Redacted Mueller Report released

A redacted but more detailed version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was finally released.

One section is damning as it does not exonerate him from obstruction of justice — the charge at the heart of Presidents Nixon’s and Clinton’s impeachment processes. The Mueller team found multiple instances where Donald Trump tried to stifle a legitimate investigation into his own conduct. Very often the only thing that saved him were advisers who wouldn’t do what he wanted done.

Much of the news we have been reading was accurate, not fake — about the Trump Tower project, about the contacts between campaign officials and individuals connected with Russia, and about the President’s efforts to fire Mueller.

In the report:

  • Mueller concludes that Russian operatives did interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign by hacking into the computers of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and releasing stolen emails to WikiLeaks, as well as by disparaging Clinton and promoting Trump in an organized social media campaign.
  • The report also makes note of “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.”
  • Mueller wrote his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
  • Russian government operatives and business leaders continued to try to woo the Trump team following the election.
  • Mueller wrote that written answers Trump provided his team were deemed “inadequate,” but prosecutors decided not to press him further, which would have meant issuing a subpoena and likely starting a long legal battle if the president refused to grant a formal interview.
  • Investigators were unable to get “a complete picture of the activities undertaken by subjects of the investigation,” Mueller wrote. A number of reasons were cited for this, including people refusing to give information that would incriminate themselves, witnesses providing “false or incomplete” testimony, and other witnesses deleting emails or otherwise not retaining relevant communications.

Multiple Trump aides and advisors refused to do requests from Trump that they knew would be illegal or cause further problems. This includes requests to fire Mueller or find ways to slow the investigation down.

Mueller added that Trump “does not have immunity after he leaves office” and that his team “conducted a thorough factual investigation in order to preserve the evidence when memories were fresh and documentary materials were available.” The wording raises the remote specter of possible future criminal exposure for Trump when he is no longer in the White House. It isn’t the only criminal inquiry looming over him.

Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice demonstrated that they couldn’t be independent with Barr’s biased interpretation of the report according to some.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, issued a subpoena for the unredacted report as Congress escalates its investigation of Trump.

Mueller’s report provides fresh evidence of Trump’s interference in the Russia investigation and challenges lawmakers to respond.

Trump, taking a public victory lap, declaring at a White House event that he was having “a good day” after the report was released. Did he read a good comic book in the washroom again?

Some of Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill were satisfied, without reading the report, that Trump came out a clear winner — exonerated because he was not prosecuted.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said “the report itself is nothing more than an attempt to rehash old allegations” and insisted that “the results of the investigation are a total victory for the president.” Unsure what report he read. Did he get his law degree out of a cracker jack box?

“We’re accepting apologies today, too,” White House adviser Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway told reporters, adding that Trump watched Barr, talked to his lawyers and was in “a great mood.”

Trump went after Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar when Trump retweet of a video that purports to show the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The text shown was placed out of context. Democrats have criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence. Security was added to Omar and her staff.

The White House defended Trump, saying that he has a duty to highlight Omar’s history of making comments that others find offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker. But the retweet was later pulled particularly after there were threats against Omar’s life [one individual in New York was arrested already].

In the video she said “some people did something” [instead of using a word like terrorists]. But President George W. Bush also used the word “people” just days after 9/11.

“The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way,” said White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders. Omar has made some comments about Israel and Jews in the past but have stopped making them. Unsure what Sanders means by “continues” as if it is still happening.

When the fire in the cathedral in Paris was raging, Trump had commented that they should use water bombers to put out the fire. Diplomatically [something Trump knows little about], in a tweet, French fire security authorities said by using a water bomber [or equivalent], the water would cause further infrastructure damage with the force of the water. But what do they know….

It took a bit over 2 years for Trump to veto his first legislation and under a month to veto his second when he did so by vetoing legislation to end the US involvement in the war in Yemen.

The European Union has threatened tariffs on US goods including cheese, ketchup and fish because of a long-running dispute over aircraft subsidies. The bloc released a list of American products worth around $20 billion that could be targeted over US subsidies given to Boeing. Not good for Heinz-Kraft.

Sanders said that she doesn’t think congressional Democrats are “smart enough” to review Trump’s tax returns should they succeed in obtaining the documents. “My guess is most of them don’t do their own taxes, and I certainly don’t trust them to look through the decades of success that the President has and determine anything,” she said. So is she saying most Republicans do their own taxes?

Canada and Japan has formally joined a German-French coalition aimed at saving the international world order from destruction by various world dictators and autocrats — and Trump.

Trump already managed to pull in $30 million in his first 90 days of this year for his campaign re-election. For the Democrats [remember that there are at least 15 candidates]. Bernie Sanders has pulled in $18 million after 41 days and Kamala Harris has pulled in $12 million.

At least 3 FBI web sites were hacked recently and downloaded the contents of each web server. The hackers then put the data up for download on their own website. The spreadsheets contained about 4,000 unique records after duplicates were removed, including member names, a mix of personal and government email addresses, job titles, phone numbers and their postal addresses.

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Trump goes to the United Nations

Donald Trump at the United Nations. You know what that means.

Trump arrived late. [Surprised? He also arrived late at the last G7.] So, at the General Assembly, forcing a last-minute scheduling switch, then received polite applause but also blank stares as he took his blustery brand of “America First” policies to the annual General Assembly.

He was unapologetic about his decisions to remove the US from the international Iran nuclear accord and object to UN programs he believes are contrary to American interests.

Trump claims his “administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history” of the United States. Some world leaders in the crowd chuckled and some broke into outright laughter.

Fox News decided not to include the laughter portion on their web site and Twitter feed. Meanwhile, Trump claimed after his speech, he intentionally added this section so he could add some humor.

Trump also said “Moving forward we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and frankly our — our friends.” How he defines respect? I would guess where the US has a trade surplus.

“As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority,” he said. The US is boycotting the Human Rights Council, arguing it overlooks abuses by some and serves as a venue for anti-American and anti-Israeli action.

Trump said about North Korea, “there have been no tests, no nuclear tests, no rockets, no missile launches….” But he said nothing about development of rockets.

When Trump chaired the UN Security Council, he claimed [with no proof] that China – not Russia – is planning to disrupt the upcoming mid-term elections. I guess we have a preview of what Trump will say when he loses the House and/or Senate in November.

For trade issues, Trump told world leaders “we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals.” Singling out China for its trade abuses and theft of US intellectual property, Trump said “we will no longer tolerate such abuse.”

Trump tweeted that “despite requests,” he has no plans to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. But in an interview Rouhani said “Not this year, nor last year. We have never made such a request for a meeting with the President of the United States”. But US officials said Trump is not seeking a meeting with him but is not opposed to talking if Iran requests a session.

Trump is getting into meeting denial habits. He was asked at a press conference if he was asked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a meeting. Trump said no because Canada’s tariffs are too high. Trudeau’s office said Trudeau never asked for a meeting.

During a free-wheeling solo press conference that lasted more than an hour, Trump again claimed that former President Barack Obama was close to starting a catastrophic conflict with North Korea, telling reporters that if he “wasn’t elected, there would have been a war” as his predecessor was close to “pressing the trigger.”

Trump also claims by implying that Obama had “essentially” told him so directly in a Fox News interview. But those who worked in the previous administration say Trump’s assertion is simply untrue.

Interesting to note that Trump is pinning all his hopes on Brett Kavanaugh. The longer he keeps Kavanaugh as his nominee the less the chances are that the senate can confirm another nominee in case Kavanaugh is dropped.

