The ever revolving White House employment door

Is Attorney General William Barr the next to be given a pink slip by the ever revolving White Houses human resources department? More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials who served in Republican as well as Democratic administrations posted a statement calling on Barr to resign.

“Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice,” the officials wrote in a statement.

Even with all the hot water Barr has endured, he is ordering a re-examination of several high-profile cases, including that of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Barr had also been pressing for a sentence for Flynn that would spare him from prison.

In recent months, Flynn changed lawyers and has waged a campaign to portray himself as a victim of malicious prosecutors. He is asking a judge to dismiss his case or allow him to change his plea to not guilty. Flynn’s new counsel, has included unfounded conspiracy theories in the counsel’s filings and accused Robert Mueller of suppressing exculpatory evidence and scheming against Flynn for political purposes. Flynn has said under oath that he was guilty of lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors with the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York are considering whether to charge Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and at least one of his business partners with misleading potential investors for Fraud Guarantee, the Florida-based company that paid Giuliani $500,000. That payment to Giuliani for work with Fraud Guarantee came just as Parnas and an associate began helping Giuliani arrange meetings in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

In the case of Fraud Guarantee, investigators have focused on the marketing pitch, specifically examining whether the men duped investors about the value of the company and how they intended to use the proceeds, the people familiar with the investigation say.

US intelligence officials told lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign by aiming to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote and boost Trump’s re-election. But Donald Trump’s Republican allies on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee questioned the assessment presented by officials of the Office of National Intelligence.

Trump rebuked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing his staff to appear before the committee and he was replacing Maguire on an acting basis with Richard Grenell, a strong Trump loyalist who has served as ambassador to Germany since 2018. Grenell has no experience in the intelligence community.

So here we go again. Over 3 years of Trump thinking [or otherwise] that the country thinks he won the election because of election interference from Russia and it is starting again before the elections. And again, Trump prefers not to believe his own intelligence agencies or maybe he thinks friend [or master] Russia President Vladimir Poutine would never do this or maybe he wants Russia to help him.

And yet, the US, UK, and Georgia [the country] accused the Russian military of being behind a major 2019 cyber-attack on Georgia that disrupted “several thousand Georgian government and privately-run websites and interrupted the broadcast of at least two major television stations.”

Trump’s acting [aren’t they really all?] chief of staff Mick Mulvaney railed against the so-called “deep state” during an appearance at the Oxford Union in the UK recently. Federal workers are not in their jobs to “make decisions” and should quit if they disagree with Trump’s agenda. Damn, if workers followed that, there would be huge government openings.

US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has sentenced Roger Stone, an adviser and friend to Trump, to three years and four months in prison for lying to Congress and threatening a witness regarding his efforts for the President’s 2016 campaign. Stone also receive two-years probation on each count, running concurrently.

“Roger has a very good case for exoneration in my opinion” said Trump after the sentence was handed down. Of course, he will decide who gets pardoned!

“He was treated unfairly.” Trump says that for any friend of his who was arrested and/or sentenced.

Trump claims that the forewoman of the juror had a heavy bias during Stones trial. Now he mentions it? The judge will look into it. But you know how Trump is – no proof.

Unsure why now [is there ever a reason with him?] but Trump gave clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich [corruption] and financier Michael Milken [securities laws] as well as pardoning former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik [tax fraud and lying to DoHS] and former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. [gambling fraud]. Seven others, some Republican supporters, were also given clemency or pardons.

“I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country,” Trump said after the pardons and clemencies. Though the President is the head of the executive branch, America’s real chief law enforcement official is Barr. But he can believe what he wants. He can be the chief toilet bowl cleaner as well.

Not surprisingly, Barr had considered resigning over Trump’s interference in his department, including Trump’s tweets that he said recently made it impossible for him to do his job. Barr probably would deny this.

Hackers are taking advantage of tweets from Giuliani that contain typos in domain names. Hackers buy the mistype domain names and redirect visitors to fake pages to spread malware. One would lead users to a website prompting visitors to download a Google Chrome extension, which would read people’s browsing history and change their default search engine.

“How bad were the Academy Awards this year, did you see? ‘And the winner is … a movie from South Korea,’…. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea with trade, on top of it they give them the best movie of the year?” Trump said. The distributor responded with “Understandable, he can’t read,” as the movie has subtitles.

