Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple
◆ EXCELLENT ECONOMIC NEWS: Surging jobs in July means that the US has now regained all the jobs lost in the recession. Wages rose 2.5% last year. Unemployment remains 4.3% Dow-Jones above 22k for the first time ever (Washington Post)
Comment: Now, to get more healthy people back into the labor force.
Based on the leaked documents, The Washington Post reported new details Thursday about Trump’s tense phone calls in late January with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. In the former, Trump reportedly told the Mexican leader to stop publicly saying his government would not pay for a border wall.
The newspaper said the transcripts had notes indicating they had been classified by the chief of staff on the National Security Council. The Post said it obtained full transcripts, which were “produced by White House staff” and based on records kept by White House note-takers. –Fox News
Comment: My guess: holdover staff from the last administration or people who have just been fired.
They already had one in Virginia, so this is really not new, just a more convenient location for Mueller’s office, which now has 16 full-time prosecutors.
Comment: It means the investigation is
- Clearly a criminal one, not limited to counter-intelligence
- Not limited to Mike Flynn, who was the subject of the Virginia panel
- Likely to last many more months
Who should be worried? Anybody in Trump’s circle who has extensive business dealings with Russia or Russian-sponsored entities and, of course, anybody who lies to Federal agents. Lying to the media is not a crime, but a pattern of lying could indicate intent to cover up and prompt further inquiry.
◆ West Virginia’s Democratic Governor announces switch to GOP at Trump rally (Charleston WVa Gazette-Mail)
West Virginia, once reliably Democratic, has voted for Republicans in each presidential race since 2000, and dramatically last year. Four of the state’s five Congressional seats have flipped to Republican.
The most important elected Democrat in the state is now centrist Joe Manchin, who said he will remain a Democrat.
Comment: Democrats now control only 15 governorships and the fewest state legislatures in the party’s history.
Sticking with Bernie and Nancy is not going to help, but the ineptitude of the current Congress will.
◆ Israel: PM Netanyahu’s top aide agrees to testify against him in a bribery, fraud investigation (Bloomberg)
Comment: Likely outcome: Netanyahu indicted.
It’s grim when top officials are suspected of corruption, but it is good news when an independent judiciary can investigate them, as they do in constitutional democracies . . . and nowhere else.
Comment: Yes, it helps that they are both former generals. But the main point is that they are both experienced at high-level Washington bureaucratic politics.
McMaster has been cleaning house in his operation, putting his own people in place.
The problems: McMaster has a violent temper, often on display in staff meetings, and is frequently pitted against Steve Bannon, who is an important link to Pres. Trump’s populist constituency–and who would be harder on the Trump Administration outside the tent than inside.
◆ Fragile economy limits Putin (Reuters)
And US sanctions weak him further.
Comment: ZipDialog has made this point repeatedly. Most news commentary has overlooked it.
Hat Tip to
◆ Michael Lipson for the Grand Jury story