Trump gives his ego a boost but it didn’t go too well

Donald Trump gave his ego a boost on the 4th of July celebrations when he decided he wanted to speak at the celebrations – something that no US leader has done before. He kept it non-political but pushed everything about the military like celebrating the various victories as well as American war heroes. He briefly thanked those who helped out in medical and technology advancements. I would guess Trump wanted to boast military exploits… like a dictator would.

Trump blamed a faulty teleprompter for his claim during remarks he made at a July 4th event that the Continental Army “took over the airports” during the Revolutionary War. “It kept going on and at the end it just went out,” Trump told reporters at the White House the day after. “It went kaput… I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.”

In addition, a large group of seats near the stage will be reserved seating. Trump gave his cronies and other supporters seats there – and maybe a token few Democrats [probably sitting at the back]. The Republican National Committee have received their reserved seat tickets? Democrats? Nope.

Trump wants his generals and chief of staffs to be in full uniform and on stage with him. He called them “my generals”. This is what dictators and despots do for their parades – not the best military in the world. At one point it sounded like some generals may not appear – sending in subordinates.

His original plan was to have tanks and heavy trucks rolling in Washington but that would of ripped up the infrastructure. A while back, Trump blamed Washington officials but it was the cost. He said “it will be like no other”. Uh huh. Those military equipment brought in were behind fences – so few could see them anyways.

To help pay for the extras, Trump is diverting $2.5 million that was supposed to go to parks to renovate some of them. On top of that Trump claiming bringing in the tanks and military vehicles as well as the jets, Air Force One and the future Marine One flying over will cost very little but he is forgetting fuel, transportation, people preparing, moving the equipment, extra security, etc.

If Trump had make this a campaign style event then it could be considered illegal as you can’t use public money for party events.

At the G20, six weeks after Huawei was blacklisted by the US government, Trump had what the Chinese telecom firm described as a “U-turn” saying “US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” allowing the transactions won’t present a “great, national emergency problem.” Of course, Trump did not mention what [if anything] changed Trump’s decision.

However, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met Trump a few weeks back, Trump would speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Huawei, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and 2 Canadians that have been arrested after Meng was arrested as requested by the Americans. It took over a week for a confirmation that Trump did speak to Xi.

Trump lightheartedly told Russian President for Life Vladimir Poutine, “Don’t meddle in the election” when asked by a reporter if the topic would come up during their bilateral meeting. Trump’s general unwillingness to criticize Putin, despite his efforts that butt against American interests from the Middle East to Ukraine to election security. Trump lobbed criticism at Japan, India and Germany over trade and defense matters but not toward Russia.

Trump shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and took 20 steps into North Korea, making history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in North Korea. The encounter at the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone — their third in person — came a day after Trump raised the prospect of a border handshake in a tweet and declared he’d have “no problem” stepping into North Korea.

Trump claimed that President Barak Obama always wanted to meet Kim but was denied. He claims the Obama administration was “begging” for a meeting. Yet during his time under Obama, former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said Obama never wanted to go to North Koreas. He said would go if it was for the right reason. FOX New at the time criticized Obama constantly for even thinking of seeing Kim or any other dictator. Guess what? FOX News anchors were all praising Trump for meeting Kim.

Expect Trump to use in his re-election campaign that he was able to meet Kim [and walk in North Korea] while Obama [or any Democrat president] didn’t do so. More like a big whoopee.

It didn’t take long: Trump walk over to the North Korean side has been made into a propaganda film by them including slow motion as he stepped over the border and patriotic music.

The Democrat candidates didn’t really have much of anything positive: from just a photo-op, to wasted time, to helping Kim more than the US [sort of like “See. The President of the US came to me!”], and so on. There was no agreement or anything except Trump inviting Kim to the White House.

The new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, on her second day on the job, got into a scuffle with North Korean officials during a chaotic scene outside a meeting room where Trump and Kim talked privately. Grisham was bruised a bit in the scuffle.

After the second Democratic debate of the week where Kamala Harris went after front-runner Joe Biden for his record on race and segregation, Trump surprisingly defended Biden. He said Harris got “too much credit” while Biden “didn’t do well, certainly,” but he “answered the question a little bit differently, it would have been a different result.” Trump generally goes after the person most likely to be his biggest threat. Is that Harris now?

Donald Trump Jr. retweeted, and then deleted, an alt-right commentator named Ali Alexander, stating, “Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves. She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.” Trump asked if it was true but later deleted it. Those who disliked the tweet claimed it was a like father like son thing to so. His father has quite often retweeted alt-right and neo-Nazis and didn’t really care if true.

At the second debate, Harris told Biden that his past stance against federally-mandating busing black students to white schools was personally hurtful because she had benefited from that educational opportunity as a little girl. Afterward, some people on social media falsely claimed that Harris couldn’t lay claim to the afflictions of African Americans. Harris is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. When she’s asked how she identifies herself, Harris will often say, as “an American.”

The detention centers near the southern border holding migrants got pushed to the front after very overcrowding in the centers. About a third of those detained have been detained for longer than laws allow. I am expecting Trump to lash out at the Democrats blaming them for this.

Trump said his administration is “looking at” delaying the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the administration from adding a question about citizenship status on the decennial survey. “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census… until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter,” he tweeted. Which means find a way to get that question included.

Just when we thought the census question about citizenship was dead, Trump, growing frustrated at his administration’s handling of the question is even exploring whether to issue an executive order on the issue. An executive order or another kind of directive with an alternative rationale would be subject to court injunctions over the next several weeks that could further complicate and an already tenuous timeline.

