Trump: Dangerous Idiot—President Mike Pence: Dangerous Hypocrite? #2 Of 2

President Mike Pence: Dangerous Hypocrite?

(Part 2 Of 2)

 

On August 6th I wrote an article titled ” If Our President is Found Guilty Of Treason: Then What” That article is part one of this two-part letter to you. As a lot of you know, that by our Constitution the answer to that question is, the Vice President, Mike Pence becomes the President. Many folks that are hooked to this blog as well as people that I personally know have told me that in their opinion Mike Pence is more dangerous than Donald Trump. Personally I have though that these folks couldn’t be right, could they? So, I started digging for more information on our possible next President, for your knowledge, and for mine. The rest of this letter to you is information that I have gleamed off of various news agencies, I will document them for you as I go along.

 

Source: Market Watch

In 1998 when Mike Pence was a radio host in Indiana he argued that a President could be removed from office on “Moral grounds” when he was referring to President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Now that he is Donald Trump’s Vice President he has changed his opinion on this matter. There is no way that Mr. Pence can say that he was unaware of Mr. Trumps morals when he was asked to be Trumps running mate. Politics and big dollars make many folks change their religious ideologies, it looks like Mr. Pence is one of those folks.

During this time that he was a radio host Mr. Pence said that a President needed to be held to a higher moral standard than “our next door neighbor.” He argued that the ‘First Family’ must be role models for the rest of the country and the world.

 

Source: The New Republic

 

Their headline was “Is Mike Pence Really A Hypocrite?”

 

Mr. Pence detailed how President Clinton had broken the law by lying to the Grand Jury which is Perjury and Perjury is a Felony in the U.S. Legal System. He said that Presidents that commit perjury should resign or be impeached.

 

Source: The Business Insider 

 

10 Things we should know about Mike Pence’s political views and his religious beliefs. You may agree with some of his thoughts just as I did agree with a couple of his views from a Biblical view-point. Then again, you may agree with or disagree with all of them, I did not cherry pick the information given in an attempt to swing an opinion in either direction.

1.) Pence didn’t want women in the military. In 1999 a woman in the military fell in love with another soldier and he used this as his basis for his view-point.

2.) In 2000 Mr. Pence wrote an op-ed in which he said “smoking doesn’t kill”. He said this as he was taking money from big tobacco companies for his Congressional campaign. In 2016 during the Presidential Campaign he reworded his view-point to “smoking isn’t good for you.”

3.) While running for Congress in 2000 Mr. Pence wrote on his website that money funding research for HIV/AIDS should be moved to fund ‘Conversion Therapy” “Which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

4.) Mr. Pence told ‘The Hill Newspaper’ in 2002 that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he doesn’t attend events that serve alcohol without her. He has been blasted in some circles for being unfair to women, excluding them from important meetings saying that he is anti women because of this ‘moral’ policy. Personally I Agree with this policy from a religion stand point and from an ‘I love my wife’ stand point, but that is just me and my being old-fashioned.

 

Sources: The Hill Newspaper and the Washington Post

 

5.) During his 12 years as a Congressman Mr. Pence co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation for a “Federal Shield Law” which would have allowed reporters to keep confidential sources secret, even if the government requested those sources. Now, as Donald Trumps VP he is against this legislation.

Source: The Washington Post

 

6.) Mr. Pence in 2006 cited a Harvard researcher in remarks where he declared that same-sex marriages would bring about a “social collapse” in America.

Source: Mic and the New York Times

 

7.) In 2011 Congressman Pence authored a bill to completely defund Planned Parenthood and he signaled that he was willing to prompt a government shut down in order to pass this bill.

8.) In a bid to limit abortions, Mr. Pence in 2011 sought to change when Federal funds for abortions could be used. The current stature was applied in cases of rape or incest. Mr. Pence wanted to change the term “rape” to “force-able rape.” Folks, I have a question for you, when is “rape” not force-able? If rape is not forced upon a person then isn’t it considered to be consensual sex?

Source: Mic and the Huffington Post

 

9.) While Governor of Indiana Mr. Pence signed the “2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act” which was meant to allow businesses in the state of Indiana to cite religious beliefs as a reason to refuse services to members of the LGBTQ community.

Source: the Huffington Post

 

10.) While Governor of Indiana Mr. Pence was blamed for a HIV crisis in his State after he moved to slash funding for Planned Parent-hood in 2011. A local Planed Parent-hood facility had to close in 2013 because of the spending cut. That facility was the only HIV testing center in Scott County which faced a deepening drug use problem that was believed to have hastened HIV out breaks.

