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Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:06 am

Administration officials said that the new policy would be reviewed if the Havana government carried out reforms.

“We hope the Cuban regime will see this as an opportunity to institute reforms that they have paid lip service to,” one official said
.

Oh, the irony....clean up your own backyard first, chum.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Sabot on Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:09 am

bb1 wrote:Now this, I can understand...

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/u-s-sending-4-000-additional-troops-afghanistan-article-1.3251847

An additional 4,000 American troops are headed for Afghanistan, a Trump administration official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The forces will join nearly 10,000 U.S. troops embedded in a war-torn country where combat operations technically came to an end in 2014. The Pentagon is hoping the deployment will break a stalemate between American-backed Afghan forces and Taliban fighters.

Defense Secretary James Mattis could officially announce the surge as early as next week, the AP reported.

“We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this week.

There have been almost 2,400 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. Three U.S. soldiers were killed there last weekend in an attack claimed by the Taliban.


Great idea, get yet more Americans and Afghanis killed protecting the CIA's poppy fields.

Trump breaking his word about bringing troops home is, IMO, far more important than this endless uproar about Russia - or whatever it is. Indeed, if I was cynical, I would say the Russia stuff is a smokescreen for more serious matters.

Someone needs to hand Mattis a history book and tell him the US is NEVER going to 'win' in Afghanistan - not one single invader ever has.

Graveyard of Empires, etc....

Deja Vu, anyone?
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:40 am

Yes.

The so-called 'war on terror' has been a complete failure; far from containing the b*ggers, they've spread everywhere now. Anyone with a grain of sense would be bringing troops home - as Trump promised to do - instead of sending more out to get killed for damn-all.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Sabot on Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:48 am


Didn't this happen in Vietnam? The Americans were going to win that one, despite many other countries having tried and failed.

And of course, Britain lost The Afghanistan War before I was born.
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:59 pm

Trump confirms he is under investigation in Russia inquiry.

President Donald Trump has appeared to acknowledge he is under investigation in the inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the US election.

In a tweet, the president also seemed to accuse the US deputy attorney general of pursuing a "Witch Hunt".

He said: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!" More at link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40306917
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:15 pm

Eh? What?

I wish someone could explain, in wee words and short sentences, just what it is Russia is supposed to have done to 'interfere'. Putin must be laughing his ar@e off, watching Washington chase phantoms while the US sinks ever-deeper into quagmires abroad and chaos at home.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-16/did-usa-finally-lose-its-collective-mind

Well, yes.....

Washington is also shedding allies at a remarkable rate....

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-15/germany-austria-slam-us-sanctions-against-russia-warn-collapse-relations

Gabriel and Kern also accused the U.S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project "introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations."

In their forceful appeal, the two officials urged the United States to back off from linking the situation in Ukraine to the question of who can sell gas to Europe. "Europe's energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America," Kern and Gabriel said. The reason why Europe is angry Some Eastern European countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don't pass through their territory anymore once the new pipeline is built.


Just think, if King George's troops had won, slavery would have been abolished far earlier, without bloodshed, just bribes.

Middle America would be French-influenced, and the West Spanish. And Washington's territory would have a parliament and Prime Minister, and generally be like Canada.....

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:23 pm

Austria and Germany fume over new US sanctions targeting gas pipeline from Russia.

Austrian and Germany have lashed out at Washington over new sanctions against Russia that target the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Europe.

The new penalties, approved by the US Senate on Thursday, include a paragraph that threatens to penalise European companies that push ahead with energy export programmes with Russia.

Those include the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which would pump Russian gas under the Baltic Sea directly to Germany.

"It is strange that in the sanctioning of Russia's behaviour, with regards to the US elections for instance, that the European economy should become a target of American sanctions. That must not happen," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.

He added that Merkel shared the concerns raised by Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern who charged in a joint statement on Thursday that the measure brings a "completely new and entirely negative quality to European-US relations".

