shutdown [part 1] fallout

Well, with a week off, I won’t be going over some of the things that came up in Trumpland.

Now onto business real – not fake – business.

The shutdown has been finished – well for 3 weeks. On February 8th, another shutdown could occur. The agreement says that immigration issues will be tackled very soon.

There are some on the Republican side who suggest that the Democrats lost when they “caved in” to the Republicans. When in fact they got their way. It will force the republicans to settle the DACA issue while looking good by ending the shutdown after one business day.

And if the Republicans don’t settle the DACA issue by February 8th [the next scheduled possible shutdown] it will paint the Republicans as a part that can’t be trusted or to negotiate in good faith. If Trump allows DACA recipients to stay, it could be a move that could hurt him with some of his most fervent supporters. Trump said during his campaign that he would “immediately terminate” what he called President Barack Obama’s illegal executive amnesties.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume negotiations over the future of DACA and other issues. If those talks don’t yield a deal in the next three weeks, the Republican promised to allow the Senate to debate an immigration proposal — even if it’s one crafted by a bipartisan group and does not have the backing of the leadership and the White House Senate passed the final bill by the same 81-18 vote but some members of both parties opposed it.

Well, the US government was in shutdown mode. And of course you know that the Democrats will blame the Republicans and vice versa.

Consider House Speaker Paul Ryan’s comments that what has DACA got to do with the shutdown. Ummmm. What legislation in any government doesn’t include pieces that have nothing to do with the main chunk? In fact, even Trump’s Wall is included in the mess.

McConnell must be losing it. He kept on repeating the same thing over and over again about 12 hours after the shutdown – blaming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Schumer withdrew funding for Trump’s border in negotiations over immigration issues with the White House. A staffer who works for Schumer called the White House on Monday and said the proposal, which Schumer put on the table during a Friday meeting with Trump, was no longer operative. Meanwhile, Trump had a framework for an agreement with Schumer on Friday but two hours later, Trump changed his mind. Trump later said there will be no DACA funding if there is no wall funding.

The Republicans failed to remind others that it wasn’t just DACA that the Democrats wanted to be included but as well the same increase in funding the military is receiving to be applied elsewhere.

In order to protect the Dreamers, Democrats will have to agree to the White House immigration wish list — scrap the diversity lottery program, end so-called chain migration and give greater latitude to immigration officials to deport people who are apprehended.

A more recent plan calls for 1.8 million people []so not only DACA people] to gain citizenship eventually but another 1 million or so other immigrants. In exchange, Trump wants $25 billion fund for the wall plus drastic changes to the immigration lottery using “merit” [not diversity] and preventing people from sponsoring their parents, adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US. The staunch conservatives are upset of the extra immigrants added to the total. Some democrats are upset over the other concessions and changes to the immigration lottery.

Trump only seemed to have time for a short mid-day meeting with Schumer. That’s it. Is that what you call leadership? [Seems White House Press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders thought so.] Unlike the useless [probably photo-op] meeting, Schumer at least negotiated. At the last shutdown in 2013, with President Obama in office, Trump then said it is the President that is lacking leadership.

The Republicans released right after a TV ad which called Democrats “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.” Last I checked, with exception of the DACA issue and Trump’s Wall funding, there is no connection. [Even if the government added money for Trump’s Wall that wall won’t go up overnight and the way it looks, it won’t go up for a long while.] Even Ryan said “I don’t know if that’s necessarily productive.”

Trump tweeted at one point his call for McConnell to invoke the so-called nuclear option and thereby remove leverage for Senate Democrats. Senate Republican Conference does not support changing the 60-vote rule. Senate rules impose a threshold of 60 votes to break a filibuster, and Senate Republicans currently hold a slim majority of 51 votes.

Eliminating the 60-vote threshold to break a legislative filibuster would remove significant powers for the minority party in the Senate, and party leaders have been reluctant to do so in the past because of the consequences it would pose when their party returns to the minority. Wonder if Trump knows this or cares. He could be a head of a probably minority in the senate after November and even in the house.

With the shutdown, Trump canceled his appearance at his first inauguration anniversary at Mar-A-Lago where Republican donors shelled out $100,000 a seat to be there. Instead, they will get Eric Trump and his wife. Is that an improvement?