Source: The New Yorker and former top adviser to President Trump, Stephen Bannon

 

“The danger of having a President Pence, Trumps critics yearn for his exit, but, Mike Pence is the ultimate Corporate Inside Man who poses his own risks.”

Bannon: “Pence is the outreach guy, the connective tissue between the Trump Administration and the most conservative wing of the Republican establishment.” Mr. Bannon also says that “Mr. Pence would be a President that the Koch brothers would own.” “Pence’s political career through-out has been sponsored at almost every turn by the same donors whom Trump has assailed. Pence is the inside man of the conservative money machine.”

 

“On Election Night of 2016 at the Hilton Hotel in Mid-town Manhattan in an upstairs Suite above the Ball-room there was an even more VIP that existed. Doug Deacon, a Texas businessman and a political donor told me that ‘it was amazing.’ In the VIP reception area alone I counted at least 8 or 9 billionaires.” Deacon said “he’s (Pence) really the contact to the big donors. Deacon said, that since the election I have attended two dinners for the wealthy backers at the Vice-Presidential residence. If Pence were to become President, the Government would be run by the Koch brothers-period. Pence has been their tool for years.”

 

Source: Doug Deacon

I had a meeting with Mikes mother (Nancy Pence Fritsch) and she said to me “the family identifies as Catholic, and Mike was an Alter-boy. Religion is the most important thing in our lives, she said.” “But we don’t take it seriously.”

Source: Gregory Pence, Mike’s brother

 

In Mikes Congressional Campaign he used personal donations toward personal expenses such as his mortgage and groceries. This wasn’t illegal, but it violated the trust of his supporters and sullied his “Pious” image. He upset a lot of his backers. It was partly because of immaturity, but he really was kind of full of shit. He comes across as Mid-western nice, but he is mean and shallow.”

 

In 1999 Mr. Pence took a job offer as President of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a tiny new ‘think tank’ that promoted free-market policies. They were known for being anti-union. They also opposed health, safety and environmental regulations. Also, because he was taking campaign contributions from big tobacco companies Mr. Pence said in 2000 that smoking doesn’t kill people. He said that a greater scourge than cigarettes was “big government disguised as do-gooder, healthcare rhetoric.”

Mr. Pence served in the Congress for 12 years yet he never, not once, authored a single successful bill. He was against George W. Bush’s expansion of Medicaid coverage for prescription drugs and the “no child left behind” program. Once Barack Obama was elected President Pence he became the early voice of the ‘Tea Party.”

Pence sponsored an unsuccessful amendment to the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) that would have made it legal for government-funded hospitals to turn away a dying woman who needed an abortion to stay alive.

Pence calls “Global Warming” a myth. He may well feel this way because the Koch Brothers own several coal-fired power plants and oil refineries which release some 24 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. He voted against putting a tax on company’s carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide is said by most scientist to be the biggest reason for global warming. This tax would have cost the Koch brothers millions of dollars each year. It was after this bill failed to pass in the Senate that Mr. Pence became the “Koch’s guy” and they have been showering him with money ever since.

Source: Matthew Tully, a Columnist at the Indianapolis Star said 

“that Pence has a fatal flaw, he is to political and ideological, his focus is always on the next step up, not on his job at hand.

Pence brags about how good the state of Indiana was doing for the people financially yet when he left office Indiana ranked 38th in individual income.

Source: Michael Maurer, the owner of the Indianapolis Business Journal who is a Republican said in reference to Pence 

“It, his hypocrisy, just exploded in his face. His poll numbers were terrible. I bet he’d never get elected in Indiana again. But he went from being a likely loser as an incumbent governor to the V.P. of the U.S. but Indiana is still reeling from having him as our governor.”

Well folks, I think I now know a good bit more about why people from Indiana have been telling me how dangerous Mike Pence would be as our next President. I now see why so many people call him a hypocrite, a fraud, and dangerous. Most of the time I have associated the word hypocrite with something to religion yet in reality I associate it with a person who says one thing and does another. To me, a person who claims to be a Christian who worships money and human power over others, which also means they are also lying, is the worse kind of hypocrite and it appears to me that this definition fits Mike Pence quite well. Think back to the statement of his Mother about religion and I quote “religion is the most important thing in our lives, but we don’t take it seriously!” Just think about that statement, the most important thing in your life, but you don’t take that most important thing seriously, whew, what a ringing endorsement for the quality of a person, and by his Mother no less.

