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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Winning - July 2019


Keeping track of the GOP and Trump Administration:
  • 07/01 - Iran exceeds the limit of enriched uranium agreed to in the 2015 JCPOA. A direct consequence of Trump unilaterally backing out of the agreement and imposing new sanctions on Iran. More nuclear fuel is not a good thing.
  • 07/02 - The Trump administration will not include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Good news if you want an accurate count. 
  • 07/02 - House Democrats file suit to obtain Trump's tax returns. 
  • 07/05 - Trump’s buddy Jeffrey Epstein arrested for sex trafficking of minors.
  • 07/09 - A federal appeals court ruled that Trump cannot block critics on his Twitter account. 
  • 07/09 - A federal judge denies the DOJ bid to change the census citizenship question legal team.
  • 07/11 - House Judiciary Committee subpoenas a dozen people involved with the Mueller investigation. 
  • 07/11 - Trump abandons census citizenship question, AGAIN! 
  • 07/12 - Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns amid scrutiny of his handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case when US Attorney.
  • 07/17 - The House votes to block Trump's arms sales to Saudi Arabia. AGAIN.
  • 07/17 - The House votes to hold AG William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents.
  • 07/24 - North Korea fires two projectiles off their east coast.
    • And again on 07/30
  • 07/24 - A federal judge blocks Trump's latest asylum ban attempt. 
  • 07/25 - Major automakers side with California over Trump on a climate deal. 
  • Trump gets punked at Turning Point rally with a fake Presidential Seal. 
  • 07/28 - Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, resigns.
  • 07/30 - California passes a law requiring disclosure of tax returns to run in presidential primaries. 
wjh

Friday, July 26, 2019

Mueller Time - After the Report

On 05/17/2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III as Special Counsel. Mueller was to investigate any possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign or other Americans and the Russian government regarding the 2016 elections. The investigation was not limited to that issue and any crimes discovered while investigating were also subject to prosecution and/or being turned over to the Justice Department or state prosecutors.

On 03/22/2019 Mueller essentially completed his job with the submission of his report to Attorney General William Barr. Now we dissect that report and see what the fallout is.

  • 03/24 - Attorney General William Barr submits a four-page summary letter of the Mueller report to Congress outlining the principal conclusions. The findings are no chargeable collusion (conspiracy) between the Trump campaign and Russia. On obstruction, neither guilt or exoneration. 
  • 04/12 - In a Mueller investigation spinoff case, W. Samuel Patten, 47, a GOP political consultant, in August admitted steering $50,000 from a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician to Trump’s inaugural committee, is sentenced to probation.
  • 04/18 - The redacted Mueller report is released to Congress and the public. It is 448 pages. 
    • The report concluded that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election. 
    • Russian interference was meant to benefit Trump. 
    • There was no provable coordinate cooperation between Russian and the Trump campaign. 
    • There were many links and contacts between Russia and the campaign, none prosecutable. 
    • There was evidence of obstruction.
    • The DOJ will not indict or prosecute a sitting president. 
  • Mueller wrote a letter to AG Barr objecting to Barr's description and conclusions of the Mueller Report.
  • Barr appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Softball questions from GOP members. Barr is evasive and combative with Democrat's questioning. 
  • Barr refuses to testify about the Mueller Report before the House Judiciary Committee.
  • 05/06 - Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, reports to prison for a three-year sentence. 
  • 05/08 - Trump invokes Executive Privilege to block the release of full Mueller Report to Congress. 
  • 05/08 - Over 700 former federal prosecutors say there is enough evidence in the Mueller Report to charge and prosecute Trump for obstruction. 
  • 05/20 - Trump blocks Don McGahn from testifying before Congress.
  • 05/23 - Manafort's bankerchairman Stephen M. Calk of Federal Savings Bank, is indicted in Manhatten for pushing through $16 million in high-risk loans.
  • 05/29 - Mueller reiterates that his team cannot clear Trump of obstruction but DOJ cannot charge a sitting president. It is up to Congress. He also stated that he will not provide testimony to Congress beyond his report.
  • 06/25 - Mueller agrees to testify before the House  Judiciary and Intelligence committees in open hearings on July 17th. 
    • 07/12 - Hearings are delayed one week until July 24th.
  • 07/24 - Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee for about six hours. He was succinct with his answers and passed on answering many questions. While not a stellar or exciting appearance, Mueller did say, among other things, the following statements:
    • The president was not exonerated.
    • No chargeable conspiracy with Russia but certainly cooperation during the campaign.
    • Russian interference was to benefit Trump
    • Russia did and is interfering with our elections. Others too.
    • Did not subpoena Trump because the White House would fight the subpoena and prolong/distract the investigation.
    • DOJ policy stopped Muller from indicting Trump.
    • Trump and others in the administration and campaign lied to investigators.
    • Trump could be prosecuted for obstruction once out of office.
    • The investigation was not a witch hunt and Russian interference is not a hoax.
  • This may be the last we see or hear from Robert Mueller. He seems to want to fade into retirement out of the limelight. It is now up to Congress and the voters to act on the findings of the report.
wjh

