So, where is Trump supposed to get the billions for his wall?
Congress of course. Next question, where does Congress get the money? Taxpayers of course.
It is most unfortunate for government workers caught up in this shutdown, although it is time for Comgress to live up to their duty to the American people - not just Republican or Democrats - the country as a whole.
Trump - MEXICO WILL PAY FOR IT!
CONGRESS - NOT AMERICAN TAXPAYERS.
Trump Shutdown #3
The government partially shut down at midnight after the House and Senate failed to pass a spending bill. President Trump had insisted he would not sign any spending bill that did not include $5 billion for the border wall.
The partial shutdown won't have much effect on your holiday plans. The post office will stay open, so gift and holiday card stragglers can still put them in the mail. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents would still work, and air travel would continue virtually unaffected.
Government employees who are considered "essential," such as Secret Service agents, Customs and Border Patrol agents and U.S. troops deployed at the border, will still be working. But a shutdown creates a risk for hundreds of thousands of federal workers: More than 420,000 federal employees would have to go to work without pay. More than 380,000 will be furloughed. Those who work will get paid eventually - and those furloughed likely will - but depending how long the shutdown lasts, they could miss a paycheck.
Funding that expired at midnight Saturday covers the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the State Department, the Interior Department, the Departure of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, among some other federal entities.
Those being furloughed include nearly everyone at NASA and 52,000 workers at the Internal Revenue Service. About 8 in 10 employees of the National Park Service were to stay home; many parks were expected to close.
The Senate passed legislation ensuring that workers will receive back pay. The House seemed sure to follow suit.
UPDATE: Senate has adjourned until Thursday (Dec. 27th).
SYRIAN PULLOUT: Trump tweeted Wednesday , "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency." And according to one U.S. defense official, the Pentagon is planning for a "full" and "rapid" withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.
We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.
Lawmakers assailed Trump's decision, saying it could embolden Ankara to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said the president's decision was unwise and put the Kurds "at risk."
Democratic Senator Jack Reed said it amounted to a "betrayal" of the Kurds that "provides further evidence of President Trump's inability to lead on the world stage."
Blasting the move as a "huge Obama-like mistake," Graham said "I fear it will lead to devastating consequences for our nation, the region and throughout the world."
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Good to his promise to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer, following an afternoon meeting at the White House with outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, the president said he “will not sign” the funding bill as is to keep the federal government open thereby taking ownership of this the latest shutdown.
If Trump and both houses of Congress are unable to agree on a funding bill by Dec. 21, large parts of the federal government could run out of operating authority after midnight Friday.
MATTIS RESGNS: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned on Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw 2,000 American troops from Syria.
James Mattis' entire resignation letter
Dec. 20, 2018
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country's 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department's business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.
One core believe I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the U.S. remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO's 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model -- gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions -- to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department's interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.
I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the antion and our men and women in uniform.
James N. Mattis
Trump announced Mr. Mattis’s resignation in two tweets, and said the Pentagon chief will leave at the end of February.
PUTIN PRAISES TRUMP: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised President Trump’s surprise decision to pull out of Syria, even as the United States’ closest allies criticized the move and said they will remain in the war-ridden country due to the Islamic State’s threat.
“If the USA made that decision, then it’s the right one,” Putin said during the annual press conference on Thursday. He noted that the presence of American troops in Syria was “illegal” because the Assad government never agreed to it.
“Donald is right, I agree with him,” the Russian leader added, pointing to Trump’s remarks that the Islamic State has been largely defeated.
....Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us. I am building by far the most powerful military in the world. ISIS hits us they are doomed!
Putin’s remarks came just hours before Trump tweeted that “Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy” about the decision to withdraw from the country as they will now have to fight Islamic State militants themselves. Quite to the contrary Trump's move to withdraw is just what Putin ordered. Trump's actions give our allies, if we continue to have them, the message that we most certainly don't have your back and that we cannot be trusted.
Reports on Social Media
The Senate Intelligence Committee released two third-party reports outlining how the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll factory behind the country’s online misinformation campaign, attempted to influence US politics and sow division before and after the 2016 election.
These latest reports from the Senate Intelligence Committee drive home the fact that we probably can’t expect Facebook, Twitter, or Google to fix social media’s problems, at least entirely.
Flynn Sentencing Delayed
A federal judge on Tuesday postponed the sentencing for Michael Flynn after he lambasted President Trump’s former national security adviser for trying to undermine his own country and said he could not guarantee he would spare Flynn from prison.
The stunning development means that Flynn will have to be sentenced at a later date.
Flynn’s attorneys asked for the delay after a rebuke by Judge Sullivan that appeared to result from Flynn's lawyers sentencing submission where they intimated that Flynn may have been fooled into lying to the FBI because he had not been warned in advance that doing so is a crime.
Sullivan granted the request and asked for a status report in 90 days.
Flynn Associates Indicted
An indictment was unsealed today charging Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, 66, of San Juan Capistrano, California, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, of Istanbul, and a Turkish national, with conspiracy, acting in the United States as illegal agents of the government of Turkey, and making false statements to the FBI.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Assistant Director in Charge Nancy McNamara of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
AMI Non-Prosecution Agreement
Federal prosecutors have given immunity to the company that publishes The National Enquirer in connection with the $150,000 hush-money payment the supermarket tabloid gave Karen McDougal, the Playboy model who claims she had an affair with President Donald Trump.
That payment to McDougal was made shortly before the 2016 presidential election and was done "to influence" that election, which sent Trump to the White House, according to the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
The SDNY revealed its "non-prosecution agreement" with Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. on Wednesday, shortly after Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The agreement, which was signed on Sept. 21, requires AMI to cooperate fully with the SDNY's investigations.
AMI admitted it paid off McDougal to keep her from publicizing her "damaging allegations" of having had a lengthy affair with Trump a decade before the 2016 election, the prosecutors' office said.
The company also admitted "it made the $150,000 payment in concert with" Trump's campaign, according to the SDNY.
"AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman's story so as to prevent it from influencing the election," prosecutors said.
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, during a sentencing hearing in federal court in Manhattan in which Cohen claimed he acted out of "blind loyalty" to President Trump.
In addition to the three-year prison sentence, Judge William Pauley imposed more than $1 million in restitution for Michael Cohen.
Pauley imposed $500,000 in forfeiture to Cohen, and $1.39 million in restitution.
Judge Pauley recommended Otisville Federal Correctional Facility, in Upstate New York and ordered Cohen to surrender on March 6.
That sentencing stemmed from Cohen pleading guilty to eight criminal counts including campaign finance violations and will also serve a concurrent two-month sentenced imposed for lying to Congress over a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project, a charge brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.
SDNY and SCO Documents
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia released a Breach Determination outlining the grounds for Mueller’s determination that Manafort had breached his plea agreement.
America has an unindicted co-conspirator on 2 felony counts in the White House. Any other person in the United States and he would be charged and held accountable. The cloak of the Presidency and the Constitution narrowly protects him at the moment. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
Time will only tell what is below the surface. Time will also tell just how far down we as a nation are willing to go ignoring what it staring us in the face. It will only get worse.
He knows it . . . We know it . . . So what do we do about "INDIVIDUAL-1"?
George H. W. Bush Passes
George Herbert Walker Bush, the nation’s 41st President who also was a fighter pilot, congressman, CIA chief and the father of an Oval Office successor, died Friday night. He was 94.
News of Bush’s death came in a statement from his office.
"George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for," said his son, former President George W. Bush." The entire Bush familiy is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."
He is preceded in death by Barbara Pierce Bush, his wife of 73 years.
Mr. Bush was elected president on Nov. 8, 1988, sworn in on Jan. 20, 1989, and served until Jan. 20, 1993.
Oh, I get it! I am a very good developer, happily living my life, when I see our Country going in the wrong direction (to put it mildly). Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool, talked about it on the campaign trail...
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, made a surprise appearance at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan Thursday where he pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to Congress regarding work he did on the development of a Trump Tower in Russia. The plea indicates that discussions about the project extended longer into the 2016 presidential campaign than Cohen had said, and involved discussions with Mr. Trump about a trip to Moscow.
The key revelation of Michael Cohen’s new guilty plea is this: Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller is one step closer to showing links between Donald Trump’s business interests in Russia and his conduct as a candidate for president.
Also noted here would be that Trump just turned in his written answers to Muellers questions. May be interesting to know just how they compare to those that Cohen just answered. Hmm, perjury is also a high crime and misdemeanor.
Trump dangled the possibility of a pardon for Paul Manafort during an interview with the New York Post Wednesday (Nov 28).
Although he said that he's never discussed pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, he said it's "not off the table." In the interview, Trump asked rhetorically: "Why would I take it off the table?"
Call me crazy, but isn't this obstruction or bribery or witness tampering or all of the above, of which all are high crimes and misdemeanors?
The comment drew swift condemnation from a top Senate Democrat and it renewed concerns from Trump critics that the president would wield his vast pardon power to protect his friends and supporters caught up in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
In the interview with the Post, the president also praised conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who has recently rejected a plea offer from Mueller's team. Trump said Corsi, Manafort and his longtime associate Roger Stone are "very brave" for resisting Mueller's investigation.
In response to Trump's comments, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said that if Trump pardons his former campaign chairman, it would be a "blatant and unacceptable abuse of power."
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said in a tweet that the presidential pardon power is not a "personal tool" that the president can use to protect "himself and his friends."
Meanwhile, Manafort's lawyers have been briefing Trump's attorneys on what their client has told investigators.
Trump's comments came just days after Mueller's team said Manafort had breached his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to investigators on a variety of topics, an allegation Manafort denies.
A federal judge set a hearing for Friday in which she will hear from both sides about next steps in the case.
Another Senseless Death
A teenager in Milwaukee, who wrote an award-winning essay about gun violence, died after being hit by a stray bullet after shots were fired outside her home on Monday night.
Sandra Parks wrote the essay titled “Our Truth” two years ago when she was then in sixth grade. The essay, which took third place in a citywide competition, explored gun violence while commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. In it, she expressed how she believed the world wasn’t carrying out King’s message.
She wrote of seeing "examples of chaos almost every day" and lamented "little children" who were victims of "senseless gun violence."
The 13-year-old was sitting in her room on Monday night when a bullet was fired at her home and hit her in the chest.
8.3 AVG tweets daily. 1 out of 17.31 tweets - Fake News.
Fake News once every 48 hours.
The reason behind the numbers.
See if this sounds all too familiar:
"His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."
Joe Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshares Fund and an MSNBC contributor, wrote a tweet in response Trump’s statement that said, "This is, without a doubt, the most uninformed, imbecilic, toady, poorly-written, categorically untrue statement I have ever seen from a president of the United States. A complete disgrace."
Situational Ethics - Yet Again
Ivanka Trump last year used a personal email account to discuss or relay official White House business, according to emails released by a nonpartisan watchdog group, American Oversight.
Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants.
This not to say that anything nefarious was intended with the use of the personal account, it is just to report that it is another case of "do as I say, not as I do".
The Presidential Records Act requires all official White House communications and records be preserved.
The White House had no comment on Ivanka Trump's email practices.
Trump Word of the Month
noun: deference to Trump and Trump alone.
the press: Don't ask questions I don't like.
Where's the Caravan?
Not 5 days after the mid-term elections and a day following Trump's low energy visit in France with French President Macron on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day (Nov 11, 1918) all seems clear on the southern border where only a week ago there was this mad invasion threatening the U.S.
Just like magic the caravan disappeared from Fox News and most all major news broadcasts.
Trump's saber rattling and calling for troops to defend our border was just what it was. A over exaggerated political ploy to rabble rouse the GOP base and drive them to the polls.
So where is the caravan now??
