Tag Archives: POLITICS

In defense of Donald Trump

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The following was the script for an experimental podcast ‘Traditional Americans’, for which this was the lone episode: “In defense of Donald Trump”.


Hello America and welcome to the Traditional Americans podcast. I’m your host, Matthew Veasey.
After using our pilot episode last time out to introduce you good folks to myself, the podcast direction, and its social media and internet resources, this will be our first real topic-driven discussion.
So what topic would be most appropriate, most important to you, the listeners? Well, with everything that has been in the news lately, the fact remains that one man dominates the news cycle, probably more than any previous individual.
Today we’re going to talk about the Presidency of Donald Trump over the undeniably controversial, but also undeniably successful first 14 months of his first term in the highest office in the land.
There are so many directions from which we can begin a discussion of the Trump presidency to this point: his social media usage. The large and frequent turnover among his key advisors. His battles with the Democrats and with their liberal media mouthpiece. And of course, the accomplishments of his administration.
Let’s start with the positive – those accomplishments. Now, of course, most of these are only truly positive accomplishments if you’re a supporter of the president and his policies. That would mean that you need to be a conservative, because frankly, this president has accomplished more for Traditional American conservatives than any of recent decades. And that includes our beloved President Ronald Reagan.
The list of Trump administration accomplishments is indeed impressive for those of us in the conservative camp:
On jobs and the economy, we’ve seen passage of the first tax reform bill in more than three decades. This measure will mean $5.5 billion in real tax cuts to American workers and businesses.
Bloomberg has reported that the unemployment rate is expected to fall below the 4% mark by this summer. The DOW ended last week at the 24,984.45 mark. That’s up from the 18,589 on the day that he was elected back in early November of 2016.
All of these economic victories mean real jobs, real money in the paychecks and pockets, and real increases in the pension plans and 401K’s of real working Americans. No wonder Barron’s just reported that the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment survey rose to the 102 mark, its highest level in 14 years.
Another big piece of the Trump economy success story has been the elimination of numerous stifling Obama-era regulations. The president has operated from the beginning on the position that any new regulation would have to be accompanied by the elimination of at least two. In 2017, the president actually cut 16 for every new regulation, saving an additional $8.1 billion per the Washington Examiner.
Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was grossly unfair towards the United States, put an end to even more looming stifling economic regulations. Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership helped forward the cause of fair trade for American businesses, as will renegotiation of American involvement with NAFTA and the president’s recent threatened tariff increases.
President Trump has freed up agencies to further loosen the regulatory environment, which includes the Department of the Interior making 77 million acres available for gas and oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
The president nominated and saw successfully seated to the U.S. Supreme Court an originalist justice in Neal Gorsuch, a move that should benefit Traditional Americans for decades to come. 
Also, President Trump has successfully placed 14 judges to the district courts, and another 14 to the courts of appeals. He currently has another 55 nominees to those two courts awaiting Senate action.
In the area of Homeland Security, the president has ended Obama’s practice of “catch and release” of illegal immigrants. He has started towards an end to DACA and chain migration. 
The president has added roughly 100 new immigration judges, and empowered ICE and local communities to boost the arrest of criminal gang members and other illegals. He has enacted a travel ban from nations that have refused to clamp down on terrorism.
He visited the southern border just this past week to examine proposed samples for the border wall. Though numerous conservative commentators, Ann Coulter chief among them, has criticized the president for not pushing ahead with actual construction, the fact remains that this is a major project which cannot be taken lightly. Trump knows construction projects. He’ll get this done, and done right.

