From Russian ties to business conflicts of interests, both Democrats and Republicans are actively working to find chinks in the President’s armor.
But for those with hope of change in their hearts, Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein says there is a possibility that Trump will eventually remove himself from office by filing his own resignation.
Speaking to a crowd during a town hall-style Questions and Answers session, Feinstein was asked how Congress is going to deal with Trump’s alleged illegal activities:
Journalist: We don’t know what’s happening but we know that he is breaking laws every day, he’s making money at Mar-a-lago, he’s getting copyrights in China, he has obvious dealings with Russia, the Dakota pipeline… there’s some many things that he’s doing that are unconstitutional… how are we going to get him out?
Feinstein:We have a lot of people looking at this… Technical people… I think he’s going to get himself out… I think sending sons to another country to make a financial deal for his company and then have that covered with government expenses… I think those government expenses should not be allowed.. we are working on a bill that will deal with conflict of interest… it’s difficult…
Videos of Feinstein speaking to what appears to be a local press pool of reporters and protesters appear below. You can jump to 1:30 in the first video to listen to Feinstein discuss Trump’s conflicts of interests, or watch from the beginning to hear Feinstein’s response to how her husband’s firm directly benefited from bills she voted into law, proving once again that the hypocrisy of socialist Congressional representatives from California has no bounds…
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook expressed support for globalisation and said China should continue to open its economy to foreign firms, while speaking at a forum in Beijing on Saturday.
“I think it’s important that China continues to open itself and widens the door if you will,” said Cook, speaking at the government-sponsored China Development Forum.
Cook’s comments come amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China, with protectionist rhetoric from U.S. President Donald Trump sparking concern of increased trade friction between the two countries.
“The reality is countries that are closed, that isolate themselves, it’s not good for their people,” said Cook, in a rare public speech.
Apple said on Friday it will set up two new research and development centres in Shanghai and Suzhou in China.
It has pledged to invest more than 3.5 billion yuan ($508 million) in research and development in China.
Apple has been singled out in Chinese media as a potential target for retaliation in the event of a trade war.
The Global Times warned last November if Trump triggered a trade war with China, Beijing would then target firms from Boeing to Apple in a “tit-for-tat” approach.
According to the International Monetary Fund, global debt has grown to a staggering grand total of 152 trillion dollars. Other estimates put that figure closer to 200 trillion dollars, but for the purposes of this article let’s use the more conservative number. If you take 152 trillion dollars and divide it by the seven billion people living on the planet, you get $21,714, which would be the share of that debt for every man, woman and child in the world if it was divided up equally.
So if you have a family of four, your family’s share of the global debt load would be $86,856.
The world’s largest pension fund delivered a return of 7.98 per cent in the final quarter of 2016 as the Trump rally sent global asset prices soaring in yen terms.
Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, which manages public pension money for millions of workers, returned ¥10.5tn ($91.9bn) during the quarter. Its value rose to ¥144.8tn ($1,268.5bn).
The surge in value helps to validate Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s 2014 decision to shift the GPIF into risky assets, including foreign equities, and gives him another reason to thank new US president Donald Trump.
Increasing risk in the GPIF portfolio is meant to help Japan meet the huge pension bills from its aging population. But there is intense political sensitivity about any losses, even due to quarterly market volatility, because of the impression of speculating with public money.
The GPIF made 15.2 per cent in the quarter on its holdings of domestic equities, slightly ahead of a 15 per cent rise in the Topix index, and 16.5 per cent on its portfolio of foreign stocks. Foreign bond holdings returned 8.8 per cent, reflecting the yen’s fall, while domestic bonds lost 1.1 per cent.
After three quarters of its fiscal year, which runs to the end of March, the GPIF was up 5.7 per cent. That follows a 3.9 per cent fall the previous year.
Stocks rose Monday as the Dow closed at a record high for a twelfth straight day, something it hasn’t done since Jan. 1987 when it ran off 13 straight record closes to start the year, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.68 points, or 0.1%, to 20,837.44. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 2.39, or 0.1%, to 2369.73 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 16.59, or 0.3%, to 5861.90.
Energy stocks led the gainers as the price of crude rose. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 20 cents, or 0.4%, at $54.15 a barrel in New York. The contract fell 46 cents on Friday.
Investors were looking ahead to President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress on Tuesday for details of promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending. U.S. stocks have benefited from Trump’s promise of pro-business changes, but investors are waiting to see how large and rapid those changes will be.
During a meeting with governors Monday, Trump noted that his upcoming budget would include a big boost to defense spending. The White House separately said that the budget would include a $54 billion increase in defense spending while imposing corresponding cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid.
Investors were also looking ahead to Trump’s speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress for details of how he plans to carry out promises to cut taxes and step up infrastructure spending.
n Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.2%, while France’s CAC-40 was flat. London’s FTSE-100 added 0.1% Major indexes in Asia posted losses. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.9%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.2%. Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.4%.
Anyone who has taken their children to Disney world in the U.S. has felt the pressure to go on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” Based on the character from the children’s classic, “The Wind in the Willows,” Mr. Toad is the reckless scion of the largest building in the forest, Toad Hall. Fabulously wealthy, he buys a car to impress his friends, although he has no idea how to drive. He loads his companions into the vehicle, liberally honking the horn as he careens on a path of destruction, heedless of the damage he does and exhilarated by the fear he engenders.
