Will he ever learn to think before speaking?

Seems he’ll never learn: Donald Trump said he would accept damaging information from Russia and China [or others] on his 2020 Democratic foe. “It’s not an interference. They have information. I think I’d take it.” He is now backtracking saying his words were taken out of context or didn’t say exactly that [but ABC has video], etc.

What Trump should do is refuse any information on any political foe – whether or not the individual is a foreign leader or a foreign spy. Some Republicans have also disliked this whole mess.

Mexico had already promised to take many of the actions agreed to in the immigration deal with the US — months before Trump’s tariff threat, officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations told the New York Times. So basically another fraud perpetrated by Trump. Trump moved to accept the existing agreements in a deal after negotiations prompted by his threat to impose growing tariffs on Mexico in response to the border situation dragged on over several days.

The Mexican government had pledged to deploy the National Guard nationwide with a focus on its southern border — a key part of the agreement — during secret meetings in March between former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Mexican interior secretary Olga Sanchez in Miami. The deal’s key expansion of a program that would keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their claims are processed was established in two heavily brokered two diplomatic notes exchanged between the two countries.

Trump argued on Twitter that his intervention and threat of tariffs had been instrumental in getting the promises down on paper. Trump also repeatedly threatened to close the border with Mexico earlier this year if it failed to halt migrant flows, before backing down amid domestic criticism.

Trump claimed that Mexico had agreed to more than what was revealed in the announcement, teasing that more would be announced soon. But he also claims that the Mexican government needs to vote on the agreement. He said while tariffs have been “indefinitely suspended”, tariffs will be reinstated if the agreement isn’t passed.

The additional unannounced part of the agreement could include the idea of Mexico becoming a “safe third country,” which would make it harder for asylum-seekers who pass through the country from other places to claim refuge in the US. Mexico has long opposed the safe country idea. The addition of 6000 Mexican national guard may not be much as they aren’t effective as the US national guard and probably filled with corruption.

Trump unveils four times what he says is the first page of his “secret” trade deal with Mexico on the White House lawn and claims that while he is in control of when it would go into effect, he will let Mexico decide when to announce the deal. Those with good cameras were able to zoom in on the page to actually see some of it.

Last year, Trump proclaimed a huge new trade deal with the European Union after backing off his threats to impose new automobile tariffs. In fact, the two sides agreed to talk about an agreement that is still yet to materialize. Trump has already said he will cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala accusing them of doing nothing to stop the migrant crisis. He has yet to do so.

“If President Obama made the deals that I have made, both at the Border and for the Economy, the Corrupt Media would be hailing them as Incredible, & a National Holiday would be immediately declared,” Trump said on Twitter. Because the “Corrupt Media” knows whatever deal Trump has made is almost always for show only and has little substance. Remember his “deal” with North Korea?

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “I think what the president is saying is, if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he’ll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that and certain guarantees,” Mnuchin said. Mnuchin’s words double down on the contradictory arguments made by Trump in May, after he put the Chinese 5G technology pioneer on the US’ blacklist.

Trump’s own top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, last month begrudgingly admitted that both sides [China and the US] are losing from the spiraling trade war, with American businesses and consumers among those who end up paying for it.

India has announced new tariffs on several US products that will go into effect on June 16, India’s finance ministry said. The goods targeted include American apples — which will be hit with a 70% tariff — as well as almonds, lentils and several chemical products. India first announced plans to impose new tariffs a year ago in retaliation for increased US import duties on Indian steel and aluminum.

The relationship between India and the US has soured in recent weeks after the Trump administration ended India’s participation in a preferential trade program earlier this month. The program exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from US import duties in 2018.

The administration with Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist who led enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad, was supposed to be on a redesigned $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson, who was the populist, slave owner, a president and Trump’s favorite president, in 2020 so the bill can include modern security features.

Instead, the bill has been delayed until 2028 even though the engraving plate for it was completed “as recently as May 2018” a Treasury Department employee told the New York Times. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has indicated that there are technical difficulties. Uh huh. In 2016, candidate Trump told NBC that stripping his favorite president, the populist and slave owner, Andrew Jackson, from the $20 bill was “pure political correctness.” Maybe that’s the technical difficulty.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that he prefers to always “follow the process” for approval when it comes to foreign arms sales, comments that appear to put him at odds with Trump’s decision to declare an emergency to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The House approved a resolution greenlighting the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to enforce its subpoena for former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony and to seek grand jury information from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report as well as authorized the House panel to take its subpoena of Attorney General William Barr to court, but an agreement struck between the Judiciary Committee and the Justice Department means the committee won’t take that action — at least for now.