Under President Trump, the Justice Department is making $98 million available for police departments to add an additional 802 new officers. He declared a public health emergency on opioids, with DHS announcing a new five-point strategy to combat this crisis and the administration providing $500 million towards the fight.
The president empowered military commanders, reducing the need for the White House to sign off on every mission and urging them to fight to win. These actions helped lead to ISIS losing control of almost all of its territorial control.
In just his first 14 months in office, the president has traveled to Poland and Germany for the G-20. He has traveled to the Middle East and Europe, and did what decades of American politicians talked of doing but were too afraid to act upon, recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East. His nearly two-week trip through Asia resulted in historic deals negotiated during multiple summit meetings.
President Trump has worked to support life as well, expanding the Mexico City Policy to block foreign aid used for abortions. He has worked to block Obamacare money from going towards abortions, and to overturn Obama regulations which had blocked states from defunding abortion providers.
These are many, but they remain only a few of the triumphs of the early Trump administration.
Now let’s move to the controversial, starting with President Trump’s use of social media to push forward his agenda and communicate his political and personal opinions.
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon for American politicians to deal with. Facebook launched in February of 2004, Twitter was first created 12 years ago this month, and Instagram came into existence in October of 2010.
Each of those resources took a few years for massive numbers of people and businesses to begin using them. So while they existed during the latter part of the ‘W’ Bush administration and all through the Obama years, their usage was limited at first, and then has continued to grow, where politicians and political organizations and parties are concerned.
Donald Trump was the first major American presidential candidate to full embrace and utilize social media as a vital tool in his campaign for the presidency. After actually winning the office, some thought that Mr. Trump would ratchet back his activities on social media. Instead, especially where Twitter is concerned, the president has doubled down.
Trump was the first candidate to intentionally go over the heads of the former mainstream media outlets and take his message directly to the people. It worked. Folks responded. He sees no need to change now, and frankly, I can’t blame him.
No, Donald Trump is not the statesman that other presidents have been. No, Donald Trump does not have much of a filter. No, Donald Trump is not a traditional politician. And you know what? All of those things are fine by me. 
In fact, it is for all of those reasons that many of the 65 million who voted for him cast their ballots for the career businessman. Much of America had frankly grown tired of politicians speaking out of the sides of their mouths, or flat out lying to our faces. We saw Trump, warts and all, as a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. If he said he was going to get something done, then we believed that he was going to get it done. And you know what? He has done just that.
Democrats are never, ever going to let up on Trump. Why? Not because he might have had an affair with a porn star years before he was ever in office. Not because he fired some member of his administration, or someone from the previous Obama administration.
Democrats and their liberal media mouthpieces, especially at places like CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, are going to continue attacking Trump all throughout his presidency for one reason only. He gets things done.
And the things that he gets done are, in the vast majority of instances, exactly those things that conservatives want done. 
No, he won’t simply cow-tow to the right. Anyone who is actually on the right, such as myself, knows full well that President Trump has numerous critics among the GOP establishment in congress and the senate. 
Some of those critics are towards his overall style and demeanor, some are towards specific individual programs or policies.
But as the litany of achievements which I ran down at the start of this broadcast outlined, this President has accomplished more for conservatives in 14 months than both Bush presidencies combined.
Staff turnover within the President’s inner sanctum is indeed an area ripe for criticism. The Brookings Institution recently released the figures: Trump’s first year turnover rate was 34%. That is twice as high as Ronald Reagan’s, who was the next highest among the last half-dozen administrations. His second year rate is an astronomical 43%, and we’re just in Mid-March. Bill Clinton’s 38% was the previous high.
However, what we need to remember is that this is a man who has never put together a political operation of this type before. He came in with a mandate from his electorate to “drain the swamp”, and it was inevitable that some who came along would not be able to hold up as he has, and would drown in that swamp.
My bet is that as the president really settles in further, he will figure out how to find the right people. Those who can not only push forward his message and agenda, but can also hold up under the D.C. spotlight.
I didn’t start out as a Donald Trump supporter. When 2016 opened and the GOP nomination process was still unfolding, I supported Texas senator Ted Cruz. I still think that Cruz can be a fine candidate in the future. My thoughts on Trump were that his populist message would resound until folks actually had to start voting. Then he would eventually get sorted out by that electorate. Instead, his message continued to ring true to many, including myself.
When the Pennsylvania Republican primary came around, I pulled the lever next to Trump’s name, something that I would never have believed just a few months earlier. 
When the November election came around, my wife and I happily went to the polls and cast our votes for Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States. We went to lunch afterward, not really sure that our candidate had a chance to win, but we both felt happy, that we had done the right thing.
That night, I was at work as the election results came in, and early on things didn’t seem too positive. However, there was still legitimate reason to hope. As the night wore on, those reasons to hope grew into possibilities. The possibilities turned into a genuine battle. The tide began to turn in that battle, and as I got home from work it was time to settle in for a long overnight election watch.
Very late at night (early morning actually), it was my home state of Pennsylvania that finally put Donald Trump over the top. By that time, it was a foregone conclusion. Everyone knew he was going to win PA, except that the networks were unwilling to make the call, possibly out of disbelief and shock.
The Democrats thought that they had this one in the bag. Hillary Clinton had celebrities in her corner, after all. The media, at least the media that they watched and read and listened to, told them that she would win, probably comfortably. When she lost, they were bitter and angry, and they remain that way today.
Donald Trump is an imperfect man. Frankly, there are no perfect men. I don’t need my President to be perfect. I don’t need him to be some articulate phony. I don’t want a person in that office who looks and sounds good, who makes folks feel good with flowery words, and then hurts my country with their actions and policies.
A Hillary Clinton presidency would have been a nightmare for America. A Bernie Sanders socialist presidency would have been even worse. The presidency of Donald Trump has been, thus far at least, a blessing from God to our nation.
My hope remains that the president will grow in office. That he will tone down his social media posting, that he will move away from his name-calling rhetoric. That he will become just a little bit more of a traditional statesman in style.
But if he does none of those things, in the end I will be fine with him as long as he continues to name conservative judges to the courts, continues to work to protect our security and business interests, and continues to put America first.
Later this coming week, our next episode of the Traditional Americans podcast is going to delve into the unmitigated mess that has become the FBI probe of the Clinton and Trump campaigns during the 2016 election. I’ll have the announcement on the availability of that podcast at our social media feeds later this week, so keep an eye out for that.
As always, you can find us on social media @TraditionalAmericans on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can write to us at TraditionalAmericans@verizon.net with any commentary or ideas. And if you think that you can bring something to the conversation, let me know there, and you may be invited on as a guest to a future podcast.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Traditional Americans podcast. Make it a regular part of your intrawebs listening experience, and please share us with your family and friends, and on social media. 
That’s all for now. Until next time, God bless you and yours, and God bless the United States of America!

