A light week from lightweight Trump

It was actually a quiet week for Trump controversies.

Donald Trump lashed out at Omarosa Manigault Newman, saying the former White House adviser — who is promoting a tell-all book and airing secret audio recordings — “got fired for the last time.” When was the other times? His show. In one of the recordings released by Omarosa, Trump didn’t even know that Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her even though Trump and Omarosa were friends going back to her Apprentice days.

He went after her after the audio was released by saying “Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her.” Aside from calling her a less than presidential name, how much of that tweet is true. Probably very little.

He then tweeted “When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!” If what Kelly said was true, it shows us that Trump doesn’t know how to hire people – let alone not listening to advisors.

Omarosa said that she recorded a number of conversations in the White House for her own protection. She has further recordings. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said Omarosa may have broken the law by recording private conversations at the White House. May? He’s a lawyer. Doesn’t he know? Not surprising White House staff lashed out [wondering if told to do so].

Trump continued to go after Omarosa saying “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” Funny how none of his accusations never became public until now. “Quickly”? She was fired a long time ago and he ignored Kelly’s advice in not hiring her in the first place.

Trump calling her a “dog” could add to the further criticisms that he is a racist even though he has called some white people dogs as well.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders claimed that Trump’s description of his former aide as a “dog” had “nothing to do with race and everything to do with the President calling out someone’s lack of integrity.” As well, she was claiming he was “voicing frustration” and he was “particularly” frustrated with her actions following her time at the White House.

Trump tweets: “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The fact is that the Press is FREE to write and say anything it wants, but much of what it says is FAKE NEWS, pushing a political agenda or just plain trying to hurt people….” His definition of “fake news” is not the same as everyone’s.

His tweet came after 350 newspapers all have one thing in common this past week: A statement supporting the free press and decrying Trump’s attacks against the media. Each paper wrote its own editorial. Some of the participants are emphasizing the local nature of most news coverage, and saying Trump’s extreme rhetoric — labeling journalists “enemies of the people” or “fake news” stories — hurts everyone, not just the political reporters who enrage him the most.

Not surprisingly, some Trump supporters on Fox News called this collusion as well as Trump himself.

Trump announced that he had revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance, marking an unprecedented use of a president’s authority over the classification system to strike back at one of his prominent critics. The White House provided no evidence that Brennan has misused his security clearance since leaving government. Trump claims nobody knows who Brennan is. Seriously?

Retired Adm. William McRaven, the man who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, issued a stunning rebuke of Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of Brennan, defending the former spy chief as “one of the finest public servants I have ever known.”

Sixty former CIA officials warned Trump in a statement that “the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.” The letter, which comes after Trump’s decision to revoke former Brennan’s security clearance, was signed by former CIA officials who served under both Republican and Democratic administrations in positions such as analysts, senior analysts and officers.

Trump said that he canceled a US military parade planned for Veterans Day weekend, blaming Washington city officials for inflating costs amid reports that indicated the event’s price tag had soared over initial estimates. An estimated half the cost is non-military related such as security. I would guess security is critical for him? Even then, maybe another $45 million is military related.

Earlier this year, the White House budget director told Congress that the cost to taxpayers could be $10 million to $30 million. Those estimates were likely based on the cost of previous military parades, such as the one in the nation’s capital in 1991 celebrating the end of the first Gulf War, and factored in some additional increase for inflation.

The city estimated its expenses would be $21.6 million, and the Washington mayor said the city would have expected to have been reimbursed by the government. About $13 million of the city’s expenses would be for police costs. Other expenses include fire, emergency medical services and transportation. So already that is way more than the way under estimated $10 million.

Trump claims there will be a parade in 2019 and will be cheaper. Good luck there. Tanks and heavy equipment were ruled out of the parade as it would rip into the Washington infrastructure and would cost quite a bit just to transport.

Laughingly, the Trump administration want a sixth part of the US armed forces that could be called Space Force. You read that right. Costing billions of dollars to set up there isn’t even a definite strategy of what it would do in space. Reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars “initiative”.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he is satisfied that creating a Space Force as a separate military service is the right way to reorganize the Pentagon’s approach to space. But in July 2017, Mattis said he didn’t want a separate Space Force before they “could define the problem”.

The Pentagon first will establish a Space Force to oversee and co-ordinate space operations and a Space Development Agency to accelerate the development and fielding of space technologies for the military. It also will build up larger numbers of servicemen and servicewomen with expertise in space operations.

According to a poll, a majority of Americans (55%) say they don’t support the new plans to establish a Space Force; only 37% said they do. Among veterans, 47% back it, 50% oppose it.