With the possibility of the Democrats taking control of the senate in November, the probably of the Democrats allowing a hard right justice nominee as a Supreme Court justice is very unlikely. With this, it could push back a right wing agenda including the possibility of the sinking of Roe versus Wade, for example.

With the latest allegations against Kavanaugh, the Trump administration and senior Republicans are trying to still defend Kavanaugh.

Trump sought to discredit the second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who is accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct by saying she was “messed up” and “drunk” at the time of the alleged incident. He also said he believes Democrats are masterminding “a con game” against his Supreme Court nominee.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders said that Trump is open to having Kavanaugh’s second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, testify. The question is whether or not that is Trump actual view.

Trump said the third accuser is just like the other two – either out to kill Kavanaugh’s nomination or a Democratic party plot.

There was a call from the American Bar Association to slow the vote on Kavanaugh until the FBI can do a full background check. White House spokeswoman Sarah “Simpleton”  Sanders told reporters Friday that Kavanaugh has already “been through six separate background investigations by the FBI.”

Personal information of US senators Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham, and Orin Hatch appeared on their Wikipedia pages while questioning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a judiciary hearing.

After Senator Jeff Flake pushed for an investigation by the FBI into Kavanaugh and his 5 accusers, Trump ordered a limited, week-long FBI probe of the allegations against Kavanaugh, at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was a 180-degree turn from his previous statements about making such a move.

Remember how much Trump “liked” the FBI, so does he actually trust them or would go after them if the investigation shows Kavanaugh did indeed do what he is accused of by at least one of the 5 accusers. Also surprising he called for the investigation right away instead of waiting one or more days to reduce the amount of time the FBI can investigate.

For the Republican party, a positive outcome for them could help get some on the fence Republicans and Democrats to vote in favor of Kavanaugh. For the Democrats, it could help prove or give more doubt that Kavanaugh did indeed do what he is accused of. In addition, Kavanaugh’s friend, Mark Judge, can finally give testimony.

For the accusers, Kavanaugh, Judge and others, if any of them end up lying, they could be headed to be charged with numerous offences including perjury [up to 5 years in prison]. If Kavanaugh lied, it could also be big trouble for Trump.

The proposed rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security through the Trump administration could make immigrants seeking to enter the United States ineligible for visas or green cards if they are deemed likely to receive certain public benefits once they come to the country. The public benefits includes public housing and food stamps equivalent to a certain monetary threshold.

A federal judge in Washington, DC, ruled that a lawsuit brought by more than 200 Democrats in Congress against Trump over foreign payments to his business can proceed. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and the other members allege in the lawsuit that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution by not seeking their approval for his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani flatly stated Trump would not answer any questions from the special counsel about obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation in writing or in an interview.

Other members of Trump’s legal team say Giuliani’s version of events was wrong. Another pair of key attorneys Trump, Jane and Marty Raskin, were busy trying to coordinate calls and continue to do so with a lawyer on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

The House is set to vote on a massive spending package that funds a large section of government and aims to avert a shutdown, just weeks before the midterm elections. Interesting. The Senate overwhelmingly supported it [bipartisanship!] and the House is expected to pass it easily. But, you guessed it, Trump has sent mixed signals sent over the bill in recent weeks. The Trump Wall isn’t included in the bill. Tweeting, Trump recently called this “ridiculous” spending bill.

Eventually Trump signed a massive spending package that funds a large section of government and averts a shutdown. The bill includes a continuing resolution that will fund remaining unfunded parts of government until December 7.

In a tweet, Trump used the word “Acquisitions” instead of “accusations”. Hmmmm. Add to the list of other tweeting goofs.

Trump rejected any notion that his tariffs posed an economic risk, echoing assertions by his administration that consumers would barely notice the new taxes.

From Ford to Walmart to Procter & Gamble, a growing number of iconic American companies are warning that Trump’s tariffs on US imports are raising their costs and prices. Further warnings from Coca-Cola, Gap, Macy’s, etc.

Ford’s CEO claims that the company buys most of its metals from US producers, which have raised prices this year as a result of the tariffs on foreign competitors. US producers can gauge Ford by raising their prices but keep it just below import steel with tariffs. Steel prices are up 25 per cent since the tariffs began.

The Trump administration imposed new 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, spanning thousands of products, including food seasonings, baseball gloves, network routers and industrial machinery parts. China retaliated immediately with new taxes of 5% to 10% on $60 billion of US goods such as meat, chemicals, clothes and auto parts.

The latest round of US tariffs is set to increase at the end of the year from 10% to 25%. China hasn’t yet spelled out how it will respond to that. Trump has also threatened tariffs on another $267 billion of Chinese products. That would mean the US measures effectively cover all China’s annual goods exports to the United States.

Thousands of companies have asked the government to exclude certain products from the tariff list, claiming they cannot find another supplier outside of China for the items they need. None of their requests have been granted so far.

The Chinese government has blocked the USS Wasp from docking in Hong Kong amid a growing diplomatic feud between the two countries over strict military sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Adding fuel to the fire, the administration moved ahead with its approval of $330 million in arms sales to Taiwan, primarily spare parts for the island’s air force.

Latest SRSS poll has one of the highest disapproval rating at 58% for Trump since Trump took the job [only time higher was around December 2017]. His approval with Republicans is static at 82%. But the number of Americans who identify with a party has been on the decline. But most independents tend to vote with the Republicans.

A bit of humor: Having Trump as “President” is like having diarrhea for two years. It’s exhausting and there’s shit everywhere.  [Not my quote.]

Trump just loves to change his tune

Special counsel Robert Mueller seems to have built in safeguards to discourage Donald Trump from pardoning Paul Manafort. The plea deal Mueller struck with Manafort contains several provisions that appear intended to discourage the former Trump aide from seeking a pardon and to rein in the impact of any pardon Trump might grant.

A part of the deal says that if Manafort’s guilty pleas or convictions are wiped out for any reason, prosecutors immediately have the right to charge him with any other crimes he may have committed previously or confessed to during recent plea negotiations.

The agreement also says prosecutors can come after the five identified homes or apartments, three bank accounts and a life insurance policy now or at any point in the future “without regard to the status of his criminal conviction.”

“We had a good saying that we’ve held firm to this day, as the dean was reminding me before the talk, which was ‘What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep,” Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said in a 2015 speech at Catholic University of America’s law school.

Kavanaugh’s nomination vote has been delayed until the following week to allow the Judiciary Committee to question him as well as his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, regarding his alleged sexual assault on her when she was 15.

Once again, unsure if Trump is human. Being insensitive, Trump said of the hardship on Kavanaugh’s family’s life and of course Kavanaugh with Trump saying “hurting someone’s life very badly” and his reputation.

Trump claims that the FBI “doesn’t do that” that is investigate whether what Ford said was true. But in fact, the FBI don’t investigate issues like this unless ordered to do so. There is a difference.

Not surprising Ford’s life has been threatened. FBI investigating. [See Trump, something they actually do.]

When Trump finally addressed the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh were quietly stunned when Trump said the process should be followed and the accuser should be heard. In recent days, Trump has bragged about the positive coverage he’s received for his response, according to multiple sources. This helped his ego. Not really positive coverage – more like stunned.

You knew it wouldn’t last long. Trump, in a series of tweets, deviated from his previously measured comments about Ford who has accused Kavanugh of sexual assault, claiming that if the attack she alleges “was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities”. He also said Kavanaugh is “under assault by radical left wing politicians.”