 

 

 

Trump (is the) “least credible person who has ever walked on earth”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC)

 

POLITICS

Fire and Fury’ author Wolff calls Trump least credible person who has ever walked on earth

Michael Wolff, the author of a new book that gives a behind-the-scenes accountof the White House, defended his work Friday, insisting he spoke with President Donald Trump on the record and calling the commander in chief “a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth.”

Wolff, in an exclusive interview on NBC’s “Today,” said that everyone he spoke to for the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” described the president the same way.

“I will tell you the one description that everyone gave, everyone has in common: They all say he is like a child,” Wolff explained. “And what they mean by that is, he has a need for immediate gratification. It is all about him.”

Wolff added that “100 percent of the people around” Trump, “senior advisers, family members, every single one of them, questions his intelligence and fitness for office.”

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 ‘Fire and Fury’ author Michael Wolff: ‘I absolutely’ spoke to President Trump 8:12

Wolff also contended that he “absolutely” spoke to the president during his reporting of the book.

“Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record,” Wolff said. “I spoke to him after the inauguration, yes. And I had spoken to, I mean I spent about three hours with the president over the course of the campaign and in the White House, so my window into Donald Trump is pretty significant.”

Trump, however, said on Twitter Thursday night that he “authorized Zero access to White House” for the author and “never spoke to him for book.”

Hitting back at Trump, Wolff said Friday that Trump isn’t one to talk when it comes to credibility.

“My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than, perhaps, anyone who has ever walked on earth at this point,” Wolff said.

Wolff added that he has the evidence to back up his work.

“I work like every journalist works so I have recordings, I have notes,” Wolff said. “I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with everything I’ve reported in this book.”

“Fire and Fury” features behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Trump’s White House, including details on how the most powerful men and women in Washington worked to make Trump president — and then turned on one another after he took the oath of office.

Wolff writes in the book, and explained during his “Today” interview, that top aides said at various points Trump that is “a moron, an idiot.”

“Actually there’s a competition to sort of get to the bottom line here of who this man is. Let’s remember, this man does not read, does not listen. So he’s like a pinball, just shooting off the sides,” Wolff said.

Image: President Trump meets with GOP senators in the White House

President Trump meets with GOP senators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Thursday. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Wolff also revealed how people around the president noticed an apparent decline in his mental stamina.

“In the beginning, it was like every 25 or 30 minutes, you would get the same three stories repeated,” Wolff said about Trump. “Now it’s the same three stories in every 10 minutes.”

Wolff was then asked to elaborate on an anecdote he described in an article in The Hollywood Reporter this week in which he said Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida over the winter holiday break, didn’t recognize old friends.

“I will quote Steve Bannon — he’s lost it,” Wolff said, referring to Trump’s former strategist.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, appearing on Fox News Friday morning, said it was “outrageous to make these types of accusations” about Trump’s mental health.

It’s “sad that people are going and making these desperate attempts to attack the president,” she added.

Widely reported excerpts from the book have roiled Washington, including claims from Bannon that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in June 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

The president apparently referred to Bannon as “Sloppy Steve,” on Twitter Thursday night. On Friday afternoon, as he left the White House for a weekend at Camp David, he ignored shouted questions from reporters about whether he had read the book himself yet.

Wolff’s book was released early Friday by Henry Holt, which announced a day earlier that it was pushing up the publication date due to demand. Earlier Thursday, Trump attorney Charles Harder demanded in a letter sent to Wolff and his publisher that the book not be published or disseminated. The book reached No. 1 on the Amazon best-seller list Wednesday.

A copy of the letter obtained by NBC News cites defamation, libel and “actual malice” among the alleged wrongdoings in the book.

NBC News has not confirmed much of the book. Wolff has been accused in the past of suspect reporting, most notably in his 1998 book “Burn Rate.” In its review, the now-defunct media journal Brill’s Content cited 13 people depicted in the book as saying that Wolff invented or changed quotations and that they couldn’t recall his taking any notes or recording their interviews.

Bannon: 2016 Trump Tower meeting was ‘treasonous’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Bannon: 2016 Trump Tower meeting was ‘treasonous’

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, is based on hundreds of interviews
  • Bannon also reportedly told Wolff: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV”

(CNN)Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer purportedly offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton “treasonous,” according to a new book obtained by The Guardian.

