An Anthology of Donald J. Trump's Presidency (updated 5-31-19)
Latest Major Controversies
6/1/19 - Trump announces putting incremental tariffs on Mexico as punishment for not stopping immigrants from crossing our border. It is starting out at 5% and will increase in increments of 5% until it reaches 25%. The effect on the American economy will cost lots of jobs and bankrupt many businesses even though Trump says Mexico will pay the tariffs, which isn't how it works.
5/10/19 - Just before major trade negotiations between China and the US, Trump announces a major increase in punitive tariffs on China. He claims China moved the goal posts and deserved the punishment. China disagreed. The talks failed and China imposed retaliatory tariffs on June 1.
4/15/19 - The Mueller Report was released and at first Trump was ecstatic and now calls it Bull Shit. The three major "findings" is
- Russia did interfere with the 2016 election, they did reach out to the Trump campaign to help, and the Trump campaign did encourage the Russians to help (but not to the level of conspiracy)
- There was insufficient evidence developed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that anybody in the Trump Campaign "Conspired or Coordinated" with the Russians for the purpose of throwing the election to Trump. There was plenty of evidence of collusion, however
- Because of the restrictions of the DOJ's Office of Legal Council opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president, Mueller laid out his case and then punted to Congress. He made two things clear a) Trump was not not guilty of obstruction and b) there is no reason not to indict him after he leaves office.
1/25/19 - After two failed Senate votes, one for a Republican-Trump option (50 - 44) and a Democratic option (52 - 46) to reopen government failed (they needed 60 votes) yesterday, Donald Trump changed his mind and did the right thing - agreed to reopen government on the Democrats terms (for 3 weeks). Coincidentally, airlines on the East coast came to ground stops because FAA control centers were under staffed and Roger Stone was indicted by Robert Mueller who pointed to the Trump campaign as being in collusion with Stone in getting dirt on Hilary Clinton.
1/16/19 - Because Trump changed is mind on funding government, he is now the proud owner of the longest partial government shutdown in American history - 26 days and counting.
12/20/18 - After agreeing to a short-term spending bill to fund the government until Feb 2019, Donald Trump changes his mind. Under pressure from his base because he won't get additional funding for his wall, he told Republican leaders to basically stuff it.
12/19/18 - In a tweet, Donald Trump announces his intention to pull out of Syria, lock, stock, and barrel and surrender the battlefield to our enemies Russia, Iran, and ISIS. Everybody agrees this is Trump's worse move by far and will have far reaching negative impact on America's relationship with the rest of the world and our trustworthiness. Basically, nobody can trust America anymore for anything.
11/14/18 - President Trump falsely claims voters, in the 2018 midterm elections, got in line, voted, went to their car, changed their shirt, and got in line and vote again!
11/7/18 - The 2018 midterm election was a set-back to President Trump even though he claims it was a resounding victory. It wasn't. In the House, while it was expected the Democrats were "probably" gain a slight majority, it didn't turn out that way. The Democrats are probably going to pick up more seats than they ever have since 1974 when they gained 49 seats. That is not a win by any measure. Further, the Democrats were supposed to lose many Senate seats, yet they didn't. While the actual results will probably end up with the Democrats losing one or two seats, there was a slim possibility that they might have taken the majority. While they didn't, it wasn't the great lost that was expected. This is not a win either.
11/1/18 - Donald Trump retweeted a very racist political ad equating several thousand men, women, and 2,300 children who are fleeing violence at home and who are 900 miles from the U.S. border and will take weeks to get here, with one illegal who crossed the border and killed a cop and bragged of wanting to kill more. Arrayed against them will be, so says Trump, upwards of 15,000 U.S. military soldiers, as well as the border guards and National Guardsmen. At a news conference today, Trump said that if one of the migrants throws a stone at one of the soldiers, etc, it would be OK to shoot to kill.
4/6/18 - Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces the Trump administration "Zero Tolerance" policy which orders DHS to arrest and detain any illegal alien who crosses the southern border regardless of whether they are adults or children or asylum seekers. Because U.S. law does not allow DHS to incarcerate children for more than a short period of time. In the past, all administrations, including Trump's, chose to release the parents along with the children. The zero tolerance policy stopped that and required children to be taken away from their parents.
2/27/18 - A busy day:
- President Trump gave his Chief of Staff Gen Kelly permission to decide whether to downgrade step-son's interim security clearance (he can't get a permanent one) to Secret from Top Secret-SCI (although he hinted that shouldn't happen). Kelly did just that and now Jared Kushner can no longer carry out the portfolio his father-in-law gave to him.
- The Washington Post reported that leaks from the National Security Adviser office.indicate that at least China, Qatar, Mexico, Israel have been discussing ways to use Jared Kushner's inexperience, naivety, and business conflicts of interest to manipulate him.
- I was revealed today that Special Council Robert Mueller's team have been asking pointed questions about President Trump's financial dealings with Russia Early last year Trump said doing this would "cross a red line".
2/26/18 - Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicts Paul Manafort with new charges and gave non-federal crimes to the State of Virginia who is also pressing charges. He also secured a guilty plea from Manafort's business partner Rick Gates to a set of minor charges in exchange for his full cooperation.
12/2/17 - Trump tweeted ""I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI, he pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!" It was the inclusion of knowing Flynn lied to the FBI before asking FBI director James Comey to "let this go" his investigation into Flynn that suggests obstruction of justice.
12/1/17 - Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump confidant and National Security Adviser (for 28 days), pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. In exchange for total cooperation with the Mueller Russia investigation, he and his son were not charged with a myriad of other potential charges.
10/27/17 - Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, former Trump campaign manager and his deputy, where charge with multiple counts including conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, and related offenses. They pleaded not guilty on 10/30/17.
10/5/17 - George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign national security adviser, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. Other charges are being held in abeyance on the promise to cooperate fully in the Mueller investigation.
8/28/17 - It was reported today that Donald Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, emailed Vladimir Putin's right-hand man, Dmitry Peskov, to intercede in trying to get Donald Trump's stalled Moscow Trump Tower project. This would not be unusual except it happened in November 2015, months after Donald Trump began his campaign to be president. It is also after Trump and Cohen vigorously denied ANY business deals with Russia. Also, it was revealed that in late 2015 Trump signed a Letter of Intent to go ahead with the project. Ultimately, in late January 2016, the project was cancelled.
8/25/17 - Sheriff Arpaio, famous for the illegal profiling of Latinos who was convicted of criminal contempt was pardoned by President Trump before he was sentenced.
- President Trump issues legal guidance to the Defense Department to discriminate against transgenders by barring them from enlisting and to figure out how to get rid of the transgender soldiers that are currently serving. One would expect immediate court challenges followed by stays of the order.
2/9/18 - President Trump sends back a classified 10-page memo Democrats wrote in response the the Rep Devin Nunes (R-CA) 4-page classified memo alleging misdeeds and bias by the DOJ and FBI in their investigation into President Trump and his campaign's Russian ties. The controversy is that Trump approved the Nunes memo for release; a memo that used the same classified sources as the Democratic response.
Not to understate things very much, it is fair to say President Donald Trump's first 180 days in office have not been pleasant ... for him or for Americans. Until recently, not a day, not one, has gone by without some sort of major controversy. Some were serious, such as his travel ban of seven majority Muslim nations which was stopped by the courts or accusing President Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower which is what he opened March with. Others were not, like his tweets about SNL. Whether you agree with him or not, President Trump and his administration has sucked the air out of virtually all other news.
To follow is an anthology of President Trump's time in office. It is similar to the one I created for President Obama but with additional sections to cover the extreme controversy surrounding things like his nominees (or lack thereof) for principal cabinet and senior staff positions, the high turnover of those same people, and the many controversies surrounding his almost every move.