Trump asked why no one called the Federal Bureau of Investigation 36 years ago. The FBI would not have jurisdiction in the case at the time of the alleged assault. Among the most common reasons for not reporting these incidents were fear of reprisal, shame and a belief that authorities could or would do nothing to help. [Maybe something Trump will learn once he is charged with those alleged assaults from him.]

Ford said she told no one at the time what had happened to her, and was terrified of punishment from her parents if they realized she had been at a party where underage drinking was happening.

“There’s no reason to attack her. The president is defending his nomination to the United States Supreme Court as a man of character, integrity, impeccable academic and judicial qualifications,” counselor to Trump, Kellyanne The Witch Conway said when asked about Trump’s original measured response to the allegations. How she was wrong…. again. Just a few days before Trump said “Why would I attack her?”

In his May 2017 interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, it makes Trump more vulnerable to claims that he obstructed justice. So Trump’s legal team have come up with a curious explanation: The interview was “edited” and that’s why people are confused about what Trump meant. Of course no evidence of this is provided.

Previously NBC announced an interview with Trump. The next day, Trump fired FBI director James Comey. White House stated that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein had officially recommended Comey’s firing, and Trump had just accepted the recommendation.

But Trump went off script saying to Holt, “He made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” The camera stayed on Trump the entire time.

Trump vowed to eradicate a “lingering stench” at the Justice Department, hours after it was reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a “wire” to record conversations with Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office according to sources familiar with memos authored by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe documenting the discussions.

“But we had some real bad ones — you see what’s happened at the FBI, they’re all gone, they’re all gone, they’re all gone. But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that, too.” Hmmm. Only 3 know FBI agents have left.

“I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false,” Rosenstein said.

Trump has to get political even in a disaster. the only question is what took him so long. For example “… But don’t be fooled, at some point in the near future the Democrats will start ranting that FEMA, our Military, and our First Responders, who are all unbelievable, are a disaster and not doing a good job. This will be a total lie, but that’s what they do, and everybody knows it!”

In an interview with The Hill, Trump said about Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying, “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad.” He also said that he is “very disappointed” in him.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell claims that Trump recently suggested Spain should build a wall across the Sahara desert to deal with the issue of migration from Africa. Notice the problem? The Sahara desert isn’t in Spain. Most of the migrants come in from the sea.

The Chinese government said that it would impose tariffs on US goods worth $60 billion following the Trump administration’s announcement that it was hitting $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with new tariffs. The White House warned previously that it would respond to any retaliation from Beijing with yet more tariffs.

Then Trump tweeted “China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me.” Hmmm. When did they “openly state” that? If you remove farmers, ranchers and industrial workers, what is left to apply tariffs to after you applied 4 times the amount on China?

“Canada has taken advantage of our country for a long time” said Trump. Let’s see. 325 million in the US [excluding illegals], 37 million in Canada. So the US has 9 times the number of people and yet couldn’t make a deal Trump would like? On the other hand, he doesn’t like anything related to trade unless he can slap on tariffs or knows he got a steal of a deal.

Trump tweeted “Our Steel Industry is the talk of the World. It has been given new life, and is thriving. Billions of Dollars is being spent on new plants all around the country!” Yes, since tariffs were imposed on July 1st, steel plants have suddenly popped up all over the US. I think not. If everything goes well, most steel plants take at least 20 months to build and that’s only after approvals and funding are done.

“Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country – and yet cost increases have thus far been almost unnoticeable,” Trump tweeted. But this is Trump. So whatever he said usually is a streaming pile of rubbish. Already prices of vehicle and infrastructure have increased.

Yes. The US economy is doing so well, Wells Fargo is adding to the unemployment lines. Wells Fargo plans to cut as many as 26,500 jobs over three years as the troubled bank grapples with the rise of online banking and soaring legal bills. It sold off branches in 3 mid-west states in June.

The Trump administration’s trade wars with China, Canada and others are starting to affect the US. Alibaba is dropping its promise to create 1 million jobs in the US. This came after Walmart asked the Trump administration to walk back its plan to put tariffs on Christmas lights, shampoo, dog food, luggage, mattresses, handbags, backpacks, vacuum cleaners, bicycles, cooking grills, cable cords and air conditioners.

Other retailers and consumer goods companies, including Ace Hardware, Target and Joann fabric and craft stores, also lobbied the administration. The administration imposed tariffs on those goods – although it did spare bicycle helmets, high chairs, car seats and playpens from the final list. It also left off Apple Watches and Air Pods, a reprieve for Apple.

Trump’s refugee plan for the coming year would nearly halve the number of refugees from the Middle East and Africa. By contrast, some regions would see increased caps. The number of refugees from Latin America would double in fiscal year 2019.

Trump tweeted “Today, as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we share our gratitude for all the ways Hispanic-Americans make our country flourish and prosper. Today, and every day, we honor, cherish, and celebrate Hispanic-American Workers, Families, Students, Businesses, and Leaders…” After his comments about Hispanics, I’m sure it wasn’t him who tweeted those words.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a picture of CNN’s Anderson Cooper about a picture in water in Hurricane “Florence” and made some dumb whiney comments. In fact the picture is 10 years ago. What a genius…

A little reminder that the blog’s primary focus is on Donald Trump and not about US politics in general. Therefore you won’t see the blog detailing more about [for example] the Kavanaugh/Ford legal mess unless Trump gets involved or one of his subordinates if of use. The economy, however, would be included as it is related to the administration’s policies.

Trump goes after Sessions again

So I decided to do a mid-week blog with mostly leftovers plus the long weekend and I decided to hold off on the Bob Woodward bombshell until the next edition where by then we should see how Donald Trump responds. I wonder.

We’ve seen already that Trump knows very little about the law. Case in point….

Trump blasted his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and lamented the indictments last month of two lawmakers who were his earliest supporters in Congress during the 2016 election, suggesting they should not have been charged because they are Republicans.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California was indicted for using campaign funds for personal use and were charged with counts of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy. Rep. Chris Collins of New York was charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements related to an alleged insider trading scheme.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump tweeted. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…” Actually, New York and California tend to be pro-Democrat.

A decision by the Justice Department to hold off on prosecuting two Republican congressmen up for re-election in order to help them win would have been highly unethical and a blatantly politically motivated violation of the department’s nonpartisan mission. Trump believes his political allies should be immune from prosecution, regardless of the evidence stacked against them.

Under long-standing Justice Department custom but not law, prosecutors generally avoid public disclosure of overt investigative steps involving a candidate for office or election matters within 60 days of an election.

We know that Sessions should be losing his current job following the November mid-term elections.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great,” the senator’s daughter Meghan McCain said in a stunning eulogy laced with grief, anger, pride and love. “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness. The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly.” She was obviously aiming her comments at Trump without naming him. Trump wasn’t invited to the funeral.

Trump spent the morning of the funeral at the White House, attacking Canada [see later on in the blog], hitting out at Obama, whose name he misspelled in a Twitter post, and assailing the FBI and the Justice Department over the Russia investigation before heading to his golf club in Virginia. During his campaign, Trump said McCain was not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam and he initially declined to release a statement marking his death.

In the third row, behind three ex-presidents, their wives and their Secret Service details, sat Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were also in the congregation.

Convicted former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos has publicly contradicted Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ sworn testimony to Congress, saying both Sessions and Trump apparently supported his proposal that Trump meet with Vladimir Poutine during the 2016 campaign, according to a court filing.

The Trump administration will hold back more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s service because the White House and the Department of Justice have determined they are protected by constitutional privilege, according to a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump again threatened to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] if Canada doesn’t concede to new terms. Trump said there is “no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal,” referring to the tentative bilateral agreement the United States reached with Mexico earlier this week.

