A Trumpian slip?

Donald Trump has been taking a risk with his habit of firing off tweets.

He tweeted yesterday ” I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected”.

This has been reported as acknowledgement by Trump that Russia helped elect him, but also as a possible mistake. Trump backtracked soon afterwards.

LA Times: Trump sows confusion with tweet conceding Russia helped him win the 2016 election

Maybe it was a presidential epiphany. More likely, it was a Twitter miscue.

Either way, President Trump appeared to concede for the first time Thursday that Russian intelligence agents tried to help him win the 2016 election, as the U.S. intelligence community has concluded, a reversal of his long-held claims.

Trump later reversed himself again but the episode highlighted the difficulty he faces rejecting the official U.S. assessment, backed up by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s recent investigation and two grand jury indictments, that the Kremlin deployed a combination of fake news stories, phony social media accounts and hacked Democratic Party documents intended to damage Hillary Clinton and help Trump.

Speaking to reporters, Trump also claimed that Mueller was “totally conflicted” and a “true never-Trumper” who led a biased probe, a curious claim since he has repeatedly praised Mueller’s 448-page final report for, in the president’s eyes, fully exonerating him of any wrongdoing.

Trump has often been inconsistent and contradictory with his claims.

Trump deleted the tweets minutes after posting them, suggesting he had misspoken. But then he reposted them, fixing a misspelling of the word “accusation,” but leaving the phrase “helping me get elected” intact.

So did he really mean it?

Later, talking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump was asked to clarify in person.

“Russia didn’t help me at all,” Trump said, returning to his old talking point. “Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side.”

PBS News Hour:

In our news wrap Thursday, President Trump renewed attacks on Robert Mueller and his probe into Russian election interference. Trump also tweeted that he himself had nothing to do with Russia’s “helping me get elected,” but later tried to walk back the reference to Russian involvement.

Trump remains furious at House investigations of his finances and businesses, and apparently by the growing number of Democrats, including several running for president, to start impeachment proceedings. He described impeachment as a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word.”

Much of Trump’s newest frustration stemmed from Mueller’s statement Wednesday. Saying he didn’t intend to speak again on the matter, Mueller reiterated that his report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction charges and said that he declined to weigh in on whether Trump committed a crime only because Justice Department rules prevented it.

This all continues to be a distraction. Meanwhile Trump’s trade war against China continues, and also yesterday he threatened to impose tariffs against Mexico until they fixed his border immigration problem.

This latest side show isn’t as bad as ‘live by the tweet, die by the tweet’, it shows the risks Trump is taking doing his own online promotions and attacks.

Trump versus New York Times

@realDonaldTrump has started the new year on the offensive against the New York Times:

The Failing New York Times has a new publisher, A.G. Sulzberger. Congratulations! Here is a last chance for the Times to fulfill the vision of its Founder, Adolph Ochs, “to give the news impartially, without fear or FAVOR, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved.”

Get impartial journalists of a much higher standard, lose all of your phony and non-existent “sources,” and treat the President of the United States FAIRLY, so that the next time I (and the people) win, you won’t have to write an apology to your readers for a job poorly done! GL

This probably says more about Trump’s obsession with wanting to be praised than anything.

His ongoing barbs against media are likely to encourage them to be more accurate in their criticisms of him than lavish him with sycophantic praise.

As a result the New York Times could well improve their political coverage. That would be a good thing.

In their latest political news: The Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings

The administration’s campaign to reduce regulation has improved the mood of business executives. They may be spending more money as a result.

There is no sign of Trump improving his social media ranting.

 

Lawyer takes blame for trump tweet

It has often been claimed that Donald Trump tweets against the best advice of those who try to manage his presidency and his PR, so it is unusual to see his personal lawyer take responsibility for a tweet that some say could put Trump at legal risk.

The tweet:

Newshub in Trump denies pressuring FBI director Comey to end Flynn probe:

The tweet raised eyebrows, with some in the legal community saying if Mr Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI and then pressured Mr Comey not to investigate him, that would be problematic.

Mr Trump’s tweet “absolutely bolsters an obstruction of justice charge”, said Jimmy Gurule, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Notre Dame University.

“It is evidence of the crucial question of whether Mr Trump acted with a corrupt intent.

In an unusual move:

Mr Trump’s personal lawyer has since taken responsibility for the tweet.

In an interview on Sunday with news site Axios, John Dowd said the tweet was “my mistake” and that he drafted the tweet that raised more questions about whether there had been attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation.

“I’m out of the tweeting business,” Mr Dowd told Axios. “I did not mean to break news.”

It is unusual that Trumps lawyer is taking responsibility for drafting the tweet, especially given the content of the tweet.

Trump has inevitably responded to the uproar his tweet created with another tweet:

I presume his lawyer did not draft that tweet.

This is a typical Trump denial, claiming anything he doesn’t like as fake news and lies.

He risks, amongst other things, becoming known as the Fake President.