When calling the White House at one point you would get the message: “Unfortunately, we cannot answer you call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding – including funding for our troops and other national security priorities – hostage to an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down.” Isn’t the White House supposed to be neutral?

A recent re-election campaign ad from Trump, released just hours after the shutdown began, that called Democrats “complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

Trump has hinted that he may push the DACA deadline in March back further. There goes another promise.

Meanwhile on the first anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, aside from the shutdown, tens of thousands were protesting across the US in anti-Trump rallies mixed in with Women’s rallies across the world.

Trump supposedly said “I’ve got another nut job here who thinks he’s running things.” This is about his White House chief of staff John Kelly. It’s not just because of Kelly’s interview on Fox News recently, in which Kelly said Trump’s policy for the US-Mexico border wall had “evolved.” But the day after the interview Trump reportedly said “He is great, I think he is doing a great job.”

Round 6 of talks for updating NAFTA will began in Montreal. Trump made NAFTA a core campaign issue. He argues that Mexico is taking jobs and billions of dollars in commerce away from the United States. He also believes a new deal will help the U.S. finance payment for the border wall. [How’s that?] Trump also wants NAFTA to be terminated every five years unless all three countries agreed to sign on for another five years. Mexico and Canada object to this.

Trump’s trade team wants to raise that threshold up to 85% from 62%. The problem is that Trump’s negotiators are proposing that half of auto parts sourced from North America come specifically from the United States. About 14 million U.S. jobs in about two-thirds of the states depend on trade with Canada and Mexico with a potential 300,000 jobs lost if NAFTA is killed.

Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, said that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.” Short said the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to question Trump, and news that his team has already interviewed fired FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, indicate that the special counsel has a clear picture of where he is headed in what could turn into an obstruction of justice case, legal experts said.

If called upon, a poll says the 95% of Democrats, 75% of independents and 59% of Republicans think Trump should testify.

Trump called for Mueller’s firing last June, White House counsel Don McGahn refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller because he disagreed with Trump’s reasoning, the source said. However, according to the source, McGahn did not threaten to resign directly to Trump.

Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign staffer who pleaded not guilty in October to eight charges of money laundering and failing to register foreign lobbying and other business, may be ready to cooperate with Mueller.

The White House said Trump was ready to declassify a memo written by GOP committee staff in the House claiming misconduct by FBI officials investigating Trump. [But remember, they haven’t yet. Is there a memo?]

FBI Director Chris Wray threatened to resign as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on him to fire his outgoing Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is eligible to retire in March and to clean out senior leadership figures dating from the Comey era who the President believes are biased against him. Trump has publicly called on McCabe to step down over the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and his connections to anti-Trump messages sent between two FBI employees during the campaign.

Trump had asked acting FBI director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election in an introductory Oval Office meeting in May 2017, The Washington Post reported. McCabe responded by telling Trump that he didn’t vote.

McCabe’s wife, when she was a candidate for state Senate in 2015, got a $467,000 contribution from a super PAC associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Yes, McAuliffe is a long-time friend of the Clintons.

This is laughable. Conservative media is aflame of late with talk of a “secret society” within the FBI which has as its goal the undermining of Donald Trump’s presidency. This all starts with text messages exchanged between two senior FBI officials named Peter Strzok and Lisa Page during and after the 2016 election.

Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said that he had seen a text message between the two officials on the day after the November 2016 election that said [jokingly], “Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.” Another Republican also threw in the Department of Justice as part of this “society”. A third GOP says that “we have an informant talking about a group that was holding secret meetings off-site” but never mentioned who.

All this on top of 5 months of missing texts between FBI agents on government phones which according to the Department of Justice, this is actually normal but it is not from specific people but everyone at the FBI – an estimated 10% of all texts. The texts have since been recovered.

“As a business person I was treated well by the press … I’ve always had a good press. It wasn’t until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean … how fake the press can be, as the cameras start going off in the background,” Trump said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was booed by the press.

Trump claims that 84 stock market “records” were set this past year in his first year in office. This is the equivalent of saying that a baseball player hits 75 home runs [breaking the record of 70 in a season] that the player set 5 records [one for each home run] when in fact it is just one record.

With no real facts, Trump claims that the stock market would be down 50% if Hillary Clinton won.

