Tuesday, December 6, 2016

May 30, 2017

Welcome! This blog tracks the progress, detours and dead ends taken by President Trump toward fulfilling his 50 most important 2016 campaign promises. The blog has three sections:

1.      Trump Campaign Promises in the News 
2.      Scoreboard: Quick summary of which promises have been kept and which have been dropped
3.      The 50 Campaign Promises – activity details on each promise, their current status and commentary from pundits and politicians
The blog is updated daily. Please follow me on Twitter @raygiles1 for additional information about the blog and campaign promises.
Ray Giles, Blog Editor
To see my 2016 campaign blog, go to: https://2016presidentialcampaignpredictions.wordpress.com/

Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump Campaign Promises in the News

5/30 – Massimo Calabresi at TIME re. Promise #49 (Drain the Swamp):

Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy was just trying to help.  But as they have for weeks, attempts to defend President Trump against the accelerating investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia just seem to make things worse.  At a May 23 House Intelligence Committee hearing into the Russian operation against the 2016 presidential election, Gowdy asked former CIA chief John Brennan, who stepped down on Jan. 20, whether he had seen any “evidence of collusion, coordination (or) conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors.”

If Gowdy thought Brennan was going to distance the President from the spreading scandal, his move backfired.  “I saw information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the (FBI) to determine whether or not such cooperation or (collusion) was taking place,” Brennan said.  When pressed by the retreating Gowdy on whether he meant Trump in particular, Brennan said he was referring to “any individuals” but wouldn’t rule Trump out, either.  The damage was done.

Trump has hired Marc Kosowitz, a lawyer who handled divorce and libel issues for the real estate mogul in New York City, to represent him in the Russia matter, in what Republicans hope is a sign that the President is beginning to realize he can’t bluster his way out of the mess.

5/30 – THE WEEK re. Promise #49 (Drain the Swamp):

The Trump administration classed with a federal ethics watchdog this week, moving to block an inquiry into ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists working in the government.  President Trump signed an executive order in January prohibiting lobbyists who join the administration from working on matters that involved their former clients, but the White House is believes to have granted individual waivers from that rule.  When the Office of Government Ethics asked for copies of those waivers, the White House asked the OGE to withdraw it request and questioned the agency’s legal authority.  That prompted a 10-page letter of refusal from the OGE, which said “public confidence in the integrity of government decision making” demanded full disclosure.

5/29 – Thomas Erdbrink of the New York Times. Re. Promise #39 (Find an out in the Iran deal):

President Donald Trump, who has never made a secret of his hostility toward Iran, called recently for a grand regional strategy among Sunni nations to isolate the country.  But Tehran received that threat with surprising equanimity because, in practice, the Trump administration has shown a willingness to do business with the country.

Back in Iran, they are awaiting the delivery of a fleet of American-made Boeing airliners, the result of two deals worth $22 billion for the U.S. company.  The most recent contract between the plane-maker and the Iranian airline Iran Aseman was signed two months after Trump was sworn into office.

Trump, whose America First campaign was based in part on the promise of reviving industrial employment, was apparently not eager to kill an order estimated to create 18,000 jobs.

During the presidential campaign, Trump heaped scorn on the nuclear agreement with Iran, calling it “the worst deal ever.”  But in April and May he quietly signed crucial waivers of certain sanctions that allow the deal to remain in place and let Iran conduct international business and gain access to funds long frozen by the U.S.

Just one month ago flashback: On April 20, President Trump said at a press conference with the Italian prime minister, “They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that. And we're analyzing it very, very carefully, and we'll have something to say about it in the not too distant future. But Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement, and they have to do that. It was a terrible agreement. It shouldn’t have been signed. It shouldn’t have been negotiated the way it was negotiated. I’m all for agreements, but that was a bad one, as bad as I’ve ever seen negotiated.”

5/28 – Jonathan Swan at AXIOS re. Promise #20 (Bring back coal):

Almost three days have passed since Gary Cohn expressed skepticism about the future of the U.S. coal industry, but expect conservative hardliners to keep weaponizing Cohn's comments.

The offending comments, made by the President's top economic advisor May 25 aboard Air Force One: "Coal doesn't even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock. Natural gas ... is such a cleaner fuel ... If you think about how solar and how much wind power we've created in the United States, we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly."

Breitbart News, the right-wing website formerly run by Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon, ran an immediate hit piece accusing Cohn of launching a "war on coal." The website followed by interviewing Joe Manchin — "a Democratic U.S. Senator from the heart of coal country in West Virginia" — who attacked Cohn from the right.

Myron Ebell, who ran Trump's EPA transition team and wrote the agency's action plan, isn't happy about Cohn's comments and emails me: "NEC Chairman Gary Cohn does not represent the people who voted for Donald J. Trump ... I hope that what President Trump learned is that the other G7 leaders are marching in lockstep in the wrong direction and that it is up to him to lead the world towards energy abundance and prosperity."