It is clear in the first six months of his presidency, Trump is trying to turn the course of American policies almost 180 degrees from not just Obama, but every president going back to Franklin D. Roosevelt. He has certainly turned what politics has been for the last 200 years on its head and left America and the world wondering what he is going to do next and what social conventions will be tossed by the way side. What has become obvious to all is that a significant portion of Americans, approximately 25%, like very much Trump's style, his in-your-face unconventional behavior, and his destruction of the normal order of political business.
(In full-disclosure, I am a liberal Republican by orientation (yes, we still exist), but registered Democrat so I can vote in primaries. I have voted for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, and now Hillary Clinton. My bias is to sensible fiscal conservationism and social liberalism. This translates to a believe that the gov't has a roll in helping its citizens but shouldn't break the bank doing it. While I do not personally like Donald Trump nor most of his policies, I will take a wait-and-see attitude toward his performance as President.)
The following table presents a snapshot of how President Trump when compared to what President Obama turned over to him. The stoplight colors are Blue, Green, Yellow. and Red. Each color signifies the following:
- BLUE - President Trump is doing better than President Obama
- GREEN - President Trump is doing as well as President Obama (it doesn't mean that that particular metric is good or bad, just that Trump has carried on Obama's success or failure)
- YELLOW - President Trump is not doing quite as well as President Obama
- RED - President Trump is doing much worse than President Trump.
There are two sets of colored dots across from each metric. The set on the left are were we stand today. The set on the right will reflect future results (of course the future is now for the moment). This will allow you to compare how President Trump is doing over time.
President Trump's Stoplight Chart
President Donald Trump by the Numbers - Economy
Let me start with the following set of charts which will track various measures that, taken together, how well President Trump is doing on the domestic and economic fronts. Following the charts will be an discussion of what each means.
Moved to: https://soapboxie.com/us-politics/President-Trump-by-the-Numbers
8/18/17 - In the span of less than a week President Trump managed to inflame America. On Saturday, August 12, 2017 a violent protest was held by a combination of White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and other hate groups in Chancellorsville, VA. They were faced by a large counter-protest intent on combating the hate groups message. The hate groups brought guns (which fortunately were not used), riot shields, and other military paraphernalia while their opponents used what was at hand. The melee was furthered marred by one of the Neo-Nazis terrorist barreling through a crowd of counter-protesters in his car killing one and injuring many. On Saturday, without naming the hate groups specifically, Trump condemned the violence from "both sides". On Tuesday, he was forced to read another statement that condemned the alt-Right groups by name. On Wednesday, he walked that back and made a moral equivalency between the hate groups and the those protesting against them. That set off a fire-storm of protest from virtually everybody, Left and Right. This precipitated the collapse of three presidential business advisory panels, numerous charities cancelling events at Trump properties, and at least one religious leader from Trump's Evangelical council.
8/2/17 - Special Counsel Mueller has impaneled a second grand jury, this time in Washington D.C. (the first one was in Virginia for the Michael Flynn probe.) This one is to investigate Russia's involvement with the 2016 elections and doing a deep dive into the Trump family's financial ties with Russia. He appears to be starting by issuing subpoenas regarding the Trump Jr., Manafort, Kushner meeting with a Russian lawyer and a representative of a Russian oligarch. allegedly to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that the Russian government had supplied.
EMPLOYMENT and OTHER METRICS - Moved to https://soapboxie.com/us-politics/President-Trump-by-the-Numbers
As important as how America is doing is how Americans are thinking. The next set of charts track a compilation of polls regarding how Americans perceive:
- The Direction of the Country
- President Trump's Favorability Ratings (what we think of him personally)
- President Trump's overall Job Approval Rating (how he is doing regardless of what we think about him)
- President Trump's Job Approval Rating regarding the economy
- President Trump's Job Approval Rating regarding how he is handling foreign policy
The horizontal lines provide an idea of how President Trump's support has increased or decreased using the percentage that voted for him in 2016 (the top line) and my estimate of his core support that he will keep no matter what he does.
As the approval ratings fall below the top line, then one can assume the independents and Democrats who voted for him are becoming less satisfied with their choice. If approval falls below the bottom line, that spells real trouble because his core supporters are becoming disenchanted.
What Do Americans Think About President Trump?Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chart 22: Some trends are starting to take shape after two years. The most worrisome to Trump and the Republicans is the massive drop in support from women. The large drop in minority support, however, is not too problematic since the GOP has so little support there already.
A bit surprising to me, especially after the results of the 2018 midterms, is that Independent support is flat. I thought it would be down from all other indications.
It is interesting that in spite of the large loss of women is that there is a slight rise in Trump's total approval rating. That result seems to be helped by an increase in support in the younger crowd.
7/21/17 - With the Special Counsel saying he is going to start investigating Trump business ties with Russia, President Trump is exploring Pardon options for himself, his family, and his aides.
7/15/17 - The list of attendees keeps on growing with the addition of the intermediary Rob Goldstone, a translator, and a representative of the Veselnitskaya's family who asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. It must be noted that the Veselnitskayas actually are interested in the adoption controversy. But, the fact remains that Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort were expecting to receive dirt on Clinton from a Russian government attorney. Rinat Akhmetshin's says that incriminating documents were given to Trump's campaign at this meeting. (This could be the same documents Comey referred to that prompted him release the Clinton email findings)
7/14/17 - The saga of President Trumps eldest son Trump Jr.'s attempt to procure oppo-research on Hillary Clinton from the Russians. The number of attendees has grew by one more. The latest is Rinat Akhmetshin's, a US citizen, lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who served in counter-intelligence.
The Donor Class - "Pay to Play"
Author's note - Donald Trump, Bernie supporters. and other Clinton opponents made a very Big deal about the access donors to the Clinton Foundation gained to the State Department. I argued there as no smoking gun there. In fact there was no gun at all because what went on between donors and access to government is the NORM, at all levels of government. It only crosses the line if some government official received some type of reward that had personal value; and in Clinton's case that never happened. Another no, no is if the requester got anything of value other than access.
To further that argument, I underlined those Trump picks, or those under consideration, who made huge contributions to Trump's campaign or the Republican Party. This is unadulterated Pay-To-Play; I give you lots of money to be elected and you give me a cabinet slot or ambassadorship, plain and simple.
Having said that, and while I disagree with the practice in general, I refuse to condemn someone for doing what has been done in politics since politics became a "thing". Trump (and Clinton) is doing nothing different than EVERY president-elect before him.
DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #1
Politically Speaking: Where do you place yourself on the Political Spectrum?
Your President-Elect Donald Trump
Comings and Goings
In the first six months of Donald Trump's presidency is cabinet has been in a serious state of flux (not to mention leaving a huge number of secondary and tertiary appointments unfilled). Below is a listing of the comings and goings:
Sally Yates (OUT): This does quite count as a 'coming and going' because, as acting Attorney General, a hold over from the Obama administration, it was a given she would be gone once a new AG was sworn in. She is only included because President Trump fired her for not wanting to enforce his newly minted Muslim ban (most of which has subsequently been put on hold by the courts).
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (OUT), former National Security Adviser: President Trump's National Security Adviser was first to fall after only 23 days in office. Flynn was the tip of the iceberg in the burgeoning investigation into ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign. He was fired/resigned ostensibly because he lied to Vice President Pence about the substance of his meetings with the Russians prior to Trump being sworn in.
Lt. Gen H. R. McMaster (IN), current National Security Adviser: Replaced Lt. Gen Flynn.
Katie Walsh (OUT), former Deputy Chief of Staff: A close ally to Reince Priebus, she left to take a position with the pro-Trump non-profit America First Policies.