Answer: Just where it was prior to election day. Hundreds of miles from the border and weeks if not months away.
Funny how the Democrats championed health care in this election and the GOP championed hate.
A former U.S. Marine burst into the Borderline Bar and Grill, a Thousand Oaks bar packed with college students late Wednesday night, tossed a smoke bomb into the crowd and opened fire, authorities said.
Twelve people were killed, including a sheriff’s sergeant responding to the scene
Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the community of Thousand Oaks, California.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a letter to the White House which started, "At your Request" stepped down as attorney general Wednesday bringing an end to his controversial tenure as the nation's top law enforcement officer. Read the resignation letter here.
Trump wrote on twitter that Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, would serve as an acting replacement.
We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well....
Sessions, 71, lasted not quite two years in the job.
Sessions firing comes on the heals of the mid-term elections in which Democrats regained majority control of the House while Republicans control of the Senate.
A related item for future note:
Noel Francisco, Solicitor General received a White House ethics waiver (read here) in April from White House counsel Don Macgahn. Francisco's name has been mentioned as a replacement for Sessions.
Democrats seized control of the House on Tuesday, a major setback for President Donald Trump and the conservative, anti-immigration agenda he brought to Washington two years ago.
But Republican victories in the Senate and across the South stanched Democrats’ broader gains, exposing limitations of the Democratic Party’s reach.
Several tight races are still yet to be certified. Recounts may be the order of the day in Georgia, Florida and Arizona.
The new Congress in January just may be very interesting. With the Dems controlling investigative powers the accountability of this administration may be kept in check.
Oct 20 - Trump, out of nowhere announced he was "looking at putting in a very major tax cut” for "middle-income people" that he hoped to implement "sometime around the first of November, maybe a little before that."
It's Nov first and absolutely no talk of "major tax cut", in fact when he made the announcement, Congress wasn't in session and isn't scheduled to return until after the mid-term elections.
Oct 31 - Trump tweeted - "Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions far better than the Dems!"
Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions far better than the Dems!
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed on Monday that "the president’s health-care plan that he’s laid out covers preexisting conditions," despite the fact that Trump hasn’t laid out any health care plan whatsoever.
The fact here is: NO REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE supports the present health care law which includes "preexisting" conditions.
Oct 30 - Trump is threatening to remove birthright citizenship through an Executive Order.
He claims to have the power to repeal an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Specifically the 14th Amendment (read here).
HE DOES NOT.
Trump's hard-lined immigration policies targeting "anchor babies" and "chain migration" is quite ironic also.
Melania (Knaus) Trump, an immigrant of Slovenia, still has unanswered questions regarding her qualifying for an EB-1 visa. Her parents became naturalized citizens via "chain migration".
When it comes to birthright citizenship - Trump's 3 oldest children were born 4, 7 and 11 years before their mother (Ivana) became a citizen in 1988.
By Trump's own definition, Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric are "illegal aliens" to this day.
8.8 AVG tweets daily. 1 out of 17.24 tweets - Fake News.
Fake News once every 48 hours.
The reason behind the numbers.
See if this sounds all too familiar:
"His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."
A week which included 14 pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and critics of Donald Trump produced yet again another senseless tragedy.
A gunman opened fire inside a busy synagogue during a service today (Saturday Oct 27th) in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people and injuring six others.
Our hearts are with the victims, their families, the Tree of Life Congregation and the community of Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania.
Slight of Hand
Less than two weeks until the mid-term elections and instead of focusing on the more important issues America faces today, we have been held captive in worrying about suspicious packages and migrants in Central America.
The President wants us to believe we are being invaded. His vitriol regarding immigration along the campaign trail along with his "I am a Nationalist" rhetoric does nothing but fan the fires of hate.
The political climate certainly has heated up coming down the stretch, however the real issues are not being addressed and have taken a back seat to division, hate, and fear.
Most all polls show that the most pressing issue is health care and related concerns.
While the Democratic party has fought tooth and nail for almost a decade to bring about, enact and defend the ACA (Affordable Care Act) the GOP has done everything they can to eliminate the ACA with all its provisions.
The main provision that has had the most contention yet garners the most support is "preexisting conditions". This support is non-partisan where the lay-person is concerned. The conflict comes when you look up the food chain and zero in on government,
The GOP has started spewing out support for "preexisting conditions" on the campaign trail. What that is - is an outright lie. It only serves to try to convince the moderate voter, the disenfranchised voter, the undecided voter to vote Republican Nov 6th.
The political slight of hand that the GOP is mesmerizing their base and those undecideds is just that. While they profess to favor keeping "preexisting conditions" - behind the scenes not only has the Administration already enacted provisions to allow states to undermine the ACA requirements on a state by state basis, those GOP candidates that miraculously seemed to have seen the light, have no intentions of following through with this promise AFTER the elections.
Voters should note this: Only the Democratic candidates support the ACA and keeping the "preexisting conditions" provision alive.
What Tax Cut???
At a Monday night rally, Trump once again said he plans to offer a new tax cut plan before the midterms, even though no one seems to know what it will look like or how it might get through a Congress that only barely managed to pass its previous round of tax cuts last year.
The pledge came as news to House and Senate lawmakers, who’ve already returned to their home states to campaign for the elections and have no plans to consider new legislation before then.
The GOP is already scrambling to avoid criticism for the ballooning debt and deficit under Trump’s watch.
After looking at several headlines across the United States regarding this news tidbit, making headlines like those may have been Trump’s only plan all along.
Bullseye On Entitlements
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed rising federal deficits and debt on a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and said he sees little chance of a major deficit reduction deal while Republicans control Congress and the White House.
McConnell’s remarks came a day after the Treasury Department said the U.S. budget deficit grew to $779 billion in Donald Trump’s first full fiscal year as president, the result of the GOP’s tax cuts, bipartisan spending increases and rising interest payments on the national debt. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $439 billion deficit in fiscal 2015, when McConnell became majority leader.
McConnell continued to lament over the difficulty of passing debt-reduction bills (cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) with one party in power in the Congress and the White House. What he didn't say was that in a little less than a month a different party may very well be in power. The same bi-partisan co-operation that he tried to hint at would certainly be needed then just as it is now.
Contrary to the GOP blubbering about entitlements causing the rise in the deficit, the math proves that admittedly wrong. You cut corporate tax from 35% to 21% ($92 billion less 2018), it is clear where the deficit begins.
US Deficit Rises 17%
The deficit rose to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, up 17% from last year, according to final figures released Monday by the Treasury Department. That's the largest number since 2012, when the country was still spending massively to stimulate an economy struggling to recover.
Administration officials attributed the deficit’s rise to greater federal spending, including the military and domestic budget increases that President Trump approved this year, not the $1.5 trillion tax cut.
Personal income tax collections rose slightly over the past fiscal year, the Treasury data show, though in September they were lower than they were a year ago. The big revenue drop came on the business side. Corporate tax revenues have fallen by a third from a comparable period a year ago, a direct consequence of the tax law signed last year, which reduced the top corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.
For the full 2018 fiscal year, corporate tax receipts were nearly $205 billion. That figure is a drop from $297 billion in fiscal year 2017.
Trump, incidentially blames the deficit on diaster relief funding.
"I Don't Really Care"
Back in July Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's spokesperson, responded to media questions about Melania wore an army-green jacket with these words written on the back in white: "I really don't care. Do U?" At the time Grisham insisted that "There was no hidden message."
Forward ahead and to just last evening Oct 12th during an interview for ABC News, she said she wore the jacket "for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me. And I want to show them that I don't care."
Earlier we had commented that she simply was carrying out her husbands agenda and we still maintain that opinion after watching the interview. Her statement, "I'm a modern woman" when asked about her husbands infedelities seemed to speak between the lines.
She also wanted us to see her as a victim of bullying stating, "I could say that I'm the most bulled person in the world."
Victim or not, we do know that she does live with the "Bully-IN-Chief."
His agenda - Her agenda. Frankly no simpathy warranted.
Richard Pindedo Sentenced
U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich sentenced Richard Pinedo to six months imprisonment followed by six months of home detention for selling bank account numbers to Russian operatives. According to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the Russians used that information to set up PayPal accounts and purchase advertisements on Facebook.
Pinedo pleaded guilty to identity fraud and came to Washington to testify before a grand jury. Prosecutors acknowledged that Pinedo had cooperated fully with Mueller’s investigation and that his testimony had helped shine a light on important details of the Russian election conspiracy.
Speaking at a Police Chiefs Convention in Orlando, Trump once again reminded America that he is not America's President but the Republican President.
Trump since becoming President has stoked the fires of contention between HIS party and that of HIS opposition.
He has continually and enthusiastically supported the GOP over and above the Democratic party in every one of his endeavors. He has never once even attempted anything that appeared to be conciliatory toward Democrats. He, as President, has never once tried to embrace the citizenry as one.
He is a man of one party and thus a President of only one party.
This is why it's harder to respect the office while the man that holds that office shows absolutely no respect to anyone other than those of the GOP.
In his speech in Orlando he portrayed those who brought on the Kavanaugh controversy as "evil" and claimed that the attacks on Kavanaugh were a "hoax". He threw in the mix also: "all made up", "charade", and "atrocious".
Trump is increasingly making it difficult for the voting majority of America to consider him their President. While you have to respect the office, the man commands absolutely none.
Until he understands just what it takes to represent ALL of America. He will remain the Republican President.
The vote: 50 - 48
Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed earlier today as an Associate Justice to the United Supreme Court.
OPINION: Here again we have a person being installed in a position of power that does not represent the confidence of the majority of Americans and will for some time to come have a cloud over his tenure.
Senator Collins (R-MA), who has yet to announce whether she will run for re-election in 2020, by virtue of her vote to confirm may have just lost her seat.
Senator Manchin (D-WV) vote to confirm in what looked like an attempt to garner Republican votes probably doomed votes from Democrats in his home state where in 2016 Trump won by 42 points. His vote which followed Collins served of no consequence since Collins put Kavanaugh over the top. Manchim should have voted with his Democrat colleagues. Not only did his vote for Kavanaugh help stack the Court with a Conservative view his vote also undermined Democrats efforts in trying to gain seats in either the House or the Senate, if anything Democrats most likely lost a seat from West Virginia. The only caveat here would be disillusioned Democrat voters that voted Trump and have since come to their senses.
Senator Flake, (R-AZ), not only by his calling for further investigation and then his subsequent vote to confirm, enabled himself to ride off into the sunset with his partisan hat intact upon retiring from the Senate.
When the dust settles and the mid-terms are concluded America may just see a swing in Congressional control and what may be now thought of as final, just very well be the start. Too many questions went unanswered.
Remember - NOONE is above the law.
The final message here should be clear: VOTE
FB (Limited) I - OPINION
Considering just what is at stake in the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, you would think that when an investigation is called for by the White House to the FBI to do a further background check due to allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh when he was in prep school and college, you would normally think that they would interview any and all witnesses or participants involved.
Don't be surprised to find that not even the two principals (who have already testified to the Judiciary Committee) weren't called for an interview. It may be understandable that this proceeding isn't a criminal matter but essentially a job interview. Even then, who would seriously consider a job applicant with unresolved sexual allegations made against them?
What may matter then is criminal charges being filed. In Maryland there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault or attempted rape.
One voice that is peculiarly silent is that of Michael Avenatti, lawyer for Julie Swetnick, who has herself alleged she is not only a witness to Kavanaugh's frat boy escapades but also claims to be a victim of his. Time will certainly tell if Avenatti's effort either helped or hindered the process.
Can You Sing It? "US M C A"
Every time is see the name of the new trade agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico I almost break out in a rendition of the Village People singing "USMCA".
The new agreement (USMCA) is just a rebranded NAFTA with minor changes that mostly will only help raise car prices in the future.
