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.

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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?]

 

From mayhem at the G6 plus 1 to a summit with many unanswers

….. What a week!

Republican and Democratic leaders aren’t quite celebrating Donald Trump’s historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, saying the initial agreement they struck won’t mean much unless the North completely denuclearizes. The agreement on the North Korean side seems more like a pledge. Trump agreed to stop military maneuvers with South Korea and remove the US military from there as well but no other details. The 28,500 personnel would return home and Trump claims this is to save money.

Seems nothing was done with North Korea’s human rights records where for the simplest crime, it can send you to as gulag for years. Or shot at a firing squad or even blown up [the former is what he did to his own uncle].

Is Trump doing this to show he did something that no US leader in the last 60+ years could do and/or to increase his chances of getting a Nobel Peace Prize. Seems his critics said he gave everything away and got nothing in return as North Korea has previously reneged on deals. The Trump-Kim agreement does not define what denuclearization would mean. Wonder, as well, if this is a way for the North Korea to invade as the South Koreans could be defenseless.

Trump called Un someone he can trust and talented… Sure. Even an invitation to invite Un to the White House.

At least one Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took a harsher stance at Trump’s “agreement” with Kim Jun Un: “While I know @potus is trying to butter him up to get a good deal, #KJU is NOT a talented guy,” Rubio tweeted. “He inherited the family business from his dad & grandfather. He is a total weirdo who would not be elected assistant dog catcher in any democracy.”

At the G7, Trump said that his relationships with other Western leaders are perfect [this prior to the end of the summit]. Fat chance on that. Implementing tariffs, leaving trade pacts, leaving security pacts. He also insisted that the Quebec summit had been “tremendously, tremendously successful” despite accusing other nations of using the United States as a “piggy bank.”

Trump rescinded his support for a closing communique he had endorsed only hours earlier. This is because Trump clearly took offence to comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who let Trump have it at his own news conference closing the event. Why was Trump upset with the comments made by Trudeau: “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”

Trump had left the summit early [and he showed up at the Saturday morning talks late], supposedly to get to Singapore early for him meeting with Kim Jun Un.  But he may have also left early because the last topics weren’t to his taste: environment and climate control.

It wasn’t just Trudeau who spoke after left. Trudeau’s comments were made before, during and after the summit – even to Trump in private meetings. Did this really upset Trump or maybe Trump felt he wasn’t the big winner at the summit [for his ego]. While Trudeau did it at a press conference, Trump’s remarks were on [of course] Twitter where no real reports can question him. Coward.

As for the communique, all seven leaders had agreed to what it said. To rescind it later for something another leaders said and not the contents of the communique is childish.
After saying that they are close to a deal in NAFTA, there are some hints that this spat could even halt or slow down the talks. Seriously?

Trump even said at one point that his relationship with the other leaders is “a 10”. This was before his Twitter comments and reneging on the communique.

Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Trump, said “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.” Great diplomacy there Peter.  Hilariously, Navarro said Trump “did the courtesy to Justin Trudeau to travel up to Quebec for that summit” and that Trump had “bigger things on his plate” than the G7 meeting. What leader has never attended a G7 summit? Navarro late did apologize.

Trump, in a tweet, asked why the US should allow countries to continue to make “massive trade surpluses,” asserting that it is “not fair to the people of America” and that the US is suffering under a “$800 billion trade deficit.” Whining again. Does he know economics? Would other countries’ leaders be whining about this subject? The US is a country that needs more resources than sales. In some cases, those resources are cheaper to bring in from elsewhere than manufacture domestically.

“Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense? We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!” Didn’t he say changes were coming last year?

Trump has whined about the tariffs protecting the Canadian industry when he forgets [or did he] that his government gives the US industry $22 billion in subsidies.

France and Germany have criticized Trump for threatening to pull the United States out of a joint statement with key G7 allies. This picture says it all.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made clear her disquiet with Trump’s policies, arguing that Germany may no longer be able to rely on its US ally. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “It’s actually not a real surprise. We have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal. In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters.”