NOTE: the “Traditional Americans” podcast enjoyed only two episodes, a brief introductory episode and this on President Trump. 

Republican citizen voices more important than ever

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Republicans and Democrats alike frequently criticize the general tone and specific messaging pushed by various major media outlets.

For those Americans who consider themselves to be conservative, almost exclusively Republicans, the usual suspects include broadcasters such as CNN, MSNBC, and NPR and print/web sources such as The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Huffington Post.

Leftists frequently bemoan the messaging and tone that comes from the Fox News network, including Fox Business, as well as media outlets such as One America News and The Washington Times.

For decades, liberals had a monopoly on mass messaging pushed to the American public through broadcast and print news. Slowly over the last two decades or so, conservative voices, once relegated to talk radio, have grown in influence. This has been thanks to the Internet and cable news.

Still, there remain more liberal resources. The influence of the old school networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC continues to wane. However, there remains a large segment of America who still receive their news from these sources, especially at the local news level.

The vast majority of newspapers and TV entertainment programs in America remain under the control of liberal media organizations as well. The messaging pushed out to the public is overwhelmingly liberal, unless you specifically go looking for conservative voices.

That fact makes the continued efforts and expansion of independent Republican voices more important than ever. It is one of the main reasons that I put effort into this website and into my all around social media presence.

Michelle Malkin is the queen of American conservative bloggers. Born in my hometown of Philadelphia and raised across the Delaware River in South Jersey, the 47-year old Malkin makes her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband and two children.

A decade or so ago, Malkin gave occasional space at her michellemalkin.com home to an anonymous contributer known only as “See-Dubya” who once described their blogging as follows:

“Actually, blogging is kind of therapeutic. Especially when you’re a red-state person living in a blue, blue state, and your neighbors would burn a peace symbol in your yard at midnight if they knew how you really felt about things. Some people do yoga; I pound the keyboard. The blood pressure goes down either way.”

Your own therapy aside, the continued presence and growth of American bloggers of a Republican persuasion is vitally important thanks to the upcoming midterm elections here in the United States.

The facts are that, no matter who sits in the Oval Office, the President’s party loses an average of 30 congressional seats in normal midterm elections.

One reason this happens is what is known as the “presidential penalty” – voters from the President’s party are happy that he won. History shows that happy voters are much more likely to stay home than angry, possibly more motivated, voters from the opposition.

Per Tom Murse writing for Thoughtco.com:

In the 21 midterm elections held since 1934, only twice has the president’s party gained seats in both the Senate and the House: Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s first midterm election and George W. Bush‘s first midterm election. On three other occasions, the President’s party gained House seats and once it was a draw. On one occasion, the president’s party gained Senate seats.”

This means that in 15 of the 21 midterm elections, the President has seen their Party lose seats in both houses of congress. These are the odds that congressional representatives in the Republican Party of President Donald Trump will be trying to buck this coming November.

The re-election bids of those GOP incumbents will be made all the more difficult thanks to the efforts of the major media outlets. They will continue criticizing the President at every turn, thus shining a negative light on any candidate who might support him or his policies. This in addition to actually slanting their more local coverage towards individual congressional candidates in specific elections.

Republican bloggers need to ensure that we are pushing as conservative a message as possible, and supporting Republican candidates as aggressively as possible this year.

There will be some hard-fought GOP primary campaigns in various U.S. Senate and Congressional races across the country. Whether your favored candidate wins or loses those elections, the fact remains that ANY Republican candidate will be better than any Democratic Party alternative in the fall. After the primaries, it will be time to set aside any internal differences and back the winners.

If you are a Republican blogger, make sure that you stay active this year. I write on a wide variety of topics, not just politics. If you follow me regularly, you will also find many pieces on sports, entertainment, faith, and other issues. As the year moves along, I will have plenty of political commentary.

