Bearing Witness to Trump Month 25

Week of January 27 – February 2, 2019

A Washington Post article summarizes all the lies, liars, and crimes committed by Trump’s staff, administration, and campaign organization from 2015 to date. Why have so many lied, if not to protect Trump from some mighty huge offense with the Russians.

Trump officially withdraws the U.S. from the INF treaty on intermediate range nukes with Russia saying Russia was in violation. He does not call Russia out and reopen negotiations to salvage the deal that another Republican cold warrior negotiated, Ronald Reagan, but simply leaves. The consequence is absolutely predictable in that Russia pulls out and threatens to deploy a new generation of weapons that puts the world in more trigger-happy danger from ever shorter response times. What a gift for the Russians that they can claim it was the U.S. that cancelled the treaty which now allows them without blame to place shorter range nukes that threaten Europe.

A few days after the government shutdown ends, Trump says that future negotiations on a border wall are worthless, and threatens to shut it down for a second time, or declare a national emergency. The cost to the economy of the last shutdown tp GDP is now being tallied into the billions.

Not satisfied with our armed forces in combat operations around the world, national security adviser John Bolton signals the move of thousands of troops into Colombia to help oust Venezuelan President Maduro. The good news is that Trump has finally met a dictator that he does not like. But can there be any reason why; Venezuela is the number 3rd -4th provider of oil imports into the US.

Trump lashes out at the senior intelligence officials who presented their annual threat assessment to the Congress. Trump attacks the integrity and judgement of his own appointees by calling them “passive, naïve and wrong”. All because they did not agree with the President’s assessment of threats, mostly the border wall and Iran. He says they should go back to school. How must this look to our enemies; an opportunity no doubt.

Trump announces a summit with China’s Xi and another meeting with North Korea’s Kim un Jong. As if the last meetings produced anything besides a reality TV photo shoot. Trump promises these meetings will result in very big deals. Trump is just doing what he has always done as a real estate and country club developer. Holding out for higher prices for the privilege of belonging. This time the American consumer and credit cards are his product on the shelves for sale.

A deal that Trump has claimed responsibility for with Foxconn to build a $10B factory in Wisconsin to employ 13,000 workers falls apart. Foxconn announces it will not be a factory at all bur an R&D center, which will likely employ far fewer. What happens to $4B of incentives to Foxconn is unknown. At the end of the week Trump says Foxconn has changed their mind and is back to the original deal. Yeah, sure they are.

Week of February 3 – 16, 2019

All in a single news interview Trump claims that the Afghanistan war with the Taliban is about over, he may shutdown the government once again if he does not get his wall, he gets along great and has fantastic chemistry with North Korea’s dictator, disagrees with the assessment of his national security advisors, and that he does not mind having so many “acting” cabinet members which for the moment includes defense, interior, attorney general, and even his chief of staff.

It slips out that huge swaths of Trump’s official schedule, more than half of his day, are written off as Executive Time. It is reported that Trump spends this time watching TV, tweeting, and speaking on the phone with supporters and allies. Trump responds by claiming that he works more long hours than any past president and no past president has ever worked harder than he has.

Trump visits the border in El Paso to rev up his base which then physically attacks a member of the international press corps. He lies about violent crime along border cities like El Paso. Even the Republican Mayor of that city objected. Trump responded by calling him full of crap.

Trump’s inaugural committee is not caught up in the Russia investigation as it has been hit with a subpoena related to whether it receive illegal donations, including from foreign entities. He raised over $100M of donations to finance the inauguration.

In his delayed State of the Union address Trump disrespects the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, by charging into his speech before she formally announced. He rails against illegal immigration across the border as a crisis and emergency. He had nothing to say about the threat to America of climate change, Russia, our own fair elections, or the ballooning national debt that his tax breaks have created. Trump calls for unity, then hours later takes up his rants that poison democracy on twitter.

Despite a historically strong economy, the government ran a $14B deficit in December alone. The budget is running almost $100B more in the red this year than it was last. Many Americans are finding out who the real beneficiaries of the new tax deal are early tax return refunds down by over 20% from a year before. Meanwhile, it is reported that Amazon with $11B of profits last year paid no federal taxes and for the last 10 years had an effective tax rate of 3%. Yes, American taxpayers have been compensating Amazon with corporate welfare as it decimated many middle class local jobs in small businesses such as bookselling and retailing.

The war against ISIS continues in Syria with U.S. forces aiding combatants, weeks after Trump declared we had won and would soon be pulling our troops out. The General responsible for the U.S. actions in the Middle East said he was not consulted before Trump announced his intentions to order the withdraw of his troops.

