Rumors from NY

As of late afternoon Eastern time, August 7, rumors from New York are that the New York Attorney General will issue four indictments on Friday, including “one for a person in Trump’s inner circle.”

The NY AG has been investigating finances involving several Trump properties.

Poor little Donny . . . his feelings are hurt . . . again

President Donald Trump has once again balked at the notion that his adviser and former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon won him the election.

According to sources who spoke with The Daily Caller, Trump complained about a new book by Bloomberg writer Joshua Green that recounts how Bannon’s nationalist fans helped him win the presidency.

“I hate it when people take credit for an election I won,” Trump reportedly said while decrying Green’s book, titled Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency.

The source also said Trump has complained about the late 2016 Forbes cover story that painted son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as the “mastermind” behind his winning campaign.

A few weeks after Trump took office, Trump fumed about a Saturday Night Live sketch portraying Bannon (dressed as a comical grim reaper) as the “real” president.

Bring it on!!! “. . . we are in for an epic clash . . . “

…We are in for an epic clash between two septuagenarians who both came from wealthy New York families and attended Ivy League schools but couldn’t be more different — the flamboyant flimflam man and the buttoned-down, buttoned-up boy scout. (And we know the president has no idea how to talk to scouts appropriately.)

One has been called America’s straightest arrow. One disdains self-promotion and avoids the press. One married his sweetheart from school days. One was a decorated Marine in Vietnam. One counts patience, humility and honesty as the virtues he lives by and likes to say “You’re only as good as your word.”

The other one is president.

The Trump-Russia Timeline — no witch hunt here, just the facts

From the outset, Donald Trump has called the search for the truth about connections between his 2016 campaign and Russia a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” Along the way, he has taken unprecedented steps to stop it. As President Trump foments chaos and confusion about what actually happened — and what continues to happen — this Trump/Russia timeline seeks to offer order and clarity.

Since it was first launched in February, the timeline has grown from 24 entries to more than 400 — and the saga is far from over. Reading it from start to finish is a daunting task, so the authors have added tools that enable users to narrow its content by individual. And, of course, they will continue to update the timeline.

Are several congressional committees and special counsel Robert Mueller wasting their time on a “hoax” and a “witch hunt”? Review the timeline, follow updates as they appear and decide for yourself.

Trump recruits airheaded bimbo for his very own propaganda channel

The Trump cult has decided that Fox News doesn’t provide the extreme level of propaganda that they crave, so what did they do? Launch their own “Real News” Trump weekly online news channel. The first episode was launched by Trump daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.

And then today, former CNN contributer Kayleigh McEnany showed up with a “report” of her own.

This latest gig for Kayleigh comes just one day after she announced her sudden departure from CNN. Previously, she served as the dead-eyed, rabid, intellectually-challenged Trump proxy on CNN panels, occasionally joined by dumb-as-dirt Jeffrey “KKK were Democrats” Lord.

Well, McEnany has moved on to a platform even more well-suited to her “talents” – an online Facebook page where she is limited to a few minutes of rambling about Trump “News of the Week.” The focus of the show is to rehash positive Trump news of the week, so each segment should be about 30 seconds long. Per week. Maximum.

If the launch of Trump’s News of the Week was a predictor, this show will become the butt of many, many jokes — broadcast on Facebook, the production  looks like a homemade video shot in someone’s garage with a backdrop of what they thought a studio looks like — with blonde airhead Kayleigh McEnany screeching in her grating nasal tones about Trump’s latest victory.

Let’s take a step back here. Trump decided Fox News wasn’t “real” (read: unquestioningly praising) enough for him so he made his own propaganda outlet to tout his successes (lie) and promote his agenda of wonderful things (awful things).

Can you imagine if the Democrats did this? How about Hillary and Bill Clinton launching their own news channel called “Clinton News Channel”…wait, Trumpkins already call CNN the same thing. Okay, how about Obama launching HIS own news channel? Hosted by his daughters or Michelle?

Collective heads would explode across Drudge, Daily Caller, Fox News and Breitbart.

Trump knows only seven topics to talk about . . . and not one of them has anything to do with governing

Donald Trump has the intellectual depth of a coat of paint and his vocabulary has been estimated as being 200 words, by his own “ghostwriter” Tony Schwartz, who in fact wrote every word of “Art Of The Deal.” Trump doesn’t write, he’s never read a book, and in the seven months he’s been in office only seven topics keep reoccurring. Here’s a list from the Los Angeles Times of Trump’s Magnificent Seven:

Topic 1 — Obama

Trump was a vocal spokesman for the fringe conservative “birther” movement, raising questions in television interviews and on social media about whether the nation’s first black president was born in Kenya.

Now, in office, Trump has jabbed the former president for, among other things, healthcare and trade. He’s also alleged Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower phones last year

Topic 2 — Loyalty

“I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump told Comey, according to written testimony penned by the former FBI director. Trump has denied he asked Comey for loyalty.