Trump threw the situation into disorder earlier this week when he tweeted he wouldn’t give up the battle even after his Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the census forms would be printed without the question. Trump had signed off on earlier in the week. The internal dispute has led Trump to privately air frustrations at his 81-year-old commerce secretary. Could be be next to go?

Trump could include a potential executive order or adding the question as a supplement with the upcoming census forms, which are already being printed. I guess this is another example of Trump changing his mind. Won’t be the last.

The government had earlier told the courts that time was of the essence to render their rulings, because the deadline to tell the printing company which version of the census form to use — with the citizenship question or without — was July 1. Trump said the citizenship question is a natural part of counting the population, but critics have said it will deter minority groups and non-citizens from responding. The census is supposedly determined to help decide how government money is spent.

Federal law sets constraints on when the decennial count of the country’s population will be taken. April 1, 2020, is the official census day, although counting is set to begin as early as January in some areas, and the law requires the tally that is used to draw legislative districts “shall be completed within 9 months,” meaning by the end of 2020. Could the administration change the law? I wouldn’t be shocked.

During a speech to US troops at the Osan Air Base in South Korea, Trump said that he had given them their first pay increase in almost a decade saying “You know, it was close to 10 years before you had an increase.” Actually they got 2.4% in 2018. As well, every year for the last 10 years they received raises from 1.9% to 3.4$ [that one in 2010].

Not the first time he lied about military wage increases. In October, he said “President Obama starved the military. He didn’t give them raises, he didn’t give them anything. I gave them a 10% pay increase, they haven’t had it in a decade.” In December, he said “You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years — more than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.” 10% increase in a year?

Oh you have to wonder about Trump. On multiple occasions, he has called his National Security Adviser John Bolton’s name but said Mike Bolton – the 80s crooner.

Woops. In Trump’s Make America Great Again re-election campaign ads, they used videos from iStock including a sign from Tokyo and a blonde woman walking on a beach was from a Mediterranean beach. If you read very carefully and fast, the voice overs are [supposedly] actual testimonies and the videos are not.

GOP Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican in Congress who says the Mueller report contained impeachable offenses, has left the party. He’s a libertarian who said “No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us.” It didn’t take long before Trump went after him. So much for freedom and democracy.

Apple is reportedly shifting production for its new Mac Pro computer from the United States to China. The company’s latest Mac Pro computer will not undergo final assembly in Austin, Texas, as its previous version did. This won’t go well with Trump who thought Apple would build more plants in the US.

FedEx is seeking relief from being “essentially deputize[d]” by the Department of Commerce, following Trump’s effective blacklisting of smartphone and telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei in May. The placement of Huawei and its subsidiaries on the “Entities List,” which severely limits any business interactions American companies can have with the Chinese phone giant, has caused a number of logistical problems for FedEx.

A free, 8-million strong social network for knitters, crocheters and others in the fiber arts has banned any mention of support for Trump and his administration. The new policy on Ravelry.com says the site took the action because it can’t provide a space “inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy.” The post went on to say that support of the Trump administration is “undeniably support for white supremacy.”

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Trump goes to Japan and still gets into trouble

On a long weekend [Memorial Day weekend] where Americans pay tribute to those who have fallen defending the country through various wars and Trump decides to visit Japan to do business, visit the new Emperor and play golf. And a reminder that Japan brought the US into World War II 78 years ago. Could he have chosen the following weekend?

Trump told reporters as he was preparing to leave he would be witnessing “something that hasn’t happened in over 200 years,” though didn’t specify what he meant. Nobody ever does.

While Japanese President Shinzo Abe took Barack Obama, to what is regarded as the best sushi restaurant in the world [Sukiyabashi Jiro], Abe will be taking Trump to a Japanese BBQ restaurant. I was expecting McDonald’s or Burger King.

No shock that Trump is whining that Japan is another country that has a big trade surplus over the US and Trump is thinking of dumping tariffs on Japanese made vehicles. It seems every country in the world has a trade surplus over the US – at least in Trump’s mind.

Tradition holds that American presidents and political candidates avoid politicking while on foreign soil, but Trump frequently disregards such norms. But Trump commented negatively against a fellow US politician by saying that he agreed with Kim Jong Un that Joe Biden has a low IQ. He is siding with a dictator over a former Vice-President. But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump “agrees” with the assessment. Is there a difference here? Trump also thinks that it is a “signal” that he will beat Biden if Biden wins the nomination. From a dictator?

In a press conference in Tokyo [something he doesn’t do in the US], Trump claims that there has been no testing done by North Korea recently. Wasn’t there one in mid-May? Trump also claimed that since he killed the arms deal with Iran, that Iran hasn’t been behind any terrorist activities and he claims Iran has economic issues. So why sending a fleet of ships towards Iran?

Trump said he also has no problem if North Korea fires off short range missiles [that will ultimately end up near Japan]. But National Security Adviser John Bolton says it is an issue.

An unidentified North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson called Bolton a “war monger”, “ignorant” hard-liner and “human defect” after he described its recent tests of short-range missiles as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Bolton told reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that there was “no doubt” that North Korea’s recent missile launches violated UN resolutions, and that sanctions against the North must be kept in place. Trump later downplayed the missile tests.

North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles on May 4 and 9 – first time in 17+ months.

“I hereby award you the United States President’s Cup,” Trump told Asanoyama, the sumo champion, as he read from a scroll. Trump, Abe and wives went to a sumo wrestling match and didn’t sit on cushions as they usually do but chairs. Wondering if the trophy will end up on eBay. Trump managed to squeeze in some cheeseburgers for lunch yesterday with PM Abe. I wonder what Abe thought of this. In a foreign country. Can’t eat that country’s food?