“If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump said. He also urged Congress not to “interfere” with negotiations “or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off.”

“Remember, NAFTA was one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made. The U.S. lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. We were far better off before NAFTA.” Show proof that NAFTA is the worst ever….

The United States and Mexico announced a preliminary bilateral trade deal after resolving an issue over auto manufacturing. Canadian officials rejoined the talks this week. But the fate of NAFTA became uncertain when the United States and Canada failed to come to an agreement on rewriting the three-nation trade pact before a US-imposed deadline that would have allowed them to sign a new deal before Mexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office on December 1.

Trump wants Canada to end its steep tariffs on US dairy products, claiming they hurt US farmers. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to protect his country’s dairy industry. Trump also threatened new tariffs on Canadian cars if the country doesn’t comply with US-terms of a new trade deal. Yup. This is blackmail – Trump style.

It is questionable whether Trump can continue with most of his threats. For example, it is Congress which approves or tear up free trade agreements. Not him. He can apply more tariffs but we have seen already that it will hurt Americans just as much.

The Pentagon says it’s taken final steps to cancel $300 million in planned aid to Pakistan. The move earlier this summer reflects the Trump administration’s dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s commitment to assisting the US strategy for pressuring the Taliban, whose leaders use Pakistan as a sanctuary. Pentagon officials say a request was submitted to Congress this summer for authorization to use the $300 million for other purposes.

Nine current and former White House staffers and administration allies expressed concerns that the West Wing is simply unprepared for the potential troubles ahead. They spoke on the condition of anonymity over concerns about estranging colleagues.

The White House press office is down to four press secretaries working on day-to-day White House matters, including Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders, and the regional and Cabinet affairs media teams in the communications office have been hollowed out.

Trump picked the state of West Virginia to announce his plan to roll back Obama-era pollution controls on coal-fired power plants. Trump left one thing out of his remarks, though: northern West Virginia coal country will be ground zero for increased deaths and illnesses from the rollback on regulation of harmful emission from the nation’s coal power plants.

The Trump administration says it will impose preliminary anti-dumping duties on large-diameter welded pipe from Canada and five other countries. The other countries being hit with duties include China, Greece, India, Korea, and Turkey, with penalties ranging from 3.45 per cent for Turkey to over 132 per cent for China. Canada gets hit with 24.38 per cent.

The United States imposed 25% tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods. The tax affects 279 Chinese products, including chemical products, motorcycles, speedometers and antennas. China responded immediately with 25% tariffs on an equal amount of American goods, such as chemical products and diesel fuel.

Trump tweeted recently that it was “outrageous” that China-produced fentanyl, a cheap and deadly synthetic opioid at least 50 times stronger than heroin, continued to “pour into the US” through international mail. A senior official with China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, said in a press briefing Wednesday that Trump’s comments were “unacceptable”. “The United States has no proof that most fentanyl in the country comes from China,” he said. “It’s highly irresponsible to draw such a conclusion based on some individual cases.” Who would you believe? Hmmmm. I’ll get back to you later.

Seems Trump is blaming China for everything. China has denied an accusation by Trump that it hacked the emails of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in the 2016 election. Trump tweeted that China had hacked Clinton’s emails, without offering any evidence or further information, and suggested that the FBI and Department of Justice should investigate. The same two departments he doesn’t trust?

Trump accused China even though The Justice Department has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers accused of hacking into Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic Party. Again it shows you how much he trusts his own departments. He is again helping Russia. He defending/helping “Crooked Hillary”? Who would you believe? Hmmmm. I’ll get back to you later.

Here is an example of Trump’s tariffs not helping Americans: When the tariffs were imposed in 2017, Trump expected more jobs in the US as companies would be buying US lumber. Nope. Lumber mills have jacked up the pricing of lumber [probably just ever so slightly less than Canadian lumber]. This has increased the cost of putting up or repairing buildings and other infrastructures. Those buying a new house have to pay extra.

The price of framing lumber had been $358 per thousand board feet shortly before the levies were announced, and rose steadily for the ensuing year, reaching a peak in June of $582 — a 62 per cent increase. That represented an average $9,000 more per house, according to NAHB calculations. Prices have since fallen back to around $440 per thousand board feet, still adding $4,000 to the average home, the builders claim.

The Washington Examiner came out with a story that says an online betting website from Antigua and Barbuda are claiming that Trump will win the 2020 election with a 3-2 bet. His closest challenger is California Sen. Kamala Harris, listed at 10-1. And Trump [of course] retweeted about this. Unsure if related, he added “…And according to Polls, would do even better today!” [related to the 2016 election]. The Washington Examiner is not even in the top 10 circulation of newspapers and is listed under the heading “weeklies and specialty newspapers”. It is as influential as the Plattsburgh [NY] Post-Republican.

A bill that would have significantly bolstered the nation’s defenses against electoral interference has been held up in the Senate at the behest of the White House, which opposed the proposed legislation.  The bill was supported by both parties.

As it currently stands, the legislation would grant every state’s top election official security clearance to receive threat information. It would also formalize the practice of information-sharing between the federal government-in particular, the Department of Homeland Security-and states regarding threats to electoral infrastructure. A technical advisory board would establish best practices related to election cybersecurity. Perhaps most significantly, the law would mandate that every state conduct a statistically significant audit following a federal election.

Patti Davis, daughter of former President Ronald Reagan, says that her father would be appalled by the leadership of Trump. Will Trump respond? He went after previous Republican presidents and leaders. So why not go after Davis.

The Washington Post has been counting: Trump has made 4229 false or misleading claims in 558 days [just over 7.5 per day].

Trump told lawmakers he was scrapping a planned pay raise for civilian federal workers [not the military], saying the nation’s budget couldn’t support it. An across-the-board 2.1% pay increase for federal workers was slated to take effect in January. In addition, a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where a worker is posted — the “locality pay increase” — was due to take effect. But a day later Trump is planning to spend the weekend studying up on the issue of government compensation.

According the NBC News/GenForward survey, the bimonthly survey found that in the past year, millennials’ impression of the Democratic Party remained split between favorable and unfavorable views. Still better than the Republican Party where there are hovering mostly in the low 60s unfavorable for the past year and mid-twenties for favorable.

Trump hit a new low when over 60% of them in a poll disapprove of Trump.

A bit of humor:

For the services for the late Senator John McCain, in the audience was Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump.

Jared had a question for Ivanka at one point but decided to hold off until later on. After the services, while in their limousine on the way back to their home, Jared finally asks his question:

“Honey. I could not figure this out. Meghan McCain had a beautiful eulogy. But at one point she skirted around naming someone. Who was that?”

Five seconds later, Jared had a black eye.

Did Trump Sr throw Jr under the bashed in bus?

Donald Trump Jr. downplayed the meeting between top campaign aides to his father and a Russian lawyer, saying the highly scrutinized engagement “ended up being about essentially nothing that was relevant” to questions of collusion. Trump Jr. said the session lasted 20 minutes, and maintained the central focus was on adoptions — even as he conceded the Hillary Clinton dirt was how the Russian lawyers secured the meeting in the first place.

He decried media scrutiny surrounding the episode, saying it was an attempt to deter attention from his father’s accomplishments. [Which are?]

So Trump Jr. tries to downplay the meeting even though his father said it was about  dirt on Clinton. Donald Trump Sr. tweeted that his son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer to collect information about Clinton. But 13 months ago, Trump gave a far different explanation for the meeting, saying it was about the adoption of Russian children.