Trump will headline the most expensive fundraiser of his presidency at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire Nelson Peltz where each couple donates the $580,600 price of entry. Odd number. Over $10 million will go to his campaign, the Republican National Committee and 11 state Republican parties.

A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said that a former US congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, offered him a pardon on behalf of Trump, in exchange for denying Russian involvement in the Democratic National Committee email leak. The White House and the congressman have strongly denied Trump’s involvement in the matter. Rohrabacher said he had never spoken to Trump about Assange and that the visit was “my own fact finding mission.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie “Parrot” Grisham dismissed Fitzgerald’s claim as “a total lie…. The President barely knows Dana Rohrabacher other than he’s an ex-congressman. He’s never spoken to him on this subject or almost any subject. It is a complete fabrication and a total lie. This is probably another never ending hoax and total lie from the DNC.” Sounds like her boss. Hence the Parrot name.

Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to unanimously pass three election security-related bills, marking the latest attempt to clear legislation ahead of the November elections. The Democrats tried to get consent to pass two bills that require campaigns to alert the FBI and Federal Election Commission (FEC) about foreign offers of assistance, as well as legislation to provide more election funding and ban voting machines from being connected to the internet.

Previous attempts by a bipartisan group’s hopes were dashed in December when a GOP senator insisted the bipartisan legislation had been “designed” to be bad for Donald Trump, and must, therefore, be defeated. Various rejected bills included voting systems to use backup paper ballots and mandate tech safeguards, require candidates to notify law enforcement authorities in the event of a foreign power offering campaign assistance, etc. Seems the GOP do want election interference.

Democratic presidential nominee Michael Bloomberg has been accused of allegations of profane, sexist comments against women. When White House counselor Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway was asked if that was worse than Trump’s “Grab them by the p***y” comments, she said of course it is way worse. But just remember that there has been no proof of the allegations against him.

In the ever revolving door, John Rood, the Pentagon’s top policy official, is leaving his post. Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, had lost support among senior national security leadership and was asked to resign. He has differed with the administration on a number of issues including Afghanistan and Ukraine. Rood was against withholding Ukraine aid.

As well, Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is leaving the National Security Council and going to the Energy Department. Rumors have been circulating that Coates was the anonymous administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in 2018 and published a book last November titled: “A Warning” by Anonymous. A senior administration official said that Coates’ move has been in the works for some time and she’s not involved in the authoring.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly rejected Trump’s claim that Ukraine is corrupt. Trump claimed that Ukraine is known as the third-most corrupt country in the world.

Trump has said that he will look to block the release of John Bolton’s upcoming book over claims that their discussions were classified, adding that his former national security adviser is a “traitor.” He insisted that Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” shouldn’t be published before the November election.

After President Barack Obama tweeted “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history”, Trump tweeted “Did you hear the latest con job? President Obama is now trying to take credit for the Economic Boom taking place under the Trump Administration.”

Seriously? If Trump thinking that he is taking sole credit for the economic upswing… Trump didn’t kill the Recovery Act Annualized GDP growth averaged about 2% after it bottomed out in 2009 through the end of Obama’s term but 2.4% average growth rate during the last three years of Obama’s last term. Under Trump, it is slightly better at 2.5% but Trump promised 4%. Another broken promise. I’m sure he will blame someone else for not getting to 4%.

Trump claimed the US now has the “best jobs numbers ever” except in the last 36 months of Obama’s second term there were 8.1 million jobs created. Under Trump’s first 36 months there were 6.6 million jobs created.

Trump can’t claim the economy is doing well when in 2019, US retailers announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018 and the highest number since Coresight Research began tracking the data in 2012.

Remember when Trump bullied 16-year old Greta Thunberg on Twitter telling the teenager she needed to “chill out” and “work on her anger management”? White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham implied that social media attacks on a minor are fair game as long as that child is a public figure. Say if a 7 year old who has parents as public figures said something that Trump didn’t like, it would be OK for Trump to bully a 7 year old?

Trump is nothing but a big bully, picking on a 16 year old that is less than a quarter of his age. He is an adult and [we assume] has some common sense and some experience. But this is Trump who will fight back hard if any negative comments [no matter how small] are directed at him.

Trump takes lap around track to open Daytona 500 as the Grand Marshal, commanding: “Gentlemen, start your engines.” He is the second American president to do so, behind George W. Bush who attended the Daytona 500 in 2004. Speaking of which, an image was posted by a Trump doofus showing the presidential jet near the race track. It was pulled after it was discovered that the jet was from 2004, when Bush attended the race.

