Trump and Sessions

Most of this has already been said in the press and on news commentary shows.  The Attorney General is nominated by the president, serves at the pleasure of the president and may be fired by president at any time.  The Department of Justice must at the same time conduct investigations independently of the president.   AG Jeff Sessions, whether you like him or hate him, has focused on areas which  are of high concern to President Trump- illegal immigrants in the US and drug trafficking.   He is likely will prosecute anyone who  illegally  discloses  information, when investigations yield compelling evidence.

Sessions has been attacked in tweets by Trump, who said he is very disappointed at the AG.   Commentators believe he is trying to have Sessions resign rather than fire him.

The attorney general  must be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law.  What Sessions won’t do, is make unwarranted accusations and use the Department for partisan purposes.    He was involved in the election campaign of Donald Trump, so it is likely he had close contact with Paul Manafort and others under investigation.   To his credit, he recused himself from the Russian  investigation, so his activities could be investigated without any suggestion of impropriety.   This strengthens the public perception of the integrity of the investigation.

Trump seems obsessed about leaks and the reporting of these leaks in the media.  He wasn’t at all concerned about this when leaks were coming out on a daily basis on Hillary Clinton.  Eric Holder had an active investigation on Julian Assange, who runs Wikileaks.  If he ever steps in the US, hopefully he will be arrested.   Charges against  Edward Snowden have already been filed under the Obama administration.   Should Snowden or Julian Assange ever step foot in the US,  you can be sure that they will be prosecuted under the  full force of the Justice Department..  It makes no difference if this occurs under a Democratic or Republican administration.

But, what Trump has in mind, is the chatter that goes on between White House insiders and the media.  Also, as his popularity is sinking, he has revived the campaign promise to go after violations of the law of Hillary Clinton for disclosure of classified information.   Similar attacks have been launch against FBI Director Comey.  The Department of Justice has access to all the information gathered by the FBI,  and if they feel there is a compelling case, with a reasonable chance of prevailing in their charges,  I am sure Jeff Sessions will not hesitate for one minute to bring charges against Clinton or Comey.   However,  he will not use his office to make frivolous accusations against them.   He will not turn the Department of Justice into a bully pulpit.

I can only surmise that the only reason the Department of Justice had not pressed charges, is because there is insufficient evidence of violation of the law.    I have provided a link below on some myths about what is considered  confidential information.   One  popular myth is  that confidential information should be easily recognized by its subject matter alone and need not be so designated .

Trump was at the Boy Scout Jamboree, and treated it like some kind of campaign rally.   The first two qualities in the Boy Scout oath are Trustworthy and Loyal.   I believe both Jeff Sessions and  FBI Director Comey  through their decades of government service are exemplary  of these qualities.   They are loyal to the people’s representatives who through the ages, created and expanded the Justice Department and the FBI.  No one made the government exempt in administrating their duties as this would undermine our democratic process.  They were not going to allow the integrity be diminished by the political desires of the president of the United States.

Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-classified-information/2015/09/18/a164c1a4-5d72-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html?utm_term=.e610934bea2e

Link on Jeff Sessions:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sessions

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS:  Trump’s approval rating is 37% according to the latest Gallup poll.

Going forward with President Trump

Is  President Trump going to make America great again?  I have strong doubts.

It is clear that the stock market wanted Clinton to win.  The Dow futures dropped nearly 5% when it became clear around 11:00 pm that Trump had a high probability of winning.

If what kills our economy are unfair trade deals, currency manipulation and  competition from China,  then one would think the policies of Trump would be embraced by the stock market. But, this morning’s future trading  and overseas markets say otherwise.   The world markets are in shock.

World economics  is complicated. What looks to be in the US advantage short term, can end up a total disaster later.   The markets are concerned about  the potential for destabilization of our relations with other countries, and disruptive actions on trade agreements. Some economists predicted Trump would lead us back into recession, through tax cuts for the wealthy and increase government spending, particularly on the military.

I prepare a list of hot issues for 2017,  but I’m holding off posting  them,  given how wrong I was about the elections.  We now are in the transition period.  Trump takes office January 20, 2017.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Results

Election results will continually updated through the night.  Surprises would be anything that would cause us to adjust our projection of Clinton winning with 322 to 328 EV.   The Elections can also be followed on CNN.com.

Wins may be actual or projected wins.   The % of vote in is shown on their site

Link:  http://www.cnn.com/election/results/president

11:35 pm Trump declared projector winner of Florida (29 EV),  re-takes the lead with 216 to 196 EV.