The deal is expected to take effect around Jan. 1, 2020. Congress has to approve it, a process that will take months, but confirmation looks likely, given that Republicans are pleased Canada got on board and some Democrats are pleased with the stronger labor provisions.
Winners on this deal:
Trump - He get to bury the name NAFTA and tout a promise kept.
Canada - Chapter 19 (Lumber) stays in place and the dairy supply management system stays mostly intact.
Losers of this deal:
U.S. Car buyers
Canadian Steel - Trump’s tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum remain in place for now.
So everybody - "US M C A, It's fun to stay at the . . ."
Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation was suddenly thrown into doubt Friday after Republicans and the White House agreed to a one-week delay so the FBI can investigate sexual assault allegations facing President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
The delay is the result of a last-minute change of heart by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, whose stunning move to force an investigation was quickly backed by several senators considered swing votes on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Flake made the demand for the FBI probe after a chaotic scene at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting in which the panel advanced Kavanaugh by a 11-10 party line vote -- saying his vote was conditioned on a probe taking place, and that he would oppose Kavanaugh on the floor of the Senate unless his demand was met.
Swing votes Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin subsequently backed an FBI investigation before they'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
The Judiciary Committee officially requested the FBI investigation, saying it should probe "current credible allegations" against Kavanaugh, and Republicans said it would be up to the FBI to decide what allegations are considered credible.
11 (10) Angry Men - OPINION
OPINION - Truth was thrown out the window and certainly took a back seat to partisanship. After hearing the testimony from Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh it is difficult not to have unanswered questions.
If by that definition - reasonable doubt dictates that further investigation is necessary into this confirmation process. This confirmation is for a seat in the highest court in our land and it is understandable that only impeccable qualifications are required here.
Another thing that is evident is that people certainly may listen however they don't always hear. Lost in all the theatrics of calling the proceeding not only a "circus" and an "orchestrated political hit", was a single bit of information that Dr. Ford testified to about when she originally reached out to speak to anyone regarding Kavanaugh being added to the short list of possible nominees. This information, easily corroborated , shoots down the GOP ludicrous argument of it being an "11th hour" attempt by Democrats to thwart the process.
Once again shame on the GOP.
These 11 Angry Men went against their own protocol by excluding Arizona procecutor Rachel Mitchell from the rest of the proceedings. They took over and delivered what amounted to nothing but testimonials FOR Judge Kavanaugh and his character. Coupled with Kavanaugh's lashing out at a supposed democratic conspiracy that even referenced the Clintons was itself the "circus".
Kavanaugh's partisan condemnation of Democrats proved that he didn't have the temperament required by a jurist to remain politically partial.
What was mentioned yet not expounded on was Kavanaugh enjoys(ed) beer. Squeaking through the cracks was a preponderance to indulging to the point of overindulgence. Watching his demeanor and his delivery at the hearing it was scary to think of him being an out-of-control drunk. Makes you wonder just what he would have been capable of.
Once again: We have to remember that this the Supreme Court that is at stake not a frat-boy club.
So to answer unresolved questions and to keep this from being a simply "he said, she said" it would behoove the committee to request reopening the background check and attempt to fill in the blanks here.
Note: The article title denotes 11 (10) because at some point in these proceedings it is the hope that one of those GOP members have the wherewithal and the wisdom to put the brakes on this runaway nomination and ask for further investigation.
Senate Judicary Committee:
Chuck Grassley, Iowa, Chairman
Orrin Hatch, Utah
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
John Cornyn, Texas
Mike Lee, Utah
Ted Cruz, Texas
Ben Sasse, Nebraska
Jeff Flake, Arizona
Mike Crapo, Idaho
Thom Tillis, North Carolina
John Kennedy, Louisiana
Dianne Feinstein, California, Ranking Member
Patrick Leahy, Vermont
Dick Durbin, Illinois
Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island
Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
Chris Coons, Delaware
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut
Mazie Hirono, Hawaii
Cory Booker, New Jersey
Kamala Harris, California
Not One, But Three
A third accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday publicly identified herself and alleged that Kavanaugh and others in the early 1980s spiked the drinks of girls at high school parties with intoxicants to make it easier for them to be gang raped.
The woman, Julie Swetnick, said Kavanaugh lined up with other boys, including his close friend Mark Judge, waiting to rape those girls at many parties — and that she once became a victim herself.
The allegations were detailed in an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury, that was released by Swetnick's lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Her statement was sent to a senior staffer on the Senate Judiciary Commitee.
Swetnick's stunning claims came on the eve of scheduled testimony at that committee by Kavanaugh, 53, and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
The now 51-year-old research psychologist Ford claims Kavanuagh held her down on a bed when she was 15 and groped her during a gathering in the 1980s while Judge watched. Another woman, Kavanaugh's Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez, has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her and causing her to touch his penis at a boozy dorm party.
The latest accusations from Swetnick against the federal appeals court judge Kavanaugh could make his already imperiled nomination to the Supreme Court even less likely to succeed.
Trump blasted the claims in a tweet that called Avenatti "a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh."
Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!
“False accusations?” Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation. You are so inept that your “best and brightest” are Cohen and Giuliani. Let’s go.
The Democrats are playing a high level CON GAME in their vicious effort to destroy a fine person. It is called the politics of destruction. Behind the scene the Dems are laughing. Pray for Brett Kavanaugh and his family!
What is remarkable in this matter is that not just a week ago Trump threatened to declassify national security documents regarding FISA sources and methods in the the interest of "transparency" all the while not exercising the same here by ordering Kavanaugh's background check re-opened.
White House: Plan B
Plan A (hypothetical):
1.Trump - Declassify and release FISA documents and others from the ongoing investigation into Russia. 2. Trump - Fire Rosentein for redactions - (failure to follow orders). 3. Close Mueller investigation (END GOAL).
So much for Plan A.
Trump put the brakes on it today (21st).
I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General.....
....has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me - and everyone!
1. Trump - release to the New York Times an "anonymously sourced" article about Rosenstein. 2. Fire Rosenstein for cause (NYT article as basis). 3. Close Mueller investigation (END GOAL).
The President directed the Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to initiate the "immediate declassification" of selective portions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application on former Trump foreign policy aide Carter Page, according to statement Monday from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Most significantly, his request also broadly included, "all FBI reports of interviews" prepared in connection with the FISA applications, which are normally closely guarded by the FBI.
Trump also made it clear that he expects materials to be released despite the fact that there's an active investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into any links between his campaign associates and the Russian government.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said Tuesday, "The President has the full authority to declassify anything." And in the same breath Burr said. "Declassification is the executive branch. It doesn't have anything to do with us.", thereby passing the buck and showing his partisan colors all the while not recognizing Obstruction of Justice staring him in the face.
Justifying this order, Trump cited “reasons of transparency.” Transparencey would be releasing his tax returns.
Trump's short-term bet here will have long-term consequences.
There is No Eleventh Hour
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused Democrats of waiting until "the 11th hour" before Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation vote to bring up the sexual assault allegations against him.
What appears lost on everyone is that up to and until a nominee is confirmed, the Judiciary committee, which just so happens to be lead by the GOP majority, has a fiduciary duty to the American people to expend every effort in submitting a candidate clear of any or all questions into their qualification for Supreme Court Justice position.
No matter how this is handled going forward, it certainly has turned into a flawed process. The haste at which the GOP wishes this confirmation to be final should have been the first red flag.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters on Monday that if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied in denying that he sexually assaulted a woman at a high school party in the early 1980s that it would "obviously" disqualify him from a seat on the nation's highest court.
Collins also continued to demand a hearing on the issue with Kavanaugh and his accuser, with both parties under oath, in a tweet earlier Monday.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is also viewed as a potential swing vote in Kavanaugh's candidacy, voiced her support for a hearing, as well.
"Allegations surrounding sexual assault must be taken seriously and the Judiciary Committee must look into this further," Murkowski told CNBC in a statement Monday evening.
"Despite the length of time since the alleged incident, Dr. Ford's allegations should be heard and she must have an opportunity to present her story before the committee under oath, with Judge Kavanaugh having the opportunity to respond under oath as well," Murkowski added.
Manafort Pleads Guilty (9-14-18)
Paul Manafort, who once headed President Donald Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy charges and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigations.
The deal came three days before the scheduled start of jury selection in U.S. District Court in Washington for Manafort's second trial. It also came several weeks after Trump blasted the practice of "flipping" — prosecutors getting defendants to cooperate against other people by offering them a plea deal — and said the commonly used tactic "almost ought to be illegal."
Prosecutors said the Manafort's own deal, which will require him to forfeit an estimated $46 million in assets, includes a 17-page cooperation agreement with Mueller in which he will help the special counsel cooperate "in any and all matter as to which the government deems the cooperation relevant."
Specificially, Manafort must participate in interviews with investigators, provide documents and testify, if needed.
Papadapoulos 14 Days
George Papadopoulos, 31,who plead guilty last year to lying to the FBI to conceal his contacts with Russians and Russian intermediaries during the presidential campaign, was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday.
A federal judge also sentenced Papadopoulos to one year of supervised release and imposed a fine of $9,500.
09-05-18 - FEATURED ARTICLE
New York Times Op-Ed (9-5-18)
An anonymous New York Times op-ed from a senior Trump administration official describes a “quiet resistance” working to undermine the president. The author’s remarks hint at a constitutional crisis in Trump’s America.
Now it seems there is a mad dash from within the White House to find out just who this anonymous author is.
Lost in translation is the ultimate threat to democracy and the position these so-called "adults in the room" have put the entire country in.
What may have begun as an attempt at sounding the alarm on a president that is incapable of doing his job, when the dust settles, this simply is an unelected and unaccountable shadow presidency by committee - unelected, anonymous and unaccountable people running the administration and currently unchecked by Congress.
Instead of reading headlines about polygraph tests and loyalty statements, we should be reading about Congress exercising its constitutional duty to investigate the serious allegations made in this article.
We now have two-thirds of our national government handicapped., One: an executive branch with an unfit administrator. Two: a legislative branch shackled by a partisan divide steered by GOP "party above all".
All Americans should be worried - very worried.
Mueller Newest Cooperator
The Mueller investigation has resulted in yet another plea deal. Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist, pleaded guilty Friday to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act in his unregistered work for a Ukrainian politician and a Ukrainian oligarch — and agreed to cooperate with the government.
Patten was charged by the US attorney’s office for the District of Columbia. But Mueller’s team referred the investigation there and Patten’s plea agreement specifically says he must cooperate with the special counsel’s office.
Also like Manafort, Patten worked closely with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who Mueller claims is tied to Russian intelligence services. (Mueller indicted Kilimnik alongside Manafort this year for attempted witness tampering, but he is overseas and has not been arrested.)
Patten also admitted to helping his Ukrainian oligarch client get around the prohibition on foreign donations to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee. The oligarch sent $50,000 to Patten’s company, and then he gave that money to a US citizen, who bought the four tickets. The tickets were given to the oligarch, Kilimnik, another Ukrainian, and Patten himself.
Andrew Weissmann, an attorney on Mueller’s team, attended Patten’s hearing Friday.
The Patten investigation is the third known probe Mueller has referred. Yet this does not seem to have been a complete handoff, since his plea agreement specifically mentions he must cooperate with the special counsel’s office. So Patten has become Mueller’s newest cooperator.
John McCain, War Hero, Senator, Presidential Contender, Dies at 81
John S. McCain, the proud naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, died on Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81.
Cohen Pleads Guilty On 8 Counts
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday to eight criminal counts including tax fraud, false statements to a bank and campaign finance violations tied to his work for Trump.
Cohen said in a plea deal that "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" he kept information that would have been harmful to the candidate and the campaign from becoming public.