He also said that a few people [he never named anyone of course] said Davos this year was harsher [or rougher] than previous years and equated it to the Academy Awards.

In case you missed it, there are allegations that porn actress Stormy Daniels and Trump engaged in a sexual affair in the 2000s and she was paid $130,000 in hush money just prior to the 2016 elections. She has kept mum on the subject but never really denied. Trump, obviously, denies it [it would of happened while he was just at the beginning of his marriage to Melania].

If the affair never existed, then why did Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, set up a company in Delaware [a state notorious for its lack of corporate transparency] and make a $130,000 payment to Daniels right before the 2016 election? Cohen did not deny making the payment.

The president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said “These alleged affairs, they’re alleged with Trump, didn’t happen while he was in office.” Oh sure, he’s in office for just a year but has 70+ years otherwise out of office. Probably no proof he hasn’t had anything since in office. And this from a man who’s made various vulgar comments and on his third wife.

Trump approved tariffs on both washing machines [but not dryers?] and solar panels in order to protect U.S. manufacturing. Prices could jump 15% to 20%. Because washers and dryers are typically sold as a pair, prices for both appliances could go up.

In Zurich, according to a New York Times photographer in the press pool, someone had written “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL” in the snowy patch next to the landing zone in Davos so it was visible from the air.

Trump and his [dis-] like for Republicans

Donald Trump blamed Senate Republicans, not himself, for the stalled GOP agenda ahead of a crucial White House lunch meeting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on getting make-or-break tax legislation back on track.

“They’re [the Senators] on another vacation right now. I think that we would all be a lot better off if the Senate would stop taking vacations and start staying here until we actually get some real things accomplished,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said. In other words, Trump is trying to get all the available time in Congress to try and pass his first major piece of legislation.

Trump said he feels “closer than ever before” to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a man he’s publicly criticized for his handling of the GOP agenda and on whom the President is relying for getting a legislative accomplishment in the first year of his term. Come back within a couple of weeks. That “closer” won’t be that close. Remember that over the August recess, Trump publicly bemoaned McConnell’s leadership ever since the Senate failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in July.

San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich says that “Unfit intellectually, emotionally, & psychologically to hold this office & the whole world knows it.” He’s also a “soulless coward” following his false assertion former Presidents Barrack Obama and George W. Bush did not reach out to families of fallen soldiers. This after Trump said about the soldiers killed in Niger: “President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls … I call when it’s appropriate.”

Trump, in defense of his claim that President Obama didn’t call the loved ones of fallen soldiers, said that Obama did not call his chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, after his son died in Afghanistan. I’m suspecting the President does not call every family after someone dies – even John Kelly who was a lieutenant general at the time. 466 American troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan in Obama’s first year, compared to 25 in Trump’s first 9 months.

Trump “wasn’t criticizing predecessors, but stating a fact,” Sanders said even though her boss went back on his comments. Is she on the same page as her boss?

It took Trump 12 days to personally publicly say something regarding the 4 soldiers who died in Niger. A statement was ready but never released. Spokeswoman Sanders did give condolences the day after but not specifically from Trump.

Trump called the widow of one of the 4 soldiers and, according to Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson [who was with the widow at the time of the call], Trump said that the serviceman killed “knew what he signed up for, but I guess it still hurt.”

But Trump tweeted “Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” The widow had already sided with the “Democratic” Congressman and said that Trump did say his comments. The soldier’s mother also confirmed he said it. I would guess there is proof from Trump. [In fact, the conversation should be recorded as all communication is.]

Trump said he’d written letters to the family of the for that were killed but the letters had not yet been mailed. Supposedly they had been awaiting information before proceeding

Trump sent a $25,000 personal check to the family of a fallen soldier the same day that The Washington Post reported that he had promised the soldier’s father a personal donation during a June condolence call but never followed through. According to the Post, Trump called Chris Baldridge in June, weeks [not days] after his son was killed. During the call, the Post reported, Trump offered him $25,000 and said he would instruct his staff to establish an online fundraising page for the family.

Kelly is starting to sound like his boss. He accused Wilson of claiming credit for securing $20 million in federal funding to build a new FBI field office in Miami in 2015. In fact, in her speech at the dedication ceremony, she took credit for shepherding legislation naming the FBI building. Kelly digging up things that have nothing to do with the issue at hand?

