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.”

JONES SERIOUS TROUBLE FOR KELLY

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.

 

30 MINUTE VIDEO

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.”

JONES’ ARGUMENT

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.

DISTASTEFUL

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.

RECORDING AN SANDY HOOK KILLINGS

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.”

CUTS IN FOOTAGE OF PROMO

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.

THURSDAY NIGHT

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.”

NBC NEWS

 

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.”

COMMON PRACTICE

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.

ONCE SHE SAYS

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.’”

AWKWARD

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.”

KELLY SAYS

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.”

FROM WH REPORTER APRIL RYAN

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.

PEOPLE TRUMP HAS FIRED

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.

AMERICA WAITS

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.

ILLINOIS HACKING

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.

OBAMA AWARE

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.

AMERICA’S LACK OF SECURITY

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.

RUSSIAN RESPONSIBILITY

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.

NO CLAIM OF RESPONSIBILITY

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.

ACCESS TO SENSITIVE PERSONAL VOTER INFO

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.

SPECIFIC GOAL

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.

DEM SUING TRUMP

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.

IN WORKS FOR SOME TIME

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.

TO GET TRUMP TAX RETURNS

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.

DIANNE FEINSTEIN

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 BRINGS COMEY BACK

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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Mueller

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.

NEW HIRES

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.

MUELLER’S PROBE WILL SUCEED

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.

TRUMP AND SESSION

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.”

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.

HARMFUL FOR PRESIDENT

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.

SUNDAY TWEET

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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climate change

This story was first published by Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Fossil fuel companies are among the biggest supporters of President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accords, yet federal documents reveal that some companies have long been aware of the severe risks to their operations posed by a warming planet.

FILINGS WITH SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, several oil and pipeline companies acknowledge that climate change – which the fossil fuel industry has contributed to significantly – could undermine their bottom line and threaten their most valuable physical assets, including pipelines, oil storage “tank farms” and export terminals.

CLIMATE CHANGE WILL AFFECT FACILITIES

“Climate change may adversely affect our facilities and our ongoing operations,” reported Phillips 66, in 2015 and 2016 annual risk assessments to the SEC. The threats, according to the company’s filings, “include rising sea levels at our coastal facilities, changing storm patterns and intensities, and changing temperature levels

COASTAL AREAS

oil refineries

“As many of our facilities are located near coastal areas, rising sea levels may disrupt our ability to operate those facilities or transport crude oil and refined petroleum products,” the company states in its SEC 10-K filings. “Extended periods of such disruption could have an adverse effect on our results of operation. We could also incur substantial costs to protect or repair these facilities.”

FOSSIL FUELS

Fossil fuels produced by oil and gas companies are by far the leading contributor of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. More than 5,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide were emitted in the United States from the combustion of fossil fuels in 2014, out of the total greenhouse gas national inventory of about 6,900 million metric tons.

MANDATED BY SEC

Mandated by the SEC, the annual reports are intended to warn investors about all future risks to their assets and income.

“Some climatic models indicate that global warming is likely to result in rising sea levels, increased intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms, and increased frequency of extreme precipitation and flooding,” states the 2014 10-K filing from oil infrastructure giant Kinder Morgan, which owns or operates 84,000 miles of pipeline.  

“We may experience increased insurance premiums and deductibles, or a decrease in available coverage, for our assets in areas subject to severe weather,” the company added. “To the extent these phenomena occur, they could damage our physical assets, especially operations located in low-lying areas near coasts and river banks, and facilities situated in hurricane-prone regions.”  

Some companies edge close to climate denial in their filings, while hedging their bets.

“As a commercial enterprise, we are not in a position to validate or repudiate the existence of global warming or various aspects of the scientific debate,” declared Enterprise Products, the $52 billion pipeline and oil storage company, in its 2016 10-K filing. “However, if global warming is occurring, it could have an impact on our operations. For example, our facilities that are located in low lying areas such as the coastal regions of Louisiana and Texas may be at increased risk due to flooding, rising sea levels, or disruption of operations from more frequent and severe weather events.”

