Saturday, 29 July 2017

Is Trump An Idiot?


3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why can't manage to pass his agenda.
After sacking his own chief of staff (Reince Priebus) in less than six months an urgent question has to be asked: 

"Is Trump an idiot or is Trump an Idiot?"

Please send your answers to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC.


Mad House v White House (28/07/17)

The seat of American Government looks more and more like a 'mad house' these days with the President attacking the Attorney General Jeff Sessions whom Trump appointed only a few months ago. 

Trump then makes matters worse by releasing his new attack dog Anthony Scaramucci (also known as the director of communications) who immediately savages the President's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, another of Trump's senior presidential appointments.

To round off a really miserable week at the Mad House, Trump lost a senate vote on his bill to kill off Obamacare after a dramatic intervention by Senator John McCain whom the President described as a 'bare American hero' earlier in the week.

The only conclusion to draw is that Donald Trump is a 'disaster'.

Scaramucci challenges Priebus over leaks to the press

BBC US & Canada

Media caption - Emily Maitlis talks Trump, Russia... and chicken with Anthony Scaramucci

The newly-hired communications director for US President Donald Trump says he has a "very good idea" who the "senior leakers" are at the White House.

In a quickly-deleted tweet, and in interviews on Thursday, Anthony Scaramucci appeared to point the finger at Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

"If Reince wants to explain that he's not a leaker, let him do that," he told CNN in a phone interview.

"He's gonna need to speak for his own actions", he added. 

President Trump has said that leaks from the White House are a national security threat and must stop.

The tensions between two of his top aides appeared to be made public when Mr Scaramucci tweeted on Wednesday night that his government financial disclosure form had been leaked.Image copyrightTWITTER @SCARAMUCCI

The tweet, which he subsequently deleted, ended by tagging Mr Priebus' Twitter handle.

After journalists began reporting that the tweet was a threat, Mr Scaramucci posted: "Wrong!

"Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks."
Feuding on live television

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC Washington

This is not how any of this is supposed to work. The newly installed White House communications director accusing - on Twitter! On a morning news show! - the White House chief of staff of criminal leaking.

In a White House that has been characterised by feuds and shifting centres of power, these latest developments may represent an attempt by Anthony Scaramucci - and others - to push out veteran Republican Party hands and clear the decks for Mr Trump's more unvarnished band of outsiders.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer and one of his top assistants are already gone. Reince Priebus could be next.

There's no telling how Mr Trump is taking all this. On one hand, he seems to have a visceral connection to Scaramucci, a brash New Yorker not unlike himself. On the other, the president hasn't always reacted well when subordinates step into his limelight.

Where Abraham Lincoln had his famous "team of rivals" in his administration, this is something different. Trump White House seems more akin to the final scene in Reservoir Dogs, where everyone is yelling and pointing a gun at someone else, and there's a good chance no one is going to come out unscathed.
Wrong! Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks.

Mr Preibus, who formerly chaired the Republican National Committee, and former White House spokesman Sean Spicer, had reportedly opposed the hiring of Mr Scaramucci.

Mr Spicer announced his resignation on the same day that Mr Scaramucci was hired.

"I don't know if [my relationship with Mr Preibus] is repairable or not," said Mr Scaramucci on Thursday. "That will be up to the president."

On his first day in the job last week, he told reporters that he and the chief of staff were personal friends who like "rough each other up" once in a while. "But he's a dear friend," he added.

Donald's Losing It (26/07/17)

Donald Trump is such a doofus that he's even started attacking people he appointed  to his own cabinet just weeks ago.

Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, is the latest to attract Trump's out of control temper and this follows hot on the heels of the President sacking the highly respected FBU chief James Comey for not showing sufficient loyalty.

America's system of government is fast becoming a laughing stock around the world.

Trump savages 'very weak' Attorney General Jeff Sessions
BBC US & Canada

President Donald Trump has launched yet another attack on US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, labelling him "weak".

