Trump-a-day

U.S. and Russian officials indicated on Friday — after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin — that the two countries would work together in a number of areas, including cybersecurity.


In Trump’s own words:
Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017


Predictably, that was met with mixed reaction, given the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election to favour Trump – a conclusion the president has not said he 100 percent agrees with.

I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017

To recap, on 6 January 2017, the CIA, FBI and NSA released a joint intelligence report which found that an intelligence operation was personally ordered by Putin with the purpose of “denying Hillary Clinton the presidency” and “installing Donald Trump in the Oval Office.” Putin held a grudge against Clinton since 2011, the report stated, blaming her for inciting mass protests against his regime. In addition to email hacking, Russian intelligence used state-funded broadcasts, third-party intermediaries and paid social media trolls to spread false information.


Bearing this in mind, we definitely agree with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who said President Trump’s plan to work with Russia on cybersecurity is “pretty close” to the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Graham stressed that there is no evidence the Russian meddling influenced the vote, but he said that by denying the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump “throws our intelligence communities under the bus.” “This whole idea about moving forward without punishing Russia is undermining his entire presidency,” he said. Graham is pushing for increased sanctions on Russia. The Senate passed such a bill, but it is currently delayed in the House. Reports have indicated the White House wants to soften the language.

Trump tweeted Sunday evening that he has low hopes for his proposed U.S.-Russia cyber security unit.

“The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t-but a ceasefire can,& did!” Trump tweeted about three hours after tweeting about a ceasefire in Syria. 

Notable tweet:

Trump is basically admitting his own attempts at diplomacy are useless? 

— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) July 10, 2017

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The New York Times reported on Sunday that Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with the Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin who promised damaging information about Clinton. Trump Jr. attended the meeting with the expectation that he would receive compromising information about Clinton, three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two other sources with knowledge of the matter told the Times.

Trump Jr. said in a statement to the paper that he had met with Natalia Veselnitskaya at the request of an acquaintance and denied that he received any information on Clinton.

An ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, Richard Painter, said the meeting “borders on treason, if it is not itself treason. This was an effort to get opposition research on an opponent in an American political campaign from the Russians, who were known to be engaged in spying inside the United States. We do not get our opposition research from spies, we do not collaborate with Russian spies, unless we want to be accused of treason.”

Trump-a-day

Hello,

Today, we’ll start with good news (in the office, the aircon above my head finally broke down, so I am warm and happy. Power of thought).

Yesterday morning, as most mornings, I posted on Instagram. The picture taken from the Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral was featured by one of the most popular feeds in the world, @London, who took the opportunity to wish all Americans happy Independence Day.

At the time of writing, the picture has got many, many likes.

It feels surreal, but anyway, the best comment was from a New Yorker in her 20s, whose immediate goal in life is to get Twitter banned by Trump. Oh, the youth!

 

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Americans marked the 4th of July, the only day of the year America quotes the date the British way, in a variety of ways. Some got out their barbecues, others hit the beach, President Trump played golf, Ivanka Trump went to a party where half of the guests were liberal-minded Democrats, like George Soros, who cannot stand Ivanka’s father. CNN took the opportunity to make a gentle but important point to Donald Trump about his recent attacks on the media.

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Trump will be playing for high stakes when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, later this week. The encounter between the two men, the first since Trump became president, will be closely scrutinised in light of the allegations of Russian meddling in last year’s U.S. election — and because of the ongoing probes into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. It is far from certain that Trump will even bring up the issue of Russian interference. At a White House briefing last week, national security adviser H.R. McMaster insisted “there’s no specific agenda” for the meeting. Ah, good, Trump’s infamous verbal free styling it is then!

“It’s really going to be whatever the president wants to talk about,” McMaster said.

McMaster later clarified that Trump’s overall policy on Russia has three priorities: to “confront Russia’s destabilising behaviour,” to deter the Kremlin from unwelcome actions and “to foster areas of cooperation.” I think the first two points somewhat undermine the last and Trump will never pull these off, but what do I know, I am not a career diplomat. Oh, wait, neither is anyone in the current State Department.

“There is a dramatic, almost theatrical, aspect to this,” Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said. “Drama” is the operative word in the White House these days.

Trump will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the Hamburg event.