Yet companies that, even cautiously, acknowledge the potential threat of climate change stand in sharp contrast to the ongoing denial within the Trump administration and the president’s decision to quit the Paris accords. 

 

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Priebus and Trump

The nation’s top intelligence official told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials.

TALK WITH COATS AND CIA POMPEO

On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats attended a briefing at the White House together with officials from several government agencies. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

FBI INVESTIGATION

The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race.

INAPPROPRIATE

After the encounter, Coats discussed the conversation with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey as Trump had suggested would be inappropriate, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal matters.

INTERACTION WITH COATS

The events involving Coats show the president went further than just asking intelligence officials to deny publicly the existence of any evidence showing collusion during the 2016 election, as The Washington Post reported in May. The interaction with Coats indicates that Trump aimed to enlist top officials to have Comey curtail the bureau’s probe.

TESTIFY WEDNESDAY

Coats will testify on Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Lawmakers on the panel said they would press him for information about his interactions with the president regarding the FBI investigation.

OBSTRUCTION

The question of whether the president obstructed the Russia investigation is expected to take center stage this week with Comey’s highly anticipated testimony on the Hill on Thursday. Comey associates say that before the director was fired in May, the president had asked him to drop the investigation into Flynn, and Comey refused.

NO COMMENT

Brian P. Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), declined to comment on whether Trump asked Coats to intervene with Comey regarding the Flynn investigation. Hale said in a statement: “Director Coats does not discuss his private conversations with the President. However, he has never felt pressured by the President or anyone else in the Administration to influence any intelligence matters or ongoing investigations.”

DECLINE TO COMMENT

A spokesman for Pompeo declined to comment on the closed-door discussions. The White House referred questions to outside lawyers, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

DENIES ANY COORDINATION

Trump has repeatedly denied any coordination took place between his campaign and the Russian government, which, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, stole emails embarrassing to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and leaked them to undermine her campaign.

ENTHUSIASTIC SURROGATE

Flynn had served as an enthusiastic surrogate for Trump during the campaign and then was fired after just 24 days as national security adviser over revelations he misrepresented his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

TRADITIONAL BARRIERS

The incidents suggest that Trump may not have appreciated the traditional barriers meant to insulate the intelligence agencies from politics.

IN THE DARK

Though the ODNI oversees other intelligence agencies, the FBI director operates independently on many matters. For example, Comey kept James R. Clapper Jr., Coats’s predecessor in the Obama administration, in the dark about the bureau’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

PHONE CALLS TO COATS

A day or two after the March 22 meeting, the president followed up with a phone call to Coats, according to officials familiar with the discussions. In the call, Trump asked Coats to issue a public statement denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government. Again, Coats decided not to act on the request.

ADM. MIKE ROGERS

Trump similarly approached Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, to ask him to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of coordination, as The Post previously reported, according to current and former officials. Like Coats, Rogers refused to comply with the president’s request.

NOMINATED IN JANUARY

Trump announced in January that he was nominating Coats to serve as director of national intelligence, responsible for overseeing U.S. intelligence agencies and for briefing the president on global developments.

FEBRUARY REVIEW THE ODNI

In February, as tensions flared between intelligence agencies and the White House over Russia and other issues, some of Trump’s advisers floated the idea of appointing a New York billionaire, Stephen A. Feinberg, to undertake a review of the ODNI. Coats, who was preparing for his confirmation hearing, felt blindsided, officials said.

OBJECTIONS

The White House backed away from the idea of naming Feinberg after Coats, members of the intelligence community and Congress raised objections.

APPOINT FEINBERG

Officials say Trump’s advisers have since revived their proposal to appoint Feinberg to a senior position, possibly to review the roles of the ODNI and other intelligence agencies.

PRESSURE ON INTELLIGENCE

Some officials said they viewed the prospective appointment of Feinberg as an effort by White House officials to put pressure on intelligence agencies to close ranks with the White House.

COATS REFUSED

In an appearance last month before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats refused to provide details about his interactions with Trump.