K.T. McFarland (OUT), former Fox News reporter and Deputy National Security Adviser announced she will leave the NSC in the coming months. Trump promised her an ambassadorship to Singapore. In early 2018, she withdrew her nomination because she could not get confirmed by the Senate
James Comey (OUT), former FBI Director: As FBI Director, Comey was leading one of the investigations into the Russian involvement into the 2016 election process. President Trump tried to pressure Comey into first dropping the investigation altogether and failing that, asking that Comey issue a statement that the FBI was not investigating Trump personally. When Comey refused, President Trump fired him. A short time later Trump admitted to both Russian officials in a White House meeting and during a news interview that Comey was fired because of "that Russian thing.". Not too long after former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as special prosecutor by the deputy attorney general (AG Sessions had to recuse himself from all things Russian because of his own undisclosed meetings) to continue the FBI's investigation
Mike Dubke (OUT), former White House communications director: He resigned amid speculations of a staff shake up. He was in the last stages of divesting himself of two communication firms when he resigned stating "personal reasons".
Walter Shaub (OUT). former Director of the Office of Government Ethics: Shaub resigned out of pure frustration with an uncooperative Donald Trump and joined the nonprofit advocacy group Campaign Legal Center.
Sean Spicer (OUT), former presidential spokesperson and other duties as assigned: Sean resigned when passed over for communications director when Trump brought in fellow billionaire Anthony Scaramucci aka The Mooch
Sarah Huckabee Sanders (IN): This daughter of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee replaces Sean Spicer as Press Secretary.
Anthony Scaramucci (IN), soon to be the new White House Communications Director: The Mooch is another New York hedge fund manager but with no experience in government or, for that matter, communications.
Reince Priebus (OUT), former Chief of Staff: After a sustained public humiliation from Scaramucci, Reince resigned and was replaced with Gen John Kelly
Gen John Kelly (IN), Secretary of Homeland Security: Kelly left this post to take on the position of Trump's Chief of Staff.
Michael Short (OUT), Assistant press secretary to Reince Priebus. He resigned after Scaramucci said he was going to fire him for leaking.
Anthony Scaramucci (OUT), soon to be Communications Director, was fired by the new Chief of Staff John Kelly for an obscenity-laced interview with Ryan Lazza of The New Yorker that berated both ex-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon.
Tera Dahl (OUT), former Breitbart writer and the NSC Deputy Chief of Staff let to take up a role in the US Agency for International Development.
Mark Corallo (OUT), spokesman and communications strategist for Trump's legal team resigned without explanation.
Derek Harvey (OUT), retired Col and top NSC adviser appointed by Gen. Flynn was fired by Flynn's replacement, Gen H.R. McMaster
Hope Hicks (IN), a 28-year old political neophyte and Trump organization communications director (her previous job was as a model), was appointed interim White House communications director to replace the aborted political career of Anthony Scaramucci. She earned an English degree from Southern Methodist University.
Steve Bannon (OUT), senior political adviser, was fired (Bannon would have you believe he quit) on Aug 18, 2017 after going on the record with a telephone interview (think "The Mooch") where he criticized President Trump and laid out his war with other senior Trump aides. Before midnight of the day he was fired, Bannon had his old position back with the alt-Right media outlet Breitbart.
Sebastian Gorka (OUT), the White House's counter-terrorism adviser and Bannon acolyte, was forced out of his position.
Chuck Rosenberg (OUT), the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency is stepping down because he can no longer work for President Trump given his views that law enforcement agents should more "rough" with suspects. That comment forced Rosenberg to write a memo to "global" at the DEA disavowing that belief.
Tom Price (OUT), Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, due to a huge scandal that developed from spending over a million taxpayer dollars over a four month period for private jets and military flights when commercial flights were available, something he severely criticized Nancy Pelosi over.
George SIfakis (OUT). Director of the Office of Public Liaison left at the end of September.
Omarosa Manigault (OUT), Resigned as director of communications of the WH Office of Public Liaison on 12/13/17. She left under a cloud of controversy.
Dina Powell (OUT), Trump's deputy national security adviser, who was a driving force behind the president's Middle East policy, left to go back to Goldman Sachs
Omarosa Manigault (OUT), Resigned as director of communications of the WH Office of Public Liaison on 1/20/18. She left under a cloud of controversy.
Andrew McCabe (OUT), Deputy FBI Director and Acting FBI Director retired 1/29/18 under heavy pressure from President Trump and the GOP.Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald (OUT) as C.D.C. Director. She resigned over conflicts of interest caused by recent trading in tobacco and pharmaceutical stocks. She resigned in the middle of the nation’s worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade,
Rob Porter (OUT), Staff Secretary, one of the closest positions to the president next to the Chief of Staff. Porter was fired or resigned on 2/7/18 after it became public that two ex-wives and ex-girl friend reported severe physical and mental abuse to the FBI and White House counsel. Apparently, Chief of Staff John Kelly was aware of the allegations for quite some time, but did nothing.
David Sorensen (OUT), one of President Trump major speechwriters, resigned on 2/9/18 after his ex-wife accused him of extreme physical abuse. Sorensen denied the charge and said it was he who had been abused.
Hope Hicks (OUT), President Trump's White House Communications Director and Trump's closest confidant resigned today after nine grueling hours in front of the House Intelligence Committee the day before. She was Rob Porter's girlfriend before breaking up with him after his resignation resulting spousal abuse allegations
Gary Cohn (OUT), former Goldman Sacs president, White House chief economic adviser, and prime mover of the GOP tax plan announced on 3/5/18 that he is resigning. A prime motivator is said to be the rejection of his opposition to Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum on friends and enemies alike; a move that Cohn thinks will lead to a devastating trade war.
Rex Tillerson (OUT), former CEO of Exxon and Secretary of State, was summarily fired by presidential tweet. While long expected because he was not in lockstep with Trump and probably because he called Trump a moron, it still came as a surprise.
Steve Goldstein (OUT), Undersecretary of State, was fired the same day Rex Tillerson was for putting out a statement that said Tillerson was blindsided by Trump's dismissal.
Larry Kudlow (IN), conservative media personality who hates tariffs is President Trump's pick to replace Gary Cohn as chief economic adviser (assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Direct of the National Economic Counsel). Kudlow has a BA in History and earned graduate credits in politics and economics, he never earned his masters.
Mike Pompeo (OUT). Director of the CIA was nominated to become Secretary of State.
Mike Pompeo (IN), subject to Senate confirmation. Nominated to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
Gina Haspel (IN), subject to Senate confirmation. The Deputy Director of the CIA has been nominated to replace outgoing Mike Pompeo. She is a carrier intelligence officer who's claim to fame is authorizing the "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the destruction of one of the waterboarding interrogations
John McEntee (OUT), Trump's second bodyman (personal assistant). He could not get a security clearance due to being under investigation by DHS for financial crimes. Trump immediately hired him to join his 2020 campaign staff.
Gen. H.R. McMaster (OUT), National Security Adviser, has resigned from the post (and this Army this Summer) on April 9, 2018. He has had a very rocky road with President Trump from almost the start. Trump, who never liked how McMaster gave him information and felt he was being condescending, began attacking the general personally shortly before he decided to resign.
John Dowd (OUT). while not an official part of the West Wing, he was Trump's lead attorney defending him against the Special Councils Russian investigation. Dowd wanted a more cautious approach while Trump decided he wants to be much more aggressive against Bob Mueller.
David Shulkin (OUT). now former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (the second largest department behind the Pentagon). As with most of Trump's other appointees, Shulkin came under fire for travel related infractions but his real crime was not toeing to the Trump line of privatizing veteran's healthcare and being vocal about it. The veteran community is very upset with his ouster.
