Posted by: maboulette | June 25, 2017

Last Week in Trump’s Conflicts of Interest Land

trump tired

Once again, the political headlines have fixated on matters other than President Trump’s conflicts of interest. When it comes to Trump-related matters, Russia of course subjugated the news cycle, but that doesn’t mean Trump’s problematic actions are limited to that country.


As the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, the Chinese government has granted preliminary approval to nine trademarks related to Trump’s business empire that it had previously refused. The AP also reports that Ivanka Trump’s brand has won approval for four new trademarks of her own since April 20.


The non-profit political organization Students for Trump posted a Twitter promotion on Tuesday that mentioned something which, in theory at least, should have nothing to do with Trump’s political campaigns.

Yes, apparently students who support Trump are incorporating Ivanka Trump’s fashion line into their cause.


Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, has been giving instructions to White House aides even though he is only supposed to represent Trump’s individual interests, according to a report by the New York Times. Kasowitz is not a government employee, so if he has indeed told aides that they should discuss the Russia probe as infrequently as possible or advised them on whether they should hire their own lawyers, that is troubling to say the least.


Students celebrating their eighth-grade graduation and a wedding party both received surprise visits from the president, according to a report by the Washington Post. Considering that it’s highly unlikely these people attended Trump’s golf club for free, there is something unsettling about the message this sends regarding how the affluent can pay large sums of money to a president’s private business in order to obtain access to him,


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Posted by: maboulette | June 24, 2017

President Trump Reportedly Wanting to Fire Mueller


High-profile supporters of President Trump are turning on special counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.


As Mueller builds his legal team, Trump’s allies have begun raising questions about the former FBI director’s impartiality, suggesting he cannot be trusted to lead the probe. The comments come amid increasing frustration at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation will overshadow the president’s agenda for months to come – a prospect that has Democrats salivating.


Trump friend Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax, went so far as to suggest the president was already thinking about “terminating” Mueller.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Ruddy said in an interview with Judy Woodruff of “PBS NewsHour.” ”I think he’s weighing that option.”


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser, tweeted Monday, “Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.”

Just weeks ago, Gingrich had heaped praise on Mueller, hailing him as a “superb choice” for special counsel whose reputation was “impeccable for honesty and integrity.”

But after the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey last week, Gingrich said he’d changed his mind.

“Time to rethink,” he tweeted Monday, citing Mueller’s hiring decisions and Comey’s admission that he’d instructed a friend to share with reporters notes he’d taken of his private conversations with Trump in order to force the appointment of special counsel.


Conservative commentator Ann Coulter offered a similar message, tweeting, “Now that we know TRUMP IS NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION, Sessions should take it back & fire Mueller.”


The talk about dismissing Mueller appeared to be coming from Trump allies – including some close to White House strategist Steve Bannon – who are increasingly frustrated with the prospect of a long and winding probe.


They say Trump did not collude with Russia and see the investigation as a politically motivated sham that handicaps Trump’s ability to execute his agenda, according to one person who advises the White House on how to handle the probe. The person demanded anonymity to discuss strategy on the sensitive matter.


Ruddy appeared to be basing his remarks, at least in part, on comments from Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s legal team, who told ABC in an interview Sunday that he was “not going to speculate” on whether Trump might at some point order deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller.

“Look, the president of the United States, as we all know, is a unitary executive. But the president is going to seek the advice of his counsel and inside the government as well as outside. And I’m not going to speculate on what he will or will not do,” Sekulow said. Still, he added, “I can’t imagine that that issue is going to arise.”


It wasn’t clear whether Ruddy, who speaks with the president often, was basing his remarks on a specific conversation with the president or entirely on Sekulow’s comments. Ruddy did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification.

Ruddy was at the White House Monday to meet with White House aides, but did not speak with the president, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “Mr. Ruddy never spoke to the president regarding this issue,” Spicer said. “With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said via email, “Chris speaks for himself.”