The book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff, is based on hundreds of interviews, including ones with President Donald Trump and his inner circle. According to the Guardian, Bannon addressed the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Russian operatives that was arranged when Trump Jr. agreed to meet a “Russian government attorney” after receiving an email offering him “very high level and sensitive information” that would “incriminate” Clinton.
“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers,” Bannon continued, according to the Guardian. “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
Bannon also reportedly told Wolff: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
The White House declined to comment Wednesday about Bannon’s reported assertions.
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Bannon also reportedly told Wolff that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties to Russia is centered on money laundering, saying that the White House is “sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five” hurricane.

The ups and downs of the Bannon insurgency

“You realize where this is going … This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose (senior prosecutor Andrew) Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy,” Bannon reportedly said. “Their path to f***ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”
Bannon said he believes Kushner, the White House senior adviser and the President’s son-in-law, could be convinced to cooperate if Mueller probes his financial records.
“They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me,” Bannon is reported as saying, apparently referring to Trump Jr. and Kushner.
The Trump Tower meeting has been of intense interest to the congressional Russia investigators as well as Mueller.
Trump Jr. testified before House investigators last month but would not say what he and his father discussed after reports surfaced about the meeting, citing attorney-client privilege.

Trump-Moore: A G.O.P. Tragedy in Four Acts

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Photo

A Trump supporter at a rally for Roy Moore in Fairhope, Ala. CreditEmily Kask for The New York Times

With Roy Moore’s humiliating loss in the Alabama Senate race, the Trumpified Republican Party finds itself both defeated and dishonored, with no sign that it has yet hit bottom.

At every stage of the run-up to this special election, Republicans could have resisted, pushed back, or drawn lines, but their failure to do so lead them inexorably to this moment: the defeat of an unreconstructed bigot and ignorant crank who had the full-throated backing of the president they have embraced and empowered.

It may be worthwhile charting the party’s descent to this moment.

Think of it as a drama in four acts.

In Act I, the curtain opens to reveal a gaudy golden escalator, and as Donald Trump descends to announce his candidacy for president, the scene has the feel of a French farce. But the humor is tinged with menace, as his lies and insults pile up, targeting women, the disabled and minorities. As the curtain closes, it is unclear whether Republicans will bring themselves to embrace the erratic usurper. (Exit Jeb! stage right.)

The mood is more somber in Act II, as Republicans ponder their choice. A solitary Hamlet-like Paul Ryan paces the stage in a torn doublet and laments the evil days that have fallen on his party; he is accompanied by a Joker (who looks a lot like Lindsey Graham) who tells him that Donald Trump is a “kook,” someone who is “not fit to run the country.” But after several long monologues, in which he rationalizes that “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” the young Mr. Ryan decides that the election is a binary choice and he and other Republicans must go along. He wavers after Mr. Trump engages in what he calls a “textbook definition” of racism and is caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women. Other women come forward, but they are largely ignored. Republicans make the choice to stick with him and to everyone’s surprise, Donald Trump wins. (Exit Mr. Ryan and Joker stage left.)

Continue reading the main story

Act III opens to a scene shortly after the inauguration. One after another, Republican leaders bow the knee to the newly enthroned Orange God King, who is surrounded by a motley court of misfits, sycophants and brigands. Even as Mr. Trump’s behavior becomes increasingly outrageous and often unhinged, the party’s grandees appease and flatter him. Courtiers, who come and go, repeatedly reassure him that he is winning. After all, he is giving them what they want: judges, tax cuts, deregulation and an end to Obamacare mandates. Enter Paul Ryan, who is better dressed and a much more cheerful character in this act. He is asked: What choice would Republicans now make?

We already made that choice,” he said. “We’re with Trump.”

“That’s a choice we made at the beginning of the year. That’s a choice we made during the campaign, which is we merged our agendas.”

And this is the New Normal for Republicans: the surrender of the party now seems complete. When the president retweets racist videos from a British fascist group, Republican leaders simply ignore it. They have grown accustomed to the politics of rationalization and the moral compromises it demands. So, as President Trump’s lies become more flagrant, they shrug. His conflicts of interest generate little attention, his tweet-rages hardly a blink. Even as the special prosecutor’s noose appears to close around the president’s inner circle, party leaders mimic Mr. Trump’s denunciations of the investigation. Despite toxic polling, Republicans have fallen into line behind his tax plan, even though it threatens to explode the deficit. There are dissenting voices, who are quickly hustled offstage, but they leave behind haunting warnings.

