Is there something wrong with Trump?

[Well aside from the usual.]

Wow! The last nearly 2 weeks have put the Trump administration and the stock markets on a lengthy roller coaster.

Beijing unveiling a new round of retaliatory tariffs on about $75 billion worth of US goods placing tariffs of 5% or 10% on US imports starting on September 1st, according to a statement posted by China’s Finance Ministry. This round affects beef, oil, soya beans, nuts, cream, turkey, and chemicals.

A second possible round on December 1st would affect coffee, corn, vehicles, whiskey wood, doors, etc.

The Ministry also announced plans to resume tariffs on US imports of automobiles and automobile parts. The tariffs would be 25% or 5%, and would take effect on December 15th. Recently, China said it would take countermeasures after Donald Trump announced it would impose 10% tariffs on Chinese imports worth $300 billion.

Not just as few hours after, Trump decided to increase current tariffs at 25% to 30%. Those at 10% will jump to 15%. The Dow Jones stock market – in just a short time – dropped more than 700 points after the announcement at one point. He claimed, in a tweet, that China’s tariffs are “politically motivated”. He ended his set of tweets with “Thank you for your attention to this matter!”

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, said “It’s no surprise that China is slapping even more tariffs on American products. Every time Trump escalates his trade war, China calls his bluff — and why would we expect any differently this time around? And it’s no surprise that farmers are again the target.”

Trump said, “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA.” Trump can’t order American business to do anything as it is known as the “private sector”.

The Dow Jones had already dropped 300 points on the fear of another round of Trump tariffs. Trump also expressed anger at Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Powell in a speech today did not indicate if the central bank has plans for another interest rate cut. Trump has been calling for further cuts to rates.

Upsetting [saying it mildly] another ally, Trump tweeted “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.” Seriously? Frederiksen said the word “Absurd” for her answer.

Trump had accepted an invitation to visit Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark. Now it is a diplomatic snub that he has canceled the visit because of his vindictive pettiness. Trump confirmed his interest in buying the country, telling reporters at one point that Greenland is hurting Denmark. Doesn’t explain how – of course.

Oh it must be fun being a US ambassador in this administration.

Estimated minimum price to buy Greenland is over $1 billion, for 56,000 people and 9% unemployment. Add harsh conditions and plenty of ice. But it does have some untapped resources.

No shocker here [or I told you so]: Trump is reversing his stance on gun control. After the shootings he said “I’m looking to do background checks… I think background checks are important.”

Then he responded recently by saying “I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem… It’s the people that pull the trigger. It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger… “I’m also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment”. These are basically the same phrases that the NRA has been pushing for. So you think that anything will happen?

“I had a very good meeting with Tim Cook,” Trump said in an interview. “I have a lot of respect for Tim Cook, and Tim was talking to me about tariffs. And one of the things, and he made a good case, is that Samsung is their number-one competitor, and Samsung is not paying tariffs because they’re based in South Korea.”

He also said that Apple “will be spending vast sums of money in the US. Great!” though he doesn’t appear to have mentioned any details of further US investment in his comments to reporters. He has said this before of more US investments in the past only to have nothing come out of it.

He has to remember that his policies are hurting American businesses. He is the one to blame for issues that American companies who are having issues with it. On the other hand, Apple has plenty of money and part of their problem is that their products have had slumps because of a combination of higher prices and poor quality control [think recently about keyboard and battery issues with their laptops].

Trump may in the end exclude Apple from getting hit with the tariffs. And so it unravels. He does it for one company and other American companies who have at least some manufacturing done in China will ask for the same treatment. Most of them may not be as wealthy as Apple.

“If I wanted to make a bad deal and settle on China, the market would go up. But it wouldn’t be the right thing to do,” Trump explained. “I’m just not ready to make a deal, China would like to make a deal, I’m not ready.” So his ego prefers the world end up in a recession.

Trump and his advisers insist their trade war with China won’t hurt American consumers. But analysts say otherwise. The tariffs Trump has already imposed on China are estimated to cost the average American household $600 per year, according to a report by JPMorgan Chase. That will rise to $1,000 if Trump carries through on his plan to levy tariffs on another $300 billion of US imports from China, the bank added.

Oh craps! Trump referred to himself as the “chosen one” while speaking on his role in the ongoing trade war between the US and China. Later he said “Nobody has done a job like I done.” He said at one point that China had the worst economic year in 50 year. Last week he said at one point it was 25 and then 37. How things change in a week or so.

Trump conceded that economies across the world are “not doing well like we are doing, the rest of the world, if you look at Germany, if you look at European Union, frankly, look at the UK, look at a lot of the countries, they are not doing well.” If the world’s largest economies [other than the US] re in a recession, then the US will follow.

Trump added that “most economists actually say we are not going to have a recession.” If you translate that, it usually means he asked one or two people who may know about the economy and generally agree with everything he says. Trump sent out some people to news channels to tell people everything is good with the economy.

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown revealing growing concerns about the economy among Trump’s top economic aides. But Trump says that the economy in the US is doing well?

As if Trump doesn’t have enough to complain about this week: “Henry Ford would be very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn’t work as well, because execs don’t want to fight California regulators.” Wonder what he is dreaming about this time.

This after saying “My proposal to the politically correct Automobile Companies would lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the cars substantially safer. Engines would run smoother.”

Not to be out done, he then whined about the US share of the NATO budget versus everyone else.

Go figure. He is the president of the US and he is still complaining about the 2016 votes – 30+ months later. He tweeted “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued.”