Trump claimed he never said he wanted to fire Mueller. Instead McGhan lied to make himself a good lawyer and wanted Mueller gone. I guess McGhan got thrown under the bus and driven over a few times.

The Department of Justice informed the House Oversight Committee that Trump has asserted executive privilege over some materials related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Those documents have been insufficient and are either publicly available documents, heavily redacted or just not responsive to the request at all and unrelated.

The Democratic-led committee will be considering a census contempt resolution that recommends that the House of Representatives find Barr and Ross in contempt of Congress “for refusal to comply with subpoenas.” The contempt resolution itself includes citations for both civil and criminal contempt. Census data serves as the basis for decisions about how to allocate federal resources and draw congressional districts.

White House press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month. Trump said that that Sanders will return to her home state of Arkansas and floated the possibility of a gubernatorial run. But there won’t be an opening until 2023 [assuming the current governor resigns or whatever]. Seriously?

Trump claims that Iran was all over the place pushing their might before he was elected and then said that they aren’t anymore and are in “deep deep trouble”. Ya? You sure? They’re still helping one side in Yemen’s civil war. They are still Hezbollah’s benefactor. They are still around in Syria.

Kim Jong Nam, the slain half-brother of Kim Jong Un, was a Central Intelligence Agency source who met on several occasions with agency operatives. Trump denied Nam was a CIA asset.

The US Office of Special Counsel [unrelated to Robert Mueller and his investigation] is recommending that White House adviser Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal service, saying she violated the Hatch Act on numerous occasions. Conway erred by making “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.” The recommendation carries no actual power to remove Conway.

“If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in her removal from her federal position,” Special counsel Henry Kerner said. “Never has (the office) had to issue multiple reports to the President concerning Hatch Act violations by the same individual.”

Trump makes the final decision. “No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person,” Trump told his propaganda department, Fox News. “…it seems to me to be very unfair, it’s called freedom of speech.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she’s “done” with Trump. “I don’t even want to talk about him,” she said, adding, “My stock goes up every time he attacks me, so what can I say, but let’s not spend too much time on that because that’s his victory, the diverter-in-chief, the diverter-of-attention-in-chief.” Would this mean she won’t have meetings with him now?

Analysts believe Trump may hit a trade version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. He can only threaten tariffs so many times before other countries relax knowing that Trump will offer a deal and in return the company getting hit with tariffs won’t have to do much. This allows Trump to show that he is making what his base will think are great deals built are mostly for show.

Fox News ‘personalities” [unsure if you can call them journalists] have started a health war on former Vice President [and Democrat candidate] Joe Biden claiming Biden has various ailments. As Trump spends hours a day watching Fox News, expect him to include their unproven information and conclude the information is true.

In an interview with CNBC:

  • “I’m a member of the US Chamber — maybe I’ll have to rethink that, because when you look at it, the chamber is probably more for the companies and the people that are members than they are for our country.” – This coming from a man who easily is in favor of big business.
  • “We should be entitled to have a fair playing field, but even without a fair playing field — because our Fed is very, very destructive to us.” – Confusing but the “Fed” is Jerome Powell, who Trump nominated as the Chairman of the Fed in November 2017.
  • “This country is allowing this French wine which is great, we have great wine, too, allowing it to come in for nothing. It is not fair.” – Now he will start a trade war with France over Wine?
  • “Because without tariffs, we would be absolutely, outside of something that I won’t even mention….” – And why won’t he mention it? Nothing there.
  • “Nobody’s going to be able to get through. And then [Mexican national guard] they’re also going to protect our southern border.” – So no need of a wall at the border?
  • “And China will, in my opinion, based on a lot of facts and a lot of knowledge…” – Who’s facts and knowledge. He definitely lack both.
  • “I can tell you they discriminate against me….. You know, people talk about collusion. The real conclusion is between the Democrats and these companies.” – Trump claims, without citing any evidence, that the big technology companies are biased against him.