By the end of Act III, though, it is increasingly clear that this drama is less Hamlet and more Faust. It has only begun to dawn on the protagonists that in a Faustian bargain, you often get your heart’s delight, only to find out that the price was far more than you expected. (Alarms and excursions offstage.)

Act IV opens with a solitary, dark figure, a sort of infernal Falstaff (Steve Bannon), who, despite his banishment from the White House, remains an avatar of the forces that have been unleashed by Donald Trump’s presidency. Now Mr. Bannon presents the Republican Party with its future: Roy Moore.

Many are horrified by the prospect of this figure of appallingly vileness, who was twice removed from the bench for his refusal to follow the law, has expressed nostalgia for slavery, suggested that homosexuality should be illegal, that women should not be allowed to run for public office, and that Muslims should not be allowed to serve.

But at Mr. Bannon’s urging, Mr. Trump embraces Mr. Moore and the Republican National Committee obediently follows suit. The women who have accused Mr. Moore of harassment, sexual assault and molestation are either disbelieved as “fake news,” or discounted because it was more important to defeat the Democrat than to take the issue of sexual abuse seriously. For many Republicans, this is a reprise of the choice they made a year ago, when they decided to overlook Donald Trump’s own conduct and character. But this time the result is a stunning electoral defeat for Mr. Trump in one of the reddest states in the country and a diminished majority for Republicans in the Senate, putting their entire agenda at risk.

There were voices of resistance. Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders tried to distance themselves from Mr. Moore. The former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney declared: “Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the G.O.P. and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”

But in this act, the Republican Party learns the full weight of the choices it has made, and their moral and political consequences. There was a certain inevitability to all of this. Step by step, Republicans embraced a politics that was post-truth and post-ethics. Now, in defeat, the party — or at least its leadership — is officially post-shame.

10COMMENTS

Some will argue that Republicans actually a dodged a bullet in Alabama, because they will not have to deal with the nightmare of a Senator Moore. But Republicans now head into a fearsome storm of outrage, tightly lashed to both President Trump and memories of Roy Moore’s horrific candidacy.

Throughout this final act, the party’s leaders will desperately try to pretend that this is not a tragedy and that they were not the ones who brought this upon themselves. Some of them will know better, but I suspect that in the final scene they will be left with the question “What have we done?”

I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VANITY FAIR HIVE)

 

Trump White House

“I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES AS ADVISERS FEAR THE PRESIDENT IS “UNRAVELING”

In recent days, I’ve spoken with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
Donald Trump in the Diplomatic Room at the White House, October 2, 2017.
By Joshua Roberts/Reuters.

At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”

The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary—the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure.

Video: The Stakes are Too High for the Trump Presidency to be Funny

One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behavior.

While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reportedon Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations.

The White House denies these accounts. “The President’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive,” an official said.

West Wing aides have also worried about Trump’s public appearances, one Trump adviser told me. The adviser said aides were relieved when Trump declined to agree to appear on the season premiere of 60 Minutes last month. “He’s lost a step. They don’t want him doing adversarial TV interviews,” the adviser explained. Instead, Trump has sat down for friendly conversations with Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee, whose daughter is Trump’s press secretary. (The White House official says the 60 Minutesinterview is being rescheduled.)

Even before Corker’s remarks, some West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannontold Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.

This post has been updated to clarify the details of the negotiation with 60 Minutes.

Trump Says “Trust Me” On Afghanistan: Is It Even Possible To Trust Him On Anything?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump to ask Americans to trust him on Afghanistan

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Donald Trump is expected to discuss Afghanistan strategy Monday night
  • The President’s first major security address is expected to be from Fort Myer
  • His speech comes after a divisive news conference he gave last week

(CNN) Donald Trump will ask Americans Monday to trust him on his new Afghanistan strategy, exercising a president’s most somber duty, a decision on waging war, at a time when his own political standing is deeply compromised.

