Since winning the election, Mr. Trump and his closest aides have embraced the turmoil, viewing it as evidence of their aggressive efforts to fundamentally reorient the government.

The West Wing uses the chaos as a tactical weapon, believing that the flurry of early-morning presidential tweets, controversial statements during the afternoon briefing and surprise executive actions work to keep their adversaries, the media and others off balance.

Following the firing of General Mike Flynn, Trump National Security chief, Trump again takes to the morning Twitter feed to misdirect his supporters and foment chaos; accusing his adversaries of “blind hatred” and sowing “fake news”.

The adversarial tactics are, themselves, both strategy and end result: a phenomenon that is causing unprecedented agitation within key institutions of American democracy including the military.

Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the military’s Special Operations Command, expressed concern about upheaval inside the White House.

“Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” he said at a military conference on Tuesday. John McCain accused the the White House of being a place where “nobody knows who’s in charge and nobody knows who’s setting policy.”

The furor over Russian contacts by the Trump campaign team — and inevitably with Russian intelligence directed personally by Putin is uncontained precisely by the reaction of Trump and his top aides, including Stephen Miller who appeared unhinged on Sunday talk shows with a shrill, dogmatic tone more apt for the Kremlin than the U.S.

Asked about his comments later, General Thomas said, “As a commander, I’m concerned our government be as stable as possible.”

In scarcely three weeks, the president angrily provoked the cancellation of a summit meeting with the Mexican president, triggered such anxiety among allies that the House Speaker in Great Britain refused to allow Trump to address Parliament, hung up on Australia’s prime minister, authorized a commando raid that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL member, repeatedly lied about the existence of millions of fraudulent votes cast in the 2016 election and engaged in Twitter wars with senators, a sports team owner, a Hollywood actor and a major department store chain. His words and actions have generated almost daily protests around the country. His morning Twitter feeds are exactly calculated to mesh with the GOP news organ, Fox News, so that dissent within GOP ranks is stifled before the day even starts.

As reported by the NY Times, intercepts of Trump contacts with Russia alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my lifetime about what may or may not happen in Washington,” said Leon Panetta, a Democrat who served as chief of staff, secretary of defense and C.I.A. director during a 50-year career that spanned nine presidents from both parties. “I don’t know whether this White House is capable of responding in a thoughtful or careful way should a crisis erupt,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. “You can do hit-and-miss stuff over a period of time. But at some point, I don’t give a damn what your particular sense of change is all about, you cannot afford to have change become chaos.”

The director of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) says White House counselor Kellyanne Conway misused her official position by hawking Ivanka Trump’s product line on TV and recommends the White House punish her. “Under the present circumstances, there is strong reason to believe that Ms. Conway has violated the Standards of Conduct Act and that disciplinary action is warranted,” Walter Schaub wrote in a Tuesday letter to White House legal counselor Stefan Passantino.

Less than a month into his presidency, conservative judges block Trump’s carelessly assembled executive orders, the national security leadership is in disarray, Republican Senators are launching a probe of the administration’s secret engagement with Russia, the much-promised Obamacare replacement is nowhere to be found, and WH staffers are turning on one another with daily leaks about who will be fired first. Trump assails “leaks” but continues to use and tweet from an unsecured Android phone. The uproar over the resignation of National Security chief Mike Flynn continues around the time between DOJ notification of the WH of its concerns about Flynn weeks ago and Trump’s “awareness”of the problem, including the chance that Russia could blackmail Flynn while he was in charge of the nation’s national security apparatus.

Government agency staffers and scientists silo data in secure server farms in case of purges ordered by Trump appointees.

The director of the Secret Service, Joseph Clancy retires. Clancy came out of retirement two years ago to repair the damaged agency after a series of embarrassments. Moreover, Trump’s decision to retain a private security staff, causing blurred lines in the chain of command protecting the president, may have played into the Clancy’s retirement decision.

Similar gaps in the chain of authority within the WH continue to mar the infant administration,  as uncertainty aggravates friction between top staffers. On Facebook, the publication of iPhone photos by diners at Trump Mar-a-Lago, while the president, Japanese PM Abe, huddled around the North Korea missile launch prompts culture critic and comic Stephen Colbert to question, “I’ll have the shrimp scampi or intercontinental ballistic missile.” ‘HOLY MOLY!!!’ a Trump friend wrote later on Facebook while posting photos of the moment: ‘It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan. … Wow…..the center of the action!!!’

The Washington Post writes: “With President Trump in his fourth full week in office, the upheaval inside the administration that West Wing officials had optimistically dismissed as growing pains is now embedding itself as standard operating procedure. Trump — distracted by political brushfires, often of his own making — has failed to fill such key posts as White House communications director, while sub-Cabinet positions across agencies and scores of ambassadorships around the globe still sit empty.”