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A new online poll finds that Americans trust CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times more than President Trump, Axios reported Tuesday. Amid Trump’s ongoing war against the press, trust is largely split among partisan lines, with 89 percent of Republicans viewing Trump as more trustworthy than CNN while 91 percent of Democrats think the opposite. Among all adults, trust for CNN is 7 points ahead of Trump.

The online poll by Survey Monkey was taken from June 29 to July 3 and surveyed 4,965 adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Expect tweeting.

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Following a White House commission’s request that states turn over voters’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, social security digits, and other personal data, dozens of U.S. states have registered their on-the-record objections.

CNN reported that 44 states have now refused a request by the Trump administration to provide certain information about registered voters, ranging from their criminal records to time spent abroad. A CNN inquiry into all 50 U.S. states found that state leaders and voting officials across the country have been fairly quick to respond to the request for voter data, sent last Wednesday by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – and, in most cases, to reject it.

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Notable tweets

Trump-a-day

 As US is celebrating the Independence Day (from Britain), today’s Trump-a-day selection is just a handful of reasons why the upcoming 1984 film should be renamed into 2017.


President Trump took to Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday to hit North Korea over conducting another ballistic missile test.

North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017

….and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017

The missile test and Trump’s tweets come shortly before Trump is expected to meet with Xi and other world leaders (including Putin) at the upcoming Group of 20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, next week.

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Trump again sent the media into a fury over the weekend when he tweeted a doctored video showing him at a fake wrestling match body-slamming the CNN logo superimposed over the face of WWE president Vince McMahon from a few years ago during a Trump cameo. Reporters accused Trump of encouraging violence against the press. According to a running tally maintained by the Upshot, the president has insulted CNN more than 100 times on Twitter alone.

The relationship between the White House and the media is in shambles, with the daily press briefings devolving into shouting matches and airing of grievances. Both sides engage in stunts, grandstanding and political theatre meant to undermine or embarrass the other. The nasty turn has also been a boon to the media and the individual reporters who register acts of protest against the administration. “Ratings are part of it, but the media’s open contempt for this administration is part of it, too,” said Tim Graham, the director of media analysis at the conservative Media Research Center. “I imagine it will continue as long as the ratings keep going up.”

Trump isn’t changing. This is how he’s going to act in his spare time and he’ll attack the media at least a few times per week for the rest of his time in office. From Friday morning until Sunday night, eight of Trump’s 14 tweets were about the Fourth Estate.

Does Trump’s anti-CNN tweet violate Twitter’s terms? This is the “hateful conduct” policy https://t.co/1oCoXPNNulhttps://t.co/AhEu7Hwn12

— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 2, 2017

 


Twitter not surprisingly said it didn’t.

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The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — formed by President Trump to investigate his widely debunked claim that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in November’s election — sent letters last week to the 50 secretaries of state across the country requesting information about voters. The letter asked for names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state. It also sought felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006. Scary what they can do with this information…

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Multiple FBI staffers reportedly sported T-shirts that read “Comey is my homey” to a Family Day event on Monday, offering support for ousted FBI Director James Comey, whom President Trump fired earlier this year. The back of the shirts featured a quote attributed to Comey: “We choose to do good for a living.”

An FBI spokesperson said the annual Family Day event can showcase divisions in the agency, as well as giving families of agency employees a chance to visit the bureau.

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A top Justice Department official who serves as a corporate compliance watchdog has left her job, saying she felt she could no longer force companies to comply with the government’s ethics laws when members of the administration she works for have conducted themselves in a manner that she claims would not be not tolerated.

Hui Chen had served in the department’s compliance counsel office from November 2015 until she resigned in June, breaking her silence in a LinkedIn post last week highlighted by The International Business Times, which points to the Trump administration’s behaviour as the reason for her job change. “To sit across the table from companies and question how committed they were to ethics and compliance felt not only hypocritical, but very much like shuffling the deck chair on the Titanic,” Chen wrote.

Before her resignation, Chen had posted tweets or retweeted articles that were considered critical of Trump. ”For those who truly care about ‪#ethics, ignoring our current ‪#conductatthetop requires abandonment of conscience,” she tweeted last month.

Chen said management in her office tried to silence her from publicly speaking out against the White House.