Trump, hours after Sen. John McCain delivered a speech that repudiated Trump, warned the Arizona Republican to “be careful” because at some point he will “fight back.” He hasn’t already? McCain warned the United States against turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

Trump sent this tweet “Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?” He is suggesting that a dossier prepared by a former member of British intelligence has not only been totally discredited but that it might have been funded by some combination of Russia, the Democratic Party and, wait for it, the FBI!

Trump has personally interviewed candidates for US attorney positions in New York and Washington, but since these particular candidates for US attorney positions are the chief federal prosecutors who are going to decide whether to indict Trump campaign advisers or staff if there’s collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians proven and possibly consider criminal charges against Trump himself.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon implored conservative activists at a Washington gathering to continue fighting the GOP establishment, attacking a number of Republican members of Congress by name, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Bob Corker. “Right now, it’s a season of war against a GOP establishment.”

Bannon is recruiting conservative candidates for the 2018 midterm election and forming a donor network to back them in primary races against incumbent Republican senators – those against Trump. Bannon backed former Judge Roy Moore to oust Sen. Luther Strange in an Alabama Republican primary last month. Oddly Trump backed Strange, who lost to Moore. Moore, a former judge, has defied federal court orders, described Islam as a false religion and called homosexuality evil.

In a speech to religious conservatives recently, Bannon suggested that GOP incumbents may avoid challengers from the right flank of the party if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions. Looks like Bannon is pushing for hard conservatives who may be a bit too right/strong for soft leaning Republicans and those undecided.

So with the wildfires in California killing at least 40 people and destroying many acres of land including the now devastated wine industry, Trump said he had spoken with Gov. Jerry Brown and that the federal government would stand with the “people of California and be there with you in this time of terrible tragedy and need.” No visiting, no help, nothing since. Not even a condolences to those families who have suffered.

A federal judge in Hawaii issued an order blocking major parts of Trump’s newest travel ban, suggesting it violated immigration law. Challengers to the ban said it would hurt Hawaii’s state university system, which has students, professors and visitors from the blocked countries, as well as the Hawaii tourism industry. Individuals who sued said the ban would prevent their relatives from immigrating to the U.S. and visiting.

Larry Flynt, best known as the publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler, placed a full page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post with no pictures, just bold, all-caps text dominating the top third of the page: ” Million For Information Leading To The Impeachment And Removal From Office Of Donald J. Trump.” [Smaller text below it.] I guess Trump won’t be “reading” his magazine anymore.

According to Forbes, Trump’s fortune fell by $600 million to $3.1 billion. As a result he dropped to #248 on the American list, after coming in at #156 last year. The magazine attributed his decline in wealth to “a tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign.” On Bloomberg’s worldwide billionaires list, his net worth at $2.86 billion.

Of note, Trump has two golf resorts in Scotland and their combined losses was $25 million in 2016. They have lost a combined $53 million since Trump acquired them in 2014 even after he supplied both businesses with huge loans: at the end of 2016 they owed him $200 million. He is still the owner.

Trump tweeted “I was recently asked if Crooked Hillary Clinton is going to run in 2020? My answer was, ‘I hope so!'” This even though Clinton in September “I am done with being a candidate.” Hopefully he doesn’t. Does he bother with the news other than what someone says about him?

When asked what kind of rating Trump would give his administration on the response to Puerto Rico, Trump gave the administration a 10. [OK. Stop laughing. You are laughing too much.] San Juan mayor responded by saying Trump got a 10 – but out of 100.
It could take at least 2 months or more for some in Puerto Rico to have power. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he hopes that power will be restored to 95% of the island’s energy grid by December 15. Right now it’s 22%. Some said it could be between 6 months and a year for all. In comparison, power was restored to close to all Floridians a week after Hurricane Irma.

In mid-September, 64% of Americans said they approved of Trump’s handling of the US hurricane response. Now, as many Puerto Ricans remain without access to clean water or electricity nearly a month after Maria hit, just 44% say they approve. {And surely most of those are the people who choose to side with Trump no matter what he has done.] His ratings are down 9 points among Republicans, 22 points among independents and 25 points among Democrats. [That 64% approval rating was the highest approval in any poll since he took office.]