In a hard-hitting statement, the German and Austrian said they "cannot accept the threat of extra-territorial sanctions against European companies that participate in the expansion of European energy supplies" adding that this would "violate international law".

They accused Washington of using the sanctions to squeeze Russian gas supplies out of Europe in favour of US energy exports.

"The aim is to secure jobs in gas and oil industries in the US," said Gabriel and Kern.

"Political sanctions should not be mixed up with economic interests," they warned, stressing that "Europe's energy supply is Europe's business and not that of the United States".

"We decide who delivers energy to us and how, according to rules of openness and economic competitiveness," said Gabriel and Kern.

The bill as originally introduced was exclusively about slapping new sanctions on Iran. But lawmakers attached a bipartisan amendment on Russia to it early this week.

The addition came with the White House deeply embroiled in crisis over whether Trump's campaign team colluded with a Russian effort to sway the 2016 election.

www.thelocal.at/20170616/austria-germany-angry-us-sanctions-russsia-energy-nord-stream
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Sabot on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:28 pm

bb1 wrote:Eh? What?

I wish someone could explain, in wee words and short sentences, just what it is Russia is supposed to have done to 'interfere'. Putin must be laughing his ar@e off, watching Washington chase phantoms while the US sinks ever-deeper into quagmires abroad and chaos at home.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-16/did-usa-finally-lose-its-collective-mind

Well, yes.....

Washington is also shedding allies at a remarkable rate....

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-15/germany-austria-slam-us-sanctions-against-russia-warn-collapse-relations

Gabriel and Kern also accused the U.S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project "introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations."

In their forceful appeal, the two officials urged the United States to back off from linking the situation in Ukraine to the question of who can sell gas to Europe. "Europe's energy supply is a matter for Europe, and not for the United States of America," Kern and Gabriel said. The reason why Europe is angry Some Eastern European countries, including Poland and Ukraine, fear the loss of transit revenue if Russian gas supplies don't pass through their territory anymore once the new pipeline is built.


Just think, if King George's troops had won, slavery would have been abolished far earlier, without bloodshed, just bribes.

Middle America would be French-influenced, and the West Spanish. And Washington's territory would have a parliament and Prime Minister, and generally be like Canada.....

You mean that it isn't?

This is all too long go for me. But they are all still Colonials. Some better than others. But then they know this. They would all still give their right arm for Queen Elizabeth. Although I well understand why they opted out.

Those were the days of The Brave. I just don't know what went wrong. And I can't say that I care all that much.
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:31 pm

Putin doesn't really need to do anything, Washington is blundering and walking into traps quite nicely without any help.....

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:08 pm

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-16/must-not-happen-germany-threatens-us-retaliation-over-new-russia-sanctions

Quote:

Quoted by Reuters, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Trump before it becomes law, as "a peculiar move". He said it was "strange" that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies. "That must not happen," said Seibert.

Confirming the seriousness of Germany's resolve, in an interview with Reuters, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said "Berlin would have to think about counter-measures" if Trump backed the plan. "If he does, we'll have to consider what we are going to do against it."



More sheer genius from Washington. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:05 pm

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-16/us-navy-destroyer-collides-merchant-vessel-japan

Update: Seven sailors of the US Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald were missing hours after it collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship four times its size in eastern Japan early on Saturday. As reported earlier (see below), the Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided missile destroyer, collided with the merchant vessel at about 2:30 a.m. local time (1730 GMT), some 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, the Navy said.

It is still unclear how the collision happened. "Once an investigation is complete then any legal issues can be addressed," the 7th Fleet spokesman said.




Offhand, I'd say whoever was on the bridge of the destroyer wasn't paying attention, failed to notice the giant container ship, and cut across its bows.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:19 pm

Trump again blasts 'distraction of the witch hunt'.

US President Donald Trump early Sunday morning hurled a series of testy tweets defending his crisis-ridden presidency, once again decrying the "witch hunt" against him.