Trump claimed in a tweet that “numerous” Japanese officials had told him that Democrats would rather see the US fail than see Trump or his Republican Party succeed.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller says that “If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” His investigation could not clear President Donald Trump and that charging the President was not an option his office could consider. He emphasized that Justice Department guidelines did not allow him to charge a sitting President, and as a result, his office did not determine whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice.

House Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler said “He [Trump] is lying about the special counsel findings, lying about the testimony of key witnesses in the special counsel’s report, and above all, lying and saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no collusion.” Trump previously said Mueller’s investigation found him innocent when Mueller’s investigation could not charge a sitting President.

Yet Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said “Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s remarks today confirmed what we already knew. There was no collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and there was no case for obstruction. President Trump has been fully and completely exonerated.”

Speaker of the House Pelosi says it is Congress’s duty to “investigate and hold the President accountable”. Many of the Democratic candidates for President have already said this pushes close to impeachment.

So if Trump thinks that he is still exonerated in the Russian investigation by Mueller, why did he send out the day after many tweets attacking Mueller? Trump said:

  • The investigation cost $40 million. The Justice Department estimates maybe $25 million but excludes the last 7 months.
  • Trump said, “Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!” except by longstanding Justice Department guidelines which said that a sitting President can’t be indicted Trump said Mueller had “unlimited access, people, resources and cooperation,” except Trump and his son, Donald trump Jr., refused to answer any questions.
  • Trump said Mueller was “highly conflicted,” except the Justice Department cleared Mueller of any conflicts when he took the job in 2017.

Trump tweeted that he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected,” then minutes later, telling reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected.” He also insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Hillary Clinton as president [with no proof of this].

Asked about impeachment by Congress, he called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said. Except it is not the court that will impeach him but congress. Does he know anything about the constitution?

Attorney General William Barr has said he was surprised Mueller did not reach a conclusion, though Mueller in his report and again in his statement said he had no choice. Barr and then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then stepped into the void, deciding on their own that the evidence was not sufficient to support a criminal charge.

Trump threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexico if the country does not step up its immigration enforcement actions, combining his boiling border-related frustrations with his preferred method of punishing foreign countries. Trump said in a White House statement that the first round of tariffs would begin on June 10 at 5% “on all goods imported from Mexico.”

The statement said Trump would carry out his threat under authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and that he would lift tariffs only “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.” The news sent the Dow Jones dropping 300 point at one point the day after. In addition, it may push Mexico not to sign the new NAFTA agreement just as Canada is about ready to sign.

Vice-President Mike Pence visited Canada’s capitol, Ottawa [not Toronto], for a visit and chatted with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about trade, China, abortions, etc. Seems that US news site for the most part, didn’t know about it. I guess Pence’s boss is more interesting.

White House and lower-level US Navy officials traded emails about keeping a warship named from the late John McCain’s father and grandfather out of sight ahead of the President’s trip to Japan. Trump claimed he denied knowing about the plan and said that he wouldn’t have supported it. The ship ultimately was not moved nor was anything done to obscure McCain’s name. Petty.

Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California blocked Trump from tapping into Defense Department funds to build parts of his Trump Wall. It blocks the administration from moving forward with specific projects in Texas and Arizona, saying Trump couldn’t disburse the funds without congressional approval. The ruling does not prevent the Trump administration from using funds from other sources to build the projects.

Current and former officials have described White House trips on Air Force One as grueling endeavors accompanied by long hours, but several privately said the flights overseas are easily the worst. The duration can stretch nearly 20 hours. Sleeping space is limited. The televisions are streaming Fox News constantly. And if the headlines flashing across the bottom of the screen are unfavorable to their boss, aides know it’s time to buckle up for a turbulent ride.

When staffers can sleep, finding space is a problem. With no designated sleeping spots, they claim miniature couches or lean back in office chairs and prop their feet up on the desk. Some spread out on the floors of conference rooms or on leather benches along the side of the plane, and more seasoned staffers have learned to bring yoga mats to soften the floor. Trump had promised to renovate Air Force One and the backup[s] but hasn’t.

Trump is scoffing at Democrats’ attempts to pry loose his tax returns, saying his refusal to release the records as a candidate didn’t hurt him in 2016 and voters “didn’t care” about the issue. Was this one of his “polls” where he asked one of staffers whether or not they care about his taxes and then used the answer as an assumption for all Americans?

Trump leaves Hanoi empty handed while Cohen blasts him

Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen will present to a House panel a check to support his testimony. It is dated August 1, 2017 for the amount of $35,000. While the image does not show what the payment was for, Cohen will say in his testimony the check was signed by Trump and was part of the reimbursement for “illegal hush money I paid on his behalf.”

Cohen testified that Trump was aware of long-time adviser Roger Stone’s efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks in advance of its release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen said, according to his prepared testimony. Trump responded, according to Cohen: “Wouldn’t that be great.”

Cohen’s allegations, if true, would amount to the first time anyone with direct knowledge has said that the President had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks dump of Clinton emails.

“Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately),” he wrote from his hotel in Hanoi. “He is lying in order to reduce his prison time.” Trump also said that Cohen “did bad things unrelated to Trump.” If you know your lawyer has done illegal activities elsewhere why would you continue to retain him? There has been no mention of anything illegal other than what he did for Trump.

Trump wasn’t too thrilled when Cohen’s testimony was scheduled during his summit calling it a “terrible thing”. But would there be a difference if he was back in Washington other than maybe tweeting that Cohen is a liar, no collusion, witch hunt, etc.

