Tag Archives: Donald Trump Jr.

Sen. Burr becomes latest GOP ‘villain’

Richard Burr has become the latest villain du jour among his fellow Republican Party politicians.

How did the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman attract this label? All he did was subpoena Donald J. Trump Jr. to testify before his committee to talk about matters involving that nasty ol’ Russia matter involving Don Jr.’s father, the president of the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the Russia story is “closed.” He wants to move on. He wants the Senate to stop talking about it. He has declared that Donald Sr. has been cleared of collusion with Russians who attacked our election in 2016 as well as with obstruction of justice allegations that, well, are still out there.

Other GOP pols have declared their disgust, anger, outrage at Burr’s decision to summon Don Jr. to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Let me remind everyone of this fact: Sen. Burr is not running for re-election in 2022.

Burr was re-elected to a third Senate term in 2016, but that’s it. He’s now no longer looking for votes, nor is he tied to blind fealty of the Trump “base” of supporters that gets all riled at any mention by politicians who want to find out the whole truth about the way Trump campaigned for the presidency.

Yes, indeed. Lame-duck status does have this liberating effect on politicians.

Trump’s boasts return to the headlines

Donald J. Trump Jr. had the bad sense to pop off about the college enrollment scandal that has swallowed up the careers of at least two prominent Hollywood TV and film stars.

Junior’s remarks brought out Twitter responses throughout the social media universe discussing how Don Jr. was able to parlay his father’s deep pockets into enrolling at a prestigious school.

And that brought back all those sound bites of Donald J. Trump Sr. bragging about his brilliance.

Which brings me to my point.

I’ve known a lot of wealthy and smart individuals over the course of my 69 years on this Earth. I have made the acquaintance of one billionaire and have become friendly with a number of individuals who are worth millions. I’ve known West Point, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy graduates. I have developed good relationships with many men and women with high-powered degrees from some of the top universities in the United States.

I cannot recall ever hearing a single one of them — be they wealthy or uber-smart — telling me how rich and smart they are. I always knew about their wealth and their intelligence. There was no need for any of them rub it in my face.

Thus, I always wonder when I hear the president of the United States tell us how he went to the “finest schools,” and has built a “world-class company” whether he really is as smart and as wealthy as he claims to be.

I think I can answer the first part of that query. Trump isn’t as smart as he proclaims. I believe that via the nature of the hideous way he communicates via Twitter; I also listen to his spoken syntax as he lies his way through public life.

As for the other part, his wealth, well . . . no one can say for certain if he is as filthy rich as he claims to be. He won’t show us his tax returns.

Therefore, many of us are left to wonder: Is he really that rich? I tend to think not.

Ivanka Trump said what? No one wants a free ride? Wow!

Robert Reich, the outspoken critic of the Donald Trump administration, posted an item on Facebook that needs to be shared here.

In an interview, Ivanka Trump claimed that most Americans “in their hearts” don’t want to be given something for free, criticizing proposals for a federal jobs guarantee.

Excuse me? Ivanka and her siblings stand to inherit a fortune. And, if Mitch McConnell gets his ways and eliminates the estate tax, they won’t pay a dime on their inheritance. An estimated 60 percent of wealth in America is now inherited.

Ivanka, the American people want fairness, not handouts and nepotism — something you’re quite familiar with.

My jaw just hit the deck when I saw what the First Daughter said.

Americans “in their hearts” don’t want a free ride . . . she said.

Let me think for a moment: Her father was staked by his wealthy dad, Ivanka’s grandpa, hundreds of millions of dollars to start a business. Donald Trump built a business, albeit with some failures along the way.

Then he produced Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric with his first wife. Tiffany came along during Dad’s second marriage. Donald’s third marriage produced Barron, who remains off limits for criticism.

Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric have been “given” all the comforts of an opulent lifestyle. They haven’t worked for any of the wealth into which they were born.

For Ivanka to presume to speak for the rest of us who have struggled at times to provide for our families, to be candid, is laughable on its face.

‘Because walls work’

Donald John Trump Jr. nailed it.

He posted this message via Twitter: “You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work.”

Where do I begin? I’ll start with this: Don Jr. has issued — hands down! — the most preposterous argument yet in this discussion over whether to erect The Wall along our southern border.