It may not be collusion [seems to be a favorite Trump term] but if Trump Jr. said in a statement to federal investigators that he was there for the adoptions and now his father said it was about dirt, it could cause legal issues such as perjury.

Trump has been urged to stop tweeting about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s top advisers and several Russians. His tweets are only making things worse for him.

Trump defended calling the media “The Enemy of the People,” and said journalists “purposely cause great division & distrust” and can “cause War!” No. Politicians cause wars if they don’t know the history of a conflict [and don’t have a huge ego]. As for division and mistrust, it depends on what kind of angle a journalist will cover. Politicians who use some journalist as their intelligence source instead of intelligence professionals will cause problems.

As the Trump administration readies to re-impose sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord, America’s European allies fear greater regional instability. The sanctions cover Iranian trade in automobiles and metals, including gold. It revoked licenses that allowed Iran to purchase US and European aircraft. Iran acquired five new European commercial planes before the sales were cut off.

UN inspectors said Iran was complying with the deal, but Trump argued that it didn’t do enough to curb Iran’s malign activity in the region. European countries say they remain committed to the agreement, seeing it as the surest way to safeguard their national security.

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is under federal investigation for tax fraud and possibly misrepresenting his finances. Authorities are investigating whether Cohen underreported his income in federal tax returns, in which he reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last five years. Cohen is already facing in relation to his business affairs and work with Trump.

The Government Accountability Office concluded that the Department of Homeland Security has not conducted a full analysis of the costs of building the Trump Wall. Department officials have also not properly documented their plans for building a portion of wall in the San Diego area. Because of this the Trump administration is at risk of wasting some of the billions of dollars it wants to spend on the US-Mexico border wall.

White House adviser Stephen Miller is pushing to expedite a policy that could penalize legal immigrants whose families receive public benefits and make it more difficult to get citizenship. Concerns over potential lawsuits have delayed the final rule, and the draft has undergone numerous revisions.

The law has long allowed authorities to reject immigrants if they are likely to become a “public charge” — or dependent on government. But the draft rule in its recent forms would include programs as expansive as health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act as well as other programs.

More than 700,000 foreigners who were supposed to leave the United States during a recent 12-month period overstayed their visas, the Homeland Security Department said and this excludes those who came by land. An estimated 40 per cent of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally stayed past their visas.

And of course what has the Trump administration done about it? That’s right. Nothing. These 700,000+ are in the country illegally and are mostly not running away from hardship and death like those coming to the US illegally.

US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington halted a deportation in progress and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if the mother and daughter weren’t returned to the US. If they fail to comply, the judge said, Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other senior Homeland Security officials would have to convince him not to hold them in contempt of court.

Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House aide and reality TV star, claims in her forthcoming book that Trump’s re-election campaign offered her a lucrative contract in exchange for her signature on a strict non-disclosure agreement after her ouster from the administration last year, according to an excerpt quoted from the book.

Lara Trump, a campaign adviser and Trump’s daughter-in-law, extended the offer to Omarosa [as she uses] shortly after White House chief of staff John Kelly fired her for “serious integrity issues,” according to excerpts. Omarosa also made [further] claims that Trump is a racist by making some comments. If she didn’t care for him, why did she stay?

The day after Trump’s appearance, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a prominent GOP critic of Trump, said he asked Republican Troy Balderson [running in a special election] if Balderson invited Trump at all into the district in the Columbus suburbs. “He said, ‘No, I didn’t,'” Kasich said of Balderson. On stage with Trump, Balderson called himself “someone who will fight for President Trump’s economic agenda.” Is Balderson flip-flopping or just keeping an option open to blame Trump if he loses.

Trump tweeted “When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36. That was not good. After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting.” Ya. Right Donnie. It was neck and neck for weeks and the GOP won the seat for 30 years and 11% in 2016. [And what was 64 to 36? After 100 votes counted?]

At this time, Balderson was leading by under 1% [or about 1800 votes] with 99% of polls reporting. Republicans declared victory for the Balderson, but Democrat Danny O’Connor has not yet conceded. More than 3,400 provisional ballots have still to be counted. A margin of 0.5 percent or less triggers a mandatory recount in Ohio.

In any case, it doesn’t look good even if Balderson won. Plus they go at it again in 3 months.

In the Republican primary for Kansas governor, Trump endorsed Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state known for his crusade for restrictive voting laws, over incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer. In doing so, he ignored the pleas of the Republican Governors Association to stay out of the race. Kobach — who publicly backed Trump’s false claim that millions of people voted illegally in 2016 and who advocates a hard-line approach to immigration — could alienate Republican voters in areas like the Kansas City and Wichita suburbs.

The Trump administration announced that it will go ahead with imposing 25 per cent tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese imports. Customs officials will begin collecting the border tax Aug. 23, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. The list is heavy on industrial products such as steam turbines and iron girders.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has stabbed Canada in the back again. First, it was the G7 Summit. Then they imposed tariffs on Canada. Now, it seems with a diplomatic fight between Canada and Saudi Arabia over the latter’s human rights abuse, supposedly Saudi Arabia asked for the Trump administration opinion on applying sanctions against Canada and the Trump administration didn’t object.

Trump doubled steel and aluminum tariffs against Turkey to 20 and 50 per cent, deepening the rift between them and sending the country’s currency into a tailspin. Trump slapped sanctions on two Turkish officials earlier this month over a detained American pastor who is being tried on espionage and terror-related charges.

Trump’s in-laws are officially US citizens, obtaining their citizenship through the sponsorship of their adult daughter, Melania, one of the very categories of family visas that the administration has sought to end. Viktor and Amalija Knavs, who are from Slovenia, had been living in the US with green cards. Melania Trump sponsored her parents for their green cards, a status that allowed them to live and work in the US indefinitely and paved the way for citizenship.

In the sports section, again, NFL players are kneeling during the national anthem which prompt Trump to tweet “Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love.” So does he know why they are upset? And of course he had to imply they are rich and yet having an easy life. Most of them won’t have lengthy careers because of injuries.

He added “A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway.” This from the man who wanted to buy the Buffalo Bills. If he thinks owners get little out of it….

NBA superstar LeBron James claims to CNN’s Don Lemon that Trump is using sports to divide the US. This prompt Trump to tweet “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” [Note that he couldn’t even spell James’ first name correctly.] James said he wouldn’t sit down across from the President if he were given the opportunity.

Trump also added “I like Mike!” in reference to Michael Jordan. “I support LeBron James. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” Jordan said through a spokeswoman.

Trump has always aimed at various celebrities and others that have commented negatively about him [politician Maxine Waters, Robert De Niro, etc.]. But aiming it at an African-American follows the white supremacists ideology that African-Americans have low intelligence. This resulted in a chorus of tweets against Trump.

Even Melania Trump went against her husband by saying in a statement “It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has…” James recently opened a school in Los Angeles and offered to pay for school fees.

“Who’s the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? #BeBest,” Lemon tweeted the morning after.

The now-disbanded commission that Trump set up to investigate election integrity did not find evidence of widespread voter fraud, a former member of the panel Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Matthew Dunlap, citing internal documents he obtained related to commission activities. Trump disbanded the commission which you can conclude with this that there wasn’t any major fraud.

Trump tweeted that the wildfires hitting California are “being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” Trump said the water is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Trump also called for clearing trees to stop the fires from spreading.

Of course even if the water was diverted, it isn’t stopping the land from being so dry because there has been little rain as well as little snow in the winter. As for clearing trees, does he want a state with no trees?

