Trump’s week of grand military parades and not-so-grand stock market falls
Remember this iconic photo of US President Donald Trump's staff?
Well, as of Wednesday, they're all gone. The last survivor was the least known member of the posse, Rob Porter. (He's the tall guy right at the back.)
Porter, the former staff secretary, was sacked after allegations he had beaten his two ex-wives were made public.
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, released photographs of herself with a black eye, alleging Porter punched her in the face during a trip to Italy in 2005.
In 2010, his second wife, Jennie Willoughby, was granted a temporary protective order after alleging he refused to leave her home in violation of a separation agreement.
The order says that protection was granted on the basis that, "reasonable grounds exist to believe that [Porter] has committed family abuse and there is probable danger of a further such offense".
Rob Porter has denied the allegations.
However, the White House is now under fire for either inadequate vetting of Porter, or, if it knew his background, allowing him to stay on until all of this came out. It's also further incensed critics of the President and his attitudes towards women.
At the centre of the scrutiny is chief of staff John Kelly who worked closely with Porter, who acted as a kind of assistant presidential gatekeeper. According to CNN, Kelly knew about the allegations for months.
In a statement before the photos emerged, General Kelly said:
"Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honour and I can't say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional."
Hours later, in a separate statement, General Kelly said he was "shocked". Indeed, the White House has called the allegations "serious and deeply troubling".
Meanwhile, you will recall that we told you that Omarosa (also in the above photo) joined yet another reality TV show when she was fired from the White House, and has spoken out about her former boss while taping Celebrity Big Brother, warning that the country is "going to not be OK".
In yet another episode of "Surreal DC", her comments were discussed in the White House press briefing.
"Omarosa was fired three times on the Apprentice, and this was the fourth time we let her go." Raj Shah, White House deputy press secretary, told journalists.
Regardless, I'm with you on the tweets, Omarosa.
It looks like Mr Trump will get his wall after all
Except it's going up on Capitol Hill, at the House Intelligence Committee.
That's how bad things have become since the Nunes' FISA memo, according to CBS News.
The highly partisan memo has led to the idea of putting up physical divisions within the committee's secure spaces.
It was no surprise the President decided to pick a fight with the Democratic congressman on the committee, Adam Schiff, this week after the memo came out.
Schiff then let loose at the Commander-in-Chief:
External Link: @RepAdamSchiff tweet: "Mr. President, I see you’ve had a busy morning of “Executive Time.” Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or…really anything else."
The President currently has the Democrat memo on his desk awaiting declassification. The 10-pager was written by Democrats to provide more context about the Nunes memo from last week.
The White House press pool had to issue a correction after reporting chief of staff John Kelly had replied "no, no, it's pretty lengthy" when asked if the President had read the Democratic version.
The actual exchange between Kelly and reporters was thus:
Q: "Has the President read the Democratic memo?"
Kelly: "He has it. It's pretty lengthy."
Q: "Has he read the whole thing?"
Kelly: "No, no, I just gave it to him."
Q: "He'll read it after this?"
Kelly: "Oh, of course, yeah."
The memo saga comes as Democrats try to pressure Republicans into compelling the likes of Jared Kushner and Don Jr to publicly testify about what they know on Capitol Hill.
External Link: Kyle Griffin tweet: "Senate Judiciary Democrats are calling on chairman Grassley to hold public hearings into possible Trump-Russia collusion and want public witness testimony from Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and other key witnesses."
Some Democrats have been dogged in their pursuit of the Trump-Russia links, Schiff in particular. This week audio from a crank call where Russian comedians claimed to have naked photos of Trump was released.
Seriously though, the Russia probe seems to be growing new legs, rather than wrapping up, as the President has suggested. According to Wired, the investigation now extends from money laundering to obstruction of justice.
As The Daily Show quips:
The President appears to have set his sights on a grand military parade
The Pentagon is in the process of working out the details, but the idea was said to have been inspired after the President witnessed the Bastille Parade in France firsthand.
The idea has been blasted by many:
Including the soldier who killed Osama Bin Laden:
Even The Mooch (also in the photo above) isn't buying it:
But it did lead to this headline of the week courtesy of Reuters, "Tanks but no Tanks say Critics". Well done.
As for the DC City Council's response:
The stock market plummeted over the course of a couple of days
The worst of the decline came right as the President was giving remarks about the economy in Cincinnati (and suggesting Democrats were treasonous for not clapping during his State of the Union speech):
After taking credit for the booming stock market repeatedly, the President remained mum about the market's slide — until he put out this cryptic tweet:
External Link: @realDonaldTrump tweet: 'In the “old days,” when good news was reported, the Stock Market would go up. Today, when good news is reported, the Stock Market goes down. Big mistake, and we have so much good (great) news about the economy!'
Meanwhile, it was a bad day for some of the rich guys:
By the way, the traitor thing was just a "joke", okay?
Nancy Pelosi took to the floor for eight hours to speak out against the bipartisan funding deal for the Federal Government because it doesn't include protection for Dreamers.
She's 77 by the way.
Apparently, House Speaker Paul Ryan says, the House of Representatives will debate the issue on the floor. Watch this space.
What I'm reading this week
Until next week.