Following the G7, Trump suggested that Russia be allowed back into the global group despite their continued occupation of Crimea. “I would say that the G8 is a more meaningful group than the G7, absolutely,” Trump said. “You’ll have to ask Obama, because he was the one that let Crimea get away” he said when asked about the annexation. “He allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude.”

This comments is sort of the equivalent of a mass murderer getting pardoned because it happened a couple of years ago and not on his “watch”. The other G7 counties [except Italy] plus the European Union do not want Russia to be back in the group as long as Crimea is in Russia’s hands.

The European Union backed a Group of Seven declaration that Trump abruptly left. European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas added that EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thanked Trudeau “for the excellent preparation and chairing of this challenging summit.” British Prime Minister Theresa May also went out of her way to thank her Canadian counterpart “for his leadership and skilful [sic] chairing” of what she called “a difficult summit with at times some very candid discussions.”

Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron during their recent meeting in Washington that there are too many German cars in the United States. The source did not say that Trump explicitly said he wanted all German-made cars out of the US.

Trump declared he thinks the Russia probe is “very biased” and has reservations about being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, raising more questions on whether he will consent to an interview as part of the investigation. Not even a month ago he said he wanted to be interviewed. He [of course] didn’t say what changed his mind – if anything – but he changes his mind as often the stock market index changes.

Trump’s comments came a day after the Justice Department watchdog released a report critical of how former FBI Director James Comey handled the 2016 Hillary Clinton email probe. The report contained messages from FBI agents who spoke critically of Trump. Unsure how you equate FBI agents and a separate investigation by Mueller who isn’t even using FBI agents. The report didn’t find evidence that political bias influenced the investigation of Clinton’s email practices prior to the election.

Trump sought to further discredit the probe, saying the “problem with the Mueller investigation is everybody’s got massive conflicts.” And he doesn’t? He reiterated his longstanding contention there was no collusion between his campaign and Russians and the report exonerates him. He has said this before. The report isn’t really about him directly.

Trump tweeted “I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people” when asked about the US co-hosting the winning bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. He sent signed letters [I’m sure written by someone else] to the FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Then he spoiled things by saying “Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?” to those nations that did vote for the Canada/Mexico/US bid.

There is talk of a bipartisan bill where announcements of tariffs would be removed from a president’s hands and to Congress.

Woops. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is in trouble again. It seems and aide and donors used their pull to find a job for Pruitt’s wife. When will he lose his?

Trump, it seems, broke a[nother] law. White House aides realized earlier on that they could not stop Trump from tearing up papers he must preserve to stay in line with the Presidential Records Act. So to avoid clashing with the law, some staffers have taped his pieces back together like a jigsaw puzzle. The Presidential Records Act requires presidential records be preserved and transferred to the National Archives. [The same act says tweets can’t be deleted.]

Trump hit back at Robert De Niro, calling him a “very low IQ individual,” after the Oscar-winning actor’s expletive-laden attack on the American president on live television for the Tony Awards. The network has a delay – so most Americans didn’t hear what Bobby said. Trump said he had watched the clip “and (I) truly believe he may be punch drunk.” I would guess prior to this De Niro is/was one of Trump’s favorite actors.

Fox News criticized former President Obama for his willingness to “talk to dictators.” Now, conservative media praises Trump’s work with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Trump administration is creating an office within the agency that grants US citizenship to root out fraudsters and have their citizenship taken away. The targets are people who have already been rejected from the US, but who create a new identity to gain citizenship afterward. A 2016 Homeland Security Department Inspector General report found that at least 858 people had been given US citizenship despite having been deported under a different identity, because their fingerprints had not been in the system.

Congressional Republicans distanced themselves from the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border, even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its “zero tolerance” approach to illegal border crossings. “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” said White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders.

When a reporter asked about her “very biblical” remark, Sanders suggested he was taking her words out of context, adding: “I know it’s hard for you to understand, even short sentences, I guess.” She sounds like her boss.

