Trump signs first [of many] vetoes

In another busy week [is there ever a quiet week?], Donald Trump vetoed legislation attempting to strike down his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. It will be the first time in his two years in office that Trump has used his presidential veto power to block legislation. Not surprising this is the first time. His administration has had a problem passing anything even when the GOP controlled both the House and Senate.

It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump’s veto, though House Democrats will try nonetheless on March 26.

So far, at least seven lawsuits have been filed challenging the declaration. The argument at the core of each lawsuit is similar: Trump exceeded his authority and circumvented Congress in an attempt to achieve his signature campaign promise for an emergency that, plaintiffs argue, doesn’t exist.

Trump tweeted shortly after the Senate passed the resolution condemning his unilateral action. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!” Ummm. A dozen Republicans voted against him. Not a good sign.

Trump and White House aides making clear to Republican senators that a vote against Trump on this issue would have ramifications come re-election time. Still, a White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators who opposed him want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. More thuggery. Trump said he had sympathy for the Republicans who voted against him and emphasized that he never truly twisted the arms of lawmakers, because he knew there were not enough votes to override the veto.

The Senate delivered a high-profile rebuke to Trump over his signature agenda issue when 12 Republicans joined Democrats to overturn Trump’s national emergency border declaration. The vote was 59-41, an overwhelming vote against the Trump’s executive action. However it isn’t enough to block Trump’s veto which he will do.

Trump had hoped the number of “yes” votes will stay below 60, aides say, a symbolic margin that he believes would save some embarrassment, though still require him to use his veto pen. But he reversed when asked if he would support a proposal to limit future national emergency declarations to 30 days which he could agree to – just not this national emergency. A number of prominent GOP lawmakers are against the emergency including Mitt Romney and Susan Collins.

“Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress,” Trump wrote. I wouldn’t mind knowing which prominent legal scholars he is referring to. And “authorized”? The House hasn’t and it looks like the Senate won’t.

[If this is such a national emergency, why didn’t he pushed for this national emergency when he was elected? What has changed? Nothing. it is his signature election promise and one of many he has failed to do in his 26 months of this “presidency”. He couldn’t get anything passed even when “his” party had a majority for the first two party and definitely won’t when the Democrats took over the House.]

The House of Representatives passed a resolution with 420 members voting in favor of the resolution and zero voting against it. The resolution is calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be released to the public once it is completed. The resolution is not legally binding. So 185 Republicans vote in favor. But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham moved to block a non-binding resolution in the Senate.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort will serve a total of seven and a half years in prison for two cases. The latest sentencing was for two charges: conspiracy against the US and conspiracy to obstruct justice for attempting to tamper with witnesses.

“I have not even given it a thought as of this moment,” Trump said. “It’s not something now that’s on my mind.” Trump reiterated that he felt “badly” for his former aide.

After Manafort’s second sentencing, Trump said “Today, again, no collusion. The other day, no collusion.” Except the second sentencing had nothing to do with his collusion problems. Manafort’s lawyer Kevin Downing repeated Trump’s comments saying “So that makes two courts… Two courts have ruled no evidence of any collusion with the Russians.”

If Trump pardons Manafort for his federal convictions, the ex-lobbyist could still face years in jail on state charges that are beyond his reach.

Ex-acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker did not deny in a closed congressional meeting that he had spoken with Trump about a case involving Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen. This is involving Cohen’s allegation that a pardon had been dangled in exchange for him staying loyal to the President, in which he was purportedly told he could be sure he had “friends in high places.”

At best, such a conversation would appear inappropriate and unethical since the President is the country’s top law enforcement officer. At worst it could again raise suggestions that Trump may have obstructed justice.

An attorney who said he had been speaking with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani reassured Cohen in an April 2018 email that Cohen could “sleep well tonight” because he had “friends in high places.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would obey the law if he receives a written request from Congress to turn over Trump’s tax returns. “I will consult with the legal department within Treasury, and I will comply with the law.”

