Today’s is another of those clean up type articles. As I commence writing it I don’t know how long it will be. When you get to the end you’ll know how incomplete it was. Let’s explore.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy finally got around to naming the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee. The conventional wisdom is that he dragged his feet in order to hamper the Mueller investigation and help shield President Trump. That is probably true. (If so is he guilty of obstruction of justice?) However I’d like to “defend” him a bit. If the operative word in the committee’s name is intelligence can you imagine how difficult it is to find Republicans who possess that quality? Remember that only a few years ago John Boehner was forced to name Michele Bachmann to that committee. I can think of a lot of words I’d associate with Bachmann, but intelligence certainly isn’t one of them.
We learned more about President Trump’s “work habits” this week. It was reported that since the mid-terms 60% of his schedule is devoted to “executive time”. The problem is determining the exact definition of executive time. It appears that it is totally unstructured time where mostly the President does whatever he pleases. That includes a healthy portion of watching cable news (mostly Fox) to see what kind of coverage he is getting. I guess he is one of those people who just love to see his picture on TV. Then of course there is Twitter time. He also needs time to get instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin and foreign policy advice from Turkish President Recep Erdogan. I wonder if the Russians have named him codename Agent Orange.
Trump claimed he would be a tireless worker who would almost never leave the White House if elected. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Only his self-inflicted third shutdown has slowed down his golfing trips. At least we don’t have to worry about him working too hard; his office day seldom starts before 11am. If I were president I’d start my day (well before 11am) like most modern day presidents have: with the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB). Call me old fashioned but I like to know the state of things before I started making decisions and taking actions. If Trump takes the PDB, he almost never does it before the late morning.
Monday night the Wall Street Journal was first to report that the Southern District of New York has subpoenaed a plethora of records from the Trump Inaugural Committee. To make a long story short there appears to be a problem accounting for about $50 million. Compounding that, it appears much of it was illegal foreign contributions. Stay tuned for much more on this front!
Getting back to golf, The Times of London has reported that Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office has subpoenaed financial records from Trump’s Scottish Golf Clubs looking into possible wrongdoings. The same holding company (DJT Holdings) that owns the foreign golf courses owns the Trump International Hotel in DC. The root crime they are looking at is a violation(s) of the Emoluments Clause. The latest reporting is that now five of Trump’s domestic golf resorts have been involved in employing undocumented workers.
One thing Trump and his cronies need to keep in mind is that while Trump may well be able to pardon them, (and questionably himself); from federal crimes he has no such authority when it comes to state charges. The walls are closing in! And I didn’t even mention what the New York State AG’s office has going.
Tuesday morning’s papers brought the report that Trump was going to nominate David Malpass to head the World Bank. Malpass has been a long-time critic of the World Bank. This reminds me of George W. Bush’s recess appointment (he never could get him confirmed) of John Bolton to be the American UN Ambassador. Bolton was a UN critic. Just in case you forgot, Bolton is Trump’s current National Security Advisor (that position doesn’t require Senate confirmation). Please don’t interpret the above as a favorable comparison of Trump with W; Trump is much worse and W, for all his many faults, was not corrupt. As another side note: am I the only one who thinks Putin might like to see a weakened or dysfunctional World Bank?
In another fox guarding the henhouse appointment, Trump announced that he was nominating Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to be made permanent. Bernhardt, while he appears to have more sense than his predecessor, Ryan Zinke, in that he keeps a low profile is best described as a walking conflict of interest. As an Easterner, I not that up on the Interior Department. Westerners should be holding their senators’ (who are mostly Republicans) feet to the fire on this one.
This one broke last week and has the potential to do almost irreparable harm to America. A Koch-led network of donors is commencing a pilot project in five states to “reform” America’s K-12 educational system. (Read: destroy our public education system as it constitutes that last barrier to them removing critical thinking skills and accurate information from the masses.) The network already has 634 donors who have pledged to donate at least $100,000 annually to the cause. (That’s over $63 million.)
Now here is the really scary part: I wrote this early Tuesday afternoon, before the State of the Union or the late week Congressional committee meetings’ testimony.
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