Peter Strzok, a longtime agent who once worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, was fired by the FBI after he sent text messages criticizing Trump to a colleague. Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team a year ago after the texts were discovered. Question is why wait a year before firing him.

Strzok’s lawyer said his client was fired by FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich. He said the 21-year veteran of the FBI was removed because of political pressure and “to punish Special Agent Strzok for political speech protected by the First Amendment.” The lawyer said the FBI had overruled the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which he said had determined that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was “the appropriate punishment.”

Trump has signed an order that reverses the Obama-era Presidential Policy Directive 20, which sets forth a specific process that must take place before cyberweapons can be deployed. Presidential Policy Directive 20 required multiple agencies to sign off on offensive cyber operations.

“Simpleton” Sanders issued a rare correction [she rarely admits her mistakes] after falsely declaring that Trump has created three times as many jobs for African-American workers as former President Barack Obama did during his two terms in office. “I’m sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump.” Obama created 3 million in 8 years.

In another usual ridiculous claim by him [with no evidence], Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller is waiting for a verdict in the trial of Paul Manafort before resuming negotiations for a presidential interview.

After a new military spending bill was named after Trump nemesis senator John McCain, not at one time did Trump mention McCain’s name in his speech. Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act into law. Along with allocating $716 billion in defense funding, the bill put restrictions on government use of products manufactured by a number of China-based technology firms like ZTE and Huawei.

Magician Penn Jillette, one half of the duo Penn &Teller, claims he heard President Donald Trump say “racially insensitive” remarks during his time appearing on the reality competition show, “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Asked if tapes of Trump making those comments exist, Jillette said, “Yeah, I was in the room.”

David Glosser, uncle to White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, defended an editorial excoriating his nephew and the administration’s immigration policy saying “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.”

No to Democratic memo, a few resignations, but no shutdown [for now]

The spending bill Donald Trump signed only ensures that the government is funded through March 23 — which means there could be another shutdown in just six weeks. The bill also raises the debt ceiling by the appropriate amount until March 2019.

Trump tweeted “This Bill is a BIG VICTORY for our Military, but much waste in order to get Dem votes. Fortunately, DACA not included in this Bill, negotiations to start now!” Shouldn’t that be “Unfortunately” or he doesn’t want DACA in any legislation. I’m almost sure that anything the Democrats proposed will help people in the US.

Senate leaders unveiled a two-year budget deal, but the plan needed to pass the House where it’s already facing strong headwinds. Some senators from the  Republicans [adding to debt] and Democrats [DACA/Dreamers] are opposed to the bill.

“The other thing is there is a huge hypocrisy factor here,” said Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul. “Republicans lambasted President Obama to no end for trillion dollar deficits and now they have put forward a trillion dollar deficit. And I don’t know I think the American people are going to be surprised, upset, hurt that so the so-called conservatives got elected and turned out not to be much different than the people they were criticizing.” Paul is pushing for an amendment to maintain budget caps, but Senate sources say leaders have no plan to give Paul such a concession.

Trump said he supports a government shutdown if Democrats won’t agree to tighten immigration laws, undercutting ongoing bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill. Not much of a negotiation if you are trying to force a deal down someone’s throat. “We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.” Ummm. “Worth it?”

Trump won’t release the Democratic rebuttal to the Republican intelligence memo alleging FBI abuses of its surveillance authority at this time, and has sent it back to the House Intelligence Committee for changes. The claim is that the Democratic rebuttal contains numerous classified and sensitive sections. But earlier in the day Trump told reporters at the White House “It’s gonna be released soon.”

The FBI and Department of Justice were supposed to verify the Democratic rebuttal didn’t contain anything that could cause a security problem before it got sent to Trump to sign. So if it got sent to Trump, then the FBI and Department of Justice approved of it – which means the rejections is nonsense and/or just political.

Senior aides to Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter’s stock in the West Wing continued to rise. Trump himself supposedly first learned of the allegations this week but has expressed no sympathy towards the women who are accusing Porter of abuse.

Porter’s ex-wives detailed the allegations to the FBI over the course of a routine background check. A year into the administration, Porter does not hold a security clearance. Porter has now resigned.

By early fall, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff. Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter’s standing. He was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week’s State of the Union address. Even an ex-girlfriend from 2016 complained about abuse.

Fox News barely mentioned Porter’s issues and resignation unlike other news outlets. [Fox News spent much of the day hyping a debunked story suggesting that former President Barack Obama had waded into the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.]