Trump, always like to inflate his already inflated ego, decided to take a full lap around the track prior to the race with “The Beat” [his limousine] as well as other vehicles. But in the end the race was postponed for 214 hours because of bad weather.

Pigeons with tiny Make American Great Again hats glued to their heads were released in downtown Las Vegas this week in what appears to be a sarcastic statement of loyalty to Trump and a mock protest of Nevada’s coming Democratic presidential caucuses. A group calling itself P.U.T.I.N., Pigeons United To Interfere Now, claimed responsibility for the stunt.

Revenge and criticism is his specialty

Trump complained about news coverage of the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council in a tweet, saying reporting was done “as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!).” You know that means he knows Vindman well.

Trump claimed that Vindman “reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly,” which those close to Vindman have disputed and claiming he was given a “horrendous” report by his superior that he had problems with judgment and leaking information. Vindman’s former boss, then-White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill praised his performance.

Alexander Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a National Security Council attorney, was also fired, “suddenly and with no explanation, despite over two decades of loyal service to this country.” Yevgeny Vindman had never testified or spoke publicly about the Ukraine saga.

If it was just Alexander Vindman who was fired was one thing. But both? That makes things even more like revenge. Then it gets worse: Trump tweets that the military should punish Vindman for what he has done. Unless he has done something in the military that is wrong, good luck there. But what Trump wants is political. A US defense official with knowledge of the matter said there is no Army investigation into Vindman, the Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer weighed in on Trump’s tweets about Vindman, posting on Twitter, “Has any ‘President’ ever been more disrespectful to U.S. service members?”

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said that Alexander Vindman, a key witness in Trump’s impeachment inquiry, was right to raise concerns about Trump’s July call to Ukraine’s president. Kelly also believes that Vindman told the truth during testimony before House investigators last fall. Multiple former generals and admirals have come out supporting Kelly’s comments. These include Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Adm. William McRaven.

Schumer sent a letter to the acting Department of Defense Inspector General requesting investigations into “any and all instances of retaliation” against witnesses who have made “protected disclosures of presidential misconduct.”

An adviser to Trump said the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against the President will not be tolerated saying “Flushing out the pipes.”

Prosecutors from the US Attorney’s office in Washington, who are employees of the Justice Department, had said that longtime Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone should be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison after he was convicted on seven charges last year that derived from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including lying to Congress and witness tampering.

The sentencing recommendation, transmitted to a judge and signed off on by the office’s top prosecutor, had not been communicated to leadership at the Justice Department. The revised sentencing memorandum, which is expected to be filed in Washington federal court, comes hours after Trump publicly criticized the recommendation. Meanwhile, all 4 federal prosecutors quit the Stone case after DOJ pushes to reduce Stone’s sentencing. Other federal prosecutors could follow.

Attorney General William Barr has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next month giving them a forum to press the attorney general on the sentencing of Roger Stone and other controversies that have emerged in the aftermath of Trump’s impeachment trial.

Congressional Republicans downplayed the involvement of Trump and Barr in the sentencing of Stone, saying they see no reason for the investigations that Democrats are demanding. Meanwhile, federal judge, Amy Berman Jackson, has denied Stone a new trial after he made a request for one under seal, according to a notice from the court.

“If I thought he’d done something that’d change the outcome inappropriately, I’d be the first to say,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said. Sure Lindsey.

Barr’s blunt warning that Trump’s constant Twitter commentary and meddling makes it impossible to do his job was a stunner. It set off a deluge of speculation about his motives and potential reprisals from Trump, who brooks no disloyalty. In an interview Barr said “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”

Trump claims he has the right to intervene. Seems very few presidents ever did – if any. You don’t like the sentencing? Pardon the person after – which I am sure he will.

Trump abruptly withdrew the nomination for Jessie Liu, the former US attorney who headed the office that oversaw Roger Stone’s prosecution, to serve in a top Treasury Department position. Liu had been nominated in December to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Liu’s office inherited many of the major ongoing cases from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Liu submitted her resignation to the Treasury Department.

When Trump was asked what he learned from the impeachment ordeal he responded: “The Democrats are crooked… They got a lot of crooked things going. That they’re vicious. That they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.”