Trump will make his first prime-time broadcast on a specific policy issue to the nation as president at 9 p.m. ET to unveil his new plan, and a potential escalation of the nation’s longest war, after a lengthy period of deliberations that carved deep splits within his administration.
The speech will test the President’s capacity to convince Americans that he has settled on the right course of action on a major national security issue, and to unify the nation around it, despite his own depleted approval ratings and behavior that has alienated many voters in his first seven months in office.
Trump’s first major national security address will also begin to show whether the credibility that the President has squandered, with his provocative rhetoric and frequent resort to falsehoods, will hamper his capacity to lead.
Monday’s address, from Fort Myer, in Arlington, Virginia, represents a chance for Trump to leverage the symbolism of his office to stabilize a presidency that has threatened to spin out of control over the last two weeks.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday that Trump’s policy review on the war and the entire US approach to South Asia — i.e. Washington’s tortured relationship with Pakistan and complaints that Islamabad is tacitly encouraging extremists — had been finalized.
“He wants to be the one to announce it to the American people,” Mattis said. “He now needs the weekend to collect his thoughts on how he’s going to explain it to the American people.”
While Trump will be unveiling a crucial national security decision, it will be impossible to divorce his speech from its political context. His inflammatory news conference last week in which he equated white supremacists and counterprotestors who clashed in Charlottesville, Virginia, triggered a stampede away from the President by senior Republican lawmakers, corporate CEOs and others that left him more isolated that ever before. His remarks also hit his own bottom line — a long list of charities has now canceled plans to host events at his Florida resort at Mar-a-Lago.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is now a CNN national security analyst, said that after off-the-cuff moments like the Trump Tower press conference, attention will be focused on how the President presents his case — as well as the content of his new strategy.
“There is a lot of pressure on him and hopefully we will see the teleprompter President Trump tonight,” Clapper said on CNN’s “New Day,” arguing that the presidency had been “seriously, seriously, wounded” by the President’s remarks at Trump Tower last week.
The decision on Afghanistan also sets up a test for Trump with his own political base in the wake of the departure of his senior strategist, Steve Bannon, who opposed sending more troops to the war and was the closest link to the isolationist, populist beliefs of the President’s core supporters.

Trump’s long-awaited Afghanistan strategy

Trump repeatedly questioned the purpose of America’s continued involvement in Afghanistan during his campaign, but he also contradicted himself on whether the war should have been fought.
Officials say that the President remains deeply skeptical about the notion of a continued presence in Afghanistan but is concerned that if the US comes home, it will leave a vacuum that could be exploited by terror groups.
But his doubts about escalating the war come up against the determination of hawkish generals in his inner circle, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster, not to give up on a war that has demanded more than a decade-and-a-half of painful American sacrifice.
Trump delegated authority to adjust troop levels to Mattis early in his administration, but he has been presented by the Pentagon with a range of options for the path forward, including a complete troop withdrawal and the deployment of up to 4,000 more soldiers to add to the more than 8,000 American forces that are already there.
Hopes that the US could finally leave Afghanistan have been checked by the Kabul government’s struggle to preserve order under a resurgent challenge from the Taliban and inroads made by extremist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.
In June, Mattis gave a blunt assessment on the state of the war in a hearing for the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible,” he said.
Trump’s appearance Monday night follows the most polarizing chapter of a presidency that has continually exacerbated political divisions.
His handling of the aftermath of violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month has sparked outrage and accusations that Trump has irrevocably tarnished the moral authority of his presidency.
A measure of the damage that his conduct has inflicted on his political fortunes is reflected in the continued ramifications of his news conference days afterward. A flood of CEOs distanced themselves from Trump, forcing the closure of several White House advisory councils. Some senior Republicans, including Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, publicly questioned his fitness for office. And few senior GOP figures have been willing to publicly defend Trump, raising new questions about his capacity to enact his agenda in Congress.

Speech, then rally

Should Trump succeed in staking out a more conventional presidential posture Monday night, any political gain could be short-lived, as he is scheduled to hold a major political rally in Arizona on Tuesday night.
A vintage, pyrotechnical performance by Trump could revive the issue of his temperament following the Charlottesville drama and further anger Americans who are already disgusted by the President’s antics.
The rally offers Trump an early chance to show that despite the departure of Bannon, he remains committed to the issues and the political style that has won him steadfastly loyal support from his political base.
The issues likely to please a fervently pro-Trump crowd in Arizona are those that proved most effective for Trump in his campaign — including on illegal immigration and the need for a border wall — but which also cause the most alarm outside his core supporters.
In many ways, the Charlottesville episode has offered a reminder of why Trump was so controversial — by tearing at the societal and racial divisions in American life — but also why he was elected, since it shows how he connects with the often unspoken political instincts of a sizable slice of the country.
But in two crucial days for his administration Monday and Tuesday, Trump has to navigate two sides of his position — the duty to rally a nation behind a foreign war and a political imperative to solidify support among his most enthusiastic voters. It is not clear that either aim is compatible with the other.