At Trump’s flagship super PAC, America First Action, $33,000 was spent last year on a single event at the Prime Rib, a swanky DC steakhouse. The most expensive item on the menu is $65. Even with some booze, taxes and tip, did they have [say] 330 people there at $100 per person. AFA paid $120,000 to two firms tied to former Milwaukee sheriff [and Trump super-fan] David Clarke [for what work?], and the more than $460,000 spent over two years at Trump-owned properties [no shocker there but for what?].

In the 2018 cycle, AFA and its affiliated non-profit together raised about $75 million, well short of its $100 million goal. About $39 million of that went to the super PAC. By comparison, the Republican National Committee raised more than $233 million in individual contributions in the same cycle.

AFA was paying the equivalent of annual salaries to firms attached to Trump associates such as Sean Spicer, Katrina Pierson and Corey Lewandowski, not to mention Clarke, fueling the perception that the group has become a safe harbor for various Trump cast-offs and family friends.

The Trump administration is planning a costly Independence Day speech at the Lincoln Memorial, despite its failure to pay off $7 million in debt from the 2017 inauguration. To cover the lack of funds from the federal government, the District of Columbia will be pulling money out of its Emergency Planning and Security fund that is typically dedicated to security measures for emergencies and diplomatic events.

A bit of humor:
Reporter: Are you inviting the Raptors to the White House?
Trump: Those beautiful beasts? Sure
Reporter: No I mean the Toronto Raptors?
Trump: Who?

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Trump off to Europe – you know what that means

With Donald Trump in the UK for a state visit and the to the D-Day commemorations plus domestic issues it was a busy week.

Just days before Trump would fly to England for a visit, he called [former] American, Meaghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, “nasty”. Probably because when he got elected she said she would move to Canada [she already worked there on the TV series Suits]. On the other hand, he always call people who don’t like him names [think Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren or “Sloppy” Joe Biden]. She is the only American ever to join the royal family.

Here we go again. A day later he claimed he didn’t call the Duchess “nasty” – blaming CNN, The New York times and others. Except there is video of him saying that.

In a startling comment for a man who regards himself as a master deal maker, he added: “She’s probably a better negotiator that I am.” Trump suggested that history would judge outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May kindly on her handling of Brexit.

Ummm. Trump was turned down for a meeting by potential Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Johnson saying he was too busy. But then Trump said he turned down a meeting with the leader of the UK’s opposition Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn, describing him as a “negative force.” Moments before Trump started speaking, Corbyn was addressing an anti-Trump protest nearby. Corbyn refused to attend Trump’s state banquet on Monday, and has been a long-time critic. For once, Trump did something right [for Corbyn’s politics only].

Trump said “I didn’t see the protesters until just a little while ago, and it was a very, very small group of people put in for political reasons, so it was fake news.”, despite large crowds gathering to rally against his visit.

Between 1981 and 1995, multiple claims that members of the British Royal family [mostly Price Charles and Princess Diana] were joining Trump properties filled New York tabloids and national papers about the then-real estate developer. All of them were unequivocally shot down by Buckingham Palace. According to multiple biographies of Trump, the fake news were spread by Trump himself.

Unsure who would believe it but in one such instance occurred in the lead up to the Trump Tower’s February 1983 opening, when a persistent rumor kept appearing that Prince Charles and his then-new wife Diana were looking at buying an apartment in the building.

[Speaking of which, on the Howard Stern Show in November 1993, “I hope she’s looking at — She is really hot. She has gained 20-25 pounds, she looks great,” Trump said, saying he’d love to date the princess. “There could be a love interest. I’d become King of England. King of England. I’d have to leave, I’d have to lose the New York accent quickly. See they wouldn’t like my accent over there.”]

Trump, I’m sure for future publicity reasons, wanted a photo-op with Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry. Instead they avoided him.

As he was descending, the Trump tweeted an insult of London’s mayor, calling Sadiq Khan a “stone cold loser” for being “foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States.” Khan called Trump “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” in a newspaper op-ed this past week. Khan had suggested Trump’s state visit should be rescinded.

After Trump called him a “stone-cold loser,” London mayor Sadiq Khan said “This is the sort of behavior I would expect from an 11-year-old. But it’s for him to decide how he behaves. It’s not for me to respond in a like manner. I think it’s beneath me to do childish tweets and name-calling.”