He has, in the minds of many critics, compared illegal immigrants to lions, tigers and bears . . . oh, my! Yep. If we’re going to build walls that separate zoo visitors from vicious animals then we should do precisely the same thing to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States of America.

I thought that Don Jr.’s dad’s assertion that movie stars, politicians (including former presidents) and the pope living behind walls took the cake for bodacious rationalization. I was wrong. The eldest son of the president has won the take-the-cake prize.

Should we care about what a president’s son has to say about this? In most cases, no. This fellow, though, has become a spokesman of sorts for the president of the United States. He pops off randomly to make some kind of point. He’s usually off base, but what the heck? He carries the name of the man elected to lead the world’s most indispensable nation. That, by itself, seems to lend a bit of misplaced gravitas to the idiocy that sometimes flies out of his mouth.

Illegal immigrants are not wild animals. They are human beings. They aren’t all scurrilous criminals. Most of them are seeking a better life for themselves and their loved ones. Indeed, most illegal immigrants are here legally already, but who have remained past the time their work visas have expired.

Donald Trump Jr. lends not a single constructive thing to this debate. However, his nonsense is worth a brief comment here because — dare I suggest it — he well might be echoing the views of his father.

Disgusting.

If there was nothing wrong …

It’s fair now to ask a key question.

It goes like this: If there was nothing wrong with Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russians who had “dirt” on Hillary Rodham Clinton, why did Don Jr. and his father, the president of the United States, lie about it?

We now at this moment that Don Jr.’s meeting with the Russians in 2016 was meant to deliver the goods on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Junior said at the time that there was nothing to it. He also said the meeting was called to discuss “Russian adoption.” Daddy Trump said the same thing. Oh, he also reportedly dictated the statement that Don Jr. released to the public declaring the phony Russian adoption dodge.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking carefully at all of this. He will tell us eventually where all this will lead.

I just need to say that the view from the cheap seats tells me there’s something quite fishy going on and that Mueller may be getting ready to hook “the big one.”

Conspiracy to collude, anyone?

Anyone?

Can’t put a single thing past POTUS

Once upon a time, long before he died of cancer complications, I once said of the late Amarillo millionaire weirdo Stanley Marsh 3 that I wouldn’t put a single thing past him, that he was capable of attempting any stunt under the sun.

With apologies to the late Texas Panhandle eccentric “artisan” and goofball, I am beginning to think the same thing of the president of the United States.

His former lawyer/confidant/”fixer” Michael Cohen has told authorities that he believes Donald Trump knew of the infamous 2016 meeting with Russians who had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton before the meeting took place.

That means Trump — surprise, surprise! — allegedly lied when he said he knew nothing of the meeting, that no one told him. Cohen reportedly told Don Trump Jr. in advance of the meeting, and that Don Jr. told Dad.

There also are reports that Trump’s legal might have leaked the news of Cohen’s recordings of the two men discussing paying hush money to a Playboy model who alleges she and the future president had a nearly year long love affair.

What might Trump the Elder have done here? There’s some speculation that the president might be behind the leak of this information so that he can get a head start on discrediting Cohen. He wants to peel away at Cohen’s credibility as he has sought to do with special counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI director James Comey.

And this all might be the work of someone who says point blank that he has “done nothing wrong.”

Sure.

Trump torches Bannon

I guess Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon won’t be exchanging Christmas cards any longer.

Bannon, the former chief strategist in the Trump White House, has decided to turn on his former boss-friend by writing in a new book that Don Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous.” Oh, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chief Paul Manafort were there, too.

The president’s response may go down in political annals as a classic. He fired off a statement that declared that Bannon has “lost his mind,” that he had little to do with the victory that Trump scored in the 2016 election and that Bannon was the primary reason Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore lost an Alabama election he was supposed to win.

As one CNN analyst said, Trump in effect turned a flamethrower on his former top White House aide.

According to CNN: “Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating 17 candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party,” Trump said in the statement. 

Well … I guess this means Trump no longer has any relationship with Bannon. To think that Bannon declared after he was let go from his White House job that he would be the president’s best friend and most loyal political ally. Bannon pledged to carry Trump’s message forward.

What does Bannon’s published statement mean to the investigation that special counsel Robert Mueller is conducting? Hmm. I suppose it might mean that it piques the curiosity of Mueller’s legal team enough to question Bannon extensively on what he means by “unpatriotic” and “treasonous.”