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trump Speak II

Donald J. Trump and his minions have introduced a whole new set of words and phrases. They have also brought some older words to the forefront as well as changing their meaning. Here is the second list of some of the new Trump lexicon. 
  • Take the mantle - Usually means ttake on a specific role or position, along with any associated responsibilities. To Trump in regards to the Christmas 2018 government shutdown, it meant blame the Democrats.

  • The Pesident - the title Trump used in a tweet to describe himself. No R needed
  • The United States looses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA - Is all that money loose change? Maybe loose pesos.
  • It turns out to be true now - Here comes a whopper.
  • Make no mistake... - One of Pence's favorite expressions. Whatever follows is probably a Trump lie or threat that Pence is repeating.
  • Very strongly - usually used when Trump is trying to convey that a foreign leader is denying some terrible action that everyone knows they did or authorized. 
  • Even greater than anyone would know! - Used by Trump to falsely describe his support on an issue.
  • A far worse situation than almost anyone would understand - The implication being that only a (J)enius like Trump could figure this out. First, it ain't that bad. Second, almost everyone understands except Trump.
  • Some say - get ready, a whopper will be following. Either a wild boast, misused statistic, or another outright lie. The "some" is either none or maybe two. 
  • You all know it - The words that just came out of my mouth was complete bullshit.
  • Most people don't know... - followed by an outright lie or something almost everyone knows. 
  • Total exoneration - only total in Trump's mind and his stooges. Nevermind that his Attorney General specifically said the Mueller findings do not mean exoneration. 
  • No Obstruction - The DOJ decided not to prosecute the obstruction they found.
  • People are beginning to realize... - Trump just found out. The world has realized for years. 
  • A little squabble - His term for a major and serious trade war with China.
  • Only in America - What was once a positive phrase, Trump uses as a negative, particularly when complaining about laws or policies he disagrees with. 
  • Not my type - Trump's first response when confronted with a sexual assault charge. This indicates that there is a "type" that he would assault. 
  • A very stupid guy - Anyone who disagrees with or points out Trump's shortcomings. Actual IQ or ability does not matter.
wjh