His latest Twitter onslaught comes amid reports the president is consulting advisers about possibly firing the country's top prosecutor.

On Monday, he called Mr Sessions "beleaguered" in another tweet.

Mr Trump has made clear he is unhappy with Mr Sessions for recusing himself from an FBI inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!" Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday.

Moments earlier he questioned in another post why Mr Sessions was not looking into a report earlier this year that officials in Ukraine had sought to influence last year's US presidential election in favour of Mr Trump's Democratic rival.

The Washington Post reports that Mr Trump has asked an adviser how firing Mr Sessions would be received in the conservative media.

Anthony Scaramucci, the president's new communications director, fanned speculation on Tuesday that the attorney general's days could be numbered.

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt put it to Mr Scaramucci that it was pretty clear Mr Trump wants Mr Sessions gone.

"If there's this level of tension in the relationship that's public, you're probably right," Mr Scaramucci said.

No one is safe - Analysis, by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News 

Like some sort of medieval torture device, the political pain applied to Attorney General Jeff Sessions is steadily increasing - and Donald Trump is behind it all, turning the screws.

After months of hints in the media that he wasn't happy with his attorney general, the president said last week that he wished he had never appointed his close campaign confidant. He then tweeted that the man was "beleaguered" and finally called him out by name as "very weak" in a latest round of tweets.

Mr Trump is apparently unhappy that his attorney general allowed the Russia investigation to morph into the ever-expanding independent counsel probe. And with each new revelation of the investigation's growing reach, the president has reacted more aggressively.

Last week's Bloomberg story that Robert Mueller and his team of veteran prosecutors are looking into the president's business dealings have been followed by this week's presidential Twitter tirades.

The campaign to undermine the attorney general could come at a high price, however. Reports circulate of an administration constantly looking over its shoulder.

If the president can turn on Mr Sessions, the thinking goes, no one is safe.

Mr Sessions was in the West Wing on Monday, but did not meet with the president, according to deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The attorney general has recently asked White House aides if he can meet Mr Trump to resolve their fallout, reports AP news agency.

But Mr Scaramucci said on Tuesday: "My guess is the president doesn't want to do that."

Image copyright - GETTY IMAGES Image caption - Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of Mr Trump's earliest supporters in Washington

Last week, Mr Trump expressed regret about appointing the former Alabama senator to be top US prosecutor, telling the New York TimesMr Sessions "should have never recused himself".

It was reported on Monday that the president was considering replacing Mr Sessions with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But Mr Giuliani told CNN on Monday that Mr Sessions had "made the right decision under the rules of the Justice Department" in recusing himself from the inquiry.

Media caption'Alternative facts': 1984 on Broadway

Mr Sessions, known for his hardline anti-immigration stance, was one of then-candidate Mr Trump's earliest supporters in Washington.

But in March he recused himself from the Russia inquiry after failing during his confirmation hearing to disclose a meeting with the Kremlin's envoy.

If Mr Trump were to fire Mr Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would take over the job on an acting basis.

Mr Trump has also been sharply critical of Mr Rosenstein for his handling of the Russia inquiry.

Some commentators suggest Mr Trump's ultimate target is Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is leading the Russia investigation.
Special counsel: What is it?

Mr Sessions said last week he intended to stay in his post.

Image copyright - AFP Image caption - Robert Mueller is leading the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the election

"I'm totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump also appeared to suggest on Tuesday morning that the acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, was corrupt.

He tweeted that Hillary Clinton gave $700,000 (£535,000) to Andrew McCabe's wife.

The president appeared to be referring to nearly $500,000 which Clinton ally and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's political action committee donated to the Virginia state senate campaign of Dr Jill McCabe.

Political Sacking (12/05/17)

Image result for comey and trump + images

Jonathan Freedland wrote an excellent article for The Guardian the other day in which he pointed out that only once before in its history has an American President sacked the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Yet the last time it happened it was for a an obvious, non-partisan reason - rather than self-preservation of the President himself. 