Republicans, who have argued that Trump has the right to privacy, quickly made clear they believe any request from Democrats wouldn’t be lawful — opening up the possibility of an extended fight over whether Mnuchin will hand over the returns if a request is made. Trump came the first major Presidential candidate in 2016 to refuse citing an ongoing audit. [That’s one long audit.] House Democrats have been preparing to ask the Internal Revenue Service for Trump’s tax returns under an obscure provision that gives the leaders of the House and Senate tax-writing committees the power to request taxpayer information from the Treasury Department. It states that “the secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request.”

Trump says he does not see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world following an attack targeting Muslims in New Zealand that killed at least 49 people.

Trump was just doing what he [thought] could to raise spirits when he signed Bibles at an Alabama church for survivors of a tornado outbreak, many religious leaders say, though some are offended and others say he could have handled it differently. Other Presidents have signed Bibles but they were generally one offs and for special occasions.

Trump should have at least signed inside in a less ostentatious way according to some faith leaders. Others said he shouldn’t of signed them at all. One said “It almost felt like a desecration of the holy book to put his signature on the front writ large, literally.” Others said it could be seen as a blurring of church and state and an endorsement of Christianity over other religions.

Trump wants to sell the military. No not that way. There are 100+ country that have US military presence. Trump wants to charge countries for the manpower and resources plus a surcharge [to make a profit]. Judging by how much it costs to buy a screw, that will be one big bill! They did, however, said it would be on a case by case basis.

Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and brother of Betsy Devos, proposed a plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan by turning military operations over to a mercenary force like his that wouldn’t be subject to Pentagon or civilian oversight and that would eventually fund itself by plundering the resources of the country. He sees that not only as a way of funding the occupation, but also as a way of making huge profits from the occupation of a foreign land. He envisages that as a template for future military adventures and seems to be in favor of deciding whether to engage in future oversees military operations not on the basis of US national interest concerns or human rights concerns but rather on the basis of whether a profit can be made. Not surprisingly, Trump seems to be in love with the idea.

Trump telling Breitbart News, “I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of Bikers for Trump — I have tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point and then it would be very, very bad.” Well, he should have support for the military but for military purposes – not to become thugs and do his dirty job – like say beat up Trump’s critics. The same goes for the police. Both groups should be impartial. As for bikers, not surprised he’d want to be associated with most or at least some of them. While not all, quite a few bikers belong to criminal gangs.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Trump administration will deny or revoke visas for International Criminal Court staff. The move is meant to deter a potential investigation by the judicial body into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by US troops in Afghanistan. The restrictions include “persons who take or have taken action to request or further such an investigation.”

There is a legal phrase for this: Obstruction of justice. Something the administration is all too familiar with.

Over part of two tweets, Trump said “How do you impeach a man who is considered by many to be the President with the most successful first two years in history, especially when he has done nothing wrong and impeachment is for “high crimes and misdemeanors”?” OK. You can stop laughing now. Seriously. Stop!

After the GOP tweeted “The NY Attorney General called President Trump an “illegitimate president.” She has proven to have a vendetta against @realDonaldTrump & is using her position of power to baselessly smear the President & the work he’s done for the American people,” Trump retweeted that and added “All part of the Witch Hunt Hoax. Started by little [former NY Attorney General] Eric Schneiderman & [Governor Andrew] Cuomo. So many leaving New York!” There were 19.85 million in New York state in 2017 and 19.88 million in 2018. Yup. Leaving in droves! [This was a second tweet after the first one was deleted because he couldn’t spell Cuomo’s name correctly.]

Let’s not forget the Trump still has properties in New York such as his trump Tower. You don’t see him leaving the state.

According to excerpts from the forthcoming book “Kushner Inc.” obtained by New York Times, Trump told former Chief of Staff John Kelly he wanted Ivanka and Jared Kushner gone. The White House is denying these reports, calling the book “completely false.” Boy this could been interesting the next time they see each other. “Is it true daddy?”

After the latest Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crash Trump tweeted “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” Trump tweeted. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All this cost for very little gain.”

“I’m not an email person,” Trump said during a July 2016 news conference. “I don’t believe in it because I think it can be hacked” as if no Twitter accounts have been hacked ever. Is tweeting any better? You send out an Email, it does normally to a finite number of users. You tweet something, it does to everyone of your followers.