11:30  pm Trump 171 Clinton 190

11:11 pm *** Trump projected winner in NC,  considered to lean to Clinton, with 15 EV.

11:08  pm Trump leads FL by 131696 with 96% of vote. Around 360,000 votes to go, so Clinton would have to get around 70% of them to tie.

11:03 pm Trump leads in Wisconsin (10 EV) considered a solid or likely Clinton win.

11:01 pm  Clinton wins CA,  Clinton 190 Trump 171.   CA was always considered a solid Clinton.

10:55 pm  Path to Trump victory is open, with close races in Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and PA.

10:47 pm  Clinton takes New Mexico and Virginia, both considered likely Clinton wins, tally now is Ttump 169 Clinton 109.

10:27 om Trump is the projected winner of Ohio.  Trump now 167 EV to Clinton’s  109.

10:23 pm Trump leads in Florida by 135,000 votes and there is only 5% yet to process.  I calculate that Clinton must get 65% of the remaining votes to tie Trump.

10:16  pm Trump 149 Clinton 109.  All toss-up states are very close,  and VA which was a leaning Clinton state.

9:52 Trump 136 Clinton 104

9:30 pm   FL, NC and  VA are close races.   If Trump wins these states,  Hillary may lose the election.

9:26 pm  Trump 128 EV  Clinton 97 EV

8:54 pm *** This will be no easy win for Clinton with Florida and NC still too close to call.

8:46 pm Race in North Carolina is tight.  Clinton still leads with ~60,000 votes. 61% processed.   Race in NC is critical with 15 EV.

8:43 pm Trump has a projected wins of 66 EV,  Clinton 68,  but if Trump takes FL, he’ll have 95 EV.

8:40 pm Trump ahead in FL by ~ 100,000 votes.

8:31 pm *** Trump may take Florida, in which case Clinton could still win with 293 EV (assuming she wins NC and NV, loses OH).

8:31 pm In Florida,  Trump pulls ahead by 68,000 votes (0.7% lead)

8:22 pm  In Florida,  Trump pulls ahead by 4,000 votes (0.1% lead).

8:17 pm Florida remains extremely close, less than 200 votes apart!

8:13 pm  In FL, Trump and Clinton differ by less than 4000 votes,   87% est. processed.

8:07 pm  Trump and Clinton extremely close in Florida, with 77% of vote in.   Clinton slightly ahead.

11/8/16 8:00 pm (EST)  Trump  48 Clinton 68   No toss ups reporting yet, no surprises.

 

 

Election Predictions, Clinton wins with 322 to 328 EV

Prediction made 11/8 at 6:39 pm

Looks like:

Clinton  wins NH, Nevada, Florida, NC

Trump wins OH, Iowa, Maine (CD2), Nebraska, Arizona, Utah. Georgia, Arizona

So Clinton has 268 in the strong + likely  category plus 54 in toss-up states to win with 322 EV which is 52 EV over what she needs.

But Clinton might win Ohio, giving her 328 EV,  which I give about a 40% chance.

Election predictions

Stay tuned,

Dave

Decision day

It’s 7:37 am in Florida, and the polls opened at 7:00 am.   But each state sets its own rules, so please check for the times in your state.    I have stated my views on who the best candidate is, but I respect those who disagree with me.   Do not go pulling up people’s signs or do anything disrespectful today.   We have four loyal, hardworking and intelligent candidates.   Please respect the decision of millions of people. Democracy works on respect and  a willingness to compromise for the greater good.

I was tempted to add one more blog, but I think this posting pretty well says it all (from Persuade me Politics)

https://persuademepolitics.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/donald-trump-patriot-savior-or-tyrant-part-1/

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Fact checkers

I use factcheck.org mostly, but politifact.com has nice summaries of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and others.

Other fact checkers are:

Washington Post

snopes.com

Politifact found that on the average 4% of Trump’s facts were true while 19% of Clinton’s were true.  Adding the categories of true, mostly true and half true gets Trump up to 30% while Clinto gets 75%.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Trump – a nightmare for foreign policy

Republicans who served under George W. Bush recognized that the US had to play a leadership role in the world.  I like to say, “what goes around, comes around.”

Stronger together- really does work.  Make American Great through insults to our fiends (Mexico) doesn’t work.

Enough.  Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw.  As a Republican I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run to the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth.

Condoleezza Rice,  Former Secretary of State under George W. Bush.

