Trump’s Tariffs

Donald Trump tweets “…But China has taken so advantage of the U.S. for so many years, that they are way ahead (Our Presidents did not do the job). Therefore, China should not retaliate-will only get worse!” [Double header. Takes jabs at China and previous Presidents.] Right after China announced it will be raising tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods beginning on June 1. And right after that, the stock market tumbled again.

Trump has promised as much as $15 billion in aid to the agricultural industry to make up for China’s retaliatory tariffs, but farm trade associations say they don’t know yet how the assistance would work. “There is a lot of speculation about what form it might take and how much it might be, but it does sound like it is on a faster track than the first package was,” said Mace Thorton, spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the leading agricultural trade association.

The Trump administration has previously provided aid to farmers to cover the impacts of retaliatory tariffs, announcing last year that it provide as much as $12 billion to the industry of which only $8 billion was actually given.

So let’s get this straight. Trump claims that the tariffs will have little to no effect on Americans and yet the government could shell out as much as $27 billion to help farmers [or about $7.50 per American] so he can look like he’s doing something and feed his ego.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani intended but cancel a trip to investigate matters connected to the release of negative information about Paul Manafort. The former New York mayor also said he will continue to pursue questions about Vice President Joe Biden’s call in 2016 to remove the top Ukrainian prosecutor, who at one point had been investigating a Ukrainian natural gas company connected to Biden’s son. So Trump is aiming at Biden already.

Giuliani claimed, in 2016, while then-Vice President Biden was pressuring the Ukrainian government to oust its top prosecutor as part of a broad anti-corruption push by the US, his son Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian company under investigation by that same prosecutor. Ukraine’s new prosecutor general dismissed the case against the natural gas company controlled by one of Ukraine’s top oligarchs.

But the Ukrainian government’s case against the company had been “dormant” since 2014, two years before Biden successfully pushed to remove the prosecutor general. Biden was also joined in his anti-corruption push against the prosecutor by numerous leaders in Europe as well as the International Monetary Fund — none of whom had any family ties to the company.

I think someone got to him finally to cancel the trip. Giuliani reversed course and canceled the trip a day later, claiming without evidence that the Ukrainians surrounding president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky are “enemies of the President … in some cases enemies of the United States” who have ties to Democrats.

Others [including I] would of thought it was because he is getting a foreign government to get dirt on competitor in the US elections was basically what Trump has been accused of for the 2016 elections. He denied these accusations, saying that it wasn’t meddling since the presidential election is a year and a half away. When the dirt you are going for is a potential nominee for president, it makes no difference when.

The Trump Administration is preparing to release a broad outline of proposed immigration reforms that will make the Republicans happy but not the Democrats. But the proposal is short of concrete details and omits discussion of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that Democrats have repeatedly said they want resolved.

The White House is selling the plan as addressing border security and moving toward a merit-based immigration system, which gives preference to highly skilled and educated individuals. The officials touted Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan as examples of where merit-based immigration systems work. Except in Canada, they also allow those with no merit and some with merit who were [say] a doctor in their old country is now driving a taxi because their qualifications aren’t at the same level to practice in Canada.

Meanwhile, Stephen Miller, who is widely known as Trump’s key adviser on immigration, was not the author of the immigration proposal. Instead it was Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Expect Trump to whine if the Democrats don’t allow the proposal to pass in the House – probably complain that they are “soft” on immigration. We’ve heard it before. But If the proposal doesn’t address some Democrat concerns, why would they pass it?

Trump is embracing a controversial Florida proposal to import cheaper drugs from Canada, which Republicans have long opposed and many health experts have questioned. Health Secretary Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive, originally called drug importation a “gimmick” seems to be more on the fence now. He’s not against it now.

“Canada simply doesn’t have enough drugs to sell them to us for less money, and drug companies won’t sell Canada or Europe more just to have them imported here,” said Azar a year ago. In addition he said that the last four commissioners of the Food and Drug Administration have said there’s no way to effective ensure that the medication is really coming from Canada, and not a counterfeit factory in China.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented a military plan at a meeting of top national security officials recently that would send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran strikes American forces in the region or speeds up its development of nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported.

Trump signed an executive order barring US firms from using telecom gear from sources the administration deems national security threats. White House officials declined to identify China and Huawei as the intended target of the executive order. Commerce Department formally added Huawei to the list of companies the U.S. government considers to be undermining American interests and therefore covered under the new order.

“The administration is like a shit show in a dumpster file,” George Conway said once. He is the husband of Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway and is staunchly anti-Trump. Recently he called Trump a “malignant narcissist.”

In further chopping of some money from those who need it to questionably those who don’t, money for Pell Grants for college education [which help low-income students pay for college] will now mostly go to NASA “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!” Trump tweeted. Because of declining enrollment in the Pell Grant, with a surplus of $9 billion, $1.9 billion was added to the already $2 billion taken away.

Trump had initially also pulled money to help clean up the Great Lakes but caved in after three Republican lawmakers from Michigan lobbied him during a ride from the Grand Rapids airport. Previous cuts included Special Olympics but he also reversed that.

Trump made at least $479 million in 2018, according to his annual financial disclosure by the White House. Since taking office, Trump has broken presidential precedent by maintaining his interest in the Trump Organization, which is run on a day-to-day basis by his adult sons Don Jr. and Eric.

Not surprising here. In the 1990s, Trump would quietly purchase stock in companies. He would then claim that he was thinking of buying shares in the company which would generally increase the price of the shares of the company. Then he would quietly sell the shares, making profit. Eventually investors caught on when he never bought.

Occupancy of Trump Towers, where Trump called it a great place [what else!], in New York has dropped from 99% in 2012 to 83% in 2019 – twice Manhattan’s average. Plus it also has 42,000 square feet of vacant office space. 13 condos since the election in 2016, with 9 where the selling price was listed and 8 lost money on the sell. Issues for this drop include political reasons and security issues getting in the building.

Meanwhile, at Doral in Miami-Dade, which is Trump’s biggest moneymaking hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income – a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid – had fallen by 69 percent. The club expected to take in $85 million in revenue in 2017 but took in just $75 million.

Eric Trump, who runs the business day-to-day, rejected the idea that the Trump brand is damaged. “This story is completely senseless,” he said in a statement. “Our iconic properties are the best in the world and our portfolio is unrivaled by anyone.” A Trump Organization issued a statement implicitly contradicted its own tax consultant and blamed factors that had nothing to do with Trump’s name. The company cited fears of the Zika virus in 2016, and hurricanes in 2016 and 2017, for driving tourists away from South Florida.

Trump to claim that his unwillingness to release any past tax returns — the first post-Watergate president not to do so — was a non-factor in the 2016 election. Instead, he claimed that was a reason that people voted for him. It is impossible to verify.

There are major issues across the globe that is affecting the US including instability in Venezuela, trade pact with China and heightened tensions with Iran and Russia. What did Trump do recently? Play a round of golf [did he cheat?]. I guess he doesn’t think they are critical.

You know that this will happen often. Trump has pardon 2 friendlies. One is Patrick Nolan, a former Republican legislator who allied with Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. He pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge after an FBI sting and spent 29 months in federal custody. The other is Lord Conrad M. Black who wrote a book about Trump and who was convicted on four counts of fraud in 2007 and spent three-and-a-half years in prison.

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FBI investigation into Trump intensifies while Trump acts like a child

And I thought last week was busy.