Trump accuses the Democrats of causing the problem with the separated children but he refuses to sign any bills that would fix the problem since he entered office. There are at least 2000 children separated from their parents in a period of 7 weeks. Yet the policy of separating children began this April.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will await his trial for foreign lobbying charges from jail. Two weeks after Robert Mueller’s prosecutors dropped new accusations of witness tampering on him, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson revoked Manafort’s bail, which allowed him out on house arrest. Trump tweeted after ” Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob.” Yes. Trump is a mob boss.

Last week, Mueller’s team alleged they found evidence Manafort had tried to tell possible witnesses in his case to lie about their lobbying efforts under him in the US. The witness tampering allegations, which also resulted in new criminal charges, were enough for him to lose his house arrest privileges.

China accused the United States of firing the first shot when the White House said that it would impose tariffs of 25% on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. The Chinese government said it would respond in kind to the US tariffs, which will apply to roughly 1,100 exports and will target China’s aerospace, robotics, manufacturing and auto industries.

Beijing will impose tariffs on 545 US items worth $34 billion [same amount as the first wave of American tariffs] starting on July 6. Tariffs on the remaining 114 items will start later.

Trump endorsed GOP Senate candidate Corey Stewart, a candidate who the National Republican Senate Committee is refusing to endorse for his extreme views.

With this busy week, looks like I will add another posting early next week!

 

 

Unbelievably busy week in Trumpland

Donald Trump, continuing to be the Liar in chief, answering questions from reporters following the announcement that the summit in Singapore is back on [for now] on June 12th, initially said he read the contents of an envelope given to him by an envoy of Kim Jun Un. Minutes later he said he didn’t and said he would if someone paid him [unsure if joking].

Trump alleged – without providing any evidence – that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will meddle in the midterm elections to benefit Democrats. Trump’s claim is his latest attack on the credibility of the Russia investigation as being politically motivated, though it’s a significant new step in his attacks on what is intended to be an independent probe working to get to the bottom of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Mueller intends on releasing his findings by September 1st.

“The 13 Angry Democrats (plus people who worked 8 years for Obama) working on the rigged Russia Witch Hunt, will be MEDDLING with the mid-term elections, especially now that Republicans (stay tough!) are taking the lead in Polls,” Trump tweeted. Trump ignoring the fact that Mueller is one of quite a few Republicans on his team.

Trump questioned why the FBI never warned his campaign that Russians might try to infiltrate his team. “Why didn’t the crooked highest levels of the FBI or ‘Justice’ contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem?” Except he was briefed on the matter in August 2016. In October 2017, senior Justice Department officials gave lawmakers from both parties a readout on the 2016 briefing after Republicans demanded to see documents about the Russia investigation and related matters.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said he is now “more convinced” that the FBI acted appropriately in its handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections to Donald Trump’s campaign even as Trump continues to attack the department and the bureau over the handling of the Russia investigation.

At a recent rally, Trump said, “So how do you like the fact the fact they had people infiltrating our campaign? Can you imagine?” US officials have disputed this characterization, saying a confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the campaign.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has turned over a memo he drafted related to the firing of his former boss, FBI Director James Comey, to the special counsel’s office. The document details McCabe’s impressions of a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein where the subject of Comey’s firing came up after he had been dismissed. Rosenstein ultimately authored a controversial memo outlining the ways Comey had flouted Justice Department protocols leading up to the 2016 election but did not mention the Russia probe.

Trump is reacting to a report on Mueller’s spending, slightly overstating the figure for the Russia probe by tweeting “AP has just reported that the Russian Hoax Investigation has now cost our government over $17 million, and going up fast.” The Justice Department says a large portion of the costs, about $9 million, would have been spent regardless of the special counsel’s appointment. It’s also a drop in the bucket compared to other government spending such as the Secret Service protecting his wife and kid in New York while he was in Washington.

Trump’s legal team would advise that he refuse to submit to an interview with Mueller unless the team can review classified information shared with select lawmakers about the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, defended the President’s political attacks against Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign, suggesting that the origins of the probe are illegitimate. “You get the Comey thing, which is the leak of a confidential memo, which is illegal for an FBI official to do. I’m not saying Mueller is illegitimate. I’m saying the basis on which he was appointed was illegitimate,” Giuliani remarked.