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on Ruddy’s remarks.

Under current Justice Department regulations, firing Mueller would have to be done by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ deputy, Rosenstein, not the president – though those regulations could theoretically be set aside.

Sessions recused himself from all matters having to do with the Trump-Russia investigation because of his own conversations with Russian officials during the Trump transition.


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Posted by: maboulette | June 24, 2017

Not Dead – Just Computer Problems



computer problems

For those who have perhaps been wondering where I have been – just remember this.  If you have Windows 10, and it works great; don’t allow Microsoft to update to a new version.  If you don’t have Windows 10- don’t ever get it!  MS did a large update/version change over the weekend, so Monday I could not get into my computer – “password not valid”.

Yes, I have had computer problems – which cost me around $130 and over 24 hours on the phone to “out of warranty” tech department for Dell Computers in India – the technicians were great and they Fed Ex’d me a flash drive with a new operating system (I actually got it in less than 12 hours) and then talked me through saving all my personal items and then rebuilding my Windows 10 operating system.  And I am NOT going to upgrade to a new version – ever.  So now if anyone had problems with Dell Window’s 10, I probably could help you with that problem.

I just wonder why this call center is not moving back to the United States – is it possible that Dell hasn’t been gotten a tweet from President Trump to move that entire call center to somewhere in the US?  I don’t know but I do know that these technicians were able to be clearly understood while we were yelling at each other (actually that was only 1 guy).   If I couldn’t understand them – I was just going to drive over to Dell in Austin and throw my laptop at someone.

So, that was my adventure for the week – I didn’t die, still alive and kicking.  I  do think I have a few more gray hairs.

Now I am going to pray for rain because yesterday’s heat was so bad – did we actually play outside in Texas during the summers?



Posted by: maboulette | June 17, 2017

Megyn Kelly vs Alex Jones – Who Is Telling the Truth

megan and jones


Alex Jones, the conspiracy-theorizing host of the Infowars website whose provocative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly is set to air Sunday night, has fallen back to the argument of every resentful interviewee: “They took me out of context.”


Except in this case, Jones may cause serious trouble for Kelly, who he apparently took the security of covertly taping pre-interview calls and, he claims, the interview itself, which he is now publicizing on Infowars and his YouTube channel. And in those clandestine clips, the former Fox News host appears to promise to go easy on him in the interview.



In one 30-minute video Jones published included far-reaching audio of a pre-interview call with Kelly, the new NBC hire appeared to promise the interview would be a softball personality piece.

“My goal is for your listeners and the left—you know, who will be watching some on NBC—to say, ‘Wow, that’s really interesting,” the voice that appears to be Kelly says. “It’s not going to be some gotcha hit piece, I promise you that.”


The thrust of Jones’ overall argument seems to be that he did not absolutely claim the Sandy Hook shooting was a fraud, but instead says he merely “wargamed” a number of scenarios, one of which was that “actors” were used to mock up a massacre. In the past, Jones has repeatedly claimed that the elementary-school mass shooting was a “hoax,” along with his wacky beliefs that the U.S. government is behind the 9/11 terror attacks, is spreading chemicals to turn people gay, and that Hillary Clinton is a space alien from another planet.


As distasteful and cynical as many may feel Jones’ argument to be, there is no doubt that the recording of a pre-interview call with Kelly, an edited version of which Jones published Friday on his YouTube channel, will heap further trouble and pressure on the NBC host.


In the recording of the call, Jones does state, of the Sandy Hook killings, “In hindsight I think it probably did happen,” and at another point he says, “I have had debates where I showed both sides. I believe people died there.”


Jones then cuts in footage of the promo released by NBC News in which Kelly probes him about his claims that the massacre was fake, and he replies by talking about the casualties of America’s foreign wars, and Kelly tells him he is “dodging” the question.


Jones on Thursday night promised to release a full unedited series of recordings of the NBC interview, which he says ran from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., saying he secretly recorded the controversial sit-down because he “knew it was all crap,” and that he would be misrepresented.