Trump signs a bi-partisan budget bill that only provided $1.4B plus for his wall and another shutdown is averted. Then immediately after in a rambling, often bizarre Rose Garden speech, he declares a rare national emergency exists because of an invasion of immigrants who are gang members, drug dealers and rapists. It is a political stunt to grab money from other budgets to build a wall he promised his base that would be built but paid for by Mexico. Within a few days lawsuits pop up from all over the country in opposition to Trump using a fake national emergency to circumvent the constitution. Finally, a few Republicans are standing up and saying this is a mistake. Trump’s abuse of the norms of his office for such little things like a wall shock the country into thinking what he might do if there was a real emergency.The most important emergency threatening our country is Trump’s continuance as our President.

In this same Rose Garden tirade Trump responds to a reporter’s question that he is fake news, took credit for the greatest economy, best stock market ever, highest military spending, his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, his eradication of ISIS, and his great relationship with North Korea’ dictator.

Week of February 17 – 23, 2019

Trump-fired FBI director Andrew McCabe releases a new book that claims Trump did not read his daily intelligence reports, blamed immigrants for most of our ills, demeaned cabinet members, had trouble following meetings on multiple topics, and bullied subordinates. Details emerge of an FBI so worried about Trump’s connection with the Russians that they raised the possibility of the cabinet having to exercise the 25th amendment to oust an unfit and treasonous President. In a TV interview on 60 minutes McCabe goes on to say that Trump said he did not care what the FBI or his other intelligence chiefs had to say about Russia as he believed what Putin said.

Trump sends humanitarian aid to the Venezuela border, which looks good, but then threatens to use military force to oust President Maduro’s government. Probably because he did not allow aid into the country. Trump then couldn’t help himself when he equated Democrats in the US with socialists in Venezuela as if both are enemies of the state.

Trump heads off to North Vietnam to meet Kim un Jong after asking Japan’s leader Shinzo Abe to nominate Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Is there any doubt that in this Part 2 meeting Trump will claim a fabricated peace agreement with Jong that means nothing.

Trump denies a report that he had previously asked his former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to appoint an U.S. Attorney who was friendly to Trump to oversee the investigation of his former personal attorney Michael Cohen.

After suffering years of Trump’s Republican base claiming there is so much voter fraud within Democrats, a close congressional election in North Carolina from last year is declared null and void because Republican operatives were gaming absentee ballots.

News comes out this week that Trump’s former convicted national security advisor Michael Flynn worked in violation of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act and international treaties to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear technology and power plants.

The Trump administration this week put limits on federal funding of family planning agencies like Planned Parenthood that provide referrals to abortion services. It basically gags these organizations from discussing or presenting all medical options to their patients.

In what at first appears as rare good news, President Trump is reported to be preparing a panel to examine the impact of climate change on national security. Then we find out the panel will include an adviser who believes that man-made climate change is not real, global warming would be good even if it was happening, and have criticized efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

Week of February 24 – March 2, 2019

The month ends with blockbuster testimonial by President Trump’s ex-personal attorney Michael Cohen in front of the House Oversight Committee. In live television coverage Cohen claimed Trump was a liar, con man, cheat, mobster, and racist. He said Trump used his money and power to intimidate people, threaten schools, mock members of his administration, pay hush money to silence adult film stars, misstate financial assets, commit tax fraud, violate charity laws, continue to do Trump real estate business in Moscow while in the White House, ask others to lie to protect him and cover up potential crimes, and scheme with his family members to use emails hacked from the DNC by the Russians that he had denied knowing about at that time.

Trump’s heralded second summit in North Vietnam with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un ends in utter failure. The leaders cancel both the remainder of their talks and a signing agreement then Trump heads home early with no deals what so ever. Most are not surprised that personal diplomacy does not work where neither party does the hard work in preparation and negotiations between the leaders actually meeting. In defense of the lack of progress, Trump claims that when he came into power we were on the verge of a war, perhaps the start of WW III, with North Korea due to of course, Obama. No we were not. The talk of war and increase tensions were due all to Trump after he took office.

Trump does not let the opportunity pass to show admiration to another autocrat by saying that he takes Jong-Un’s word that he had no role in the imprisonment and death of an American student Otto Warmbier who was held by North Korea. Just like Trump did with Russia’s Putin and Saudi’s Crown Prince MSB. He trusts them and never says a bad word about them or their human rights violations, unlike so many of his fellow countrymen.  Trump behaves like Jong Un by barring reporters who had asked questions from covering some summit events.

News coms out this week that the top-secret security clearance for Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was forced quickly thru processes under the direction of the White House and the President. This despite concerns and opposition from the Chief of Staff, Justice Department, and National Security agencies who were concerned about Kushner having access to the most sensitive intelligence information.

The senate confirmed Trump’s pick for the head of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist. Wheeler has moved to weaken regulations such as reducing emissions from power plants and vehicle mileage requirements.

No longer news worthy? An ex-campaign worker sues Trump for forced contact and kissing. And who is surprised by what seems quaint now by Trump’s other behavior?

The Pentagon, under pressure by the Trump administration, says we might just might be able to bring US troops out of Afghanistan in 3-5 years. That will make this reckless overseas adventure a 20-year war.


The above news has been taken from a number of international, national, regional, and local news media sources, both print and digital. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.