Criticism pours over Utah Congressman and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz says that the “Flynn matter is taking care of itself”. Chaffetz (R-Utah), who hounded Hillary Clinton for years (emails and Benghazi), said Tuesday that his panel won’t investigate the circumstances that led to Flynn stepping down.

The Orlando Sentinel reports, “It should come as no surprise that Marco Rubio, a Florida senator who has so far voted “yes” on every single one of Trump’s cabinet appointees, has coincidentally received more cash from Trump’s cabinet appointees than any other other senator. New figures from the Center for Responsive Politics show that Rubio and the PACs supporting his campaigns have collectively received hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions from President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, with the vast majority coming from newly minted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Last week it was revealed that Rubio had received almost $100,000 from DeVos, but that seems only to scratch the surface. When you include their donations to the Conservative Solutions PAC (which was supporting Rubio’s unsuccessful presidential run), DeVos and her husband have donated roughly $802,500 to Rubio.”

Trump promised to stick up for the working class, but his key economic appointments stand to massively benefit from the Trump tax cut plan — the Reagan relic and discredited “trick-down economics”.

Accordingly, the greatest benefit to job creation and working class Americans is through tax relief to corporations, shareholders and highest wage earners. Trump tax policy will particularly benefit WH insiders from Goldman Sachs. In addition to Stephen T. Mnuchin, Trump nominee to be Treasury Secretary, other GS alumni include Steve Bannon, Gary Cohn, former GS president, and possibly Jim Donovan, under consideration to be number 2 in the Treasury Department. Mnuchin’s statement for the record: “There will be no absolute tax cut for the rich.”

At Mar-A-Largo on Saturday night, Trump handled his first foreign policy crisis in the company of his wife and Japanese prime minister Abe in the dining room, in full view, with aides shuttling information on the North Korea ballistic missile test, and music from an adjacent wedding party filtering through the gawking diners. In a photo taken at the time, Trump appeared to relish the chaos.

Christopher Ruddy, Trump close friend and CEO of NewsMax, who told the NY Times that Trump is “rebranding America” says that the chaotic start to the WH is primarily the responsibility of Reince Priebus. Ruddy described Trump chief of staff as being “in way over his head”. On weekend news shows, Stephen Miller — senior White House policy analyst — adopted a shrill, harsh tone as he doubled-down on Trump’s assertion of widespread and “massive” voter fraud in New Hampshire without offering any evidence. None.

Feb. 12  Trump, who routinely criticized Obama for golfing, golfs at his weekend get-away with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Germany chooses as president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a vocal critic of Trump. 94 companies, including Apple, Google, and Facebook, filed amicus briefs against the Trump immigration ban. At Mar-a-Largo, windows in the press area are covered with black plastic so reporters can’t see out. At the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a blackout continues, so the press can’t see in. Two weeks after Iran launched a missile in response to Trump’s threats, North Korea launched its own missile in a”show of force”. While husbands golf, Melania Trump escorts Akie Abe, the wife of the prime minister, around a fake Japanese garden rather than the nearby Everglades, one of America’s national treasures. Trump tweets that Mark Cuban “isn’t smart enough to run for president” reminding of the tweet by Gary Kasparov: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking.”



Feb. 11  Fitch Ratings, a top credit rating agency, warned that the Trump administration poses a risk to “international economic conditions.” The top regulator at the Federal Reserve, Daniel Tarullo, at the Fed since 2009, offered his resignation, further dividing common sense from exactly the kinds of financial risks by big banks that lead, in the early 2000’s, to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

In a private meeting with 10 GOP senators to “listen” on his Neil Gorsuch nomination to the US Supreme Court, Trump says that “thousands” of people were “brought in on buses” from neighboring Massachusetts to “illegally” vote in New Hampshire. A uncomfortable silence among the Republican senators followed Trump’s lie, according to reports. Although many GOP senators are expressing “great concern” about Trump’s temperament, none have spoken out publicly. “Donald Trump is living out all the ridiculous stereotypes of a female president”, except for his handshakes.

Trump’s bizarre handshakes are gaining traction on social media. First, he nearly yanked off the arm of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, during his announcement. Gorsuch pulled away in embarrassment. Yesterday, after a seemingly endless handshake in an Oval Office, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rolled his eyes when Trump let go. At Friday’s joint press conference with Abe, Trump only chose media outlets owned by the Rupert Murdoch empire to ask questions.

Russia may offer Edward Snowden to Trump as “a gift” for all that Trump has done to advance Russia’s interests.

“The Administration has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, confirmed a pending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rebuked US companies that invest abroad, while threatening financial penalties for companies that do so, and accused a number of countries of manipulating exchange rates to the US’s disadvantage,” Fitch said.

Trump’s hiring freeze hurts government, according to federal managers yesterday.