Looks like Trump’s wish to have one piece of good news before the end of the year will not happen. The negotiations to renegotiate NAFTA won’t be completed by year end. US negotiators are pushing for changes in the current agreement that Canada and Mexico won’t agree to. This includes 50% of parts in vehicles made in the US. Trump had already warned he’d kill the agreement and this could be a way.

In an article in The New Yorker, Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ stance is highlighted, as well as a joke made by Trump to a legal scholar that the scholar shouldn’t ask Pence about gay rights because Pence wants to “hang them all.” The article also talks about how Trump often mocks Pence’s religious beliefs. Denied, of course, by Pence spokeswoman.
In his speech to GOP donors, Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Pence, served up a dim projection for the midterms: “We’re on track to get shellacked next year,” he said.

With Trump’s decision to halt funding for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing subsidies, many states had already allowed insurers to steeply hike Obamacare premiums for 2018, anticipating that Trump may cut off federal support for the subsidies. The federal government will have to spend an estimated $7.2 billion more next year because it will have to shell out more in premium subsidies to cover these higher rates.

Rep. Tom Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican, has withdrawn his name from consideration to become the nation’s next drug czar. This comes after a joint CBS “60 Minutes” and Washington Post report revealed that Marino took nearly $100,000 from the pharmaceutical lobby while sponsoring a bill that made it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across American communities and thwart the Drug Enforcement Agency. Trump claims it was a “conflict of interest”.

NFL’s Colin Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL will heavily discuss the impact of Trump. The quarterback has claimed teams colluded to keep him out of the league this season, and his recent lawsuit suggests Trump helped foster this negative culture toward him.

In September, the president said NFL teams should fire players who take a knee during the national anthem, which Kaepernick had done since the start of last season. Trump followed up his thoughts with a series of tweets discussing those who kneel during the national anthem and recently stated these players should be suspended. Trump has relationships with the owners of the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys among others.

“Because we’re going to have a major announcement, probably next week, on the drug crisis and on the opioid massive problem,” Said Trump but in August that he was on the verge of declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency. He never did.

“We are getting close to health care. We’ll come up in the early- to mid-part of next year. We’re going to have a vote; I think we already have the votes,” said Trump. If he had the votes, wouldn’t he vote now?

Even after CNN Jake Tepper told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that by not actually denying [or said that he did say it] that he called Trump a “f?cking moron” must people would assume he said it. Tillerson again said he didn’t want to be caught up in petty comments like this – a bit similar to Senator bob Corker calling the White house a daycare center.

An FCC Commissioner stated that Trump’s suggestion that the FCC should challenge NBC’s license due to their coverage. But in fact the FCC only gives out licenses to TV stations and not a network. So once again, Trump doesn’t know what’d he’s talking about.

A Yahoo correspondent said that Russians who worked for a St. Petersburg “troll factory” were required to watch Netflix’s “House of Cards” to help them write messages that would influence Americans against their own government. The trolls were used to influence the election to get people to vote for Trump by pushing negative comments about Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton.

Lawyers for one of the women who have accused Trump of sexual assault subpoenaed his campaign for all documents relating to her, all communications with or about her and “all documents concerning any woman who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately.” This comes in the case of Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in 2007. The accusations were made in October of last year at a news conference.

Trump’s re-election campaign spent more than $1 million on legal consulting from July through September. Most of the reelection effort’s legal spending went to the law firm Jones Day and the offices of lawyer Alan Futerfas, with tens of thousands directed to a handful of other offices, including more than $25,000 to the Trump Corporation.  Republican National Committee spent more than $230,000 in August to cover legal fees for Trump, including more than $130,000 to his personal attorney Jay Sekulow.

According to Forbes, Trump’s fortune fell by $600 million to $3.1 billion. As a result he dropped to #248 on the American list, after coming in at #156 last year. The magazine attributed his decline in wealth to “a tough New York real estate market, particularly for retail locations; a costly lawsuit and an expensive presidential campaign.” On Bloomberg’s worldwide billionaires list, his net worth at $2.86 billion.

Of note, Trump has two golf resorts in Scotland and their combined losses was $25 million in 2016. They have lost a combined $53 million since Trump acquired them in 2014 even after he supplied both businesses with huge loans: at the end of 2016 they owed him $200 million. He is still the owner.

