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.

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Trump going to a war zone?

Donald Trump said that vows to visit US troops in war zones, a remark that comes after he received widespread criticism for not visiting an American burial ground outside Paris, France, earlier this month and Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. Of course, this is the same man who said his tax returns would be released to the public after an “audit”. That was 22 months ago. Long audit.

As he departed for Florida to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday at his private club in Palm Beach, Trump said he’d soon correct the oversight. “I’m going to a war zone,” he said again in response to a reporter’s question about his support for the troops. Does he mean a war zone in Florida?

Trump won the White House on a platform of ending U.S. military commitments abroad, but he’s been bedeviled by many of the same challenges as his predecessors. More American troops are now deployed in conflict zones than when he took office. This in addition to thousands to the Mexican border.

Trump also drew criticism for his decision not to visit Arlington National Cemetery to mark Veterans Day, following his trip to Europe. He said later he “should have” visited the cemetery but was too busy with official business. His public schedule that day listed no events.

When asked by “Fox News Sunday” interview, why he hadn’t visited the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the two years he’s served as commander in chief, Trump said “Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned.” Well, if it’s like his tax audit at the beginning of 2017 that still hasn’t been “completed”….

Trump told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he doesn’t think visiting troops in a war zone is “overly necessary.” “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here,” he added. That’s true. He keeps on causing problems and is busy trying to fix them.

Not surprisingly, Trump used a Thanksgiving morning call with military members to weigh in on a wide variety of sensitive political topics [US-Mexico border, trade, Ivanka Trump’s Email issue, Saudi Arabia killing, judges he doesn’t like, etc.], a stark departure from typical holiday greetings from the commander in chief.

Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby said “The President’s conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means.”

“I made a tremendous difference in this country,” Trump said to the troops. “This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it and when you see it, we’ve gotten so much stronger people don’t even believe it.” So what did he do to make a difference?

Retired Adm. William McRaven stood by his previous statement that Trump’s attacks on the news media represent “the greatest threat to democracy” after Trump dismissed him as a “Hillary Clinton backer” in an interview that aired on Fox News. “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” McRaven, who commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden.

Trump also said that McRaven should of captured Bin laden long before he did. In fact, it was the CIA’s job to find where Bin Laden was hiding and McRaven’s job was to find Bin Laden but to capture him once found.

Trump told Fox News he does not want to hear the tape that allegedly contains audio of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing because it is “a suffering tape,” and said he has been briefed on its contents. At the same time he still believes the Crown Price over the CIA’s findings. Not surprising as well since Trump doesn’t back his own intelligence agencies.

Trump claims that Saudi Arabia would risk everything by causing problems with the world’s economy if he applied sanctions to them and any sanctions against Saudi Arabia will hurt US businesses. Yes, the all mighty dollar before anything else.

Trump signaled that he will not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [known as “MBS”] for the death and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump said that “our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” said Trump even though his intelligence agencies said MBS is clearly involved. Again Trump prefers to believe a probably killer than those who are protecting him and the country.

And then money is involved. “If we abandon Saudi it would be a terrible mistake.” He also said he was “not going to destroy the economy of our country” over Khashoggi by giving up arms deals to Saudi Arabia. He thinks backing Saudi Arabia is a way to counter Iran. Well, Saudi Arabia would counter Iran whether or not the U.S. backs them.

Trump continues to use various government agencies to fight his battles when someone disagrees with him. He at one point was thinking of opening up full scale investigations into James Comey and Hillary Clinton but those running the investigations refused. Even his lawyer warned him that it was an abuse of power and he could be impeached for that. I guess Trump think that he has his own “army” and he can order them to do whatever he wants.

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match. Trump, who has been auditioning some replacements, could push Kelly out faster than expected. Kelly hasn’t been happy and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen could be out soon as well.

Trump has floated possible replacements for Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers. But it seems Ayers is unpopular with aides at the White House. Ayers is an ambitious aide who has worked to insulate his current boss from the chaos of the West Wing, while also angling for a bigger job that would place him squarely in the middle of it. And a suck up and an inflated ego [like maybe his possible future boss.]