Nicholas Burns was undersecretary of state for political affairs under Bush.  Here is what he said today on CNN:

I hope she’s  [Clinton] going to be the president.  If it’s Donald Trump, I think all bets are off given his unorthodox and I think, very weak and very dangerous views about Russia.  I think we can say with some certainty that Vladamir Putin and the Russian government would like Donald Trump to be elected president because Trump has been denegrating NATo; he’ll make NATPO weaker. He won’t be the strong American leader in Europe that Europeans are accustomed to.  It is clear by their actions and words that the Russians support a Donald Trump candidacy.  Every other European government, and I’ve talked to a lot of them, desperately want Hillary Clinton to be elected because they want stability and a traditional American leader and a leader who is sophisticated enough to know how the US can be effective in that region.

 I think for most Europeans and East Europeans,  Trump is a real danger to them.

Republicans working for President Bush have either remained quiet or turned their back on Trump.  Here’s a sampling:

“If Donald Trump wins, he will, by definition, have created a new template of success for Republicans,” said Ari Fleischer, Mr. Bush’s first White House press secretary. “But if he loses, and particularly if he is crushed, it will reset the party back more in the direction of President Bush.”

Because Mr. Trump represents something far greater in the eyes of the Bush veterans than just an unfortunate party nominee, their determination to defeat him has become more intense.

The vast majority of the approximately three dozen veterans of Mr. Bush’s administration contacted for this article indicated that they would not cast a ballot for Mr. Trump.

“I can count on one hand the number of people I worked with who are supporting Trump,” said R. Nicholas Burns, a former Bush State Department official who has been calling his onetime colleagues to solicit support for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.

R. Nicholas Burns :

Nicholas Burns (born January 28, 1956) is a university professor, columnist, lecturer and former American diplomat. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a member of the Board of Directors of the school’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. At the Harvard Kennedy School, he is Director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East and India and South Asia. He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc. He writes a biweekly column on foreign affairs for the Boston Globe and is a senior foreign affairs columnist for GlobalPost.

This I promise you will be my very last post until after the election.   I also will post all comments on these issues.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Hate Comey- Love Comey – Hate Comey

The 8 day saga of Trump and Director of the FBI Comey has ended.   Saturday, Comey was wonderful, because he was investigating Clinton.   Since details were sparse, Trump could improvise.  When the investigation ended on Sunday, Trump says the system is rigged,  all the FBI investigators are liars,  and there is this gigantic conspiracy going all the way to the top.  Ridiculous!

Sunday,  Trump was blasting Comey as a horrible liar.   How could anyone in 8 days sift through 650,000 emails?   First, who says there were 650,000 emails.   The number sounded absolutely ridiculous.   Comparisons were done by computer, and  in all likelihood, there was tons of duplication or email backups.  Plus personal emails, drafts, and other documents that could be related to emails.

It isn’t hard to find duplicates.   The emails have  exact dates, to/from and other quickly identifiable information.   Director Comey does not have to provide any information on this probe, and normally there would be no need for disclosure given there are no accusations of wrong doing.  But the urgency is obviously the elections.

I really expected this was a whole lot about nothing.  The emails were on the aide’s laptop, only for the purpose of facilitating printing.

I can take a document with a million words and compare it to another similar document, and in minutes, the computer can identify the words that are different.  If I had a faster computer, this would be done in seconds.   It’s done every day, in fact when people are modifying documents.

So,  Trump should man up and admit he lost.   When the investigation looked like it was going to help Trump, Comey could do no wrong.  Now Comey is the enemy and gets the full Trump barrage.

Comey’s Letter:

Dear Messrs. Chairmen:

I write to supplement my October 28, 2016 letter that notified you the FBI would be taking additional investigative steps with respect to former Secretary of State Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.

Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.

I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.

Sincerely yours,
James B. Comey
Director

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Serious Toss Up States + who is ahead

I said in a prior post, it’s all up to FIONNA,  meaning Florida, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada  and Arizona.  Toss-up states are now just 4:   Florida,  Ohio, North Carolina,  Nevada.     Arizona and Iowa are now mostly predicted to lean Trump.   Now it’ just  FONN as toss-ups.   Polls can’t give conclusive results in these states because the difference in the polls is within the margin of error, in most cases.

Can Trump win?  Yes.   Can Clinton win?  Yes.