Bizarre Trump response to Barcelona

Donald Trump’s initial response to the vehicle attack in Barcelona was fairly standard for a world leader…

…except for the very American ‘we love you’ close.

But three quarters of an hour later he followed up with:

As well as being bizarre, it is bull.

From The Guardian live feed:

Donald Trump responded to the Barcelona attack be reviving an already debunked anecdote about a US general dipping bullets in pig’s blood to fight Islamic militants over a hundred years ago.

The tweet echoed a highly dubious claim Trump made at an election rally in South Carolina in February 2016, in which he talked admiringly about a counter-insurgency in the Philippines conducted by General John Pershing between 1909 and 1913, when he was governor of Moro province.

He said at the rally:

They were having terrorism problems, just like we do. And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem.

This account of Pershing’s actions has circulated on the internet since 2001, but US historians say there is very little if any evidence to support it.

As well as being bull and boorish, it further demonstrates Trump”s pig ignorance about how a world leader needs to conduct themselves.

Terrorists and potential terrorists are likely to be unaffected by his tweet, but those who can make a difference in the battle against radical Islamic terrorism are unlikely to be encouraged by Trump’s behaviour.

A conspiracy theorist is a of bit risk as supposed leader of the free world.

If Trump confines himself to unfounded claims on Twitter he may not do much damage apart from further denting US credibility, but the real risk is if he uses one of his conspiracy theories to justify military action.

Trump’s obsession with himself

Another leak, this time of transcripts of President Trumps conversations with Australian and Mexican leaders early this year, have shown again how obsessed with himself and his image that Trump is.

He said “I am the world’s greatest person” to Malcolm Turnbull in January.

And recent reports show how he seems to have trouble understanding the difference between leading a company, where the boss can dictate what he likes, compared to the complexities of the US system of government.

Reuters:  Trump, frustrated by Afghan war, suggests firing U.S. commander: officials

During a July 19 meeting in the White House Situation Room, Trump demanded that his top national security aides provide more information on what one official called “the end-state” in a country where the United States has spent 16 years fighting against the Taliban with no end in sight.

The meeting grew stormy when Trump said Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford, a Marine general, should consider firing Army General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for not winning the war.

“We aren’t winning,” he told them, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some officials left the meeting “stunned” by the president’s vehement complaints that the military was allowing the United States to lose the war.

Trump seems to have a habit of firing if he isn’t ‘winning’.

CNN: Trump’s Russia statement proves he doesn’t understand separation of powers

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed the Russia sanctions bill that the Republican-led Congress had approved overwhelmingly. But he made sure everyone knew he wasn’t happy about it — and in so doing revealed, again, that he has either little understanding of or little care for the separation of powers built into the US government.

What makes Trump’s derision of the division of power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches different is both how brazen he is about it and how many times he has expressed sentiments in his first six-plus months in office that suggest he simply doesn’t understand the fact that everyone in the government doesn’t work for him.

And the latest leaks from Washington Post: The Post’s latest bombshell 

Produced by White House staff, the documents provide an unfiltered glimpse of Trump’s approach to the diplomatic aspect of his job, subjecting even a close neighbor and long-standing ally to streams of threats and invective as if aimed at U.S. adversaries.

With Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull:

The Jan. 28 call with Turnbull became particularly acrimonious. “I have had it,” Trump erupted after the two argued about an agreement on refugees. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”

Before ending the call, Trump noted that at least one of his conversations that day had gone far more smoothly. “Putin was a pleasant call,” Trump said, referring to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. “This is ridiculous.” … “This is going to kill me,” he said to Turnbull. “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people.”

With Mexican President Peña Nieto:

“On the wall, you and I both have a political problem,” Trump said. “My people stand up and say, ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,’ and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language.”

Trump seemed to acknowledge that his threats to make Mexico pay had left him cornered politically. “I have to have Mexico pay for the wall — I have to,” he said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period.” …

Peña Nieto resisted, saying that Trump’s repeated threats had placed “a very big mark on our back, Mr. President.” He warned that “my position has been and will continue to be very firm, saying that Mexico cannot pay for the wall.”

Trump objected: “But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that.”

Jennifer Rubin at WaPo: Why the leaked presidential transcripts are so frightening

It is shocking to see presidential conversations released in this way. Some in the executive branch, as Anthony Scaramucci aptly put it, are intent on protecting the country from Trump. This is a good thing, by the way. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has obviously failed to plug the flood leaks.

These transcripts may have been leaked before Kelly took over.

Trump is frighteningly obsessed with himself and his image to such an extent that he cannot fulfill the role of commander in chief. He cannot frame logical arguments based on public policy, and therefore comes across as, well, a fool to foreign leaders.

His desire to maintain his own image suggests he’d be more than willing to make the country’s interests subordinate to his own need for personal affirmations.

Trump’s narcissism leaves him open to flattery and threats (to reveal embarrassing material, for example). That’s the worry in the Russia investigation — namely, that Vladimir Putin has “something” on Trump, which compels Trump to act in ways inimical to U.S. interests.

