Trump’s phone calls alarm US officials, appears delusional

CNN reports that In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.

The calls caused former top Trump deputies — including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials — to conclude that the President was often “delusional,” as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders.

These officials’ concerns about the calls, and particularly Trump’s deference to Putin, take on new resonance with reports the President appears to have learned in March that Russia had offered the Taliban bounties to kill US troops in Afghanistan — and yet took no action.

Trump also regularly bullied and demeaned the leaders of America’s principal allies, especially two women: telling Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom she was weak and lacked courage; and telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was “stupid.”

Trump incessantly boasted to his fellow heads of state, including Saudi Arabia’s autocratic royal heir Mohammed bin Salman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, about his own wealth, genius, “great” accomplishments as President, and the “idiocy” of his Oval Office predecessors, according to the sources.

Like Bolton, CNN’s sources said that Trump seemed to continually conflate his own personal interests — especially for purposes of re-election and revenge against perceived critics and political enemies — with the national interest.

One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe described the calls cumulatively as ‘abominations’ so grievous to US national security interests that if members of Congress heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes, even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President.

Trump tries again to abolish Obamacare – in the middle of a pandemic

With the presidential election just months away, Trump had the Justice Department ask the Supreme Court on Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that enables millions of Americans to get insurance coverage and that remains in effect despite the pending legal challenge.

Neither Trump nor the GOP have offered up an alternative. And this is all taking place in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and with millions losing income during economic shutdowns.

Many GOP politicians are dismayed by the move, which seems to play into Biden’s hand going into the election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized the administration after the late-night filing.
“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” she said in a statement Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, lashed out at President Donald Trump for continuing to support upending the law.

“Today, his Administration is filing a brief with the Supreme Court to rip health care coverage away from 23 million Americans — including 224,000 Wisconsinites,” Biden said, remarking on Trump’s visit to the Badger State Thursday. “Every American deserves the peace of mind that comes (with) access to affordable, high-quality health care.”

Biden, who is planning to make a new health care push on protecting the Affordable Care Act this week, was vice president when former President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in 2010. He is calling for strengthening it by making federal premium subsides more generous and allowing more people to qualify for subsidies. He would also add a government-run public option and would lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60.

About 11.4 million people signed up for 2020 Obamacare polices on the exchanges, while nearly 12.7 million low-income adults have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. It allows young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ policies and bans insurers from denying coverage to those who buy their own policies or charging them more because of pre-existing conditions. And it lets many people obtain free birth control, annual physicals, mammograms and cholesterol tests.

The filings come a day after House Democrats unveiled a bill to enhance the landmark law. Similar to Biden’s plan, it would make Obamacare policies more affordable by bolstering federal premium subsidies — limiting monthly premiums to 8.5% of enrollees’ income and allowing more middle class Americans to receive the subsidies by eliminating the income cap of four times the poverty level. It also tries to entice more states to expand Medicaid to low-income adults by covering 100% of the cost for the first three years.

Lindsey Graham praises Joe Biden and calls Donald Trump a ‘race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot’ in new ad

The ad, which was released over the weekend, has already received over 1.6 million views on YouTube.

Republican Voters Against Trump confirmed the ad was set to air in several states across the country on Fox News, MarketWatch reported on Monday.

Trump promotes lie about 75-year-old Buffalo protester severely injured by police

Trump put forth an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory Tuesday about the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo who suffered head injuries after he was pushed to the ground by police and hit his head on the sidewalk.

“75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment,” Trump said in a morning tweet.

Citing a report on conservative news network OANN, Trump said, “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” He said Gugino “could be” an anarchist “provocateur” but provided no evidence for that assertion.

Two suspended Buffalo police officers were charged with assault and accused of intentionally pushing Gugino, who bled from the back of the head after he hit the sidewalk.

In multiple videos of the June 4 incident in Buffalo, Gugino approached a group of police officers on the sidewalk. 

He was then shoved backward by two officers, after which he lost his balance, stumbled back and fell, whacking his head hard on the sidewalk.

Witnesses say Gugino began bleeding from his ear, and video footage shows blood pooling near his head. He was still in the hospital Tuesday.

Police walked by Gugino without providing help.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the president should apologize for “the reprehensible, dumb comment,” a claim for which there was “no proof whatsoever.”

“Do you think it was staged? Do you think the blood coming out of his head was staged?” Cuomo asked during a briefing.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., questioned why Trump even raised this issue.

“It’s a serious accusation, which should only be made with facts and evidence. And I haven’t seen any yet,” Thune said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and a frequent critic of Trump, said: “I saw the tweet, it was a shocking thing to say, and I won’t dignify it with any further comment.”

Criticism mounts against Trump from conservatives and evangelical leaders

Because of Trump’s lack of leadership, and because of his bombastic statements and dangerously anti-democratic antics during these difficult times, there has been a growing backlash even among conservatives and right-wing evangelical leaders who normally support him.

Today, Jim Mattis, a former defense secretary who quit the Trump administration in 2018, offered a withering criticism of his former boss, saying, “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using the U.S. military to quiet domestic unrest in a break with Donald Trump who threatened to deploy federal troops to “dominate the streets.”

“I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also as a former soldier, and a former member of the National Guard: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” Esper said. “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Two administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump was angry over Esper’s comments and felt like the defense secretary left the impression it was his decision on whether to invoke the Insurrection Act.

And televangelist Pat Robertson scolded President Donald Trump on Tuesday over his threat to send the U.S. military into American cities to control civil unrest. “You just don’t do that, Mr. President,” Robertson said on his “700 Club” TV show, then he raised his voice: “It isn’t cool.”

In comments posted online by Right Wing Watch, Robertson also called out Trump for getting the tone all wrong in dealing with the people protesting against racial injustice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, last week.

“You know, there’s a purpose to everything under heaven, you read in the Bible, and there’s a time,” he said. “And I think like now is the time to say, ’I understand your pain, I want to comfort you, I think it’s time we love each other.”