The Trumps gave the Queen a present a Tiffany & Co. silver and silk poppy brooch in a custom White House wood jewelry box. Luckily no MAGA hat inside – although red would been fitting.

After what some called Trump’s most successful and even-tempered foreign trips of his presidency, he was back to his old self. Trump, speaking from the Normandy American Cemetery, blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a “disgrace” after Politico reported that she said, “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison.” In a Fox News interview, he said she was “She’s a nasty, vindictive, horrible person” and “.. incapable of doing deals.”

How classy of Trump and Fox News: Trump had an interview with Ingraham in a cemetery with crosses of US soldiers behind them. This also delayed D-Day commemorations by 15 minutes while they talked, other world leaders waited for them. Among the dumb answers and comments:

  • “This is one of the true, in terms of war, in terms of, probably you can also say, in terms of peace, because this led to something very special.” – Huh?
    “[Mexico] stole 32% of our car business with NAFTA.” – Except it was in a trade agreement.
  • “They send in $500 billion worth of drugs. They kill 100,000 people. They ruin a million families every year…” – With no idea where the numbers came from, this is when asked about illegals entering the US. Most illegals are escaping where they came from and aren’t drug mules. Bigger chance of getting caught in a group than an individual.
  • “…then ask Nancy, why is her district have drug and needles all over the place? It’s the most disgusting thing what she’s allowed to happened to her district.” – Pelosi has only so much she can control in her district. On the other hand Trump controls the country. He can be blamed as well. Now since Trump has a history of blowing things out of proportion, is her district any worse than in an area of Kansas City or New York or Miami?
  • “If I made any statement about anybody it would be like a big headline, why would he do that when he’s overseas?” but then said “We have Pelosi, we have Crying Chuck Schumer, who’s a disaster, by the way. He’s a total political, you know, jerk.” – And it seems everyone to him is a disaster.
  • “They thought their good friend Bobby Mueller was going to give them a great report.” – Even though right after William Barr’s watered down report had Trump praising Mueller.
  • “Peace, really peace. And we built up our military, we built up our wealth, we built up everything.” – He was asked what to pray for. Peace doesn’t really need a military build-up if there is no one to go to war with.
  • “There are those that say they have never seen the Queen have a better time, a more animated time.” – In the 50+ years as Queen, Trump claims Queen Elizabeth never had a better few times than this past week. Not her coronation, weddings, births, ….

The US and Mexico came to some deal where Mexico would try to curtail immigrants from coming to the US-Mexico border in exchange for Trump pulling away from imposing tariffs on Mexico.

Trump said that tariffs on Mexico would of climbed to 5% per month [roughly] for 5 months unless Mexico shows serious reductions in the number of people trying to enter the US from Mexico or in his words “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.” Of course nobody knows exactly how much of a reduction, not even his secretary of state. This could backfire on Trump as his NAFTA replacement deal could be put on hold by Mexico. In addition, tariffs would of meant many items Americans purchase would go up in price. At 25%, it could cost an extra $1300 for a car.

“Because of the Dems, our Immigration Laws are BAD. Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the US, have for decades, they can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done!” he said. Except since 1980, Republican presidents have been in office longer than Democrats including 2+ years with him in office where he has produced no legislation to fix the matter.

Quite a few Republican senators were against Trump’s idea of imposing tariffs on Mexico. The members insisted Trump hold off on any declarations until he can brief members personally on the plan. But with Trump in Europe at the time and members scheduled to leave for D-Day commemorations, that may not have been possible before the first deadline for activating the first band of 5% tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico. If at least 20 Republicans voted against, it would of vetoed the tariffs.

Trump had claimed that he was ready to enforce the tariffs because there was no movement in the negotiations. Mexico had claimed that negotiations were going well and a deal would be reached before the first deadline. Who do you believe?

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found from The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. 117,000 jobs in Texas alone. It gets worse as the tariff percentage increases. The tariffs on Mexico would lead to an increase in direct costs of about $28.1 billion each year. The US economy would lose an estimated $41.5 billion in GDP for each year the tariffs are in place.