Rear Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson (IN) subject to confirmation. He is Trump's personal White House physician. He is clearly a well qualified physician but the main criticism being leveled at him is his total lack of experience of running an organization the size of the VA. Whether that is a real problem remains to be seen.
John Bolton (IN), former UN Ambassador, will replace Gen H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser, the third one in a little over a year. He is a nationalist of the Bannon mode, and a far-Right conservative who is hawkish on North Korea and Iran but not Syria.
Tom Bossert (OUT), Homeland Security Adviser was forced to resign by incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton. Allegedly this occurred to let Bolton appoint his own person.
Scott Pruitt (OUT), EPA Administrator, was forced to resign after coming under 15 different ethics investigations, some of which could lead to criminal complaints. Some of these investigations didn't stop with his resignation.
Marc Short (OUT), White House Director of Legislative Affairs, resigned. He announced his intent to resign after deciding he was no longer needed.
Donald McGahn (OUT), White House Counsel, resigned after shepherding Brett Kavanaugh through the confirmation process to become a Justice on the Supreme Court. McGahn spent over 30 hours with Special Counsel Bob Mueller's team giving testimony for his Russia investigation. McGahn had previously suggested he was going to resign.
Nikki Haley (OUT), UN Ambassador, resigned. She says she will stay around to the end of the year. A Fox News talking head was nominated to replace her. To be fair, she has been a State Department spokesperson for the last 18 months.
Jeff Sessions (OUT), Attorney General, was forced to resign (meaning he was fired) the day after the midterm elections. Sessions has been a punching bag for Donald Trump ever since he did what was required of him in recusing himself from anything to do with the Russian investigation.
Matthew Whitaker (IN), former U.S. attorney, critic of the Mueller Russian investigation, and Session's chief of staff, was appointed as Acting Attorney General, by-passing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was statutorily next in line. Many think the appointment was unconstitutional and done to 1) provide a pipeline direct to Trump as to what Mueller knows and 2) quash the Mueller probe. (Well respected Bob Barr, a former attorney general, has been nominated to fill the position.)
Mira Ricardel (OUT), Deputy National Security Adviser, was fired at the public demand of First Lady Melania Trump. Ricardel got cross-ways with Melania and her staff because of her very combative and irascible nature. She basically pissed off everybody she met except her boss, John Bolton.
Gen (ret) John Kelly (OUT), Chief of Staff, resigned. He had had enough and was no longer talking to President Trump.
Mick Mulvaney (IN), Director of OMB, Director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (until Dec 11), and now temporary Chief of Staff to the President. Yes, he has all three titles. After Nick Ayers, VP Pence's Chief of Staff, turned down Trump's offer because he didn't want to serve two years, Trump is having a very difficult time finding a replacement for Gen Kelly. Most of his choices have turned down the opportunity, others he didn't like. This appointment help's save face while Trump searches for someone willing to put up with two years of investigations.
Kathleen Kraninger (IN). She replaces Mulvaney to continue job to kill the bureau designed to protect Americans from financial business crimes.
Ryan Zinke (OUT), Secretary of the Interior, was fired for using his office for personal gain and similar ethical and criminal activities.
Gen Jim Mattis (OUT), Secretary of Defense who Donald Trump praised so highly, resigned in protest over Trump's decision to abruptly pull out of Syria leaving our allies in great danger of being killed by the Turks. He proposed to stay until March for an orderly transition to a new Secretary, but Trump told him to leave by the end of December.
Zachary D. Fuentes (OUT), Deputy Chief of Staff left with his boss, Gen. John Kelly.
Raj Shah (OUT), White House Deputy Director of Communications and Research, and frequent White House spokesperson.
Patrick M. Shanahan (OUT and IN), the Deputy Secretary of Defense became acting Secretary of Defense who quit in protest after Trump decided to abruptly pull out of Syria leave American allies in a lurch.
Kevin M. Sweeney (OUT), Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense quit upon the departure of his boss Gen. James Mattis who resigned in protest.
Pam Patenaude (OUT), Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development had announced plans to leave her post in December.
A. Wess Mitchell (OUT), Assistant Secretary of State (European and Eurasian Affairs) has announced his resignation in February in protest to Trump's policies.
Brock Long (OUT), FEMA Director, resigns under a cloud of investigation and a battle with the Director of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen. The disastrous response to Puerto Rico weighs heavy on his term.
Heather Wilson (OUT), Secretary of Air Force, to take a job as President of the University of Texas, El Paso.
Bill Shine (OUT), White House Communications Director and Fox News commentator, resigned after Donald Trump because dissatisfied with his bad pressed. He only began his job in June 2018.
Linda McMahon (OUT), Small Business Administration Administrator, resigned to take a position at Trump's America First PAC, which is under investigation. McMahon was one of Trump's biggest donors.
Kirstjen Nielson (OUT), Secretary of Homeland Security, was pushed out on 4/6/2019. She has a fraught relationship with Trump and had redeemed herself by being hard on Democrats during the government shutdown. Now she is back in the dog house because of the Trump-made crisis at the border. The day before, Trump withdrew his nomination for.
Randolph "Tex" Alles (OUT), Director of the Secret Service, was summarily fired by Donald Trump for unknown reasons as he cleans his national security house.
Claire Grady (OUT), Current Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, after the departure of Nielson, handed in her resignation to make room for who Trump wants as the Acting, an Obama appointee, Kevin McAleenan.
Ron Vitiello (OUT), Current Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), "resigned" after Trump withdrew his name to become the actual director. This is the 4th to go in two days.
- Secretary of Defense (empty since Jan 1, 2019)
- Secretary of Homeland Security (empty since Apr 6, 2019)
- Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- Secretary of Interior (empty since Dec 15, 2018)
- Chief of Staff (empty since Dec 18, 2018)
- Secretary of Air Force (empty since May 31, 2019, pending)
- Director of White House Communications (empty since Mar 29, 2019)
- Administrator of Small Business Administration (empty since Mar 29, 2019)
- UN Ambassador (empty since Jan 1, 2019)
Donald Trump Lays Out His First 100-Day Plan
Donald Trump's First 100-Day Plan
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP HAS LAID OUT in a the broad strokes of what he intends to do in his first 100 days in office. They are, in no particular order:
- Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress - FAILED TO DO
- Place a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) - COMPLETED
- Make a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated - COMPLETED
- Make White House and Congressional officials sign and agreement not to become lobbyists for five years after they leave government service - COMPLETED for White House officials, but doesn't enforce. Has no power over Congressional officials - FAILED
- Place a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government COMPLETED but not enforced
- Ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections - FAILED
- Announce intentions to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 - FAILED TO DO
- Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - COMPLETED
- I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator - FAILED, changed his mind.
- I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately - FAILED TO DO
- Lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal - FAILED TO DO
- Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward - PARTIALLY COMPLETED. Approved the Keystone Pipeline, but nothing more.
- Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure - CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAMS WERE LARGELY UNFUNDED but FAILED TO fix America's infrastructure
- Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama - FAILED, impossible to do given there were no unconstitutional executive orders from President Obama although he has reversed many constitutional EOs.
- Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities - FAILED, stopped by the coursts
- Begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country - BEGUN and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back - FAILED
- Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.” - PARTIALLY COMPLETED. EO had to be revised twice before it could pass constitutional muster.
- Introduce Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act legislation - COMPLETED - although the effect was to complicate the tax code, add trillions to the national debt, and increase the wealth for the wealthy and corporations. There was only minor improvement for the middle class.
- Introduce the American Energy and Infrastructure Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act legislation - PASSED in House on second try. FAILED in Senate. McConnell tried to simply pass a delayed Repeal; failed that to..