“I find it ironic, President Trump, that you are in Vietnam right now,” Cohen told Congress. Trump obtained medical deferments to avoid serving in the Vietnam War claiming he had bone spurs.

The New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan has disbarred Cohen after Cohen pleaded guilty last year to multiple felony charges, according to a decision. In New York, conviction of a federal felony triggers disbarment if the offense would constitute a felony under state law.

In his testimony, Cohen said:

  • He wouldn’t take a pardon even if offered.
  • Trump lied about his wealth to look richer to Forbes magazine [ranked 766] and less wealthy for tax authorities.
  • Trump said that black people “would never vote for him because they were too stupid” and “only black people could live that way.”
  • Trump may have been aware in advance of a 2016 meeting set up by Donald Trump Jr. and Russians at Trump Tower — something that Trump and his eldest son have long denied. Cohen will tell Congress that he witnessed Trump Jr., in June 2016, tell his father: “The meeting is all set.” Cohen acknowledges not knowing for sure that Trump’s son’s comments were in reference to the meeting with Russians.
  • Trump had told him [Cohen] that the Trump Jr. “had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.”
  • Trump Jr. “would never set up any meeting of any significance alone — and certainly not without checking with his father.”
  • Asked: You called Trump a cheat. What would you call yourself? Cohen: A fool.
  • Asked: How many times did Mr. Trump ask you to threaten an individual or entity on his behalf? 500 times? Cohen: Probably, over the 10 years.
  • Cohen hired someone to rig two online polls for Trump. He said Trump knew about it and directed him to do so. Both attempts failed to help.

After North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un insisted all US sanctions be lifted on his country, there was no joint agreement. Trump left the summit early saying said Kim offered to take some steps toward dismantling his nuclear arsenal but not enough to warrant ending the debilitating sanctions regime on the country. This after he said Presidents before him couldn’t make a deal – he didn’t either.

Trump said he walked away from his second summit with dictator Un because Kim demanded the US lift all of its sanctions, a claim that North Korea’s delegation called a rare news conference in the middle of the night to deny. They insisted Kim had asked only for partial sanctions relief [United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed since March 2016] in exchange for shutting down the North’s main nuclear complex.

During an expanded session with aides, Trump and Kim discussed the prospect of opening a US office in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

Here’s a shocker. Just before Trump and dictator Un were to meet in Vietnam for their second summit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that North Korea remains a threat. In January, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review stated that North Korea remains an “extraordinary threat” to the United States.

So another contradiction in the administration as this contradicts Trump tweet in June 2017 after the first summit when Trump tweeted “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Trump has never changed his mind since. When Pompeo was asked about what Trump had said, Pompeo try to spin it such that Trump meant to say that there is still a threat but not like what it used to be. [His tweet clearly says otherwise.]

Pompeo also said that core sanctions from the U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea will be removed only after it fully denuclearizes but North Korea is moving its nuclear and ballistic weapons to hide them from potential US military strikes, according to a confidential UN report.

Trump tweeted that he has a “Great relationship with Chairman Kim!!” Yes. How did Un execute a defector? With a flamethrower. He imprisons, tortures and kills those accused of “political crimes.”

Chefs were still struggling to get a menu approved for the first dinner because officials from both the US and North Korea kept adjusting the menu to make it “super simple.”

Some administration staff are worried that Trump may finalize a deal with Un but may give too much in return. Trump could agree to ending the Korean War, an attractive prospect for someone intent on winning a Nobel Peace Prize. South Korea would have to agree. Luckily this didn’t happen.

Trump also tweeted that “without nuclear weapons” North Korea “could fast become one of the great economic powers anywhere in the World… Because of its location and people (and him), it has more potential for rapid growth than any other nation!” True. North Korea has an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people in labor camps – many for “re-education” – manufacture items and no pay to the workers.

Even before leaving Washington, Trump was giving off some hints that Americans shouldn’t expect too many positive changes from the summit. Of course if there is a [real] deal or progress, I’m sure he will take all the credit.

Dictator for life Un arrived in Hanoi at least a day before Trump and has been given a huge welcome by Vietnam. With Trump and his huge ego, I’m surprised he didn’t want to get to Hanoi before Un did.

Trump tweeted “So funny to watch people who have failed for years, they got NOTHING, telling me how to negotiate with North Korea. But thanks anyway!” This coming from a man with 4 bankruptcies.

Trump said he does not hold Un responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death after Kim denied knowledge of the American student’s maltreatment. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.” This continues Trump’s “friendship” with Un just like his “friendship” with Vladimir Poutine. Warmbier died days after returning to the US from over a year in a North Korean prison that caused brain damage.

The family of Warmbier rebuked Trump for siding with dictator Un, who denied knowledge of their son’s maltreatment during his imprisonment.

Trump ordered then-chief of staff John Kelly to grant Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law and adviser — the clearance the day after the White House Counsel’s Office urged against it. White House officials had previously said that Kushner’s security clearance was handled “in the regular process” without pressure from anyone in the administration.

Trump wants to waste taxpayer’s money by holding a second parade which he is already calling it “one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C.”. He treated it” will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!” In his first two years, he played golf on July 4th.

A major 4th of July parade already takes place in the nation’s capital each year. The parade, called America’s National Independence Day Parade, goes through the heart of downtown Washington.

The House passed a resolution to overturn his emergency declaration to unlock money for wall construction at the US southern border. The vote was 245-182. Thirteen Republicans voted with Democrats to pass the measure. The Senate has 18 days to vote on the resolution. At least 3 GOP senators have signaled they will vote for the resolution.