"But to focus on any of these points, no matter how appalling, is to stray from the heart of the matter: that a president has sacked the head of the FBI in the midst of an active investigation into that president and his team. Comey was investigating the Trump campaign over alleged collusion with Russia – and Trump has fired him.

"To the naked eye, that looks like obstruction of justice. It is quite true that a US president has the power to fire an FBI director. But it has only happened once before. (Bill Clinton dismissed William Sessions in 1993 for using a government plane for private business.) That’s because, as Harvard’s Prof Noah Feldman argues, the secure tenure of the FBI director has been understood as an inviolable norm, part of America’s unwritten constitution – designed to safeguard the independence of law enforcement from political interference."

Read the full piece via the link below to the newspaper.

If you’d got complacent about Trump, let Comey’s sacking shake you out of it

By Jonathan Freedland - The Guardian

For a president to sack an FBI director who is investigating their links to a hostile foreign power is abnormal to the point of absurdity

Immediately after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president in January, the word of the hour was “normalisation”. That, Trump’s opponents agreed, was the danger to be resisted: the prospect that people would soon grow used to the Trump presidency – that, despite everything, it would somehow come to seem normal.

Over the 110 days since, normalisation has indeed looked possible. Partly through simple fatigue, Trump actions that should bring outrage – the egregiousconflicts of interest, the naked use of public office to advance private business interests, the coddling of dictators – often produce instead a weary shrug. It’s hard to maintain a permanent state of fury, and so Americans and those watching from around the world have risked becoming inured to what is, in fact, a deeply abnormal presidency.

And then something comes along that is so big and so shocking, it snaps you out of your slumber. The sacking of FBI director James Comey is, for the moment at least, one of those events.

Competence, Honesty, Independence (11/05/17)

America's political system is very different to the one that operates in the UK, in the sense that most 'civil service' and public appointments are made on a partisan, party basis which explains why the great majority of public servants head for the exit door when a new President enters the White House.

But that is not the fate that awaited the FBI director James Comey when Donald Trump became the 45th American President on 20th January 2017.

The FBI remained at his post until he refused to do Trump's bidding over Russia at which point he was sacked unceremoniously and without any warning, after years of service to his country.

Comey's resignation letter speaks of 'competence, honesty and independence' qualities that are sadly lacking in the cowardly megalomanic who now occupies the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 


An Abuse of Power (10/05/17)

Donald Trump's sacking of the FBI director James Comey looks like an extraordinary abuse of power motivated by the Bureau's ongoing investigation into Trump's Russia connections which has infuriated the President according to the regular rants on his Twitter feed.

And even Republican senators seem to agree if this statement from Keith Ellison is anything to go by.


FBI chief James Comey fired by Trump

President Donald Trump has fired the director of the FBI over his handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's emails, the administration says.

The White House shocked Washington by announcing that James Comey "has been terminated and removed from office".

But Democrats said he was fired because the FBI was investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The move came as it emerged Mr Comey gave inaccurate information about Mrs Clinton's emails to Congress last week.

President Trump wrote in a letter to Mr Comey that he agreed with US Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recommendation that "you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau".

Mr Sessions said the Department of Justice was "committed to a high level of discipline, integrity, and the rule of law", and "a fresh start is needed".

The White House said the search for a successor would begin immediately. It is only the second time for the head of the FBI to be fired.

Mr Comey was addressing FBI agents in Los Angeles when, according to the New York Times, he learned he had just been fired when he saw the news on television.

The 56-year-old - who was four years into his 10-year term as FBI director - reportedly laughed, thinking it was a prank.
Why does the administration say Comey was fired?

Many have expressed surprise that Mr Comey should be fired for his handling of the Clinton emails investigation, given that Mr Trump once praised the FBI director's conduct in the matter.

In the final days of the presidential campaign, Mr Trump told a rally it "took guts" for Mr Comey to reopen the inquiry. "What he did brought back his reputation," Mr Trump said.