Is President Trump Getting Ready To Dump Alt-Right Strategist Steve Bannon

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) It’s easy to forget, after a whirlwind 82 days in the White House, that chief strategist Steve Bannon only formally joined Donald Trump’s presidential campaign fewer than three months before Election Day.

For Trump, however, the timeline is crystal clear. He is keenly aware of when Bannon joined the team and, more to the point, how far he’d gone without him.
“I like Steve,” the President told the New York Post on Tuesday, “but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late.”
Trump in the same breath went on to list his pre-Bannon accomplishments and remind the world, “I’m my own strategist,” making clear what many had suspected — that the former Breitbart executive is on the presidential chopping block. Bannon picked the wrong rival in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, also a top adviser, and it’s become expressly clear that if the two can’t, as Trump said, “work this out,” Bannon will be the one who pays.
The prospect of Bannon’s dismissal will bring unalloyed joy to Democrats and the anti-Trump resistance, who view him as an right-wing extremist with a direct line to the Oval Office, and no small measure of relief to moderate Republicans turned off by his ideological aversion to most forms of American engagement overseas.
All of which begs the question: What becomes of Trump and his administration if the Bannon gets the boot?
The emerging wisdom is that Bannon’s departure would set off a centrist drift, with aides like daughter Ivanka Trump, Kushner and former Goldman Sachs No. 2 Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, leading the way. Firebrands like Stephen Miller, one author of the initial travel ban, would be sidelined or dismissed.
By this logic, Trump, too, would moderate. Tweets aside, he might be more inclined to engage the establishment, whether that means seeking some kind of bipartisan consensus on trade or getting in the trenches with House Speaker Paul Ryan and fighting for more familiar GOP policies.
It would be, in short, the “pivot” that so many conservatives in Washington have clamored for and hopefully anticipated since it became clear Trump would be the GOP nominee.

Source: No one is leaving the White House

 Source: No one is leaving the White House

There is a concern, however, among some Trump allies that firing Bannon — who helped amplify Trump’s outside-the-beltway base with his particular brand of economic populism and pledges to “deconstruct the administrative state” — could backfire.
One senior White House official told CNN’s Jim Acosta some are worried Bannon will turn Breitbart against Trump if he leaves the White House.
But those worries seem to crumble when you consider the brief history lesson imparted by Trump during his chat with the Post.
“I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve,” Trump said, referencing a primary he successfully navigated while Bannon was at Breitbart. “I’m my own strategist, and it wasn’t like I was going to change strategies because I was facing crooked Hillary.”
Trump is correct here. The “psychic connection to the issue palette” that drove his base was firmly in place ahead of Bannon’s arrival. Breitbart played a part, of course, in boosting Trump, but it was not the author of his worldview. That, for anyone who hasn’t followed Trump since the New York City tabloids were fat and literally dripping with classifieds, predates this past political cycle by a decades.
While the Breitbart website could potentially turn on Trump, a scenario that supposes Bannon is unceremoniously dumped and doesn’t leave declaring victory, it would hardly unmoor the zealous core of support that has stood by Trump through countless political tsunamis.
The more likely outcome if Bannon goes is that he returns to Breitbart and continues to expand on its emerging media empire. And you don’t do that by going to war with the most popular politician in its pages.
Would the alt-right be unhappy? To the extent they are a coherent movement with shared interests beyond trolling women and minorities, sure. But they would get over it, and faster than one might expect. Trump is their meal ticket, too.
As for the actual voters, well, they might not even notice. Bannon is, after all, a staffer — one that Trump, CNN’s Sara Murray reports, believes was getting a little too much attention.
Despite his outsize outsider persona, Bannon’s profile is more prominent in Washington than in the blue-collar districts Trump feasted on during the election.
He does not represent the “silent majority” that turned the 2016 election — a cohort that, as much as anything else, was joined by its uniform disdain for the political and cultural establishment.
Trump does.