Trump is also a big supporter of Boeing and has been a salesman for them. Most recently during his trip to Vietnam last month where he oversaw the sale of 100 Boeing 737 MAX planes — 20 of those MAX 8 models — for $12.7 billion. Vietnam has put the order on hold until the reason for the crashes are identified.

Within 48 hours, Trump was forced to order the halting of the airplanes because after Canada grounded them, they weren’t flying anywhere except in the US and even passengers were worried about them.

After Trump accused “The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They’ve become an anti-Jewish party,” press secretary Sarah “Simpleton” Sanders wouldn’t say whether Trump believes Democrats hate Jews, which is what he reportedly told Republican donors over the weekend at his Florida estate.

When Sanders claimed that the Democrats refusal to specifically condemn a freshman lawmaker for her controversial comments amounted to an “abhorrent” display, she was asked whether Trump condemned Rep. Steve King’s comments noting that King has a history of making what can be called racist comments but only recently stripped of various committee postings. She deflected the question. The Democrats did condemn the freshman who also apologized.

Trump also claimed that Jews are switching to the Republican party. Of course various polls from the past few elections say that Jews vote for the Democrats anywhere between 70% and 80% of the time.

A vote this week on Yemen was the first time Congress invoked the decades-old War Powers Act to try to rein in a president. That resolution seeking to end US backing for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen was approved in the aftermath of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and is expected to be the subject of Trump’s second veto.

The Trump administration is proposing $2.7 trillion in spending cuts following a directive by Trump to reduce spending by 5% across federal agencies, except for defense spending, as part of its budget plan for fiscal year 2020, which begins on October 1. The Democrats already have said that Trump will not get the $8.6 billion he plans to request for the wall.

“President Trump added nearly $2 trillion to our deficits with tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, and now it appears his budget asks the American people to pay the price,” said Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee. “With severe cuts to essential programs and services that would leave our nation less safe and secure, the Trump budget is as dangerous as it is predictable.”

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that Trump’s “record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election,” a significant difference from comments the he made earlier in the week where he described how he thought some Democrats could beat Trump in the 2020 election.

One of the very few items that Trump managed to check off on his platform list is sinking. Unless the Trump administration lifts the punishing tariffs it has imposed on Mexican steel and aluminum imports — duties it also imposed on Canada — Mexico is prepared to keep the status quo with the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump tweets “Republican Approval Rating just hit 93%. Sorry Haters!” From which poll he gives no data. So his “poll” [the one he invented in his mind] says 7% don’t like him. Still not good.

In 2011, Trump questioned whether President Obama was a born American in addition to his academic record. According to the Washing Post [and in recent testimony by Michael Cohen], days after he had threatened his high school, college and college board not to release his grades or SAT scores. In fact, Trump wanted all of his transcripts [which were on paper only] to be given to alumni Trump could trust.

In the more than two years since Trump took office, he has not hosted a women’s championship sports team for a solo event at the White House. WNBA teams were frequently invited to the White House during the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. NCAA women’s basketball champion teams have visited the White House for the previous five administrations. The sole exception is of a November 2017 event honoring multiple NCAA championship teams.

Case in point: The North Dakota State Bison NCAA division 2 football team were at the White House and again they were served Big Macs, fried chicken sandwiches and other fast food on silver platters using fine china. “We could’ve had chefs, we could have, but we had fast food — because I know you people.”

Trump suggested the decision was aimed at supporting American business. “We like American companies, OK?” he said. Trump encouraged the team to “go and eat up,” noting that he would have a sandwich at the podium himself, but it would cause “too big a stir” with the reporters present. Ya. Sure Donnie.

In the computer department:

A researcher from France has detected in an app, nicknamed “Yelp for Conservatives”, was found with an open API [a set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications] leaking reams of user data without any real hacking. The developer said the app is designed “to keep conservatives safe as they eat and shop” has not taken kindly to the findings. He’s accusing the researcher of hacking his database and has threatened legal recourse.

The same researcher found another app called “Donald Daters” [coincidentally also pro-Conservative] which leaked users’ names, photos, personal messages and users’ authentication tokens. It is a MAGA-themed dating experience.

A recent polls says that 50% support Cohen, 35% support Trump.

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