As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Trump Blows Up Meeting with Schumer and Pelosi

This is pretty funny.

President Trump dragged Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi down Pennsylvania Avenue for what was supposed to be an infrastructure meeting. Then he threw them out and held a press conference in the Rose Garden about how they are unjustly investigating him, and he’s not doing any infrastructure until they cut it out.

A brilliant PR stunt by the master.

According to the Washington Examiner:

President Trump canceled a scheduled meeting on infrastructure with Democrats on Wednesday, saying he was upset about claims he engaged in a coverup and Democrats’ use of “the I word” — meaning impeachment.

“Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up. I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump said, speaking in the Rose Garden about 25 minutes after the scheduled start of the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Trump said he was particularly upset about Pelosi suggesting he engaged in a coverup during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

“I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I would be really good at that. That’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with,'” Trump said.

The Trump Iran Policy is Working

I’m a little concerned that National Security Advisor John Bolton is looking for a war. But as it stands now, the Iran policy he and President Trump are pursuing is working.

In short, the idea is to try to do something about problems every other administration has kicked down the road: Iran’s nuclear program cannot be permitted to resume and get to a point where they can build ICBMs, all of which they can do under the deal Barack Obama negotiated with them, as long as they wait a few years. Iran’s influence around the Middle East must be rolled back. And Iran must stop killing Americans, something they have been doing for years and that has simply been tolerated.

No more. As this great piece by Marc Thiessen makes clear, the increase in U.S. forces in the Gulf was ordered because while Trump tightens the screws with sanctions – hoping to force Iran back to the negotiating table – the country is about to start attacking Americans, maybe in a big way, as they have in the past.

The message is: We are the superior power, and we will not be threatened by you.

From the Thiessen piece:

When Trump came into office, Iran was on the march across the Middle East — in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen — thanks to the Obama administration’s failure to confront Iranian aggression and the massive infusions of cash it received from sanctions relief under President Barack Obama’s Iran deal. Trump withdrew from the deal, but he did not simply restore sanctions imposed before it; he ramped them up to unprecedented levels. The sanctions have already “wiped $10 billion from Iranian revenue since November,” The Post reported, citing administration officials.

This month, the administration tightened the screws even further, eliminating waivers for eight countries that had previously been allowed to continue importing Iranian oil. The goal, according to American officials, is to reduce Iranian oil exports to “zero.” It’s working. Bloomberg News reports that “Iran’s oil shipments tumbled this month after the U.S. ended sanctions waivers. . . . So far, not a single ship has been seen leaving Iran’s oil terminals for foreign ports.”

The new sanctions are forcing Tehran to cut funds to its terrorist proxies. According to The Post, “Iran’s ability to finance allies such as Hezbollah has been curtailed,” while in Lebanon, the New York Times reports, “Syrian militiamen paid by Iran have seen their salaries slashed” because, to quote one fighter, “Iran doesn’t have enough money to give us.” On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that “Iran’s proposed defense budget has been reduced by 25 percent and the [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’] proposed budget by about 10 percent.”

Iran is obviously unhappy with this, and U.S. intelligence saw signs that Iran was preparing to respond with attacks on Americans using terrorist proxies — just as they did in the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombingand the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, and by supplying Shiite militias in Iraq with armor-penetrating roadside bombs that killed hundreds of American soldiers.

Trump Schedule || Wednesday, May 22, 2019

11:15 am || Meets with Congressional Democrats on infrastructure; Cabinet Room
3:10 pm || Participates in the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor presentation ceremony; East Room
7:00 pm || Holds a fundraising roundtable; Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C.
7:30 pm || Delivers remarks at a fundraising committee reception; Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C. 

All times Eastern

Forty-Three Percent of Americans Think Socialism is “a Good Thing”

Actually, they are mistaken. Socialism is a bad thing.

How quickly people forget. Honestly, we’re less than two decades past the Cold War, and already Americans are forgetting just how bad socialism can get.

Most Democrats support it, of course.

According to Gallup:

Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.More Americans Now See Socialism as a Good Thing for the CountryWould some form of socialism be a good thing or a bad thing for the country as a whole?

The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup’s update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.

Previous Gallup research shows that Americans’ definition of socialism has changed over the years, with nearly one in four now associating the concept with social equality and 17% associating it with the more classical definition of having some degree of government control over the means of production. A majority of Democrats have said they view socialism positively in Gallup polling since 2010, including 57% in the most recent measure in 2018.