By feuding with intelligence agencies, Trump is putting the world in harm’s way

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS)

By feuding with intelligence agencies, Trump is putting the world in harm’s way

COLUMNS Updated: Dec 14, 2016 13:45 IST

Bobby Ghosh
Bobby Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story President-elect Donald Trump said he will announce his choice to fill the prized post of secretary of state on December 13, 2016, ending weeks-long speculation over the globally important vacancy. “I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning,” Trump said December 12, using his favored medium, Twitter. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (AFP)
Going home for the holidays should be an uplifting experience, something to look forward to. But as I pack my bags for my second visit to New York in as many months, I’m in an even gloomier mood than I was the last time. The last time, it was to vote in the presidential election involving two uninspiring candidates. This time, there’s the rebarbative prospect of having to watch, at close quarters, the horror show that is Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency.It’s been frightening enough to observe from a distance. Not only is Trump the least-prepared president-elect in American history, but he compounds this by showing no interest in preparing — if anything, he seems absolutely determined not to prepare — for the most important job in the world. Most worrisome of all is the news that he has been avoiding daily security briefings by the intelligence services. A man so plainly ignorant about the world should be asking for a double dose of briefings, but Trump has decided that he can do without them because… Well, why don’t you hear from the man himself, in this exchange in a TV interview:

INTERVIEWER: I just want to ask you about your skepticism about the intelligence community. You are getting the presidential daily brief only once a week.

TRUMP: Yes. Well, I get it when I need it.

INTERVIEWER: But, if there is some skepticism …

TRUMP: Look, first of all, these are very good people giving me the briefings. And I say if something should change from this point, immediately call me, I’m available on one minute’s notice. I don’t have to be told, you know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next 8 years. Could be 8 years, but 8 years. I don’t need that.

The sheer absurdity of his attitude is heightened by the third-standard syntax: “I don’t have to be told, you know, I’m, like, a smart person.”

Read: Would love to see Pakistan and India get along: Donald Trump

Worse yet, he has actively undermined his intelligence agencies by suggesting that they are in cahoots with Hillary Clinton, and making excuses for her defeat. (Never mind that Clinton herself attributes her defeat to FBI director Jim Comey’s pre-election statement about her email server.) Trump has dismissed as “ridiculous” a CIA report that Russia actively interfered in the election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s servers, and feeding material about Clinton to WikiLeaks. In a statement, he pointed out that the CIA “are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

He’s right about that, of course, but the CIA has also got plenty of things right, and such blithe dismissal suggests Trump is keen to draw attention away from the report. In any case, it ill behooves a president to display such open contempt of his own intelligence agencies — especially when he has nominated, as his national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, an Islamophobe, racist and conspiracy theorist who has frequently clashed with those same agencies. In a world where threats to American interests come from State actors (Russia, China) as well as non-State entities (ISIS, Al Qaeda and sundry terrorist groups), the US can’t afford an open rupture between the intelligence community and the White House.

Read: Trump threat to jail Clinton borrows a dangerous practice from India

Instead of educating himself about the problems of the world, many of which will have a bearing on everything he does as president, Trump has spent a great deal of time using his Twitter account to attack his critics, and pass judgment on Saturday Night Live, a comedy sketch show that lampoons him. He seems to have left most important decisions to his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, an unabashed White-supremacist demagogue. Bannon’s hand is plainly visible in most of the nominations to Trump’s cabinet, from Jeff Sessions (soon to be attorney general, a man who was denied a judgeship because he was found to be too racist) to Andrew Puzder (the next labour secretary, a man who is opposed to minimum wage laws), to Scott Pruitt (a climate-change denier who will be the next head of the environmental protection agency).

Read: The fragile ego and dreams of the US president-elect

Should Indians care about this faraway circus? Yes, absolutely. As I’ve argued in these columns before, any American president who represents a danger to his own country and to the world order also poses a danger to India, which now has a great deal at stake in both. But the threat from a Trump presidency is much more specific than that. For all his claims to “love the Hindu,” the president-elect’s protectionist impulses — he wants to bring jobs back to the US, and to punish American companies that take jobs out — can only be bad for India. At an event in Iowa last week, be made his position perfectly clear: “My administration will follow a simple rule — buy American, hire American… We love our companies, but we don’t love them when they go out of our country.”

Then, sending a chill down the spine of the Indian IT industry, he went on to fulminate against the misuse of the H1-B visa, referring to the specific example of Walt Disney World in Orlando, involving Indians hired on that particular visa. You have to be an incorrigible optimist to harbour any lingering hope that Trump might be good for India. Or you have to believe that, contrary to all evidence, he is… “like, a smart person.”

Bobby Ghosh is editor-in-chief of Hindustan TimesTwitter: @ghoshworld

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