He was referring to a study by psychologist Robert Epstein [hmmm], which was discussed on Fox. Epstein himself says Trump was wrong about his findings. Epstein did find “bias” in Google search results, but he says there is no evidence Google “manipulated” the results to favor Hillary Clinton. Epstein said the pro-Clinton bias was “sufficient to have shifted between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes” to Clinton – not 16 million.

Epstein used a whopping 95 people from 24 states. That is research? For statistical purposes, this has a wide error. He also didn’t even publish his findings in a credible journal or web site that is related to his research. Epstein said he is “suspicious” that Google is deliberately biasing its results, given the Democratic leanings of its employees and the allegations of company “whistle blowers.” Epstein didn’t divulge who he supports.

Trump wants Russia back into the G7 [as the G8] in time for the 2020 meeting in the US. Trump claimed that President Barack Obama wanted Russia out of the group because “he got outsmarted.” He didn’t say how Obama was outsmarted, but you know Trump. Imaginary thing. Russia was suspended from the group after the majority of member countries united against Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Trump held a lengthy phone call with his master, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, recently. Now it looks like universal background checks are “off the table.” LaPierre reminded Trump how NRA members helped get him elected. No shock in Trump’s latest stance.

The Trump administration announced plans that could hold undocumented families detained together indefinitely, replacing the agreement that set a 20-day limit for holding children. The rule is meant to reduce the number of families trying to enter the US. Already this year, more than 430,000 family members have been arrested for crossing the southern border illegally, compared to around 100,000 for all of last year.

Then Trump said he is “seriously” considering ending US birthright citizenship despite the fact that such a move would face immediate legal challenge and is at odds with Supreme Court precedent. The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship and states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The White House has dropped its attempt to move forward with a controversial plan to eliminate up to $4 billion in funding to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Previously, Trump misrepresented the developments that led Turkey to purchase the Russian system, blaming the Obama administration for the situation.

The Trump administration has sought to decrease what it believes is wasteful spending and make foreign aid more conditional on support for US policies. White House officials believed they had the authority to cancel the funds without congressional approval.

The Trump administration has formally withdrawn its $3.5 billion offer for Turkey to purchase a Patriot missile system in retaliation for Turkey’s receipt of the Russian-made S-400 missile system. The US has also ejected Turkey from the F-35 jet program, preventing Turkey from acquiring some 100 of the stealth jets and removing Turkish companies from the production chain.

It’s been 5.5 months since the last official White House press briefing. Stephanie Grisham, White House communications director and White House press secretary as well as communications director for Melania Trump, has yet to have a press briefing in the nearly 1.5 months in her new job.

Russian state TV says that Trump wants Russian to be part of the G8 because “he owes Russia” after the US recently tested a land based Tomahawk cruise missile. “He feels guilty or ashamed…. They miss us.”

Vladimir Poutine partially blamed the US for the recent accident there in testing new military hardware.

Wow! He finally did something right: He is eliminating all federal student loan debt owed by American veterans who are completely and permanently disabled. Took him over 2.5 years to do something right.

Trump is expected to select Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to replace Jon Huntsman [resignation is effective October 3] as US Ambassador to Russia. At least Sullivan has some diplomatic experience. He was passed over as Secretary of State when Rex Tillerson resigned though.

Talk of to boost his way sagging popularity that Trump may dump Vice President Mike Pence and replace him with former UN ambassador, Nikki Haley. She tweeted “Enough of the false rumors.”

Trump also quoted radio host and conspiracy theorist/nut-case Wayne Allyn Root who said “…like he’s [Trump] the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God….” Seriously?

After recent polling numbers from Fox, Trump wasn’t happy saying “Fox has changed. And my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on at Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.” He believes that since Fox is the only right wing leaning large news organization, he should have better polling numbers with them – as if Fox manipulates polling data. But he always used them as his propaganda “arm”.

2 mass shootings and it looks like Trump is campaigning

Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are citing video games as one of the reasons behind mass shootings in the US. Trump said video games that “celebrate violence” need to be addressed. After the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump signaled he believed violence in video games is partly to blame for real life violence but nothing was done.

Trump also blamed the internet saying it has “provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts” and said that “hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.” But if they didn’t have a gun, they can’t fire it.

Trump tweeted “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.” Is he thinking that the two mass shootings are related to immigration issues? Both shooters were non-immigrants although the one from El Paso was immigration.

A sweeping gun control bill that passed the House with bipartisan support in February that requires universal background checks has not been considered by the Republican-led Senate and the White house said it would veto the bill.

Trump said during his White House statement that he’s “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.” Did he really direct them? Of course he had promised to so something at each of the previous mass shootings but never did anything.

More than 200 House members – all Democrats – have urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call back the Senate and get to work to pass their background checks bill. McConnell has hinted at some type of changes but won’t approve of any ban on assault rifles, some background checks and only block people from owning guns if there is instability [i.e. mental issues].

Trump called the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso Texas a “wicked man” and urged the country to condemn bigotry, racism and white supremacy. He stopped short of acknowledging his own divisive and racist rhetoric.

“We have done much more than most administrations,” Trump said, without elaboration. If he has done more, wouldn’t there be less shootings. Exactly what legislation have passed or executive orders to curb these mass shootings? Try none.

Trump tweeted by offered prayers for “those who perished in Toledo.” Ummm. Something wrong there especially when his teleprompter said Dayton.

The El Paso shooter has been using the word “invasion” – the same word Trump has used in many of his speeches describing the migrants headed towards the US borders.