White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has directed former officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to turn over any documents to the House Judiciary Committee relating to their time at the White House. Hicks, the former White House communications director, still could turn over documents the committee has requested related to the 2016 Trump campaign, as that period cannot be covered by executive privilege.

House Democrats are preparing to vote next week to hold Don McGahn in contempt of Congress after he didn’t appear at a hearing last month.

The Trump administration has declared an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite $8.1 billion in arms sales to various countries — including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — citing the need to deter what it called “the malign influence” of Iran throughout the Middle East. So what changed in the past few days? Did Iran invade a country? Nope. Fired rockets? Not that we know of. Maybe he’ll send some of the “profit” to build his wall.

In an interview with Axios, son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was asked if his father-in-law was a racist when Trump’s disproved conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He wouldn’t really answer – just saying he wasn’t involved. He also believes that the Palestinians won’t be able to govern their own territory well. That comment won’t go well for some.

Trump may have added another trade war when he announced India’s removal from a special trade program, saying it had “not assured the United States that India will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets.” The program, known as the Generalized System of Preferences, exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from import duties in 2018, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Trump had an interview with Piers Morgan where:

  • He now says referring to Meaghan Markle “I wasn’t referring to she’s nasty. I said she was nasty about me.” Didn’t help!
  • “I think [Markle’s] very nice. Honestly I don’t know her…” So how does he know she’s nice? Assumption?
  • “I did mention a couple of things, well United States right now has amongst the cleanest climate there are based on all statistics.” According to something called the Environmental Performance Index, the US actually ranks 27th in environmental quality.
  • “He [Prince Charles] doesn’t have to worry about future generations in theory. Unless he is a very good person, who cares about people.” A bug HUH?
  • “I know so much about nuclear weapons. Don’t forget I’m the one who gets trained and has to study this.” Sure Donnie.
  • “In London you have stabbings all over. I read an article where everybody’s being stabbed. They said your hospital is a sea of blood all over the floors.” Repeat. A bug HUH? No article can be found.
  • “Well I was never a fan of that war, I’ll be honest with you. I thought it was a terrible war,… you know you’re talking about Vietnam and at that time, nobody had ever heard of the country.” From a man that didn’t serve in Vietnam because he got five deferments — including one for bone spurs. When asked later which foot he had the bone spurs in, Trump couldn’t recall.

[Piers Morgan was called “ruthless, arrogant, evil and obnoxious” by Trump in the final of a celebrity version of The Apprentice in 2008. Morgan also wouldn’t vote for Trump in the 2016 election.]

From last week’s trip to Japan, the Navy released a statement saying this: “A request was made to the US Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit.” I wonder who made the request. [See the last blogue why I’m mentioning this.]

High-ranking North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol was identified attending an art performance alongside leader Kim Jong Un in the country’s state media just days after one of South Korea’s biggest newspapers said he had been banished and sentenced to hard labor and his deputy executed. [See the last blogue why I’m mentioning this also.]

While Supreme Court judges are supposed to be impartial, it seems that is becoming rare in the divided US. To start off with you have Trump who has said “more Republicans …. And must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court,” and, again this month, he disparaged a judge based on his appointment by the Democrat Obama. Now with the abortion debate coming back to the front, a non-impartial court seems less likely. Judges are supposed to check their own beliefs at the chamber door and judge by what is fair to all.

“The more you politicize the judiciary,” said New York University law professor Barry Friedman, who has tracked public attitudes toward the Supreme Court, “the more people will question the institution of judicial review…. The President and Senate are also waving through lower court appointments like they’re at the Grand Prix.”

Trump has also scoffed at the various Democratic proposals saying “The only reason that they’re doing that is they want to try to catch up. So if they can’t catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to try doing it in a different way.” Seems everything with him is that the Democrats lost the election.

Trump tweeted “If the totally Corrupt Media was less corrupt, I would be up by 15 points in the polls based on our tremendous success with the economy, maybe Best Ever! If the Corrupt Media was actually fair, I would be up by 25 points. Nevertheless, despite the Fake News, we’re doing great!” So he thinks the “corrupt” media plays a major role in the polls.

But Trump was blaming special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for the state of his poll numbers. “Without the ILLEGAL Witch Hunt, my poll numbers, especially because of our historically ‘great’ economy, would be at 65%.”