Donald Trump, in response to reports that the FBI began an investigation of him last year to find out whether he had a clandestine agenda to help Russia, said that former FBI director James Comey and other “losers” at the bureau “tried to do a number on your President.” He called Comey a “total sleaze” and “crooked cop.”

The inquiry forced counterintelligence investigators to evaluate whether Trump was a potential threat to national security, and they also sought to determine whether Trump was deliberately working for Russia or had unintentionally been influenced by Moscow.

Trump tweeted “Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!” Except he thinks a few FBI “leaders” considers as the leaders of all of the FBI. There are 35,000 people at the FBI.

Regarding the New York Times story, on Fox News, Trump said it was “the most insulting article I have ever written“. Umm. He didn’t write it. [Note: I emphasized the “written” part.]

He claims no other president ever taken a harder stance against Russia than he does. So not Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and others during the cold war – unless he considers Russia and the Soviet Union not the same or similar.

From BuzzFeed, two federal law enforcement officials said that Trump directed former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen to claim negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended months earlier than they actually did and that Cohen confirmed to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that Trump issued the order to lie to Congress.

Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said “If you believe Cohen I can get you a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge.” But the information didn’t come from Cohen but the two federal law enforcement officials. As well, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office disputes report that Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress. The BuzzFeed report has a checkered past.

Cohen hired an IT firm to rig online polls in favor of Donald Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Cohen promised to pay $50,000 to the small tech firm run by the evangelical Liberty University chief information officer to help distort online polls on CNBC and the Drudge Report. Cohen claimed it was carried out “at the direction and for the sole benefit of Donald J. Trump. I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it.”

Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Poutine, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former US officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Poutine in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. US officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

Trump retweeted “No one accused Obama of being a Russian agent after he asked for “more flexibility” until after the election, or when Obama ignored Putin’s invasion into Crimea, or when Assad used chemical gas in Syria and Obama’s red line was crossed.” So the tweeter claimed Obama did nothing in all cases? Meanwhile, under Trump’s watch, Assad used chemical gas against civilians, and did what? And Russia is still in the Ukraine and Trump has done what?

Giuliani says he never claimed that there was no collusion involving the Trump campaign, and that he only ever said this about Trump himself. “I said the president of the United States – there is no evidence that the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC [Democratic National Committee].” Sounds like he’s throwing the campaign under the bus. Giuliani just contradicted 18 months of “no collusion” talk.

Trump responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s letter suggesting they reschedule his State of the Union address by informing Pelosi that an apparent trip she had planned to “Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed” while the government shutdown continues. “Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.”

The President of the United States has the authority to direct the Defense Department to not use military assets to support a congressional delegation to military theaters. This support includes air transport and additional security procedures.

As usual Trump got it wrong. The Pelosi delegation headed to Afghanistan with a stop in Brussels for pilot rest as well as to say hello to NATO. No Egypt on the itinerary. Meanwhile, Trump went to Iraq during the Trump Shutdown as well as a separate delegation with Rep. Lee Zeldin. Some WH staff [all Republicans] are going to Davos for the World Economic Forum even though Trump isn’t going. So for Trump to kill the Pelosi delegation’s trip was childish and had more to do with her request to delay the State of the Union address than the Trump Shutdown.

Pelosi said she received a report from Afghanistan that said “the President outing our trip had made the scene on the ground much more dangerous… We had the prerogative to travel commercially and we made plans to do that until the administration then leaked that we were traveling commercially and that endangers us.”

Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo officially banning all congressional delegations from using taxpayer-funded aircraft ” without the express written approval of the White House Chief of Staff”. Except it was Trump who denied Pelosi.

Trump plans to offer Democrats another proposal to end the shutdown for what officials are describing as his third offer to end the shutdown. Trump’s idea is to put something on the table to get Democrats to engage with negotiations. Trump is not expected to back down from his demand for a border wall, but the plan will seek to entice Democrats by offering other concessions.

With the government mired in shutdown week four, Trump rejected a short-term legislative fix and dug in for more combat, declaring he would “never ever back down.”

Trump has now been briefed on an alternate plan to divert billions of dollars, earmarked for disaster relief in Puerto Rico, Texas and elsewhere, to pay for his Trump Wall.

When a group of House and Senate Democrats were on a retreat in Puerto Rico, Trump argued that they were partying on a beach rather than negotiating. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who have been the negotiators, were not on the trip.

Trump has made explicitly clear he will not support reopening the government before a deal on border wall funding is completed and GOP Leader McConnell’s position remains unchanged – he will not bring anything to the Senate floor without Trump’s support.

“The government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: the Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said. Actually the Democrats want to include money for border security – just not the Trump Wall.

The White House has been trying to peel moderate Democrats away from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Its first effort at that strategy failed when moderate Democrats were invited to the White House for lunch – and they didn’t show. Another group will attend but they have no clout. So a free lunch.

“We’re going to stay out for a long time if we have to,” Trump said in a meeting with supporters. “We’ll be out for a long time.”

Trump was supposed to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January but blames the Democrats for the shutdown for him not to attend. Steven Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo will lead the US delegation at Davos.

Because of the partial shutdown, at least 80 US government web sites are running with expired certificates which causes problems with web site security and other issues. In addition, with government employees not working [and if contractors involved, they aren’t getting paid], computers throughout the governments are running unsecure because of the lack of maintenance including patches.

The Trump administration keeps designating more and more of the federal government essential, or excepted from the furlough, ordering many thousands of workers back to the office to process tax returns, perform safety inspections and more — all without pay. 36,000 IRS workers are now forced to work without pay.

Federal courts, which are not controlled by the administration, have now twice announced that existing funds could help their work force limp along with pay. The latest guidance is that court offices will run out of money January 25, at which point essential staff will work without pay.

Food and Drug Administration food inspectors, who hadn’t been inspecting food since the partial shutdown began  would return, without pay, to start inspections again. The Federal Aviation Administration announced it would recall an additional group of furloughed employees adding thousands of unpaid workers to the air traffic controllers.

Delta airlines is claiming that it lost  $25 million revenue this month. Fewer government contractors are traveling and the shutdown could delay the launch of the new Airbus 220 jet, which is scheduled to go into service on January 31 from New York’s LaGuardia. FAA inspectors, who are currently furloughed, need to certify the airline’s operational plans.

Many federal employees are scrambling to make ends meet. Some have turned to GoFundMe to raise money for living expenses. But what they could be doing is illegal. The federal law the government employees might be running afoul of is part of the United States Code that deals with the salaries paid to government officials and employees, under a section called “Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest.” In a nutshell, it says federal employees aren’t supposed to supplement their salaries with outside income.

Trump cited a number from a Montreal researcher to prove his argument that the US needs the Mexican border wall on which he wants to spend $5.7 billion. The researcher replied to Trump’s tweet saying that while walls have been built, research shows that they are ineffective. There are 70 walls built with and 7 could be built as they have the funding.

Some estimates suggest that the US economy loses $1.2 billion each week the shutdown continues.

The web site to report identity theft is shut down because of the Trump Shutdown. 25,000 identity thefts per day [yes – per day].

A federal judge in New York has struck down the Trump administration’s proposal to reintroduce a citizenship question into the 2020 census. The ruling effectively puts a freeze on a deeply contentious move that critics said would discourage non-citizens from participating in the Census. The Justice Department has said it needed better data on the voting age population to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Trump was told when he wanted to leave Syria within 30 days that ISIS was not defeated. He had to be convinced. Eventually he relented and slowed down the departure. This past week, US service members died in a US controlled Syrian area after an explosion claimed by ISIS.