Acting [Isn’t everyone in this administration “acting”? Even the Commander in Chief is an actor.] Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claims that all the shooters in mass shootings are sick and are not politically motivated. So let’s go with that. Why are these mass shooters keep on getting weapons they should not have? The shooter at the food fair in California went to Nevada to get his weapons because Nevada has one of the most relaxed gun laws.

Trump also has put the blame on the mainstream media [surely not Fox News!] saying in a tweet “The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.” Yes Donnie. The mainstream media are using fake quotes from your press conferences, fake tweets from you, etc.

Trump has said that “I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.” A red flag law enables those who have seen warning signs (aka red flags) to seek a court order to intervene and temporarily prevent someone who is in crisis from having access to a firearm. For example, under California’s red flag law, it’s legal for family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat.

Not surprising he gave no indication if he wants the states to enact laws, a federal law or just saying it. Now whether or not he actually acts on what he’s calling for. At this time, only 17 states plus Washington, DC, have passed such laws. Most of these states are in the heavily Democratic voting areas of the country. Not surprised.

During a visit to a Toledo [errr] Dayton hospital to visit those hurt as well as the responders, Trump supposedly said “You had God watching. I want you to know we’re with you all the way.” I won’t go there. Interpret as you wish.
When Trump visits Dayton, The Baby Trump balloon – which will be filled with air rather than helium – will be carrying a sign that says, “Welcome to Toledo Dayton! Don’t be a baby – Stand up to the NRA.” On the sign, the word “Toledo” will be crossed out.

A bunch of signs in Dayton: “President Cheetos, we’re not Toledo” and “Drain the your swamp.” [“the” was crossed out] and “Welcome to Toledo” and “Even my dogs hate you”. Trump visited those injured and first responders with no press conference or anything else. He was in Toledo … errr…. Dayton for less than 3 hours.

The Ohio shooter was expelled from his school for having both a hit list [his sister was on it] and a list of women he wanted to rape. Was that all was done? Did the school inform the police or others?

After going to Dayton and then El Paso, Trump said “We had an amazing day.” Not the right words to say really. Meanwhile some of those who were injured didn’t want to meet Trump.

For a good laugh: “No, I don’t think my rhetoric has at all. My rhetoric brings people together,” he told reporters. Then added “I have toned it down.” Well after the past couple of weeks attacking The Squad, Elijah Cummings, etc.

Trump was also tweeting about the Dayton shooter “supporting political figures like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and ANTIFA,” despite the fact authorities have not determined a political motivation for the perpetrator. How pathetic that he uses a shooting to go after the opposition. The Dayton shooter, based on what the FBI has said, has not suggested a political motivation.

In El Paso he said “they shouldn’t be politicking”. So he is allowed but others aren’t?

He said he would not politicize his visits and yet not long after his visits, Trump release a promotional video of him visiting one of the hospitals, shaking hands, slowed down video, etc. You think this will show up in his re-election campaign in 12+ months?

Trump said “tried to stay out” of politically dividing aspects of the mass shooting which happened over the weekend, even though he went after Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on Twitter hours beforehand. Footage showed him saying at the hospital in El Paso that he had a bigger rally than O’Rourke.

Trump, his press secretary and his director of social media accused Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both of whom are Democrats, of misrepresenting the reception Trump received from shooting victims during his visit to a Dayton hospital. At least in public, none of them said anything negative about Trump.

“I’m at a loss for why all this vitriol came immediately after he had a good visit at the hospital,” said Whaley. Trump kept the visit private with no press. I know – E G O.

“Very SAD to see Ohio Senator Brown, & Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley – LYING & completely mischaracterizing what took place w/ the President’s visit to Miami Valley Hospital today,” Dan Scavino Jr., who serves as White House director of social media tweeted. “They are disgraceful politicians, doing nothing but politicizing a mass shooting, at every turn they can….”

In a June 2015 poll, Trump had a measly 1% for 11th place among 16 Republicans in a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. In the same poll, it was asked “Could you see yourselves supporting this candidate or not?” 32% said them could see themselves supporting Trump but 66% said they can’t.

White House officials have been talking to top officials from the National Rifle Association since the back-to-back mass shootings. I guess it shows who’s really in charge of policies related to security. Later, supposedly NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has told Trump that support for a background check bill from Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin would not be favored among Trump’s base and argued against the bill’s merits.

The NRA are very against any background checks or “red flags”. So if you think they will allow Trump to do them, that is very unlikely. Will Trump listen to this master like he listens to his other master, Vladimir Poutine.

Trump is in favor of background checks and “red flags”. He said the same thing about the checks after the Parkland shooting. So you know how serious Trump is. In addition, between him and McConnell, they can force Congress to come back from their August vacations. They haven’t. I would say barring further mass shootings, they will let the rush to get background check simmer and eventually people will forget… Again.

The White House will host internet and technology companies for a summit focused on violent extremism online. It’s the first public engagement meeting convened following last weekend’s deadly shootings. Trump is not expected to attend the session. A list of participants isn’t yet available.

In the 8 years under President Obama, there were 38 mass shootings. In just over 31 months, there has been already 31 mass shootings under Trump. It’s been close to 20 years since there was a year without a mass shooting [as defined as at least 4 deaths].

Both Venezuela and Uruguay issued travel advisories warned their residents about violence and hate crimes in the United States. With what’s going on in Venezuela, I can’t see many people vacationing in the US.

Trump is suing the state of California challenging a state law that requires candidates for president to disclose income tax returns before they can appear on the state’s primary ballot. The law adds an “unconstitutional qualification” to the fixed set of qualifications for the presidency set forward in the Constitution and violates the First Amendment, Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy argued.

