Category Archives: President

Follow the Money: The Trump swamp overflows

I posted the other day, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: Michael Flynn violated the law. The committee held another press conference today regarding new information provided by the Department of Defense, and it’s not looking good for ol’ Mikey. “Lock him up!”

The Huffington Post reports Pentagon Warned Michael Flynn Against Accepting Foreign Money In 2014; He Didn’t Listen:

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, failed to heed warnings from the Pentagon about accepting foreign funds for a trip to Russia in 2015, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced Thursday.

The Department of Defense has sent classified documents to committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) at a news conference on Thursday. One of them, which is being prepared for public release, is a letter from the Defense Intelligence Agency to Flynn.

“This letter explicitly warned General Flynn, as he entered retirement, that the Constitution prohibited him from accepting any foreign government payments without advance permission,” Cummings said. “DIA did not locate any records of Lieutenant General Flynn seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source.”

But Flynn did accept the funds from Kremlin-backed news agency RT and failed to disclose them when he applied for a security clearance last year, Cummings and Chaffetz said Tuesday. He may have broken federal law.

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Shutdown Watch: A stopgap deal to avert a government shutdown?

House Tea-Publicans introduced a stop-gap spending bill late Wednesday night to allow negotiations on a spending agreement to continue through May 5 without the threat of a government shutdown. House Republicans introduce stop-gap spending bill to continue budget talks:

The short-term spending measure, which would extend current funding levels beyond the end of this week, comes as negotiators are nearing an agreement on a budget to increase military spending and border security and keep the government open through the end of September. The decision to begin work on a very short extension comes as no surprise, the final steps of a spending deal could drag on beyond the current April 28 deadline and congressional leaders are eager to minimize the threat of a shutdown, according to aides familiar with the talks.

“I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). “It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities — including national defense — are properly and adequately funded for the year.”

White House officials notified lawmakers earlier in the day that President Trump abandoned a threat to end subsidy payments under the Affordable Care Act, a concession to Democrats that is expected to clear the way for a bipartisan budget agreement. Trump had threatened to cut off the subsidies in an attempt to force Democrats to pay for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, a fight that became less serious after Republicans withdrew their border wall request this week.

“It is good that once again the president seems to be backing off his threat to hold health care and government funding hostage,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Like the withdrawal of money for the wall, this decision brings us closer to a bipartisan agreement to fund the government and is good news for the American people.”

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Zombie ‘Trumpcare’ is even more unpopular than ‘Trumpcare’ 2.0

Donald Trump really, really bigly wants to claim that he is living up to his campaign pledges (he is not) by pursuing his promise to repeal and replace “Obamacare” in his first “100 days,” after he made the mistake of conceding defeat without even a vote a few weeks ago and moving on to tax cuts, which he is kinda (but not really) getting around to this week.

Trump’s problem is that he is negotiating with the wrong people, the far-right radical fringe GOP House Freedom Caucus that wants to return to the “good old days” of pre-Obamacare, and kick millions of Americans off of health care insurance for “state’s rights!”

Remember, for every vote that Trump adds from the GOP House Freedom Caucus he is subtracting votes from the mythical moderate Republicans, especially in the Senate, where he has no margin for error. House Freedom Caucus leaders back new health-care plan:

White House officials and several Republican lawmakers claimed Tuesday they were nearing a deal on health-care legislation with the House Freedom Caucus, with at least three leading figures in the hard-line group ready to support an overhaul after the dramatic collapse of talks last month.

Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) — all leaders of the Freedom Caucus and central figures in the latest discussions — signaled Tuesday they are ready to support a new plan, according to two White House officials who were not authorized to speak publicly. A lawmaker close to the Freedom Caucus later confirmed that those members were close to or ready to support the tweaked bill.

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Zombie Voodoo Economics Returns

The so-called “Trump rally” in the stock market is fueled by unbridled greed and giddy anticipation of a huge corporate welfare tax cut package “even as Washington remains gridlocked and evidence of any real pickup in the economy is scarce.”

The market impact of the Trump presidency is based so far on prospects — with details and congressional dynamics left to be sorted out — rather than accomplishments.

* * *

The cause for bullishness on Tuesday was Mr. Trump’s new call to cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, from 35 percent — deficits, perhaps, be damned.

As the Sith Lord Dick Cheney infamously reminded us, “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” to Republicans when they are in the White House.

The New York Times reports, Trump’s Tax Plan: Low Rate for Corporations, and for Companies Like His:

President Trump plans to unveil a tax cut blueprint — not an actual bill — on Wednesday that would apply a vastly reduced, 15 percent business tax rate not only to corporations but also to companies that now pay taxes through the personal income tax code — from mom-and-pop businesses to his own real estate empire, according to several people briefed on the proposal.

The package would also increase the standard deduction for individuals, providing a modest cut for middle-income people and simplifying the process of filing tax returns, according to people briefed on its details. That proposal is opposed by home builders and real estate agents, who fear it would diminish the importance of the mortgage interest deduction. And it is likely to necessitate eliminating or curbing other popular deductions, a politically risky pursuit.

As of late Tuesday, the plan did not include Mr. Trump’s promised $1 trillion infrastructure program, two of the people said, and it jettisoned a House Republican proposal to impose a substantial tax on imports, known as a border adjustment tax, which would have raised billions of dollars to help offset the cost of the cuts [and to pay for Trump’s folly of a border wall.]

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Federal judge issues nationwide preliminary inunction against Trump’s ‘sanctuary cities’ executive order

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and President Donald J. Trump believe Richard Nixon’s formulation that “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”.

Even a child with a fifth grade civics education knows that this is not true.

Today U.S. District Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco issued a nationwide preliminary injunction (.pdf) against Trump’s recent executive order seeking to coerce punish “sanctuary cites.”

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The Trump administration is now “oh for” in repeated immigration executive orders because they keep violating the constitution. Add this to his “100 days” list of failures.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports, Judge says Trump can’t punish cities over sanctuary city policies:

President Trump can’t coerce “sanctuary cities” like San Francisco to cooperate with immigration officers by withdrawing all of their federal funds, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

In the first legal test of an executive order Trump issued five days after taking office, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco said the president was exceeding his constitutional authority by trying to punish local governments that disagreed with his immigration policies.

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: Michael Flynn violated the law

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah),  chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and head inquisitor of the Hillary Clinton witch hunts, who is suddenly blind to the numerous conflicts of interest of the Trump administration, unexpectedly announced last week that he would not seek reelection and that he would also not likely serve out his current term. The Washington Post editorialized last week, in summary, “good riddance, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”

Now that he is leaving Washington, Chaffetz has suddenly found his balls in the jar by his bedside. Jason Chaffetz: White House can’t prove Michael Flynn “complied with the law”:

After the White House denied the House Oversight Committee’s request for documents related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s disclosure of foreign payments on Tuesday, the committee’s leadership delivered a remarkable, bipartisan rebuke of President Donald Trump’s vetting of his top advisers.

Flynn “was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from the both the secretary of state and the secretary from the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity,” the Republican committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz, said in a joint news conference with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. “I see no evidence that he actually did that.”

Added Chaffetz: “This is something General Flynn was supposed to do as a former officer. . . . No former military officer is allowed to accept payments from a foreign government.”

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