- Introduce the Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the End Illegal Immigration Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Restoring Community Safety Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Restoring National Security Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
The link to Donald Trump's Contract is here.
Trump's Pre-President Policy Activities
MOST PRESIDENT-ELECTS WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE SWORN IN BEFORE TAKING substantive foreign and domistic policy actions. But not Donald Trump, who has broken every rule in the book ... and proud of it; it helped him win the election after all. Here is what has taken place so far that will set the foreign policy tone for the next four years.
- Trump picks winners and losers with his tweet "Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016" Lockheed Martin's stocked dipped 2% as a result/
- Trump enters the nuclear arms race in this response to Vladimir Putin saying essentialy the same thing: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016"
- Trump attempts to change American foreign policy with "The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed....cont: https://t.co/s8rXKKZNF1 — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016" (UPDATE - Trump failed in his bid to intercede for Israel; the United States abstained from the vote)
- Trump takes on Union Leader over Carrier jobs - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/08/trump-clashes-with-union-leader-over-carrier-deal.html
- Trump sets up call with Taiwan's President
- Dec 4 - Trump proposes a 35% tariff http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/donald-trump-threatens-u-s-companies-latest-twitter-diatribe-n691716
- Dec 5 - Trump takes China to task with http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-38167022
- Dec 12 - Trump tells China he may not be bound by the decades old "One-China Policy" - https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/chinese-paper-calls-trump-as-ignorant-as-a-childafter-taiwan-comment/2016/12/12/d91fbaea-c02c-11e6-b20d-3075b273feeb_story.html?utm_term=.ba5a610b414b
- Dec 3 - Trump talks with Taiwanese President - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/world/asia/china-donald-trump-taiwan-twitter.html?_r=0
1/20/2017 - Signed Executive Order 13765 which directs all executive departments to begin the process of dismantling the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Potentially that means the IRS will stop enforcing the Individual Mandate (designed to keep health insurance premiums down) and drop defense of GOP lawsuit designed to eliminate subsidies for most exchange program users (to do so will kill the subsidies), The likely result from these actions are that few insurance companies will participate driving much higher premiums, and substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans.
In part, he wrote "It stressed that agencies can "waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any provision or requirement" of Obamacare that imposes a burden "to the maximum extent permitted by law."
1/20/2017 - Signed a Memorandum to stop a last minute FHA rate cut of 1/4 point put in place by outgoing President Obama. This action will cost homeowners about $500 in 2017,
1/23/2017 - Signed a Memorandum freezing all regulations pending review by Department heads. This will have a positive impact on some businesses,but will also hurt many others
1/23/2017 - Signed Memorandum ordering Federal Agencies to freeze hiring new civil servants.1
1/23/2017 - Signed a Memorandum to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the hope to make bi-lateral deals with individual nations. That opens a huge void which China is likely to fill. Economist also predict this move will slow down America's economic growth. Whether it does or not remains to be seen and I will up-date this accordingly
1/23/2017 - Signed a Memorandum that reinstates the Mexico City Abortion Rule created by President Reagan in 1985. This policy denies USAID funds for any foreign nation project that includes money for counselling women or accomplishing abortions. Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush promoted this rule. Presidents Clinton and Obama rescinded it.
1/23/017 - Apparently ordered EPA to cut grants. The Huffington Post reported "EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency,"
1/24/2017 - Signed several Memorandum to restart the Keystone XL and Dakota oil pipelines. One stumbling block Trump may face is whether there is a demand for it anymore. The world has changed since Keystone was envisioned and whether it is actually needed is now being debated.
1/24/2017 - Signed Executive Order 13766 to help "fast-track" high priority infrastructure projects.
1/24/2017 - Signed a Memorandum directing the Secretary of Commerce to come up with plan to mandate using American-made steel for all new, expanded or retrofitted pipelines in the United States.
1/24/207 - Signed a Memorandum that tells "directors of executive departments and agencies to support the expansion of manufacturing in the United States through expedited reviews of and approvals for proposals to construct or expand manufacturing facilities and through reductions in regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturing."
1/25/2017 - Tweeted this morning announcing his intent to investigate the unproven widespread voter fraud in which he claims 3 - million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. His criteria for fraud is if someone is registered and is 1) dead, 2) registered in two more states (like his cabinet nominee Mnuchin), or are illegal,
1/25/2017 - Signed an Executive Order 13767 to start the process of building a massive wall along the 1200 mile border with Mexico, similar to the Berlin Wall. It also defunds "sanctuary" cities who don't cooperate with federal authorities in apprehending suspected undocumented aliens. The cities and states are expected to largely ignore this threat which, based on the Obamacare-Medicaid expansion Supreme Court ruling, is probably unconstitutional.
1/27/2017 - Signed Executive Order 13768 to stop ALL citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia from entering the United States, roughly 134,000,000 people, for at least 90 days; the order makes clear this is just the start in terms of time and number of nations. At some point, non-Muslims will be allowed in from these countries. The order also stopped America's refugee program for 120 days to allow the State Department and DHS to make the already extreme vetting process even more extreme. He banned entirely refugees from Syria. It is worthwhile noting that 1) Trumps campaign promise was to ban all Muslims and 2) the experts say that of the 2 million or so refugees America allowed in since the late 1980s, none have been arrested as a domestic terrorist. The same is true of illegal immigrants coming across the Mexican border. Several days later courts put a nationwide stay on this order.
This order was effectively stopped by several court rulings over the next week. Trump is expected to rescind this EO and replace it with another one.
Federal regulations: Trump signed an executive order requiring that for every new federal regulation on small and large businesses, two existing regulations must be removed. He signed the document after a meeting with small business leaders. Trump said he wants to end regulatory discrepancy between big and small business.
CIA in the NSC: Trump added the Director of the CIA and his senior political adverser Steve Bannon as Principals to the National Security Council while down grading the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. and Director of National Intelligence.
1/31/2017 - Supreme Court: Trump nominated federal appellate Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Some Democrats promised to filibuster the confirmation process after Republicans refused to hold hearings on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland after Scalia's death.
1 I went through that with Clinton - Gore. The result was a smaller, more expensive government. It was more expensive because the workload was not reduced and they had to hire contractors to do the work. The GAO reported that, on average, a contractor is about 20% or more expensive than an equivalent civil servant when the contract is long-term (exceeding more than a year) and recurring. My office shrunk so much that we could not perform some work sent to us by acquisition. Because government lost so much expertise, we had to hire contractors to oversee other contractors and report back to a civil servant, a person who was often one-deep in terms of having the knowledge to monitor the oversight contractor. There nothing new that says the same thing won't happen.
Wall Street Regulation: Trump signed an executive order to ease U.S. fiscal regulations in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 -- Dodd-Frank was created, like the defunct Glass-Steagal Act, to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 Great Recession.
Money Manager Rule: The president ordered the Labor Department to review a rule from former President Barack Obama requiring financial managers to act in their clients' best interests when handling retirement accounts to determine whether to keep the rule in place..
Police Protection: Trump signed an order to review existing laws and produce legislation to better protect federal, state and local law enforcement officers.
Crime Reduction: The president ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to create a new federal task force to share information among agencies, develop strategies, identify deficiencies in current laws, evaluate criminal data and make recommendations for greater safety of U.S. citizens.
Foreign Crime Fighting: Trump issued an executive order prioritizing efforts to prosecute foreign-based crimes like drug and human trafficking. It calls for stricter enforcement of laws already on the books and efforts to "identify, interdict, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations."
2/14/2017 - Anti-Corruption Repeal: President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 41, which reverses a federal rule that requires energy companies to disclose royalties and government payments. The rule was imposed by the Obama administration last year as a transparency measure.