INDICATED COOPERATION

But he indicated that he would cooperate with the Russia probe now being led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Under questioning by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Coats said that if asked, he would provide details of his conversations with Trump to Mueller.

Coats also said that if he is called before an investigative committee, such as the Senate Intelligence Committee, “I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don’t know.” He said the Trump administration had not directed the ODNI to withhold information from members of Congress conducting oversight.

 

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Posted by: maboulette | June 13, 2017

AP FACT CHECK: The Trophies in Trump’s Display Cabinet


gop.jpg

President Donald Trump showed off a few too many trophies in his display Cabinet.

CABINET MEETING

Trump opened part of a Cabinet meeting to the press Monday and filled that time with self-congratulation as well as praise from his team. On multiple fronts, that celebration of achievement was unearned.

COMMENTS

A sampling of his comments:

—”Great success, including MS-13. They’re being thrown out in record numbers and rapidly. And they’re being depleted. They’ll all be gone pretty soon.”

THE FACTS: There’s no publicly available information to back up Trump’s claim that this violent gang is about to disappear.

The gang was in decline in Southern California long before Trump was elected. During a recent raid of MS-13 members in Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck said the gang’s membership has been declining for several years in part because of law enforcement crackdowns.

MS-13 has been in the crosshairs of federal law enforcement since at least 2012 when the group was designated a transnational criminal organization and subjected to financial sanctions by the Treasury Department. Three leaders of the gang were targeted for sanctions in 2015.

___

— “I recently returned from a trip overseas that included deals for more than $350 billion worth of military and economic investment in the United States. These deals will bring many thousands of jobs to our country and, in fact, will bring millions of jobs ultimately and help Saudi Arabia take a greater role in providing stability and security in that region.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s $350 billion figure includes hundreds of billions of dollars in aspirational deals with Saudi Arabia that have not been signed yet and could be revised or eliminated. He’s relying on a 20- to 30-year projection of what the government believes will be the contracts’ long-term value because of the cost of sustaining them. When he visited Riyadh, agreements on more than $110 billion in foreign military sales were pledged, according to the State Department. But many of those — along with a significant amount of the $80 billion in announced commercial civilian sales — were memoranda of understanding or letters of intent and not sales contracts.

Since Trump’s trip, the State Department has notified lawmakers of only a small fraction of the total — $1.7 billion, mainly in naval and air force training contracts, and some Democrats say they want to hold those up over human rights concerns and Saudi Arabia’s conduct in the war against rebels in Yemen. And while U.S. officials say further approvals, including large-ticket items such as a high-altitude missile defense system, could be approved in the coming weeks, there is no guarantee Congress will go along.

In addition, some of the business he’s claiming to have generated was agreed to during the Obama administration.

___

—”I will say that never has there been a president — with few exceptions; in the case of FDR, he had a major Depression to handle — who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done, between the executive orders and the job-killing regulations that have been terminated. Many bills; I guess over 34 bills that Congress signed. A Supreme Court justice who’s going to be a great one …We’ve achieved tremendous success.”

THE FACTS: He has little to show for his first five months in office, in concrete ways, other than the confirmation of a justice.

Trump’s two immediate predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, accomplished more in their early months. Trump has achieved no major legislation. The bills he is counting up are little more than housekeeping measures — things like naming a courthouse and a VA health care center, appointing board of regents members, reauthorizing previous legislation. He has indeed been vigorous in signing executive orders, but in the main they have far less consequence than legislation requiring congressional passage.

BIG ITEMS NOT YET PASSED

Trump’s big agenda items, like his promised tax overhaul, have yet to pass or even reach Congress. His attempt to secure the borders from people from terrorism-prone regions is so far blocked by courts.

By contrast,  Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law in his first month, while also achieving a law expanding health care for children and the Lilly Ledbetter bill on equal pay for women in that time.

Bush got off to a slower start, in part because he did not take office in a deep recession requiring quick action, as Obama had done. But by this point in his presidency, Bush had signed a huge tax cut into law.

___

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