Left Justified

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Trump Asking for $4.1 billion Down Payment for Proposed Border Wall

March 16, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media

Director of the Office of Management
and Budget

President Trump is steaming ahead with his plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. His first step will be to request $1.5 billion in a supplemental spending bill. Next will be a request for $2.6 billion for fiscal year 2018. That is s total of $4.1 billion, just a small down payment for the estimated total price of the wall at $22 billion. Mike Mulvaney, the director or the White House Office Of Management and Budget said the president’s requests are quite a bit higher than what was originally proposed.

These budget line-items will be just a small piece in the puzzle to enhance security at the US-Mexico border in what Mulvaney says is a comprehensive “America First” budget.

“We wrote it using the president’s own words,” he said to reporters over the phone. “We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies … and we turned those policies into numbers.”

Mulvaney said that the complete budget for defense and border security will be $30 billion. The budget requested by the president will also include upping the money available for Homeland Security by about 6 percent.

Parties Take Different Stands on Trump Wiretap Allegations

March 6, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Devin Nunes, U.S. Representative from California.

Republicans and Democrats had different reactions to the Presidential tweet-storm early last Saturday morning in which Trump accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump’s campaign offices last October right before the presidential election.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of California said that he would have the House Permanent Select Committee investigate that accusation as part of the larger look into the extent to which Russia interfered with the conduct and outcome of US elections.

“One of the focus points of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation is the U.S. government’s response to actions taken by Russian intelligence agents during the presidential campaign,” Nunes said. “As such, the Committee will make inquiries into whether the government was conducting surveillance activities on any political party’s campaign officials or surrogates, and we will continue to investigate this issue if the evidence warrants it.”

It is important to note here that although Nunes said that there will be an investigation into Russian interference, and that any wiretapping conducted would have been ordered by appropriate authorities, he did not say that the investigation is of former President Obama’s ordering of the wiretapping, which would have been illegal.

The Democratic response came next, made by Representative Adam Schiff, also from California, who is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff pointed out the undignified allegations made by Trump, beneath the dignity of the office of the president. Trump

Adam Schiff (D-CA), Member of the United States House of Representatives.

accused Obama without any proof, attribution, or explanation. He accused Obama of “McCarthyism” a reminder of the witch-hunts Congress led in the 1950s, and also referred to the Nixon-Watergate scandal that involved illegal wiretapping and the eventual resignation of President Nixon.

“Today, it became all the more clear that President Trump’s claim that he was illegally wire-tapped by President Obama was based on little more than Breitbart or other conspiracy-based news,” Schiff said. “For a President of the United States to make such an incendiary charge — and one that discredits our democracy in the eyes of the world — is as destructive as it was baseless.”

New Hampshire Irked Over False Voter Fraud Accusation

February 19, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media, Politics

Stephen Miller on June 18, 2016, at an event in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

 

Stephen Miller, a White House senior policy advisor, once again leveled the false claim that New Hampshire was involved in serious, widespread voter fraud during last November’s general election. Miller, who was once, for a short time, a part of the failed 2014 senate campaign for Scott Brown in New Hampshire, told ABC commentator George Stephanopoulos that voter fraud is rampant in New Hampshire as well as throughout the USA.

“Having worked before on a campaign in New Hampshire, I can tell you that this issue of busing voters into New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” Miller said. “It’s very real, it’s very serious.”

His false statement elicited an outcry from Democrats as well as fellow Republicans.

“For Mr. Miller to make up such an outrageous lie is unacceptable for anyone who works in the White House,” said Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “It’s an outrageous attack on the people of New Hampshire. We run among the finest operation in the first in the nation primary and in our general election.”

Despite the fact that the White House has never presented any evidence of large scale voter fraud, administration officials, including the President himself, have continued unabated to declare widespread voter fraud took place during the last elections. Outside experts and election officials have condemned the allegations, saying they have no basis in reality whatsoever.

Trump said during a private meeting with senators that “thousands” of people were bussed from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, causing him to lose the vote of that state as well as stealing the win from Senator Kelly Ayotte. Clinton won New Hampshire by 3,000 votes, and Ayotte lost to Senator Maggie Hassan by a margin of only 743.

All Eyes on Treasury Appointments

February 12, 2017 by Dan Kazan in News and Media, Politics

Portrait of Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of the Treasury. Photo by Office of the President-elect.

All eyes are certainly on Washington at the moment as confirmations and political appointments are under way. At the moment, the new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (who was confirmed yesterday) is considering who to tap for the senior roles in his department.

James Donovan is being considered for deputy Treasury Secretary, according to those in the know. Justin Muzinich is also being considered, quite possibly as undersecretary for domestic finance or counselor.

While nothing is set in stone yet, these decisions would place well-known Wall Street figures in Washington. Currently, the Treasury has been operating with a quite limited staff.

As the article from Politico explains about Jim Donovan,

“Donovan, a Goldman partner and managing director, is close to Mitt Romney and served as one of the 2012 GOP nominee’s top fundraisers. He was also a top fundraiser and economic adviser for Jeb Bush in the 2016 campaign. He joined Goldman in 1993 and covered major clients in both investment banking and investment management. He made partner in 2000 and worked with then co-presidents John Thain and John Thornton on broader strategy for Goldman as a whole.”