2/16/2017 - Repeal Coal Waste Regulation: Signed bill to repeal regulation to prevent coal waste products from entering streams.
2/25/2017 - Clean Water Repeal: Directed EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider a 2015 rule issued by President Obama known as the Waters of the United States rule. It gave the federal government authority over small waterways in order to prevent polluters from damaging larger bodies of water they connect to; about a 3% increase.
April 8, 2017 - Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in office, was sworn in. Trump intended that Gorsuch has the same kind of literalist (originalist) interpretive philosophy as Scalia proved to have. That, however, remains to be seen. The confirmation was a purely partisan affair starting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defy the intent of the Constitution and refusing to allow President Obama's choice, Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing for the last year of Obama's term. The Democrats in return filibustered Gorsuch's nomination. Consequently, McConnell took the next step of destroying the founder's handiwork by invoking the "nuclear option" and forcing Gorsuch's confirmation with only a majority vote.1, 2
April 13, 2017 - The Air Forces MOAB (Massive Ordnance - Air Blast AKA Mother of all Bombs), was deployed against an Daesch (ISIS) tunnel complex in Afghanistan. It is a 21,000 lb device that is considered most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. inventory. It has not been used so far because of the fear of collateral damage. It was finally used in this case because it was determined, correctly apparently, that there were no citizens in the area and it was proving too costly to attack the complex with normal ground forces.
April 18, 2017 - A new executive order called Buy American, Hire American was signed today. The order attempts to put new life in the existing Buy American law. It directs reviews of the H1-B visa program. While It does not take direct action to fundamentally change the law. Instead it initiates a series of reviews and assessments and calling on federal departments to begin proposing reforms to the programs. The order would send a clear signal to federal agencies responsible for enforcing the programs that the administration wants to see a more aggressive stance.
1 The Democrats first used this option in 2013 as it applied to judgeship's, short of the Supreme Court, and cabinet nominations. The reason is McConnell blocked most of President Obama's choices from 2011 to 2014. In the 200+ year history of such actions, McConnell was responsible for 50% of them. The Democrats stopped short of the Supreme Court pick because the consequences were much more far reaching than for lower court and cabinet picks
2. It is clearly the founder's intent that the Senate NOT act like the House, that the Senate be the more deliberative body staffed by much more wiser men than those who would populate the feisty House. Those who created the Constitution did not intend the Senate to be a democratic body like the House was designed. Only one more hurdle remains to destroy that vision, killing the filibuster altogether.
May 9, 2017 @ 5:30 PM is when the news broke the story to the world (and Dir Comey as it turns out) that President Trump fired FBI director James Comey; probably one of the most, if not THE most controversial decision of his presidency to date. In fact. It may well be the biggest one of his entire four years. In his firing memo to Dir Comey, Trump clouded the reasoning for his actions by writing, in, part:
“... While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,”
This effectively tied Comey's firing to the Russian investigation. Nevertheless, for the next two days, his staff tried to use the "just following the Deputy AG's recommendation" story to explain the action. Then Trump threw them all under the bus by telling Lester Holt from NBC the following:
HOLT: Because your letter, you said, “I—I accepted their recommendation,” so you had already made the decision.
TRUMP: Oh, I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.
This reasoning was 180 degrees out of sync with what his staff had been telling the world for two days! His staff said Trump was "accepting the written recommendation of the new Deputy Attorney General (who oversees the FBI's investigation into the Trump-Russia connection) Rod Rosenstein" who reasoned that Comey's mishandling of the Hilary Clinton investigation warranted such action. In fact, Trump had already made up his mind. Worse, Rosenstein knew it, according to his testimony to the Senate a week later. Worse still, Rosenstein did not make any recommendation at all, he just summarized what he saw as the facts.
May 11, 2017: In a wide-ranging interview with NBC's Lester Holt, President Trump revealed he had already had decided to fire James Comey and that all the reasoning given the previous days were not in play (and therefore inaccurate) in his decision-making. He also dropped the following bombshells:
- "I actually asked him" if I were under investigation, Trump said, noting that he spoke with Comey once over dinner and twice by phone. "I said, if it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, 'You are not under investigation.'" - Trump asking and Comey answering are at a minimum highly unethical and at worse, illegal
- He acknowledged that the Russia investigation was one of the things he considered. “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” (He did say several other times he wants the "Russia thing" investigated and that he might [tell the FBI?] to lengthen the time to complete it)
5/17/2017 - H.J.Res. 66 - Joint Resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by States for non-governmental employees. was signed by President Trump. The purpose of this resolution was to roll back an Obama-era rule that exempted state-created retirement plans from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which sets the standards for workplace savings plans. The Department of Labor had issued the rule in August 2016. The rule allowed states to automatically enroll workers in savings plans. Employees were allowed to opt-out if they chose. The purpose of the rule was to improve saving for retirement.
5/20/2017 - President Trump starts his first trip out of the country ... and it is a doozy. He starts with a visit to Saudi Arabia, where he delivered a moderately toned speech on the responsibilities of Islam, similar in nature to the one President Obama delivered in Cairo eight years ago. He then will move on to Tel Aviv, the Vatican, Brussels (to attend a NATO leader's meeting), and Sicily (to attend a G-7 meeting).
6/1/2017 - President Trump formally began the process of taking the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord which will be completed in November 2020. At the same time, he is shutting down most government research into climate change and initiatives to continue the reduction of greenhouse gases begun over the last several years.
6/30//17 - S. 1094 - Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 was signed into law today. It makes it easier to fire poor performing VA civil servants and protects those in the VA who point out waste, fraud, and abuse in the VA system.
8/2/2017 - Under great protest, President Trump signed H.R. 3364 - Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a veto-proof bi-partisan effort to limit the President's authority to lift sanctions [against Russia] without Congressional review. It also imposed new sanctions on Russia for interfering with the 2016 elections.
8/18/2017 - H.R. 510 - Rapid DNA Act of 2017 designed to help eliminate huge backlogs of DNA analysis for law enforcement was signed into law.
- As was S. 114 - VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017. This bill makes hiring new and former VA civil servants easier and more flexible as well as putting new life in a program that allows, in certain circumstances, veterans to go outside the VA to find medical services.
8/23/2017 - In a series of bi-partisan veterans bills, President Trump signed H.R. 2288 - Veteran's Appeal Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. This legislation provides multiple avenues to appeal VA decisions which hopefully will considerably speed up the process.
8/25/2017 - The final guidance to bar transgender Americans from enlisting in the armed forces was given to military commanders. It further directed the military departments to determine the best way to get currently serving transgender soldiers and sailors discharged. On Oct 30, 2017 a federal judge blocked the implementation of this order. Prior to that Sec Def decided to "study" the ramifications before moving out to obey it.
9/5/17 - President Trump ordered Attorney General to end President Obama's Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order that protected roughly 800,000 undocumented children who were brought to the U.S. at a very early age from being deported. Most know no other country other than America. DACA was originally implemented because Congress refused to protect these children. Trump's order puts the ball in their court again ... pass a law or deport 800,000 children and young adults.
10/12/17 - President Trump tried to salvage his failure to repeal Obamacare in the Senate by signing two executive orders designed to make ACA crumble. First he decided not to make the payments the law promised to insurers to make up for their cost of subsidizing deductibles for low income insured (the GOP refused to pass the necessary appropriations, so President Obama found money elsewhere). This action should not impact ACA too much because insurers felt they may not get reimbursed and raised their rates accordingly.
The other provision is designed to make it easier for small businesses and trade groups to form across state line insurance consortiums. If it passes judicial muster, this has the potential to disrupt the exchanges and ultimately drive prices higher for those not in the consortiums or to drop their insurance.