Regarding Stone “We have killers, we have murderers all over the place, nothing happens. And then they put a man in jail and destroy his life, his family, his wife, his children. Nine years in jail — it’s a disgrace.” Sounds like [of course] Stone did nothing wrong. Wouldn’t be surprised if he is pardoned at the end of the year.

The White House is preparing to present a budget that would not eliminate the federal deficit in the next 10 years. There will be a $4.8 trillion budget plan for 2021. US budget deficit ballooned past $1 trillion in 2019, marking the first time the country has crossed that threshold in a calendar year since 2012.

The deficit has continued to grow due in part to tax cuts and a two-year budget deal that has boosted federal spending under Trump. It’s swelled to $984 billion at the end of the last fiscal year, up from $665 billion during his first year in office in 2017. Only $2 billion was allocated to the funds for the Trump Wall – less than Congress approved. The Education Department budget will be cut by $6 billion.

As a candidate, Trump promised to “get rid of” the national debt, telling the Post in 2016 that he could make the US debt-free “over a period of eight years.”

Over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on the al Asad military base in Iraq. The Pentagon and Trump had initially said no service members were injured or killed in the Iranian missile attack. Approximately 200 people who were in the blast zone at the time of the attack have been screened for symptoms.

Last month, Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq. “No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump said.

Construction crews blowing up parts of a national monument to make way for the Trump Wall could be on the verge of destroying sacred burial sites. Controlled blasts began inside Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument recently which is adjacent to the monument.

Seems New Hampshire wasn’t thrilled with Trump. At one point, about 14% of Republican voters did not vote for him. Yet he will probably still say it was a landslide or a huge victory or whatever.

Trump tweeted “I would say that was the biggest political Rally in New Hampshire history. Incredible evening!” Without actually checking – if it is possible to check.

Amazon has asked a federal court for permission to get testimony from Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper as part of its ongoing protest over the Defense Department’s handling of a multibillion-dollar cloud computing contract. The document also seeks permission to depose former Defense Secretary James Mattis and what he may have known about Trump’s attitude toward the contract, known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure.

Amazon argues in the document that the Pentagon’s explanation for awarding the contract to Microsoft left out “crucial information and details that led to this flawed and potentially detrimental decision regarding DoD’s future cloud infrastructure…. President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions — including federal procurements — to advance his personal agenda.”

Last month, the company asked the court to block Microsoft from beginning work on the contract, which is valued at $10 billion over 10 years. The court has not decided whether to grant that request.

Seems Trump even couldn’t be true during his State of the Union address early this month.

Tony Rankins, a formerly homeless, drug-addicted Army veteran, got a standing ovation at the State of the Union after Trump described how he turned his life around thanks to a construction job at a company using the administration’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks targeting poor neighborhoods. But it isn’t quite true.

Rankins, who indeed moved out of his car and into an apartment since landing a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel two years ago, doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks and never has done so. In fact, he started that job four months before the Treasury Department published its final list of neighborhoods eligible for the breaks. And the hotel where he worked couldn’t benefit even now because it’s an area that didn’t make the cut.

Trump also praised Rankins’ employer, R Investments, for “working to help 200 people rise out of homelessness every year by investing in opportunity zones.” But it also isn’t quite true.

CEO Travis Steffens said he has hired hundreds of homeless to work at the 400 buildings the company has owned over the years, taking advantage of various tax breaks. But when it comes to Trump’s Opportunity Zone breaks, he said, the company has only one building tapping the program now, a warehouse in Cincinnati where no one seems to be working, homeless or otherwise.

Trump’s former communications director Hope Hicks is expected to return to the White House in an adviser role. Hicks will be working for Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner and others in a number of strategic areas. She supposedly left her chief communications officer at Fox Corporation after about 18 months. Her title will be “counselor to the president.” She’s just 31 years old.

As of the end of 2018, only 15% of the 268 items on Trump’s web site shop had a made in the US label. Some don’t have any. Recently, Mark Meadows, Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump Jr were seen sporting “Team Trump” windbreakers indoors [so on purpose]. So you think the windbreakers are American made? I doubt it.

Clash of the titans

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Senate lawmakers that the US intelligence community does not believe Iran is currently undertaking “key activities” needed to produce a nuclear bomb — an assessment at odds with longtime administration claims that Iran is an immediate nuclear threat.