"The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt," the Republican leader tweeted while away on his first weekend to Camp David, the official US presidential retreat in the mountains of western Maryland.

"Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm," he wrote Sunday, also pointing to his successful nomination of conservative justice Neil Gorsuch to the top US court.

"Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax cuts in the works!" he continued.

Sunday's tweets followed Trump's furious Twitter outburst on Friday in which he announced he is under investigation in connection with a probe into alleged Russian election meddling that has dogged the administration and gained steam in recent weeks.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/trump-again-blasts-distraction-witch-hunt-115312290.html
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:29 pm

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-19/russia-slams-us-downing-syrian-jet-act-aggression-and-support-terrorists

Russia Slams US Downing Of Syrian Jet As "Act Of Aggression" And "Support For Terrorists"

US forces, in Syria in breach of international law, shoot down Syrian jet over Syrian territory as it attacks ISIS.

I give up on America, it's gone rogue.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:31 pm

Comment:


America shot down a Syrian military plane in Syrian airspace.

The Syrian plane is part of the Syrian military which is the legitimate government of Syrian and is internationally recognized as such.

The plane was attempting to bomb insurgents (American backed) that would love to kill and replace Assad with an ISIS 'lite" government.

Under what insane authority does America have to do this?

And what would the American people think/do if this happened in the United States?

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:54 pm

https://www.rt.com/news/393028-syria-russia-us-plane/

The Russian Defense Ministry announced it is halting cooperation with its US counterparts in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria following the coalition’s downing of a Syrian warplane.
Trends
Russian anti-terror op in Syria
The ministry has demanded a thorough investigation by the US military command into the incident with the Syrian government military jet, with the results to be shared with the Russian side.

“In the areas of combat missions of Russian air fleet in Syrian skies, any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.

Downing the military jet within Syrian airspace “cynically” violates the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, Russian military said.

The actions of the US Air Force are in fact “military aggression” against Syria, the statement adds.

The ministry emphasized that Russian warplanes were on a mission in Syrian airspace during the US-led coalition’s attack on the Syrian Su-22, while the coalition failed to use the communication line to prevent an incident.

“The command of the coalition forces did not use the existing communication channel between the air commands of Al Udeid Airbase (in Qatar) and the Khmeimim Airbase to prevent incidents in Syrian airspace.”

The ministry considers the move “a conscious failure to comply with the obligations under the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria,” and is thus halting cooperation with the US within the memorandum framework as of June 19, the statement concluded.

READ MORE: US-led coalition downs Syrian army plane in southern Raqqa

Earlier Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned the attack, branding it an act of aggression which actually helped the terrorists the US is fighting against.

The US-led coalition downed the Syrian government warplane on Sunda. At the moment of the attack the jet was carrying out operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) some 40km from Raqqa, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The pilot ejected from the plane above IS-controlled territory and is still missing.


Let's hope ISIS haven't got him as a result of the US's illegal aggression.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:45 am

Trump Stays Silent on London Attack as NYPD Steps Up Security Around Mosques.

Donald Trump has yet to comment on the ramming attack on worshippers at a London mosque. But in the aftermath of the the assault, the New York Police Department is stepping up security. Just in case.

"After the attack in London, the NYPD is moving police resources to patrol around houses of worship, particularly in our Muslim communities," New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s office tweeted on Monday.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/trump-stays-silent-london-attack-004750603.html
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:48 am

Trump's legal plan built in his image: Fight, fight, fight.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump, whose combative instincts are to lash out and never retreat, appears to be shaping a legal team in his own image. His clear directive: Fight, fight, fight.

In aggressively worded statements and confrontational TV appearances, Trump's personal lawyers and newly hired proxies have shown themselves more than ready to defend him in the manner to which he is accustomed — with arguments seemingly aimed at public opinion as much as at warding off any actual legal threat from prosecutors.

The legal team, like the president, has come out ready to hit hard, even if not always quite accurately.