National Security Advisor Mike Flynn claimed he never discussed sanctions with Russians before Trump took office, and so did VP Pence and Trump megaphone Sean Spicer, but a US intelligence official confirmed to a NBC News report, that Flynn lied. Yesterday, Trump told reporters he was unaware of the report.

Kmart and Sears websites stopped selling Trump Home furnishing line. A federal election commissioner demanded Trump show proof of voter fraud claims.

The tangle of ethical violations and transgressions by the Trump WH is ballooning. The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits U.S. officials from receiving payments from foreign governments. Lawyers started warning about the potential for violations at Trump’s Washington hotel and overseas properties after he won the election.

From Jan. 23-26 the Saudi government paid for dozens of former veterans and their families to stay at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. The Saudis are desperate to overturn an Obama order allowing US citizens harmed by 9/11 to seek just compensation for the terror attack coordinated by Saudi citizens.

“The problem with Donald Trump’s constitutionally forbidden foreign government cash and other benefits is not just that any one particular payment is problematic — it’s also a systemic problem,” said Norm Eisen, who was President Barack Obama’s ethics czar and is now part of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violation the Emoluments Clause. “It’s another tile in the mosaic of unconstitutional behavior.”

Los Angeles Hispanic communities fill with panic following a series of raids by federal immigration enforcement resulting in the arrest and deportation of more than 100 people. Trump tweets and grumbles about cost of “the wall”.

Feb. 10: In a 3-0 decision, Trump loses immigration ban in federal district court. On Twitter, Trump vents ALL CAPS anger against a “disgraceful decision”. Fox News promotes idea that if there is another terror attack on US soil, it is the courts’ fault. WH spokesperson Sean Spicer emphasizes terror threats like the “attack in Atlanta”. It never happened. Spicer later says, he meant Orlando. Trump’s explosive temper is being fed by the realization that running the United States is a lot harder than his branding businesses. Around the nation, Town Hall meetings conducted by GOP members of Congress are turning into focal points for Trump protests, “Do Your Job!” After Trump blasts a department chain from dropping Ivanka’s line (low, poor sales down 26% in January), KellyAnne Conway plugs daughter business from WH in a likely violation of WH ethics law. Trump reverses his tough stand for Taiwan — a cornerstone of his campaign — and capitulates on “One China Policy”, handing a victory to China president Xi Jinping. Trump tells airline executives a “phenomenal tax cut” is coming. Trump EPA yanks staff from Alaska climate change summit. Trump Supreme Court pick Gorsuch calls Trump’s criticism of the federal judiciary, “disheartening and demoralizing”. Trump responds, Gorsuch must have been talking about someone else. Although Trump blames Democratic senators for the delay in confirmation hearings, the NY Times reports that changes made by Trump, himself, to vetting procedures — omitting questions to nominees directed to ethical concerns — is contributing to a chaotic WH.

Feb. 8: For the first time in US history, the vice president was required to break a tie in the Senate over the confirmation of cabinet nominee. In the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, to be the nation’s top education official, only two Republican senators broke ranks. DeVos, from a billionaire family that has contributed millions to right wing religious causes and political candidates, never attended a public school, has no professional qualifications as a public educator, and never sent her children to a public school. At a WH meeting of county sheriffs, after hearing about a Texas legislator who opposes asset forfeiture without conviction, nervous laughter greeted Trump’s quip, “Who is the state senator? Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.” The Trump immigration ban, challenged in several states by civil libertarians, was heard in a California federal District court yesterday. WH communications staff has tried to pave over Trump’s incendiary statements against the federal judiciary. In a remarkably testy interview with National Public Radio, a former Breitbart national security editor and now deputy assistant to Trump, Sebastian Gorka, said “… journalists have deliberately misrepresented Trump’s intentions, and that on occasion it provides comic relief at the White House.” Gorka said the WH is not in disarray. Yemen, a nation critical to the U.S. efforts to contain terrorism abroad, announced that it would no longer allow U.S. covert operations on its soil, eliminating a critical tool in the military arsenal against terrorism at the same time Trump is ramping up public fear and anxiety about another terror attack on U.S. soil. Although Yemen appeared to act in response to a botched secret U.S. military raid in Yemen — that Trump declared a complete success — in fact, the measure was also taken in response to its being listed among the seven Muslim nations whose nationals would be denied entry to the U.S. under the Trump immigration ban. The NY Times, repeatedly accused by Trump as “failing” despite having recently doubled its subscription base, writes, “The European Union is accustomed to crises. But it is probably safe to say that none of the 28 leaders who are gathering in Malta on Friday expected the crisis that has overtaken the agenda: the United States of America. Like much of the world, the European Union is struggling to decipher a President Trump who seems every day to be picking a new fight with a new nation, whether friend or foe. Hopes among European leaders that Mr. Trump’s bombastic tone as a candidate would somehow smooth into a more temperate one as commander in chief are dissipating, replaced by a mounting sense of anxiety and puzzlement over how to proceed.”

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