Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trump Watch 2017 July 13

Welcome to today's Trump Watch

Although Donald Trump Jr.'s email scandal is making headlines around the country I'd like to start off with a smaller story. Its easy to forget about these smaller but also questionable violations. Trump's State Department booked almost 20 rooms at a hotel in Vancouver for a trip whose details are not being disclosed. Guess which hotel it was? The the new Trump hotel in Vancouver. Guess how much they spent? Over $15,000 USD. The Washington Post reports that Donald Jr., Eric, and Tiffany were there with lots of security for a opening party. Although this might not be technically illegal it is certainly a conflict of interest and raises ethical issues. 

Ok on to the main headlines. President Trump returned from Russia to even more Russia! Donald Trump Jr.’s emails were reviewed by authorities and found to have even more connections to the Russian involvement in the 2016 elections. 

Specifically, they show that Donald Trump Jr. was contacted by representatives of the Russian Government and that Trump Jr. was enthusiastically accepting the help. Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who contacted Trump Jr.,  has ties to both the Kremlin and Russian business leaders. 

Read more at The New York Times: "Rancor at the White House...
Read more at The Guardian:  "Who is Natalia Veselnitskaya: low-level lawyer or Kremlin power broker?"

One of the most significant stories that hit the papers today is about the big "I" word. The Representative, Brad Sherman of California filed articles of impeachment against President Trump. USA Today reported that Sherman stated "I believe his conversations with, and subsequent firing of, FBI Director Comey constitute obstruction of justice...The Constitution does not provide for the removal of a president for impulsive, ignorant incompetence. It does provide for the removal of a president for high crimes and misdemeanors."  Some think its highly unlikelihood that the impeachment will gain much traction since the House is run by a Republican-majority. 

Read more at USA Today:  "Democratic lawmaker files articles of impeachment against President Trump"

Random note: Does anyone have any suggestions for good books to read?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Trump Watch, 2017 July 6

Welcome to today's Trump Watch

The Donald, flew to across the pond and his first stop off was in Poland, the land of Oscypek cheese. When he arrived for his speech apparently the Polish Government brought in  hundreds of people to give the image of a cheering crowd.  "Unless they do something wrong, pretty much every American president is very popular and will get a warm welcome," stated Professor Aleks Szczerbiak who studies Polish politics at the University of Sussex.

Its probably not a coincidence that his visit to Poland arrived just as "the first ever US liquefied natural gas shipment arrived" to help Poland diversify its energy needs and become less dependent on Russia.  

You can read more about his trip at BBC. Trump in Poland: Five reasons why he is going there.

The New York Times is reporting that Trump's top aides are worried about his meeting with Putin this week. He is expected to have a  short meeting  Trump will meet with Putin on the side of the bigger G20 summit in Germany. There are also some big protests going on at the G20 meeting. 

The United States, under the Trump administration rejected visas for an all-girl robotics team from Afghanistan competing in the FIRST Global Challenge. The six teenage inventors traveled to the American embassy in Kabul, which was a dangerous 500 mile journey across war torn Afghanistan.

Random note: I'm hungry and I want some pizza. :( 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Trump whump whump. . .

Trump created a "voter fraud commission" and asked the states to turn over their full voter data for every single voter in the US. The request includes the persons:
  1. name
  2. date of birth 
  3. address
  4. last four of their Social Security number
  5. voting history
  6. party affiliation
Trump created the commission to investigate the supposed 5 million undocumented immigrants who voted illegally in the recent election.  But there many organizations, including governmental ones, claim there is no solid evidence this happened. Read more at The Washington Post.

This could amount to a huge privacy issue and could curtail a democratic voting process.  Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said "At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression”. If the commission looses the data or fails to secure it properly it could also lead to a identity theft problem of a gargantuan size. They're demanding every single voter in the US for heavens sake!

There is some good news though.  24 states are refusing to submit to the "voter fraud commission" and turn in the voter data. Read more at The Hill.