Next month he’ll blame Queen Elizabeth or maybe France’s Emmanuel Macron.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has continued to hold stock in a company she said she would divest from a year prior. Chao’s financial disclosure forms and related documents, the Trump Cabinet official has maintained her holdings in Vulcan Materials — holdings that have gained more than $40,000 over the past year. She was instead compensated for exiting the company in shares of the company stock and continued to hold it, rather than be cashed out. Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Hmmm. Ever notice how Trump will say “Donald Trump is a…” or “Everybody knows Donald Trump…” Well maybe he watches The Muppets often as Elmo says the same third person talk. Who also does the same thing? Some very young children just learning how to talk. Hmmmm.

So without naming names, on the season finale of the TV show Supernatural, the son of Lucifer is tired of people telling lies and so he uses his power to force everyone to tell the truth. Shortly after, a TV anchor announces that “The President” has disclosed all of his tax information and admits to hiding various dealing with Russia and North Korea.

A Texas high school teacher who thought she was private messaging anti-immigration tweets to Trump has been fired for asking Trump to deport undocumented students. “Fort Worth] ISD is loaded with illegal students from Mexico… I really do need a contact here in FW who should be actively investigating & removing illegals that are in the public school system.”

As the school district investigated the tweets, a confidential memo revealed that students came forward and said she made racist statements in class the same day that she posted the tweets. When a student asked to go to the bathroom afterward, Clark allegedly said, “show me your papers that are saying you are legal.” A number of community members voiced very strong opinions against her tweets. The school board voted unanimously to terminate Clark’s contract with good cause.

Obstruction, tariffs, and subpoenas

Special counsel Robert Mueller announced that he would appear before the House Judiciary Committee tentatively on May 15th. That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and are hoping the Special Counsel will agree to it. The denial comes after two missed deadlines by the Treasury secretary, who has previously called the request by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal under an obscure statute of tax law “unprecedented.”

Donald Trump said Mueller should not appear before the committee just two days after telling reporters Attorney General William Barr should make that decision. Trump questioned why Mueller needs to testify after spending 2 years on his report. He, of course, had to throw in that there was no collusion or obstruction or the other usuals.

The White House has instructed former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to comply with a subpoena for documents and testimony related to the committee’s obstruction of justice investigation from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, teeing up the latest in a series of escalating oversight showdowns between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats.

McGahn’s decision not to comply with the subpoena could push Nadler to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress, just as he’s moving to do with Attorney General William Barr after the Justice Department defied a subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Nadler directing the committee to request the documents from the White House, and not McGahn.

The White House requested that McGahn publicly state that Trump didn’t obstruct justice, but McGahn declined. McGahn previously told Mueller’s investigators he didn’t believe Trump obstructed justice.

The Justice Department has informed Nadler that the “President has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials” and called the vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress “politically motivated and unnecessary.”

Nadler accused Barr of turning the Department of Justice “into an instrument of Trump personally rather than an instrument of justice and representative of the United States.” The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. for him to return and testify again, and the committee is now at a standoff with Trump’s eldest son. One option Trump Jr. is considering in response to the subpoena is to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, and another is just to not appear at all.

The subpoena for Trump Jr.’s testimony marks an escalation of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian election interference. The committee has recently begun re-interviewing witnesses, including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who appeared for a second time earlier this year.

Hundreds of former Justice Department officials said in an open letter that Trump would be facing multiple felony charges stemming from the Russia investigation if he were not President.

The letter posted online by Justice Department alumni, who served under presidents from both parties, said the report from special counsel Robert Mueller contained repeated instances of Trump committing obstruction of justice, and that he would have been charged with obstruction if he was not protected as President by an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that Mueller cited.

Trump has escalated its trade war with China, hiking tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports hours after trade talks held in Washington failed to produce a breakthrough. Tariffs on the targeted exports increased from 10% to 25% at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, prompting a swift rebuke from Beijing. Last minute negotiations failed. Trump said the new tariffs were because China “broke the deal.” It seems China is backtracking on commitments to change laws over intellectual property and trade secrets, competition policy, and currency manipulation. Of course Trump claimed Iran has broken the nuclear deal – with nothing proven.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association estimates that a 25% tariff on apparel imports will increase costs for a family of four by $500 a year. If Trump thinks that this round of tariffs will help the American economy, he’s dreaming. Probably job losses because of higher prices. Limited manufacturing jobs as good luck in building a new factory to make more expensive shoes so fast.