Trump’s interests are paramount, so a cagey adversary can easily manipulate him.

There is no easy solution.

One cannot be impeached and removed for being an embarrassment to the United States or an egomaniac temperamentally unfit for the job (that was the argument for not electing him). Unless he really goes off the deep end, invoking the 25th Amendment is not a realistic option.

That leaves members of Congress and his administration with a few options.

And Trump keeps blaming everyone else. He recently tweeted:

But he can’t fire Congress, nor the Senate. He is stuck with the political and judicial system that the US has got. And the US is probably stuck with him until he throws a major hissy fit for not getting his own way and chucks the job in.

In the meantime it is likely that Russia, China, North Korea, and much of the Middle East will be trying to work out how they can exploit Trump’s ego.

With the amount of fire power available to lash out with this has to be a major concern.

One slightly reassuring thing – Trump seems to be relying more on generals to run his administration. They may be the best chance of keeping his flaws in check.

Holocaust by tweet?

The US Pacific Fleet Commander said he would launch a nuclear strike against China next week if President Donald Trump ordered it, and warned against the military ever shifting its allegiance from its commander in chief.

Admiral Scott Swift was responding to a hypothetical question at an Australian National University security conference following a major joint US- Australian military exercise off the Australian coast.

The drills were monitored by a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off northeast Australia.

Asked by an academic in the audience whether he would make a nuclear attack on China next week if Trump ordered it, Swift replied: “The answer would be: yes.”

“Every member of the US military has sworn an oath to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as commander and chief appointed over us,” Swift said.

“This is core to the American democracy and any time you have a military that is moving away from a focus and an allegiance to civilian control, then we really have a significant problem,” he added.

Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown later said Swift’s answer reaffirmed the principle of civilian control over the military.

“The admiral was not addressing the premise of the question, he was addressing the principle of civilian authority of the military,” Brown said. “The premise of the question was ridiculous.”

The premise of making military decisions by tweet may sound ridiculous but that seems to be how trump wants to run things. See Trump brain fart on transgender troops.

The lame tweet president

How do you know when President trump has  arrived? The whining continues after the engines of Air Force One have shut down.

President Donald Trump seems to put a lot of effort into complaining about impediments to doing whatever he wants to do and criticisms of things he doesn’t want examined.

He gives the impression that he is owed unquestioning support, and doesn’t seem to think he needs to earn it.

It’s very said that he publicly complains so much.

Twitter was a successful weapon through his campaign, but it now seems to have lost it’s potency.

The more he resorts to tweeting ‘poor me’ complaints the lamer his presidency looks.

If he spent less time obsessing about media and spent more time doing his job he might manage to get a bit more done.

He might get media attention with his tweets still, but Congress and the Senate don’t seem to be swayed by his spraying one liners.

Trump depicts violence against CNN

Donald Trump’s feud against media has raised to a bizarre level with yet another tweet:

That’s appalling.

There’s certainly plenty to find fault in the media – the media that played a large part in enabling Trump’s election victory, initially by giving him an extraordinary amount of free publicity, and then when they woke up to the possibility of a Trump success by effectively campaigning against him, which helped his campaign.

But should be growing concerns over Trump’s attacks on the media – especially when they depict violence like this.

He isn’t attacking all media – Fox News seems to still be on his side in his battle. Like this:

CNN have responded to Trump’s tweet:

 

Trump tweet storm again

Donald Trump has set of another storm of outrage with some more tweeting – someone on telly criticised him apparently so he let rip again.

I really can’t be bothered digging up the details, but he has been criticised across the spectrum. Really stupid stuff.

Fox News has done some polling on Trump’s lack of thumb control: Fox News Poll: Voters say Trump’s tweets hurting agenda

I think his anti-social media obsession is pathetic. very unbecoming for a president, as more and more people are saying.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump “did not make…any such recordings”

On May 13 Donald Trump appeared to threaten James Comey by implying their conversations had been recorded:

This prompted a lot of discussion. Trump eventually said he would reveal whether there were any recordings.

Yesterday: Schiff: Subpoenas possible if Trump tapes, Comey memos aren’t turned over

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that subpoenas could be the next step if the White House doesn’t comply with a Friday deadline to hand over information on any tapes of President Donald Trump’s meetings with former FBI Director James Comey.

Half an hour ago:

A bizarre response, six weeks after implying/threatening there were tapes.

Why did Trump make the claim in the first place? It looks like he was threatening Comey.

Why did he take so long to now claim he didn’t make any recordings?

He could have easily clarified as soon as his initial tweet raised questions, but chose to delay a denial that contradicted his initial tweet.

He seems to have deliberately fed a sideshow of his own making.  Whether he is playing trivial or serious games it is unbecoming of a President.

Why should anyone believe the initial tweet, today’s tweet, or any tweet from Trump?

Whether he is bullshitting or bluffing or whatever Trump’s tweets should be seen as flaky as he is.