Love this tweet [and it wasn’t even fixed] “Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House. Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!” I will have a hamberder with cheese. At 85 football players and around 15 coaches that averages out to 10 hamberders per person [excluding pizza, fillet-o-fish, nuggets, fries and maybe something healthy like salad. In a separate video he said 300 hamberders. More like it.

Food served on white china and silver serving trays. Very classy.

With about 85 players [usually the amount on a team] and maybe 15 coaches [usually the amount on a team] plus Trump and a few extras, even with 300 hamberders, that is almost 3 per person [plus the Fillet-O-Fishes, pizza, fries, etc.].

In addition, did he pay out of his own pocket? Did he expense it? Did the burger chains give it for free [can they?]? Maybe big Clemson supporters paid for it. Most likely.

He also tweeted [since deleted] that he was going to a farmer’s convention in Nashville when it was actually in New Orleans.

Trump claims that he hasn’t been following news surrounding Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s recent comments to The New York Times which were sympathetic to white supremacists.

In 2014, Trump, ahead of the fundraiser, said King was a “special guy, a smart person, with really the right views on almost everything.” Trump also told the newspaper that his ideology is so in sync with King’s that “we don’t have to compare notes.”

Trump retweeted from Donald Trump Jr. “Since January 1, neither CNN nor MSNBC has booked a single Angel Mom – mothers of children brutally murdered by illegal aliens.” Are they supposed to? A new law?

“If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!” Trump tweeted. Aside from the fact that it is a racist comment, he just can’t get away from this Pocahontas stuff even though she admitted about her heritage.

Trump lashed out at acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney during a Situation Room meeting with Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, earlier this month. “Stop, stop, just stop — What are you doing? You’re f—ing it all up, Mick,” Trump said, according to the official who was in the room for the negotiations. Well I guess Mulvaney may not get the job now.

Trump retweeted: “Prior to 2018, unemployment has only been below 4% 5 times since 1970 Under Donald Trump, in 2018, unemployment dipped below 4% 7 TIMES-in ONE year!” Hmmm. So it dipped below 4% then went above 4% at least 6 times this past year. So every time it went over 4%, jobs were lost. Nothing to be proud of.

Trump said the US would “devastate Turkey economically” if the NATO-allied country attacks Kurds in the region. He added, “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” but followed up in a second tweet, “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

Another legal loss for the Trump administration. A California federal district court judge halted the Trump administration’s weakening of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, a day before the new rules were to take effect. The injunction, however, only applies in the coalition of 13 Democratic states, plus the District of Columbia, that brought the lawsuit. In his ruling, Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr., said the states “face potentially dire public health and fiscal consequences from the implementation of the Final Rules.”

And the resignations continue

Note: With the upcoming possible partial shutdown of the government coming Friday at midnight, I’ve decided to post some of the week’s news now and the remainder probably on Saturday after whether there is a shutdown or not.

James Mattis, Defense Secretary, is the latest to leave the administration. He resigned the day after Donald Trump surprised just about everyone with his withdrawal from Syria. Mattis was one of the many who didn’t like the decision. This will add to the list of vacancies to fill in addition to Senate approval for many of them.

“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote in a pointed two-page letter that he hand-delivered to Trump. Mattis rejects out of hand Trump’s “America First” foreign policy that had led to clashes with a slew of longtime allies — from Germany to Britain to Australia and back.

“We are headed towards a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries,” tweeted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio  shortly after the news of Mattis’ resignation broke.

After Mattis, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be the latest to depart from the Trump administration at the end of the year. Trump tweeted “The Trump Administration will be announcing the new Secretary of the Interior next week.” Zinke became the fourth Cabinet member to leave under an ethical cloud, having sparked 17 investigations into his actions on the job, by one watchdog’s count.

One report has it that White House had been pushing Zinke to resign for weeks and that he was told he had until year’s end to leave or he would be fired. In a private resignation letter, Zinke blamed “vicious and politically motivated attacks” for his departure. The Justice Department is investigating Zinke for possibly using his office for personal gain following a referral from the Interior Department’s inspector general.

Another report describes suppression of science, denial of climate change, the silencing and intimidation of agency staff, and attacks on science-based laws that help protect our nation’s world-class wildlife and habitats.

So if you need to review, Mattis, Zinke, White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, chief of staff John Kelly and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will all be out of the White House by early January at the latest and will need replacements and probably all but Sanders needs Senate approval.

Mick Mulvaney, the new interim Chief of Staff at the white House, like other administration and Republican politicians, have in the past objected to Trump’s politics and administration but still either work for him or side with him. At a November 2016 event in South Carolina, Mulvaney said “Do I like Donald Trump? No” but added that he was a better choice for president than Hillary Clinton and in a video said “…he’s a terrible human being.”

Trump and Rudy Giuliani used Twitter and television interviews to deliver a series of broadsides against special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York. Giuliani said he was “disgusted” by the tactics used by Mueller in his probe into Russian election interference, including in securing guilty pleas from the president’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on a charge of lying to federal investigators. Trump, Giuliani said, would not submit to an interview by Mueller’s team. Isn’t it legal still in the U.S. to make a plea deal?

“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started,” Trump tweeted. “They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!” Actually, the FBI executed a search warrant obtained from a judge in conducting a raid in April on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room and seizing records on a variety of matters, among them a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Cohen. The application for the warrant was approved high in the Justice Department.

Document shows Trump signed a letter of intent to move forward with negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Russia, despite Giuliani claiming the document was never signed. The documents are dated October 28, 2015, and bears Trump’s signature. It was a signed letter of intent that set the stage for negotiations for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property in the heart of Moscow.

“It was a real estate project. There was a letter of intent to go forward, but no one signed it,” Giuliani said in an interview. Trump repeatedly said during the 2016 presidential campaign that he had “nothing to do with Russia.” The deal would of gave Trump’s company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales and control over marketing and design. The deal also included an opportunity to name the hotel spa after Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

After almost two dramatic hours in a courtroom discussing his crimes, former national security adviser Michael Flynn asked to postpone his sentencing for several months so he can have more of an opportunity to cooperate in federal investigations and attempt to mitigate the judge’s disgust with his actions.

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents in a January 24, 2017 interview in the West Wing of the White House. Flynn and a former business associates are accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey.

After winning an auction to name a newly discovered blind amphibian, a British company chose Trump as the creature’s namesake, likening its behavior to Trump’s stance on climate change. Dermophis donaldtrumpi was discovered in Panama and has a propensity for burrowing its head in the ground.

Humor time: Looks like there could be a sequel to All The President’s Men. It will be called All The President’s Convicts.

Trump gets hit on two sides

[He was so busy with these two issues, he didn’t have time for anything else!]

In a new book by Pulitzer prize winner, Bob Woodward, multiple current and former Donald Trump administration officials called Trump “unhinged”, “liar”, a “fifth grade” intellect and an aggrieved and abusive “Shakespearean king” raging in the Oval Office. Even worse, unlike most other books, Woodward has them recorded saying so.

“The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner.” I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!” Trump tweeted. But how does he answer what has been recorded? All doctored? Who discredited the book? Those accused of saying nasty things about him?

“It’s just another bad book. He’s had a lot of credibility problems,” Trump said of Woodward, who has reported on multiple presidents and alongside Carl Bernstein broke news of the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Woodward sought through multiple White House officials and others close to Trump to secure an interview with him but Trump said he was never notified.