Trump to Name Ken Cuccinelli as Immigration Czar

This has Stephen Miller’s fingerprints all over it. Having failed to get his top choice to lead ICE, the White House immigration hawk now has an immigration “coordinator” whose title will belie his toughness and influence.

I’ve watched Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who has unsuccessfully run for governor, for years. He’s dynamic and edgy and will take a tough line on the border.

According to the New York Times:

President Trump is expected to name Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a former attorney general of Virginia and an immigration hard-liner, as his choice to coordinate the administration’s immigration policies, a White House official confirmed on Tuesday.

The specifics of the role — including the title and the scope of duties — are still being hashed out, according to the official. But Mr. Cuccinelli is expected to be based in the Department of Homeland Security, not in the White House.

Mr. Cuccinelli met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office on Monday, along with nearly a dozen other administration officials, including Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security. By Monday evening, Mr. Cuccinelli had begun placing calls to people to alert them that he was expected to get the job, according to people familiar with the discussions. The formal appointment could come as soon as this week, officials said.

Mr. Cuccinelli served as attorney general from 2010 to 2014, running unsuccessfully for governor of Virginia in 2013. He is a frequent presence on cable news, which Mr. Trump consumes with gusto. He is aligned with Mr. Trump on issues related to border security, though he caught the president’s attention during the 2016 presidential primaries, when he led the effort to strip Mr. Trump of delegates on behalf of an opponent, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a person close to the president said.

Wife of Top Trump Investigator Elijah Cummings May Be Involved in Financial Scam

Looks like the investigators may need even more investigating.

According to the Washington Examiner:

A charity run by the wife of Rep. Elijah Cummings received millions from special interest groups and corporations that had business before her husband’s committee and could have been used illegally, according to an IRS complaint filed by an ethics watchdog group.

Cummings, 68, a Maryland Democrat, is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. His wife, Maya Rockeymoore, 48, is the chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party and briefly ran in the state’s gubernatorial race last year. The couple married in 2008. Cummings was once heavily in debt — in part due to hefty child support payments to his first wife and two other women he had children with — but his financial situation has improved considerably over the past decade.

Rockeymoore runs two entities, a nonprofit group called the Center for Global Policy Solutions and a for-profit consulting firm called Global Policy Solutions, LLC, whose operations appear to have overlapped, according to the IRS complaint filed by watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center on Monday. The complaint states that the arrangement may have been used to derive “illegal private benefit.”

Global Policy Solutions received more than $6.2 million in grants between 2013 and 2016, according to tax records. Several of the nonprofit group’s financial backers — which included Google, J.P Morgan and Prudential — have business interests before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Cummings has served as Democratic chairman of the committee since January and previously served as ranking member.

The largest contributor to the nonprofit was the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is the charitable arm of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, a company that is regulated by Cummings’s committee. The foundation, which gave a total of $5.5 million to Rockeymoore’s consulting firm and $5.2 million to her nonprofit, ceased supporting her groups in 2017. 

In recent months, Cummings has been a vocal opponent of Johnson & Johnson, targeting the company as part of the House Oversight Committee’s probe of drug price inflation.

Under Cummings, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has wide authority to regulate business industries, including pharmaceuticals, banking, mortgage brokers, and technology. In recent years, Prudential, JP Morgan, and Johnson & Johnson have had business interests before the committee.

Tom Anderson, director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project, which has been investigating the nonprofit arrangement and provided research to the Washington Examiner, said the potential for corruption is “off the charts.” He said Rockeymoore declined to let his organization view her nonprofit’s most recent public financial records as required by the IRS.

Gillibrand: I Wouldn’t Detain Anybody at All

Yes, actually, let’s just release everybody into the country. And then have another amnesty in ten years. Also, let’s start advertising in Latin America: Come to the United States, tell a judge you’ll show up when you’re supposed to, and then forget about it. Well, I guess, not too much different than what we’ve got… Continue Reading

Mitt Romney, Trump’s New John McCain

With John McCain gone, a hole opened up in the Senate, and Mitt Romney has filled it. Without Romney, there might not have been anybody to relentlessly take the moral high ground against President Trump and lecture us about the morality of our national politics. Of course, had Trump made Romney secretary of state, as… Continue Reading

Trump Schedule || Monday, May 20, 2019

Noon || Receives his intelligence briefing5:40 pm || Departs White House6:50 pm || Arrives Montoursville, Pennsylvania7:00 pm || Delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally; Montoursville, Pennsylvania8:35 pm || Departs Montoursville, Pennsylvania9:45 pm || Arrives White House All times Eastern Facebook Twitter Reddit Linkedin email Continue Reading