Trump has lost the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal editorial board turned on Trump in a recent op-ed: “The most effective opponent of the Trump Presidency is Donald J. Trump.”

“In other words, in 140-character increments, Mr. Trump diminished his own standing by causing a minor international incident, demonstrated that the loyalty he demands of the people who work for him isn’t reciprocal, set back his policy goals and wasted time that he could have devoted to health care, tax reform or ‘infrastructure week.'”

“If this pattern continues, Mr. Trump may find himself running an Administration with no one but his family and the Breitbart staff. People of talent and integrity won’t work for a boss who undermines them in public without thinking about the consequences.”

Read more: https://www.axios.com/wsj-turns-on-trump-2434505165.html

It’s almost testimony time and the Trump White House has no “war room”

With CNN’s clock already counting down to fired FBI Director Jim Comey’s testimony on Thursday morning, where’s the White House war room? Remember the scandal-containment unit that was supposed to quarantine the rest of the White House from Russia questions, so that President Trump could pursue a positive agenda, with the Clinton-style scandal machinery handling the investigations?

I’m told that the inside-outside machinery, as envisioned by aides who frantically planned it while Trump finished his overseas trip, may never exist. Top Republicans say the White House has been unable to lure some of the legal and rapid-response talent they had been counting on. White House Counsel Don McGahn had drawn up an org chart that Trump’s team liked. But Game Day is 48 hours away, and the boxes aren’t filled.

A person involved in the conversations said: “They had a pretty good structure, but they’re not able to close the deal.”

Reasons include some power lawyers’ reluctance to work with/for lead Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz; resistance by Kasowitz to more cooks in his kitchen; and lack of confidence that Trump would stick to advice. Some prospects worry about possible personal legal bills, and are skeptical Trump can right the ship.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/its-comey-time-and-trumps-war-room-has-no-soldiers-2434511779.html

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt is a bullshit artist, just like Trump

On Sunday, June 5, Pruitt claimed — several times — the Trump administration has “added 50,000 coal mining jobs.”  Not even close.

 

“Since the fourth quarter of last year until most recently, we’ve added almost 50,000 jobs in the coal sector. In the month of May alone, almost 7,000 jobs.”
— Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” June 5, 2017

“We’ve had over 50,000 jobs since last quarter — coal jobs, mining jobs — created in this country. We had almost 7,000 mining and coal jobs created in the month of May alone.”
— Pruitt, interview on ABC’s “This Week,” June 5

“Since the fourth quarter of 2016, Chris, we’ve had almost 50,000 jobs created in the mining and coal sector alone. In fact, in the month of May, almost 7,000 jobs.”
— Pruitt, interview on Fox News Sunday, June 5

 

Pruitt had a shiny new talking point to roll out on the Sunday morning shows as he defended President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris accord on climate change. He clearly wanted to emphasize Trump’s interest in saving the beleaguered coal industry, which has lost market share (and tens of thousands of jobs) to the increasing popularity of natural gas. In fact, he used this statistic to rebut as “dead wrong” an interviewer’s question about whether Trump was making a “false promise” to the coal industry.

But according to an EPA spokeswoman, Pruitt bungled the line on one show and did not accurately express it on other shows. (He kept saying “since the fourth quarter,” which sounds like the end of the year, when she said he meant to say since October.) But even if he had gotten it right, it still would have been deeply misleading.

The Facts

On “Meet the Press,” Pruitt flatly stated that almost 50,000 jobs have been added in the coal sector. His claim is bullshit —  there are only about 50,000 jobs in coal. Here’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on coal jobs. As you can see, it has been in a tight range for months, with a slight gain. In the last four months of the Obama administration, September to January, there was a gain of 1,400 jobs. In the first four months of the Trump administration, there has been a gain of 1,000 jobs.

On the other programs, Pruitt more carefully referred to “mining and coal” or “coal jobs, mining jobs.” You can see how he tries to slip in the word “mining.” That’s a sign that this is a carefully crafted spin. He emphasizes coal while trying to be technically correct by slipping in a reference to mining.

Trump is a lying bullshit artist and the people around him are lying bullshit artists.

Trump to Sessions: “I’m watching you!!”

President Donald Trump has “grown sour” on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to a bombshell new report on the relationship between the two.

Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman report in the New York Times that White House insiders are talking about the complicated optics of firing Attorney General Sessions.

“Mr. Trump is said to be aware that firing people now, on the heels of dismissing James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, would be risky,” The Times reports. “He has invested care and meticulous attention to the next choice of an F.B.I. director in part because he will not have the option of firing another one. The same goes for Mr. Sessions, these people said.”

The Times reported that President Trump’s “discontent” is even harsher behind the scenes.

“In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations,” The Times reported. “In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that led eventually to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.”

If Attorney General Sessions is fired, it will likely be all about Russia.

“The frustration over the travel ban might be a momentary episode were it not for the deeper resentment Mr. Trump feels toward Mr. Sessions, according to people close to the president. When Mr. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Mr. Trump learned about it only when he was in the middle of another event, and he publicly questioned the decision,” The Times explained. “A senior administration official said Mr. Trump has not stopped burning about the decision, in occasional spurts, toward Mr. Sessions.”