Trump defaulted on his payments for his golf course in Puerto Rico a long while ago [dumping $32.7 million to them] but then he commented about the territory’s debt.

 

Trump the “Comforter in Chief”? Nah

Trump went to Corpus Christi to view the damage and to meet state, federal and local officials. At one point said “What a crowd, what a turnout” as he remarked on the crowd size gathered to hear him speak. Does he think this was a rally? He’ll probably inflate the amount who turned out there. Corpus Christi itself had minimal damage and power has been mostly restored. He should of gone to hard hit Rockport or maybe flooded Houston.

Trump’s vow of swift action on billions of dollars in disaster aid is at odds with his proposed budget, which would eliminate the program that helps Americans without flood insurance rebuild their homes and cuts grants to states that would allow them to take long-term steps to reduce the risk of flooding before disaster strikes.

Trump’s budget for 2018 zeroes out the Community Development Block Grants. Among other things, the grants help people without flood insurance coverage rebuild their homes. In the 2017 budget, the Republican-led Congress restored some of the block grant money.

The budget proposed cutting several grant programs to states to help them reduce flood risks before a disaster strikes, as well as improve outdated flood maps to help communities plan for floods and take steps to better manage development in flood zones. All told, Trump proposed cutting such grant programs by about $900 million.

Trump pledges storm recovery “better than ever before”. Isn’t it still a rescue? Recovery is when the areas affected start rebuilding.

Trump has a history of overblowing his Twitter comments – call it sensationalism. Among his comments [where no verification of who are the “expert” or “people”, Trump tweeted “Wow – Now experts are calling Harvey a once in 500 year flood!” and “Many people are now saying that this is the worst storm/hurricane they have ever seen.” And “Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!”

Trump’s tweets were proclaiming success before the worst of the storm had passed.

Following Hurricane Harvey, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, commended Trump for being “extremely professional”. Hmmmm.

On the first morning after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Trump’s first message of the day did not address the rising waters threatening the nation’s fourth-largest city. Instead, he pitched a book written by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, another supporter and controversial figure.

Later he went after Sen. Claire McCaskill instead of looking into Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott praised the federal government’s efforts to aid his state. Abbott endorsed Trump in the presidential campaign and urged fellow Republicans to do the same. Campaigning during a disaster?

The Trumps have promised to cut a $1 million check to Texas recovery efforts, has not yet determined which group or groups will receive the donation – or even if it was donated yet.

Wow. Who would of thought: Trump and FLOTUS were serving food [I wonder how long that was for] and greeting “victims” in Houston.

This could be interesting. After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and New York in 2012, a $50.5 billion aid package was approved without the approval for any Texas Republicans [let alone any Republicans].

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed Sen. Ted Cruz morning over what he said was the Texas Republican’s double standard in opposing Superstorm Sandy relief but requesting federal aid for Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

When Trump has problems getting aid to Texas [a Republican state] he will blame the Democrats even though it won’t be just Democrats who voted against it for whatever reason.

Trump sought to reassert an American military threat against North Korea, saying that “all options are on the table” in response to its launch of a missile over close U.S. ally Japan. “Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world,” Trump said. “All options are on the table.”

Trump and his top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, went out of their way last week to credit the North’s leader for days of relative restraint. Noting that no missiles had been launched for three weeks.

Trump’s decision to pardon controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio – quietly and maybe cowardly, on a Friday night, with Hurricane Harvey set to make landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm – handed Democrats such a potent tool to turn out Latino votes that it might not matter who the GOP puts on the ballot.

He was convicted of criminal contempt last year for defying a 2011 court order to stop detaining people based on suspicion of their immigration status with no evidence those people had committed another crime.

Arizona’s senior senator, Republican John McCain, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as well as other Republicans plus Democrats came out against the pardon.

CNN had on this idiot Latino state senator on Saturday rooting for Trump, blaming everything on “the left”. What a joke! He claimed the convict [Arpaio, not Trump] did nothing wrong. Sure. You hold one specific ethnic group without charges and then defy a judge’s order. That state senator should be tossed.

Transgender service members filed suit in federal courts challenging Trump’s memorandum directing the secretary of defense to bar transgender Americans from military service and to halt the use of resources to fund “sex-reassignment” surgical procedures.