"The president has not been and is not under investigation," lawyer Jay Sekulow has declared repeatedly the past few days, only to add to the statement Monday that he didn't know for certain if that was true. "The legal team has not been notified," he said on CNN.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-legal-plan-quite-simple-far-fight-fight-214528890--politics.html
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:23 am


Donald Trump has yet to comment on the ramming attack on worshippers at a London mosque.

And why on earth would he? Why are leaders expected to constantly emote these days?

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:34 pm

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-21/nato-jet-menaces-aircraft-carrying-russian-defense-minister

A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.

In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu's plane had inserted itself between the defense minister's plane and the NATO fighter and "tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said." After that the F-16 promptly left the area.

A clip of the encounter was caught on tape by Russian journalists:


[video]

Oh, I wonder what would happen if the Russians buzzed a plane carrying, say, the US Vice President over the Gulf of Mexico?

This is insanity.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:29 am

Russia cancels diplomatic meeting in wake of US sanctions

MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin voiced displeasure Wednesday about new United States sanctions against Russia and called off much-anticipated talks with a senior U.S administration official in response. The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it had imposed sanctions on 38 Russian individuals and firms over Russian activities in Ukraine. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the penalties were designed to "maintain pressure on Russia to work toward a diplomatic solution."

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Wednesday that the U.S. move wasn't constructive and warned of possible retaliation. Later in the day, Russia's deputy foreign minister said he had cancelled talks that were scheduled for Friday with the U.S. undersecretary of state.

"The situation is not conducive to holding a round of this dialogue", the Russian Foreign Ministry quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. Ryabkov also criticized the U.S. for "not having offered and not offering anything specific" to discuss at the upcoming talks.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States regretted Russia's decision to "turn away" from a chance to discuss obstacles in the U.S.-Russia relationship, but added that the U.S. remains open to negotiations with Russia.

Nauert also said the sanctions that were expanded on Tuesday "didn't come out of nowhere" and would remain in place until Russia honors the peace deal for eastern Ukraine and stops occupying Crimea. Russia-U.S. relations have remained tense even as the White House considers scheduling President Donald Trump's meeting with Putin on the sidelines of next month's Group of 20 meeting.

Peskov on Wednesday reaffirmed the possibility of such a meeting, but said that no preparations had been made yet.
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:54 am

Guess who Trump has been meeting this week?



Yup, Porky Poroshenko. Rolling Eyes I am afraid Trump has amply demonstrated that he listens to the last person that flatters him (see Saudi sword dances and orbs) and his foreign policy is, astonishingly even more incoherent and aggressive than Obama's was.

Just wait till he finds out the State visit to London is off - personally, I don't think Ukraine and Saudi Arabia are awfully good allies....

PS - he needs to grasp that the people of the Crimea would fight to the bitter end rather than be handed over to Porky's corrupt, nazi-run failed state, just so the US Navy can moor in Sevastopol harbour.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:32 am

Trump using Trump hotel to hold Trump re-election fundraiser (for 2020).

WASHINGTON (AP) — President. Candidate. Businessman. Three of President Donald Trump's roles converge next week as he holds his first re-election fundraiser at his hotel in Washington.

Trump can see the Trump International Hotel from the White House lawn, making it a premier and convenient location for the June 28 major-donor event, his campaign director Michael Glassner said.

But the choice also raises ethics questions, according to conflict of interest attorneys who have been critical of Trump's decision not to cut financial ties with his global business empire.

Kathleen Clark, a former ethics lawyer for the District of Columbia, said that while not illegal or even unusual for Trump, it's a bold example of self-dealing that deeply concerns some Americans.

"It's another example of him trying to get a twofer, promoting his brand through his campaign or his government work," she said.

Norman Eisen, who served as President Barack Obama's lead ethics attorney, said Trump is "becoming more and more brazen in his efforts to monetize the presidency."