Oh, the hits just keep coming.

HHS boss grounds those spendy private jets

There’s some of this going around the Trump administration.

The “this” is a penchant for spending lots of money needlessly. Taxpayer money, at that!

The latest perp happens to be Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Tom Price, who until just this weekend had been using private jets to travel to hither and yon to do the public’s business. What’s more, the public has been picking up the tab.

Secretary Price has grounded the private jets pending a government review of the practice. “We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart,” Price said.

Fair enough. This is a bad habit that has emerged during Donald J. Trump’s time in the White House.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wanted the federal government to fly him and his new bride to a honeymoon location. I took note of that request in an earlier post and pointed out that Mnuchin is worth an estimated cool $500 million. I believe he could afford to pay for his own air transportation, although the secretary did mention “security concerns” as his reason for seeking government travel.

Back to Price for a moment.

Price’s travel habits came under scrutiny from Politico, which reportedly identified about $400,000 in private jet travel by Price since he took office earlier this year. Price hasn’t defended his use of private jets; indeed, he acknowledges the “optics don’t look good.”

While he was a Republican member of Congress, Price criticized then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of luxury jets to fly around the country. Pelosi in fact had access to government air travel, given that at the tsheecond in line of succession to the presidency. She was criticized correctly for her use of the luxury aircraft.

As Politico  has reported, Price’s use of these private jets breaks with recent custom: Price’s use ivate jets breaks with the practices of Obama administration HHS secretaries Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Kathleen Sebelius, who flew commercially while in the continental United States and deliberately avoided taking charter jets. HHS staff last year scrapped a proposal for Burwell to take a multi-city tour linked to the kickoff of annual Obamacare enrollment because the trip would have required charter aircraft and cost about $60,000. 

I just want to offer a word of caution here.

Everyone, it seems, is mindful these days of profligate spending at all levels of government. Secretary Price needs to re-calibrate his public-relations radar to ensure he can avoid getting caught in this PR trap. Don’t blow the public’s cash for the sake of convenience.

‘Like any father … ‘

Sarah Huckabee Sanders needs to get a grip on this indisputable fact: The man she serves as White House press secretary is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill parent who loves his children.

Donald John Trump is the president of the United States. So, when the press aide says the president was helping his son with public remarks to the public about a controversial meeting “like any father would,” she sets aside the fact that Trump is not like “any father.”

Sure, the president is still a father and a grandfather.

Sanders’s comment deals with questions into whether the president helped his son, Donald Trump Jr., craft a misleading statement about the nature of his meeting with a Russian lawyer who invited Don Jr. to meet with her because — allegedly — she had some dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trump’s role as a parent in this context has been eclipsed — for better and/or worse — by his role as president of the United States, the head of state of the greatest nation on Earth.

He ain’t just “any father.”

Special counsel’s plate getting quite full

Robert Mueller keeps getting more information than he can digest at a single sitting.

Yep, the special counsel assigned to examine Russian government meddling into our electoral process and allegations that the Donald J. Trump campaign colluded with the Russians is getting a good bit more, um, complicated.

The Washington Post is reporting, for instance, that the president told Donald John Trump Jr. how he should describe a meeting Don Jr. had with a Russian lawyer who invited him to meet so he could receive some alleged dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The president’s lawyer denies the story outright. Other Trump defenders accuse the Post of conveying “fake news.”

But, oh, this is the stuff of serious political intrigue.

Don Jr. supposedly reported the meeting was to be about “Russian adoption policy.” That wasn’t the case, according to the Post, which reports that young Don got instructions from Dad the President on what to say.

I believe that might constitute a serious obstruction of justice matter … if it’s true. The Post, of course, stands by its story, while the White House denies all of it.

Don Jr. isn’t talking. Imagine that.

Recall that another special counsel, Kenneth Starr, started looking into a real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. Then more tidbits began flying over his transom. Eventually, Starr got wind of a relationship Bill Clinton was having with a young White House intern. Starr poked around a little more and, well, the rest is history.

Mueller has the same latitude as Starr as he pursues the Russia matter. Stories such as the one published by the Post give him even more grist to pore through as he continues his pursuit of the truth behind the Russia story.