Jennifer Detlefsen, the daughter of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, is speaking out against the President’s policy banning transgender people from serving in any capacity in the military. “This man is a disgrace. I’ve tried to keep politics out of my social media feed as much as possible, but this is inexcusable.” And then “This veteran says sit down and shut the f*** up, you know-nothing, never-served piece of s***. #itmfa #wtf,” she added. ITMFA stands for “Impeach the mother f***** already.”

Trump again suggested the North American Free Trade Agreement be terminated, tweeting Sunday that both Canada and Mexico are being “very difficult and may have to terminate.” But no one really is believing him. Canadian and Mexican political leaders are shrugging it off. First round of talks completed and the delegations didn’t have any comments like this. Trumps hopes to renegotiate [or terminate] before the mid-term elections to show he has done something.

Raise your hand if you knew this was coming: The Justice Department said in a court filing that it has no evidence to support Trump’s assertion in March that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower before last year’s election. “Both FBI and NSD confirm that they have no records related to wiretaps as described by the March 4, 2017 tweets,” the department’s motion reads. NSD refers to the department’s national security division.

President Obama issued an executive order in 2015 prohibiting the transfer of a host of equipment, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms following controversy over the “militarization” of the police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Not really surprising, Trump will reverse this in another executive order.

In a bit of GOP infighting, in the Alabama’s Republican Senate race a primary runoff, it is pitting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump’s choice, Sen. Luther Strange, against Breitbart’s Steve Bannon who with other conservatives are backing another individual and to server a blow against the GOP establishment and McConnell. Could embarrass Trump if Bannon’s pick gets in.

800,000 people who could face deportation if Trump pulls the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The program gives Dreamers temporary work permits and protects them from deportation if they submit biometric data to the government, pass a background check and maintain a clean record.

The Department of Homeland Security will announce which vendors have been selected to build prototypes for President Donald Trump’s promised US-Mexico border wall, a step forward for the project after months of delays. This is for prototypes – there is still the time it will take to actually choose a design/structure and then years and billions to actually build – assuming they can get funding. DHS had originally targeted June for the beginning of construction, but the process had dragged further into the summer as the contracts were decided.

McCain issued a plea for bipartisan cooperation as Congress returns from its extended summer recess. “That has never been truer than today, when Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” McCain wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

The Trump administration has announced that it is ending an Obama-era rule on gender gap wage data collection, a move supported by Ivanka Trump. For a woman trying to help other women…..

Trump took the stage in Missouri to sell a tax reform plan that’s not yet complete and still lacking in detail. The bill is still in the drafting process.

Event organizer George Gigicos was told Trump no longer wanted him to work his rallies after the Trump was unhappy with his crowd size in Arizona.

Trump’s cybersecurity advisors resigned. The White House acknowledged that one quarter of the members of the National Infrastructure advisory council quit. In a group letter, they listed a broad range of reasons – from Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, to his remarks following the Charlottesville protests. It also said it wasn’t paying enough attention to cybersecurity of America’s critical systems.

In his first post-Trump administration interview, former White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka said former chief strategist Steve Bannon and others in their camp have been “systematically undermined” in the White House.

Gorka claimed he resigned. The White House claims he was dismissed. In any case, it was announced that he was out of the White House while Hurricane Harvey was pounding Texas [at the same time of the Arpaio pardon]. Seems the White House was trying to bury the news.

“Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!” tweeted Trump. Corker has questioned Trump’s fitness for office.

A new poll by Pew Research shows a majority of those critics literally can’t think of one positive thing to say about what he’s doing as president so far. A broad 58% of people who disapprove of Trump’s job performance said there’s nothing they like about what he’s doing, named specific things they didn’t like instead, or, getting a little snarky, said they liked that his presidency has been ineffective so far. Another 23% didn’t answer the question.

People who approve of Trump are more willing to name concerns they have with what he’s doing. Only 11% of them say they have no concerns about what he’s doing, while another 16% say obstruction from other people concerns them. Trump’s use of Twitter tops the list of concerns among people who approve of him at 17%.

A Monmouth University poll that said six in 10 people who disapprove of Trump couldn’t imagine anything he could do to make them change their minds. For the record, six in 10 people who approved said the same thing.