A second similar lawsuit was also filed by Republican voters along with the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of California who argue that this a political maneuver that takes voting rights away from Trump’s supporters. Exactly what is Trump hiding that he doesn’t want us to see? Business interests in Russia, for example?

With Trump threatening further tariffs against China over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policies, the Chines yuan further weakened at below 7:1. American officials complain a weak yuan makes China’s exports too inexpensive, hurting foreign competitors and swelling Beijing’s trade surplus.

Trump tweeted “China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low. It’s called “currency manipulation.”… This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!” So Trump jacks up tariffs which lowers China’s currency which allows a further increase in the Chines trade surplus. Something Trump doesn’t want. You can say Trump is feeding a fire with gasoline.

Trump told reporters “What I’ve done for African Americans, no president, I would say, has done…. They are so happy, because I get the calls.” Which is why polls show he would have less African Americans voting for him today if there was an election compared to the meager amount [roughly 8%] he has in 2016. They have his direct number at the White house?

Trump has claimed more than 75 times that he was the one who got the Veterans Choice health care program [where veterans should be allowed to see private doctors if they are facing long waits in the VA system] passed, though Obama signed it into law in 2014.

“We’ve sold tens of thousands of tickets, and you know, at the sale prices, we keep it nice and low, but keep it nice and low,” said Trump at a recent rally in Cincinnati. Tickets to his rallies are free.

“The cages for kids were built by the Obama Administration in 2014. He had the policy of child separation. I ended it even as I realized that more families would then come to the Border!” Obama’s administration built chain-link “cages” to detain migrants. But separations were rare under Obama; Trump made them standard.

According to a new report that came out, ISIS is making a comeback five months after Trump said they were “defeated”. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others in the administration are downplaying the report saying they haven’t made a comeback. Of course we know the history of this administration where at least Trump does not believe anything that comes out of any government intelligence agency. So this will be no different.

Trump had a campaign event in El Paso and left without paying a $400,000+ bill for law enforcement, first responders, level one trauma center [on standby], etc.

Trump had announced on Twitter that he was nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas for director of national intelligence. Late that week he blamed the “LameStream Media” for the questions that were raised about Ratcliffe’s qualifications and announced he would be going with someone else for the role. Or more like the media was doing their job investigating an appointee instead of just choosing someone he likes or who will suck up to him.

Trump announced that Joseph Maguire, the leader of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, is his new pick to be the acting director of national intelligence. The announcement came not long after Trump tweeted that Sue Gordon, the country’s number two intelligence official and an intelligence veteran of more than 30 years, would resign. Gordon was not viewed by some in the administration as the type of political loyalist Trump wanted in the role.

The number of Trump nominations who were ultimately rejected by congress or withdraw hit 54 people. Then add 12 federal judges were also withdrawn.

While this portion of the blog is about Trump, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said that white supremacy is “actually not a real problem in America. The combined membership of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium.” Having them in one place gives some people some ideas…. Carlson has since took some time off. The fifth from Fox News anchors in 2 years.

Lawyer claims client with “severe traumatic brain injury and has problems with impulse control” and “uber patriotic” slams kid to the ground for not removing his hat during the national anthem. Lawyer says client is influenced by the rhetoric of Trump.

Yes a new defense strategy in court: client is influenced by the rhetoric of Trump.

Legal issues for Trump continue

It was a relatively quiet week for Donald Trump. But you know that can change quite fast.

Trump accused the New York attorney general’s office of illegally investigating the National Rifle Association. “The NRA is under siege by (New York Gov. Andrew) Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office announced in a statement it had launched an investigation into the NRA and had issued subpoenas to the organization, but did not confirm what the probe was in regard to. The investigation could be about chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, for financial misconduct where LaPierre improperly used $200,000 of NRA funds to purchase clothing from an NRA vendor. Another example of Trump’s obstruction of justice and him using his power to help friends.

Trump, three of his children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka — and his business are suing two banks to block them from turning over financial records to congressional committees that have issued subpoenas for the information. “The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family….” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit in New York’s Southern District claims that the subpoenas the House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee sent to Deutsche Bank and Capital One aren’t valid because they violate banking privacy law and they are not for shaping legislation. Yet at least one other court has said previously that claims like those can’t stop congressional subpoenas.

Seems Robert Mueller is not happy with Barr’s summary report, saying in a letter to Attorney General William Barr: “As we stated in our meeting of March 5 and reiterated to the Department early in the afternoon of March 24, the introductions and executive summaries of our two-volume report accurately summarize this Office’s work and conclusions. The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25.”

It took around 3 weeks from the time Mueller’s report was sent to Barr and Barr released his shortened version of the report. Between then, Barr claimed that Trump was vindicated but Barr’s version left out many key findings and didn’t summarize the right findings in others. Barr has since been grilled in a Congressional committee and now may not answer further questions but could be charged with contempt.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler sent his latest offer Attorney General William Barr to try to reach an agreement in his effort to obtain the unredacted special counsel report and the underlying evidence before Nadler moves forward with holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress.

Trump indicated that he’s not willing to allow former White House counsel Don McGahn — a key figure in the Robert Mueller report and Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation — to testify before Congress. So more obstruction of justice.

White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway said that Trump could use executive privilege to block McGahn from complying with a congressional subpoena. McGahn was a key player with direct knowledge about Trump’s efforts to undermine the Russia probe.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Poutine spoke by telephone for “over an hour,” during which they briefly discussed special counsel Mueller’s report and other issues, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. I’m sure there was Trump saying “There was no collusion with you but of course there was.”