“I’ve never done this in 22 years. I’ve never recorded another journalist, but I knew it was a fraud, that it was a lie,” Jones said in a teaser video, recalling how Kelly approached him about the interview.

“God, she was like, ‘I want to get steaks with you, I’m obsessed with you, oh my God,’ wiggling around in her seat. It was all crap,” he alleged. “I knew it was all a lie. I said, ‘Sandy Hook happened,’ and she wouldn’t even put it in the promo pieces. So we’re going to release, oh yeah, we’re going to release the pre-interview. And then when they put their fraud out on Sunday—which I’ve asked them not to air because they’re misrepresenting who I am and saying I’m as bad as Saddam Hussein, or Jeffrey Dahmer, or Charles Manson—we’ve got the whole interview here… We’ve got it all… It’s all going to come out.”

“In the past NBC could manipulate and lie, they were the gods,” Jones says. “Megyn Kelly waltzed in here and told me she was going to do a softball interview with Alex Jones… she did the opposite of what she said. We were recording the whole time. These tyrants haven’t figured it out yet, that information warfare is a two-way street.”



Early Friday, an NBC News spokesperson told The Daily Beast: “Despite Alex Jones’ efforts to distract from and ultimately prevent the airing of our report, we remain committed to giving viewers context and insight into a controversial and polarizing figure, how he relates to the president of the United States and influences others, and to getting this serious story right. Tune in Sunday.”


While it is common practice for journalists to engage in a bit of sweet talk to land a big interview, some of the gushing audio Jones has recorded will be humiliating for Kelly.


At one stage she says: “The reason you are interesting to me is because I followed your custody case and I think you had a very good point about the way the media was covering it. And for some reason they treated you and your family as fair game, and they never would have done that [to a] mainstream-media figure.

“I saw a different side of you and you became very fascinating to me. Your comments during the trial just reminded me you are just like anybody and I thought that would be an interesting story to tell.”

It is Jones who brings up the issue of Sandy Hook, and Kelly replies, “I can ask you about that.”

Kelly later says: “It really will be about who is that guy. I’ll ask you about some of the controversy and I‘ll ask you and you can respond… If there’s one thing about me, I do what I say I am gonna do. I don’t double-cross.”

At another point she says, “I’m not looking to portray you as some kind of boogeyman. The craziest thing of all would be if some people who have this insane version of you in their heads came away saying, ‘You know what? I see the dad in him. I see the guy who loves those kids and is more complex than we have been led to believe.’”


Probably the most awkward clip for Kelly will be when she tells Jones: “I will personally promise to look at any clips we want to use of you, and have a producer run by you, whether we are taking it in context, what you are saying.”

Jones at another point claims that some of his work is satire.”


In another section Kelly says: “I’ll give you the chance to respond, I really just want to talk about you. You. Take the measure of the man. This is your chance to tell people who you are.”

Kelly also promises Jones: “If I ask you about any controversy, you’ll have the chance to address it fully. We won’t cut you in a way that is going to take out the heart of your explanation or the real substance of it.”


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Trump and Mueller

According to many leaks and rumors coming from the White House, Trump is considering trying to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. As previously pointed out, Trump can’t really do that, as a practical matter. But he can try, and now it sounds like he just might. As a result, Trump’s White House has dissolved into “mass hysteria.”


That’s the word from acclaimed White House reporter April Ryan, who reported on-air on CNN that there is indeed “mass hysteria” in the White House. No one on Donald Trump’s staff seems to know whether or not Trump will try to fire Robert Mueller in an attempt at derailing the Russia investigation. The move would be political suicide, and it would only lead Congress to turn around and appoint Mueller as an Independent Counsel essentially giving him back his current job but with more power and job security. And yet Trump might do it anyway.


Thus far Donald Trump has fired:

  • Acting Attorney General Sally Yates;
  • S. Attorney Preet Bharara;
  • FBI Director James Comey.