Eisen is suing Trump for violating a clause of the Constitution that prohibits foreign gifts and payments; Trump and the Justice Department have called such lawsuits baseless.

Trump has commingled business and politics right from the June 2015 day he glided down an escalator at Trump Tower in New York City to announce his candidacy.

Ethics experts say his continued appearances at his own for-profit properties — he's visited such locations 37 times as president, according to an Associated Press tally — double as a form of advertising that inappropriately enriches him.

The annual financial disclosure Trump filed last week shows that Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort he visited on seven weekends this winter, saw a revenue bump to $37 million from $30 million during the period covered in his previous filing.

The Washington hotel opened in October, and Trump reported $20 million in income from the property.

Throughout the 2016 presidential race, Trump's campaign account cycled about $8 million into his businesses. At the same time, he contributed more than $66 million out of his own pocket over the course of the primary and general election campaigns.

So far, Trump's re-election campaign is raising money exclusively from other donors.

He officially kicked off his 2020 bid on Inauguration Day by filing Federal Election Commission paperwork, making it the earliest such effort by a sitting president.

It's paying off: The campaign raised more than $7 million by the end of March from appeals to small donors and the sale of merchandise such as the ubiquitous red "Make America Great Again" ball caps.

The money helps pay for political rallies. He's held five of them since becoming president, including one Wednesday night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The fundraiser next week is aimed at high-dollar donors. His campaign and the Republican National Committee will share proceeds.

Trump himself foreshadowed the choice of location last week in a text message to supporters. Trying to encourage small donors to participate in a drawing to gain admittance, the campaign wrote, in the voice of Trump: "Do not worry about a thing. We will fly you to DC, we will take a picture together, and you will stay at a beautiful hotel. BIG LEAGUE."

He and his supporters have referred to the Trump hotel as "beautiful." The Trump Organization completed a $200 million renovation of the government property weeks before Election Day.

With the General Services Administration as his landlord — and the president as the GSA's ultimate boss — Trump has tried to distance himself from the property's finances. Government watchdogs have argued that the steps he's taken fall short of avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

Under a restructuring outlined in letters between the Trump Organization and the GSA, profits from the hotel will go to an account of the corporate entity that holds the lease, Trump Old Post Office LLC.

The letters do not address what might happen to any profits from the hotel after Trump leaves office, or whether they will be transferred to Trump at that time.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  bb1 on Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:23 pm

The Old Post Office actually is stunning, much more so than Trump Tower.



Sometimes, less really is more - as in 'less gilt'.

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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:28 am

Ending guessing game, Trump admits there are no Comey tapes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ending a month-long guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy, President Donald Trump declared he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI Director James Comey,

"With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information," Trump tweeted Thursday, he has "no idea" whether there are "tapes" or recordings of the two men's conversations. But he proclaimed "I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

That left open the possibility that recordings were made without his knowledge or by someone else. But he largely appeared to close the saga that began in May, just days after he fired Comey, then the head of an investigation into Trump associates' ties to Russian officials. Trump has disputed Comey's version of a January dinner during which the director said the president had asked for a pledge of loyalty.

Trump responded at that time, via Twitter, that Comey "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" That apparently angry missive triggered a series of consequences, each weightier than the last. Comey has suggested that the tweet prompted him to ask an associate to release damaging information to the media. The resulting news reports built pressure on a top Justice Department official to appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the Russia investigation. That special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, is now reportedly investigating Trump's own actions in a probe that could dog his presidency for the foreseeable future.

Trump showed concern about that situation as well, telling Fox News Channel in an interview that Mueller is "very, very good friends with Comey which is bothersome." Trump's declaration now that there are no recordings appears to settle a key dynamic in that investigation: It's now the president's word against Comey's notes.

Without recordings, Comey's version of his conversations with Trump — which he documented at the time, shared with close associates and testified about to Congress — will likely play a key role as prosecutors consider whether Trump inappropriately pressured the lawman to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Investigators will also weigh the credibility of Comey against a president who has shown a wobbly commitment to accuracy.

