Trump, Week 22: Friday, 16 June – Thursday, 22 June 2017 (Days 148-154)

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 16 June 2017, Day 148:

 

Trump Acknowledges He Is Under Investigation in Russia Inquiry, and He Attacks Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in His Latest Rebuke of the Justice Department, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Charlie Savage, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 17 June 2017: “President Trump escalated his attacks on his own Justice Department on Friday, using an early-morning Twitter rant to condemn the department’s actions as ‘phony’ and ‘sad!’ and to challenge the integrity of the official overseeing the expanding inquiry into Russian influence of the 2016 election. Acknowledging for the first time publicly that he is under investigation, Mr. Trump appeared to accuse Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, of leading what the president called a ‘witch hunt.’ Mr. Rosenstein appointed a special counsel last month to conduct the investigation after Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. ‘I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!’ Mr. Trump wrote, apparently referring to a memo Mr. Rosenstein wrote in May that was critical of Mr. Comey’s leadership at the F.B.I. ‘Witch hunt,’ Mr. Trump added. The remarkable public rebuke is the latest example of a concerted effort by Mr. Trump, the White House and its allies to undermine officials at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. even as the Russia investigation proceeds. In the five weeks since Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey, he has let it be known that he has considered firing Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel leading the Russia investigation. His personal lawyer bragged about firing Preet Bharara, the former United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, who was let go as part of the mass dismissal of top prosecutors. Newt Gingrich, an ally of the president’s, accused Mr. Mueller of being the tip of the ‘deep-state spear aimed at destroying’ the Trump presidency. Inside the White House, those close to the president say he has continued to fume about the actions of Justice Department officials, his anger focused mostly on Mr. Rosenstein for appointing Mr. Mueller and on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime political ally whose decision to recuse himself from the Russia case in March enraged Mr. Trump. What the president wanted out of the investigation was simple, several people close to him said: a public statement that he was not under a cloud. What he got instead were reports of Mr. Mueller’s intention to investigate him for possible obstruction of justice.”

Trump Transition Team Orders Former Aides to Preserve Russia-Related Materials, The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 16 June 2017: “Members of President Trump’s transition team were ordered on Thursday to preserve documents and other materials related to the investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. The memo, from the transition team’s general counsel’s office, is the latest indication that the investigation’s special counsel, the former F.B.I. director Robert S. Mueller III, is casting a wide net in his inquiry into possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Moscow. The memo says former transition team members ‘have a duty to preserve any physical and electronic records that may be related in any way to the subject matter of the pending investigations.’ The so-called preservation order covers any transition team information involving Russia or Ukraine. It also seeks any background investigation records involving the former manager of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, and his business partner, Rick Gates; the former foreign policy adviser Carter Page; and the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Flynn was fired for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of a call with the Russian ambassador to the United States. The memorandum also names Roger J. Stone Jr., an informal adviser to Mr. Trump. With the order, the transition team lawyers are indicating that they have reason to believe that the five men’s actions are part of investigations by the Justice Department or the House or Senate Intelligence Committees, or will be.” See also, Full text: Trump transition team memo on keeping documents on Russia and the election, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Friday, 16 June 2017.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issues a cryptic warning about the truth of stories ‘attributed to anonymous’ officials, The Washington Post, Fred Barbash, Friday, 16 June 2017: “Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein generated a lot of buzz but little clarity Thursday night with a statement urging Americans to ‘exercise caution’ when evaluating stories attributed to anonymous officials. Why Rosenstein would suddenly make that comment, or any comment, after having made no comment to story after story attributed to anonymous sources, remained a mystery. The full statement read:

Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch of agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself, Rosenstein is the Justice Department official directly responsible for matters relating to the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election of 2016, including any possible role played by people associated with Donald Trump’s campaign. The statement follows several stories in the past few days in The Washington Post and New York Times quoting unnamed sources on the direction of the probe, now in the hands of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.” See also, Don’t Believe Anonymously Sourced Reports, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Says, The New York Times, Rebecca R. Ruiz, Friday, 16 June 2017.

Continue reading Week 22, Friday, 16 June – Thursday, 22 June 2017:

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Trump, Week 20: Friday, 2 June-Thursday, 8 June 2017 (Days 134-140)

 

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 2 June 2017, Day 134:

 

Trump turns to the Supreme Court to move forward on his travel ban, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 2 June 2017: “The Trump administration late Thursday asked the Supreme Court to revive the president’s plan to temporarily ban citizens from six mostly Muslim countries, elevating a divisive legal battle involving national security and religious discrimination to the nation’s highest court. Justice Department lawyers asked the court to overturn a decision of the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that kept in place a freeze on President Trump’s revised ban. The 10-to-3 ruling last week was one in a series of legal defeats for the administration, as judges across the country have said Trump’s claim of protecting the nation was cover for making good on a campaign promise to ban Muslims from entry into the United States. The government’s filing late Thursday asks the justices to set aside the 4th Circuit ruling and accept the case for oral arguments. It also asks the high court to lift an even broader nationwide injunction issued by a federal judge in a separate Hawaii case. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which covers Hawaii, heard the government’s arguments in that case last month, but has not yet ruled. In turning to the high court, Justice Department lawyers said the 4th Circuit should have considered only the language of the executive order and not second-guessed the president’s motivations.” See also, Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Revive Travel Ban, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 2 June 2017. And see also, The Supreme Court’s Options in the Travel Ban Case, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 2 June 2017.

