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Trump Says There Are No Comey Tapes

Donald Trump today said there are no tapes of him and James Comey. Why couldn't he have said that initially?

Just more confirmation he just throws things out there as part of his stream of consciousness that have no basis in fact. Either that, or he is unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood, or still has a child-like need to make stuff up to boost his position.

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Jeff Sessions Testimony

Jeff Sessions will begin testifying soon. I'll be at the jail, but will try to listen on the car radio.
Here's a place to discuss it.

Rod Rosenstein testified this morning and stated only he can fire Mueller. And he would not do so without a good reason. I didn't believe the rumor to begin with-- considering the sources.

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Sessions To Testify Publicly (For Now)

As of this moment, and of course subject to change (as is everything with the Trump Administration), Jefferson Sessions will testify publicly tomorrow about Russia.

Unfortunately, Senators want to ask him about the one meeting that probably wasn't a meeting, and he'll come out looking okay.

Members of the committee are likely to ask Sessions about a possible third undisclosed meeting that is now under investigation, according to media reports.

There was a meet and greet at the foreign policy speech in April 2016. There are photos of both of them. But according to most people, including the event host, there was just a meet and greet:

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Trump Loses Again in 9th Circuit on Travel Ban

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the freeze on Trump's travel ban.

A West Coast federal appeals court upheld the freeze on President Trump’s travel ban Monday, declaring that Trump had exceeded his lawful authority in suspending the issuance of visas to residents of six Muslim majority countries and suspending the U.S. refu­gee program.

...Unlike other courts in the past, the three judges on the 9th Circuit did not dwell on Trump’s public comments. Instead, they ruled that Trump’s travel ban lacked a sufficient national security or other justification that would make it legal.

Trump will probably turn more effort to packing the courts with conservative judges. Rather, he'll let the Federalist Society do the picking. I doubt he'd know how to pick a judge on his own.

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James Comey Tesitifies

Here's the transcript of the testimony so far.

Sounds like he said he believes Trump is a liar, and that he directed him to drop the Flynn investigation, but he can't say whether Trump committed obstruction of justice.

Was there a smoking gun in his testimony? Not from the news coverage I've seen.

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Comey's Prepared Remarks

Here is James Comey's prepared testimony on Trump and Russia. The New York Times has this description.

Trump says Comey's statement vindicates him because it confirms he assured Trump he wasn't personally under investigation.

I don't think that's the issue. The issue is whether he interfered or attempted to interfere in a criminal investigation. There's enough in Comey's statement to show he attempted to interfere with the investigation into Mike Flynn. Comey makes it clear he understood Trump to be requesting the FBI drop the investigation. Is it a smoking gun? No. But it is another loose brick in the wall of the House of Trump, the foundation of which crumbles a bit more every day. [More...]

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Trump Picks Chris Wray to Lead the FBI

Donald Trump will nominate Christopher Wray, a former Deputy AG under GW Bush, for Director of the FBI.

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NYT Report: Trump Unhappy With AG Sessions

The New York Times reports Donald Trump is unhappy with his AG pick, Jefferson Sessions. There seems to be two reasons: He regards Sessions' immigration memo as a "watered down" version of his executive order, and he's mad that Sessions recused himself on Russia.

This sounds more like water-cooler gossip to me than facts suggesting Sessions' tenure will be short-lived.

However, Mr. Trump is said to be aware that firing people now, on the heels of dismissing James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, would be risky. He has invested care and meticulous attention to the next choice of an F.B.I. director in part because he will not have the option of firing another one. The same goes for Mr. Sessions, these people said.

I wish it were otherwise, but I don't think it is.

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Have Jared and Ivanka Had Enough of D.C.? It's Donald That Should Go

A few days ago I wrote:

I think Jared and Ivanka bit off more than they can chew in deciding to move to Washington and get further involved with Trump. I won't be surprised to see them pack up and go back to New York in a year or so.

They may not even make it that long. The media is reporting that White House insiders are suggesting Jared take a leave of absence. (No link due to auto-play video on every site I checked.)

There are also reports Trump is considering a major overhaul of his staff. (Again, no links due to auto-play video everywhere.)

Memo to Trump: Replacing your staff is just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. How long are you going to play this charade? [More...]

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Jared Kushner: The "Person of Interest" in Russia Probe

The Washington Post reports Jared Kushner is indeed the Trump senior adviser who is a person of interest in the FBI's Russia Probe.

"Person of interest" carries no legal connotation. It doesn't mean he's a subject or target of the investigation. Or even that he did something wrong. But the FBI still uses the term (see this poster from 2015) and in the public's view, the phrase has become synonymous with "suspect." Several articles today reinforce that view by saying Kushner is "under scrutiny", which suggests they aren't just looking to him for information about others. It's an unfortunate term that should be discarded.

As to what's being investigated, all the news reports I've read say the FBI is looking at financial crimes as well as ties to Russia. [More...]

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Trump Budget Seeks Increases for His Security and White House Spending

Trump's budget proposal, containing massive reductions for almost every helpful government program, and which is being universally trashed and has little hope in passing, does contain a few increases.

Trump is asking for more money for his security detail and his White House staff and the VP residence. Here's the form. [More...]

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Trump Lawyers Up on Russia Probe

Reuters reports Trump has retained his long time lawyer Marc Kasowitz, who is partners with Joe Lieberman, to represent him in the Russia Probe.

This must be why the Washington Post is reporting Lieberman is no longer Trump's top pick to lead the FBI.

Question: Why did Melania and Ivanka cover up for the Pope but not Saudi Arabia? The media attempts to answer. And here's a covered up Melania holding hands with Donald. I guess he doesn't take no for an answer.

More of Melania's black head cover. Also here. Check out the odd shape. Here is the entire look. Here's Ivanka's veil. If you ask me, both she and Ivanka look like they are dressed for a funeral.

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Trump Signs 40 Trade Agreements with Saudis

I have my doubts Donald Trump can even read 40 documents, but in Saudi Arabia, he signed the United States' name to them anyway. We're now a party to 40 economic agreements totaling $350 billion , (or $280 billion,depending on which press release you read) most of which, from what I can tell, create jobs for the Saudis in Saudi Arabia, give them a huge amount of war toys and line the pockets of the shareholders of companies like Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.

The Saudi Official News page for the economic summit couldn't be more different than the spin Donald Trump is putting out. Examples: [More...]

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Ivanka Subs for Pops at Saudi Twitter Forum

Ivanka Trump took her father's place at a Saudi evening Twitter forum on social media. (He was a no-show, no explanation given.)

There she talked about the 'great Saudi entrepreneurs' she had met throughout the day and marveled that the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology was built in just 30 days.

'That is entrepreneurialism,' she cheered. 'And I may need to borrow those contractors for our next construction project, maybe infrastructure, it was incredibly impressive and the message was very meaningful.'

"Our new construction project?" I thought she had resigned her position with Trump Org., leaving the running of it to her brothers. [More..]

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Senior Advisor Close to Trump is Subject of Russia Probe

Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner announced tonight that James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a public session. This will happen after Memorial Day.

The New York Times reports Donald Trump called James Comey a "nut job" during his meeting with Russian officials the day after he fired Comey. Trump also reportedly said by firing Comey, the pressure was off him.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

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