Counts 1 to 5: Evasion of Assessment of Income Tax Liability Count 6: False Statements to a Bank Count 7: Causing an Unlawful Corporate Contribution Count 8: Excessive Campaign Contribution
A sentencing date is set for December.
Manafort Guilty On 8 Counts
Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump, was convicted of eight counts of tax fraud and bank fraud by a federal jury in Virginia earlier Tuesday.
While all eight counts of conviction combined carry a maximum of 80 years in prison, he isn’t going to be locked up until 2098. Federal sentences are determined in part through a calculation based on the defendant’s prior criminal history (for Manafort, none) and the seriousness of the offense (for Manafort, very).
Manafort goes on trial again next month in Washington, D.C. on an impressively well-rounded array of white-collar federal crimes. Even if Manafort is acquitted in Washington, D.C. on all counts, it would have zero effect on the sentence he will receive on his conviction in Virginia. And if he gets convicted again in the second trial, his sentence could increase.
Manafort Goes To the Jury
Thursday, the Paul Manafort trial ended with closing arguments and was sent to the jury to deliberate. After deliberating the remainder of Thursday and all Friday, the jury was sent home and will resume Monday (8-20) morning.
Update: 8-20 Monday. Jury still out.
Observation: Wondering why, with how important this trial is, the jury wasn't sequestered??
Especially to guard them from Trump's obsessive tweet storms and his mentioning Manafort.
Update: 8-21 Tuesday. Jury still out. It is possible the jury is hung on one count.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.
Cohen alleges that he was present, along with several others, when Trump was informed of the Russians' offer by Trump Jr. By Cohen's account, Trump approved going ahead with the meeting with the Russians, according to sources.
To be clear, these sources said Cohen does not have evidence, such as audio recordings, to corroborate his claim, but he is willing to attest to his account.
Donald Trump had the most opportune moment on the 16th to show to the world just where the United States stood on the issue of the Russian attack on our 2016 elections and he literally and figuratively dropped the ball.
What was nothing short of treasonous, his capitulation to Putin was a complete embarrassment not only to the U.S. Intelligence community but it strikes at the core of our democracy itself.
In light of his kowtowing to Putin and his failure in his obligation to "faithfully execute" the duties of the office he holds, Americans should hold him in the highest contempt.
So, just what recourse do we, as American citizens have to rebut the abdication of our President of his oath?
One day after the DOJ indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on 11 counts of interferring in the 2016 Presidential Election, Trump tweeted the following (among others):
What is quite evident is that this President appears oblivious to just what crimes allegedly have been perpetrated against the United States of which he has sworn an oath to protect.
Trump has no concern regarding foreign actors meddling in our affairs because that would cast a shadow over the validity of the election itself.
While Mueller and the DOJ go about the business of protecting the United States against foreign and domestic conspirators, Trump has spent his entire administration destroying sound policies and endangering the United States standing in the world. All of which appears to be a recipe born in Russia and frankly has Putin's stamp on it.
Putin is NOT our friend and as evident in the indictment was at the bottom of this attack on the U.S. Nothing happens at that level without his approval.
So where is the outrage? Why hasn't our President condemned these actions?
Someone needs to inform Trump that "to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" means to protect the U.S. itself.
So, history may bear out that the 2016 election was nothing but a criminal sham and at the conclusion of his Presidency the asterisk would bear witness to the worst Presidency in American history.
12 (more) Russians Indicted
The Mueller probe today indicted 12 Russian Agents in the DNC hacking case.
All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military.
For those not interested in reading the indictment it should be noted that line 43-a. states that the Conspirators received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for the U.S. Congress. The Conspirators responded by sending the candidate documents relating to the candidate's opponent.
Additionally on line 44, the Conspirators wrote to a person with regular contact with senior members of the Trump campaign.
While the indictment does not name or indicate any specific American/s that willingly participated in any reported action, it DOES NOT rule out the possibility that Americans had willfully participated and leaves open the door for further indictments and charges.
For anyone involved in this, the message here is - they know - and it's only a matter of time.
Trump Supreme Nominee
Last night, Monday, Trump revealed his nominee to Anthony Kennedy's vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
Trump nominated Brett Cavanaugh, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Kavanaugh was nominated to the D.C. Appeals Court by Bush in 2003. His confirmation hearings were contentious and stalled for three years over charges of partisanship. Kavanaugh was ultimately confirmed in May 2006 after a series of negotiations between Democratic and Republican U.S. Senators.
Kavanaugh's past writings that a president should not be distracted by lawsuits and investigations could become part of a contentious confirmation battle.
Trump Dangerous Rants
Headlining a rally in Montana for Matt Rosendale, the Republican nominee against Sen. Jon Tester (D) this November, Trump sounded like a comic who ran out of new material and just kept re-hashing his old grievances that at times was embarrassing to watch because it was/is so beneath the office of the President.
Trump brought out his "old routine" with renewed rants on Hillary, berating the Justice Department, spewing about how "things" are rigged, bragging about signing a paper of no substance with Kim Jong Un, again attacked the media as "fake news", called Putin a "fine" person, fake news again, weaponizing fear insisting that MS-13 is over running the border, further instilling fear saying the Democrats only want "anarchy", insulted a prominent African-American female politician calling her very dumb, claiming "wide spread voter fraud" (in an election he won - go figure), and finally mocked the #MeToo movement portraying it as some overblown political correctness instead of what it actually is - women feeling safe to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct. Something Trump is quite familiar with.
His dangerous and incendiary rants completely define: Demagoguery.
After months of controversy and ethical questions, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned. Deputy Andrew Wheeler will serve as acting Administrator.
Over the past several months, Pruitt has increasingly come under fire for multiple allegations of abusing his power – from spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on first-class travel to a sweetheart real estate deal tied to a lobbyist with EPA business and attempting to secure a private business deal for his wife – among numerous allegations.
Wheeler is not without his share of questions into his accountability during his stay at the EPA.
Richard Condon's 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate is excellent reading and the 1962 version of the movie is certainly worth a watch. At a time when every adult American was seeing Communists around and behind every corner, the book and then the movie gave birth to the idea that our government could be infected with foreign interests at the highest levels.
The '59 book and the '62 version of the movie used communism as the enemy whereas the 2004 movie version made a global corporation as the protagonist.
With all the constant talk on Russian election meddling and possible Trump campaign collusion, the Manchurian Candidate comes to mind.
What began as a 2013 beauty pageant in Russia and evolved into a presidential election victory in 2016, the idea isn't that far fetched.
Well it appears that Trump got his wish today. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upheld President Donald Trump's restriction on travel to the United States from a handful of Muslim countries on Tuesday, giving the White House its first high court victory on the merits of a presidential initiative.
So I guess we now have to stop calling it a Muslim ban and simply call it a travel ban (although the ban affects 7 Muslim nations).
"We express no view on the soundness of the policy," Chief Justice Roberts wrote.
The travel ban combined with the "no tolerance" policy on the southern border regarding immigration from Central America, Trump is neatly and systematically cutting the United States off from the rest of the world, both physically and economically.
Once again, smells like Putin.
FCMP vs ATD
ICE’s Family Case Management Program (FCMP) vs “alternatives to detention” (ATD) systems.
FCMP, which began in 2015, was ended by the Trump administration over a year ago even after the program was shown to be a statistically effective program in dealing with immigration. The fact that it was so effective is why Trump ended it. The FCMP was delivering near-perfect compliance from immigrant families – it just wasn’t getting enough of them deported.
ATD - "alternatives to detention" has been a program that had been running for close to a decade in various forms.
Right now the government runs three main ATD programs.
The first, release on recognizance (ROR), is available to immigrants currently in removal proceedings and deemed eligible to post bond. The second, orders of supervision (OSUP), applies to immigrants with final removal orders who cannot be returned to their home countries. The third, the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), is available to both groups of immigrants—but only in selected jurisdictions—and often requires participants to wear electronic ankle monitors.
However when compared to FCMP (apples to apples), ATD had a larger abscondence rate than FCMP - 4% to 2%.
Cost comparison of both programs especially in today's iteration of the "no tolerance" policy hands down favored FCMP. Estimates have FCMP at $35 a day and show ATD at $159 per person per day for family detention, or four times the FCMP rate. That also doesn't include costs incurred if you consider Trump's using the military to contribute space to the family detention camps project, with ICE on the hook for the costs.
FACTS ARE: FCMP was cheaper. It was more effective. It was ended.
Trump and Stephen Miller own the chaos surrounding this. Their policy simply is to punish and terrorize families hoping that fewer will attempt to come to the United States.
Known for her fashion sense and designer taste, first Lady Melania Trump's choice of a $39 Zara jacket emblazoned with "I really don't care, do u?" looks unusual in the wardrobe of a US First Lady - especially a former model.
Mrs Trump was on her way to meet migrant children separated from their parents in Texas at the border when she was first spotted in the jacket. She took it off during the visit itself and then, despite hours of news attention, put it back on for the return trip.
Frankly it doesn't matter what she was thinking, the message is simply beneath the station of First Lady of the United States. What ever she thought she was getting from visiting the border became overshadowed by a grab for attention and is something her husband would stoop to.
The message becomes just another bit of media manipulation that this White House is known for.
Shame on her for nothing more than a PR stunt.
Another Stab at ACA
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Tuesday announced new rules for a controversial type of health insurance. As a direct result of Executive Order 13813 - Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States, the Trump administration issued new rules on Tuesday designed to help small businesses and self-employed people get health insurance that costs less.
LESS COST in bold letters to divert the consumer from the fact that less cost means less benefits and less consumer protections, bypassing significant requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
The rules throw the backdoor wide open to expanding junk insurance plans known as association health plans and accomplish through executive power what congressional Republicans have tried and failed to write into law over the past two decades.
All Eyes On the Border
When a single news item dominates the news, ever since Trump, we get a little suspicious to what else is going on that may be getting ignored or even looked at from the wrong perspective?
The root of the problem is that Trump (who could fix the current problem of children being separated from parents at the border with the swipe of a pen) is simply fixated on funding his border wall and is using the children as a bargaining tactic.
PLAIN AND SIMPLE
Meanwhile back at the ranch - Paul Manafort (Trump's Campaign Manager) is sent to jail, Roger Stone (Trump adviser) admits meeting with Russian (after lying to congress), Trump announces cessation of joint U.S. - ROK military drills (with ZERO concessions from NK), Michael Cohen (Trump's lawyer) is close to indictment - or cooperation.
Manafort to Jail
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will await his trial for foreign lobbying charges from jail.
Two weeks after Robert Mueller's prosecutors dropped new accusations of witness tampering on him, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson Friday revoked Paul Manafort's bail
Three US marshals led Manafort out of the courtroom into the prisoner holding area immediately after the judge's ruling.
Manafort has a July court date in Virgina and his DC trial is set to begin in September.
At a minimum, Manafort may spend at least 3 months until his trial in September, however if found guilty could spend some 80 years behind bars.
Manafort may have just spent his last day as a free man.
Trump - Kim Jong Un
Breaking long standing policy and norms, Trump met with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
What merely appeared as optics and an episode on reality tv, both the U.S. and North Korea seem to have come away from the meeting with differing views.
New Mueller Indictment
Special Counsel Robert Mueller obtained a new indictment against Paul Manafort adding a pair of charges that he and a longtime aide, Konstantin Kilimnick, obstructed justice by attempting to tamper with witnesses.
The charges - the first for Kilimnick, could very well put Manafort behind bars until his trial in Sept.
A June 15 hearing has been scheduled.
Manafort Witness Tampering
Monday (June 4), Special Investigator Robert Mueller recommended that Paul Manafort’s bail be revoked due to "witness tampering" — Manafort allegedly reached out to some of his former European associates in February to help them shape their stories. One witness flatly told the FBI that Manafort was trying to "suborn perjury,” prosecutors said.