In 2016 and prior, when there was a crisis in the world where two US allies got into an argument that escalated with a possible outcome of a military conflict, the US would come in and help stabilize the situation. In 2019, India and Pakistan have a bit of a conflict. Where is the US? Where is Trump ordering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the area in order to defuse the situation?

[Not saying he would, but the US could actually profit in this if there is a conflict. Both countries would need new arms and hardware to replace what was used or destroyed. After all, Trump is/was supposedly a businessman.]

Two of Trump’s closest allies on the House Judiciary Committee referred Cohen to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution, claiming to have evidence that Cohen “committed perjury and knowingly made false statements” to lawmakers during his day-long testimony. These include that he did not seek a job in the Trump White House, his denial of committing bank fraud, as well as his assertion that the did not have any reportable contracts with foreign entities.

A staffer on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign says he kissed her without her consent at a small gathering of supporters before a Florida rally, an interaction that she alleges in a new lawsuit still causes her anguish. The staffer said she turned her head and the unwanted kiss landed on the side of her mouth, which she called “super-creepy and inappropriate.”

“This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” wrote White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders in a statement. Of course, what else would she says? It happened?

In [of course] a tweet, Trump accused filmmaker Spike Lee of making a “racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans…. than almost any other Pres!” Then he said it would “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all.” But it is unclear exactly what part of Lee’s speech Trump interpreted as “racist.” Did Trump watch the right awards show.

Trump announced that because of “substantial progress in our trade talks with China on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues” tariffs imposed by the United States on certain Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent has been delayed.

Trump tweeted “Since my election as President the Dow Jones is up 43% and the NASDAQ Composite almost 50%…. We are bringing back America faster than anyone thought possible!” Except the [real] presidents prior to him had higher increases. And “back” from where? Hell? [This was mentioned in a previous blog.]

Since the Trump administration announced it would end its practice of separating families apprehended at the southern border last June under its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, at least 245 children have been separated from their parents, according to a new court filing. The administration said the basis for the separation in the majority of cases was “criminality, prosecution, gang affiliation or other law enforcement purpose.”

The Department of Health and Human Services received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors from 2014-2018, according to internal agency documents. In addition,1,303 complaints were reported to the Justice Department during that same time frame, according to the documents.

Trump supposedly tweeted “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard.” Hello? We still don’t have 5G widely available. Or maybe the genius thought 5G was already fully deployed. 6G specifications may not even be finalized if it even exists.

There was a Trump look-a-like in Hanoi. He’s Canadian and his first name is Donald. Better skin complexion though.

Trump on tour (part 1)

Donald Trump capped off his tumultuous two-day visit at NATO headquarters by boldly declaring that all NATO members agreed to increase their defense spending after he told them he was “extremely unhappy.” Trump came up empty when pressed to detail the new financial commitments he had secured, offering only that member countries “agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly” and pointing to spending increases over the last year.

Trump claimed that all countries said that all the countries have agreed to reach 2% before the 2024 deadline. Of course he is giving himself credit for this. Problem is that the other countries did not agree on reaching the target before 2024. He called himself in a hasty called news conference “stable genius”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “There was a communiqué released yesterday it was very detailed and I invite you to read it … It shows the measures approved by all the member states. This communiqué is clear, it reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024. That is all.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said spending will go up slowly over the next few years to reach at or near 2% GDP by the deadline.

Meanwhile Trump said that “everybody in that (NATO) room got along”. And yet Germany’s Angela Merkel wasn’t happy with Trump’s comments about her country and others when Trump called them “delinquents” for not paying their share.

Trump said he believes he “probably” could withdraw from the NATO alliance without congressional approval – but said that was “unnecessary.” Seems Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Does he ever read the legal information before he opens his mouth.

So another hussy fit from Trump? Threatening to leave NATO. One reason why NATO was created was to counter any aggression from the Soviet Union. Little has changed as it’s now Russia and Russia grabbed Crimea in 2014. Experts believe that without NATO, smaller Baltic countries are at risk for an invasion from Russia.

Trump has previously said that Russia grabbing Crimea wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as there are plenty of Russians living there. The same can be said about many countries formerly part of the Soviet bloc. The Soviet Union did it on purpose – moving Russians into those countries while occupying them.

Trump previously has told allies that if they don’t meet higher spending targets, they should leave the alliance and go it alone on military matters. Is he the NATO Secretary General? Nope. NATO police? Nope. NATO CFO? Nope.

“Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.” Paying what? NATO requires that a percentage of the countries’ GDP be used for the military – not to pay NATO [unlike the UN]. Maybe he should cut back on his military spending [and the $7 per screw] and maybe help his citizens.

Trump released a letter he recently received from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and praised the “great progress” being made in talks with Pyongyang. Trump also touted his meeting with the Kim Jong Un while at NATO, calling it “an amazing meeting” and saying the two “established very good relations.” And yet….

North Korean officials did not show up to a planned meeting with US officials at the demilitarized zone, where they were expected to continue discussions on repatriating the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War. Trump has touted the return of remains as one of the successes of his historic June 12 summit with Kim Jun Un in Singapore.

In England, Trump has already caused problems by claiming that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has “wrecked” the country’s exit from the European Union [Brexit] and likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. The audio was recorded and clearly showed him criticizing May even when he told reports that listen to the recording think that he didn’t say it. Forgetting things already?

Then Trump denied that he criticized May, the day after a British tabloid published an interview with him in which he did just that. He dismissed the interview, conducted by a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication [which are right wing leaning], as “fake news” saying it didn’t include his comments praising May. He also questioned her competence.

Trump said his comments came after he “read some reports” that suggested the United Kingdom would not be able to make a free trade deal with the US and said after he did apologized to May.