Rather than distancing himself from Rosanne Barr’s racist remarks, Trump jumped right into the argument about whether she was subjected to a double standard. “Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”

Wonder what if anything that ABC has done to Trump was so “HORRIBLE”. Probably nothing of course. Trump is implying that he is the victim of a liberal media double standard. So instead of really defending his friend Barr, he’s tried to defend himself. Barr frequently uses her Twitter account to deride Democrats. Now he is asking for an apology for all the comments made by various networks? Get real.

On the announcement of the series cancellation, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said “That’s not what he’s spending his time on. And I think that we have a lot bigger things going on in the country right now, certainly that the President is spending his time when it comes to policy.” So I guess this is very important for Trump and the country.

Think about it. Did a [real] President prior to him in office ever ask for an apology that someone made about a President? It goes to the known fact that Trump likes to be at the center of attention [hijacking the Barr story] and doesn’t take criticism. Maybe he should apologize for his vulgar remarks that he has said to individuals and minorities.

Trump specifically complained about an erroneous report last year by an ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross. Ross was suspended and told he could not report on Trump. ABC did apologize. So again, Trump doesn’t remember things or is a liar [or both].

Donald Trump Jr, taking a piece of his old man’s playbook re-tweeted Barr’s tweet which said that billionaire George Soros, who is Jewish, was a Nazi sympathizer. Doesn’t Junior know Soros is Jewish? As well he retweeted Barr’s comments that falsely claim that Chelsea Clinton is married to Soros’ nephew. Soros has also been accused of wanting to take over the US government. Why aimed at Soros? He is a mega Democratic donor.

Laughingly, Trump Jr’s “advisor” said that “One Retweet certainly doesn’t mean Don endorses every single thing someone believes…” If he retweets it, it sounds like endorsing to me. He has previously retweeted that a shooting survivor was coached by his FBI father to make comments against Trump Sr. Trump Sr. liked the tweet. He also tweeted positively about Mike Cernovitch, where Cernovitch claimed the Clintons were behind a child sex ring. Trump Jr. has also previously made Holocaust jokes.

Not surprising, Trumps Memorial day tweet results in the media and politicians upset at what he said. “Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!”

“Happy Memorial Day”? It is a day to remember those who sacrificed their life for their country. Then he decides that those who did die would be happy knowing the economy is supposedly doing great [meanwhile how many jobs lost and how many bankruptcies – something he’s an expert at] and then aim at minorities. Then finally mentions rebuilding the military and “nice”. Nice?

Compare Trump’s tweet with South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s tweet: “On #MemorialDay we honor the American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our values and protecting our freedoms. We owe them a debt of gratitude we can never repay.” Which one is more appropriate?

Republicans on Capitol Hill were fuming after the White House abruptly announced it would begin imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on US allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Trump decided to impose the tariffs, 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports. The Trump administration announced an investigation into whether automobile imports are hurting US national security as well. Everything with national security. The US military purchase steel from Canada because of the high quality of material.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union have announced retaliatory tariffs. Some of those are aimed at specific markets in the US where top GOP leaders are from – for example Bourbon in Kentucky where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is from or Harley Davidson motorcycles since Paul Ryan is from Michigan.

So now Trump’s arrogance and lack of knowledge in the economy will result in Americans seeing increase in everything from vehicles to beer [aluminum cans]. Let alone Canada, Mexico and the EU.

The Trump administration would proceed with its proposal to impose 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of goods from China, and place new limits on Chinese investments in US high-tech industries.

Trump is imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from three of America’s biggest trading partners – Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The trade penalties, 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum, took effect already.

Former Republican House Speaker John Boehner lamented that “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party”. Expect a thank you tweet from Trump soon.

Nearly every president in modern history has lost congressional seats during their first midterm election, a fact that Trump has told advisers he doesn’t believe necessarily applies to him. Of note, Trump filed his re-election papers at the time of his inauguration, more than two years earlier than his two recent predecessors. A trait of a narcissist.