Imagine the Senate and/or the House of Representatives under the control of the Democratic Party. Can you imagine Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House? Chuck Schumer holding tie-breaking votes as the President of the Senate?

I encourage you to continue your own efforts in blogging, posting on social media, and in any other way that you can help Republicans beat the odds in November’s midterms. It is vital to do your part as our President continues working to make America great again.

Trump State of the Union I: Americans are dreamers too

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President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address last night. His speech couldn’t have been more positive for the country.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Party clearly demonstrated their political partisanship and personal animus towards this President all night long.

The Dems refused to applaud or otherwise positively acknowledge even the most positive developments involving programs and people they normally claim as their own.

This was clearly a victorious evening for a President who has been repeatedly attacked by those Democrats and their liberal media arm throughout his first year in office.

The economy and domestic policy. Defense and international relations. The President touched on all of the hot-button topics of interest to Americans today.

He began early in his speech by going over some of the tough challenges faced by the nation over this past year. The mass shooting in Las Vegas and the shooting at a Congressional softball game. Natural disasters in which “We endured floods and fires and storms.”

To highlight these challenges, the President presented and told the stories of specific individuals. 

Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert worked for 18 hours straight during Hurricane Harvey to help save 40 lives. Firefighter David Dahlberg rescued 60 children trapped at a summer camp during the California wildfires. 

Congressman Steve Scalise, who the President christened as “the legend from Louisiana” to roaring applause, fought hard to recover from gunshot wounds at that Congressional softball game, returning to work just a few months later.

“Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew:  that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans.  If there is a mountain, we climb it.  If there is a frontier, we cross it.  If there is a challenge, we tame it.  If there is an opportunity, we seize it.”

The President then segued into that seizing of opportunity in the economy: 2.4 million new jobs created. Rising wages. Low unemployment, including historic lows for African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Massive individual and business tax cuts. A record-breaking stock market.

“This is our new American moment.  There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time.  If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.”

The President used that positive statement to move through a couple moments of open patriotism. He emphasized a love for the American flag, the pledge of allegiance, and our national anthem.

He acknowledged America’s military and law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line daily for all of our citizens.

To help highlight the importance of patriotism, the President presented the story of Preston Sharp. The 12-year old California boy noticed that flags were missing from the graves of veterans. He began a movement that spread across the country, resulting in flags placed at the graves of more than 40,000 deceased American heroes.


“In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life.  Our motto is “in God we trust.”

This line as much as any that the President delivered all night perfectly highlights the differences between America’s modern political parties.

Democrats believe that government knows best, and want to regulate our lives through its bureaucracies. Republicans believe in unleashing the power of private industry and individual freedom.

Also, Republicans regularly fight to acknowledge the central role of God in our lives. Not just our individual lives, but also in the collective life of the American nation.

The President then moved through a list of accomplishments in areas vitally important to his base. The appointment of originalist judges, highlighted by SCOTUS Justice Neil Gorsuch. Fighting to protect religious liberty and the 2nd Amendment. Reform of the Veterans Administration.

He then rattled off a litany of achievements in various industries, including the automotive industry and energy independence.

The President then made an emotional plea and promise involving prescription drugs. The plea was on behalf of Americans seeking alternatives when suffering from terminal disease.

“People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home.  It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the “right to try.””

As emotional as that plea was, his promise to reduce costs was equally forceful: “…I have directed my Administration to make fixing the injustice of high drug prices one of our top priorities.  Prices WILL come down.

This led the President into one of his leading programs in the coming year, infrastructure improvements. He called on a congress to undertake a massive $1.5 trillion program to improve the nation’s “roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways…

He then proceeded to make a statement that once again highlighted the difference between the two parties: “We can lift our citizens from welfare to work, from dependence to independence, and from poverty to prosperity.

Every action taken by the President and the Republican-controlled congress reveals their belief in empowering individuals to earn their way to prosperity, rather than relying on government handouts to permanently enslave them.

Still, the President is not without heart for those struggling. He called for increased investment in vocational schools, paid family leave, and a second chance for certain inmates through prison reform.

And then President Trump moved into security and defense, both at home and abroad. He spoke of the importance of securing the southern border, highlighted by introducing the parents of two Long Island teenage girls murdered by the notorious MS-13 gang.

Turning the spotlight squarely on to his Democratic Party critics with he issue of the so-called “dreamers”, he reiterated the over-arching theme of his Presidency: America First.

“My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream.  Because Americans are dreamers too.”

The President then presented a four-pillared immigration plan that was led by a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants. The other three pillars involved building the southern border wall, ending the visa lottery program, and ending chain migration.