12/1/17 - President Trump withdrew from the United Nations' New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants pact. The declaration aims to ensure the rights of migrants, help them resettle and provide them with access to education and jobs. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said that this global approach is not compatible with the America's sovereignty.
12/6/17 - On this day, President Trump broke 70 years of US foreign policy decisions and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jerusalem has been the de facto capital because it has been the seat of Israeli government for a long time. Trump took this action against the advise of his Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and most other cabinet members as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and most other allies. Many experts expect this move to kill what is left of the peace process and may lead to massive violence in the Middle East.
12/22/17 - President Trump signed his first piece of major legislation, the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act. This act temporarily lowered marginal tax rates and expanded the thresholds to with they apply. Also gone are personal deductions and several other long-term items. In order to reduce the number of people itemizing, the standard deduction was doubled. The corporate tax rate, however, was permanently cut from 35% to 21%. In addition to slashing the corporate rate, and equally important change was the permanently elimination of the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM). The practical impact of this change is to allow large corporations to once again not pay any tax whatsoever. (The personal ATM was kept but changed so fewer people will qualify for it.)
2/8/18 - After a brief overnight shutdown brought on by a stand by Sen Rand Paul (R-KY), President Trump signed a bi-partisan, two-year budget deal along with a continuing resolution to fund the government through Mar 22. Paul spoke against the deficit-busting budget because, in his view, it violated every fiscal principle dear to conservatives (the CBO says it will lead to a trillion dollar deficit again). About the only thing the president retained from his budget is that it was a two-year deal. Where Trump proposed agency cuts, Congress increased.
3/8/18 - President Trump signed an executive order which imposes tariffs on steel of 25% and 10% on aluminum. Canada and Mexico were exempted so long as the NAFTA talks continue. Most experts a devastating trade war will now begin.
3/23/18 - After first suggesting he might veto the 2018 Omnibus bill, Trump finally signed it while promising never to do that again. He only got about $1 billion toward his border wall and his DACA fix was rejected, among many other things he didn't like.
3/24/18 - Trump rescinded the old executive order barring transgenders from serving in the military. He replaced it with a new one that was much more specific and allowed for minor exceptions. Several federal courts had already blocked the previous EO and will continue to block the new one.
4/11/2018 - An Executive Order was signed whose purpose is to create a federal requirement that, in order to receive assistance, able-bodied poor Americans must have a job.
4/19/2018 - Attorney General Jeff Sessions implemented a Trump "zero-tolerance" border policy, fulfilling another campaign promise. It ordered that 100% of the people found to illegally cross the border to be apprehended, jail, separate any accompanied children from the parents, and prosecute them for the misdemeanor. This order blew up in Trump's face as he tried to defend, for such a minor crime, taking children from parents and sending them all over the United States for housing.
5/25/2018 - The on again-off again summit with Kim Jong Un is off again.
6/1/2018 - Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary, began the economic trade war with our allies by announcing the 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum beginning in July. Allies said they will retaliate in kind.
6/9/2018 - Donald Trump reluctantly attends the G-7 summit wondering aloud why he needs to go. He insults all of the attendees, threatens trade war, leaves the summit early, and then refuses to sign the final communique.
6/11/2018 - The Trump administration changed asylum rules such that domestic and gang violence does not qualify as reasons to be granted asylum
6/13/2018 - Trump finishes his nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un, North Korea's murderous dictator heaping lavish praise on him, saying his people love him, and that he trusts him. It is unclear what America got out of the talks, but North Korea got a cessation of joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.
6/15/2018 - With the imposition of a 25% tariff on a wide range of goods the US imports from China, he says in retaliation for China's abuse of copyrights, trademarks, patents, and a host of similar infringements and spying, Trump begins the war with China. China will respond in kind attacking American farmers.
6/21/2018 - President Trump, in a very rare move, reversed himself and put his "zero-tolerance" border policy on hold while HHS and DHS tried to reunite 2,500 children taken away from their parents at the border. The problem they face is neither DHS nor HHS has a system in place to match children with parents.
7/9/18 - Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh, a U.S. Appellate Court Judge on the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the impending retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh, who sits on the same court as Judge Merrick Garland, who Sen Mitch McConnell refused to hold hearings on when nominated by President Obama with a year left in his presidency, was the least right-wing of Trump's choices. Nevertheless, his appointment will create a court with similar sentiments as those in the late 1800s.
7/16/18 - Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin participate in a summit in Helsinki, Finland. At the joint press conference, Trump re-iterates both his faulting of "U.S. foolishness and stupidity" and the Mueller investigation for the freeze in relations between Russia and the United States
7/17/18 -President Trump and President Putin held a meeting in Helsinki, Finland. He and Putin met for 2 hours with only interpreters in the room. It was only later that the rest of aides joined them. To date, no one is sure what went on or what agreements were made in the private meeting other than Putin invited Trump to Moscow. What we do know is the American President Donald Trump caving into Russian President Vladimir Putin and taking Russia's side on the question of Russian involvement in the 2016 American presidential election. In the process, he through the entire American intelligence operation under the bus.
7/17/18 - The Treasury Department repeals the requirement of some non-profit groups, most prominently the (NRA), to disclose their donor lists to the IRS. The rule change is announced whilst the NRA was named as the "primary avenue of influence" for Maria Butina, a Russian national recently charged as a spy
7/18/18 - Trump receives a public request from Russian prosecutors for permission to interrogate eleven American citizens as part of an investigation into financial crimes that the Russian government alleges against American hedge-fund manager Bill Browder. Trump spent several days considering it before declining.
7/19/2018 - President Trump invites Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House.
8/3/18 - In opposing the ACLU complaint to force the United States to do what is necessary to unite families we separated, the Trump administration argued that the expense of the reunification effort must be borne by the plaintiff - the ACLU. The argument was rejected by the judge.
10/1/2018 - President Trump announces an agreement between Mexico, Canada, and the United States on treaty to replace NAFTA. The new treaty is named the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It is not too much different from the original NAFTA, however. Here are the significant changes:
- It now has an expiration date - 16 years from the date the treaty is approved
- Under NAFTA, to qualify for zero tariffs on autos, requires that 62.5 percent of a vehicle’s content come from North America. The new agreement raises that threshold, over time, to 75 percent. The idea is to force automakers to source fewer parts outside of North America.
- New is the requirement that, over time, 40% of parts for autos made in North America come from plants who pay $16/hr or more. This will benefit America and Canada and hurt Mexico..
- New is a requirement that Mexico all auto workers to unionize, if they want.
- Rules for buying dairy products will follow rules established by TPP (which Trump pulled out of).
10/20/18 - President Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the 1987 Reagan-Gorbachev Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. This treaty severely limited the number of intermediate-Range nuclear possessed and ended the development of new ones. The treaty did not include China which is a prime motivator for Trump. He also complained, and rightly so, that Russia was no longer abiding by the terms of the treaty. This article form The Atlantic gives a good history and possible consequences
12/19/2018 - Trump orders a rapid removal of all troops in Syria leaving to battlefield to Iran, Russia, ISIS, and Assad.
12/19/2018 - A federal court blocks the Trump administration change in who can qualify for asylum.
12/21/2018 - After Democrats and Republicans almost unanimously agree to a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open for a few more weeks AND after Trump promised the Republicans he would sign the legislation, Trump changed his mind. He changed his mind because of objections by a few conservative talking-heads. The government began a shutdown of undetermined length.