The denials have started. Chief of staff John Kelly denied calling saying “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazytown,” Kelly is quoted as saying at a staff meeting in his office. “I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had.”

Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd refuted a claim that he had warned that his client’s lies would end up with him in an “orange jump suit” and calling Trump “a fucking liar,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he had never used “contemptuous” words about Trump or  had the intellect of a fifth- or sixth-grader. Trump as calling Sessions, who is frequently a target of his rage, as a “dumb southerner” and “mentally retarded.” Former chief of staff Reince Priebus is “like a little rat. He just scurries around.”

“Rudy [Giuliani], you’re a baby,” Trump told the man who is now his attorney. “I’ve never seen a worse defense of me in my life. They took your diaper off right there. You’re like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man?” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once said after a meeting that “He’s a fucking moron.”

“This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the President look bad,” White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. And what about those still in office?

Woodward claims that Trump’s closest aides [Cohn and disgraced former staff secretary Rob Porter] have taken extraordinary measures in the White House to try to stop what they saw as his most dangerous impulses, going so far as to swipe and hide papers from his desk so he wouldn’t sign them. They and others acted with the acquiescence of Priebus. Is that even legal?

Kelly, former top economic adviser Gary Cohn and Mattis have been intervening regularly to avert national security disasters. Former [but brief] White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci says “Maybe it’s all true” and “So, what?”

Trump, showing his outrage over Woodward’s book, supposedly is ordering a real witch hunt in the West Wing and throughout his administration, asking loyal aides to help determine who cooperated with the book. And if that doesn’t push a witch hunt, the new item below will add to it. Wouldn’t be surprised if lie detectors are brought in.

As if things can’t get even more nuts, an unnamed senior Trump administration official assailed Trump’s “amorality” and reckless decision-making in a New York Times op-ed published and said he is part of a “resistance” working to thwart Trump’s worst impulses.

Trump’s “instability” is so profound, the author suggests, that there were “early whispers within the cabinet” about invoking the 25th Amendment, a constitutional mechanism to remove him from office. It’s an idea that was shelved for fear of creating a national crisis.

In the 25th Amendment, if the vice president and a simple majority of cabinet members agree then a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate. The vice-president would be temporarily invested with all the powers of the presidency. But if Trump objected, Congress would need to debate and ratify his removal by a two-thirds majority within 21 days.

[In my opinion, obviously not as an expert in this stuff, it is the duty of the vice-president and cabinet members to use the amendment if there is enough evidence that the president isn’t fully capable of doing his job. We only learned after that President Ronald Reagan wasn’t all there in his second term. So in a sense, someone (or people) were running the country and weren’t authorized to do so.]

“The dilemma — which (Trump) does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the Times piece reads. “I would know. I am one of them.”

Not surprisingly, Trump dismissed the op-ed as “really a disgrace” and “gutless editorial” assailing the author and The Times for publishing the anonymous opinion piece. Like most of his tweets he then switch to mention his so-called accomplishments, claiming that “nobody has done what this administration has done in terms of getting things passed and getting things through.” Like?

He later called it “treason” in a one word tweet. But he doesn’t know the constitution or the law. Can’t be charged for treason for what the individual did according to Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States,” “Simpleton” Sanders wrote. “He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.” So I guess she prefers to keep quiet for all the potentially illegal activities in the administration.

Trump said he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate and uncover the identity of the senior administration official who penned an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times. “Yeah, I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of this piece was because I really believe it’s national security,” Trump told reporters.

Trump argued the column presents a national security concern because this person still is in the government and shouldn’t be attending high-level meetings. Except we really don’t know how high the author’s access is.

Neither Trump nor the White House have identified a specific crime that has been committed although Trump has used the word “treason” which doesn’t fit the issue. Unless there is specifically something in their that involves classified information, the Department of Justice won’t have much to do. And of course than means Trump will go after Sessions again for not doing anything [unless Sessions stretches the investigation until after the elections – which he should.

[An unofficial rule, which James Comey broken in 2016, is that no investigations are announced or the results announced from 60 days before an election until after the election. We are within the 60 days as of this weekend.]

“I don’t mind criticism, I handle it and I fight back,” he said. “But here’s criticism where you can’t fight back. ‘Cause you have somebody doing it anonymously.” Isn’t he fighting back? He’s using the government’s security agencies to fight his battles – the same one he berates.

White House aides believe they have narrowed the search to a select few who could of written the op-ed.

Trump sought to heighten the sense of urgency for his base in Billings, Montana when he told supporters that if he is impeached, “it’s your fault, ’cause you didn’t go out to vote.,,, But I say, how do you impeach somebody that’s doing a great job, that hasn’t done anything wrong?” Trump said Then the threats came. Trump later warned the United States would turn into a “third world country” because of the precedent his hypothetical impeachment would set. And of course he will lose his job.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Justice Department “has taken the position … that the appropriate remedy for presidential misbehavior is impeachment.” Not a good sign when it comes from your own party.

Trump is also fuming that White House deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine has mishandled the messaging on the Woodward book. Trump believes the rapid response to the book has been handled poorly and he blames Shine for that.

Trump said he’s poised to slap additional tariffs on $267 billion in Chinese goods, widening a trade war between the two countries. Yet another round of tariffs on $267 billion in goods would bring the total imports from China subject to tariffs to more than $500 billion. That’s roughly the same as the $505 billion in goods that the US imported from China last year. Unsure what brought on the latest tariff talks but with someone this unstable, it could be anything.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was sentenced to spend 14 days in prison, pay a $9500 fine, and perform community service. This is part of a plea deal to give special counsel Robert Mueller information he wants.

A government photographer told investigators that he intentionally cropped photos of Trump’s inauguration to remove empty space and make the audience look larger, according to newly released documents. The admission, contained in newly released records from a 2017 investigation, shed new light on what happened after the National Park Service shared a social media post comparing the crowds that attended the inaugurations of Trump and former President Barack Obama.

Bad week for Trump

This past Tuesday may go down as the worst day for Donald Trump in his administration.

In a busy day, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to eight criminal counts, admitting that “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office” he acted to keep information that would have been harmful to the candidate and the campaign from becoming public during the 2016 election cycle. Cohen faces up to 65 years in prison.

Cohen’s under-oath admission — in which he said he violated campaign finance law “in coordination and at the direction” of Trump — holds specific and significant weight for Trump. If the prosecution can show that a candidate knew about the violation and knew about the act and participated, then the candidate can be personally liable.

The charges expose, through the criminal information filed against Cohen in court, that he acted with Trump and his allies, including David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc., to suppress potentially damaging claims against the now-President. Though Trump himself isn’t named, the court filing refers to an Individual-1, who by January 2017 had become president of the United States. Pecker has received immunity.

The National Enquirer kept a safe containing documents about hush-money payments and damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump leading up to 2016 presidential election. The contents were removed them from the safe in the weeks before Trump’s inauguration. It was unclear whether the documents were destroyed or simply moved to a location known to fewer people.

Not surprising, Trump lashed out at Cohen of making up “stories in order to get a ‘deal”‘ from federal prosecutors. Trump, a legal expert [sarcasm], said, “Michael Cohen plead (sic) guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime.”

Cohen’s lawyer already stated that Cohen isn’t looking for a pardon and I don’t think Trump would giving him one after throwing him under the bus.