While many on the far right will not like the idea of citizenship for the “dreamers”, the fact remains that the immigration issue will never be resolved without bipartisan cooperation.

This olive branch to Democrats is accompanied long-term solutions to help keep the problem from developing again. This would be accomplished by enacting the other three pillars.

President Trump then called on full funding for our American military, including modernizing our nuclear arsenal “making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. 

The President then highlighted the success of the American military over this past year in nearly destroying ISIS. He introduced Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck, who saved the life of CPO Kenton Stacy. 

The two soldiers had been working to clear buildings which had been rigged with bombs by ISIS, in order that civilians could safely return to those homes, schools, and hospitals. An explosion in a booby-trapped building left Stacy fighting for his life, and Peck’s actions saved him.

“Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil.  When possible, we annihilate them.  When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them.  But we must be clear:  Terrorists are not merely criminals.  They are unlawful enemy combatants.  And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.”

This statement led the President into an announcement to reverse a dangerous process entered into by the Obama administration. President Trump signed an order to keep the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open, hinting that Gitmo can expect more detainees in the future.

The President then spoke of his formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He asked congress to fix the Iran nuclear deal, and mentioned increased sanctions on dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela.

Introducing the parents of Otto Warmbier as “powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world“, the President moved on to North Korean aggression and provocations. 


Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.  I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.”

He further took a slap at the United Nations and challenged congress “…to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”

As his address drew towards a close, President Trump dropped in a reference to his ongoing campaign slogan in the following statement.

“Americans fill the world with art and music.  They push the bounds of science and discovery.  And they forever remind us of what we should never forget:  The people dreamed this country. The people built this country.  And it is the people who are making America great again.”

As he moved through his election campaign and first year in office, President Donald Trump pledged to “Make America Great Again”. In his address, the President specifically called on Congress to take the following actions:

  • empower Cabinet Secretaries to empower good workers and remove those who fail
  • give terminally ill patients a chance to try experimental drugs right here in America
  • produce a major $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill with state/local partnerships and streamlined permits
  • close immigration loopholes and support his Four Pillars program described previously
  • end the defense sequester, fully funding our military
  • empower our military, law enforcement, and intelligence officers to detain terrorists
  • pass legislation to ensure our tax dollars only go to foreign governments friendly to America
  • address flaws in the Iran nuclear deal
It would be a challenge to find fault in much of this message. Yet when the President look out on the Democrats sitting over on the right from his vantage point, he rarely found applause, and even less often received a standing ovation, things that happened numerous times with his Republican colleagues.



For example, most of the Democrats refused to applaud the 12-year old boy who inspired the flag recognition program for brave deceased veterans, or the parents of the two girls murdered by MS-13.
They even refused to applaud the lowest unemployment figures in history for African-Americans and Hispanic Americans, supposedly some of their base constituency.
At one point, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was even seen glancing around at her colleagues, apparently to ensure that none of them were responding positively to the President’s message.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was caught rising to applaud once. As he rose, he looked around and saw that none of his colleagues were doing the same, and he quickly caught himself and sat down again.
This is the problem with American politics today. Our supposed “leaders” cannot even set aside their political partisanship and personal animus for recognition of fundamental humanity. As long those such as Pelosi remain in leadership roles, and others like Manchin remain fearful of displaying any independence whatsoever, then the problems within our political house will never be resolved.

Unless you are nothing more than one of those partisan political opponents and/or you hold a personal grudge against President Trump, it would be hard for you to argue that his State of the Union address proved that he is doing just what he promised – he is making America great again.

Russia causes a mess for the FBI and the American political process

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There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) over the last couple of years.

Much of that controversy involves what is becoming increasingly apparent partisan political activity by some in leadership positions in the nation’s leading law enforcement agency during the 2016 Presidential election process and its aftermath.

The key terms and the names of the players involved have been regularly splashed across news headlines. Fusion GPS, Russia meddling, deleted emails. Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Robert Mueller, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Loretta Lynch, Andrew McCabe. 

What is all the fuss about, and what is the truth? Who actually did what? Was anything illegal or improper done? If so, was it anything for Americans to truly be concerned about? Is this all just political gamesmanship? 

In the news today, McCabe has “stepped down” as deputy director at the FBI. Per a report from Kelly Cohen at the Washington Examiner this afternoon, this move appears to be “tied to a forthcoming watchdog report on how the agency handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

That email investigation began to develop some time around October 1, 2016. With the Presidential election just over a month away, according to a May 2017 piece by Peter Elkind at ProPublica: “agents sifting through files on a laptop belonging to the former congressman Anthony Weiner, as part of a sex-crimes investigation, had stumbled across emails sent by Clinton when she was secretary of state.

