Beltway Insider: Trump, Manafort, Cohen, Mueller, Manning, February Jobs, Tornadoes, NK Nukes, 2020

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President Donald Trump traveled to Alabama this week and autographed Bibles for those devastated by the recent Tornadoes, continued to defend the North Korean Summit, the economy and divided his opinions on Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.

According to Gallup, President Trump's job approval, which was tracked for the month of February ending on February 28, 2019, decreased one percentage point to 43% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President increased by two percentage points to 54%. Ratings are calculated monthly.

All the President's Men Redux - Trump, Manafort, Cohen

President Trump, who has yet to be subpoenaed by Robert A. Muller Special Investigation, spent the week responding to questions regarding two of his former associates both of whom have been found guilty and are facing substantial prison terms for their crimes.

Paul Manafort, who took on the role of the President's Campaign Chairman for two months in 2016, was sentenced this week to 47 months in prison, which was far less than the recommended sentence guidelines of 19 to 24 years the prosecutor set forth.

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"On March 7, 2019, Judge T.S. Ellis, calling the Mueller sentencing guideline "excessive", sentenced Manafort to 47 months in prison. Manafort will be sentenced on his DC District Court convictions on March 13, where he faces another sentence up to ten years," according to Wikipedia.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort.  I think it's been a very, very tough time for him.  But if you notice, both his lawyer, a highly respected man and a very highly respected judge, the judge said there was no collusion with Russia. So, I just want to tell you that his lawyer went out of his way, actually, to make a statement last night.  No collusion with Russia.  There was absolutely none.  The judge, I mean, for whatever reason, I was very honored by it, also made the statement that this had nothing do with collusion with Russia," President Trump said during remarks made prior to his departure for Alabama.

Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer has fared with less compassion from his former employer as the two men have now taken their battle public with the war of words and word choices escalating into defamation's and accusations of additional lies.

Cohen, who in a pled guilty to eight counts all centering on financial disclosure and fraud, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Cohen agreed to testify, openly, in front of the House Oversight Committee. In his ten-hour testimony he called the president a "con man," "a racist" and "a cheat" and an otherwise disingenuous person, who is only concerned with making his brand great, unending and timeless.

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His choice of words so clear that every voter could clearly understand him, brought the wrath of extreme Trump supporters including current counsel, former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani and Fox Host former Westchester D.A., Jennie Piro.

Giuliani, Piro and House Republicans hammered Cohen throughout the hearings and publicly over his word choices and explaining as he was convicted of fraud why should be believed now.

His last statement which has brought a second wave of condemnation from the Republican front "I have asked for nor would I accept a pardon from President Trump." This statement seemed to bring out the proverbial daggers in hopes of one last strike before he fades into prison obscurity. Cohen has also filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization.

"I know that, in watching and seeing you folks at night, that Michael Cohen lied about the pardon.  It was a stone-cold lie.  And he's lied about a lot of things, but when he lied about the pardon, that was really a lie.  And he knew all about pardons.  His lawyers said that they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons.  And I can go a step above that, but I won't go do it now. It's the most ridiculous suit I've ever seen.  Bad lawyer.  I had a bad lawyer," the president said

Mueller Probe Cautiously Circles Trump Children

The Mueller Probe, which to date has charged 34 people in connection with the Special Investigation, has been slowly building a case against those closest to the President including three of his children and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law.

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While the deep-seated and ingrained power struggle may have abated somewhat since the days since the Republican National Convention, the President's three business focused children, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump, Jr., have continued to be the focused of both the Mueller Probe and the separate House Democrat Investigation.

"Presidential children rarely draw the scrutiny of congressional investigators, but Trump's adult children fill unique roles in his administration, with Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, carrying the title of senior advisers to the president while being heavily involved in policy decisions and Capitol Hill negotiations on criminal justice, the Middle East and paid family leave. "Whomever falls into that net, falls into that net," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday, arguing that Trump's kids are not off limits to investigations. "They are advisers to the president. They have security clearances. This is not their children at home,"' reported The Chicago Tribune.

Chelsea Manning Jailed

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, the former military tech specialist who provided Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with more than 750,000 pages of both sensitive and classified military documents, has been jailed for failing to testify to a Congressional Grand Jury.

Manning, born Bradley Edward Manning, has stated she does not believe in the secretive process associated with the Grand Jury system and refuses to participate. She has also added she will testify in open court.

Her current incarceration for contempt will last as long as she remains defiant or as long the grand jury probe remains active.

"I have nothing to contribute to this case and I resent being forced to endanger myself by participating in this predatory practice," Manning said via Wikipedia.

Manning, who was found guilty of Espionage and other charges associated with the theft and revelation of sensitive military documents, although not found guilty of aiding the enemy, and sentenced to 35 years of hard labor at Ft. Leavenworth prison. Her sentenced was commuted by President Obama after seven years.

