Members of Congress Demand POTUS Provide Legal Justification for Syria Attack


NEARLY THREE WEEKS AFTER ordering a cruise missile attack against one of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s airfields, Donald Trump has yet to explain how that was legal without congressional authorization.

Two Democratic members of Congress are demanding that Trump offer some sort of legal justification beyond off-the-cuff remarks from administration officials.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Rep. Adam Schiff of California sent a stern letter to the White House on Tuesday, warning that Trump could be setting a dangerous precedent for conducting pre-emptive strikes and risking war with major powers, while cutting Congress out of the picture.

Two days after the missile strike, Trump sent Congress a notice that he had ordered it and that he had the “constitutional authority” to do so.

Source: Members of Congress Demand Trump Provide Legal Justification for Syria Attack

Only 2 Percent of Americans Who Voted for POTUS Regret It – By Daniel Politi APRIL 23 2017 9:48 AM


President  Trump is getting ready to mark his 100 days in office as the least popular commander in chief of the modern era at this point in their presidency. But among his supporters, 96 percent of those who voted for Trump said they would do it all over again if the election were held today, and only 2 percent say they regret supporting him, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. In contrast, 85 percent of Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton said they’d vote for her if the election were held today. That’s not because Clinton voters would support Trump, but rather because they say they’d be more willing to back a third-party candidate or not vote at all.

The poll makes clear what numerous surveys have already pointed out: Trump has not enjoyed the typical 100-day honeymoon period. Overall, only 42 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s performance as president, and 53 percent disapprove. The number is worse in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that puts Trump’s overall job-approval rating at 40 percent, 4 points lower than it was in February. That is in sharp contrast to the average 69 percent approval for past presidents at or near the 100-day mark. President Barack Obama, for example, had a 69-26 percent approval rating near his 100 days in office.

More than half of Americans don’t think Trump has accomplished much in his first 100 days. Forty-five percent of Americans flat out say that Trump’s presidency is off to a poor start while 19 percent say it’s been “only a fair start.” That compares to the 35 percent who say the president’s first 100 days have been “good” or “great,” according to the NBC/WSJ poll.

That doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom for the president. The Post/ABC poll also finds some surprisingly positive evaluations of the commander in chief’s performance on certain issues. More than half of Americans—53 percent—say Trump is a strong leader, including 25 percent of Democrats. Plus 73 percent of Americans approve of the way he has been pressuring companies to keep jobs in the country. A plurality—46 percent—also approve of the way he has been handling North Korea. The president also gets high marks for his recent military actions in Syria, which 62 percent of Americans say they support, according to the NBC/WSJ poll.

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POTUS, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ By Louise Radnofsky, Siobhan Hughes and Kristina Peterson Updated April 20, 2017 11:04 p.m. ET


The president and his allies in Congress are rushing to sort through two sensitive issues—how to avoid a government shutdown next week while reviving a failed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act—as Mr. Trump nears the end of his first 100 days in office.

WASHINGTON—The White House has thrust a new set of proposals into talks to avoid shutdown of the government next week, while also seeking to revive a health-care overhaul that had collapsed last month.

With less than a week to pass legislation funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, negotiations are beginning to take shape. Democrats are demanding that the legislation include money for insurance companies, without which fragile insurance markets could implode, while the White House in return wants additional money for defense, the border wall and border enforcement.

Failure to extend the funding would trigger a partial government shutdown on April 29, the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Republican leaders will need Democratic votes in the Senate, and likely in the House, to pass a spending bill, giving the minority party unusual leverage in negotiations. Discussions now hinge on Democratic demands that the government continue payments that help support Affordable Care Act insurance plans. The money, known as “cost-sharing” payments, helps insurers lower costs for low-income consumers.

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Source: Trump, GOP Race to Avoid Government Shutdown as They Juggle Health-Care Revamp – WSJ

Stephen King on Donald Trump: ‘How do such men rise? First as a joke’ – by Stephen King Saturday 1 April 2017 05.00 EDT


Istarted thinking Donald Trump might win the presidency in September of 2016. By the end of October, I was almost sure. Thus, when the election nightupset happened, I was dismayed, but not particularly surprised. I didn’t even think it was much of an upset, in spite of the Huffington Post aggregate poll, which gave Hillary Clinton a 98% chance of winning – an example of wishful thinking if ever there were one.

Some of my belief arose from the signage I was seeing. I’m from northern New England, and in the run-up to the election I saw hundreds of Trump-Pence signs and bumper stickers, but almost none for Clinton-Kaine. To me this didn’t mean there were no Clinton supporters in the houses I passed or the cars ahead of me on Route 302; what it did seem to mean was that the Clinton supporters weren’t particularly invested. This was not the case with the Trump people, who tended to have billboard-sized signage in their yards and sometimes two stickers on their cars (TRUMP-PENCE on the left; HILLARY IS A CRIMINAL on the right).

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POTUS on the warpath against Freedom Caucus – BY JORDAN FABIAN AND JONATHAN EASLEY – 03/30/17 07:06 PM EDT


POTUS on Thursday launched an extraordinary attack against conservative Republicans who thwarted the party’s healthcare plan, escalating an intra-party feud that could threaten the rest of his legislative agenda.

In a string of tweets, Trump threatened to back primary challenges against members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus if they continue to oppose party leaders. He also named and shamed the group’s chairman, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and two other prominent group members for what he said is their efforts to derail ObamaCare repeal and tax reform.

“If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform,” the president tweeted.

“Where are @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador? #RepealANDReplace #Obamacare.”

House conservatives fought back, furious at the president for picking the fight at a time when congressional Republicans are trying to move past last week’s bitter legislative defeat.

“Most people don’t take well to being bullied,” Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), a Freedom Caucus member, told reporters. “It’s constructive in fifth grade. It may allow a child to get his way, but that’s not how our government works.”

Freedom Caucus members argued Thursday that they did Trump a favor by sinking the American Health Care Act, which was reviled by grassroots conservatives and failed to attract support from even some moderate members of the GOP conference.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), who was named by Trump, shot back over Twitter.

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The story of the week is POTUS, Russia and the FBI. The rest is a distraction – Malcolm Nance Saturday 25 February 2017 12.51 EST


theguardian.com

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‘Any investigation involving Trump advisers and Russian intelligence is serious stuff. If born out, it has the potential to become the greatest political scandal in American history.’ Photograph: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

Narrative switching. That is what the POTUS’ administration is desperately trying to do around Russia right now. The White House reportedly interfered with the FBI in the middle of an active investigation involving counter-intelligence. This was not only foolhardy but also suspicious, as it directly undermined their apparent objective: distracting us.

On 14 February, the New York Times reported that advisors and associates of Donald Trump may have been in direct and continuous contact with officers of the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB, during a tumultuous election campaign in which the American democracy itself was hacked. A major party – now in opposition – was the victim of an unprecedented cyber attack.

According to the Times, intercepted telephone calls and phone records indicated to American counter-intelligence officers direct contact with the Russians.

The stakes are high. Most Democrats and more than a few Republicans believe this investigation could unearth details that could plunge the nation into a political and constitutional crisis not seen since the secession of the South in 1860 and 1861.

The Trump administration has repeatedly denied the characterization and defended the campaign’s conduct. However, its denials have always been couched in the most legalistic terms and each falls apart with every new revelation. It doesn’t help that Trump himself calls the allegations “fake news” then validates the reporting by attacking the leaks – suggesting that they are true.

Now, thanks to CNN, we learned on Thursday that Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus had reportedly contacted the deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, and requested that the bureau publicly characterize the Times story as not being serious – in McCabe’s reported words, “total BS”.

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