A resolution to request the removal of Trump’s star’s was unanimously adopted by the West Hollywood City Council but is not legally binding as the city has no jurisdiction over the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The mayor said “Earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is an honor. When one belittles and attacks minorities, immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities or women — the honor no longer exists.” We’ll see how trump reacts on Twitter especially if it is removed.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which does have jurisdiction over the iconic tourist attraction, said Trump’s star was safe for the time being. No stars have ever been removed.

The Trump administration wants to reduce national monuments and protected areas so it can help big business in areas that have valuable land for development and resources. But in documents that were mistakenly released, tourism has increased in those areas adding more jobs. In some areas where there are near water, jobs could be lost as development could kill off fish and other seafood in the areas.

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen says he believes that special counsel Mueller will probably indict Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner and then Trump will pardon both. [Although you never know. Ivanka may say not to pardon her husband!]

Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s attempt to acquire Tribune Media has been put on hold after the Federal Communications Commission said it had “serious concerns” about the transaction. The FCC had recently loosened TV station ownership rules that helped Sinclair close its deal with Tribune Media. That prompted the FCC internal watchdog to launch an investigation into whether the commission had improperly pushed for the rule change to benefit Sinclair. The change is also being challenged by public interest groups in court.

Meanwhile, Trump lashed out at the FCC  for not approving the deal. Sinclair is the largest owner of local television stations across the United States and is trying to get even bigger through the $3.9 billion Tribune deal. It’s also well known as a conservative-leaning media organization that forces its stations to run opinion segments supportive of the president and conservative causes.

The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes provisions that place restrictions on the president’s authority to direct generals to launch cyberattacks. NDAA in its current form also requires the president to develop and abide by a cyberwarfare strategy document that describes which activities merit cyber retaliation. It also could limit retaliatory attacks by the military without a certain level of confidence in attribution.

Trump says it would be “a dream” to run against former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Trump said that former President Barack Obama took Biden “out of the garbage heap.” CNN polling from January 2018 found Trump lagging behind Biden in a hypothetical 2020 match-up by a 57% to 40% split. Biden would turn 76 just after the next election. If he won he would be the oldest president ever.

Ex-Fox New Analyst, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, says that Trump echoes Stalin in the way he governs. [Maybe that’s why he is not at Fox News.]

A group called Qanon is showing up at Trump rallies. They are a group that send out really ridiculous conspiracy theories such as 9/11 was a hoax, Sandyhook shooting as to push for gun control, Tom Hanks & Steven Spielberg [note: 2 well known Democratic supporters] are pedophiles, etc. While “Simpleton” Sanders said Trump condemns and denounces the group he still allows them in [maybe because they are Trump supporters].

So far, five sitting GOP member of the House have lost statewide primary in 2018 many of whom began their races as the favorite only to be passed by a candidate running as an outsider to the Washington system.

A lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association in May says the gun advocacy organization will have to close its headquarters, shut down its online media presence and stop holding rallies and conventions if it is stymied by New York state from doing business with banks and insurers.

The lawsuit, when it was originally filed in the US District Court for Northern New York, came days after the Department of Financial Services fined several insurance companies hundreds of thousands of dollars for participating in an NRA-backed liability insurance program for gun owners. They are a big supporter of Trump, of course.

[A reminder that this blog is primarily about the “life” of Trump. It is about anything related to him. For example, much of the Paul Manafort isn’t mentioned as it isn’t about Trump at this time. And as a further reminder, I don’t include the title “President” in front of his name unless it was included in a quote or a tweet.]

Trump on tour (part 1)

Donald Trump capped off his tumultuous two-day visit at NATO headquarters by boldly declaring that all NATO members agreed to increase their defense spending after he told them he was “extremely unhappy.” Trump came up empty when pressed to detail the new financial commitments he had secured, offering only that member countries “agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly” and pointing to spending increases over the last year.

Trump claimed that all countries said that all the countries have agreed to reach 2% before the 2024 deadline. Of course he is giving himself credit for this. Problem is that the other countries did not agree on reaching the target before 2024. He called himself in a hasty called news conference “stable genius”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said “There was a communiqué released yesterday it was very detailed and I invite you to read it … It shows the measures approved by all the member states. This communiqué is clear, it reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024. That is all.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said spending will go up slowly over the next few years to reach at or near 2% GDP by the deadline.

Meanwhile Trump said that “everybody in that (NATO) room got along”. And yet Germany’s Angela Merkel wasn’t happy with Trump’s comments about her country and others when Trump called them “delinquents” for not paying their share.

Trump said he believes he “probably” could withdraw from the NATO alliance without congressional approval – but said that was “unnecessary.” Seems Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Does he ever read the legal information before he opens his mouth.

So another hussy fit from Trump? Threatening to leave NATO. One reason why NATO was created was to counter any aggression from the Soviet Union. Little has changed as it’s now Russia and Russia grabbed Crimea in 2014. Experts believe that without NATO, smaller Baltic countries are at risk for an invasion from Russia.

Trump has previously said that Russia grabbing Crimea wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as there are plenty of Russians living there. The same can be said about many countries formerly part of the Soviet bloc. The Soviet Union did it on purpose – moving Russians into those countries while occupying them.

Trump previously has told allies that if they don’t meet higher spending targets, they should leave the alliance and go it alone on military matters. Is he the NATO Secretary General? Nope. NATO police? Nope. NATO CFO? Nope.

“Frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them.” Paying what? NATO requires that a percentage of the countries’ GDP be used for the military – not to pay NATO [unlike the UN]. Maybe he should cut back on his military spending [and the $7 per screw] and maybe help his citizens.

Trump released a letter he recently received from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and praised the “great progress” being made in talks with Pyongyang. Trump also touted his meeting with the Kim Jong Un while at NATO, calling it “an amazing meeting” and saying the two “established very good relations.” And yet….

North Korean officials did not show up to a planned meeting with US officials at the demilitarized zone, where they were expected to continue discussions on repatriating the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War. Trump has touted the return of remains as one of the successes of his historic June 12 summit with Kim Jun Un in Singapore.

In England, Trump has already caused problems by claiming that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has “wrecked” the country’s exit from the European Union [Brexit] and likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. The audio was recorded and clearly showed him criticizing May even when he told reports that listen to the recording think that he didn’t say it. Forgetting things already?

Then Trump denied that he criticized May, the day after a British tabloid published an interview with him in which he did just that. He dismissed the interview, conducted by a Rupert Murdoch-owned publication [which are right wing leaning], as “fake news” saying it didn’t include his comments praising May. He also questioned her competence.

Trump said his comments came after he “read some reports” that suggested the United Kingdom would not be able to make a free trade deal with the US and said after he did apologized to May.

He also praised one of May’s political rivals, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who resigned from her government in protest this week – which is against protocol. He said Johnson would make a good Prime Minister and later back peddled by saying May is one.

He does think that the British like him a lot and yet demonstrators showed signs that said “Dump Trump,” “Lock Him Up,” and “There Will Be Hell Toupee.” The largest demonstration in years happened in London happened before Trump visited the Queen. A large giant balloon that flew over Parliament on Friday depicting him as a cell-phone-toting angry baby in a diaper.

Trump acknowledged feeling unwelcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the baby Trump balloon. Trump also blamed recent terrorist attacks there on Khan, who is Muslim. The president claimed Europe is “losing its culture” because of immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

It is also customary for anyone visiting The Queen to show up early. Trump showed up 10 minutes late.

With a news conference on and cameras “rolling” and in front of May, Trump refused to take an interview question from a CNN reporter saying CNN is a fake news network and instead took a question from Fox News.