Monday, July 1, 2019

Winning - June 2019


Keeping track of the GOP and Trump Administration:
  • The Trump lie count as of June 7th was 10,796. An average of 12/day. A truly stellar achievement.
  • The owners of the former Trump Ocean Club building in Panama filed suit in federal court over tax evasion.
  • Trump's top economist, Kevin Hassett, resigns.
  • The Homeland Security Department acting inspector general, John V. Kelly, "retires" after revelations that he directed staff to whitewash audits of disaster response. The swamp creatures continue to rule.
  • 06/11 - The House votes to seek court enforcement of subpoenas for Barr and Gahn. 
  • 06/13 - The Office of Special Counsel recommends that Trump fire Kellyanne Conway for Hatch Act violations.
    • Trump says he won't fire her. Laws don't matter.
  • 06/13 - Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders resigns.
  • 06/18 - Trump withdraws the nomination of Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan for the permanent position. A background check turned up domestic abuse allegations. Maybe try vetting before nominating. 
  • 06/18 - Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Consumer Protection Chairwoman, will step down in October. Another ACTING agency head.
  • And the bluffing continues. A promised immigrant roundup by ICE is delayed. A military strike against Iran is called off. 
  • 06/25 - The Customs and Border Protection agency’s acting commissioner, John Sanders, resigns. Another one bites the dust.
  • 06/25 - A federal judge ruled that the emoluments case against Trump by 200 Democrats in Congress can proceed. 
  • 06/27 - The Supreme Court returns the 2020 census citizenship question to a lower court. Considered a setback to the Trump administration.  
wjh

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Winning - May 2019


Keeping track of the GOP and Trump Administration:
  • 05/02 - Stephen Moore withdraws from consideration as Federal Reserve Board nominee. 
  • 05/03 - North Korea launches a short-range missile. Another chink in the Kim-Trump bromance. 
  • 05/03 - A three-judge panel declared Ohio's Republican-drawn congressional map unconstitutional. Extreme gerrymandering. 
  • 05/07 - The New York Times publishes a story using obtained tax information showing that Trump lost over $1 billion between 1985 and 1994. A master deal maker.
  • 05/08 - Donald Trump, Jr. is subpoenaed by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • 05/10 - Trade talks with China breakdown. No agreement reached. New tariffs by both sides. 
  • Doral and Mar-a-Lago revenue drop in a booming economy. I wonder why? Maybe it's the landlord.
  • 05/20 - A federal judge denied President Trump’s bid to quash a House subpoena for years of his financial records from his accounting firm.
  • 05/22 - New York passes a bill giving Congress a way to get Trump’s NY state tax returns.
  • 05/22 - A federal judge denied President Trump’s request to halt a House subpoena for his banking records from Deutsche Bank.
  • 05/24 - “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mr. Mueller said. Somewhat short of complete exoneration.
  • 05/24 - A federal judge issues a temporary restraining order to block part of the border wall construction plan.
wjh

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Winning - April 2019

Keeping track of the GOP and Trump Administration:
  • 04/02 - Trump abandons plans to push for repealing and replacing the ACA (ObamaCare) until after the 2020 elections. So much for the GOP becoming the healthcare party. 
  • 04/02 - The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted Tuesday to subpoena Carl Kline, who served as personnel security director at the White House during the first two years of the administration.
  • 04/02 - The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted Tuesday to compel the Trump administration to provide more information on its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
  • 04/03 - The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee asked the IRS on Wednesday for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns. Should be interesting. I wonder if the tax returns are works of fiction. 
  • 04/05 - A third federal judge has ruled that the census citizenship question violates administrative law.
  • 04/07 - Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is fired. A very stable administration for a very stable genius.
  • 04/08 - U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. “Tex” Alles will be stepping down. He was fired. A full-blown Trump purge at Homeland Security in progress.
  • 04/08 - A federal judge blocks Trump's program that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their court hearings. 
  • 04/12 - W. Samuel Patten, 47, a GOP political consultant, in August admitted steering $50,000 from a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician to Trump’s inaugural committee, is sentenced to probation.
  • 04/16 - Trump vetoes the resolution to stop US involvement in the Yemen civil war. He doesn't want to upset his Saudi buddies. 
  • 04/17 - North Korea tests a new "tactical guided weapon". Is there trouble in the Kim-Trump bromance?
  • 04/18 - The redacted Mueller Report is released to the public. No coordinated cooperation between Russia and Trump's campaign. There was significant contact. Despite Trump's claims of complete vindication, there is significant evidence of obstruction but none that will be prosecuted by the DOJ. 
  • 04/22 - Herman Cain withdraws from consideration for the Federal Reserve Board.
  • 04/22 - The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena Monday ordering former White House counsel Donald McGahn to testify before the panel next month and hand over documents and records pertaining to federal investigations of President Trump, his finances, his campaign, and charges that he sought to obstruct justice.
  • Trump instructs current and past members of the administration not to honor Congressional subpoenas. 
  • 04/23 - Six Trump appointees at the Interior Department are under investigation for ethics violations. What a surprise.
  • 04/25 - A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction temporarily blocking a Trump administration rule that would bar organizations that provide abortion referrals from receiving federal family planning money.
  • 04/30 - The Congressional Democrats' emoluments lawsuit against Trump can continue according to a federal judge. 
wjh