World Leaders Lament U.S. Withdrawal From the Paris Climate Accord, but They Say It Won’t Stop Climate Efforts, The Washington Post, Michael D. Shear and Alison Smale, Friday, 2 June 2017: “World leaders vowed Friday to confront climate change in a new international coalition that no longer includes the United States government, moving quickly to reshape global environmental alliances after President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate accord. At the White House, Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, declared that the president had ‘nothing to be apologetic about’ after announcing his decision on Thursday. He hailed Mr. Trump’s actions to ‘put America’s interests first’ and said that ‘exiting Paris does not mean disengagement.’ But in foreign capitals, and in communities across the United States that vowed to continue their efforts to combat the effects of climate change, that is exactly what Mr. Trump’s withdrawal seemed to mean. International officials set in motion plans to leave the American government behind while they look for ways to stave off the direst consequences of the warming of the planet. In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Mr. Trump’s actions ‘will not deter all of us who feel obliged to protect this earth.’ Koichi Yamamoto, the Japanese environment minister, told reporters that Mr. Trump had ‘turned his back on the wisdom of human beings.’ Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said the fight against climate change ‘will continue with or without the United States.’ Turning that message quickly into action, European Union leaders on Friday concluded a two-day summit meeting in Brussels with Prime Minister Li Keqiang of China — a not-so-veiled diplomatic threat to Mr. Trump that Europe will find a partner to fight climate change, one way or another.” See also, Trump’s speech withdrawing from the Paris climate accords needs a serious fact check, The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Friday, 2 June 2017: [Many of the reasons] “Trump gave for withdrawing seemed at best strained and at worst unfounded.” This article explores some of Trump’s claims and some of the problems with them. See also, For Climate Cause, Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord Is Just One Hurdle Among Many, ProPublica, Andrew Revkin, Friday, 2 June 2017: “Economic forces at work beyond the reach of the global climate agreement present their own enduring challenges.”

Does Donald Trump Still Think Climate Change Is a Hoax? No One at the White House Will Say. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 2 June 2017: “As a businessman, President Trump was a frequent and scornful critic of the concept of climate change. In the years before running for president, he called it ‘nonexistent,’ ‘mythical’ and a ‘a total con job.’ Whenever snow fell in New York, it seemed, he would mock the idea of global warming. ‘Global warming has been proven to be a canard repeatedly over and over again,’ he wrote on Twitter in 2012. In another post later that year, he said, ‘The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.’ A year later, he wrote that ‘global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!’ But on Friday, a day after Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate change accord, the White House refused to say whether the president still considers climate change a hoax. As other leaders around the world vowed to confront climate change without the United States, Mr. Trump’s advisers fanned out to defend his decision and, when pressed, said they did not know his view of the science underlying the debate.”

Continue reading Week 20, Friday, 2 June-Thursday, 8 June 2017:

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Trump, Week 17: Friday, 12 May – Thursday, 18 May 2017 (Days 113-119)

 

 

 

Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

Friday, 12 May 2017, Day 113:

 

Trump Warning to Comey Prompts Questions on Secret ‘Tapes,’ The New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 12 May 2017: “President Trump on Friday warned James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director whom he fired this week, against leaking anything negative about him, saying that Mr. Comey ‘better hope’ that there are no secret tapes of their conversations that the president could use in retaliation. The suggestion that the president may be surreptitiously recording his meetings or telephone calls added a twist at the end of a week that roiled Washington. The president and his spokesman later refused to say whether he tapes his visitors, something Mr. Trump was suspected of doing when he was in business in New York. ‘James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. Mr. Trump appeared to be referring to an article in The New York Times that said he had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty during a dinner at the White House shortly after the inauguration, only to be rebuffed by the F.B.I. director, who considered it inappropriate. Mr. Trump denied the account, but it was not clear whether he was genuinely revealing the existence of clandestine recordings or simply making a rhetorical point that Mr. Comey’s version of events was false.”

Trump threatens to cancel White House briefings because it is ‘not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy,’ The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Friday, 12 May 2017: “President Trump threatened Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that ‘it is not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy’ to the American public. Trump’s comments come after his description of his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey in an NBC News interview Thursday flatly contradicted the accounts provided earlier by White House officials, including Vice President Pence, exposing their explanations as misleading and in some cases false. In a pair of tweets sent Friday, Trump suggested he might do away with the daily press briefings at the White House and instead have his spokesmen communicate to the public only via ‘written responses.'”

Trump reportedly wanted a loyalty pledge from Comey. The FBI says that ‘leads to tyranny.’ The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 12 May 2017: “There are now multiple reports that President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey in part because Comey didn’t provide him assurances of loyalty. The Washington Post has reported Trump ‘had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment.’ CNN’s Jake Tapper reported that a source close to Comey told him Comey’s lack of “any assurance of personal loyalty” was one of two main reasons Comey was fired. And now the New York Times is reporting that Trump asked for a loyalty pledge during a dinner about a week after Trump was inaugurated:

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not ‘reliable’ in the conventional political sense.

Trump would have known what Comey’s answer would be if he had taken the time to understand the oath taken by FBI officers — and members of the military for that matter. Those oaths are taken to the Constitution and not the president for a very specific reason. Right there on its website, the FBI says the bureau and its officials must only swear an oath to the Constitution — not even a president. The reason? Because the latter ‘too easily leads to tyranny’.”…

Continue reading Week 17, Friday, 12 May – Thursday, 18 May 2017:

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