On Tuesday, US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled a hearing for June 15 about whether to revoke or revise bail for Manafort.
An apt illustration of just how far we have fallen as a democracy is in the new conversation started by Trump in his assertion that he has the power to pardon himself.
First of all, talk of pardons regarding the Russian probe certainly puts the cart before the horse and secondly, why would someone [Trump] speak of self-pardon, if he were innocent?
We do have to remember a pardon is an executive action, not a judicial act and have to treat it as such.
So. . .
Article II Section 3 of the Constitution known as The Take Care Clause (also known as the Faithful Execution Clause) is best read as a duty that qualifies the President's executive power - the president "shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed".
The phrase "faithfully execute" incorporates the president’s obligation to have fidelity to the best interests of the people.
Underscoring that directive is the fact that the only oath whose precise formulation is detailed in the Constitution is the one taken by the president: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States." The Constitution refers to many offices as "Office[s] of Trust," invoking the legal concept of trusteeship, but the president’s faithfulness is the one most explicitly commanded by the document.
Because a president has a fiduciary duty to serve the best interests of the people over himself a self-pardon would be a breach of that duty because it’s manifestly out of self-interest.
Our Constitution’s designers wanted public officials to be subject to the same kinds of fiduciary obligations that CEOs, trustees and lawyers are routinely held to in the private sector. Those duties prohibit self-dealing and acting under a conflict of interest.
Consequently a self-pardon could be considered "Abuse of Office" and/or "Abuse of Power" - impeachable offenses.
It’s worth noting that the last time presidential self-pardons came into question, during the Watergate scandal, the Department of Justice ruled that presidents could not, in fact, self-pardon, as "no one may be a judge in his own case."
In Trump's twitter rant today, he said that he wished he would've chosen someone other than Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General if he had known he would recuse himself from the Russian probe.
What's ridiculously easy to read into this is that he would not have chosen Sessions if he had known that his nominee was going to uphold the law.
On another note: It proves that the main trouble with conspiracies is keeping everyone involved on the same page and their stories straight.
Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani in what is a seemingly constant attack on the Russian probe, now claims that the probe is illegitimate. Giuliani outright admitted that all his and Trump's effort are simply to discredit Mueller and the probe n the eyes of voters and lawmakers in Congress.
Rudy said on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, "They are giving us the material. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have the material. ... It is for public opinion."
"Because eventually, the decision here is going to be: impeach, [or] not impeach," he continued. "Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. So our jury ... is the American people. And the American people ... Republicans largely, independents pretty substantially, and even Democrats now question the legitimacy of it."
So we have two take-aways from what he said:
1. Anything the President and his lawyers state in regard to the probe is nothing other than disinformation, falsehoods, propaganda or outright lies simply to influence the so-called "jury" - American constituents. Giuliani admitted that that Trump's only defense now is a PR stunt designed to influence public opinion, essentially tainting the "jury pool".
2. From the onset, Trump instead of letting the investigation run it course has done his best, short of firing Mueller or Rosenstein, to undermine, ridicule and impede the investigation. The most damning is that he has constantly conspired with his GOP allies to do so also.
Wow, it only took 5 days for Trump to propogate the conspiracy theory that there was an opposition "spy" placed into his campaign.
Devoid of evidence and containing nothing but falsehoods, the tale, spun from Trump's conniving mind sought to give fuel to his allies on the Hill to help them continue their rebuke of the Russia investigation.
The fact - the FBI had an informant meet with three members of Trump's campaign.
The fiction - the Obama Administration used the informant and had "spied" on his campaign for political purposes.
The reason - Mueller is getting too close, and since Trump can't defend against the truth, discrediting the FBI is his only ploy.
.Obstruction of Justice
.Violating the Logan Act
.Violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
.Violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause
.Conspiracy to Launder Money
.Conspiracy to Defraud the United States by Coordinating with Russia
.Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. by Interfering with Our Election
.Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud
.Abuse of Power
Santa Fe, Texas
Another senseless school shooting occurred at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, May 18, 2018, leaving ten dead and a further ten injuries.
The tragedy marked the 16th school shooting in 2018. It was also the 10th since the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead.
Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the community of Santa Fe, Texas.
Senate Intelligence Report
Senate Intelligence Committee backs the conclusion that Moscow attempted to boost Trump.
In a break from the House Intelligence Committee, who examined the same material, the GOP-lead Senate Intelligence Committee, after 14 months of bi-partisan supported work, concluded that the findings of the intelligence agencies under former President Barack Obama were correct and that Russia waged a campaign of disinformation and hacking aimed at helping Mr. Trump.
The panel is expected to release a more detailed evaluation in the coming weeks.
It appears that next months US - North Korean summit may not happen. After comments from National Security Adviser John Bolton likening denuclearization of the Korean peninsula to the "Libyan model", North Korea's first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said, "We will appropriately respond to the Trump administration if it approaches the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting with a truthful intent to improve relations."
He adds: "But we are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner and making a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes and this would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting."
Some analysts say bringing up Libya, which dismantled its rudimentary nuclear program in the 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief, would risk derailing any progress in negotiations with the North.
So let's put the Nobel talk back on the shelf for now. It's up to Trump to screw it up.
Trump's "Withdraw Doctrine"
Trump's Foreign Policy, the "Withdraw Doctrine", has never been more evident as has been today when he notified the entire world that the the U.S. (he) was withdrawing from JCPOA - Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal).
It is ironic now that the only country not in compliance with the deal... is the U.S.
Trump has single handedly gutted America’s credibility as a good-faith actor in international affairs. His bull in the china shop approach to foreign policy over the last 15 months proves ONE thing: he has no Plan B for anything.
These are the agreements he either has withdrawn from or renegotiated(ing):
PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD - Withdrawn. TPP - Withdrawn. NAFTA - renegotiate. KORUS FTA - Korean Free Trade Agreement - renegotiate. CUBA Thaw - Reversal. JCPOA - Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal) Withdrawn.
Trump's foreign policy has always kept us scratching our heads and wondering, "What?, Why?".
Trump has nothing resembling a coherent U.S. foreign policy and until now it only looked to isolate the U.S.
That was until we understood that we had been looking at it from the inside - an American perspective.
By looking at Trump's actions from an outside looking in - a Russian perspective - crazy didn't sounds so crazy.
After this change of perspective, pieces appear to fit, and you might ask yourself, "Who gains the most by this?" - you may see that it was just what Putin ordered.
Giuliani: Incompetence or Subterfuge?
Rudolph Giuliani's debut as part of the Trump legal team can only be described as chaotic and may have potentially exposed his client, Trump, to legal and political danger by publicly revealing the existence of secret payments to Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer in the matter of Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford).
As odd as that sounded, Trump himself confirmed the payment/s via an early morning series of tweets:
Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. These agreements are.....
...very common among celebrities and people of wealth. In this case it is in full force and effect and will be used in Arbitration for damages against Ms. Clifford (Daniels). The agreement was used to stop the false and extortionist accusations made by her about an affair,......
...despite already having signed a detailed letter admitting that there was no affair. Prior to its violation by Ms. Clifford and her attorney, this was a private agreement. Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.
Well, the new legal team's strategy sure wasn't evident unless it was Giuliani's part to smear Trump's unique brand of chaos on the Stormy issue.
We have always thought that when we are surprised by anything from the Trump camp, it usually is a smoke and mirrors routine to cover for what was roiling in the background.
Given that, the Stormy issue may just a symptom, where Michael Cohen's legal issues just may be the contagion that envelopes the Trump personal and political world.
With friends like Giuliani, who needs enemies?
Just as we had finished the report regarding Giuliani, Trump the following day told reporters that Rudy Giuliani is a “great guy” but got his facts wrong, throwing his new attorney under the bus over his interview with Sean Hannity this week.
Giuliani was not “totally familiar” with the situation and “will get his facts straight,” Trump told a gaggle, undercutting the strategy Giuliani indicated he and Trump had worked out to get out in front of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, via Friend-of-Trump Hannity’s Fox News show.
So, here we have a news revelation and also the start of alternative versions of that revelation. "Alternative Facts" are quite well known in the Trump sphere.
To answer the question: Incompetence or Subterfuge? All things Trump considered, our bet would be the latter.
Ty Cobb Out
White House Russian probe lawyer Ty Cobb announced today that he would be retiring at the end of May.
Cobb's retirement comes as the president's personal legal team has been negotiating the terms of a possible sit-down between Trump and Mueller's team.
Washington attorney Emmet Flood is expected to replace Cobb.
Although White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said,
"For several weeks Ty Cobb has been discussing his retirement and last week he let Chief of Staff [John] Kelly know he would retire at the end of this month.",
. . .there have been reports that his (Cobb's) quitting was brought about by Trump's recent twitter storm regarding the DOJ, Special Counsel, and possibly interfering in the Justice Department.
(CNN) - The House Intelligence Committee on Friday released a redacted version of the Republican report on the committee's year-long Russia investigation, in which, GOP members say, they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and disputed the intelligence community's findings that Vladimir Putin tried to help elect Donald Trump President.
The committee released the report with redactions from the intelligence community, along with a redacted Democratic dissent disputing the Republican conclusions.
The Justice Department sent redacted copies of the memos to Congress on Thursday, and unredacted versions will be made available for members of three House committees to review on Friday in a secure facility on Capitol Hill.
The delivery of the memos was in response to an April 13 request by the GOP chairmen of the House Judiciary, Intelligence, and Oversight and Government Reform committees for access to them.
Everyone can read the redacted version of the memos here:
Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped a pair of defamation lawsuits he filed after BuzzFeed News published the infamous Russia dossier last year.
Citing having too much on his plate at this time dealing with the case in N.Y., he voluntarily discontinued the suit.
The Washington, D.C., private intelligence firm Fusion GPS responded on Thursday that Cohen's decision to drop his suit showed that he was unwilling to undergo the fact-finding that opens a lawsuit because of what it might reveal about him.
"We welcome, though are not surprised, that Michael Cohen opted to withdraw this meritless complaint rather than face a discovery process that would have forced him to defend his reputation and address the allegations of the Steele dossier under penalty of perjury," the company said. "With his decision, it appears that Mr. Cohen can now focus on his many other legal travails."
Cohen and Hannity
Sean Hannity, Fox News host was identified as Michael Cohen's client in court today. According to records, Cohen had three clients since 2016:
Donald Trump (you know him)
Elliott Broidy, former deputy finance chair for the RNC, for whom Michael negotiated a 1.6 million dollar payment to a Playboy model Broidy had an affair with and impregnated by the way.
AND now Hannity.
With Cohen's propensity to be a "fixer" and not a lawyer, makes one wonder what Hannity needed "fixin".
What seems the norm in the gravitational pull of the Trump world - deny, deny, deny is right out of the playbook.
Hannity responded shortly after the news broke with a staunch denial that Cohen ever represented him.
Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.
1. By Hannity's own admission, Cohen was not his lawyer which negates any lawyer-client privilege he or Cohen would claim to have (regarding seized evidence). Although Hannity here wants to "eat his cake and have it too" by trying to claim that he assumes his conversations are privileged. Go figure.
2. Cohen doesn't seem to have a problem with not charging a client fees for services (consider the $130,000 payment to Daniels).
It's amazing just what gets dug up from the bottom of the barrel.
Trump's One And Done
For the second time in just over a year, Trump ordered airstrikes on Syrian targets Saturday, April 14th, in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad. The strikes were ordered in response to the killing of 75 people, including children, in the Syrian town of Douma eight days ago.
In Trump's usually congratulatory tone he tweeted:
A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!