Even Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway opposed Ayers’ hiring as Pence’s chief of staff in 2017 where she erupted at then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was pushing for the move. Conway disputes those allegations, telling CNN: “I have zero beef with Nick Ayers.” Ayers was critical of Conway’s polling and wanted to oust her from the role as the campaign’s pollster in 2015 when Ayers joined Pence’s gubernatorial re-election campaign as a general consultant.

Chief Justice John Roberts made a rare statement pushing back against Trump after Trump again went after federal judges. Trump had slammed the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals again, this time after a judge from the Northern District of California — where cases get appealed to the 9th Circuit — issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from barring migrants who cross into the US illegally from seeking asylum.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Trump has been a frequent critic of the 9th Circuit, and just a few months into his presidency, he said he was considering breaking up the circuit that covers a slew of Western states and Guam.

Trump tweeted after Roberts’ first vote in favor of Obamacare in 2012, “Congratulations to John Roberts for making Americans hate the Supreme Court because of his BS.”

“Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster. … Judges must not Legislate Security and Safety at the Border, or anywhere else. They know nothing about it and are making our Country unsafe. ….. We want the Constitution as written!” tweeted Trump. No. Judges are there to make sure what is being done is acceptable to the laws of the country and the constitution and not turn the government into a dictatorship – the way it’s going.

Here is his big ego in action: Trump said that he “can’t imagine” anyone other than himself being named Time’s Person of the Year. The publication released the results of a reader poll to pick the Person of the Year. Trump finished tied for 13th with 2 percent of the vote.

Trump said the people who serve in his administration have gone on to be successful after leaving their positions, and pointed to former White House communications director Hope Hicks as an example. Yes, she is a good example, now at Fox as the executive vice president and chief communications officer, but what others?

Trump tweeted saying Democrats and Republicans “MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall.” This is unlikely as the majority of Democrats oppose his Trump Wall.

When he mentioned Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a tweet, he used a Schumer fan instead of the senator himself. Surprising since the number of times Schumer has been mentioned in his tweets.

Just days after CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press pass was returned to him after a judge granted the return of his access for 14 days, the white house may try again to revoke Acosta’s access by the end of the month. In response, CNN is asking the U.S. District Court for another emergency hearing. The judge did not rule on CNN’s argument that the revocation of Acosta’s press pass was a violation of his and the network’s First Amendment rights. In the end, the White House said that Acosta’s press pass has been “restored,” bowing to days of pressure and a federal lawsuit against the administration.

The White house is trying to gag some of the White house correspondents. Among the new rules:

  • Reporters may only ask “a single question” at a press conference.
  • Follow-ups will only be permitted “at the discretion of the President or other White House officials.” This has reporters upset already.
  • Reporters must “physically surrender” the mic when directed.

Violations of “any” of these rules “may result in suspension or revocation.” The correspondents’ association said it had “no role” in crafting what the White House sent out and have not agreed to the rules. “For as long as there have been White House press conferences, White House reporters have asked follow-up questions. We fully expect this tradition will continue.”

I can see it now: A reporter from Fox gets to ask his question and maybe a second or even a third without getting permission. Acosta actually is allowed to ask a question that Trump doesn’t like and when Trump does not answer, Acosta asks another question and is then escorted out of the White House.

Seems they never learn from other’s mistakes: According to emails released by the watchdog group, American Oversight, Ivanka Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants. The Presidential Records Act requires all official White House communications and records be preserved.

The Washington Post reported the White House conducted an investigation into Trump’s email usage and that she used her personal email address for much of 2017. So the white house hid this from the public. Her father pushed his followers to say “Lock her up!” regarding Hillary Clinton after she used a non-government Email account. He also used the phrase “Crooked Hillary” because of it.

I am going to guess that if the White House or Trump [the father] comments about it, it will be either a denial or not the same or similar issue.

When Trump was asked about the non-government server usage, she said she was not familiar with some details of the rules. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump lawyer said “While transitioning into government, until the White House provided her the same guidance they had to others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family.”

With the Democrats now controlling the House, you can be sure that this Email issue will be added to the long list of potential investigations by the House.