Trump hoped to force China to further open its market to US exports, stop the forced sharing of intellectual property with China, and rewrite trade deals he said have unfairly benefited Beijing. The Chinese economy is fundamentally more vulnerable than that of the US. If China retaliates it could make quite a few things more expensive such as toys, shoes and iPhones [oh well].

The Trump Administration ordered the Pentagon to deploy a carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in order to send a message to Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was for security issues or threats that involve Iran and US allies in the region. Then Pompeo abruptly canceled a scheduled trip to Germany where he was planning to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel “due to pressing issues,” the State Department. In both cases, no specific explanation was given.

Iran announced it was partially withdrawing from a landmark nuclear deal, marking a serious escalation in Tehran’s faceoff with Trump and the United States. President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech that Iran would reduce its “commitments” to the deal, but would not fully withdraw, amid heightened pressure from the US in recent weeks.

Rouhani said Iran will keep its excess enriched uranium and heavy water, rather than sell it to other countries as previously agreed to limit its stockpile. The move comes a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal, over the stringent objections of other signatories.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied a request from House Democrats for access to six years of Trump’s personal tax returns. “I am informing you now that the Department may not lawfully fulfill the Committee’s request,” Mnuchin wrote in his letter, written in consultation with lawyers from the Department of Justice.

Democrats initially directed their request to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, the only person with the legal authority to turn over the returns, but Mnuchin has interceded twice in the matter, citing his role overseeing the federal tax collector.

The Trump administration is considering deporting migrant families with court-ordered removals, a move that senior Department of Homeland Security officials have resisted in the past. The idea, described as a way to “send a message” to smugglers, is “under serious consideration.” The Department of Homeland Security, suffering from a lack of resources, is unable to deport all those who are ordered to be removed from the country and has said it focuses on the people it deems the most dangerous.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens accused Trump of exceeding his presidential powers in an interview published Thursday, telling The Wall Street Journal that Trump “has to comply with subpoenas.” Stevens, who served on the Supreme Court from his appointment by President Gerald Ford in 1975 until his retirement in 2010, is a lifelong Republican whose rulings often leaned left.

The Pentagon has diverted an additional $1.5 billion in Defense Department funds from various accounts in order to fund the Trump Wall, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said and has found a way to reprogram the $1.5 billion without harming readiness. However, he added that the Pentagon wouldn’t be diverting any more funds to the wall.

In 1985, Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses – largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 – more than $250 million each year – were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.

Trump responded in a series of tweets by saying “Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases. Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered ‘tax shelter,’ you would get it by building, or even buying.” Doesn’t sound like his tweeting. Too adult like wording.

He’s cheating his own government with tax shelters. If this was another businessman, would Trump as President allow this to continue or send off abusive tweets.

This can’t end well. Trump has laid tentative plans to upend the traditional Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, moving the fireworks show from the National Mall and perhaps including an address from Trump himself. Major backlash if he goes political. The fireworks display on the Mall has been a time-honored nonpartisan tradition for nearly half a century. The plans involve moving the fireworks show closer to the Potomac River and adding a second stage for entertainment.

“Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back…..,” Trump said in a tweet. Stolen? He didn’t do much. So very little can be “stollen”.

At a rally in Florida, Trump said “And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?” Someone in the audience interrupted Trump, shouting: “Shoot them!” With Trump replying “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”

In the sports section…

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora will not join the team during its visit to the White House soon because of displeasure with the Trump administration’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico. There were parts of the country without power for almost a year, and nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico alone as the result of the hurricane. A few other players will also not attend.

At the Kentucky Derby, after the horse Maximum Security was disqualified for having illegally impeded other horses, Trump had to give his 2 cents work by saying “”The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one” and “Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!” Ummm. “Political correctness”?

After Facebook barred seven users from its services, citing its policies against “dangerous individuals and organizations,” Trump is siding with the people who were banned and railing against social media “censorship”. In various tweets he said “It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!” He ignored the fact that some of the banned users are extremists who make a living by deceiving their fans.

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.

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.