He also praised one of May’s political rivals, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who resigned from her government in protest this week – which is against protocol. He said Johnson would make a good Prime Minister and later back peddled by saying May is one.

He does think that the British like him a lot and yet demonstrators showed signs that said “Dump Trump,” “Lock Him Up,” and “There Will Be Hell Toupee.” The largest demonstration in years happened in London happened before Trump visited the Queen. A large giant balloon that flew over Parliament on Friday depicting him as a cell-phone-toting angry baby in a diaper.

Trump acknowledged feeling unwelcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the baby Trump balloon. Trump also blamed recent terrorist attacks there on Khan, who is Muslim. The president claimed Europe is “losing its culture” because of immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

It is also customary for anyone visiting The Queen to show up early. Trump showed up 10 minutes late.

With a news conference on and cameras “rolling” and in front of May, Trump refused to take an interview question from a CNN reporter saying CNN is a fake news network and instead took a question from Fox News.

Trump again blamed President Obama for Russian aggression in Crimea. Trump at times drew laughs from some British reporters, who jeered his criticism of the media and openly laughed at his numerous boasts. Finally, he defended his beliefs that immigration has damaged Europe.

US cable networks began cutting away to cover the Russian indictments. And calls from Congress grew louder for Trump to cancel the meeting in Helsinki with Poutine, whom Trump has previously declined to challenge on 2016 election meddling.

Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come. He has never expressed outright opposition to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal nationwide, and similarly has no record on gay rights and same-sex marriage, but he will face tough questions from Democrats on both issues.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case,” Kavanaugh said at the White House. Which will probably mean voting for all right leaning causes. The White House is hoping the Senate moves quickly to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections in November threaten to unfurl the narrow Republican majority in the chamber.

Attention will quickly shift to two moderate GOP senators, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who are supportive of abortion rights. Trump also hopes to pressure several Democrats into voting to confirm his nominee as three Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won by double digits.

Kavanaugh’s career path led him from doggedly investigating one president to later on arguing for more legal protections for presidents — after working for another one.

Despite Trump’s insistence that he didn’t consider the nominee’s political views, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, which provided the president with suggested appointees, did. Kavanaugh’s conservative ideology is compatible with these two interest groups and Trump’s most recent ideological posture.

Trump said that he has not brought up the issue of abortion with Kavanaugh. Sure Donnie. Will anyone believe that comment with your history of lies.

Democrats and a few key Republicans in the Senate have said that they will not support a Supreme Court nominee who does not view the Roe v. Wade decision as a settled issue.

Former Republican Presidential nominee, Rick Santorum, said that Trump “bowed to the elite in Washington” – the same people Trump said he would drain from the swamp.

A reminder that during the election of 2016, Trump had said that picks for any Supreme Court nominee would be a vote to end Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and thus punish women. According to a 2016 survey, nearly seventy percent of Americans believe abortion should remain legal in this country.

A federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department. The grand jury indictment, part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe, alleges intelligence officers of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) hacked into the computer networks of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and attempted to penetrate voting systems across the country.

The indictments could make things difficult for Trump as he meets Russian dictator Vladimir Poutine next week. He had previously said he didn’t want to offend the Russians but he claims he will ask Poutine flat out whether there was any hacking or other illegal activities. You expecting Poutine to say yes? And pigs will fly.

Of course, the chance of the 12 ever being prosecuted is very unlikely as the US has no extradition treaty with Russia. Trump, meanwhile, continues to be criticized for being reluctant to speak publicly about Russian interference into the campaign.

Trump expressed a remarkable opinion. Democrats “want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13,” he tweeted, referring to the international gang.

During their trip to Moscow recently, an all-Republican delegation of U.S. lawmakers met with at least two Russian sanctioned Russians. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama spoke with Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who has been sanctioned since 2014 for Russia’s “illegitimate and unlawful” activities in Ukraine. The group also heard from Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Konstantin Kosachev, who complained about the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals. Kosachev was sanctioned in April over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and other “malign activity.”

The Trump administration is preparing another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, ramping up the US-China trade war. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday released a list of thousands of additional goods that could face 10% tariffs after a public comment period. It includes fruit and vegetables, handbags, refrigerators, rain jackets and baseball gloves.

The move comes after the United States imposed 25% tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion. Beijing immediately responded with its own tariffs on US goods worth $34 billion.

A one-year-old child who was separated from his father at the southern US border appeared in immigration court. The child is one of several toddlers who have had to appear in court without their parents present. Meanwhile, five pregnant women in immigration detention said they were denied adequate medical care while they were obviously miscarrying. ICE and Customs and Border Protection guards were either unwilling or unable to respond to medical emergencies.

The goal of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s latest trip to Pyongyang was to negotiate the details of the nuclear agreement Trump signed along with Kim. North Korea criticized Pompeo’s “gangster-like” demands in negotiations and said the “attitude” of the US was “regrettable”, while Pompeo signaled “progress” in the talks between the two nations.

Trump confirmed that he plans to give a copy of the Elton John hit song “Rocket Man” to the dictator of North Korea. Wonder if it would be just the song [maybe illegally ripped?] or a legitimate copy of Honky Château [from where the song first originated].

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is working with foreign clients as he continues to advise President Donald Trump on the Russia investigation, which raises conflict of interest and federal ethics issues. Giuliani told The Washington Post in interviews that he maintains clients in Ukraine, Brazil and Colombia. [Is this guy an actual lawyer? Seems to know little about law.] Giuliani has not registered with the Department of Justice for his work, arguing that it’s not necessary because Trump isn’t paying him for his counsel and he does not directly lobby the US government. White House officials told the Post they cannot be sure of Giuliani’s claim that he never discusses his clients with Trump.

