I have a few in-depth pieces I’m trying to work on, but lately all these little things keep cropping up that aren’t quite enough to fill an entire post, but that are important. If Donnie could just be locked away for a day or two, perhaps in a subterranean storeroom under the White House, then the news cycle might slow down enough for me to catch my breath!
Donnie didn’t get his way this time …
As we’ve heard ad nauseam for the past week or so, Donald Trump has told Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that he wants him to cut the interest rates … “to zero or below”. To do so would be extremely foolish, but then … look who’s asking.
Yesterday, Mr. Powell announced a 0.25% cut in the interest rate, bringing it to between 1.75% and 2%. A good portion of the members of the central bank’s rate-setting committee felt the move was unnecessary. I am not an economist, nor do I pretend to be, but based on my understanding, I agree that it was unnecessary and likely would not have been made were it not for Trump’s bullying. But, is Trump satisfied?
Of course not!
“Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again. No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator!”
Ahhhh … such professionalism, eh? Now, if another person in the Trump administration displeased him so, that person would likely be packing up their desk today, but fortunately in the case of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, ol’ Trumpie cannot just yell, “You’re Fired!” Of course, he may not yet realize that, for back in June, when he was annoyed with Powell for the same reason, he said …
“I have the right to demote him. I have the right to fire him.”
Not quite true. The Chairman can be fired only ‘for cause’, according to the Federal Reserve Act. Historically the courts have not interpreted that to include policy differences. Now, Trump could demote Powell if he so chose, but again, it would likely end up in a court battle that would almost certainly have an impact on the stability of the economy. I applaud Mr. Powell for having the courage to stand up to the bully in the Oval Office and for doing what he believes to be the proper thing.
A ‘credible and urgent threat’ – but WHAT???
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that last month Trump had some interaction by phone with some foreign leader and promised that foreign leader something. Vague enough for you? Whatever it was he promised to whomever he promised it set off alarms for at least one official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community on August 12th.
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson reviewed the complaint and determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that ordinarily requires notification of congressional oversight committees. But … acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers.
Last week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff subpoenaed Maguire for the complaint, accusing him of violating whistleblower law by failing to have notified the committee. In his letter to Maguire, Schiff wrote …
“The committee — and the American people — must know why, in violation of law, a whistleblower complaint is being concealed, whether the underlying conduct involves the president or those around him, and whether the White House is involved in trying to cover up this authorized disclosure.”
To add insult to injury, Maguire consulted with the Department of Justice, ie., Trump’s main boot-licker William Barr, which is, at the very least, unorthodox, and leads to questions as to whether there is an attempt to cover for some wrongdoing by Trump.
Atkinson is scheduled to appear at a closed hearing of the Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning and Maguire has agreed to testify before the panel in open session a week later. This whole thing is troubling, folks. Obviously, Donald Trump has promised some foreign leader … Putin? MbS? Kim? … something that is very troublesome, and people are going to great lengths to keep it from being properly investigated or made public. This is NOT how our government is supposed to operate. Trump has declared himself to be above the law, and this is yet further proof that there are those in our government who are willing to sacrifice their integrity to allow it. Stay tuned …
Is it Sean, or a giant chicken???
And, because I think you guys need a bit of humour, I share with you this short clip of none other than former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in his debut on Dancing with the Stars. I’m not sure, but I think that’s a fluffy chicken costume he’s wearing!