In a Kremlin’s readout, Poutine warned Trump against “outside interference” in Venezuelan affairs, saying such efforts would “undermine the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.” Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro was ready to leave the country when Russia told him to stay put. That’s not outside interference? The Kremlin denied this.

The Democrats agree with Trump on a $2 trillion infrastructure bill but may not pass the senate as GOP senators are balking because warn that they will oppose any measure that adds to the deficit. You think Trump will still whine that the Democrats aren’t working with him? The agreement calls for a 35 cent a liter tax to help. Republican lawmakers were not invited to the White House meeting that involved Trump and Democrat leaders that hammered out the agreement.

The city of San Francisco is suing the Trump administration over its new rule protecting religious providers when they object to providing certain types of care. The lawsuit claims the administration’s rule will restrict access to contraception, abortion, HIV treatment and a host of other medical services.

Economic commentator Stephen Moore has withdrawn his name from consideration to sit on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Moore previously said that women should be banned from refereeing, announcing or beer vending at men’s college basketball games, asking if there was any area in life “where men can take vacation from women.” In a 2000 column, Moore complained about his wife voting for Democrats, writing, “Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there’s a gender gap.” And there are other gender comments that aren’t good either. Too many Republican senators are against him to win the bid.

Joseph Yun, the former State Department Special Representative for North Korea, confirmed that he signed an agreement to pay North Korea $2 million for the release of American student Otto Warmbier in 2017. He did so with the approval of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that it was his understanding Trump had also signed off on the decision. But the Trump administration has said no money has been paid for release of Warmbier.

White House national security adviser John Bolton also confirmed that Yun signed a document pledging $2 million for Warmbier’s release and that the US has not made any payments. It happened before Bolton joined the administration.

Recently Trump tweeted, “‘Donald J. Trump is the greatest hostage negotiator that I know of in the history of the United States. 20 hostages, many in impossible circumstances, have been released in last two years. No money was paid.’ Cheif (sic) Hostage Negotiator, USA!” It is one thing he can probably be proud of in this less than stellar administration.

At a Wisconsin rally, Trump’s claimed that mothers and doctors are permitted to execute a baby after it leaves the womb. Obviously false. The bill he referred to would mandate that health professionals do all they could to keep a baby alive if it was “born alive” and would penalize anyone who let a baby die [after the baby was born].

Wisconsin governor, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, planned to veto a GOP-backed state bill that could have meant life sentences in prison for doctors who intentionally did not provide medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion but Trump [maybe confusing the two or not] said “shockingly stated that he [Evers] will veto legislation that protects Wisconsin babies born alive.” The legislation doesn’t say that.

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation, ending a two-year run defined by his appointment of a special counsel to investigate connections between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. His last day will be May 11. The departure had been expected since the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general in February.

Trump, upset that a major firefighters union have endorsed Joe Biden, went on a Twitter storm, sending out about 60 tweet, many related to the endorsement for Biden and claiming that many firefighters support him. No actual proof of course. He even tweeted “I’ve done more for Firefighters than this dues sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!” Doesn’t help him.

The White House Correspondents’ Association came and went with no comedian. Trump of course still skipped the dinner even if no one was expected to roast and filet him. He ended up at a rally in poor Wisconsin.

Presidential historian Ron Chernow gave a speech in lieu of a comedian. Among Chernow’s jokes:

  • “I was puzzled by this news [Trump banning anyone in his administration from attending], but then I learned a rumor was circulating in Washington that I was going to be reading from the redacted sections of the Mueller report and everything was explained.”
  • While referencing Trump’s recent comment that America “is full” when speaking about immigration, joked that Alexander Hamilton [from the musical “Hamilton”] was an immigrant who arrived, “thank God, before the country was full.” He added, “Frankly I don’t know why they let the guy in, clearly someone slipped up at the southern border.”
  • “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.” Chernow remarked, “As best I can tell, [George] Washington committed only one major blunder as President: He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding.” He wryly added, “Clearly deficient at the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle at the lowly title of ‘Father of his Country.'”
  • Chernow finished his speech by paraphrasing a line by Mark Twain: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often — and for the same reason.”

Trump has now said more than 10,000 false or misleading things [said or tweets] in his first 827 days in office, according to The Washington Post Fact Checker – or just over 12 per day [one every 2 hours]. In just 3 days from April 25-27 [at a rally and the NRA conference], he 171 in those 3 days alone. The last seven months have 3 times the rate of his first 600 days.

The University of Virginia men’s basketball team will not be celebrating its national championship with Trump at the White House, per a statement from the head coach. “With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation,” Bennett said in the statement.

The Baylor women’s basketball team, whose members also became national champions this year, announced Wednesday that it would be attending a ceremony at the White House that will include Trump.

In a poll commissioned by CNN, Trump’s approval rating actually as at its highest [at 43%] in over 2 years. When you scratch your head, don’t take out too much hair – if you have hair. In addition 44% of Democrats and 46% of independents believe the Democrats are going too far to investigate Trump.

About two-thirds still say Trump ought to release his tax returns (66%, including 52% who consider it important for a president to do) and 54%, say the President is not doing enough to cooperate with Democratic investigations. 37% say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, 59% say they do not feel that way.

A quiet-ish week for Trump

It was less than a day when Donald Trump went from “total exoneration” and “Game over, folks,” to “bullsh_t” as Robert Mueller’s report portrayed Trump as deceitful and paranoid, encouraging his aides to withhold the truth and cross ethical lines in an attempt to thwart a probe into Russia’s interference in US elections.