I wouldn’t consider the two email controversies [Trump and Clinton] the same. Clinton used her own mail server that was controlled by her or an associate. Unsure what mail server Trump was using but O would guess on a public server [which is less secure] like Hotmail or Gmail.

The New York state attorney general’s civil lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump and his three eldest children can proceed after Justice Saliann Scarpulla denied their motion to dismiss the case. The judge ruled that a sitting president can face a civil lawsuit in state court for actions not taken in his official capacity. That ruling puts Scarpulla in agreement with another recent ruling against Trump, a decision in the defamation lawsuit brought against him from a former contestant on “The Apprentice.”

A federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry. A policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point ‘”irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration law and the “expressed intent of Congress.” “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said the judge.

After Republicans lost the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Trump said in an interview with Fox News that these losses couldn’t be tied to him because he was not on the ballot. We knew that was coming. Yet. He was taking credit for the GOP wins in the Senate.

We know Trump is childish with a very huge ego. “So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” Trump wrote.

Special counsel Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and like many other Department of Justice appointees, he did not require Senate confirmation for the position. Does Trump even know the rules of governing a country?

Regarding the California forest fires, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said in an interview that although Trump claimed the European leader told him Finns rarely have forest fires because they “spend a lot of time raking,” he doesn’t recall discussing that with Trump when they met recently in Paris. He said that they did discuss the California wildfires when they met, and that he told Trump “we take care of our forests.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association is shelving its tradition of having a comedian roast the president and the press corps at its annual fundraising dinner next April. Instead they will have famed author Ron Chernow. In previous years, this was the big press event. Getting a ticket was very hard. I am guessing it will be easier this time. Especially if you can’t roast Trump. So much material to choose from.

Trump is suggesting he might attend next year’s White House Correspondents Dinner now that the event is no longer featuring a comedian. “Maybe I will go?” I hope Ron Chernow roasts him!

Trump deals with a bomber and fails

Donald Trump pointed the finger at his opponents and the news media for the turbulent national political environment, on the same day explosive devices were mailed to the Obamas, the Clintons, other public officials, actor Robert De Niro and CNN. A total of 14 were delivered in the New York area, Washington area, California and in Florida. All of them who have been targets of Trump.

“A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News,” he said in a tweet. “Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!” You laughing?

During a rally in Wisconsin, Trump promised to bring those responsible for mailing the explosive devices to justice and broadly condemned violence, without specifically naming the targets of the bombs. Trump took no responsibility for his own rhetoric — which has included attacks on news outlets and Democratic opponents.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says Trump could not have been more presidential in his response to the suspicious devices that have been sent around the nation. Yes, compared to his other previous responses. However, he did say anything immediately and waited quite a bit before he did. Maybe he was watching the coverage on Fox… or his favorite cartoon show.

Sanders also said that there’s a big difference between “comments made and actions taken.” She compared these bombs with the shooting of the 2017 shooting of Republican congressman Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter. How can she compare the two?

Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, who is prone to peddling conspiracy theories and is a prominent supporter of Trump, asserted without evidence that they were “Fake bombs–Fake Bombs. Who would possibly benefit by such fakery?” in a tweet and then removed it after immediate and widespread condemnation. Authorities have said that the bombs found in the packages were rudimentary, but functional.

High-profile conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested the culprit was a “Democrat operative” aiming to portray Republicans in the worst possible light ahead of the midterm elections. I’m surprised Trump didn’t use this “information”.

After the alleged bomber was caught but not charged, Trump said at a political rally in Charlotte, North Carolina “We have seen an effort by the media in recent hours to use the sinister actions of one individual to score political points against me and the Republican Party.”

Those remarks came just hours after Trump complained on Twitter that he was being blamed for the spate of mail bombs, claiming “CNN and others” were comparing it to 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing. It was unclear who he believes has made such comparisons. Trump’s critics have charged that his inflammatory rhetoric against Democrats and the press has created a climate for politically motivated violence.

“Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror,” former CIA director John Brennan tweeted. “Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act….try to act Presidential.”