She considers herself a whistleblower.

February Jobs Shock Economists /Recession Rolling In

The economy added a paltry 20,000 jobs in February to the workforce, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced, sending shock-waves reverberating from Wall Street to Washington.

With 180,000 jobs expected, the shockingly low numbers, caused little worry in Washington, as President Trump used his famous spin to announce, "Well, the economy is doing very well.  We're seeing wages rise more than they have at any time for a long, long time.   I think you'll probably find out it averages out.  The unemployment rate just went lower.  We're down now to 3.8 percent, so we had very good news on that. I think the big news, really, was that wages went up.  And that's great for the American worker.  That's something people, I don't know if they ever expected to see it," President Trump said.

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The economy has shown continued growth for a record 100 months, since October 2010, and even with the minuscule showing in February the overall unemployment numbers fell to 3.8%, the lowest since the 1960's.

While the president insists that wages are increasing at record numbers, and in particular sectors wages are peaking at the $27.00+ hourly rate the president has stated. The continued strong economy is coaxing underemployed workers, those who accepted employment beneath their skill set or outside their field to seek out the possibility of returning to earnings that match their education, experience and skill.

The flip side of all this positive news of course is the potential of a recession. It's doubtful a catastrophic recession will cripple the United States economy and the February numbers were not a soft hit, as employers put the brakes on hiring, with a rebound immediately expected when March job numbers are released, April 5, 2019.

For the next two months, hiring will continue to slow with numbers less than expected, through March and April. Although gains are expected, with traditional increases expected in summer seasonal positions.

Southeastern States Suffer Week of Deadly Tornadoes leaving 23 Dead

A week of unprecedented Tornado activity, with 39 documented touch-downs in one day, throughout the southeastern United States has caused the most severe and deadly storms the southern states have experienced in more than six years.

One week ago, an EF 4, the second most powerful storm on the (Enhanced Fujita Scale which rates the intensity of storms) scale roared through Lee County, Alabama, with winds topping 170mph, killing 23 and decimating entire neighborhood leaving only the cement foundations of what were once homes.

The EF4 struck the town of town of Beauregard, Alabama and traveled to Talbotton Georgia. Sparing no one, the killer storms were responsible for the deaths of four children, 6, 8, 9 and 10, and ten members of an entire family, the oldest age 89.

The storms in Lee County Alabama were the deadliest since May 2013. Exactly one week later, on March 9, 2019, another storm system crossed the same path, known as Tornado Alley, producing another severe system that generated 38 reported documented touch downs as the violent weather pummeled the south.

Kim Jong Un Hoodwinks Trump

Days after President Trump returned to Washington singing the praises of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, satellite images of buildup around a nuclear site that was allegedly part of the dismantled launch area surfaced and directly contradicted Trump's assessment of Kim Jong Un and the genuineness of his intentions during the recent summit.

"Well, time will tell, but I have a feeling that our relationship with North Korea, Kim Jong Un and myself, Chairman Kim, I think it's a very good one.  I think it remains good.  I would be surprised, in a negative way, if he did anything that was not per our understanding.  But we'll see what happens. I inherited a mess with North Korea.  And right now, you have no testing.  You have no nothing.  Let's see what happens.  But I would be very disappointed if I saw testing," the President said.

Satellite images appear to provide unequivocal proof of immediate movement after the summit ended with no deal.

Trump Joins 2020 Campaign Fever; Clinton, Brown Bow Out

Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won the popular vote in the 2016 election, has announced she will not seek the nomination for the office of the President of the United States in 2020.

"I'm not running," Mrs. Clinton told a New York City television station, News 12. "But I'm going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe," reported the New York Times.

Clinton, who remains an active voice and a sought-after confidant, has met with several of the possible candidates presumably to offer insight and reassurance of her intentions not to join the 2020 race at a later date.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has also met with Clinton, according the New York Times, as yet to announce his candidacy for the nomination. Many expect his favorable ratings and the nations need to draw him into the race.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has become the first casualty of the 2020 Presidential Campaign clarifying he will not seek nor campaign for the President of the United States. Never a declared candidate, Brown has emerged after decades of public service as a strong political contender. His name was mentioned albeit causally during Hillary Clinton's 2016 Vice Presidential search.

Senator Bernie Sanders has fired up the bloated group of 2020 contenders as the statesman has essentially implemented his same strategy stumping early and often firing up his constituency and raising funds fast and with finesse.

Sanders has remained committed to change and is clear on his opinion of the current occupant of the White House, and states often, "I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment."

On the Republican side, President Trump has held a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago estate over the weekend for upcoming candidates as well as his own re-election campaign.

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