Trump has done this in the hope of derailing the Russia investigation. All of these moves have backfired on Trump to some degrees. In specific, Comey’s firing directly led to the appointment of the Special Counsel to begin with.


And so even as America waits to see how Trump decides to seal his fate, whether by allowing the Special Counsel to carve him up for his Russia crimes, or by trying to fire the Special Counsel in a manner which would backfire in every way possible, it’s not surprising to learn that Trump’s own White House staffers are having the most fearful reaction over it. They have the most to lose, because if Trump goes through with it, he’ll end up out of a job and so will they.   Mass hysteria indeed.


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Posted by: maboulette | June 17, 2017

How Many States Were Hacked During the Election

election hacked.jpg

The current U.S. Special Counsel investigation is revealing far more about just how much and how often Russia interferes with U.S. politics than most people expected. New evidence shows that Russian cyber hackers directly interfered with electoral systems in an incredible 39 states across America, though it wasn’t immediately clear what impact those hacking attempts had (if any) on the outcome.


In just one Illinois occurrence, hackers directly attempted to alter or otherwise destroy voter information by directly accessing state voting software from a remote location. Information changed included both verification of the right to vote and personal identity.


What is even more concerning is the fact that it appears the Obama administration was well aware of the hacking attempts even before the Trump election. The recent investigation revealed that Obama’s team contacted Moscow’s government at least once throughout his term to complain about the attempts out of concern for their impact. It also appears that the prior POTUS warned Russia of increasing conflict between the U.S. and Russia if the attacks continued.


Despite these threats, it seems that the American government as a whole has made very little progress into halting these cyber attacks. Intercept recently released a document from the National Security Agency (NSA) detailing the sheer untouchable nature of the attacks, including the fact that the vulnerabilities come not from Russia’s interference but from the American voting system and technology itself.


It is auspicious timing for Russia, having come only a week after FBI Director James Comey released a warning that he had reason to suspect that Russia was still and would continue to be interfering with American politics long into the future.


Despite the clear evidence of Russian hacking into the voting system, the Russian government (including Putin himself) has yet to claim responsibility for the hacks. Putin did admit that Russian criminals may be at the helm, but the admission has many experts asking whether it’s a cover story for a deeper intelligence campaign.


Russian interference could also endanger American citizens directly. Evidence shows that Russian hackers were not only able to potentially interfere with election outcomes, but also gain access to sensitive personal voter information that would make it easy to steal identities. This is especially concerning for voters in Illinois, where the hacking attempts were most extensive. Florida and California also had remarkably high incidences of hacking attempts from Russian IP addresses.


The fact that data tracks illustrated that hackers actively attempted to change or otherwise remove the information is extremely concerning. Though it is within the realm of possibilities for a criminal hacker to attempt to access the data out of curiosity, or even to hold it hostage, only someone attempting to achieve a specific goal would seek to change it. This is part of the reason American intelligence experts question Russia’s denial of involvement.


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new trump

With his approval rating imploding by the day and his scandals exploding by the hour, it turns out Trump will now have to do battle on a whole new front which will involve both of the other two branches of government. Hundreds of Democrats in the Senate and House are jointly filing a massive lawsuit against Trump in federal court.


The Democrats are suing Trump over his violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which states that an elected officer cannot use the office to enrich himself through foreign gifts, according to the Washington Post. Trump has been using the office of the presidency to steer foreign business to his hotels in the Washington DC area, among various other Emoluments Clause violations.


This lawsuit has been in the works for some time, as previously reported. But it’s such a massive legal undertaking, and ventures into such unprecedented territory, that it’s taken some time to get it off the ground. But now it’s officially happening. This comes one day after Maryland and the District of Columbia sued Trump on behalf of the hotels within their borders that have unfairly lost revenue to Trump’s hotels since he took office.