Now Trump is newly furious at the people — most of whom no longer work for him — whose extensive interviews with the special counsel’s office created the epic depiction of an unscrupulous and chaotic White House. He’s is seeking assurances from those who remain that his orders are being treated like those of a president, and not like suggestions from an intemperate but misguided supervisor.

Trump was aware ahead of its public release what was contained in the Mueller report. Attorney General William Barr told reporters Thursday that both the White House counsel and Trump’s personal legal team were given an opportunity to read the redacted version in the previous days.

In the report, press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, who was out the office when the report was released, is shown repeatedly misleading the press, a fact she attempted to downplay in morning television interviews. Tell me something we don’t know!

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani insisted Trump’s 2016 campaign did nothing wrong by taking information from the Russians. Giuliani called the Trump campaign’s effort to get political help from representatives of the Russian government possibly ill-advised but not illegal. Nevertheless, he said “there’s no crime.” This from a lawyer who has repeatedly made judgements that were counter to laws.

Sen. Mitt Romney said in a statement on Twitter that he was “sickened” by the findings in Mueller’s report that cited details on how the Trump campaign welcomed political dirt from Russia.

No shocker that Trump criticized Romney for his comment by saying if Romney “spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!” In 2012 Romney won a slightly greater percentage of the popular vote than Trump in 2016 but President Obama won the election.

To end the week, Trump announced that he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The US signed the treaty in 2013 but never ratified it. The NRA [where he announced it] has long claimed the treaty poses a threat to the second amendment. Of course it will help his buddies sell more arms.

Trump, of course, off script when he came across a line about pharmaceutical companies “rigging the system” when it comes to pricing drugs more cheaply overseas than they do domestically. “Many drug companies are giving European countries a better deal than they give their own country, and that has to stop,” Trump said. Yes. He know with so much facts that US companies are giving European countries better deals. It’s called buying in bulk.

“Well the subpoena is ridiculous,” Trump said when asked what he plans to do in response to the subpoenas. In the days since special counsel Robert Mueller’s full reported was released, Congressional Democrats have started their own investigations and have begun issuing subpoenas. Yet there is little he can do – otherwise hit with an obstruction of justice charge.

As former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic nominee race, Trump defended his equivocating comments [“people that were very fine people on both sides”] following white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, saying that he was referring to supporters of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee when he said there were “fine people” on both sides. He just loves changing what he meant – even almost 2 years later. If he meant something different why didn’t he say it earlier? He never specified Lee until now.

Trump also said that Biden and other presidential candidates are making him “look very young.” Trump is 72, Biden is 76. Not much difference. Bernie Sanders is 77. Elizabeth Warren is 69. Jay Inslee is 68. John Hickenlooper is 67. Everyone else are in their 30s to 50s. So Trump is the third oldest. He probably is also one of the least healthiest – known to be at least a bit overweight.

From an interview with Fox News, Trump said:

  • “But we have a fantastic [health care] plan that we’ll be rolling out and subject to us winning back the House, keeping the presidency…” So where’s the plan? Doesn’t exist.
  • Trump claimed that three reporters [two from Fox] should get Pulitzers. They favorably report about him.
  • “… these are the top people at the FBI where you had absolute dirty cops” and then said ” I know FBI guys, these are the best in the world”. The US must have two FBI agencies.
  • “So, I really say, now we have to get down because this was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.” I’d like to see who have been arrested for the “coup”. Nobody. Does he know the definition of a coup [as well as treason]?
  • “This was a coup… This was an attempted coup.” So which is it?
  • For the coup “I think it’s far bigger than Watergate.” Yes. He’s an expert. 45 years ago, he was probably too busy ripping people off.
  • “It was like a one-sided witch-hunt as I called it.” Isn’t it usually that?
  • “The fake dossier which even ‘The New York Times’ now says was fake…” This was the same New York Times which he has previously gone after continuously. So they are good when it suits him and bad otherwise.
  • “We have fighter jets, the F- 35, the F-18. We have jets the likes which no country has at all.” Except they have been sold to other countries. Canada, Saudi Arabia, …
  • “I could have fired Mueller. I could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire, Article 2.” Mueller can only be fired for good cause. “Article 2” in the constitution says nothing about who he can fire.

At a recent conference, Trump touted his administration’s border security efforts, including a southern border wall, as a great deterrent to drug smuggling. Trump called the US’s immigration laws “horrible, obsolete, weak, pathetic” and blamed the Democrats for not changing them. And who’s been in office for over 2 years with 2 years of that with a Republican majority in the House and Senate?

At one point this week, Trump was on a mega tweet storm. How big? Trump has tweeted [and retweeted] 52 tweets. In about a 30 minute span at one point, he retweeted 24 items — about nine different topics and from 15 people. The retweets came from all of is favorites. The tweets were mostly from the usual topics: Robert Mueller Report, immigration, collusion, obstruction, etc.

Trump told the NRA that he, “didn’t need a gun” to stop what he called a “coup.” He called them “bad apples” and claimed that they resigned. Those that seem to have resigned are from his administration. He said “We are taking power out of Washington DC and returning it to the people where they belong… taking place at the highest levels… Corruption at the highest levels” and mentioned “spying”.

Trump tweeted “No Collusion, No Obstruction – there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent….” Would love to know how he measures that.

Trump also tweeted that Twitter has a liberal bias and does everything it can to make it harder for conservatives to use the platform. [He offered no specific, fact-based examples.]Maybe it’s because some conservatives don’t know how to type or know what Twitter is.