Clinton is ahead but her lead has narrowed, and the campaign isn’t over.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

Trump Lies on the Benghazi

Republicans prepared a report  in June 2016 which none of the Democrats supported.  They issued their separate report.   But both Democratic and Republican reports and prior investigations state that the embassy in Benghazi was inadequately protected.  Hillary Clinton agrees with this assessment and as Secretary of State accepted all recommendations made at the time to improve security.  Of course, you are not going to hear this from Trump.

The big lie is that Secretary Clinton did nothing while 4 Americans were killed in Benghazi. Not even the Republican version of the Benghazi has any conclusion remotely similar to this.  The Republican report states it was impossible to save the two lives in the embassy.  The discussion is on the two lives while guarding the CIA annex.    This is all about an attack that lasted a total of 11 minutes.

Here’s the reporting from the New York Times, June 28, 2016:

“The Republican-led committee found no evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state.”

What the Republican version did, was to suggest, just possibly, more could have been done militarily to save the two lives and  suggest Leon Panetta and the Department of Defense.   acted too slow.  NYT reports:

 Senior Pentagon officials have consistently said that they were constrained by the “tyranny of time and distance” — that is, that the military could not have sent troops or planes in time to have made a difference.

NYT reports:

Even the report acknowledges the challenges facing the so-called FAST teams: These troops did not have their own planes, which meant delays waiting for flights; did not travel with their own vehicles (they would need to find some in Benghazi when they landed); and were designed to deploy before a crisis hit, not during hostilities.

Essentially, the hypothetical rescue mission would have been sent to save the lives of two servicemen guarding the CIA Annex.  More lives could have been lost in this mission.  And then the Pentagon, Obama, or even Secretary Clinton would have come under serious attack.

Full NYT article

The best summary I’ve seen on Benghazi is from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Benghazi_attack

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

And Pence is just as bad on pushing email fictions

From factcheck.org:

In an Oct. 30 interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Pence said that “Hillary Clinton continues to refuse to turn over some 33,000 e-mails.” But, as we said earlier, Clinton’s non-work-related emails were deleted more than a year ago, so Clinton doesn’t have them to turn over. As we have previously written, Clinton’s office disclosed on March 10, 2015, that she gave the State Department 30,490 work-related emails on Dec. 5, 2014, and “chose not to keep” 31,830 emails she deemed “personal.” “We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department,” Clinton said at a press conference on March 10, 2015. “At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails.”

The 31,830 personal emails were deleted “sometime between March 25-31, 2015,” according to the FBI notes of its investigation. As we said earlier, the emails were deleted by a PRN employee about three weeks after Clinton received a congressional subpoena on March 4, 2015. So Clinton is “not continuing to refuse to turn over some 33,000 e-mails,” as Pence claimed. Because they were deleted by PRN (private computer company), she doesn’t have them to release.

PRN stands for Platte River Network.   So, these accusations that Hillary Clinton either refused to turn over emails or ordered them destroyed has been investigated and found to be false.   Time for Republicans to move on.

Fact check is a non-partisan organization, is a project from the Annaberg Public Policy Center.  See:

www.factcheck.org

They find many false statements from both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Stupid Trump Claims- Part 2

Hillary Clinton is not playing Trump’s game of making her deny his false allegations. He wants her to play on defense. But I will.

Donald Trump stated the following:

“She made 13 phones disappear, some with a hammer.”

Factcheck.org disagrees:
It is true that the FBI said (on page 8) it “identified 13 total mobile devices … which potentially were used to send e-mails using Clinton’s clintonemail.com e-mail addresses.” But only eight of the 13 were used while Clinton was secretary of state, the FBI said, so Trump exaggerates the number of devices she had during her four years in office. (See “A Guide to Clinton’s Emails.”)
The FBI also quoted a Clinton aide (on page 9) as saying that he could recall on two occasions that he got rid of old mobile devices by breaking them in half or hitting them with a hammer.
Trump insinuates that there is something sinister about owning several mobile devices and destroying the old ones when they are replaced. But the FBI came to no such conclusion, and security experts interviewed by the technology website Wired said destroying old devices is a good way to erase data — if done properly.

The stupid and untrue email claims – Part 1

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

John Kennedy, June 11, 1962, Yale Commencement Address

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Hillary Clinton is not playing Trump’s game of making her deny his false allegations.  He wants her to play on defense.   But I will.

Donald Trump stated the following:

“But you know, the deletion of 33,000 e-mails, boy, that just sort of is so out there, after receiving a subpoena from the United States government. She lied to Congress, she lied to the FBI, she made 13 phones disappear, some with a hammer. The Clinton crew gave more than $675,000 to the wife of the deputy director of the FBI and the man who was overseeing the investigation into Hillary’s illegal server.”