Trump's tweets, old and new, left many perplexed about whether there was motive or strategy behind the whole affair. The president appeared to enjoy ginning up mystery and spinning Washington reporters about the possibility there was a trove of surreptitiously recorded Oval Office conversations.

"I think he was in his way instinctively trying to rattle Comey," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump confidant, said before the Thursday tweets. "He's not a professional politician. He doesn't come back and think about Nixon and Watergate. His instinct is: 'I'll out-bluff you.'"

Thursday's revelation came a day ahead of a deadline to turn over any tapes to the House intelligence committee. The timing drew attention away from the release of the Senate's health care bill, which the White House hopes can provide Trump a much-needed legislative victory to boost his sagging poll numbers.

But the episode tired Trump's defenders and aides, who for weeks have been dodging questions about the recordings. Advisers who speak to Trump regularly have said he had not mentioned the existence of tapes during their conversations. More than a half-dozen aides said they were unaware of any recording devices. All demanded anonymity to speak about private discussions with the president.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday she didn't think Trump regretted the initial tweet. As for his possible motivation, she would only say it was perhaps about "raising the question of doubt in general." She also could not explain Trump's new reference to possible surveillance.

Trump's earlier suggestion about tapes evoked the secret White House recordings that led to Richard Nixon's downfall in the Watergate scandal. Under a post-Watergate law, the Presidential Records Act, recordings made by presidents belong to the people and can eventually be made public. Destroying them would be a crime.

Mark Warner of Virginia, top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said, "This administration never ceases to amaze me." He said the tweeting is an example of Trump's "willingness to just kind of make things up."

"It's remarkable the president was so flippant to make his original tweet and then frankly stonewall the media and the country for weeks," Warner said. "I don't know how this serves the country's interests."

This is not the first time that Trump, the former star of reality TV and tabloids, has manufactured a melodrama that begins with bluster but often ends with a whimper. Trump flirted with presidential runs in 1988 and 2000 before abandoning them. He offered to help rebuild the World Trade Center in 2004 but never followed through. And his embrace of birtherism, which questioned whether Obama was born in the United States and was eligible to become president, fueled his own political rise. He never produced any evidence.

The pattern has continued since Trump's election. On New Year's Eve, he claimed he knew "things that other people don't know" about foreign hacking of last year's election, and that the information would be revealed "on Tuesday or Wednesday." Those days came and went without an answer. In March, he tweeted the incendiary claim that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, a charge he's never supported.

He's brought trouble to his White House. At a Senate committee hearing this month, Comey suggested that the president's reference to possible recordings inspired him to disclose to the media through an intermediary a memo he had written of their Oval Office conversation. In that meeting, according to the memo, Trump told Comey he hoped he would let the Flynn investigation go. Comey said he understood that to be a request to drop the probe.

One week after the memo was disclosed, the Justice Department appointed Mueller as special counsel to take over the investigation into contacts between Russia and the Trump political campaign.
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:53 pm

Trump suggests he was trying to keep FBI director honest.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump suggested he was just trying to keep fired FBI Director James Comey honest with his cryptic tweet implying there might be recordings of their private conversations.

Trump ended a month-long guessing game Thursday by tweeting that he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with Comey. In an interview that aired Friday on "Fox & Friends," Trump said: "When he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it's governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed."

Asked if he was trying to keep Comey honest, Trump added: "It wasn't very stupid, I can tell you that. He was — he did admit that what I said was right." The tapes saga began in May, just days after Trump fired Comey, who then was leading an investigation into Trump associates' ties to Russian officials. Trump has disputed Comey's version of a January dinner during which, according to Comey, the president asked for a pledge of loyalty. More at link.

https://www.mail.com/int/news/us/5301466-trump-suggests-was-trying-to-fbi-director-honest.html#.1258-stage-hero1-9
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Re: Donald J. Trump wins Presidency

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