Trump retreated from his stance that Saudi Arabia’s story about the killing of the journalist inside their Turkish consulate was credible but still gave a strong vote of confidence to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Trump said the evidence that so many of the crown prince’s close associates were involved in the killing did not convince him that MBS was to blame. Seems that Trump always chooses the wrong person.

Trump once again touted that the Saudis plan to buy $110 billion in military equipment, but many of those deals have yet to be formalized and some analysts consider the overall number fanciful. Trump also said that if the US doesn’t get the deals [aren’t they finalized?] the Russians or Chines would get the deals.

Trump now thinks the Saudis engaged in “the worst coverup ever” after the Saudi changed their story and now say the journalist was killed. That is until his administration gets investigated soon and still no sanctions.

Experts don’t believe the excuse. Why not admit the death instead of bringing in a crew to dispose of the body. It also sounds like he will not “severely” punish Saudi Arabia because it will kill the thousands of jobs in the US if arms deals are canceled.

White House officials said there has been a deliberate effort during the controversy to sideline Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, who has developed a strong relationship with the Saudi crown prince. Trump has supposedly grown frustrated with Kushner.

“Jared doesn’t do business with Saudi Arabia. They’re two young guys. Jared doesn’t know him well or anything,” Trump said. “They are just two young people. They are the same age. They like each other I believe. Jared has done a very good job. I think he’ll make peace with Israel.” Interesting. He says Kushner doesn’t know him well but Trump is describing them as if they are good friends.

Trump told reporters that he intended to withdraw the country from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed by the Soviet Union and United States in 1987 during the final years of the Cold War. The agreement has helped eliminate thousands of land-based missiles from the US and Russia, and Trump’s plans have raised concerns of a renewed arms race between the two nations.

Trump said he was pulling out of the treaty because Russia has “been violating it for many years.” US and NATO officials have long criticized Russia for testing a cruise missile that they say is banned under the accord. The Russian government has said it would be forced “to take measures” if the US began developing new missile systems. Another issue id that China could build them as they are not part of the pact.

With the increase in number of El Salvadorians, Hondurans and Guatemalans getting ever close to the Mexico/US border, now numbering 7000, Trump threatened to cut off aid to those countries. It seems that cutting aid and adding tariffs is the only thing he knows how to do.

Trump claimed he would declare a “national emergency” over an issue that has frequently piqued his attention — migrant caravans moving toward the United States through Central America and Mexico. He also claims that “unknown Middle Easterners” are “mixed” in with the caravan. Yet there have been no reports, in the press or publicly from intelligence agencies, to suggest they are embedded in the caravan.

White House press secretary Sanders said that the administration “absolutely” has evidence of Middle Easterners in the caravan, “and we know this is a continuing problem.” However, she did not provide the specific evidence supporting that claim. Uh huh.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, upon arrival at the border, the caravan asylum-seekers would surrender themselves to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Providing they have not had a previous asylum claim rejected by the US, they are eligible to make an affirmative asylum request. So all Trump can do is block the border but eventually it does have to open up and they will come in.

Trump has repeatedly tied the Democrats to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. At a Houston rally, “The Democrats have launched an assault on the sovereignty of our country, the security of our nation and the safety of every American.” And yet almost 2 months into his term, has he corrected anything? He has the majority in the House and Senate.

China denounced a U.S. newspaper report that it is listening to Trump’s phone calls, and suggested he exchange his iPhone for a cellphone made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei. A 2012 report by a congressional panel said Huawei’s equipment was a security risk.

Trump even backed China by saying in a tweet “The New York Times has a new Fake Story that now the Russians and Chinese (glad they finally added China) are listening to all of my calls on cellphones.”

As if he doesn’t think declining revenue [thanks to his tax cuts to business] will hurt his administration, Trump is planning to woo voters to the Republicans by giving a 10% tax cut to the middle class. Call it a pre-election bribe. As Congress is out until after elections, there won’t be any vote until then.

“By the way, a lot of people in California don’t want them, either. They’re rioting now. … A lot of these sanctuary cities you’ve been hearing about in California and other places, but California, they want to get out, they’re demanding they be released from sanctuary cities,” said Trump recently at a rally in Nevada. Rioting? If you believe that I have a farm to sell you 500 miles east of Bermuda.

