Nel's New Day

July 1, 2017

DDT: Week Twenty-Three – Misogyny, Health Bill, Russia + Falling Numbers

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 10:08 PM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Much of the media this past week about Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) focused on his misogyny and his attempts to pass a health bill that he himself called “mean.” But he managed to continue offending world leaders. During a visit from South Korean President Moon Jae-In,  DDT lambasted the newly-elected official for the U.S. trade deficit. One year ago, South Koreans had 88 percent confidence in President Obama to do the right thing. This year, that number as dropped to 17 percent confidence in DDT.  In whining about the current U.S./Korea Free Trade Agreement, DDT blamed President Obama, but George W. Bush signed the document in 2007. DDT also failed to realize that he was off on his reference to “you know who wanted it,” most congressional Republicans wanted it.

DDT also implied that a trade deficit with a country has to be a bad deal that he will fix. He said, “I actually said to my people, find a country where we actually do well. So far, we haven’t found that country. It’s just losses with everybody and we’re going to turn that around.” His “people” didn’t look very hard; the U.S. has a trade surplus with over 100 nations. DDT also asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel about negotiating a trade deal eleven times. It wasn’t until her eleventh repetition that the U.S. negotiates with the European Union, not Germany, that he stopped asking.

DDT’s actions are unifying much of the world by destroying the country’s international standing. A recent Pew Research Center survey in 37 nations shows that the median in confidence has dropped to 22 percent, less than one-third of the 64 percent median of President Obama’s ability to direct the U.S. role in the world. Only two countries—Russia and Israel—express more confidence in DDT than the former president. Part of the lack of confidence comes from his policies. Over three-fourths oppose his wall along the U.S./Mexico border, and 71 percent are against his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Over half disagree with his travel ban, his withdrawal from free trade agreements, and his negative approach to the Iran nuclear deal.

One issue decreasing credibility in DDT came from last Monday’s White House announcement from sometimes Press Secretary Sean Spicer:

“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack. As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

With a “normal” president, the public might assume that they are being warned because intelligence identified a chemical-weapons attack. BuzzFeed, however, reported that the Pentagon didn’t know anything about Spicer’s statement. NBC reported that defense, military, and intelligence officials were “caught off guard by the White House statement.” Another “normal” action would be a press briefing. There was none. DDT’s ensuing tweets only promoted Fox network and then attacked Morning Joe hosts. Defense Secretary James Mattis tried to cover two days after Spicer’s statement by saying “he believes Syria has backed down.”

DDT’s foreign policy according to Kevin Drum:

“Trump has been suckered by China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. He has pissed off Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Australia, and most of our other traditional allies. Nobody knows what his policy toward Israel is. Or his policy in Afghanistan. Or his policy in Syria. Or his trade policy toward anyone. Or whether he ever bothers talking with his Secretary of State.”

And that was before he DDT talked to South Korea.

Polls also show that DDT’s approval rating also continues to drop.  CBS News shows him at 36 percent, DDT’s lowest approval for that source since he was inaugurated; 57 percent disapprove. The loss comes from Republicans: the 72 percent GOP approval is eleven points down since April. Other presidents have seen approval ratings from their own parties this low but not five months into their first terms.

Russia continues to dominate the news:

At least 10 White House officials and former Trump associates have retained private counsel, including VP Mike Pence, DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former campaign advisers Michael Caputo, Boris Epshteyn, and Roger Stone.

Marc Kasowitz, one of DDT’s personal lawyers, may have a conflict of interest with his client because of his firm’s involvement in a real estate sale for Kushner. The property’s loan with Deutsche Bank, part of a Russian money laundering scandal, might be part of Robert Mueller’s investigation in things related to Russia and DDT. Kasowitz is already involved with Russia because of his client OJSC Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank.

Former GOP operative Peter W. Smith asked hackers to get him Hillary Clinton campaign emails before the election and said he had talked about the situation with Michael Flynn, than DDT’s adviser. The conservative Wall Street Journal said that Smith viewed Flynn and his consulting company as “allies in their quest.” Smith died in mid-May, and Flynn isn’t talking—yet. But U.S. intelligence agents have corroborated some of this information. Smith also was connected with Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George, in the Paula Jones case that led to the impeachment of President Clinton.

DDT’s former campaign consultant Paul Manafort has filed as a foreign agent three years after he was paid $17.1 million by the political party for Ukraine’s leader, who fled to Russia in 2014. Manafort is being investigated by the government for the alleged misuse of Ukrainian government funds. He has a history of working for strong-arm leaders throughout the world.  http://www.newsweek.com/russia-investigation-paul-manafort-michael-flynn-foreign-agents-629609

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers expressed frustration during a closed-session briefing on Capital Hill about DDT’s failure to be convinced that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Rogers also said that DDT lacks focus about Russia’s cyber attempts.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be the next person on the hot seat about Russia. Despite his recusal from all things Russian, he had an eight-minute interview about the subject on Fox and Friends. Some of his statements may be taken as an attempt to undermine special investigator Robert Mueller. In March, Sessions’ chief of staff, Jody Hunt, said that the recusal included any media inquiries about Russia.  The comments were curious because a March 2 memo from Sessions’ chief of staff. Fortunately, Sessions has a personal lawyer.

Conservative pundits must have decided that DDT was actually in collusion with the Russians because they now claim that collusion is not a crime. Greg Jarrett made the most blunt statement: “You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election.” About collusion, Fox’s Bret Hume asked his audience, “Can anyone identify the crime?” Ten expert lawyers cited over a dozen federal statutes that can be used to charge collaborators with Russian intelligence to influence a U.S. election. Dan Friedman wrote:

“Laws against abetting or conspiring to commit computer fraud or identity theft and against soliciting campaign aid from foreign nationals offer two potential areas under which prosecutors could seek indictments, the lawyers say. Prosecutors also could use broader federal statutes related to honest services fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to bring charges against anyone who colluded, according to the attorneys.”

DDT may be personally involved in a crime because he called on Russia “to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” His supporters claim that this was a joke, but with DDT, one never knows. His statement could be construed as aiding and abetting computer fraud.

Some GOP legislators have joined DDT in using President Obama as a scapegoat for the entire Russian hacking problem. During a Senate hearing, Republicans said that the former president knew about the hacking and should have stopped it. Tom Cotton (AK) said, “[President Obama] stood idly by in the 2016 election.” The “idly by” came from Republicans. Two months before the election, the Obama White House briefed top congressional members about Russian activities and asked for bipartisan support so that he didn’t appear to be using the intelligence for electoral ends. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused. Republicans argued against making the information public with the position that releasing the information would help Russia in eliminating confidence in the system. McConnell also said that he didn’t’ believe the intelligence supporting the Russian involvement.

Meanwhile Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, central to many of the Russian meetings, will be hosted at his going-away party on July 11 on his way back to Russia after a decade in the U.S.

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