Although the Post hasn’t stated as much, it is believed that the Democrats are using this lawsuit partially to try to get to Donald Trump’s tax returns. If the judge rules that Trump’s financial records are relevant to the lawsuit, Trump could be forced to turn them over. Failure to comply would mean he would automatically lose the suit, with a judgment against him, which could crush him financially. At such point Trump’s only way to avoid releasing his tax returns and avoid losing the lawsuit would be to resign from the presidency – and this lawsuit could end up making that happen.


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Dianne Feinstein

If you thought last week’s testimony by former FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee was beneficial or enlightening, and you’d like to see a sequel, it looks like your wish is being granted. One day after the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that it’s investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice, it’s decided to bring back Comey for another round of testimony.


Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been allowing Democratic ranking member Dianne Feinstein to make the decisions when it comes to the committee’s investigation into Trump’s obstructive firing of Comey. She sent him a letter requesting such an investigation, and he immediately signed off on it. Now Feinstein has sent a follow-up letter to Grassley, detailing the witnesses she wants to testify in the probe. Chief among them: James Comey and Jeff Sessions.


Feinstein says she intends to bring Comey back for another round of testimony, this time with direct regard to Donald Trump’s obstruction. Although Comey hasn’t publicly shown any unwillingness to participate, Feinstein says she and her colleagues are willing to subpoena him if necessary. But Feinstein is also targeting Sessions over his refusal to answer questions while testifying before the Senate Intel Committee this week, even as he declined to invoke executive privilege. Feinstein also wants the testimony of NSA Director Mike Rogers, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, among others.

While James Comey’s return engagement may be looked forward to of the bunch, the sheer number of major names being called to testify makes clear that the Senate Judiciary Committee is turning its Donald Trump obstruction probe into a major investigation. This runs parallel to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump obstruction, as well as other committees investigating the Russia scandal.


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Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s strategy appears to be equal parts sophisticated and aggressive. He’s personally taking over the existing investigations into Donald Trump’s various associates. He’s hiring some of the most accomplished legal minds out there. But what may be most telling is who all has been willing to join him effort, and the bets they’re placing accordingly.


In the past week Robert Mueller has hired away two of the top people at the Department of Justice, Michael Dreeben (link) and Andrew Weissmann (link), for his own Trump-Russia investigation team. It’s not a surprise that Mueller is swinging for the fences, as he didn’t take on a case of this magnitude without planning to take things to the fullest.


But it’s the willingness of people like Dreeben and Weissmann to join him that stands out. They’re giving up their high ranking jobs and seniority at the Department of Justice to go to work for Mueller instead. That suggests they’re confident in a few different things. They view Mueller’s probe will be substantial enough to serve as a legitimate career move, and not some brief parenthetical entity. They also believe Mueller’s probe is likely to succeed in fully exposing the Trump-Russia scandal, or else they wouldn’t sign on for a losing cause that could only serve to harm their own reputations.


What stands out the most is that these top DOJ people may be banking on the idea that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions won’t still be in charge of the Department of Justice by the time the Special Counsel investigation is over. After this, there’s no way the Trump administration would ever allow them to work at the DOJ again. But if they’re betting that they can take down Trump and Sessions, then there would be nothing to prevent them from returning to the DOJ when this is over.


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sen Graham

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that President Trump’s inappropriate discussion of the investigation into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia was “frustrating.”


“Here’s what’s so frustrating for Republicans like me: You may the first president in history to go down because you can’t stop inappropriately talking about an investigation that, if you just were quiet, would clear you,” Graham said on CBS’s Face the Nation.


Graham said that while he did not believe Trump was under investigation or had obstructed justice, the ongoing drama in the administration could prove harmful for the President.


Graham’s comments follow Trump’s Sunday morning tweet that former FBI director James Comey was “cowardly” for leaking one of his memos to the press shortly after he was fired.

“Can you be a street fighter on all things, all the time, and still be President of the United States?” Graham asked.


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