After former Vice President Joe Biden made a comment about Trump looking out for himself, Trump responded at a rally with “He never had more than one percent. So we call him either Sleepy Joe Biden or One Percent. Which is better?” One percent of what?
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Wednesday that President Donald Trump “is a liar” and that he “should probably dial down the lying.” The guy is peddling his new book “Trump: The Blue-Collar President”.

Trump tweeted. “I’m picking the biggest stadium in Texas we can find. As you know, Ted [Cruz] has my complete and total Endorsement. His opponent is a disaster for Texas – weak on Second Amendment, Crime, Borders, Military, and Vets!” The rally will take place at Kyle Field in College Station which can hold maybe 102,000. It will look a bit embarrassing if there are plenty of empty seats. Trump also says the same words about every opponent. “Weak on….”

Trump is laying the groundwork for a possible fraud excuse if his party loses badly when he tweeted “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING. Cheat at your own peril. Violators will be subject to maximum penalties, both civil and criminal!”

In one study, Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt tracked US elections from 2000 to 2014 in search of “specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls.” How many examples did he find? Exactly 31 — out of more than 1 billion instances. 31! In the 2016 election, in which more than 135 million votes were cast, there were a total of four documented cases of voter fraud.

Remember that tax break the Trump administration gave to [mostly] the wealthy Americans? The federal deficit is up 17% to $779 billion for the fiscal year, the most since 2012. While the administration thought the rich would pass along the cuts to their businesses, revenue has dropped.

Ah. The economy is doing so well in the US under Trump. Kmart had 2100 stores in 2002. They are down to 360 stores with 110 stores about to close or have.

Last month, the Washington Post’s fact-checking team documented what it called a “tsunami of untruths” uttered by Trump over a two-day period that brought his total number of false or misleading claims past 5,000 on his 601st day in office.

Richard Pinedo has been sentenced to six months in prison for establishing American bank accounts using stolen identities for Russians attempting to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The accounts were used to funnel money into the US to be used to pay for ads with PayPal. In his plea deal, Pinedo admitted to one count of identity fraud. He is cooperating with federal investigators.

Singling out the new Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis (EI-ISAC) Center as the fastest growing ISAC in history, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the network of sensors established by the ISAC and the sharing network that is in place with more than 1,000 governments signed up so far. The department is ready for the mid-term elections against cyberattacks. Well if there are reports that there were cybersecurity issues, she should resign.

So if Trump says that the Russians did not meddle in the US elections, he is slowly been proven otherwise. Of course he will then say that the Democrats were involved but he still won the election [even with the Russians and Democrats joining “forces”].

A Florida man accused of groping a passenger on Southwest Airlines told an FBI agent after his arrest that the “President of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts,” according to a criminal complaint. I’m surprised this probably hasn’t happened sooner.

To date more than $150 million US has been spent on 280,000 immigration-focused ads in this election cycle which is five times what was spent on similar spots during the 2014 midterms.

A survey released by the Pew Research Center asked likely voters to identify the most important issues facing America. Democrats said health care, gun violence and ethics in government. Republicans said illegal immigration, and to lesser extent drug addiction, and not much else.

A bit of humor. At an interview:

  • “What did you do at the Washington Post?”
  • “I was working full time with plenty of overtime, checking what Trump said during his speeches.”
  • “That must of kept you quite busy.”
  • “A full time job and then some. I need a change in scenery. Very stressful.”
  • “So working in the cafeteria as a bus boy?”

 

Wow. Another busy Trump week

At a rally in July, Donald Trump said: “And we will say, ‘I will give you [Sen. Elizabeth Warren] a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian … we’ll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no but we will hold it for the debates.” Now after DNA test prove that Warren has Native American ancestry he says “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.”

Trump can now really call Warren “Pocahontas”. He was using that term after she claimed for the last 6 years she has Native American ancestry but only now decided to take the test. It is suspected that it will further her bid to run for President in 2020. She now leads the Democrat’s potential nominees.