Monday, April 1, 2019

Winning - March 2019

Keeping track of the GOP and Trump Administration:
  • The Trump golf count - 165 visits to golf clubs in 114 weeks, 128 rounds of golf. 
  • The Trump lie count - As of 03/31/19, it is 9,451 in 801 days in office. That's 5.9/day the first year, 16.5/day the second year. So far this year the average is almost 22/day. He will easily break 10,000 sometime this year and probably 15,000.  
  • The UK courts rule that Trump's Aberdeen golf club must pay the Scottish government's legal costs over a failed wind turbine lawsuit. 
  • FDA Commissioner Scott Gotlieb is resigning.
  • The federal budget deficit is $310 billion, up 77%, in the first four months of the fiscal year. Mostly because of the GOP tax cut that was supposed to pay for itself.
  • The US trade deficit rose to a record $891.2 billion, $419 billion with China. This in spite of Trump's tariffs and promises to shrink the trade deficit.  
  • According to US military analysts, North Korea has started rebuilding their missile test facilities. So much for a successful summit by the master dealmaker.
  • The House Judiciary Committee has requested information and/or documents from 81 people, agencies, and entities tied to Trump. 
  • 03/07 - Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sues the Trump Organization for nonpayment of $1.9 million in legal costs. He also sued for an additional $1.9 million in reimbursements for fines, forfeitures, and restitution. 
  • 03/07 - Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is sentenced to 47 months in federal prison for bank and tax fraud. Too little time for his crimes.
  • 03/08 - Job growth for February was 20,000. Expected growth was 175,000. 
  • 03/08 - Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson resigns.
  • 03/08 - White House communications director Bill Shine resigns. He was the fifth person to hold that position. Shine lasted eight months. 
  • 03/13 - Paul Manafort is sentenced to 73 months in prison in his DC conspiracy case, 30 months concurrent with his 47 month Virginia sentence. He is now on the hook for 7½ years in federal prison.
  • 03/13 - New York indicts Manafort on 16 charges including mortgage fraud. If convicted, Trump can not pardon him on these state charges. 
  • 03/13 - The Senate rebukes Trump with a 54-46 vote ordering the US military to end support of the Saudi's war in Yemen. 
  • 03/14 - The New York appellate court allows the Summer Zervos defamation suit against Trump to proceed.
  • 03/14 - The Senate votes against Trump's border emergency declaration 59-41. It passed the House last month.
  • 03/19 - A federal judge ruled that the Interior Department violated federal law by failing to take into account the climate impact of its oil and gas leasing in the West. The judge temporarily blocked drilling on about 300,000 acres of land in Wyoming. 
  • There is a public outcry over Betsy DeVos's plan to cut the Special Olympics funding for 2020. Trump reacts to the outcry and reverses the plan. 
  • 03/27 - A US district judge blocks the Kentucky and Arkansas Medicaid work requirements.
  • 03/29 - A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administrations plan to allow health insurance plans outside the Affordable Care Act is illegal.

wjh