Per Elkind, over the next few weeks as the investigation into Weiner’s alleged relationship with a 15-year old girl unfolded “the agents concluded that the laptop contained thousands of Clinton messages.

This was problematic for a number of reasons. The FBI under Comey had already been looking into Clinton’s email practices for more than a year. 

During her tenure as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, Clinton had used her private home email server to send out official communications. More than 2,000 of these emails contained information that was classified at the time, or would be acknowledged as such later. Comey identified 65 of the emails as “secret”, and another 22 as containing “top secret” information.

Anyone who understands computers and the Internet can understand why the use of a private email server by someone like the Secretary of State is a dangerous practice. 

Without the protection of government-based servers, the emails could easily be intercepted by hackers. This could potentially send devastating classified information into the hands of those who would do our nation harm.

Hackers from Russia and Serbia were known by the Clinton team to both have awareness of the email server vulnerabilities, as well as to have actually made hacking attempts during 2011 and 2012.

As more information was revealed over time, the FBI finally began an investigation in 2015. The purpose was to determine whether Clinton and/or her aides had jeopardized national security. If so, to determine who could be held responsible for such actions.

The controversy deepened when it was revealed that Clinton had directed that some 30,000 emails should be deleted. 

They had nothing to do with work,” Clinton said per Mike Levine per ABC News. “I didn’t see any reason to keep them … no one wants their personal emails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy.

However, the FBI was able to recover some of those emails, determining that roughly 17,000 of the deleted messages did indeed contain work-related information. Can you just imagine that the name and candidate here was “Trump” instead of “Clinton”, having denied and then found to have been wrong or lied?

Enter Lynch, the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General of the United States. An Obama appointee, she was being briefed on the investigation by Comey. She directed Comey that he should describe the investigation as a less formal “matter” instead. It was later revealed by the New York Times that Lynch had stated she would “protect” Clinton.

On June 27, 2016, Lynch was spotted on the tarmac at a Phoenix airport holding a half-hour conversation with former President Bill Clinton. Lynch’s apparent efforts to downplay the investigation coupled with this clandestine tarmac meeting led Comey to publicly announce results of the investigation.

Announcements regarding the ongoing email investigation into Clinton were used as key campaign fuel by the Trump campaign in the closing days of the election process. When Trump emerged victorious, many in the Clinton campaign blamed the FBI and Comey. Clinton herself specifically blamed the late Comey announcement on her defeat.

However, it turned out that the new President-elect wasn’t all that happy with Comey either. This was due to the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russians.

With knowledge of the attempts to hack the private Clinton email server have come allegations from some that there was collusion between the Russians and the team of Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC helped to fund a dossier put together by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research and strategic intelligence firm, which attempted to detail Trump’s ties to the Russians during the 2016 election.

According to a January 2017 piece by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon for McClatchy, investigators from five different agencies have been looking into possible ties with the Trump campaign:

One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

For his part, the President has stated that he does indeed believe that the Russians were involved in hacking attempts. However, he has termed any allegation that he or his campaign were involved with the Russians in such a way as a “political witch hunt” and a “complete and total fabrication.” He has also repeatedly termed the Fusion GPS dossier as “fake news“, and challenged his political opponents to show otherwise.

In May of last year, the President fired Comey. There were conflicting reasons for the firing. But it appears that the President was frustrated that Comey would not publicly announce that the President himself was not the subject of any part of the investigation. 

Following the Comey dismissal, former FBI Director Rober Mueller (2001-2013) was appointed as a special counsel to oversee the Russia election meddling investigation. That subsequently led to charges against Manafort, who helped the Trump campaign in the lead-up to the 2016 RNC and then briefly became the campaign chairman. 

Manafort has been charged with conspiracy against the United States as well as to launder money in dealings with Russian contacts over a decade ago. Those charges have nothing to do with his work for the Trump campaign.

Two others formerly involved with the Trump team have also been caught up in the investigation’s web. Former national security advisor Michael Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI regarding talks with a Russian ambassador in late 2016. 

A foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, George Papadoplous, has pled guilty to making false statements to the FBI. This was in regards to interactions with Russian sources claiming to have “dirt” on Clinton.

Per Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Fox News, Manafort attended a meeting at Trump Tower that was also attended by Donald Trump Jr. Also present was Jared Kushner, who is married to the President’s daughter and close advisor, Ivanka Trump.

That meeting was with a Russian lawyer. The New York Times claimed that the meeting came because the lawyer stated she had damaging information on Clinton. 

However, Trump Jr. has stated that instead, the lawyer “had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.” This information seemed both vague and ambiguous, according to Trump Jr.