In a Playboy interview in 1990, Trump said “The show is Trump, and it is sold-out performances everywhere.” Hmmmm.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told a journalist, “I will take you for every penny you still don’t have,” in 2015 after the reporter wrote a story about Trump and his first wife, Ivana Trump. Trump’s first wife recalls a “violent assault” and alleged she was raped by Trump. She later took back what she said. Cohen defended his former client in a telephone call claiming that “you can’t rape your spouse”. Oh ya? He’s a lawyer? Spousal rape has been illegal in New York City, where the couple lived, since 1984. Ivana Trump’s account is from 1989.

Trump said he regretted choosing Jeff Sessions as attorney general, a continuation of his frustrations over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who continues to cause problems, defended his “konnichiwa” response to a Japanese-American congresswoman by suggesting it was an “appropriate salute” given he has “friends that were Japanese families” who lived through the US internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. He saw her ethnicity, not her position.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson will name the son of his close friend and business associate as deputy chief of staff.

Trump endorsed a congressman facing a tough primary battle, but in doing so he misstated the New York Republican’s record on taxes. Trump tweeted said U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan is “strong on Borders,” “loves our Military” and “voted for Tax Cuts.” Yet Donovan was one of only a few Republicans who voted against the Trump-backed tax law that passed last year. This is probably the standard script that Trump uses any endorsement. Just change the name.

A close aide to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt last year ordered a set of 12 fountain pens that cost the Environmental Protection Agency $1,560, according to agency documents. Each $130 silver pen bore the agency’s seal and Administrator Pruitt’s signature.

Trump is still boasting his win 19 months ago by saying the only way former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton filled arenas was by having Jay-Z perform during campaign rallies and even then he said “I drew in bigger crowds than Jay-Z”. Seriously. What an ego.

Trump falsely accused the New York Times of using an unnamed source “who doesn’t exist” in a story on negotiations between the United States and North Korea, but the official cited spoke to reporters three days earlier in a briefing arranged by the White House.

Trump has warned Congress that he will never sign another foot-tall, $1 trillion-plus government-wide spending bill like the one he did in March.

Ivanka Trump’s fashion and homewares business received initial approval from the Chinese government for five trademark applications days before her father announced a U-turn in policy on ZTE, a Chinese telecoms firm that has admitted breaking US sanctions on Iran and North Korea. The five approvals, for applications made in 2017, came through on 7 May. Trump made the announcement on the 13th.

Trump pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, the controversial conservative author. He also floats the idea of also pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich [considered one of the most corrupt governors ever].

Trump reported on his financial disclosure, filed with the US Office of Government Ethics and released Wednesday, that his golf-related revenue made him about $67 million less in 2017 in comparison with 2016. Trump carries as much as $1.25 billion in mortgages that will mature in the next five to seven years for three of his golf courses.

An Obama administration critic convicted of campaign finance fraud says Trump called him at his office to tell him he was pardoned because he had been “screwed.” Dinesh D’Souza told “Fox & Friends” on Friday that Trump told him he was a “great voice for freedom” and that the case against him was “fishy” from the start. D’Souza pleaded guilty to violating federal election law by making illegal contributions to a US Senate campaign in the names of others. If he pleaded guilty, sounds like he’s guilty.

Step by methodical step, the Trump administration is remaking government policy on reproductive health — moving to limit access to birth control and abortion and bolstering abstinence-only sex education. But women’s-rights activists and some medical experts view the multi-pronged changes as a dangerous ideological shift that could increase unintended pregnancies and abortions.

Regulators have sent the White House a proposal seeking to scale back Obama-era rules to combat climate change through tougher fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration delivered the proposals to the Office of Management and Budget for review, one of the required steps before a federal rule is adopted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s “premature” to tout Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in pursuing a peace deal with North Korea. McConnell chuckled as he mentioned the “chagrin” it would cause the Nobel committee to award Trump the world’s most coveted diplomatic prize. [I am wondering if Trump would try to get the award at all costs – even to cave in on some of North Korea’s demands just so he can match President Obama.]

A man who opened fire at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami had been yelling “anti-Trump … rhetoric” there. The gunman is in stable condition after police shot him in an exchange of gunfire.