Donald Trump, in a remarkable rebuke that was reminiscent of his past criticisms of law enforcement officials, said the intelligence chiefs were “extremely passive and naive” on the matter.

Trump claimed that his intelligence chiefs, including Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel, told him that “they said they were totally misquoted and totally taken out of context.” Their testimony was televised, and their written assessment of global threats was made public. Two people misquoted? Must be a first.

Trump tweeted “When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back.”

Aside from another punctuation error [“there” instead of “their”], Trump admits that things are getting worse since he killed the nuclear deal [“they are testing Rockets….”].

Scratching your head time. Trump declared that “ISIS was out of control in Syria” when he took over but later then said that when his term began, ISIS was already on the decline, with the US declaring 75% of ISIS fighters killed by December 2016.

Trump said he was “very disappointed” to see the FBI’s arrest of his long-time associate Roger Stone “go down that way,” About a dozen officers with tactical vests and heavy weapons fanned out across the lawn. Law enforcement shined a flashlight into Stone’s front door, and one officer rapped against it, shouting “FBI. Open the door.” The agent shouted seconds later: “FBI. Warrant.” Are they supposed to wait until he wakes up and has breakfast? Trump inflated saying there were 29 people in armored vehicles.

[A former senior FBI agent said that federal arrests typically occur at 6 am. This is the usual course of action is designed to rouse groggy suspects who are less prepared to resist arrest. It is typical to have 10 agents at a scene of an arrest for every individual that would be arrested. As they were gathering evidence and the importance of the individual, additional personnel were needed such as a crisis negotiator, log keeper, public affairs and evidence photographer.]

Trump blamed the Russians for the demise of the Cold War-era pact, known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. He claims the Russians have been developing missiles that are against the agreement. But some European are not convinced. Yet, it is the US that has halted the treaty. Some analysts worry its demise could fuel a new arms race. In addition, China [not part of the pact] are allowed to build the missiles.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing an amendment to a Middle East policy bill that would acknowledge “al Qaeda, ISIS and their affiliates in Syria and Afghanistan continue to pose a serious threat to us here at home,” a move seen as a sharp rebuke to Trump’s push to withdraw US troops from Syria.

It’s been over 40 days since Trump originally ordered a rapid withdrawal of troops from Syria on December 19 within 30 days. He later extended it to 4 months.

Are you sitting down? According to White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders: “I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there.”

She also said “Look, the President’s made clear that we support Christians, that we support the Kurds,” Sanders said, adding Trump has “made that clear to Turkey.” If you are another faith, you’re screwed.

Remember how Trump boasted that Taiwan manufacturer Foxconn would build a huge plant in Michigan including flat screens with at least 3,000 jobs and up to 13,000? Definitely not 13,000 as Foxconn as they won’t build the flat screens there. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker lost his re-election in November because the state and local governments gave Foxconn $4 billion in tax help. Foxconn said the US plant “can’t compete” with lower-cost flat panel plants elsewhere in the world.

But Foxconn says it is returning to its original plan to make flat screen panels at a new plant in Wisconsin following a whiny appeal from Trump. Foxconn will probably have to either raise prices for them or a lower profit from them. A company spokesperson said she was not aware of any additional incentives or inducements that were offered to the company in the conversation with Trump. Uh huh.

Trump blamed former House Speaker Paul Ryan for not getting funding for the wall, saying that Ryan assured him congressional Republicans would get the money when the Trump agreed not to veto the omnibus spending bill last year.

A list of treaties and agreements that Trump has pulled the US out of in the last 25 months:

  • Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
  • Paris Agreement [climate pact]
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership [Pacific free trade]
  • South Korean trade deal [renegotiated]
  • NAFTA [North American free trade] [renegotiated but not ratified]
  • UN Human Right Council
  • UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Iran nuclear deal

In addition, Trump has questioned or threatened to pull out of:

  • NATO
  • World Trade Organization

Electrolux is shutting down its Memphis plant which builds Frigidaire and Electrolux ovens partially because of the Sears bankruptcy and partially because of high steel prices from Trump’s tariffs. There goes 530 jobs. Trump said [at the time of the tariff slapping] the tariffs was meant to boost domestic production of the materials.

An undocumented Guatemalan worker fired from Trump’s Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, will be in attendance at Trump’s State of the Union address next week after being invited by a Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman. The woman claimed that managers helped her obtain fake documents for employment.