Trump tweeted “The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people!” And no comments from him about the supposedly other 900+ people involved.

A federal judge in California flatly rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to modify a decades-old settlement agreement that limits the length of time and conditions under which US officials may detain immigrant children.

Trump’s former personal driver of more than 20 years has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization alleging that he was forced to work “thousands of hours” of overtime without fair compensation. The driver, Noel Cintron, claims in the lawsuit that he worked an average of between 50 and 55 hours a week for Trump without fair compensation. He is asking for more than $200,000 in unpaid overtime wages over the past six years. Noel Cintron received two raises in 15 years, but had to give up his Trump Organization health insurance in order to get a $7,000 pay increase.

Trump tweeted “Public opinion has turned strongly against the Rigged Witch Hunt and the “Special” Counsel….” I’d like to see that poll Donnie!

According to a Washington Post poll, 65% of women said they disapproved of Trump’s job as president, while 32% said they approved. 54% of men say they approved of Trump, while only 45% said they disapproved.

Trump tweeted “The Rigged Witch Hunt, originally headed by FBI lover boy Peter S (for one year) & now, 13 Angry Democrats, should look into the missing DNC Server, Crooked Hillary’s illegally deleted Emails, the Pakistani Fraudster, Uranium One, Podesta & so much more. It’s a Democrat Con Job!” [I’m wondering if he writes on a calendar when he should make the same comments over and over again.]

The Hudson’s Bay store chain in Canada has stopped selling anything from Ivanka Trump’s products due to poor sales online and phase the merchandise out during the fall. The chain didn’t say if any of the boycotts were the reason. However Shoes.com, Zulily, and Nordstrom stopped selling her products.

Trump thinks NK deal still alive, meanwhile Pruitt departs

Donald Trump tweets that “All of Asia is thrilled” that North Korea has halted missile testing and only the “Opposition Party” Democrats, including the “Fake News” is complaining. Halt testing missiles but judging by the recent satellite photos, they are still doing work on them. How does the media doctor photos from his own administration and display them?

Trump also claims “If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!” Let’s see. If anything the US and North Korea were closer to war than probably any of the past few administrations. Did North Korea fire missiles towards Japan or elsewhere prior to this administration? Or fire missiles that often?

Experts say there is no proof North Korea’s halt of nuclear and missile tests means the North will take concrete steps to give up such weapons. They also say the U.S. has an unrealistic approach to North Korea’s denuclearization.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned [or maybe he was fired] amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease.

Pruitt, at one point, directly appealed to Trump this spring to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead. In an Oval Office conversation with Trump, Pruitt offered to temporarily replace Sessions for 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, telling Trump he would return to Oklahoma afterward to run for office.

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry executive, will assume the acting administrator position. Poor guy. He was a lobbyist and a lawyer.

The federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 gives the President the authority to temporarily fill a vacancy at a federal agency if the official “dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.” Obviously Sessions didn’t die or resign and is able to do his functions and duties. So good luck there Scott!

With the way Pruitt has handled his own department [see below] – let alone his own life – I am sure Trump did the right thing [for once] and turned him down. Hopefully after Pruitt left, trump had a good laugh. I know I would of.

Meanwhile, Pruitt and his aides have kept “secret” calendars and schedules to overtly hide controversial meetings or calls with industry representatives and others, according to a former EPA official who is expected to soon testify before Congress. A review of EPA documents found discrepancies between Pruitt’s official calendar and other records.

Everything that was spent by him during his tenure hit over $4 million.

Trump had told Republicans in Congress recently to stop wasting their time on immigration until after November’s elections, but now Trump is insisting that Congress “FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!” Then he said “When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave … just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”

At a rally, Trump mocked the #MeToo movement as he repeatedly attacked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her heritage by saying “I want to apologize. Pocahontas, I apologize to you. I apologize to you. To you I apologize,” he said. “To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.” He has called Warren Pocahontas a few times previously. And if she won the Democratic nomination for 2020 he would ask her to take a DNA test to prove she has Native American blood in her. Like a true racist he used the word “Indian” in his further comments.

Not surprise, Trump also defended Republican candidate Rep. Jim Jordan against allegations he overlooked sexual abuse during his time as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

Trump continued a long running fight with California Rep. Maxine Waters by saying “… honestly she is somewhere in the mid-60s.”

Trump then attacked, without naming him, Arizona Sen. John McCain for voting against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and he mocked President George H.W. Bush’s slogan during his rally.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club has applied for permission to hire originally 40 foreign workers to serve as waiters and cooks during the winter social season in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump’s club has asked to hire another 21 who would be cooks from overseas and employ them from October to May.

The postings show that – despite Trump’s insistence that immigration is holding down wages and crowding out native-born American workers – his club believes it cannot find any Americans in South Florida who are qualified to hold two very common restaurant-industry jobs. Mar-a-Lago’s pay for cooks starts at $13.31 per hour, down 3 cents from the year before. The base salary his club is offering to waiters is higher in 2018: It rose from $11.88 per hour last year to $12.68 per hour this year.

Trump appeared to rely on a dubious Fox News report to unleash an attack on his predecessor, accusing President Barack Obama, without any real evidence, of granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians as part of nuclear deal negotiations. Fox News’ website cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric who is also a member of the country’s parliament.

In a whacky bit of news, at a meeting in August 2017 in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the US just simply invade the troubled country? The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration.

Breaking with their House Republican counterparts, the Senate Intelligence Committee said that the intelligence community properly concluded in January of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump when Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is tapping additional Justice Department resources for help with new legal battles as his year-old investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election continues to expand. He is making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents — a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually.