In his words:

“As scout law says, a scout is trustworthy, loyal,” Trump said in a speech before the Boy Scouts of America last month. “We could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”

Topic 3 — Election Win

In his words:

“We won and won. … They said, there is no way to victory; there is no way to 270,” Trump said before the Boy Scouts. “But then Wisconsin came in. …Michigan came in.”

Topic 4 — Russia

In his words:

“Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.” twitter

“Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.” twitter

Topic 5 – Fake News

Or, as the rest of us call it:  Facts.

Topic 6 – Crooked Hillary

So crooked she won the popular vote by 2,800,000 votes.

Topic 7 – Crowd Size

He had the smallest inaugural crowd of any president in modern times.

Trump boasted to the Boy Scouts at their Jamboree that he couldn’t even see the people in the back because there were so many, in his mind apparently, stretching out to the horizon. “I’m waving to people back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible,” [attendance was estimated at 35,000 to 40,000 and was by no means record breaking.] “By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible massive crowd, record setting, is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero?”

So there you have it, another day in the life of Donald Trump, another incredibly massive crowd, record setting. With only seven topics recycling ad nauseum, the next three years, four months are really going to drag. Yet another compelling reason for cancelling this show mid-season.

Trump is clueless . . . he is so ignorant, he does not know how ignorant he is

Why is Trump so completely clueless about the world?

Max Boot, a lifelong conservative who advised three Republican Presidential candidates on foreign policy, keeps a folder labelled “Trump Stupidity File” on his computer. It’s next to his “Trump Lies” file. “Not sure which is larger at this point,” he told me this week. “It’s neck-and-neck.”

Six months into the Trump era, foreign-policy officials from eight past Administrations told me they are aghast that the President is still so witless about the world. “He seems as clueless today as he was on January 20th,” Boot, who is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said. Trump’s painful public gaffes, they warn, indicate that he’s not reading, retaining, or listening to his Presidential briefings. And the newbie excuse no longer flies.

“Trump has an appalling ignorance of the current world, of history, of previous American engagement, of what former Presidents thought and did,” Geoffrey Kemp, who worked at the Pentagon during the Ford Administration and at the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration, reflected. “He has an almost studious rejection of the type of in-depth knowledge that virtually all of his predecessors eventually gained or had views on.”

Criticism of Donald Trump among Democrats who served in senior national-security positions is predictable and rife. But Republicans—who are historically ambitious on foreign policy—are particularly pained by the President’s missteps and misstatements. So are former senior intelligence officials who have avoided publicly criticizing Presidents until now.

“The President has little understanding of the context”—of what’s happening in the world—“and even less interest in hearing the people who want to deliver it,” Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general and former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, told me. “He’s impatient, decision-oriented, and prone to action. It’s all about the present tense. When he asks, ‘What the hell’s going on in Iraq?’ people around him have learned not to say, ‘Well, in 632 . . . ’ ” (That was the year when the Prophet Muhammad died, prompting the beginning of the Sunni-Shiite split.*)

“He just doesn’t have an interest in the world,” Hayden said.

I asked top Republican and intelligence officials from eight Administrations what they thought was the one thing the President needs to grasp to succeed on the world stage. Their various replies: embrace the fact that the Russians are not America’s friends. Don’t further alienate the Europeans, who are our friends. Encourage human rights—a founding principle of American identity—and don’t make priority visits to governments that curtail them, such as Poland and Saudi Arabia. Understand that North Korea’s nuclear program can’t be outsourced to China, which can’t or won’t singlehandedly fix the problem anyway, and realize that military options are limited. Pulling out of innovative trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, will boost China’s economy and secure its global influence—to America’s disadvantage. Stop bullying his counterparts. And put the Russia case behind him by coöperating with the investigation rather than trying to discredit it.

Trump’s latest blunder was made during an appearance in the Rose Garden with Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, on July 25th. “Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah,” Trump pronounced. He got the basics really wrong. Hezbollah is actually part of the Lebanese government—and has been for a quarter century—with seats in parliament and Cabinet posts. Lebanon’s Christian President, Michel Aoun, has been allied with Hezbollah for a decade. As Trump spoke, Hezbollah’s militia and the Lebanese Army were fighting ISIS and an Al Qaeda affiliate occupying a chunk of eastern Lebanon along its border with Syria. They won.

The list of other Trump blunders is long. In March, he charged that Germany owed “vast sums” to the United States for NATO. It doesn’t. No NATO member pays the United States—and never has—so none is in arrears. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, in April, Trump claimed that Korea “actually used to be part of China.” Not true. After he arrived in Israel from Saudi Arabia, in May, Trump said that he had just come from the Middle East. (Did he even look at a map?) During his trip to France, in July, the President confused Napoleon Bonaparte, the diminutive emperor who invaded Russia and Egypt, with Napoleon III, who was France’s first popularly elected President, oversaw the design of modern Paris, and is still the longest-serving head of state since the French Revolution (albeit partly as an emperor, too). And that’s before delving into his demeaning tweets about other world leaders and flashpoints.

“The sheer scale of his lack of knowledge is what has astounded me—and I had low expectations to begin with,” David Gordon, the director of the State Department’s policy-planning staff under Condoleezza Rice, during the Bush Administration, told me.