Officials at the FBI became embittered at Clinton and her campaign for publicly blaming them for her defeat. They have also been repeatedly antagonized by Trump, who sees the ongoing Russian collusion investigation as wasting both his administration’s time and energy as well as taxpayer dollars.

The following statement was made by Michael Steinbach, who retired as the FBI’s executive assistant director for national security in February 2017 per ProPublica:

It’s a mess she (Clinton) helped create from start to finish, with start being when she elected to use a private server. Even if you were to assume the investigation influenced the election, her actions created the environment. You can second-guess how it played out. But our guiding principle was to protect the American people and the Constitution of the United States.

There has also been bitter infighting at the FBI, with those aligned with President Trump facing off against those still loyal to the previous Obama administration. 

It has come to light recently that two FBI agents who were romantically involved with one another, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, had exchanged text messages which revealed that they were against Trump.

In their texts, the two agents stated that they were working as part of a “secret society” to shield Clinton from any charges involving the email scandal. This has led to calls for a second special prosecutor in the matter per Susan Ferrechio with the National Examiner.

Whether you buy into Comey as a true independent or not, the fact is that as time goes on it becomes more and more apparent that political beliefs and loyalties are playing a key role in the activities of agents and supervisors within the rank and file of the FBI.

Just in the last few days, the existence of a memo came to light showing that key figures in both the FBI and Justice Department, apparent holdovers from the Obama administration, spied on the Trump campaign back in 2016. This was done to bolster Clinton’s campaign, and to ensure a continuation of their own role within those agencies.

That is a major problem. The American people must be able to rely upon their lead law enforcement agency to be non-partisan. Law enforcement must be above the political process when it acts. 

The FBI is made up of human beings who will, of course, have their own political leanings. But the investigators and their leadership must have the integrity to go where the actual evidence of any investigation should lead, and resist the lure of those personal beliefs.

The Russians seem to have clearly made an attempt to infiltrate and effect the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. How they did that, and who, if anyone, helped them is a completely open question. 

You will have your own theories based on your own political leanings. But you certainly have no facts to back them up. One fact that cannot be denied by anyone on either side of the political aisle is this: the Russians have absolutely helped to create a mess for the FBI and for that American political process.

Of course there is another side to that story as well. Aside from whatever Russian operative hacked emails from the outside, the Russians cannot have much success intervening in American affairs without the assistance of Americans themselves. 

Greedy, lazy, immoral, and power-hungry American politicians, businesspersons, and others getting into bed with the Russians in order to affect the political process and/or enjoy some financial gain. That is the true problem at its base.

Last September, Christopher Wray was sworn-in as the eighth Director of the FBI. Following McCabe’s announcement today, the new Director stated …I can assure you that I remain staunchly committed to doing this job, in every respect, ‘by the book.’ I will not be swayed by political or other pressure in my decision making.

When Americans break the law and enter into relationships with foreign powers against our nation, we must be able to count on an impartial FBI and Justice Department to investigate and prosecute. We can only hope that Wray is not only good as his word, but also is able to spread that motto through his agency.

Book Review: Two new books on President Trump

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Two books penned by folks with access to the White House in the early days of the Trump administration have begun to fly off book shelves and online stores.

Each paints a picture of, at least in the early transitional weeks and months, a top-level staff surrounding the President that, while intelligent and talented, was seriously flawed and certainly not functioning as a team.

Sitting in the #8 slot (with a bullet) on the current New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller book list is Let Trump Be Trump” by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.

Released today, Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff is sure to quickly enter and rise towards the top of that list as well.

The two books deal with the same subject matter – Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.Lewandowski and Bossie were two of Trump’s most intimate campaign advisors as he captured first the Republican nomination and then won the general election in 2016.

Their respect and admiration for the man, at least as a candidate and as a leader, appears to be beyond doubt, as revealed in this snippet from their tome:

“…Donald J. Trump is the greatest big-game player in American political history. Period. There is no second. None. Not in modern times. No one is even close. If you disagree, show us someone who has never run for office before, and watch him become the leader of the free world in spite of the media, some of the Republican establishment, and the Democratic Party all being against him. We’ll argue with you any day of the week.”

There was volatility in the early months of the Trump administration as top officials came and went with alarming regularity. This was with the notable exception of the fiercely loyal Kellyanne Conway, who always had the trust of the President.

“In the coming months, we would watch as the fundamental flaw in the Trump White House made it shake and crumble, until the whole thing split in two with the American people watching. First out  of the White House was General Mike Flynn, followed by Katie Walsh and shortly thereafter Sean Spicer. They were followed closely by Reince Preibus. Sebastian Gorka has left…We watched Anthony Scaramucci flame out…and now, (Steve) Bannon, too, is gone.”