Ummm. Trump tweeted “In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!” Moron. “Waming”? Related to Covfefe? “…the coldest ever recorded.” And he’s a meteorologist expert. Let’s not forgetting the difference between global waming [errr… warming] and climate change.

Some miscellaneous Trump stuff

Well, I decided to issue a mid-week report just so I can release some lesser new items in Trumpland.

In an interview, Donald Trump said he doubts lawmakers will reach a deal over new border wall funding that he would accept and said he will build the wall anyway with emergency powers if necessary. Another government shutdown is “certainly an option.”

Trump also doubts he would agree to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US illegally when they were children, known as Dreamers, in exchange for new border wall funding. Yes. Already giving up on the talks probably before they began. He has no faith.

Congressional Budget Office said that delayed paychecks, reduced working hours, and stalled contracts led to a loss of about $11 billion in gross domestic product over the five-week shutdown. About $8 billion of that will be recovered as workers return, but $3 billion or 0.02% of gross domestic product in 2019 will never be recovered. Still more than what Trump wanted for the Trump Wall.

Despite repeated claims by the Trump administration that ISIS has been defeated, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats assesses that the terror group “very likely will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States.” ISIS may be down to two pockets [or towns] in Iraq but they are also elsewhere.

Looks like another wall is falling apart: Trump is backing away from his knowledge of what former advisor Roger Stone did for him saying he didn’t do much. Stone himself has said he may work with special counsel’s Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is typical that when Trump sees his association with one of his allies could cause him problems, he then tries to show that the [former] ally didn’t do much. Just happened with Stone. Previously happened with Cohen and others.

Stone has pleaded not guilty. Meanwhile, Mueller may subpoena Stone aide Andrew Stone who may be able to add further information in the investigation.

GOP booster Ann Coulter, speaking to a mostly liberal audience on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” said that if they want to “get Trump,” focus on the wall: “He promised something for 18 months and he lied about it. That’s how you get Trump. It’s not this Russia nonsense.”

She wasn’t the only right-wing commentator who wasn’t happy with Trump giving in. But there are also some who think Trump actually had the advantage in the deal saying  that Trump relieved the pain and suffering of the shutdown and now has a stronger hand in negotiations for border wall funding. Ummm. The man who caused the pain and suffering saved the same people?

Despite repeated claims by the Trump administration that ISIS has been defeated, US intelligence assesses that the terror group “very likely will continue to pursue external attacks from Iraq and Syria against regional and Western adversaries, including the United States.”

Someone created a fake Washington Post newspaper here as a PDF – fast forwarded to May 1st.

You can also read the web version here.

At a Washington annual dinner of big shots in the US where Trump didn’t show up [again], former Secretary of State, John Kerry, had a few jokes in his speech:

  • “Donald Trump could be the first President to go to the inaugural of his successor in a limo with license plates made by his campaign manager.”
  • “I got to tell you, you all look incredibly dapper tonight in your ball gowns, your tuxedos, your bow ties and your cummerbunds, or as we call it at our house: workout gear. Or as we call it at our other house: pajamas. Or as we call it at our other house: swimming costumes. But tonight it looks like I’ve done something Donald Trump can only dream of: finishing my term.”
  • “I think we’ve all noticed, there’s been a lot of turnover in this administration. Secretary (Ryan) Zinke was fired. Reince Priebus was fired. Rex Tillerson, Gen. McMaster, Jeff Sessions — all fired. One thing you can say about the Trump people — they’re not quitters.”

By the end of last year, Trump had accumulated more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency — averaging more than 15 erroneous claims a day during 2018, almost triple the rate from the year before.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Jan. 13 found that 54 per cent of Americans oppose a wall along the border, while 42 per cent express support for it. Fully 87 per cent of Republicans favour the wall, compared with about as many Democrats [84 per cent] who are opposed.

Sales of existing homes fell by 6.4% last month, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales fell 10.3% for the year. A sign that the economy isn’t doing too well.

According to a CBS News poll, the percentage of Americans who believe the investigation is justified stands at 50% while 45% believe it is politically motivated. The numbers represent a change from where they stood in late November, when CBS found that 46% of Americans thought the investigation was justified and 51% believed it was politically motivated.