The investigation of potential Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin has gotten under the President’s skin.

“In fact, much of the past two months of discomfort and self-inflicted pain for Mr. Trump can be tied in some way back to that recusal,” suggested The Times. “Mr. Trump felt blindsided by Mr. Sessions’s decision and unleashed his fury at aides in the Oval Office the next day, according to four people familiar with the event.”

Coming next:  Trump to Sessions:  “YOU’RE FIRED!!!”

It’s about that “repeal and replace” that WILL NOT HAPPEN!!!

There are plenty of things standing in the way of Senate Republicans finding a Trumpcare solution, much less one that could get 50 votes and also be able to pass in the House—because the House’s already-passed version of Zombie Trumpcare is not going to work. The main thing working against them, besides themselves and their disaster of a president, is time.

Here’s the reality: The GOP health care debate is stalled in Congress, and its uncertainty has clogged up the legislative pipeline to Trump’s desk. Republicans can’t move on—and many are ready to do so—until they resolve the fate of their long-promised health care bill. […]

While a vote is not in sight, multiple aides close to the negotiations say that senators are acting in good faith and that everyone wants to get to “yes” on a bill—they just have no idea what that bill looks like. How to craft a bill that can win over warring factions and pass procedural hurdles is a question without an answer. […]

The pressure to act—or move on—is building. The reconciliation protections to pass health care with 51 Senate votes expire at the end of September—but senators and aides are operating under an assumption that if there is no bill by the August break, then hopes for health care legislation have likely tanked.

June could be a make-or-break month for the bill because, if the Senate has to negotiate a final bill with the House, it will likely need to be close to a deal by the July Fourth recess—just four weeks from now.

Which also means that June could be make-or-break for the resistance. Most senators studiously avoided having to face their constituents at town hall meetings over the Memorial Day break, precisely because they didn’t want to face the pressure.

 

Hurricane season started June 1 – – – Trump still has not appointed heads of FEMA and NOAA

Courtesy of WTKR: 

Hurricane season began on June 1, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the season will be a busy one, with an above-average range of 5-9 hurricanes likely in the Atlantic.

The United States could be especially vulnerable to hurricane landfalls this year, observers say, but not because of the enhanced activity that is expected.

The two agencies that protect the country’s coast lines and its residents, NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are still without leaders — positions that must be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate.

“That should scare the hell out of everybody,” retired US Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré told CNN. “These positions help save lives.”

For their part FEMA and NOAA say they are ready, however with nobody competent at the helm there is still concern that the lack of leadership will negatively impact reaction time.

Anybody remember Katrina?

Now for his part Trump of course is blaming the Democrats. But, in fact, Trump has been exceedingly slow in appointing the necessary personnel in the first place.

As you can see while the confirmation process IS slower than in previous administrations there are far fewer appointees to consider.

And why is that? Take a guess:

“In the vetting process there is a lot of scrutiny of social media accounts, Twitter . . . any hint of something negative about Trump as a candidate can be disqualifying, and a lot of people haven’t made it through that filter,” said Christine Wormuth, who served as the Pentagon’s top policy official from 2014 to 2016, under former President Barack Obama’s administration.

The investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials is also scaring off people who had been on the fence about joining the administration. Even the opportunity to work under Mattis, who many of the potential picks know and respect, may not be enough.

“With, frankly, the chaos that is happening, people who might have been open to it are asking themselves ‘Do I want to join this administration? How much of an impact will I have? Will I have to get a lawyer?’” Wormuth said.

So what is Trump doing with his time not spent making appointments to his cabinet, besides tweeting of course?

Funny you should ask.  He’s playing golf . . .  as of June 4, he was at his Virginia golf course for the 2d day in a row — that’s 23 golfing trips since he took office 19 weeks ago.

Kushner family is in DEEEEEP shit and they hope the Chinese will bail them out . . .

The Kushner family real estate company is seeking a $250 million loan to pay back Chinese investors in a New Jersey luxury tower but finding some major U.S. banks wary of the controversies around its White House links and the visa program used to attract the investors.

Kushner Cos. is sending out feelers for the loan against its 50-story Trump Bay Street in Jersey City. It would keep $50 million and use the rest to repay the investors and pay off a mortgage on the building, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The company, which belongs to the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, funded about a quarter of the $194-million development through the EB-5 visa program that grants wealthy foreigners green cards in exchange for investing in U.S. projects.

Some large U.S. banks are shying away from the transaction because of the property’s connection to Kushner and the visa program, the person said. Unregulated lenders and non-U.S. banks will probably step into the breach. A Kushner Cos. spokesman declined to comment.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-05/kushners-hunting-hard-for-a-loan-to-pay-back-chinese-investors

Hmmmm.  So — they want a loan of $250 million to pay off the Chinese creditors but they will keep $50 million for themselves?!?!?!?  What’s that $50 million for?  Keep Ivanka in eyeshadow?  Keep the kids in sneakers?  Pay for the condos at Vail?  Keep the family’s private jet flying?

“Unregulated lenders” probably will step up with the money!!  WTF is an “unregulated lender?”  A mobster?  The Russian mob?  Putin?