But on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he "cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgement that he was mistaken".

"Almost everyone agrees the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives."

He said Mr Comey had been wrong to "usurp" the previous attorney general in July 2016 to announce the Clinton emails inquiry should be closed without prosecution.

The deputy attorney general said Mr Comey compounded his error by "gratuitously" releasing "derogatory information" about Mrs Clinton.

What about the Russia investigation?

US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer: "Mr President, with all due respect, you're making a big mistake"

Democrats swiftly suggested that Mr Trump had fired Mr Comey to influence the FBI inquiry into whether members of the Trump election campaign colluded with the Kremlin.

The House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees are looking into the same allegations.

"Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked a Tuesday evening press conference.

"This does not seem to be a coincidence," he added.

Mr Trump retorted on Twitter: "Cryin' Chuck Schumer stated recently, 'I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.' Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp".

The firing is drawing comparisons with the so-called Saturday Night Massacre of 1973, when President Richard Nixon fired an independent special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

But President Trump has repeatedly insisted the Russia allegations are "fake news".
What are Republicans saying?

Richard Burr, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Jim Comey's termination."

Justin Amash, a conservative Michigan congressman, said he was considering a plan to set up an independent commission on Russia.

Mr Amash described as "bizarre" a paragraph of Mr Trump's letter to Mr Comey - in which he says the FBI director informed the president on three occasions he was not under investigation.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a longstanding Trump critic, said the "timing of the firing is very troubling".

A cover-up? Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

Donald Trump and senior Justice Department officials are framing the firing of James Comey as a result of his botched investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server. They do so using language that even Clinton backers would probably support.

Democrats, to put it bluntly, aren't buying it, however - not from this White House. They are dismissing this Clinton explanation as a smokescreen, and view the suddenness of the move as an attempt to subvert the ongoing FBI investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

At the very least, their calls for an independent investigation into the matter will become deafening - and some Republicans may now be inclined to agree. The president didn't help his cause by specifically asserting that he was "not under investigation" in his letter to Mr Comey.

Already Democrats are clamouring for the ex-director to testify before Congress about the state of the FBI's Russia investigation at the time of his dismissal.

Just days after becoming president, Mr Trump shook Mr Comey's hand at a White House event and said "he's become more famous than me". That may have been an exaggeration at the time.

It seems less like one now.

Read Anthony's full take

How did Comey handle the email inquiry?

Image copyright - GETTY IMAGES Image caption - Mrs Clinton has blamed Mr Comey by name for her election loss

Mr Comey has been criticised by Democrats for the handling of his investigation into whether Mrs Clinton's use of a private email server when secretary of state compromised national security.

The now-former FBI director made two interventions during the 2016 election campaign to make pronouncements about the investigation.

He said in July the case should be closed without prosecution, but then declared - 11 days before November's election - that he had reopened the inquiry because of a discovery of a new trove of Clinton-related emails.

He told the Senate last week it made him "mildly nauseous" to think his intervention could have affected the election, but insisted he would make the same decision again.

Mrs Clinton blames Mr Comey for her shock election defeat last November to Donald Trump.

What was Clinton FBI probe about?

What was inaccurate about Comey's testimony?

Comey explains why he went public reopening Clinton email probe

Mr Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3 May that Mrs Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin, had forwarded "hundreds and thousands" of emails, "some of which contain classified information", to her husband.

But the FBI conceded on Tuesday that Ms Abedin had only sent two email chains containing classified information to her husband, Anthony Weiner, for printing.

The clarification was made in a letter from the FBI's assistant director of congressional affairs, Gregory Brower, to the congressional committee.

The majority of the 49,000 emails investigators uncovered on Mr Weiner's laptop were transferred via automatic backup from her work Blackberry device, Mr Brower wrote.

Ultimately, all 12 classified email chains found on Mr Weiner's device were duplicates that had already been reviewed by investigators.