At a Pentagon briefing Lt Gen Kenneth McKenzie said three targets had been struck in a “precise, overwhelming and effective” manner. One of these, the Barzah chemical weapons research and development centre near Damascus, was hit and “destroyed” by 76 missiles, 57 of them Tomahawks. “Initial indications are that we accomplished the military objectives without interference from Syria,” he said.
It should be noted that it has been reported that James Mattis, U.S. Defense Secretary had to reign in Trump's call for blood and appeared to win out in the decision to exert strategic force.
President Trump issued a pardon Friday to Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former chief of staff to Vice President Richard B. Cheney who was was found guilty in 2007 of obstruction of justice, twice perjuring himself before a grand jury, and lying to FBI agents during their probe into who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame in 2003.
“On the day the President wrongly attacks Comey for being a ‘leaker and liar’ he considers pardoning a convicted leaker and liar, Scooter Libby,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter. “This is the President’s way of sending a message to those implicated in the Russia investigation: You have my back and I‘ll have yours.”
The big take from such a move by Trump is that it feels as though he still is dangling pardons for loyalty.
No Crying For Ryan
Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis, announced yesterday, April 11, that he would not seek re-election in 2018 and will serve out his term, ending in January, and will concentrate on time with his family.
His not seeking re-election essentially throws his party’s leadership up for grabs seven months before an election that will decide whether his successor as speaker will be a Democrat or a Republican.
On the surface, you can't fault a man wanting to devote time to his family, however, what is considered to be a highly contested mid-term election year, one can't help wonder just how much the Trump administration played into his decision.
The 2018 mid-term elections come as a crescendo of voices hailing a blue wave of upsets and tilting both the House and the Senate toward the Democrats. Buyer remorse with Trump, seems to have created a shadow over GOP confidence.
It is left to be seen how not having the shackles of election mode correctness will temper his remaining days as speaker. It generally serves that most of any GOP Trump opposition or push back has only come from those in both houses that chosen to resign, retire or not run for re-election.
To that end, we should all wish him well in all his future endeavors and a thanks for his service to his country.
Cohen's Office Raided
The FBI raided the office of Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer and confidant of the President.
Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, said in a statement that the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York had executed "a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications" between Cohen and his clients.
The New York Times reported that the FBI also seized emails, tax documents and business records, including communications between Trump and Cohen.
The White House official said it is unclear if Trump has spoken to Cohen.
Cohen is a longtime ally of the President, and admitted earlier this year to setting up a limited liability company in 2016 to pay Stephanie Clifford, better known as porn actress Stormy Daniels. She has alleged she had an affair with Trump a decade earlier, and that the payment was hush money. The White House has denied Daniels' allegations of an affair with Trump.
Asked about the Daniels controversy last week, Trump said he did not know about the payment and declined to comment further, instead referring questions to Cohen.
A further thought regarding "a series of search warrants" opens the prospect that what may appear on the surface related to the alleged Daniels affair, may quite possibly have been an offshoot of other information garnered from the Russian Investigation.
Remember, Cohen is a longtime ally of Trump.
Trump's Trade War
It appears that tariffs on imported steel and aluminum wasn't enough for Trump, because he not only proposed $50 Billion on over 1300 Chinese imports he is now spouting about adding $100 billion in additional tariffs. All supposedly in retaliation to something that HE STARTED and the Chinese felt obligated to recipricate.
China responded to this week's plans by announcing tariffs on $50 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, the largest agricultural export to China from the US.
The tariffs would have consequences for a wide swath of American consumers and businesses.
The USTR has said the measures are retaliation for Chinese intellectual property theft. But they could also have serious consequences for businesses that use the goods from China — as well as consumers who buy those goods.
Studies found that a steel tariff imposed by President George W. Bush in 2002 resulted in as many as 200,000 jobs lost in industries that use steel to make their products.
As a consequence of the new and proposed additional tariffs the Dow plunged to over 700 and settled at down 570 points at closing today (Friday).
Someone needs to inform Trump that you don't run a country like he runs casinos.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1968, Memphis Tennessee.
Sites across the United States will ring bells 39 times, symbolizing the civil rights leader's age at his death.
Van Der Zwaan Sentenced
Alex van der Zwaan, 33, a son-in-law of a prominent Russian-based banker pleaded guilty Feb. 20 to lying to the FBI was ordered to serve 30 days in prison and a $20,000 fine after a federal judge Tuesday handed down the first sentence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Van der Zwaan, although not a central figure in the investigation, the filings in his case illustrated Mueller’s continuing interest in Manafort and Gates’s actions through Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Despite Manafort's contention that Mueller does not have authorization to pursue collusion with Russia and is outside the scope of his mandate, the DOJ released a classified redacted memo dated Aug 2, 2017 specifically giving Mueller the charge to investigate just that.
Although Manafort has been charged with financial criminal charges, the investigation into Manafort's alleged collusion with Russians has not resulted in publicly known charges.
Trump Twitter Storm
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water . . .
If you thought Easter's twitter rant was anything, Trump's Monday twitter storm is something else. Have a look. Oh, keep in mind that these happened between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. (Hmmm, Fox Morning News???)
That even leaves out his screwing up trade with China, however that's his fault - not someone elses.
Trump Twitter Rant
What looked like a peaceful holiday morning starting with Trump tweeting "Happy Easter" didn't take long to take a turn with the following tweet:
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!
Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!
All before he arrived at church in Palm Beach, Fla. Upon arriving he had this to say to reporters:
"Mexico has got to help us at the border. If they're not going to help us at the border, it's a very sad thing between two countries. Mexico has got to help us at the border. And a lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA and we're going to have to really see. They had a great chance. The Democrats blew it. They had a great, great chance. But we'll have to take a look. But Mexico has got to help us at the border. They flow right through Mexico. They send them into the United States. Can't happen that way anymore."
Take-aways from the tweets: Trump - DACA is dead (he has refused to sign multiple bi-partisan plans sent to him already). Threatening NAFTA (again). He obviously hasn't a clue how DACA works.
Trump proclaimed that April was National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Ok. Let that one sink in a bit. Ironic, right?
This from a man that at least 19 women have accused of sexually harassment or misconduct.
Further in the proclamation it reads:
“Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability.”
Once again, not surprising coming from someone that practices situational ethics.
For those that would like to read the entire Proclamation Click Here
V.A. Secretary Out
Trump announced Wednesday he will replace his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, who currently serves as physician to the President.
Shulkin is the second member of Trump's Cabinet to be ousted this month, following Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. A handful of senior White House officials have also resigned or been fired over the last two months, fueling chaos and uncertainty inside the West Wing.
Mr. Trump said that Robert Wilkie, the under secretary for defense personnel and readiness at the Defense Department, would serve as acting secretary in the meantime, bypassing the department’s deputy secretary, Thomas G. Bowman.
For the complete list of Trump administration depatures: Click here.
U.S. Army Vet Deported
Despite the support of a U.S. senator and a legion of immigration rights activists, a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico, where he hasn’t lived since he was 8. Miguel Perez Jr., 39, was escorted across the border to Mexico and handed over to local authorities Friday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.
Perez enlisted in the Army in 2001, just months before 9/11. He served in Afghanistan from October 2002 to April 2003 and again from May to October 2003, according to his lawyer. He left the Army in 2004 with a general discharge after he was caught smoking marijuana on base.
In 2010, he was convicted in Cook County, Illinois, on charges related to delivering more than 2 pounds of cocaine to an undercover officer. He was sentenced to 15 years and his green card was revoked. He had served half his sentence when ICE began deportation proceedings.
Perez had been in the agency’s custody since 2016.
Perez blames what he saw and experienced in Afghanistan for leading him into a downward spiral of heavy drinking, drug addiction and ultimately to his felony conviction..
The deportation follows an earlier decision by U.S. authorities to deny Miguel Perez’s citizenship application because of a felony drug conviction, despite his service and the PTSD he says it caused.
Unfortunately, in the Perez case all the nationwide reporting appears after the fact and he is already in Tijuana.
However there is precedence here that needs to be addressed. As a U.S. veteran, he deserved all little better.
One Call, That's All
What appears to be the lasting effects of his congratulatory call to Putin, Trump yet again put in motion more questionable policy changes for the United States.
Not only this week has he started what amounts to a trade war with China, who has already expressed intentions of recipricating, but is moving ahead with his plan to ban most transgender people from serving in the military, with limited exceptions, following up on a proposal he called for last summer.
The White House issued a memorandum late Friday stating that transgender people are "disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances."
The Palm Center, a group that promotes the study of LGBT people in the military said, "There is no evidence to support a policy that bars from military service patriotic Americans who are medically fit and able to deploy. Our troops and our nation deserve better," also accusing the Pentagon of having "distorted the science on transgender health to prop up irrational and legally untenable discrimination that will erode military readiness."
It's comical though since the Pentagon confirmed that in February only one transgender recruit had joined a branch of the military after the ban was lifted due to the court order. That individual passed all tests including medical, officials said.
Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster announced that he will be resigning as National Security Adviser. McMaster's plans are to retire from the military. Officials emphasized that General McMaster’s departure was a mutual decision and amicable.
McMaster was Trump's second National Security Adviser replacing Michael Flynn on Feb 20, 2017. It is not surprising that he was asked to leave following his scathing rebuke of Russia regarding the nerve agent attack in the UK. Similar to Rex Tillerson and his last act as Secretary of State was a condemnation of the attack on one of our allies.
He will be replaced by John R. Bolton, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton has had a history of being opinionated and volatile and known for his extremist ideology.
His questionable appointment is even being reported as even more sinister due to his possible connection to Cambridge Analytical and questions into whether how involved he was with the NRA funneling money through Russia to the Trump campaign.
Once again, it looks like the horse is already out of the barn.
Once again Donald Trump has proven to the American people (those that actual care) that he has zero inclination of putting those he serves first. He may spout his "America First" incessantly yet his actions prove he only puts "Trump First".
Consider the leader of the free world kowtowing to a authoritarian, heavy-handed dictator by congratulating him on his (sham) re-election. All the while doing so reportedly against the advice of his National Security Advisers recommendations.
Where is the outrage? Why is it that his so-called behavior is becoming an acceptable norm? Why is it that he only appears to be furious over the leak of that tidbit of news and not that he yet again cannot bring himself to criticize Putin.
The following day Trump is justifying his actions with yet another tweet:
I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also). The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.......
.....They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race. Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the “smarts.” Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!
One can imagine 40 ex-Presidents rolling in their graves if they knew that one day a U.S. President would abdicate his public duty and kiss the ass of our adversary.
With all of this crap of the past several years just makes us wonder if that it only boils down the fact that Russia bought out all of Trump and his businesse's debt and he would be virtually broke if that debt was called in? Would stand to reason just what they hold over his head. Remember, Jr. did say “My father sees one color: green, that’s all he cares about.” It's ironic knowing that, how he could be so afraid of being in the red. (pun intended)
In celebrating the dismissal of the F.B.I.’s deputy director, Trump displayed the pettiness and the vindictiveness of a man unsuited to the job he holds as is evident in the following tweet.
Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!
Trump's crusade against McCabe has lasted months and has finally culminated in his dismissal two days short of his retirement. AG Jeff Sessions, citing "lack of candor" as part on the reason for his firing is laughable to say the least. Coming from a man that, under oath in a Congressional hearing, stated, "I don't recall" 29 times.
While Trump legally can't fire McCabe, he could and he has increasingly inflicted pressure on the Attorney General to do so.
Yet another blatant attempt to stymie the ongoing investigation. Trump appears to think that by casting dispersions on McCabe's career will somehow make him a less believable witness when is come time for his trial.