1/25/2019 - After doing nothing since the shutdown began over 30 days ago, Leader Mitch McConnell finally allowed a vote. On Jan 24, 2019, the Senate held two votes to open government that has been shut down for over a month. One was a Republican proposal which included $5.7 for Trump's 2000 mile barrier. The other was the Democratic plan to open government for 2 weeks while they negotiate on the wall. Each vote needed 60 votes; neither got there. The Republican plan received 50 votes while the Democratic plan got 52, including 6 Republican cross-overs.
Today was the second paycheck 800,000 government workers. Today also, airports began going to ground stops because it was becoming too dangerous to fly without significantly slowing down take-offs and landings. Today Trump chose people over pride and agreed to the Democratic plan, but with a 3-week negotiating period.
2/14/2019 - Donald Trump signs a compromise bill that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year. It did not contain money for his ocean-to-ocean wall. Consequently, a few days later Trump declares a national emergency in order to get around having to go through Congress for wall funding even though they specifically denied him the money. No experts believe there is a real national emergency at the Southern border.
2/28/2019 - After much less ballyhoo (probably because of the Michael Cohen Congressional testimony), Trump's latest attempt to personally strike a deal at another "summit" with North Korean dictator and murderer Un, Trump walked away empty-handed. Donald Trump doesn't believe in the normal diplomatic process and thinks his "Art of the Deal" philosophy is much better. In this case, as well as all previous attempts, it failed.
8/25/17 - Disgraced ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio who was awaiting sentencing for a criminal contempt conviction for failing to comply with court orders to stop illegal profiling of Latinos.
3/9/18 - Kristian Mark Saucier, former US sailor, who was guilty of unauthorized retention of defense information
4/13/18 - I. Lewis Libby, aka Scooter Libby, aka Irve Lewis “Scooter” Libby Offense was convicted of obstruction of justice; false statements; and perjury in the outing of a CIA agent.
5/24/18 - John Arthur Johnson, aka Jack Johnson Offense, former heavyweight champion, wrongly convicted for a Violation of the White Slave Traffic Act.
5/31/18 - Dinesh D'Souza, right-wing activist/blogger and Trump supporter, pleaded guilty to campaign contribution fraud
7/10/18 - Dwight Lincoln Hammond and Steven Dwight Hammond convicted of arson on federal land.
5/7/19 - 1st Lt Michael Behenna, of Oklahoma, received a full pardon after having sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2009 for unpremeditated murder in a combat zone by a military court. Later, his sentenced was reduced to 15 years and he was paroled after serving 5 years. There were questions about his claim of self-defense being mishandled by the trial court.
Old Latest News
7/11/17 - Beating NY Times to the punch, Trump Jr. releases emails from friend and Trump (Sr.) business partner Rod Goldstone who was intermediary between the two parties which promised Russian government supplied information embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton. The June 3, 2016 email said in part:
“ ...would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” adding “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
Possible "smoking gun" for collusion between Trump campaign and Russian government.
7/9/17 - Trump Jr. changes story to say that
“After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman [the lawyer] stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
7/8/17 - The NY Times reported that after being promised access to Russian information damaging to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner (Trump son-in-law and adviser), and Paul Manafort (Trump campaign manager) agreed to meet with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on Jun 9, 2016 in an office in Trump Tower one floor below that of his father. Trump Jr. says the meeting was about adoption policy.
6/9/17 - President Trump responded that:
- Comey had lied under oath
- That he never asked Comey to give him a loyalty oath
- That he never told Comey, in a private meeting, that he "hoped [Comey] could get passed the Flynn investigation"
- That Comey was a leaker (Comey sent some of his unclassified notes of conversations with Trump to a friend to give to the media. Technically you can't "leak" unclassified information)
6/8/17 - Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Investigating regarding Comey's firing and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. Comey testified under oath:
- Confirmed that he had told President Trump he was not "technically" under investigation, only his campaign was.
- President Trump lied on several occasions,
- President Trump had asked for a loyalty oath
- Comey took Trump's "hope to get passed" this Flynn thing as a direct order to do so,
- That the Russian involvement in trying to influence the American election is long-term, wide-spread, and sophisticated
- That Russian hacks into election equipment, software, and databases probably were ineffective in changing in cast ballots
- That it is unknown whether Russian attempts to influence the election by other means was successful or not.
6/5/17 - Acting US ambassador to China, David Rank, resigned over Donald Trump taking America out of the Paris Climate Accord. This follows the resignation of acting US ambassador to the UK over the twitter assault by Trump on the mayor of London follow the weekend terror attack there. This is in addition to the resignation of Trump's communication director, the firing of the NSC director Gen Flynn. and withdrawal of several nominees to high level government positions.
6/1/17 - America joins Syria and Venezuela in rejecting the Paris climate change agreement.
5/21/17 - This is a controversy in that there really wasn't one in his visit to Saudi Arabia. Other than a couple minor slips of the tongue in his "Islam" speech, President Trump seems to have done a rather credible job on this leg of his journey.
5/19/17 - In his meeting with the Russian foreign minister and Ambassador, President Trump admitted that ""I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." This reinforces the widely-held belief that he fired FBI Dir Comey to obstruct the FBI investigation into the Presidential campaign and their relationship with Russia.
5/19/17 - Tapped conversations of Russians reveal they bragged about their ability to use Gen Flynn to influence President Trump
5/12/17 - President Trump opened a new line of investigation by tweeting:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press! — @realDonaldTrump
Chairmen of various congressional investigations into Russian ties have asked for transcripts of any tapes.
5/9/17 - At 5:30 PM the news broke the President Trump had fired Director of the FBI James Comey, who was leading the FBI criminal investigation into possible collusion between
5/9/17 - At 5:30 PM the news broke the President Trump had fired Director of the FBI James Comey, who was leading the FBI criminal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin and other Russians. See discussion below in the Timeline Section.
4/21/17 - Although I heard of this from other news sources a few days earlier in Reuters, CNN finally made it a headline that two documents from a Russian government think tank which produces policy suggestions for Vladimir Putin were publicly revealed that outlines exactly how Putin has gone about trying to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump (the 1st document) or delegitimize Hillary Clinton's presidency should she win (2nd document):
the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin and other Russians. See discussion below in the Timeline Section.
4/21/17 - Although I heard of this from other news sources a few days earlier in Reuters, CNN finally made it a headline that two documents from a Russian government think tank which produces policy suggestions for Vladimir Putin were publicly revealed that outlines exactly how Putin has gone about trying to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump (the 1st document) or delegitimize Hillary Clinton's presidency should she win (2nd document):
Comparing Bush, Obama, and Trump Major Accomplishment Timeline
GEORGE W. BUSH
Signs EO putting strict new ethics requirements for lobbyists
Withdraws from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement
Signs EOs reforming America's detention policy and closed all black sites
Signs EO to scale back part of ACA (Obamacare)
Ends "Mexico City Rule" banning funding of NGOs which offer abortion counselling
Signs EO reinstating the "Mexico City Rule"
Signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which ends a 2007 Supreme Court decision that said workers had only 180 days to file a pay discrimination lawsuit.
Federal lawsuit filed accusing Trump of violating the Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause - Still Pending
Signs memorandums reversing Obama's halt to Keystone/XL pipeline contruction
Issues EO directing Homeland Security to begin construction of his border wall
Issues EO halting funding to so-called "sanctuary cities". Several city and state lawsuits are now pending
Signs EO banning Muslims from 7 different countries from entering the US.- Several courts put a stay on most of this EO. heading to Supreme Court
Signs EO putting strict new ethics requirements for lobbyists
Announces blue print of proposed tax cuts
Signs American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that puts a halt to the downward slide into a depression.
Announces 2010 budget will contain $1.6 Billion for primary & secondary education
Sends 17,000 troops to Afgahnistan
Announces intention to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of 2010
© 2016 Scott Belford