“Pocahontas (the bad version), sometimes referred to as Elizabeth Warren, is getting slammed…. She took a bogus DNA test and it showed that she may be 1/1024, far less than the average American. Now Cherokee Nation denies her, “DNA test is useless.” Even they don’t want her. Phony!,” Trump’s tweeted.

Except the Cherokee Nation hasn’t objected and she never asked for any type of Native American status. “Slammed”? By whom except this idiot. He also called her to apologize. Seems it is his way of not paying the $1 million he betted on. As well I guess the professor of genetics at Stanford and adviser to Ancestry and 23 and Me is fake to him.

[Some Native Americans have said that she hasn’t helped the Native Americans in any case. It could be said that she added her ancestry only to gain a few extra votes. If you are looking to do that shouldn’t you be looking after their interests?]

So Trump has received information regarding the missing and possibly murdered Washington Post journalist. He announced that he will speak to the Saudi king within 24 hours. Why wait that long? Talking to the king instead of the crown prince shows how serious it could be. [Plus the crown prince may have a bit of a temper.]

Trump said he spoke to the Saudi king who “firmly denied any knowledge” of what happened to the Saudi journalist and dissident. Trump now believes “rogue killers” may have killed the journalist, suggesting that was a possible explanation the king offered up during their conversation.

He says that if Saudi Arabia is involved there will be “severe” punishment but won’t kill any arms deals. Maybe sanctions against the government and anyone involved. Ah the power of money. Later, some threats were removed but the Saudi stock market took a hit as most companies on that exchange took a big hit.

“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!” tweeted but he made millions selling apartments in his New York buildings to the kingdom, and the Trump Organization has benefited from Saudi business at its hotels in Washington, New York and Chicago. And why would he add Russia to his tweet?

Now there is talk that Saudi Arabia may announce that he actually was killed while interrogated [or is that “interviewed”]. And I’m sure after Trump’s threats, there won’t be any punishment.

Trump said “it certainly looks” like the journalist is dead. But, Trump said he is “waiting for the results” of investigations being conducted by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, after which he pledged to make “a very strong statement.”

Asked what consequence Saudi leaders would face if they are found to be responsible, he replied: “It will have to be very severe. It’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens.” Yes, “bad” like a slap on the diplomatic wrist because he knows he can’t upset the Saudis too much without the Us paying dearly economically. Look how they went after Canada because of a simple tweet.

Well, it was announced that the journalist is dead. And the world is waiting for Trump’s “severe” punishment.

Among what trump said in an interview for 60 minutes:

  • Russian President Vladimir Poutine is “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country.”
  • “They [Russia] meddled [in the 2016 election]. But I think China meddled, too. And I think other countries …”
  • Trump said he knew about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s human rights violations, but that his efforts have resulted in fewer threats to the United States.
  • “I think something’s happening [regarding climate change]. Something’s changing, and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made. ….. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t want to be put at a disadvantage.” Until this he has generally said that climate change is a hoax.
  • Pressed about scientists who have said climate change is worse than ever, Trump said, “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.” Yes. Scientists are busy with politics more than science.
  • “I’m not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn’t matter. We won” after a comment about Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford lying. I thought Kavanaugh won the confirmation.

After their interview with Trump, 60 Minutes has said they cut any Trump answer or comment that they couldn’t independently verify. Must have been plenty!

Of course many of the comments above and those I didn’t include haven’t been proven.

The ever revolving front door of the administration. Trump said in an interview that he was unsure how long Defense Secretary James Mattis planned to stay in his administration. “Well, I don’t know,” Trump said when asked whether the Pentagon chief would be leaving. “I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth.” He didn’t know that when he was hired?

Already Trump has hinted that he will take credit if the Republican party does well in the mid-terms in just over 2 weeks but at the same time he won’t be taking the blame for any major loss. He claims he is not running to be elected. Meanwhile he has been doing quite a few rallies introducing candidates and interviews [see below]. His way of preparing for the worse.

In contrast, when the Democratic party got trounced in one of his two mid-term elections, President Obama did take the blame.