Trump again blamed President Obama for Russian aggression in Crimea. Trump at times drew laughs from some British reporters, who jeered his criticism of the media and openly laughed at his numerous boasts. Finally, he defended his beliefs that immigration has damaged Europe.

US cable networks began cutting away to cover the Russian indictments. And calls from Congress grew louder for Trump to cancel the meeting in Helsinki with Poutine, whom Trump has previously declined to challenge on 2016 election meddling.

Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come. He has never expressed outright opposition to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal nationwide, and similarly has no record on gay rights and same-sex marriage, but he will face tough questions from Democrats on both issues.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case,” Kavanaugh said at the White House. Which will probably mean voting for all right leaning causes. The White House is hoping the Senate moves quickly to confirm Kavanaugh before the midterm elections in November threaten to unfurl the narrow Republican majority in the chamber.

Attention will quickly shift to two moderate GOP senators, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who are supportive of abortion rights. Trump also hopes to pressure several Democrats into voting to confirm his nominee as three Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won by double digits.

Kavanaugh’s career path led him from doggedly investigating one president to later on arguing for more legal protections for presidents — after working for another one.

Despite Trump’s insistence that he didn’t consider the nominee’s political views, the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, which provided the president with suggested appointees, did. Kavanaugh’s conservative ideology is compatible with these two interest groups and Trump’s most recent ideological posture.

Trump said that he has not brought up the issue of abortion with Kavanaugh. Sure Donnie. Will anyone believe that comment with your history of lies.

Democrats and a few key Republicans in the Senate have said that they will not support a Supreme Court nominee who does not view the Roe v. Wade decision as a settled issue.

Former Republican Presidential nominee, Rick Santorum, said that Trump “bowed to the elite in Washington” – the same people Trump said he would drain from the swamp.

A reminder that during the election of 2016, Trump had said that picks for any Supreme Court nominee would be a vote to end Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and thus punish women. According to a 2016 survey, nearly seventy percent of Americans believe abortion should remain legal in this country.

A federal grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department. The grand jury indictment, part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe, alleges intelligence officers of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) hacked into the computer networks of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and attempted to penetrate voting systems across the country.

The indictments could make things difficult for Trump as he meets Russian dictator Vladimir Poutine next week. He had previously said he didn’t want to offend the Russians but he claims he will ask Poutine flat out whether there was any hacking or other illegal activities. You expecting Poutine to say yes? And pigs will fly.

Of course, the chance of the 12 ever being prosecuted is very unlikely as the US has no extradition treaty with Russia. Trump, meanwhile, continues to be criticized for being reluctant to speak publicly about Russian interference into the campaign.

Trump expressed a remarkable opinion. Democrats “want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13,” he tweeted, referring to the international gang.

During their trip to Moscow recently, an all-Republican delegation of U.S. lawmakers met with at least two Russian sanctioned Russians. Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama spoke with Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who has been sanctioned since 2014 for Russia’s “illegitimate and unlawful” activities in Ukraine. The group also heard from Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Konstantin Kosachev, who complained about the latest round of U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals. Kosachev was sanctioned in April over Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and other “malign activity.”

The Trump administration is preparing another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, ramping up the US-China trade war. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday released a list of thousands of additional goods that could face 10% tariffs after a public comment period. It includes fruit and vegetables, handbags, refrigerators, rain jackets and baseball gloves.

The move comes after the United States imposed 25% tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion. Beijing immediately responded with its own tariffs on US goods worth $34 billion.

A one-year-old child who was separated from his father at the southern US border appeared in immigration court. The child is one of several toddlers who have had to appear in court without their parents present. Meanwhile, five pregnant women in immigration detention said they were denied adequate medical care while they were obviously miscarrying. ICE and Customs and Border Protection guards were either unwilling or unable to respond to medical emergencies.

The goal of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s latest trip to Pyongyang was to negotiate the details of the nuclear agreement Trump signed along with Kim. North Korea criticized Pompeo’s “gangster-like” demands in negotiations and said the “attitude” of the US was “regrettable”, while Pompeo signaled “progress” in the talks between the two nations.

Trump confirmed that he plans to give a copy of the Elton John hit song “Rocket Man” to the dictator of North Korea. Wonder if it would be just the song [maybe illegally ripped?] or a legitimate copy of Honky Château [from where the song first originated].

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is working with foreign clients as he continues to advise President Donald Trump on the Russia investigation, which raises conflict of interest and federal ethics issues. Giuliani told The Washington Post in interviews that he maintains clients in Ukraine, Brazil and Colombia. [Is this guy an actual lawyer? Seems to know little about law.] Giuliani has not registered with the Department of Justice for his work, arguing that it’s not necessary because Trump isn’t paying him for his counsel and he does not directly lobby the US government. White House officials told the Post they cannot be sure of Giuliani’s claim that he never discusses his clients with Trump.

Trump tweeted “The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and talented people!” And no comments from him about the supposedly other 900+ people involved.

A federal judge in California flatly rejected the Justice Department’s attempt to modify a decades-old settlement agreement that limits the length of time and conditions under which US officials may detain immigrant children.

Trump’s former personal driver of more than 20 years has filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization alleging that he was forced to work “thousands of hours” of overtime without fair compensation. The driver, Noel Cintron, claims in the lawsuit that he worked an average of between 50 and 55 hours a week for Trump without fair compensation. He is asking for more than $200,000 in unpaid overtime wages over the past six years. Noel Cintron received two raises in 15 years, but had to give up his Trump Organization health insurance in order to get a $7,000 pay increase.

Trump tweeted “Public opinion has turned strongly against the Rigged Witch Hunt and the “Special” Counsel….” I’d like to see that poll Donnie!

According to a Washington Post poll, 65% of women said they disapproved of Trump’s job as president, while 32% said they approved. 54% of men say they approved of Trump, while only 45% said they disapproved.

Trump tweeted “The Rigged Witch Hunt, originally headed by FBI lover boy Peter S (for one year) & now, 13 Angry Democrats, should look into the missing DNC Server, Crooked Hillary’s illegally deleted Emails, the Pakistani Fraudster, Uranium One, Podesta & so much more. It’s a Democrat Con Job!” [I’m wondering if he writes on a calendar when he should make the same comments over and over again.]

The Hudson’s Bay store chain in Canada has stopped selling anything from Ivanka Trump’s products due to poor sales online and phase the merchandise out during the fall. The chain didn’t say if any of the boycotts were the reason. However Shoes.com, Zulily, and Nordstrom stopped selling her products.

Trump thinks NK deal still alive, meanwhile Pruitt departs

Donald Trump tweets that “All of Asia is thrilled” that North Korea has halted missile testing and only the “Opposition Party” Democrats, including the “Fake News” is complaining. Halt testing missiles but judging by the recent satellite photos, they are still doing work on them. How does the media doctor photos from his own administration and display them?

Trump also claims “If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!” Let’s see. If anything the US and North Korea were closer to war than probably any of the past few administrations. Did North Korea fire missiles towards Japan or elsewhere prior to this administration? Or fire missiles that often?

Experts say there is no proof North Korea’s halt of nuclear and missile tests means the North will take concrete steps to give up such weapons. They also say the U.S. has an unrealistic approach to North Korea’s denuclearization.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned [or maybe he was fired] amid ethics investigations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease.

Pruitt, at one point, directly appealed to Trump this spring to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead. In an Oval Office conversation with Trump, Pruitt offered to temporarily replace Sessions for 210 days under the Vacancies Reform Act, telling Trump he would return to Oklahoma afterward to run for office.

Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry executive, will assume the acting administrator position. Poor guy. He was a lobbyist and a lawyer.

The federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 gives the President the authority to temporarily fill a vacancy at a federal agency if the official “dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.” Obviously Sessions didn’t die or resign and is able to do his functions and duties. So good luck there Scott!

With the way Pruitt has handled his own department [see below] – let alone his own life – I am sure Trump did the right thing [for once] and turned him down. Hopefully after Pruitt left, trump had a good laugh. I know I would of.

Meanwhile, Pruitt and his aides have kept “secret” calendars and schedules to overtly hide controversial meetings or calls with industry representatives and others, according to a former EPA official who is expected to soon testify before Congress. A review of EPA documents found discrepancies between Pruitt’s official calendar and other records.

Everything that was spent by him during his tenure hit over $4 million.

Trump had told Republicans in Congress recently to stop wasting their time on immigration until after November’s elections, but now Trump is insisting that Congress “FIX OUR INSANE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW!” Then he said “When people, with or without children, enter our Country, they must be told to leave … just as they would if they were standing on your front lawn.”

At a rally, Trump mocked the #MeToo movement as he repeatedly attacked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her heritage by saying “I want to apologize. Pocahontas, I apologize to you. I apologize to you. To you I apologize,” he said. “To the fake Pocahontas, I won’t apologize.” He has called Warren Pocahontas a few times previously. And if she won the Democratic nomination for 2020 he would ask her to take a DNA test to prove she has Native American blood in her. Like a true racist he used the word “Indian” in his further comments.

Not surprise, Trump also defended Republican candidate Rep. Jim Jordan against allegations he overlooked sexual abuse during his time as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University.

Trump continued a long running fight with California Rep. Maxine Waters by saying “… honestly she is somewhere in the mid-60s.”

Trump then attacked, without naming him, Arizona Sen. John McCain for voting against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and he mocked President George H.W. Bush’s slogan during his rally.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club has applied for permission to hire originally 40 foreign workers to serve as waiters and cooks during the winter social season in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump’s club has asked to hire another 21 who would be cooks from overseas and employ them from October to May.

The postings show that – despite Trump’s insistence that immigration is holding down wages and crowding out native-born American workers – his club believes it cannot find any Americans in South Florida who are qualified to hold two very common restaurant-industry jobs. Mar-a-Lago’s pay for cooks starts at $13.31 per hour, down 3 cents from the year before. The base salary his club is offering to waiters is higher in 2018: It rose from $11.88 per hour last year to $12.68 per hour this year.

Trump appeared to rely on a dubious Fox News report to unleash an attack on his predecessor, accusing President Barack Obama, without any real evidence, of granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians as part of nuclear deal negotiations. Fox News’ website cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric who is also a member of the country’s parliament.

In a whacky bit of news, at a meeting in August 2017 in the Oval Office to discuss sanctions on Venezuela was concluding, Trump turned to his top aides and asked an unsettling question: With a fast unraveling Venezuela threatening regional security, why can’t the US just simply invade the troubled country? The suggestion stunned those present at the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both of whom have since left the administration.

Breaking with their House Republican counterparts, the Senate Intelligence Committee said that the intelligence community properly concluded in January of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to help Donald Trump when Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is tapping additional Justice Department resources for help with new legal battles as his year-old investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election continues to expand. He is making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents — a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually.

Mueller and his team of 17 federal prosecutors are coping with a higher-then-expected volume of court challenges that has added complexity in recent months. The special counsel’s charter, issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, includes investigating whether Trump or associates colluded with Russia and “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

The White House announced that former Fox News president Bill Shine has been appointed as the White House’s new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was one of Roger Ailes [the former chairman of the Fox News Channel] deputies for years. When Ailes was accused of sexual harassment by numerous women in 2016, Shine was accused of covering up the alleged misdeeds.

Trump is demanding that Norway ramp up its defense spending as a NATO partner, according to a letter he wrote to Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The letter was one of a series that Trump sent to NATO allies, including Germany, Belgium, Canada and others, demanding they boost spending and threatening to shift the US military presence in Europe if they do not.

According to a report, a draft of a bill from the Trump administration would propose having the US abandon key World Trade Organization principles and offer Trump significantly more discretion over US trade policy. The proposal would give Trump the authority, based on the administration’s assessment of trading policies between nations, to renegotiate or apply tariffs as he sees fit to push individual countries on trade.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders says that Trump is always seeking “good trade deals”. Imposing tariffs is not the right way of doing this. She, meanwhile, also said that during the G7 summit in Canada that Trump proposed that Canada remove all tariffs and subsidies. Of course he said nothing about removing all of the US tariffs imposed on Canada.

She also said that “the US is very nice to Canada” and that Canada took “advantage” of the US. Sure Sarah.

Trump said the World Trade Organization treated the US “very badly”. Hmmm. If you impose tariffs and other trade issues that are imposed for no real reason, what do you expect when you lose probably every trade dispute. By leaving the WTO he doesn’t have to worry about any court cases.

With a new Mexican President, Trump couldn’t wait to say that he had already talked to Mexico or but the Mexican president mentioned nothing about bilateral trade deal.

Unsure if Trump wants a NAFTA trade deal or not. First he wanted to wait until after the Mexican election this past weekend. Now he says he could wait until after the mid-term election which actually could make sense if he thinks he can get a large majority in the Senate that he has now. Good luck there.

July 1st was Canada’s 151st birthday. So the US Ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, decided to have a party in Canada’s honor. But no senior government official will attend. The opposition Conservative Party will have maybe 2 senior party members. Why? Protesting against the US tariffs imposed on Canada. In the end, while previous parties usually had 4,000 [!!!] invitations, this one had about 1,000 and excluded a chunk of Ottawa’s [Canada’s capitol] elite.

Canada through $13 billion US tariffs at the US on July 1st. Like the European Union, the tariffs were aimed at specific states where Trump is more popular. More than 40 US steel products attract tariffs of 25%. A tax of 10% has been levied on over 80 other American items including toffee, maple syrup, coffee beans and strawberry jam.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar now estimates that under 3,000 kids who may have been separated from their parents are in government custody — a figure far higher than his department released just recently. HHS had previously reported that it had 2,047 children from separated families in its care. Approximately 100 children under the age of 5.

Trump told space industry notables that he was directing the Department of Defense to create a Space Force, a sixth branch of the military that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. But retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly — a former Navy pilot, combat veteran, four-time space-flyer — doesn’t support it, and some members of Congress are also voicing their distaste for the idea. “This is a dumb idea. The Air Force does this already. That is their job. … What’s next, we move submarines to the 7th branch and call it the ‘under-the-sea force?'”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s official Twitter page mocked Trump over misspelling “pore” in a tweet where Trump was bragging about his writing ability.

Write if you can get work like this: Trump’s 27 year old assistant’s salary was $95,000 last year [matching President Obama’s last assistant] and is now at $135,000.

Michael Cohen dropped the reference “personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump” from his Twitter biography recently.

A new Quinnipiac University poll has a striking result: 49% of people said they believe Trump to be a racist while 47% believe he is not.

Trump ordered American flags to be lowered to half-staff for less than a day or to honor of the victims of deadly shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper recently. The city’s mayor said the request was initially denied. Trump has repeatedly called journalists the “enemy of the people.”

I guess you can call this good news: The current version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes provisions that place restrictions on the president’s authority to direct generals to launch cyberattacks. NDAA in its current form also requires the president to develop and abide by a cyberwarfare strategy document that describes which activities merit cyber retaliation. It also could limit retaliatory attacks by the military without a certain level of confidence in attribution.