But as Lewandowski and Bossie point out, that volatility was mostly a by-product of a man who was not a politician, who was not used to putting together a political team, being suddenly thrust into such a role.

He’s not, nor will he ever be, a politician in the traditional sense of that word. And he is not someone who goes back on his word. For Donald Trump loyalty is the currency of the realm, and nothing hurts him deeper than when someone he trusts is disloyal.

Wolff is a columnist and author who, thanks to a series of pro-Trump pieces during the campaign, was able to gain the confidence of enough staffers that he could frequently camp out in the West Wing during the first year of the Trump presidency.

The liberal news media have been parading Wolff out for interviews at any opportunity, as his book paints the President in a far less favorable light. This is, as we have all learned by now, in lock-step with their own anti-Trump agenda.

Wolff puts his own spin on the very first days of the Trump team in a piece for New York magazine released to accompany the book just two days ago:

Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate. He trusted his own expertise ­— no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s. He was often confident, but he was just as often paralyzed, less a savant than a figure of sputtering and dangerous insecurities, whose instinctive response was to lash out and behave as if his gut, however confused, was in fact in some clear and forceful way telling him what to do. It was, said (Deputy Chief of Staff Katie) Walsh, “like trying to figure out what a child wants.”

Unlike the Lewandowski/Bossie book, which is a first-hand account of the campaign from two men who were actually working inside and having daily conversations with Trump, the Wolff book is largely his opinion of what was happening during the first year of the administration. This opinion was allegedly drawn from conversations that Wolff claims to have had with staffers.

Wolff addresses this himself in the introduction to the book pic.twitter.com/4gSebnhJCB

— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) January 3, 2018


It’s important to note what that Tweet by Benjy Sarlin of NBC News (no friends of Trump) says is contained in the introduction to Wolff’s book. “Many of the accounts…are baldly untrue” and “In other instances I have…settled on a version of events I believe to be true.

Whether predisposed to be defenders of President Trump or not, numerous folks have come out publicly charging that Wolff’s credibility is open to challenge. Some believe that allowing him any access to the White House was representative of the old “fox in a hen house” analogy.

In a “Fourth Estate” piece on Thursday for Politico, Jack Shafer opined:

“Wolff’s penetration of the White House presents two equally damning conclusions about Trump – that he’s too much of an egoist to care who might be loitering around the White House, gathering string on him, and that he’s too incurious about the world to spot a potential danger to his presidency.”

As pointed out by Kieran Corcoran of Business Insider, sources cited by Wolff in his book have come out publicly and “disputed claims made made about them.” These include former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and longtime Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

As Lewandowski and Bossie point out, President Trump is not a typical politician. In fact, that was one of his major selling points to the Republican voters who handed him a surprisingly easy primary victory, and who swarmed to the polls in November of 2016.

Though he has built an enviable business empire, Trump has learned the hard way that building a political administrative team can be far more difficult. Just as he had to do at times in his role as a boss in business, Trump has found that he is going to have to fire people, or otherwise ease them out.

When it becomes clear that certain folks are not acting in the best interests of his team, in forwarding his agenda, they have to go. When this becomes obvious, Trump is unafraid to act. Both of these books make that clear.

Now, which book are you going to purchase and read, if not both? That is likely to be driven by your own already formed opinion of the President.

If you are positively disposed to the man and his policies and/or are interested in a history lesson on the inside story of an outsider rising to the highest office in the land, then you will add “Let Trump Be Trump” to your book shelf.

If you are in the camp that feels he is an abomination to the office and the nation, then “Fire and Fury” will be on your nightstand.

One thing is sure, no matter what your opinion of the President. During his first year in office, Trump has accomplished or is pushing forward the exact agenda on which he ran.

Rolling back numerous Obama-era policies and programs, reducing burdensome regulation, re-directing the courts back towards Constitutional originalists. Leading the fight on tax reform, directing tougher immigration policies and actions.

Despite the high-level staff turnovers, the Trump agenda continues to march forward. The man himself is the one indispensable piece to the puzzle. He is the unquestioned leader of what has quickly proven to be a winning team.

Trump is to this administration and its agenda what, as Lewandowski and Bossie compare him, Tom Brady is to the New England Patriots. Other pieces may come and go over time, but as long as Brady is leading them, the Pats are a Super Bowl contender. The analogy to this White House works well.

Me? I’m much more a history fan. I enjoy reading actual insider accounts of real events told by folks who were present when they happened, such as Lewandowski and Bossie. I am not at all a fan of gossipy sensationalism of the type released by Wolff.

These are not the first books written about Trump or his rise to the presidency. They will certainly not be the last. Two books, one POTUS, and more for supporters and detractors alike to digest regarding the most fascinating person to ever hold the office of President of the United States.