Trump also complained that “President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!” Trump was apparently referring to a fine levied on the former president’s 2008 campaign over missing and delayed disclosure of high-dollar donors in the final days of that race. I don’t think you can compare as one clearly influenced the election.

Trump changes his story again saying “What Michael Cohen pled to weren’t crimes,” Trump told Fox News, suggesting Cohen accepted a plea deal on the campaign finance violations because the other crimes he admitted to were more serious. “He made a great deal. He was in another business totally unrelated to me where I guess there was fraud involved.”

Trump forgets [or maybe not] that Cohen’s testimony against him is not that Trump paid Cohen who paid the two women but did so to use campaign money for something that wasn’t campaign related and possibly alter or hide information that could affect the election outcome.

Trump claimed payments to women shouldn’t be a campaign finance issue because “they didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.” Let him prove he used his money and it sounds like he admits to knowing that money was paid. He also claimed that Cohen worked for him for a decade, saying he was just a “part-time attorney” who had many other clients. With the trouble Trump gets into, I doubt many. Or many continuously.

Trump suggested that Cohen’s legal trouble stemmed from his other businesses, including involvement with the New York City taxi cab industry, and that he decided to offer “lies” about Trump to reduce his own legal exposure. I don’t think Cohen’s issues with the taxi industry is anything but small potatoes compared to his political side.

White House press secretary, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, said “I’m not getting into the back and forth details. I can tell you as the President has stated on numerous occasions, he did nothing wrong. There are no charges against him in this. Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn’t mean that implicates the President on anything.” Except Cohen is under oath and doesn’t need additional jail time for lying under oath and we already know Trump knows nothing about the law.

When a reporter asked Sanders if Trump ever lied to Americans [for example where Trump said he knew nothing about the payments but now seems to remember], Sanders replied ” I think that’s a ridiculous accusation. …. There are no charges against him.” So she didn’t really answer and no charges yet. She referred substantive questions to the president’s personal counsel, Rudy Giuliani, who was at a golf course in Scotland – nice coincidence.

“It is clear that, as the prosecutor noted, Mr. Cohen’s actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time,” Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said. Is he serious? If so, Trump was fooled with Cohen doing this as his lawyer for 12 years. What does that tell you about Trump [that we already don’t know]?

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the most senior Republican in the Senate said “President should not be held responsible for the actions of the people he’s trusted.” Ummm. Trump is their boss. He has the ultimate responsibility.

A former federal prosecutor said “No longer can you say Mueller is on a witch hunt when you have his own lawyer pleading guilty to things that were designed to impact the election.” But Trump, not a lawyer, will ignore that and his followers will as well.

And Cohen’s lawyers get even more busy as investigators in New York state issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of their probe into the Trump Foundation. Cohen could potentially be a significant source of information for state investigators looking into whether Trump or his charity broke state law or lied about their tax liability.

If evidence of alleged crimes is found, the matter could be referred to prosecutors, who could pursue criminal charges and seek the release of Trump’s tax returns.

Meanwhile, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, a major victory for special counsel Robert Mueller. But jurors were unable to reach a verdict on 10 charges, and Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on those counts. Manafort was found guilty of five tax fraud charges, one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud. He faces a maximum of 80 years in prison.

One of the jurors from Paul Manafort’s trial said that although she “did not want Paul Manafort to be guilty,” the evidence was “overwhelming. … We all tried to convince her to look at the paper trail. We laid it out in front of her again and again and she still said that she had a reasonable doubt.” The juror held out on 10 counts but agreed on 8.

He still faces a second set of criminal charges in a Washington, DC, federal court, of failure to register his foreign lobbying and of money laundering conspiracy related to the same Ukrainian political work that was central to the Virginia case.

Not surprising, Trump said that the charges Manafort was convicted of have “nothing to do with Russian collusion” and criticized Mueller’s investigation for arriving at this point.

Some higher up Republicans are already saying Manafort shouldn’t be pardoned as it could add “interfering with an investigation” according to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, whose entanglements with Trump’s finances are extensive, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen. The interview, which focused on Cohen and the payments, happened weeks ago under a deal negotiated by his attorney.

Weisselberg, whose relationship with Trump dates back decades, is also the treasurer of Trump’s charity, helped prepared Trump’s tax returns and is the only non-family member to serve as trustee of the trust that holds the President’s interest in his own companies. “Allen knows where all the financial bodies are buried. Allen knows every deal, he knows every dealership, he knows every sale, anything and everything that’s been done” said one person.

“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job,” Trump said in response in an interview, who asked if he believes Democrats would try to impeach him if they win back control of Congress. Doing a “great” job has nothing to do with doing something illegal or un-American. “If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor.” I don’t think the market crashed from the previous impeachments.

“I give myself an A+. I don’t think any President has ever done what I have done,” Trump said inflating his ego by himself even more. “…Soon to be two unbelievable Supreme Court justices…” He judges his performance by maybe getting 2 supreme court justices appointed? If normal justices are nominated, there shouldn’t be any doubt they get appointed.

Trump sharply decried those who testify against former confidants to ease legal trouble, bemoaning the longstanding practice. “It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” Trump said in the interview. So he now wants to rewrite the justice system. “I know all about flipping, 30, 40 years I have been watching flippers.” So he knows a lot of people who ended up in prison. What a good judge of personality.

Trump tweeted “‘Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.’ Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the “other side” including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks,…” Or maybe Sessions meant something coming from Trump or his minions.

As we know already, Trump knows nothing about the legal system. Case in point. There is no such federal crime for collusion and yet he keeps on saying it. Trump could be damaged politically should there be findings of conspiracy or obstruction of justice in a report special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to deliver at the conclusion of the investigation.

White House counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with Mueller’s probe, participating in several interviews spanning 30 hours over the last nine months. McGahn has provided “detailed accounts about the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice,” including providing information that the Mueller team otherwise would not have learned about.

McGahn’s decision to cooperate was partly due to the fact that the President’s initial legal team had decided to fully cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump tweeted “I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction.” I don’t think there is anything to compare between previous probes such as Watergate and this mess.

Yes. There is other news related to Trump.

If the administration can’t get any lower or more controversial, now there is talk of pulling President Barrack Obama’s security clearance. This would be unprecedented. It has been a long standing that any living president had access [if they wanted it] to the latest security briefings [for example]. While they ate not a leader and of limited influence, they were given continued access when they met foreign leaders or even if the current president requires advise. In the case of possibly revoking Obama’s access this is all political.

Regarding the removal of the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and probably nine others former and current security official from his and President Obama’s administration, Trump tied his dislike of the Russian probe to them. But White House spokeswoman Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said it was his “erratic conduct and behavior”.

Trump joined supporters in Charleston, West Virginia, for a political rally to celebrate his administration’s proposal to allow states to set their own emissions standards for coal-fueled power plants. The move would reverse Obama administration efforts to combat climate change and marks the fulfillment of a campaign promise at the heart of his appeal.

The EPA formally unveiled the details of its new plan to devolve regulation of coal-fired power plants back to the states, one that is expected to give a boost to the coal industry and increase carbon emissions nationwide. If there is a bright side, the states [assuming they are sane] can keep the current regulations as is or limited modifications. Since 2007, coal production has dropped from around 1150 “short” tons in 2007 to about 750 “short” tons in 2017.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler argued the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan — the policy being replaced by this week’s proposal — “exceeded the agency’s legal authority” and argued the old regulations led to rising energy prices which have “hurt low and middle income Americans the most.” EPA says the rule could cut electricity prices by 0.2% to 0.5% around 2025. So for a $100 invoice, someone will save 20 cents or a bit more. Meanwhile, what about the pollution? Lung disease, asthma or premature deaths?