Trump lived with a poodle, Chappy, with his first wife, Ivana, who wrote in her memoir, “Raising Trump,” that “Donald was not a dog fan.” Chappy, she later said, “had an equal dislike of Donald.”

Trump held a briefing for the children of reporters on Take Your Child to Work Day. He went after the kids’ parents by saying “I like you more”. You don’t talk about a parent in front of a child.

Iowa’s longest-serving Republican state lawmaker, Andy McKean, is ditching the party in a protest of what he called President Donald Trump’s “unacceptable behavior” and is joining the Democrats. McKean, a moderate from eastern Iowa whose 29 years in the legislature include stints in the House and Senate, announced his party switch.

What happened to the gun lobby in the US?

Donald Trump naturally responded to the synagogue shooting by calling for more armed guards in houses of worship and other public places.

The number of people in the US who died in massacres from the “popular” AR-15 was 176. That jumped to 225 in 2016 [if including the AR-15 cousin, the SIG Sauer MCX].

Following a series of deadly mass shootings in the late 1980s and early 1990s the AR-15 and similar were banned in the US. Fatalities caused by such rifles dropped, although killings by other semi-automatics went up.

When the ban came up for renewal in 2004, the Republican controlled Congress let it lapse, despite polling that suggested it remained a popular gun control measure with the public. Surprised?

According to a recent Gallup poll, support for stricter gun control is at 61 per cent. Support is very strong among Democrats at 87 per cent. Sixty-one per cent of independents are also in support. Not surprisingly just 31 per cent of Republicans support gun control.

As of last week, gun control groups have outspent the pro-gun supports. In comparison, in 2016, $55 million were donated to the gun supporters and around $5.5 million for gun control.

A Wall St. Journal report counted 102,000 gun-control-themed ads that had been aired in battleground states, versus just 4,500 in the 2014 midterms.

The National Rifle Association, the big gun rights group/lobby in the US, had spent just $1.6 million US on ads and campaign contributions, compared to $16 million by the same point in the 2014 cycle. Part of the reason is that the NRA membership has plummeted [less $35 million in 2017] and they are now in a deficit.

US politicians [almost all are conservatives] that are supported by the NRA will feel the loss of funding compared to previous election years and will have to rely on other donors. Some of them received millions from the NRA.

 

Legal issue and bad advisors plague Trump

Watch the White House Correspondent’s Dinner? Main even Michelle Wolf made some zingers – both positive and negative. Maybe a bit over the line for a few.

Donald Trump said the annual correspondents’ dinner was “an embarrassment.” He called comedian Michelle Wolf’s stand-up act “filthy.” He should know about filthy. Remember that tape of him for Access Hollywood. “Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a very big, boring bust … the so-called comedian really ‘bombed.'” According to you maybe.

White House Correspondence Dinner President Margaret Talev says she’ll work with the next president on “the format of the dinner going forward.” I guess she won’t work with Trump then.

Trump did not attend the annual correspondents’ dinner as he was doing an election style rally in Michigan. There, Trump told supporters during a 90 minutes speech that if Congress did not meet his funding demands for border security, he may support a government shutdown this fall. Despite his campaign pledge to make Mexico pay for his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border, Trump has demanded that Congress fund the project.

In March, he signed a bill that funds the government through September that included $1.6 billion for border security, but not the wall. For the leader of the nation, where his part has majorities in the House and Senate, he has really done nothing.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is interested in asking Trump a variety of questions related to the 2016 campaign and people who have figured in Trump’s personal life, business interactions and administration, according to Mueller’s list of questions for Trump obtained and reported on by The New York Times. Trump couldn’t wait to tweet “So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media. No questions on Collusion.”

In the nearly 50 questions “leaked”, there were about a dozen questions related to collusion and yet after the leak, Trump tweeted “There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap).” I guess he doesn’t know the definition of collusion. The questions were compiled by Trump’s lawyers during negotiations with Mueller’s investigators earlier this year over the prospect of a presidential interview.

There was talk as far back as March where Mueller’s team would decide to subpoena Trump as part of the investigation, he could still fight it in court or refuse to answer questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination.

Trump said that his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was paid via a monthly retainer and flatly denied that any campaign money was used to reimburse Cohen for the hush agreement with Stormy Daniels. But just a month ago when the payment first appeared, Trump said he knew nothing about a $130,000 payment.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is one of Trump’s personal lawyers, told Fox News that Trump paid back Cohen the $130,000 that was used to pay off Daniels. Giuliani said Cohen was “definitely reimbursed” and was “not campaign money”. [That’s one heck of a monthly retainer!] Trump had repaid Cohen over several months, indicating the payments continued through at least the presidential transition, if not into his presidency. No debt to Cohen is listed on Trump’s personal financial disclosure form, which was certified on June 16, 2017.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford [Daniel’s real name], and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in February 2018. He notably did not include the president personally.

Trump is probably changing his mind when it comes to Giuliani after he said “he’ll get his facts straight.” Aside from Giuliani opening his mouth regarding the $130,000 payment to Story Daniels which contradicted Trump’s early claims, Giuliani then announced that three US prisoners would be freed from North Korea, but the day after no administration officials were confirming that. Now Giuliani says he was given the wrong information and assumed some of the facts.

Cohen gained access to lines of credit worth as much as $774,000 as Trump’s campaign entered the primaries. Exactly why does he need lines of credit?