Add to this mess is that White House communications director Hope Hicks was dating Porter. Hicks helped defend Porter with a supportive statement that was put out in chief of staff John Kelly’s name. Hicks is also caught up in Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice and other matters. She was dating ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski earlier in 2016. [Those on Twitter imagine Keri Russell or Allison Williams someday playing Hicks in a movie about how she sabotaged Trump and saved the country.]

Trump seemed to like Porter calling him a very smart person who has a Rhodes Scholar and a law degree. Unsure if true [probably] or a joke [less likely], Trump said he could be a Supreme Court nominee.

Questions will need to be answered such as if Trump knew about Porter’s past as well as how many more staff member in the White House still don’t have the appropriate security credentials [an estimation of between 30-40 require a clearance]. Did Kelly, a former general, ignore this as if he was in the military where abuse tends to sometime go unnoticed?

Speech writer, David Sorensen, who worked for the Council on Environmental Quality, which is part of the Executive Office of the President, has resigned for alleged spousal abuse. He denied the allegations though. His position did not require a security clearance.

To add to the weirdness, after Trump was impressed with the parade in Paris in July, he now wants a parade in Washington – as if there was none before. In Paris, he called it “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen. Military planners will now look not only at dates and locations for the parade, but also costs, logistics and whether it is feasible to hold a parade displaying large weaponry such as tanks on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Robert O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL, who claims he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden is blasting Trump’s desire for a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. “A military parade is third world b——-. We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation,” O’Neill tweeted. Will Trump go after the guy who supposedly killed Bin Laden and face a probably backlash?

Jared Kushner is trying to have a request of exactly who are the major foreign shareholders in Kushner Cos, the holding company primarily controlled by his family.

District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whose impartiality was questioned by then-candidate Trump because of his Mexican heritage, is set to hear a case involving the Trump’s border wall. The case, which is being brought by the state of California and multiple groups, challenges the Department of Homeland Security’s power to waive environmental laws in their construction of a border wall.

Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country’s top law enforcement agency has been under attack by Trump. Brand’s profile had risen in part because she is next in the line of succession behind the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein – who has been under attack by Trump on the Russian investigation. Brand’s assistant, Currie Gunn, has also left the department.

Twitter announced that more Russia-backed troll accounts were active during the 2016 US presidential election than previously thought. The social network also announced that it plans to notify some 677,775 users who either followed, retweeted or liked a tweet from more than 50,000 automated bots Russia-backed Twitter accounts during the 2016 election cycle. Add Internet Research Agency (IRA) with a total of 3,814 accounts.

Mike Revis, a 27 year old, won a state House seat in a Missouri district Trump won by 28 points, making this the 35th legislative seat Democrats have flipped nationally since the inauguration. Missouri is a deep “red” state.

In a series of hypothetical 2020 one-on-one contests conducted by SSRS, Trump trails Sen. Bernie Sanders by a 55% to 42% margin among registered voters. He lags further behind former Vice President Joe Biden by a wide 57% to 40% split, and trails television personality Oprah Winfrey by a 51% to 42% divide. Neither Sanders, 76, and Biden, 75, has ruled out a presidential bid in 2020.

While unemployment is quite low in the US, it is the Democratic leaning counties that are scooping up most of the jobs. Of the 30 counties that generated the largest share of new jobs from 2014 through 2016, Trump carried only two.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won fewer than 500 counties and Trump won more than 2,600. But the counties that Clinton carried accounted for 72% of the nation’s increased economic output from 2014 through 2016, the most recent years for which figures are available, according to Brookings. The Clinton counties accounted for 66% of the new job growth over that period as well.

Trump has found an excuse not to go to England with all the backlash: He is complaining that the cost of the new embassy in London was too much. Yup.

With all the hoopla regarding the US announcing that their embassy will move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv against the majority of the international community, Trump claims that they are “way ahead of schedule by years.” He said the US anticipates “having a small version of it open sometime next year.” How does he define this? Well, the embassy will be moving into another building the US currently occupies in Jerusalem.

Basically, it looks like a “token” embassy housing minimal staff while [for a while at least] most of the embassy staff will still be in Tel Aviv. This is basically the equivalent of saying you moved to a new house and just dropped off a box in the new house but still live in the old one.

Microsoft said in its earnings report that it took a $13.8 billion charge in the final three months of 2017 due to the Trump tax bill signed into law in December. With the charge, Microsoft posted a $6.3 billion net loss for the quarter. Without the charge, Microsoft’s profits hit $8.7 billion, up 10% from the same period a year earlier. Microsoft did not specify whether the charge was due to a new repatriation tax.

In November, Moody’s estimated that U.S. companies held about $1.4 trillion in cash overseas. Five large tech companies — Microsoft, Apple, Google, Oracle and Cisco — accounted for nearly $600 billion of that.