Trump’s White House has also flubbed basics. It misspelled the name of Britain’s Prime Minister three times in its official schedule of her January visit. After it dropped the “H” in Theresa May, several British papers noted that Teresa May is a soft-porn actress best known for her films “Leather Lust” and “Whitehouse: The Sex Video.” In a statement last month, the White House called Xi Jinping the President of the “Republic of China”—which is the island of Taiwan—rather than the leader of the People’s Republic, the Communist mainland. The two nations have been epic rivals in Asia for more than half a century. The White House also misidentified Shinzo Abe as the President of Japan—he’s the Prime Minister—and called the Prime Minister of Canada “Joe” instead of Justin Trudeau.

Trump’s policy mistakes, large and small, are taking a toll. “American leadership in the world—how do I phrase this, it’s so obvious, but apparently not to him—is critical to our success, and it depends eighty per cent on the credibility of the President’s word,” John McLaughlin, who worked at the C.I.A. under seven Presidents, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, and ended up as the intelligence agency’s acting director, told me. “Trump thinks having a piece of chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago bought him a relationship with Xi Jinping. He came in as the least prepared President we’ve had on foreign policy,” McLaughlin added. “Our leadership in the world is slipping away. It’s slipping through our hands.”

And a world in dramatic flux compounds the stakes. Hayden cited the meltdown in the world order that has prevailed since the Second World War; the changing nature of the state and its power; China’s growing military and economic power; and rogue nations seeking nuclear weapons, among others. “Yet the most disruptive force in the world today is the United States of America,” the former C.I.A. director said.

The closest similarity to the Trump era was the brief Warren G. Harding Administration, in the nineteen-twenties, Philip Zelikow, who worked for the Reagan and two Bush Administrations, and who was the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, told me. Harding, who died, of a heart attack, after twenty-eight months in office, was praised because he stood aside and let his Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, lead the way. Hughes had already been governor of New York, a Supreme Court Justice, and the Republican Presidential nominee in 1916, losing narrowly to Woodrow Wilson, who preceded Harding.

Under Trump, the White House has seized control of key foreign-policy issues. The President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a real-estate developer, has been charged with brokering Middle East peace, navigating U.S.-China relations, and the Mexico portfolio. In April, Kushner travelled to Iraq to help chart policy against ISIS. Washington scuttlebutt is consumed with tales of how Trump has stymied his own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, the former C.E.O. of ExxonMobil.

“The national-security system of the United States has been tested over a period of seventy years,” John Negroponte, the first director of national security and a former U.N. Ambassador, told me. “President Trump disregards the system at his peril.”

Trump’s contempt for the U.S. intelligence community has also sparked alarm. “I wish the President would rely more on, and trust more, the intelligence agencies and the work that is produced, sometimes at great risk to individuals around the world, to inform the Commander-in-Chief,” Mitchell Reiss, who was chief of the State Department’s policy-planning team under Secretary of State Colin Powell, told me.

Republican critics are divided on whether Trump can grow into the job. “Trump is completely irredeemable,” Eliot A. Cohen, who was counselor to Condoleezza Rice at the State Department, told me. “He has a feral instinct for self-survival, but he’s unteachable. The ban on Muslims coming into the country and building a wall, and having the Mexicans pay for it, that was all you needed to know about this guy on foreign affairs. This is a man who is idiotic and bigoted and ignorant of the law.” Cohen was a ringleader of an open letter warning, during the campaign, that Trump’s foreign policy was “wildly inconsistent and unmoored.”

But other Republicans from earlier Administrations still hold out hope. “Whenever Trump begins to learn about an issue—the Middle East conflict or North Korea—he expresses such surprise that it could be so complicated, after saying it wasn’t that difficult,” Gordon, from the Bush Administration, said. “The good news, when he says that, is it means he has a little bit of knowledge.” So far, however, the learning curve has been pitifully—and dangerously—slow.

Now we know how the Trump presidency will end . . . it will be ugly and the Republic may not survive

More than anyone, Trump knows what Mueller will discover. He knows the legal peril that he and his family are in. He also knows that his presidency is certain to end — in some way — if that story ever becomes public.

We should remember this when we see how Trump acts in the weeks to come. Like a cornered rat, he will fight to protect his interests. In every conceivable way, he will work to stop Mueller’s probe, to challenge Congress if it intervenes, to undermine the press and judiciary if they get in the way and — yes — even to engage in reckless military adventures if he thought that would strengthen his position.”

We now know how the Trump presidency will end. Let’s hope we survive

America is hurtling towards a constitutional crisis that will rock its institutions to the core.

Its president and his business empire will soon be exposed as beholden to Russian oligarchs and mobsters.

Trump will try to fire special counsel Robert Mueller to prevent this from becoming known, but Congress will intervene.

His only remaining hope will be a 9/11-scale disaster or contrived war that he can exploit.

If we are lucky enough to survive all of the above, Trump will resign before he is impeached — but only in exchange for a pardon from his servile vice-president, Mike Pence.