Giuliani used the line “truth isn’t truth” when he was trying to make the case that having Trump sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team wouldn’t accomplish much because of the he-said-she-said nature of witnesses’ recollections.

Giuliani cited as an example former FBI Director James Comey, who has said that Trump pushed him at a private meeting to ease up in the federal investigation of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has disputed that. But as a lawyer doesn’t he know that it is the court to decide who is saying the truth [with witnesses]? Did he actually go to law school?

Giuliani said that the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior Trump campaign officials and Russians “was originally for the purpose of getting information about (Hillary) Clinton,” but denied any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. If you remember, Trump and others said the meetings originally for adoption matters. This further hammers a nail against Donald Trump Jr. who stated it was for adoptions. Perjury?

Trump tweeted “… But virtually everybody is saying this, & when our Trade Deals are made, & cost cutting done, you haven’t seen anything yet!” Yes. Cost cutting usually means jobs cuts. “Companies are moving back to the U.S.A.” They moved out? Who came back?

Trump tweeted “Our Economy is setting records on virtually every front – Probably the best our country has ever done. Tremendous value created since the Election. The World is respecting us again! Companies are moving back to the U.S.A.” Yup. Records? After shutting down more than 5,000 stores in 2017, there have been more than 4,000 store closures announced so far this year [after 8 months].If the world was respecting the US, North Korea wouldn’t still be developing nuclear bombs, no need for tariffs, etc.

Is Trump getting nervous about the Mueller investigation?

Donald Trump said his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, should end special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, arguing that the ongoing probe “continues to stain our country”. Sessions recused himself and assigned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to handle the probe. Shouldn’t Trump know that?

Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, attempted to walk back the tweet saying that Trump was “expressing his opinion on his favored medium for asserting his First Amendment right of free speech. He said ‘should’ not ‘must’ and no Presidential order was issued or will be.” Except it is one thing for an ordinary person to make that comment, but different if supposedly the President of the US. Carries a bit of extra weight.

White House press secretary and puppet, Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said Trump was “stating his opinion” and “stating it clearly.”

So exactly how many times will Trump tweet or say the wrong words and his lackeys have to correct him? Seems everyone outside his administration and supporters believe “should” is a pretty clear directive. If you say to someone “You should buy a some milk.” Is that an opinion, a suggestion or [when coming from someone with authority] to do it.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!” tweeted Trump. This with just under 100 days before the mid-term elections. Trump claims [with no proof] that the US has the worst immigration policies in the world.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said previously that border wall funding would “probably” have to wait until after midterms and that a government shutdown is “not going to happen.”

In part of a Twitter-storm aimed at the Russian investigation general counsel Robert Mueller, Trump said “Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship…” It was not immediately clear what Trump meant when he claimed there were conflicts of interests involving Mueller.

The New York Times reported in January that Trump claimed a dispute over membership fees had prompted Mueller to leave a Trump golf club in Washington in 2011 when he was FBI Director. I don’t think Mueller is petty enough to hold a grudge for 6+ years on something so trivial.

Trump went after Mueller also for leaking Mueller mentioned the New York Times publisher’s [A.G. Sulzberger] private meeting with Trump. He then called the media “Very unpatriotic!” for putting many lives at risk [from what?]. The publisher wanted it off the record but went public after Trump did and the meeting was about Trump’s “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric”.

But it was Sulzberger who said that Trump’s any-journalist comments [such as calling them “the enemy of the people”] would endanger journalists, could lead to violence and eroding “a commitment to free speech and a free press”.

Despite Trump’s “failing New York Times” nickname, the Times is actually experiencing a surge in subscribers and popularity. Its profits increased by about two-thirds in the first quarter of 2018. Its “The Daily” podcast brings in millions of listeners each month. This after winning the election he lauded the paper as a “great, great American jewel”.

At a Tampa rally:

  • Trump blasted cancer-stricken Republican Sen. John McCain for his thumbs down vote helping to stall GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • He also renewed his theme that his campaign is responsible for department stores bringing back “Merry Christmas” signage. Unsure how he did that.
  • Trump boasted his tariff war was reviving American steel making [no proof there and its early].
  • He vowed to stand up for the National Anthem [it’s not like he can use an executive order to force players not the kneel].
  • On tariffs, “Our farmers are true patriots. And you know what our farmers are saying? It’s okay, we can take it – these are incredible people.” Yes, this after the government bailed them out to a tune of $12 billion.
  • Trump claimed that Americans needed their IDs “to buy groceries.” So the same should be for voting. Hmmmm.
  • At the end of the rally he said “I will leave now because I am boring you to death, thank you.” For once, he said something right.

John McCain’s daughter, Meghan, took to Twitter to respond to Trump’s comments: “Gross and pathetic – as usual.” Meghan McCain claimed that after a similar comment about her father in February, she had a phone call with Trump [and Melania] about her father’s cancer diagnosis and Trump assured her he wouldn’t disparage her father again. He lied… again.

Giuliani said Trump’s legal team was investigating the tape of Trump and Cohen and suggested it might have been doctored. But “He [Giuliani] expressly waived attorney client privilege last week and repeatedly and inaccurately — as proven by the tape — talked and talked about the recording, forfeiting all confidentiality,” said Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis.

Giuliani has said that Cohen has been lying for years. Funny how Giuliani has decided to say it now after the mess Cohen may have brought Trump and not [say] a year or two years ago – where if he said anything he said only positive things.

“Four months, they’re not going to be colluding with Russia, which I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians,” Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said. Former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired, said collusion “is not actually a thing that exists under the federal laws of the United States” but any American that conspired with a foreign government to commit crimes against the US is a crime let alone other crimes such as conspiracy.

Recently the intelligence and foreign policy chieftains mustered in the White House Briefing Room to promise what FBI Director Christopher Wray said would be “fierce determination and focus” to thwart Russian meddling in the midterm elections. Problem was that Trump was not around. Seems Trump still doesn’t believe them. Sometime after Trump said there was no Russian election interference – even though he said they were involved not even a couple of weeks ago!

Even 20+ months late. Trump think that by admitting there was Russian election interference, he thinks his election win wasn’t legitimate – as if he will lose his [so-called] presidency.

In a video posted by a pro-Trump web site, Donald Trump Jr. compared the present-day Democratic Party to Nazis and disparaged history taught by academics. “You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there … and you look at it compared to like the DNC platform of today…” He gave no facts on where they are actually alike but used a promo video Dinesh D’Souza [pardoned by his father].

“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” Trump tweeted. “They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more.” Notice how he had to put a positive spin in his favor at the end.

Trump argued that he “made them richer” and that the Koch network “is highly overrated.” The Koch brothers were already billionaires before they had anything to do with Trump and their net worth is a combined $103.4 billion. They didn’t even back him in 2016. This came after a senior official in the Koch network said “The divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage” recently.

An estimated $400 million was donated to GOP candidates by the Koch network in the 2016 election – and that’s without supporting Trump.

Trump again complaining how the US has had bad trade deal hurting farmers. And yet, statistics show in 2017, it was the third highest export year ever. Surplus of $21 billion. The downturn is because of low commodity prices and production surplus – not trade issues.