Trump Organization Subpoena
Robert Mueller subpoenaed the Trump Organization today for ALL relevant documents relating to the Russian investigation. The subpoena marks the first publicly known time that Mueller has demanded documents related to Trump's businesses.
It was reported in January that the Trump Organization had voluntarily provided documents on a range of events, conversations and meetings from Trump's real estate business to Mueller.
The subpoena may be sending the message that the Special Counsel was not satisfied with what they have previously received.
Democrat Status Update
Democrats issued a 22-page document specifying unresolved issues they said the committee needed to continue exploring — and that they would attempt to do so even without the GOP’s cooperation.
In what might not be such a surprising move, Trump fired Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson today and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him.
Tillerson said he will remain in his post until March 31 but is delegating all authorities for running the State Department to Deputy Secretary John Sullivan and is committed to ensuring “an orderly and smooth transition.”
Trump picked Gina Haspel, to replace Pompeo as CIA Director. Both the Pompeo and Haspel nominations will need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
Tillerson also made a clear statement about Russian aggression: “Much work remains to respond to the troubling behavior and actions on the part of the Russian government.” On March 12, Tillerson had backed the British government’s accusation that Russia was culpable for a nerve-agent attack on United Kingdom soil. Quite a contradiction to Trumps' statement prior to stepping aboard Air Force One,
HPSCI Closes Probe
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Republicans said on Monday they had finished investigating Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, contradicting the findings of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation that Moscow sought to aid Trump, by claiming they had found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling efforts.
Democrats beg to differ, citing witnesses still need interviewed and subpoenas need issued to previous witnesses that have failed to answer the committee's questions. The GOPs' indifference to the Democrats position on the matter smacks of capitulating to the executive branch yet again. May be the reason the overview document echos the Nunes Memo.
It didn't take long for this:
THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Nunes' "lone gun" approach appears to undermine his own committee's investigation. The House investigation by the Intelligence Committee is headed by Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, after Nunes removed himself from the probe last year following a controversial meeting with White House officials, still hasn't concluded. From an outsiders perspective, Nunes' behavior is very close to obstruction itself.
Just a reminder: California 22nd Congressional District Primary Election is June 5, 2018.
The grand jury investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign has sent a subpoena seeking all documents involving the president and a host of his closest advisers, according to a copy of the subpoena received by former adviser Sam Nunberg.
In addition to Nunberg, the subpoena seeks documents that have anything to do with these current and former Trump associates:
Steve Bannon, who left the White House as chief strategist in August.
Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer for Trump who testified before congressional investigators in October.
Rick Gates, Trump's former deputy campaign manager, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
Hope Hicks, who resigned last week as Trump's communications director.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager until June 2016.
Paul Manafort, a former Trump campaign manager and Gates' business partner, who pleaded not guilty to money laundering, conspiracy and making false statements last week.
Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
Keith Schiller, a former bodyguard for Trump who left as director of Oval Office operations in September.
Roger Stone, a longtime Republican political operative and Trump campaign adviser who sources have told NBC News is the focus of investigators interested in his contacts with WikiLeaks during the campaign.
Once Hicks' resignation takes effect, Cohen will be the only person listed still working for the White House.
An updated list of all of Trump's administration departures can be found here:
Thursday, Oregon lawmakers passed gun legislation, the first since the Parkland shootings nine days ago.
The legislature banned people convicted of domestic violence against partners that they're not married to from owning a gun. The new legislation closes the 'boyfriend loophole' in the Federal 1996 Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban.
The 1996 law bars convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns — but only if they were married to, living with, or had a child with their victim, thus the "boyfriend loophole."
In addition to closing the loophole, the new legislation bans people convicted of misdemeanor stalking from owning a gun.
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have announced plans to create a task force including state law enforcement and intelligence officials, to combat gun violence.
The four states will share intelligence, study gun violence and form a task force to intercept illegal guns.
The four governors, all Democrats, will be urging others to join the coalition at this weekend's National Governors Association meeting.
Quietly, without fanfare and coincidentally at the same time the country was reeling from the horrendous mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Trump Inaugural Committee released a long awaited tax report regarding contributions and expenditures for Inauguration Day events. In a nutshell the report said that they raised $106,751,308, spent $103,960,308 and had $2,791,000 net funds which the committee said they would disperse to charities in addition to the $5 million submitted in the report.
One noted expenditure was for $25.8 million for "event production services" to WIS Media Partners, a company founded weeks before the inauguration by Melania Trump's longtime friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Wolkoff was personally paid $1.62 million of the $25.8 million. Another $25 million went to Hargrove Inc. also for "event production services".
Sometimes it's funny how something you do, or say comes back to bite you. This seems to be a constant for Trump. A Sunday morning tweet completely shows how out of touch this man is from his job as President.
Two events this week, (One) - a horrifying massacre of 17 at a high school in Parkland, Florida and (Two) - criminal indictments of 13 Russians for meddling in the 2016 elections may seem like two totally unrelated news items however both events are stark evidence of ongoing attacks on America and our way of life.
Attacks that you assume would motivate a President to put an end to and to work towards preventing in the future.
And what was his response? You got it . . . a tweet. This time attempting to make the shooting about him and Russia.
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign — there is no collusion."
Trump again proves in an earlier tweet how he remains a part of the problem and not the solution.
Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!
"Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!"
Hmm, DUH!! 2018, Republican House, Republican Senate, Republican Executive - NO DACA solution, NO gun control legislation, NO Russian sanctions (enforcement).
Last February he made it easier for persons with mental health issues to obtain guns ( HJ Res 40 ) and he continues to refuse to impose additional Russian sanctions that were passed by Congress (vote: 517-5) and he, Trump signed into law (PUBLIC LAW 115–44) Aug. 2, 2017.
In another sarcastic tweet criticizing Adam Schiff, D-U.S. Rep., California, you can see just where Trump hasn't a clue.
Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!
"Finally, Liddle' Adam Schiff, the leakin' monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!"
So Trump, NOW you know the threat . . . DO SOMETHING !!
Hoax No More
A 37 page indictment filed today by the Justice Department spelled out how the Russian government sought to interfere with the 2016 election. The indictment reads:
"The conspiracy had as its object impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful governmental functions of the United States by dishonest means in order to enable the Defendants to interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
There are 16 defendants, including three organizations and 13 individuals, who are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States by impairing enforcement of election law. The Internet Research Agency and two other Russian nationals were charged with aggravated identity theft. The Internet Research Agency and four Russian nationals are also charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
The indictment also contains the allegation that some of the defendants through false American identities communicated with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign". The Americans allegedly targeted by the Russians are not named. The indictment mentioned that there are unnamed co-conspirators "known and unknown to the Grand Jury."
The indictment also stands to completely refute Trump's repeated claims of the investigation being a hoax. Though no Americans have been named, of course, the investigation isn't over yet. This more likely is just the beginning.
Seventeen students and teachers were killed on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla., in the second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school.
Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and the community of Parkland, Florida.
David Sorenson and Rob Porter, two administration officials resigned this week after being accused of domestic abuse and was followed by a Saturday Trump tweet:
"Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"
Talking to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday (1/09), Trump said:
"[Porter] says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent but you'll have to talk to him about that. We certainly wish him well. ... He did a very good job while he was in the White House."
What you don't see is, anything regarding the alleged victims. Which is typical of the WH attitude toward women and abuse, however, when the man is a democrat, Trump has no problem taking the word of the women. When former Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and former Rep. John Conyers of Michigan faced accusations of sexual misconduct, Trump tweeted:
"Women are very special. I think it's a very special time, a lot of things are coming out and I think that's good for our society and I think it's very, very good for women and I'm very happy a lot of these things are coming out. I'm very happy it's being exposed."
Trump casual attitude towards abuse as evident from the Access Hollywood tape in Oct '16 certainly exposes his longstanding misogynistic views of women.
Misogyny:The hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women.
It can be demonstrated in a number of ways: patriarchy, male privilege, sexual objectification, hostility to - belittling of - violence against women.
Which brings us to the other elephant in the room. No, not collusion or obstruction, but allegations of sexual misconduct committed by Trump. This is probably a can of worms he would rather leave unopened.
With everything going on this week: The Nunes memo, the Democratic rebuttal, Wall Street losses, DACA limbo, shutting down the government (again), increasing the debt ceiling, and the irony of VP Pence making a political statement at a sporting event by snubbing the North-South Korean delegation at the Winter Olympics, who would have thought all that would be upstaged by the Trump administration resignations of alleged wife-beaters.
For those that don't remember or need refreshed, to read a list of women who have made accusations against Trump:
The House and Senate both passed a sweeping spending deal in the early hours of Friday morning - just not before the midnight deadline and technically shutting down the government for the second time in a month. The Senate, which began voting at 1:30 a.m. Friday, approved the deal 71 to 28. The vote in the House, which voted at about 5:30 a.m. on Friday, passed, 240 to 186.
The President signed the bill early Friday morning and the shutdown lasted less than nine hours.
The spending bill includes an increase to the country's borrowing limit and funds the government through March 23, 2018, disaster relief for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and a $300 billion for the other programs over two years, including the military.
Looks like Speaker Ryan and the GOP are off the hook regarding DACA, because THIS spending bill was the last leverage the Democrats held in getting DACA finally addressed. Ryan didn't sound committal on the issue and just said it would be addressed. So much for promises from the GOP.
Now Congress has two dates to worry about . . March 5 when DACA protection runs out, and March 23 when the budget is revisited. On March 5th, upwards of 685,000 tax-paying DACA recipients could face deportation.
One last note: With the recent sweeping tax cuts it was already projected to add $1.5 Trillion to the national debt, doesn't increased spending plus tax cuts add up to deficit spending?
On Wednesday Trump tweeted:
"Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!"
Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!
"Mr. President, I see you've had a busy morning of 'Executive Time', Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or...really anything else."
Trump's incessant need to label people with nicknames is yet another thing that debases the office of President. Undignified, juvenile name calling isn't something that Americans should accept from the leader of our nation.
"Little Adam Schiff" is only the latest in a long list of nicknames, some you may not know.
Update: Sunday morning tweet, Feb 18. "Liddle' Adam Schiff".
Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!
verb: the crime of betraying one's country by not applauding Trump's accomplishments during his speeches.
NOTE: Our Founding Fathers were very careful with treason, so much so that it is the only crime included in the Constitution:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
Trump, by even flippantly suggesting that those that are critical of him are guilty of treason, even in jest, apes tyrannical behavior.
This after all may just be a Freudian slip from something heard floating around the White House.
Super Hole Tweet
Following the Fox News hyped release of the Nunes Memo, Trump tweeted Saturday morning:
"This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe, But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!"
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!
First, the memo in no way "vindicates" Trump. If anything it proves there was Trump campaign involvement in the Russian meddling in the 2016 elections and raises questions of GOP complicity.
Second, it serves to pinpoint the origins of the Russian investigation. Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, named in the memo, first came to the FBI's attention back in 2013 due to his dealings with the Russians. However it was information passed along from Australian Intelligence officials regarding George Popodapoulos that triggered the initial investigation.
Third, Separation of Powers. Let that sink in for a bit.
Here we have a willful attempt by the Executive branch, namely the President, to collude (yes. . .collude) with a GOP member of a Legislative Branch Committee, the HPSCI (House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) to impede, impune and undermine an ongoing Justice Department investigation. This by definition IS Obstruction of Justice.
We are beginning to see the effects of a politcal plague in this country.
Question: - American disgrace?
Answer: - Trumps' tweets.
Nunes Memo Revisited
After reading the Nunes Memo, it would have better served him had it been his letter of resignation.
In our American Republic, at the very least we have always believed in the process. Today that belief was shaken to the core.
To read a copy of the long awaited, highly anticipated, much ballyhooed memo (and waste a little time): Click Here.