As of April 2018, white evangelical support for Trump was at an all-time high: 75%. This is from a man who is on his third wife, fathered 5 children from the 3 wives, paying off a porn star and a Playboy model, has commented about grabbing women by the p___y, groping allegations, etc. Evangelists believe only in a marriage between a man and a woman, no premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual or lesbian activity, polygamy, etc. So how did he get to 75%?

A CBS News released showing Trump with 36% approval, his lowest of all polls this month. Additionally, 71% of Americans said that building a wall along the border with Mexico isn’t worth shutting down the government, and most (61%) said the border can be secured without building a wall. A majority of 56% of Republicans said the wall is worth shutting the government down and 43% said it isn’t.

In a light-hearted item, Trump does away with signing executive orders [for example] the traditional way. Presidents prior to him would sign one letter at a time. After each letter, he would give the pen to an individual nearby. Trump, signs his name and then passes out that pen [or marker in his case] and others. Trump claims that the signatures of the previous presidents were horrible. His is a mess.

A bit of humor [or is it]: If you want to know what the US could turn to [or at least some of it], The Handmaid’s Tale reminds me a bit of what it would be like if Mike Pence ever became president.

So below freezing temps to cover 75% of US. Expect at least one of:

  1. Americans blame Canada causing the US to recall their ambassador.
  2. Trump to add tariffs because of the weather.
  3. Trump to ask where global warming is?

Trump’s world is beginning to unravel

Federal prosecutors said for the first time that Michael Cohen acted at the direction of Donald Trump when Cohen committed two election-related crimes in 2016, as special counsel Robert Mueller outlined new contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals. Mueller also revealed that a Russian national who claimed to be well-connected in Moscow spoke with Cohen in 2015 and offered “political synergy” with the Trump campaign.

And yet Trump tweeted, “Totally clears the President. Thank you!” He did not offer further explanation of his comment. Go figure that one out.

Trump tweeted “He [Cohen] lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence” after Cohen is working with the prosecution and has asked for no prison time. We will see if and what Trump says if he is convicted and is required to spend prison time.

“He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get……his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free,” People are wondering who “Scott Free” is. Should be “scot-free”.

After Trump canceled his meeting with Vladimir Poutine at the G20 [Trump claiming it was because of Russia’s capturing of Ukrainian navy boats and sailors], various pro-Poutine surrogates in the media [a.k.a. puppets] went after Trump claiming Poutine was in fact the real leader of the free world, Trump is a flunky, untrusted, unbalanced, old, etc. [Stuff we already know.]

One actually used an interesting name: Donald Fredovych Trump. Fredovych would mean “son of Fred” but also could imply “Fredo” as in the disloyal Fredo Corleone who disappointed “the Godfather.”

Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have agreed to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days to allow for talks. At a post-G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed not to boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25% on January 1st. Not surprising National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow corrected Trump, stating that the 90-day clock on trade negotiations with China began December 1, not January 1.

The administration says China agreed to “purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries”. Of course ” very substantial” could mean really a lot or not that much.

The administration also says Beijing agreed to designate Fentanyl as a controlled substance. The opioid – much of it thought to be made in China – is driving a huge rise in drug addiction in the U.S.

Trump claims that China has agreed to cut tariffs on cars it imports from the United States as part of their deal which currently stand at 40%. But the Chinese government has made no mention of cutting car tariffs as a result of the meeting between the two leaders in Buenos Aires.

The original NAFTA deal has landed back atop Trump’s hit list, with Trump again declaring he intends to terminate the 24-year-old trade pact — a move that appears designed to pressure lawmakers on Capitol Hill into approving its recently negotiated successor. That move would give lawmakers six months to approve its replacement once formal notice is delivered.

“It’s caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else,” said Trump. Exactly what is the unemployment rate in the US again? Recent job losses have been mounting under his administration but have been low for a while.

A number of Democrats in Congress said they won’t support it without more stringent enforcement mechanisms for new labour rules and environmental protection. Some Republicans say they, too, are disinclined to support the agreement in its current form.

Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto signed the new U.S.-Canada-Mexico Agreement during an awkward ceremony at the outset of G20 meetings Friday in Argentina.

When Trump tweets “‘I will never testify against Trump.’ This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump.’ Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!'”

Stone is telling congressional committees that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in order to not testify in response to requests for documents and testimony. In 2016, Trump criticized those who invoke their Fifth Amendment right.