Ethics watchdogs, federal auditors and congressional committees are conducting nearly a dozen inquiries into Administrator Scott Pruitt’s actions at the Environmental Protection Agency. The latest has Pruitt taking a trip with a known lobbyist to Morocco. Pruitt maintained that the state purpose of the Morocco trip was to discuss a free-trade agreement, and that American liquefied natural gas exports were brought up by ambassador of Morocco. Democrats argue that the “issue [free trade] that does not fall within the jurisdiction of the EPA.”

Pruitt paid himself nearly $65,000 in reimbursements from his two campaigns for Oklahoma attorney general. This goes against two campaign finance rules: transparency about how campaign funds are spent and ensuring campaign funds are not used for personal purchases.

According to Trump’s former physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein, Trump himself wrote his own hyperbolic prose. The language he used was eerily similar to the style preferred by Trump in the 2015 letter. An example is “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

Trump called for Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester to resign over his opposition to White House physician Ronny Jackson’s nomination for secretary of veterans affairs, saying some of the allegations against Jackson “are proving false.” Tester had raised concerns about allegations against Jackson, including that he loosely handled prescription pain medications, was intoxicated during an overseas trip, and created a toxic work environment. Good luck there Donnie.

Meanwhile, reports say Jackson will not return to his role as Trump’s personal physician.

Vice President Mike Pence’s physician privately raised alarms within the White House last fall that Jackson may have violated federal privacy protections for a key patient — Pence’s wife, Karen — and intimidated the vice president’s doctor during angry confrontations over the episode. Memos from Pence’s doctor suggested White House chief of staff John Kelly was aware of the episode.

Jackson and the White House have continued to deny allegations of misconduct, and Jackson’s defenders in the White House said that the episode involving Mrs. Pence was simply a dispute between two doctors with a strained relationship and that he had acted appropriately.

Not surprising, Trump spoke at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas. It will be one right wing love fest. Trump’s fourth year bin a row speaking and even though Pence would also be speaking.

Trump at one point floated raising the age of purchase for certain guns to 21 and proposed expanding background checks, including proposals opposed by the NRA. But after meeting with the NRA’s leaders, including its top lobbyist, he ultimately backed only modest proposals that the gun lobby supports. The NRA spent more than $30 million to help elect Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Among the things Trump said:

  • “Senator John Cornyn, been with me right from the beginning.” Actually Cornyn revealed that Trump wasn’t his first choice for the GOP presidential nomination.
  • “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.” Actually, the Democrats never have said this but Trump likes saying it as if they would pull it.
  • “Kanye West must have some power because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week.” This was taken by a pollster than is unreliable according to most.
  • “And they voted for me, and we won.” Nope. Trump won 8% of the African-American vote in 2016.
  • “Can you imagine, if we ever called for a rally in Washington, DC? There wouldn’t be enough room.” Just as big as his inauguration.
  • “We are going to have to outlaw, immediately, all vans and all trucks, which are now the new form of death for the maniac terrorists. Right?” In addition to his second amendment foolishness, he is now saying the Democrats will ban vans and truck. Seriously.
  • “President Obama was very nice to us, because he left us a lot of judges.” Actually, McConnell blocked many of Obama’s nominations which left many openings – some are still open.
  • “Ninety-eight percent of mass public shootings have occurred in places where guns are banned, just so you understand.” Coming from a questionable research but includes shootings where people bring in guns to banned areas.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said he accepts the decision by the Rev. Pat Conroy, the House chaplain, to rescind his resignation. Some suggested a non-Catholic priest was needed.

You’re out! [Sorry had to add this.] White House lawyer Ty Cobb is leaving his position. Cobb has been discussing his retirement for several weeks and let chief of staff John Kelly know he would be retiring at the end of May. Supposedly Cobb was uncomfortable with Trump’s tweets against Mueller. He was not going to be “part of a mud-slinging campaign.”

Emmet Flood, who represented then-President Bill Clinton during his impeachment process in the late 1990s, is expected to join Trump’s legal team at the White House.

Trump is planning a trip to Britain, his first since taking office. On July 13th. It will not be a state visit.

A group of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the House of Representatives have sent a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, formally nominating the President for a Nobel Peace Prize. [You can stop laughing now.]

There are already extreme 6 Republicans trying to win the nomination for the party. These 6 have [among other things] one or more of felonies, anti-LGBTQ, white supremacist, anti-black, Holocaust denier, neo-Nazi, conspiracy theorist, anti-immigrant and anti-Latino.

 

No action from the Trump administration on guns

About 3 weeks ago, 17 people – mostly teenagers – were murdered at a Florida school buy an unstable individual.

Donald Trump and other politicians had promised that there will be changes but aside from some token responses from various states [ban bump stock, increase the age to purchase a gun], the federal government has failed to do anything other than blowing hot air.

On the day after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump told confidants and aides that he was moved to do something his predecessors had failed to do. Like? We are waiting. {tap. Tap.]

Trump has already at least partially backed away from raising the age limit to 21 years old for any gun. As it is you can buy an assault rifle [such as the AR-15 model that was used in the shootings] at the age of 18 but for a hand gun, you need to wait until 21.

Then we have the problem of trying to keep guns away from those who are mentally unstable. Even the NRA is against this arguing that any American has the right to bear arms even if not quite all there. They also thing those of lower age than 16 should also be able to use a gun – and yet they can’t vote which is guaranteed under the constitution.

Trump and most Republicans had campaigned during the primaries and election campaign with policies that mirrored the NRA’s stances on guns.

Remember that the Republicans control the House and Senate and all but 6 of these Republican politicians received money from the NRA [some of them in the millions over their political life]. You think they want to cut off their food source by voting on something that goes against the NRA’s policies?