Related info: California 22nd Congressional District election registration deadline is March 9, 2018.
In his first State of the Union Address Teleprompter Trump showed up while Twitter Trump took a back seat. You've got to give him his "gold star" for being able to read from the prompter and not making a fool of himself. His speech, while surprisingly staying on point, was bloated with stories about people in the audience which were at times quite emotional. The resonance of their message simply got dulled by his often time divisiveness.
And should I mention - the clapping - directly into the microphone and completely distracting.
In speaking directly to his base, by the middle of his speech, he touted his "America First" accomplishments - gladly taking credit for a growing (72 month) economy and steadily lowering unemployment. He erroneously claimed his enacted tax cuts as the "biggest tax cuts and reform in American history". His "America First" just seemed to come across sounding like 20th century racism, bigotry and isolationism.
Foreign policy. He failed to mention the elephant in the room - The Russia Investigation. After a year of shooting down trade deals, withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, antagonizing North Korea, ignoring Russian sanction laws and denigrating African nations as "shit-hole countries" he has no positive foreign policy at all. Therefore nothing to mention.
What he did spend considerable time dwelling on was immigration, particularly weaving a tale of crime in N.Y. City involving MS-13 gangs and likening DREAMers to gang members. He seems oblivious to the fact that MS-13 started here in the U.S. His year long incessant cry for funding for his "Wall" and portraying immigration as the number one problem in America was the main topic of the speech.
Better use for $20 Billion would certainly would be fixing the water in Flint, Michigan.
Overall the speech was a subdued Trump with little substance just enough for Republicans to give him predictable praise. Once again a lot of it was simply campaign rhetoric that unfortunately we stand the chance of hearing for the next three years. Trump should walk away from his first SOTU knowing that he'll have at least one person that will always applaud him - barring Alzheimer's or dementia - and that's himself.
Facts About DREAMers
There is no (zero) path to citizenship for DACA recipients under current law.
DACA requirements are narrow and specific. Not all DACA applicants are approved.
DACA recipients pay $495 for a two years provision to stay and work in the US. To renew - reapply and another $495 fee.
DACA registration is for a work permit. Period.
Because DACA is a work permit, 90% of recipients are employed, 72% are enrolled in higher education, with no federal aid.
DACA recipients receive no federal benefits.
Anyone who has been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors is automatically ineligible for DACA.
DACA recipients have paid about $2 billion in state and local taxes. They also will pay on average more in taxes over their lifetimes than in benefits they will receive.
In ending DACA, it is estimated that our national economy could lose $460 billion over the next decade and an estimated 685,000 workers.
First there was talk of criminal charges against Christopher Steele regarding his "Steele Dossier". Second we had an overt attempt to subvert the Mueller investigation by GOP members of the HPSCI throwing shade on high-ranking officials in U.S. Intelligence by alleging a biased "Secret Society". Now a memo with implied evidence of wrong-doing in obtaining and carrying out FISA warrants.
Just last March (2017) Congressman Devin Nunes marched up to the White House with his bit of hot news for the WH and then publicly announced that some members of Trump's post-election team had been the subject of "incidental surveillance" by US intelligence agencies. What managed to come of that was Nunes having to recuse himself from the House Russia Investigation because he had worked on the transition team for Trump.
So why did he do it? Because Nunes is a Trump sycophant. If you don't like (or know) that word, how about: bootlicker, brownnoser, apple-polisher, back-scratcher, minion, toady or just plain lackey? We could have added "ass-kisser" but as we strive to be civil - we won't.
This memo was written by staffers of Nunes alleging anti-Trump bias in the US intelligence community.
Public speculation as to what the memo reveals has given fodder to conspiracy theorists however the most disturbing thing born from the memo appears to be the hashtag - #releasethememo. The hashtag is being promoted by social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations. The Russians are still at it and now it appears with the blessing of our own GOP in the House.
So when will this memo be released to the public? Will it be released even after admonition from the Justice Department over classified intelligence? Who knows, it may just back-fire and turn out to be a dud making it appear more of an issue of obstruction. Damn, shades of '73. Oh, that's right, tonight is the President's State of the Union Address.
What is with Jared Kushner being added to the P.D.B. (Presidential Daily Briefings) without security clearance?
Trump Shutdown Over
The lights came back on as the Senate overwhelmingly voted to end the shutdown, sent it to the House and then the President. One of the stipulations was that there was a promise to address the "Dreamer" issue before the next deadline of February 8, where once again we could have another shutdown. One caveat of this shutdown is that the CHIPS program received a six year extension. Some rather good news for some 9 million children dependent of the program.
Odd thing here is that this program had bipartisan support before the shutdown but was not addressed and could've been easily. Hmm.
So it is back to the drawing board to come up with a viable solution to the DACA dilemma. What may very well be solvable in the Senate, it looks as the House and Speaker Ryan will be a harder sell.
Once again time will tell.
Target date: February 8.
Day 1 of the Trump shutdown of the Federal Government.
Ironically, exactly one year to the date that Trump took office and he has managed to shut the entire government down by insisting on his bigoted and racist demands regarding immigration and his ludicrous border wall. Instead of protecting young "dreamers" and funding CHIPS (medical coverage for children), his u-turns and insistence of complete funding for the "wall", Dems and the GOP failed. Congress failed the American people. No matter who you think may be at fault, ultimately this shutdown is on Trumps watch.
First time in history that an all GOP lead House and Senate and an Executive branch failed to keep the government lights on. One year to the date that this amateur administration has hobbled the US at home and abroad. Never before has the world view of our country been lower and in Trumps blind ambition of putting "America First" he has actually isolated the US and is continually losing the faith of our allies.
Just how much money is he willing to lose keeping the doors shut. You may be thinking that this is the fault of Congress, but Congress did have an agreement, although a stop-gap one, but when presented to Trump, he reneged on signing.
Congress needs to get off their asses and ratify a long-term agreement sans what the WH wants or is willing to sign. If he vetoes the measure, override the veto and send a message to him that they are accountable to the American people and it is not a one pony show.
Lastly, Trump needs to be once again reminded that he needs to stop campaigning and do his damn job. One year on and you are no longer a neophyte and it's not a valid excuse anymore.
Oh By the way, where did the $106 million in inauguration donations last year go?
Follow The Money
Where to start? On January 17, Eric Trump stated, "My father sees only one color, green."
So let's follow the green:
Trump SOHO in partnership with Bayrock Group. Trump's involvement appears to center around a man named Felix Sater, who recently has been served a subpoana in a money laundering case in the Southern District Court of New York. Why bring up Sater? Sater is the key figure in financing for the Trump SOHO property and a "massive Trump Tower in Moscow". Despite the fact that Sater worked on and off for a decade with the Trump Organization, Trump claims "If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn't know what he looked like." So, how do you do business with people you don't know?
The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Toronto that went bankrupt four days prior to the U.S. Election. Connecting dots here would be: Alex Shnaider (Talon International) co-founder of Midland Group along with Eduard Shifrin, whom Putin personally granted Russian citizenship by decree along with his daughter in 2016, put up the money for the purchase and bought a license to use the Trump name. Trump repeatedly claimed he was investing his own money in the project - claims that have since been proven false. So if it wasn't his money he was investing, whose was it?
Opened in 2011 - The Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, Panama City, Panama. The Trump brand earning him as much as $13.9m in management fees and royalties in the last three years. Panama is "perceived to be corrupt" by authorities and to investigators the skyscraper "a vehicle for money laundering." It should be noted here that Ivanka Trump, Donald's daughter was the primary on this project and chose the broker that delivered sales of 350 to 400 units, about $100 million in property. The broker (currently a fugitive from the law) later stated that more than half the units were sold to Russians.
Trump Turnberry Resorts in Ayrshire and the Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, according to accounts listed in the U.K., had combined losses of $25 million in 2016 and $53 million since Trump purchased them. Trump supplied both courses with huge loans and at the end of 2016 they owed him $200 million.
In Glenn Simpson's transcript of his House Intelligence Committee testimony he stated, "So we were able to get the financial statements. And they don't, on their face, show Russian involvement, but what they do show is enormous amounts of capital flowing into these projects from unknown sources and - or at least on paper it says it's from The Trump Organization, but it's hundreds of millions of dollars. And these golf course [sic] are just, you know, they're sinks. They don't actually make any money," said Simpson.
"If you're familiar with Donald Trump's finances and the litigation over whether he's really a billionaire, you know, there's good reason to believe he doesn't have enough money to do this and that he would have had to have outside financial support for these things."
The news world exploded (1/11) after it was reported that Trump told senators in the Oval Office, "Why do we want all these people from 'shithole countries' coming here?" when referring to Haitians and Africans.
Now, the 12th, it simply is DENY, DENY and LIE. Of course the admin blames the Democrats for disinformation.
In Trump's "America First" initiative it's okay with him when the foreigners are HIS KIND of people, those who need H-2B visas to work at Mar-o-lago and his other business interests.
That is the ultimate in hypocrisy.
The oxymoron once again for Trump is, that it's acceptable to be a foreigner but you might want to keep an eye on those immigrants and refugees.
Tom"AA"to or Tom"AH"to
Ok, let's start calling a rose by it's rightful name a "rose". For what seems like forever we have been hearing about "collusion" with the Russians and interference in our election. Today, Jan 10, 2018, at Trump press conference he kept repeating the statement, "There was no collusion".
When it comes to mincing words, to a pathological liar, even a grain of truth is the "complete" truth.
A Dec 28, 2017 interview with the NY Times, Trump said 16 times, "No collusion". He also said, "There is no collusion, and even if there was, it's not a crime. But there's no collusion."
Collusion has a number of synonyms including: Complicity, Connivance, Collaboration, Concurrence, Cooperation, Chicanery, Cozenage, Complot, etc. However, the sentence, "There was no collusion", may seem true to Trump, but this rose needs called by it's proper name.
Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.
Obstruction of Justice. Violating the Logan Act. Violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Conspiracy to Launder Money. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States by Coordinating with Russia. Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. by Interfering with Our Election. Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud. Campaign Finance Violations FEC Violations. Abuse of Power. Money Laundering. Bank Fraud Insurance Fraud Tax Evasion. Treason.
Just a reminder: Trump settled a RICO class action suit in California the day following the election. Trump University, accused of fraud to the tune of $40 million, agreed to a $25 million settlement (no admission of guilt).
Where did the $150K and $130K come from to pay off the affair allegations?
Update: 2/13/19 Mystery solved.
Michael D. Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer, said on Tuesday that he had paid $130,000 out of his own pocket.
Mr. Cohen explicitly said that the Trump Organization and campaign were not involved but conspicuously didn’t rule out Trump himself having been party to it.
Well. Here we have a new year and it seems a new shift in the GOP in how it seems it is dealing with that elephant in the room: Russian meddling in 2016 election. So who does the GOP have a bullseye on his/her back now? Not that in any other situation I would consider warning him, but in all fairness if I were, ahem. . . Jeff Sessions, I should feel just a tad uneasy at the moment.
This weekends GOP pow-wow at frigid Camp David has all the earmarks of the brood trying to figure out how, if and when to kick Sessions from the nest, not to mention the completely transparent reason of then being able to get at Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. Now you might ask why would they go to all the trouble of cooking up this witches brew? Mueller of course.
What the hell is this crap that Republican Senators Graham and Grassley, after almost a complete year of investigating, subpoenas, witnesses, testimonies, and the only recommendation they can come up with is to request an FBI criminal investigation into Christopher Steele, the man that originally warned the FBI regarding Russian actors in American politics.
More and more it appears that the Republican Party itself has abdicated its duty to national security allowing partisan politics to enable a foreign country to undermine a basic tenant of our republic. Yes, In this matter, the GOP is complicit.