But George Conway, who is a lawyer and not a Trump supporter and Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway’s husband, said that under the portion of the US Code that deals with witness tampering in a federal investigation that Trump was doing just that in his tweet praising Stone for publicly refusing to testify against him.

But expect Trump to go after Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser. Mueller told a federal court that Flynn has given “substantial assistance” to the Russia investigation and should not get jail time. His early cooperation gave prosecutors a road map for their Russia investigation and may have helped to encourage others to cooperate, the filing states.

There is talk that White House chief of staff John Kelly will be leaving very soon. It has gone to the point where he doesn’t talk to Trump even though it is a job requirement that Kelly to do so. When hired, Kelly curbed access and ruled over staffing. But recently Trump began circumventing many of the policies and protocols he enacted. Daily staff meetings became weekly.

The leading potential replacement is Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff who is known to be quite loyal. He’s climbed up the political ladder to the point where Ayers would even join Trump and Pence for lunch. Several of Trump’s top advisers, including Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway, have voiced concerns to him about Ayers, with some threatening to quit if he is tapped for the job.

Kelly was also interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in recent months where he responded to a narrow set of questions from special counsel investigators after White House lawyers initially objected to Mueller’s request to do the interview earlier this summer.

The Mueller questions to Kelly centered on a narrow set of issues in the investigation of potential obstruction of justice, chiefly Kelly’s recollection of an episode that took place after new reporting emerged about how Trump had tried to fire Mueller.

Trump has decided to nominate former attorney general William Barr to be the next permanent head of the Justice Department, Trump told reporters. Barr, a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, has been emerging this week as a consensus candidate to succeed Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

As news about Trump administration shuffles involving the attorney general, Trump is tweeting about a different shakeup from months ago as he called former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell,” while he praised his replacement, Mike Pompeo. Trump fired Tillerson back in March and nominated Pompeo, then the CIA director, for the role.

Emails from top officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee were hacked before the 2018 midterm elections, exposing the GOP’s House campaign arm to an intrusion by an “unknown entity.” So why announce it now? Trump has mocked his political opponents when they got hacked by foreign actors, and he has praised Republicans for investing in stronger cyber protections.

Trump said in a tweet “Looking forward to being with the Bush Family to pay my respects to President George H.W. Bush.”. You don’t really look forward to a funeral! And you didn’t respect him in life either!

“I have read every piece of intelligence that’s in the possession of the United States government,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “And when it is done, when you complete that analysis, there’s no direct evidence linking him to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Maybe on their own there is no smoking gun, but according to experts, when you add them all up, it becomes more likely.

CIA has a high confidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s involvement. The Wall Street Journal also reports that the intelligence agency’s assessment includes electronic communications the crown prince sent to a close adviser who oversaw the 15-man team that killed Khashoggi.

Bin Salman had reportedly said “we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements [to go to a consulate]” in a recording. Reportedly, they tried to do the same luring to another Saudi activist living in Montreal but the activist was smart enough not to go to a consulate when offered.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian “cheating.” Russian officials the day after warned of unspecified “retaliation” to the U.S. decision to walk out of a key arms treaty.

The House of Representatives approved a two-week extension for a government funding deadline in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown this week but setting the stage for a partial one on December 21. Congressional leaders in both parties have indicated they do not want a partial shutdown, but Democrats and Republicans remain at an impasse over Trump’s demand for $5 billion for his long-promised Trump Wall.

Trump earlier tweeted “We would save Billions of Dollars if the Democrats would give us the votes to build the Wall” and yet he doesn’t explain how billions will be saved by building a wall. There will surely still be border guards.

A federal judge has finalized the schedule for when state challengers suing Trump over proceeds from the Trump International Hotel get to seek evidence for their case. They allege in the lawsuit that Trump violated a constitutional clause banning gifts and advantages from foreign and domestic governments because of his family company’s stake in the Trump hotel in Washington.

Subpoenas have been served on the Trump Organization and a dozen linked entities in a lawsuit challenging Trump’s ongoing business ties while in office. The lawsuit by DC and Maryland claims Trump is in violation of the Constitution’s ban on emoluments, or payments, from foreign or domestic government entities to the President because of his continued interest in the Trump International Hotel.

DC and Maryland have said the Trump International Hotel’s operations put other nearby hotels and entertainment properties at a competitive disadvantage, and that the Trump hotel got special tax concessions. The hotel won its lease on federally owned property before Trump’s election.