Mueller and his team of 17 federal prosecutors are coping with a higher-then-expected volume of court challenges that has added complexity in recent months. The special counsel’s charter, issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, includes investigating whether Trump or associates colluded with Russia and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

The White House announced that former Fox News president Bill Shine has been appointed as the White House’s new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was one of Roger Ailes [the former chairman of the Fox News Channel] deputies for years. When Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by numerous women in 2016, Shine was accused of covering up the alleged misdeeds.

Trump is demanding that Norway ramp up its defense spending as a NATO partner, according to a letter he wrote to Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The letter was one of a series that Trump sent to NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Canada and others, demanding they boost spending and threatening to shift the US military presence in Europe if they do not.

According to a report, a draft of a bill from the Trump administration would propose having the US abandon key World Trade Organization principles and offer Trump significantly more discretion over US trade policy. The proposal would give Trump the authority, based on the administration’s assessment of trading policies between nations, to renegotiate or apply tariffs as he sees fit to push individual countries on trade.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders says that Trump is always seeking “good trade deals”. Imposing tariffs is not the right way of doing this. She, meanwhile, also said that during the G7 summit in Canada that Trump proposed that Canada remove all tariffs and subsidies. Of course he said nothing about removing all of the US tariffs imposed on Canada.

She also said that “the US is very nice to Canada” and that Canada took “advantage” of the US. Sure Sarah.

Trump said the World Trade Organization treated the US “very badly”. Hmmm. If you impose tariffs and other trade issues that are imposed for no real reason, what do you expect when you lose probably every trade dispute. By leaving the WTO he doesn’t have to worry about any court cases.

With a new Mexican President, Trump couldn’t wait to say that he had already talked to Mexico or but the Mexican president mentioned nothing about bilateral trade deal.

Unsure if Trump wants a NAFTA trade deal or not. First he wanted to wait until after the Mexican election this past weekend. Now he says he could wait until after the mid-term election which actually could make sense if he thinks he can get a large majority in the Senate that he has now. Good luck there.

July 1st was Canada’s 151st birthday. So the US Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, decided to have a party in Canada’s honor. But no senior government official will attend. The opposition Conservative Party will have maybe 2 senior party members. Why? Protesting against the US tariffs imposed on Canada. In the end, while previous parties usually had 4,000 [!!!] invitations, this one had about 1,000 and excluded a chunk of Ottawa’s [Canada’s capitol] elite.

Canada through $13 billion US tariffs at the US on July 1st. Like the European Union, the tariffs were aimed at specific states where Trump is more popular. More than 40 US steel products attract tariffs of 25%. A tax of 10% has been levied on over 80 other American items including toffee, maple syrup, coffee beans and strawberry jam.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar now estimates that under 3,000 kids who may have been separated from their parents are in government custody — a figure far higher than his department released just recently. HHS had previously reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care. Approximately 100 children under the age of 5.

Trump told space industry notables that he was directing the Department of Defense to create a Space Force, a sixth branch of the military that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. But retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly — a former Navy pilot, combat veteran, four-time space-flyer — doesn’t support it, and some members of Congress are also voicing their distaste for the idea. “This is a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job. … What’s next, we move submarines to the 7th branch and call it the ‘under-the-sea force?'”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s official Twitter page mocked Trump over misspelling “pore” in a tweet where Trump was bragging about his writing ability.

Write if you can get work like this: Trump’s 27 year old assistant’s salary was $95,000 last year [matching President Obama’s last assistant] and is now at $135,000.

Michael Cohen dropped the reference “personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump” from his Twitter biography recently.

A new Quinnipiac University poll has a striking result: 49% of people said they believe Trump to be a racist while 47% believe he is not.

Trump ordered American flags to be lowered to half-staff for less than a day or to honor of the victims of deadly shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper recently. The city’s mayor said the request was initially denied. Trump has repeatedly called journalists the “enemy of the people.”

I guess you can call this good news: The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes provisions that place restrictions on the president’s authority to direct generals to launch cyberattacks. NDAA in its current form also requires the president to develop and abide by a cyberwarfare strategy document that describes which activities merit cyber retaliation. It also could limit retaliatory attacks by the military without a certain level of confidence in attribution.

Trump still likes to cause problems

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The gamble Trump is taking

Trump is putting all of his eggs in one basket when he claimed that there was “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

This even though there was actually no detailed agreement on when North Korea’s nuclear bombs will be disposed of, inspections and/or verifications, monitoring, etc.

It is estimated that North Korea has between a dozen and 60 nuclear bombs.

North Korea has previously reneged on denuclearization deals with former US Presidents. So why would this be any different.

North Korea has previously created huge facilities under mountains to shield the US and others from detections. While North Korea has blown up the front of at least two of these facilities, this doesn’t stop them from reopening them or maybe even a hidden “back door”.

But for Trump to say that North Korea is not a threat could come back to haunt him and his presidency if the agreement falls through during the more detailed negotiations or if it is discovered that North Korea is hiding nuclear bombs.

Part of the deal [that we know of] calls for the stop of military war games with South Korea and the eventual removal of US forces from South Korea. The official North Korean TV channel even stated that all sanctions would be lifted [nothing mentioned by Trump or anyone in his administration on this but could be logical to do].

If North Korea does fault on the deal, and [heaven forbid] North Korea uses a bomb [or threatens to] or even invades South Korea, Trump would probably go down as the worse President in the US ever.

And maybe all this so that Trump can receive a Nobel peace Prize – something President Obama received. [Of course so those who decides who gets the prize look at the person overall such as Trump with Iran?]