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The purge of government employees that have scientific expertise continues. Last Friday, the last three members of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) closed the door to their office for the final time. “Science division out. Mic drop,” one of the employees tweeted. All three staff members were holdovers from the Obama administration. Under his leadership, the OSTP had nine employees that were the executive branch’s brain trust on issues like STEM education, biotechnology, and crisis response. According to CBS News, there is no one working in that division of the OSTP now and no clear indication that replacements will be chosen. One hallmark of this administration’s term has been to leave thousands of federal government positions empty. Areas that Trump isn’t particularly interested in have been left to atrophy. He has no interest in getting along with other countries or using soft power, so the State Department is languishing. He has no interest in science or protecting the environment so the EPA is avoiding staffing and eliminating over 1,200 jobs. The EPAs Board of Scientific Counsellors will be down to 11 members by 1 September. Just a few months ago there were 68 members on the board.

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Iran is holding a weeklong “Trumpism” cartoon contest and exhibition to mock the U.S. president.


The first-prize winner, who received a $1,500 award, depicted President Trump drooling on books while sporting a jacket made of dollar bills, The Associated Press reported Monday. Hadi Asad said he wanted his cartoon to point out the “money-mindedness and war monger nature” of the president. “I wanted to show Trump while trampling symbols of culture,” Asadi told the AP.


Individuals from 74 countries participated in the exhibit that opened on Monday, including 1,614 Iranian cartoons and four American works. That is a lot of Trumpisms. Hopefully, they will publish a book and buying it will not be a sanctions violation. 

Trump-a-day

Yesterday, the President of the United States had his latest Twitter-storm. 

 
On Thursday morning, the anchors of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski apparently triggered Trump’s defence reflex by joking about a report that he hung fake Time magazine covers on the walls of his properties.


Trump has known the two anchors, personally and professionally, for years. The pair, who are engaged to be married, said Trump even offered at a meeting in January to officiate their wedding. For someone who claims to not watch the TV show, Trump blew things out of proportion and once again showed his true self (not that we did not know that he is a misogynistic bully, who can’t take criticism or a joke, because of his ego and a crystal dream of being universally loved and admired.)

Brzezinski responded to Trump’s tweets with a Tweet of her own


For those who do not remember, in a 2015 column, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter detailed how Trump responds to criticism about his fingers. “Just to drive him a little bit crazy, I took to referring to him as a ‘short-fingered vulgarian’ in the pages of Spy magazine.” Carter wrote that Trump had responded with photos highlighting the length of his fingers. On a numerous occasions, Trump also insisted that he has ‘beautiful hands.’

MSNBC’s PR rep tweeted


In a rare moment of unity, nearly the entire national media, including the often pro-Trump Fox News, condemned the tweet.


On the Fox show, “Outnumbered,” the four female co-hosts blasted the tweet, saying it was beneath the dignity of the office. The “one lucky guy” on the show that day happened to be former Governor Mike Huckabee, the father of White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Though he defended Trump hitting back at his detractors (for telling the truth), he noted that Sanders was not defending “what he said, she just defended the right to fight back.”


Republican lawmakers jumped on Trump’s comments, with one saying the insults were “beneath the dignity” of the office. House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about the president’s tweet. “Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” Ryan said. “What we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone and the civility of the debate. And this obviously doesn’t help do that.” Amen.

 

The White House offered an unapologetic defence of Trump’s tweets during a contentious televised press briefing. Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was grilled over whether Trump’s inflammatory tweet was beneath the dignity of the presidency, fuelled a hostile political environment and set a bad example of how women should be treated by powerful men. She responded by defending Trump and berating reporters for ignoring the president’s policy agenda on taxes, healthcare and infrastructure.

“The only person I see a war on is this president and everybody that works for him,” she said. “I don’t think you can expect someone to be personally attacked, day after day, minute by minute, and sit back. The American people elected a fighter.” Nope, they elected a bully.

Sanders said Trump shows the dignity of his office “every day in the decisions he’s making, the focus and the priorities he’s laid out in his agenda. She pushed aside the notion that Trump’s tweets were sexist or a bad example for how to treat women. “Everybody wants to make this an attack on a woman — what about the constant attacks that he receives or the rest of us?” she said. “I’m a woman, I’ve been attacked by that show multiple times, but I don’t cry foul because of it.” When another reporter followed up by asking if Sanders felt that the tweet set a good example for her children, she deflected by saying that God is the “one perfect role model.”


That’s it until Monday.

Have a good weekend.