Russians working for a close ally of Vladimir Poutine engaged in an elaborate campaign of “information warfare” to interfere with the midterm elections, the Justice Department’s prosecutors announced that they had charged a woman in an effort “to spread distrust towards candidates for US political office and the US political system,” prosecutors said.

The woman managed millions of dollars for a company owned by Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch who was previously indicted on charges of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, to finance foreign influence activities directed at the United States.

In an interview with Associated Press:

  • Trump still thinks it could be “rogue killers” who killed the journalist but how did they get access into the Saudi Consulate?
  • “We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way” except it wasn’t a trial and there was no court or jury.
  • “Look, I’m 48 and 1 in the primaries, and actually it’s much higher than that…” What score is that? Those he endorsed? If so, I am sure most were wins even before the primary took place.
  • “No, I think I’m helping people.” In which Trump rejects that if Republicans lose control of the House or Senate, he will have any blame to bear for it.
  • “And I was getting literally tens of thousands of people, also, more than Hillary in the same location.” He’s still going back to the elections 2 years ago. He still considers crowd size an indicator of popularity. I have prefer a specific candidate or party but I don’t go to rallies.
  • “I would say, without question, first two years of office, I’ve had the most successful two years in the history of this country as a president.” This is, of course, totally unverifiable given that it’s difficult to know what Trump means by “most successful.”
  • “Oh, absolutely he’s lying. And Michael Cohen was a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work…. He represented me very little. It’s a very low-level. And what he was is also a public relations person.” Michael Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer and the guy who fixed the problems no one else wanted to or could for more than a decade in Trump world.
  • “He wasn’t in trouble for what he did for me; he was in trouble for what he did for other people.” Cohen testified under oath that he coordinated at the behest of and in coordination with Trump for two campaign finance violations.
  • “….I have a natural instinct for science.” Didn’t know he was into science. Maybe he is a professor with a PhD in all sciences from Trump University.
  • “And even people that are not my friends say that was a horrible thing that he did to the president, a horrible thing…. He should be ashamed of himself for doing it.” This about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself in the Russia probe.

Trump went a bit nuts when he found out that 3200 [and growing] Central Americans were making their way slowly through Central America to reach the US. He warned countries along their path that if they don’t stop these migrants, he would cut off their foreign aid. He then told Mexico that he would seal the US/Mexico border and then threatened to new NAFTA, USMCA.

“The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border. All Democrats fault for weak laws!” Hmmmm. He’s been in power for almost 2 years and are still blaming for issues that he can’t fix or doesn’t have the political strength to do so. He is also claiming that these migrants [mostly women and children according to reports] and criminals.

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match.

Trump threatened to shut down the southern border, took Bolton’s side during the argument. Bolton favors a harder line approach to the issue and criticized Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the argument. Nielsen used to serve as Kelly’s deputy when he ran DHS. Bolton reportedly said Nielsen needed to start doing her job, which incensed Kelly.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders pushed blame onto Democrats in a statement, insisting that her colleagues are “not angry at one another.” “We are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis.” Seriously? The Republicans control the House and Senate. They are disorganized.

“They should be ashamed for pushing an open borders agenda and are only doing this for strictly political reasons. Despite us having the worst laws in the world and no help from Democrats, our Administration is doing a great job on the border.” She said. And again. Almost 2 years and the administration has fixed nothing. Stop blaming the Democrats.

Trump finally tours the damage that was done by Hurricane Michael – over a week since the storm came though. Probably too busy with rallies and golf.

A federal judge has dismissed adult film star Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump. Daniels sued Trump after he said in a tweet that her story of a man threatening her not to come forward with her story of her alleged affair with Trump was “a total con job.”

Trump has framed the 2018 midterms elections as a choice between Republican law and order and Democratic “mobs.” In a new line for the campaign, he said “Democrats create mobs. Republicans create jobs.”

Trump has raised more than $100 million for a re-election battle that is more than two years away, giving him a massive financial advantage over a crowded field of potential Democratic contenders jockeying to challenge him in 2020. Small-dollar contributions of $200 or less represent nearly 98% of the money he collected during the third quarter of the year, campaign officials said.