None of these statements are true.

Here is what factcheck.org has to say on the first claim.

Trump conflates and distorts three separate issues to make his Watergate comparison. Let’s take them in order.

“Hillary bleached and deleted 33,000 e-mails after receiving a congressional subpoena.”

Trump is referring to 31,830 emails that Clinton’s lawyers had deemed personal. These emails did not have to be turned over to the State Department, which in the summer of 2014 requested all work-related emails that the former secretary of state had in her possession. (See “A Guide to Clinton’s Emails.”)

The department’s policy allows its employees to determine which emails are work-related and must be preserved. “Messages that are not records may be deleted when no longer needed,” according to the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual (5 FAM 443.5). (See “Trump on the Stump.“)

That means Clinton was within her right to delete these emails, so that’s the first thing to know.

Now, Trump is right that these emails were deleted about three weeks after Clinton received a subpoena on March 4 from a Republican-controlled House committee investigating the 2012 deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. However, there is no evidence that she knew that the emails were deleted after the subpoena was issued.

According to the FBI’s investigative notes, Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, in December 2014 told Platte River Networks that Clinton had preserved her work-related emails and “no longer needed access to any of her e-mails older than 60 days.” At that time, Mills instructed a PRN employee “to modify the e-mail retention policy” on Clinton’s server “to reflect this change.” That would automatically delete the old emails. But the PRN employee told the FBI that “he had an ‘oh shit’ moment” after learning about the subpoena sometime between March 25 and March 31, 2015, which is when he deleted Clinton’s emails. Clinton told the FBI that she was not aware that PRN deleted her emails in late March 2015, and the FBI did not say when she learned that they were deleted. (See “The FBI Files on Clinton’s Emails.”)

PRN used a free software program called BleachBit to delete the emails. That’s what Trump means when he says the emails were “bleached.” Other times he has said that Clinton “used chemicals” to “acid wash or bleach” her emails. That’s part of the deception, too. (See “Trump, Pence ‘Acid Wash’ Facts.”)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

—- Bottom line is there is no requirement that government employees retain personal emails after they leave service.  Also, there is zero evidence to support the allegation that Hillary Clinton ordered deletion of personal emails after receiving a subpoena from a Republican controlled House committee.   

Hillary Clinton- Best Choice for President

As President, she will have a lot to deal with.  The most critical will be international policy, with the crises in Syria, being number 1.   Syria is a complex mess, and can only be put back together by cooperation from many countries, including Turkey, Iran and Russia.  Her slogan,  “Stronger Together”,  is the right path forward.

Obama and Bush have never found a way to persuade North Korea’s leader Kim Jung-un to halt his quest for nuclear weapons.   He is truly a scary leader.  Libya is battling ISIS, yet the country still in broken into various factions.

Donald Trump has demonstrated his ineptness with his insulting comments to Mexico.  It doesn’t take much to be friends with Mexico- but he blew it big time.  He seems to start little wars at the drop of a hat.  Even insulting Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz’s father  and many other Republicans.

It is not the time to elect a president who has zero knowledge of diplomacy.  This is not the job who calls our elections rigged when he’s behind in the polls. There is no on-the-job training program.

Vote for Hillary to keep our nation great by working with others to find solutions.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

What happens next Comey-wise?

Watching too much CNN recently.   But, what pretty much makes sense, is nothing happens.  Comey  can refuse to answer all questions of an ongoing investigation, so bringing him in front of a subcommittee would be pure political theater.  He could refuse to appear, and be served with a subpoena.

Director Comey could make a mad dash to complete the investigation in the next 5 days- but experts are saying this is not realistic.   So,  nothing is likely to be resolved before the election.  Afterwards, if Clinton is elected, it is a super mess, particularly if Trump fails to concede.

The reason emails were sent to Hillary’s aide laptop, was so she could print them off and give them to Hillary.  If a classified email was on Huma Abedin’s laptop, and subsequently used by Anthony Wiener,  all this was unintentional.   Director Comey will not recommend prosecution for Huma Adelin, Anthony Wiener nor Hillary Clinton IF  classified information not previously discovered on the server  is found on the laptop.    The information was not where it was supposed to be. But there certainly was no public disclosure of classified information, only the unintentional mishandling of information, which Huma nor Anthony Wiener likely did not know was classified, and will not be charged with any crimes.

So I think this is really a lot of fuss by the media over very little.

Stay tuned,

Dave