The Chinese government said that it would impose duties of 25%, 20%, 10% and 5% on the products if the Trump administration follows through on threats to tax $200 billion of Chinese goods. These new tariffs would affect about 38% of all American exports to China, which are worth about $170 billion in total.  China listed 5,207 US products that it would target in an effort to “safeguard its own legitimate interests.”

“Simpleton” Sanders said in a statement that “instead of retaliating, China should address the longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices.”

While tariffs have helped steel producers like Reliance Steel & Aluminum hauled in record sales, thanks to an 18% spike in prices and Nucor recorded the best second quarter in its history. Its profit more than doubled, it has hurt those who buy steel from them like General electric, 3M, Harley-Davidson, governments and others.

In a recent speech Trump said:

  • “Nobody thought we were going to be this good. … When I took over those numbers were bad, and they were heading in the wrong direction, because of regulation….” Economists say that the US economy wasn’t doing nearly as bad before Trump took office as he suggests.
  • “The Canadians you have a totally closed market … they have a 375 per cent tax on dairy products, other than that it’s wonderful to deal. And we have a very big deficit with Canada, a trade deficit.” Can’t be closed if there is NAFTA and even then TPP. Trump also repeated his claim that the US has a trade deficit with Canada, but that is true only in goods. When services are included, such as insurance, tourism, and engineering, the US had a $2.8 billion surplus with Canada last year. He forgets that the US government subsidizes their farmers to a tune of $12 billion and it’s more like 275%.

The US Treasury Department is sanctioning Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. “We’ve seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong,” Sanders said, calling Brunson’s detention “unfair and unjust.”

The Democrats blasted the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun, contending the hard-to-trace plastic weapons are a boon to terrorists and criminals, and threaten public safety. Eight states filed suit against the Trump administration over its decision.

Trump said in a tweet he was “looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public” and had already spoken to the NRA about it. Trump said the prospect “doesn’t seem to make such sense,” though it wasn’t clear if he knew that his own State Department had reached a settlement last month with the designer who first published downloadable instructions. Probably not.

Trump said he is willing to meet with Iran’s leadership, without preconditions, “whenever they want…. I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet,” Trump said. “I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet. I’m ready to meet whenever they want to…. No preconditions…. They want to meet, I’ll meet. Whenever they want.” Did you notice how he repeats himself?

You knew this was going to happen: The Trump administration announced a plan to revoke a signature Obama-era environmental regulation. The administration wants to freeze a rule mandating that automakers work to make cars substantially more fuel efficient.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation cited safety as one reason for the changes. They claimed the reduced standards would make new cars more affordable. EPA Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum says if more people buy new cars, it will lead to an increase in cleaner, safer cars on the road. [And more pollution.] Thirteen states, plus Washington, DC, have adopted California’s standards. Colorado announced plans to become the fourteenth.

The administration also proposed a withdrawal of California’s Clean Air Act preemption waiver. California has, for decades, had a waiver allowing it to set its own emissions standards because the state had distinct air quality issues. In 2007, a federal court allowed California to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, in particular carbon dioxide.

The Trump administration says immigrant advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union should be responsible for tracking down more than 500 parents who were separated from their children and deported without them. The ACLU says it is eager to help locate the parents but argued that the government “must bear the ultimate burden of finding the parents”. District Judge Dana Sabraw also said the ultimate responsibility is the Trump administration. “In reviewing the status report it appears that only 12 or 13 of close to 500 parents have been located, which is just unacceptable at this point,” Sabraw said.

Trump at the G6 + 1 plus other mayhem

So the big G7 summit is on in a town north of Quebec City [in Canada] and already there are problems at the G7. No not protester but a protester. Donald Trump has decided not to attend most of the Saturday sessions because he engaged in a bitter back-and-forth with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Twitter.

Trump was questioning why he would attend a G7 meeting where he’s outnumbered on key issues like trade and climate change. Some had already nicknamed it “G6 + One” [He’s the “One”] This is in reference to the days where Russia was invited but not quite a full member.

Coincidently, he is skipping sessions on climate change and the environment. He doesn’t believe in them – so no real loss there. An aide will take his place – which means some nobody.

Supposedly Trump said he needs the extra time to prepare for his North Korean meeting. But just days before he said he didn’t. As well, why would you agree to a meeting so close to the G7 summit?

Anyone surprised that Trump showed up at the G7 Summit later than expected?
Just prior to the beginning of the summit, Trump used the social media platform to accuse Canada of charging US customers with astronomical tariffs on dairy products.

“Tey didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!,” Trump whined like a little girl on Twitter. [Apologies to the little girls out there.] A few hours later, he added, “Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!”

He also accused that his host, Trudeau, is being “indignant.” Trudeau fought back saying “I’ve been firm, I’ve been clear, but I don’t think descending into insults is right for the way Canada engages with the world.”

Republican Sen. John McCain and former Vice President Joe Biden both blasted President Trump’s suggestion that Russia should be re-admitted to the G7. Russia’s membership suspended in 2014 after a majority of countries allied against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which Russia continues to hold.

Trump asserted an “absolute right” to pardon himself of any federal crimes but said he has no reason to do so because he has not engaged in any wrongdoing. “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Trump wrote on Twitter. He did not name any numerous legal scholars. Legal scholars differ on the issue of whether a president can pardon himself.

“He probably does,” said Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani if Trump has the ability to pardon himself. ‘He has no intention of pardoning himself, but he probably – not to say he can’t.” That’s not a definite answer.

Unsure if Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani ever really went to law school [or maybe he’s just losing it]. Giuliani said in an interview that Trump’s presidential power extends so far that “in no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted. … I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.” Giuliani also said that hypothetically Trump could have shot the former FBI director James Comey to end the Russia investigation and not face prosecution for it while in office.

Giuliani also said that President Trump “probably” has the power to pardon himself, but has no intention of doing so. Already experts are saying that is probably something that can’t be done. Some are claiming as chief law enforcement officer [is that even valid?] he has the right to do it.

As well, Trump should face no legal liability for his actions including the firing of Comey even though it would be an obstruction of justice.

Former President Richard Nixon took steps to examine the question during the Watergate scandal only to see his own Justice Department advise him that he could not do so on the grounds that “no one may be a judge in his own case.” So is Trump any different?

Giuliani might have inadvertently tipped his hand when he said that Trump should not testify before special counsel Robert Mueller because “our recollection keeps changing.”
In 2000, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a memo concluding that the job of the President is so important that he has effective immunity from being indicted and criminally prosecuted while in office. The Supreme Court, however, has not definitively resolved the question.

Giuliani’s comments came less than 24 hours after the revelation that the president’s legal team argued in a confidential January memo to Mueller that Trump could not have obstructed an FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election because, as president, he has total control over all federal investigations.

Sen. Ted Cruz was speechless for 18 seconds before sidestepping a question from a reporter about whether Trump can pardon himself.

Giuliani denied that the disclosure by Trump’s attorneys that Trump dictated a crucial statement on the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting — a reversal from past denials — constituted a lie, instead claiming it was a routine mistake.

Giuliani said that Mueller’s team includes “13 highly partisan Democrats … (who) are trying very very hard to frame him to get him in trouble when he hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office has accused Paul Manafort of attempting to shape potential witnesses’ testimony and has asked to send him to jail as he awaits his trial, according to a filing in DC District Court. Prosecutors accused Manafort and one of his associates of repeatedly contacting two witnesses in an attempt to get them to lie about the nature of work he directed on behalf of Ukrainian interests.