In a rally in Montana, Trump said:

  • “But a lot of money has been passing to people to come up and try and get to the border by Election Day, because they think that’s a negative for us….” They are getting paid supposedly by the Democrats. He later claimed, they were paid by George Soros, the liberal billionaire.
  • “You have some hardened, bad people coming in.” Again, with no proof, but reports show plenty of women and children.
  • “You know, I just walked in, and a big, strong guy grabbed me. And he was almost crying. It happens every time. And many times. And he said, sir, ‘Mr. President, thank you so much for saving our country.'” At every rally, it seems there is a big guy crying and hugging him.
  • “We have the hottest economy on Earth. People are moving back in.” Yes. Global warming is causing people to stay in doors.
  • “But maybe they’re at the State Department. They could very well be at the Department of Justice…” again 2 years later, Trump is now whining that Hillary Clinton’s Email are being kept by one or two departments without his knowledge.
  • “Justice Kavanaugh, number one in his class at Yale” except Yale doesn’t have class rank.
    Trump praised Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter during his campaign last May, saying “any guy who can do a body slam … he’s my guy” and made a gesture mimicking a body slam.
  • “But all of a sudden are Republicans making big progress. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in that race.” Yes, for the California governor’s race. A Los Angeles Times poll that came out two days ago showed Democrat Gavin Newsom with a 23-point lead over Republican John Cox. The Republicans will win the governor’s race!

Robot versus women in Saudi Arabia

Life in Saudi Arabia for a isn’t great for women.

Until recently, women couldn’t drive. They are required to cover their head. They can’t own property. They are escorted by a male relative. Their father gives them away to their future husband with no say. Saudi Arabia is know to have less than a stellar human rights record.

Then came Sophia. She isn’t human. She is Artificial Intelligence.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia actually granted citizenship to Sophie, a robot, last week during a program at the Future Investment Initiative, a summit that links very rich Saudis with inventors hoping to shape the future.

“Thank you to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the country’s newest citizen said. “It is historic to be the first robot in the world granted citizenship.”

She wears no headscarf or is accompanied by a male guardian [does she have relatives?].
Saudi law doesn’t allow non-Muslims to get citizenship. Did she convert?

Saudi Arabia doesn’t grant citizenship to the foreign workers, not even families that have been in the country for generations.

Sophia has graced the cover of a fashion magazine. She has driven one of Audi’s autonomous cars. She said she could do a better job as U.S. president than Donald Trump at a conference in Geneva hosted by the United Nations. [Who can’t?] She even tells jokes. [Was the Trump jab a joke?]

You can see her on Jimmy Fallons’s show here at roughly 2:15.

 

 

Iran fails to protect an embassy again

Recently Saudi Arabia executed 47 inmates which included Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as well as three other Shiite dissidents and a number of al-Qaida militants.

Not surprising Shiite majority areas of the Middle East – primarily in Iran of course – are protesting the execution of al-Nimr.

As well Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the execution and said there would be grave consequences for Saudi Arabia. He also complained that the west hasn’t condemned the execution but at least some foreign leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have spoken out against the execution.

Propoganda by Ali Khamenei?

The Iranian government has said it has arrested 40+ protesters and branded them as extremists but I’m suspecting that they’ll be free very soon.

Shiite dominated Iran and Sunni dominated Saudi Arabia has always been the leaders of their respective branches of Islam and has used their influence to push their agenda.

For example, Iran has been backing the Shiite dominated Syria and their dictator Bashar al-Assad. Saudi Arabia is of course against Assad.

So it is no surprise that in Iran, protesters stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy to protest the execution. This isn’t the first time as “students” broke into the American embassy in the late 1970s to start the hostage crisis there.

See a pattern?

The embassy is protected by the UN and various international laws. It is also the sovereign soil of the country that has the embassy. The host country [in this case Iran] is supposed to protect the embassy.

In this case, protesters stormed Saudi Arabian land against international law. So once again, Iranian security forces did nothing until after it was too late.

With some lightly thawing of diplomatic issues between Iran, the United States and other countries, those other countries should be cautioned on actually opening an embassy in Iran.