U.S. trade policy is now on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” with the difference being that the Disney version ends where it began, with no harm done. The Trump administration’s lack of predictability and indifference to global risk is the new normal. Nowhere does President Donald Trump’s trade policy carry a greater risk than in the interplay of the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China.
Out of disbelief or disorientation, markets have examined the Trump challenge to U.S.-China trade and concluded it is manageable. That conclusion ignores the consequences of a decisive turn in U.S. policy toward Trump’s version of “America First” isolationism and trade protection, coupled with his apparent animosity toward China and his failure to view the relationship within a wider context. Further, it rejects the belief that the direction of Trump’s China and trade policy is real and durable, even though it was central to the argument that won him the presidency.
Even before he seeks new legislation from Congress, Trump has an impressive range of options in dealing with Chinese trade issues. These include:
Two weeks after David Stockman warned that “the market is apparently pricing in a huge Trump stimulus. But if you just look at the real world out there, the only thing that’s going to happen is a fiscal bloodbath and a White House train wreck like never before in U.S. history” and exclaimed that, when looking at markets, “what’s going on today is complete insanity” he is back with another interview, this time with Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog in which he, once again warns, that a giant fiscal bloodbatch is coming soon, and urges listeners to pay especially close attention to the March 15, 2017 debt ceiling deadling, at which point everything could “grind to a halt.”
As Greg Hunter writes, former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director David Stockman says financial pain is a mathematical certainty. Stockman explains, “I think we are likely to have more of a fiscal bloodbath rather than fiscal stimulus. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, not only did the public vote the establishment out, they left on his doorstep the inheritance of 30 years of debt build-up and a fiscal policy that’s been really reckless in the extreme. People would like to think he’s the second coming of Ronald Reagan and we are going to have morning in America. Unfortunately, I don’t think it looks that promising because Trump is inheriting a mess that pales into insignificance what we had to deal with in January of 1981 when I joined the Reagan White House as Budget Director.”
So, can the Trump bump in the stock market keep going? Stockman, who wrote a book titled “Trumped” predicting a Trump victory in 2016, says, “I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in the hot place that’s going to happen. This is delusional. This is the greatest suckers’ rally of all time. It is based on pure hopium and not any analysis at all as what it will take to push through a big tax cut. Donald Trump is in a trap. Today the debt is $20 trillion. It’s 106% of GDP. . . .Trump is inheriting a built-in deficit of $10 trillion over the next decade under current policies that are built in. Yet, he wants more defense spending, not less. He wants drastic sweeping tax cuts for corporations and individuals. He wants to spend more money on border security and law enforcement. He’s going to do more for the veterans. He wants this big trillion dollar infrastructure program. You put all that together and it’s madness. It doesn’t even begin to add up, and it won’t happen when you are struggling with the $10 trillion of debt that’s coming down the pike and the $20 trillion that’s already on the books.”
Just a few hours after Trump warned during his CPAC speech that “we’re gonna do something about the media”, he did just that after the White House barred a number of news outlets from covering Sean Spicer’s Q&A session on Friday afternoon. Spicer decided to hold an off-camera “gaggle” with reporters inside his West Wing office instead of the traditional on-camera briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room according to press reports.
Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were various news organizations that Trump has singled out in the past including CNN, The NYT, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News.
Several non mainstream outlets were allowed into Spicer’s office, including Breitbart, the Washington Times and One America News Network. Several other major news organizations were also let in to cover the gaggle. That group included ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Reuters and Bloomberg, however AP and Time have boycotted the event.
The White House Correspondents’ Association sharply criticized the decision.
“The WHCA board is protesting strongly against how today’s gaggle is being handled by the White House,” Jeff Mason, the association’s president, said in a statement. “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not,” he added. “The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
President Donald Trump declared China the “grand champions” of currency manipulation on Thursday, just hours after his new Treasury secretary pledged a more methodical approach to analyzing Beijing’s foreign exchange practices.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said he has not “held back” in his assessment that China manipulates its yuan currency, despite not acting on a campaign promise to declare it a currency manipulator on his first day in office.
“Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”
During his presidential campaign Trump frequently accused China of keeping its currency artificially low against the dollar to make Chinese exports cheaper, “stealing” American manufacturing jobs.
But Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday he was not ready to pass judgment on China’s currency practices.
The Trump-Putin honeymoon continues to chill… that is if Trump’s top foreign policy advisors speak for the president, which remains very much unclear.
As discussed yesterday, in the clearest sign yet that when it comes to diplomacy with Russia, there are two clear axes developing within the Trump administration: a Pence/Mattis/Haley foreign policy and a Trump/Bannon/Miller foreign policy, Vice President Mike Pence told the crowd at the Munich Security Conference that he would “hold Russia accountable” even as he vowed “unwavering support” for NATO. This prompted the following interesting scene moments later, as recounted by Bloomberg.
Shortly after Vice President Mike Pence pledged to “hold Russia to account” while looking for common ground in a speech to European allies, a hawkish Russian legislator reached out to shake his hand as he passed through a crowded hotel corridor.
“Mr. Vice President, I am from Moscow and we hope we will reach those arrangements you were talking about,” said Alexei Pushkov, a member of the defense committee in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament. He enthusiastically told reporters afterward that he saw the Vice President’s smile as a good sign.