Manafort is currently out on house arrest and a $10 million unsecured bail, and is awaiting a trial in Virginia scheduled for late July and a trial in DC scheduled to begin in September.

Trump tweeted “As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of ‘Justice’ have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign?” Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg responded by tweeting “Donald, Nice selective memory. … You hired Paul because you were losing the delegate fight during the primary. If you stuck with Lewandowski, you wouldn’t have been the nominee. You’re lucky Paul worked for you.”

Prosecutors have filed a new indictment against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort that also names as a defendant Konstantin Kilimnik, a close business colleague of Manafort’s who prosecutors have said has close ties to Russian intelligence.

Giuliani says Trump’s decision to initially cancel a summit brought North Korea’s Kim Jong Un to “his hands and knees” to beg to reschedule the meeting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is breaking with Trump, agreeing with others who say there’s no evidence that the FBI planted a “spy” in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in an effort to hurt his chances at the polls. Both Ryan and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy attended a classified briefing last month following reports that the FBI used an informant in its Russian election meddling investigation to speak to members of the Trump campaign who had possible connections to Russia. Gowdy said afterward that the FBI was doing its duty.

Trump and Trudeau had a testy phone call on May 25 over new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration targeting steel and aluminum imports coming from Canada, including one moment during the conversation in which Trump made an erroneous historical reference.

Trudeau pressed Trump on how he could justify the tariffs as a “national security” issue. In response, Trump quipped to Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” referring to the War of 1812 [the White House was burned down in 2014]. The problem with Trump’s comments to Trudeau is that British troops burned down the White House during the War of 1812.

Trump has hinted at bilateral talks between the US and Canada and the US and Mexico instead of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But both Mexico and Canada want the trilateral agreement. Canadian officials confirm that months ago Trump personally assured Trudeau that Canada would likely be exempt from steel and aluminum tariffs. So another lie by Trump.

Trudeau has publicly denounced the “national security” justification for the new tariffs. “The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is, quite frankly, insulting and unacceptable,” said Trudeau.

Trump has repeatedly said he would never and should never have hired attorney general Jeff Sessions, called him “beleaguered,” “very weak” and “disgraceful,” and reportedly refers to the former Alabama senator as “Mr. Magoo”. At a FEMA briefing in which Trump and a number of his Cabinet officials were seated around a table, Trump when on and on praising each cabinet member on their job performance except Sessions who he said “Thank you, Jeff. Thank you very much.”

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt had a top aide seek a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel [unsure if actually received or paid] and perform other personal chores for him, including house-hunting and booking personal travel to a football game [supposedly paid $130 for a ticket where organization pay millions].

Federal ethics rule prohibit supervisors from directing their subordinates to carry out personal errands. Since arriving at EPA last year, the aide’s government salary jumped from $48,000 to $114,590. The aide has since resigned her position.

The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit has been canceled due to the controversy over standing for the National Anthem at NFL games, Trump announce. Many players from the team were not planning on attending the ceremony as a protest of Trump, his policies and his outspoken criticism of players who chose to kneel during the anthem. In response to Trump’s announcement, former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith called the move “a cowardly act.”

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a statement. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

“If it wasn’t a political stunt, they wouldn’t have planned to attend the event and backed out at the last minute,” White House press Secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said. White House blames “political stunt by the Eagles franchise”. Errr. No. Trump canceled the visit.

Fox News apologized after receiving a torrent of criticism over the network’s use of photos of various players for the Philadelphia Eagles kneeling in prayer, creating the misleading impression that they were demonstrating during the national anthem. The photos ran during a segment on the previous night, after Trump announced that he had uninvited the reigning Super Bowl champions from a traditional visit to the White House.

Trump said he wants to meet with NFL players and other athletes who kneel during the National Anthem so they can recommend people they think should be pardoned due to unfair treatment by the justice system.

Trump said he won’t be asking basketball stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry or their respective teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, to the White House after the NBA Finals. James, who has called Trump a “bum” in the past, said “no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite,” which Curry agreed with.

“I didn’t invite Lebron [sic] James and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team, but we have other teams that are coming,” Trump said. The conference final losers? The NHL’s Washington Capitals are invited [for now] even though some players have hinted they may not go. Unlike the NFL and NBA, many of the players in the NHL [including the Capitols] have a big chunk of their rosters filled with Canadians and Europeans.

Trump used Twitter this week to mark his 500th day in office. In an earlier tweet, he said he had “accomplished a lot – many believe more than any President in his first 500 days.” The president ticked off a series of accomplishments, including “Best Economy & Jobs EVER.” Who are the many?

After Trump pardoned Alice Johnson, who probably shouldn’t of received the sentence she got [Trump did something right!] and there are talks of further pardons. The wife of Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying about his Russian contacts, asked Trump to grant him a pardon. Right after maybe the family of Jesse James?

Trump seems to be on a pardon roll. He wants to pardon Muhammad Ali even though the athlete’s attorney said that is “unnecessary” because the Supreme Court overturned his previous conviction.

Trump suggested that a main reason the US Coast Guard was so busy rescuing people during Hurricane Harvey was that people were watching the storm on boats. The Coast Guard “saved 16,000 people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is,” in a comment he said at FEMA. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters he had “no information one way or another about” the President’s claim. One report says nearly 12,000 but that is with all agencies involved.

Trump is congratulating Republican John Cox for his second-place finish in California’s primary for governor, saying the “Trump impact was really big” and predicting a possible “big Red Wave” of Republican wins. He’s joking. Right? Cox still faces long odds in a state where Democrats are increasingly dominant.

The US Air Force has canceled a $24 million [yes, that much] contract for new refrigerators for Trump’s presidential jet. It was a sole-source contract. The Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.6 million contract to replace two of the five “cold chiller units” aboard the aircraft used by Trump.

Quietly, Kelly Sadler, the White House communications aide who made a imprudent comment about Republican Sen. John McCain’s health, was let go nearly a month after making the insensitive remark. Typical Trump administration tactics.

After Melania Trump finally showed up in public after taking about 3 weeks off for a kidney operation and recuperation, Trump tweeted that during his wife’s recovery, “they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse.” Of course, this is probably unlikely to be true. I heard nothing about these comments. Did you? [If Sanders did her actual job, she would of announced that Melania went in for an operation and what kind instead of all the suggestions of where she was.]

Giuliani told an audience that he does not think first lady Melania Trump believes that Trump had an affair with Stormy Daniels. He doesn’t think. As well “… a woman who sells her body for sexual exploitation I don’t respect,” Giuliani said. “Tell me what damage she suffered. Someone who sells his or her body for money has no good name.”

“Mr. Giuliani is an absolute pig for making those comments, he’s basically stating that women that engage in the adult film industry and other forms of pornography don’t have reputations and are not entitled to respect,” replied Daniel’s lawyer Michael Avenatti. Avenatti wants Giuliani fired for his comments.

Colin Kaepernick’s legal team is expected to seek subpoenas for Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other campaign officials relating to the quarterback’s collusion case against the NFL. The new move intends to explore NFL owners’ ties with Trump adding that several owners, as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, have already been deposed in the case.

With all the talk from Trump on saving or creating jobs in the US, his administration backtracked on ZTE from China [after a $1 billion fine plus some changes] which saves Chinese jobs and maybe a few in the US.