5/28 – Michael D. Shear and Mark Landler at the New York Times re. Promise # 42 (Cancel Paris climate accord):

ITALY – President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, ending his first foreign trip much as he began it: at odds with several of the national’s allies and under a cloud of questions back home about his ties to Russia.

Trump refused to bend on the pact after three days of contentious private debate and intense lobbying by other leaders that began Wednesday with an appeal by Pope Francis.

The stalemate leaves the country’s future role in the climate accord in flux, though Trump promised to make a decision in the week ahead on whether the United States will be the first of 195 signatories to pull out.

Trump’s supporters, particularly coal state Republicans, are eager for him to withdraw from the Paris accord, and see such a move as a fulfillment of a signature campaign promise. Speaking to a crowd of oil-rig workers in May 2016, Trump vowed to “cancel” the agreement.

And from Axios: “President Trump has privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change,” Axios reports. “Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could to do unravel Obama’s climate policies. It also sends a stark and combative signal to the rest of the world that working with other nations on climate change isn’t a priority to the Trump administration. And pulling out threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal, given how integral former President Obama was in making it come together in the first place.”

5/27 – Ned Parker and Jonathan Landay at Reuters re. Promise #49 (Drain the Swamp):

Headline: Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy - sources

FBI scrutiny of (Trump son-in-law and senior advisor Jared) Kushner began when intelligence reports of Flynn’s contacts with Russians included mentions of U.S. citizens, whose names were redacted because of U.S. privacy laws. This prompted investigators to ask U.S. intelligence agencies to reveal the names of the Americans, the current U.S. law enforcement official said.

Kushner’s was one of the names that was revealed, the official said, prompting a closer look at the president’s son-in-law’s dealings with Kislyak and other Russians.

FBI investigators are examining whether Russians suggested to Kushner or other Trump aides that relaxing economic sanctions would allow Russian banks to offer financing to people with ties to Trump, said the current U.S. law enforcement official.

The head of Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank, Sergei Nikolaevich Gorkov, a trained intelligence officer whom Putin appointed, met Kushner at Trump Tower in December. The bank is under U.S. sanctions and was implicated in a 2015 espionage case in which one of its New York executives pleaded guilty to spying and was jailed.


Status of the 50 Campaign Promises

"The era of empty talk is over. It's over."
                                                                                    President Donald Trump
                                                                                    February 24, 2017

😀  Promises kept:
#12 (Withdraw from TPP)

😀  First step(s) taken to keep promise:
#3 (Repeal Obamacare), #9 (Extreme Vetting),  #11 (Renegotiate NAFTA),  #18 (Undo Dodd-Frank), #19 (Bring $$ back into U.S.), #20, (Bring back coal industry) #21 (Tax reform),   #24 (Tax reform),  #(Paid  family leave), #29 (Cheerleader for school choice), #34 (Defund Planned Parenthood),  #35 (Gut EPA),  #38 (Strengthen military) #41 (Alter relationship with NATO),  #46 (Bomb ISIS)

😠  Promises dropped:
#2 (Mexico pays for Wall),  #4 (Replace Obamacare with something better),  #5, (Deport "Dreamers"),  #7 (Deport 11 million illegals),  #10 (Kick out any Syrians living in the U.S.),  #13 (Impose tariffs on imports "So fast.")  #14 ($1 trillion infrastructure plan),  #17 (Declare China currency manipulator),  #31 (Get rid of gun-free zones),  #32 (Won't cut Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid),  #37 (Rebuild and fix inner cities),   #39 (Dump Iran nuclear agreement), #45 (Bring back waterboarding),  #47 (Take Iraq's oil),  #48 (Lock her up!),  #49 (Drain the Swamp) and  #50 (Release tax returns)

😯 Promises rejected:
#8 (Ban Muslims) and #10 (Bar Syrians) - executive orders for both blocked by federal courts

😱  Promises being reconsidered: 
 #1 (Build Wall),   #22 (Big tax cuts for middle class),  #27 (Eliminate natl. debt),  #33 (fire VA leaders),   #40 (Allow Russia to deal with ISIS in Syria),  and #44 (Move embassy to Jerusalem).

See "Donald Trump's 50 Most Important Campaign Promises"
below for more details on each of the promises cited above. 

We must not promise what we ought not,

lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.

Abraham Lincoln



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Donald Trump’s 50 Most Important

Campaign Promises

Their current status and have they been kept?

Table of Contents

1. Build Wall on Southern Border
2. Repeal and Replace Obamacare
3. Immigration Issues
4. International Trade
5. Economy/Jobs
6. Tax Policies
7. Domestic Policies
8. US Military
9. International Relations
10. War on Terrorism
11. Miscellaneous

Build Wall on Southern Border 

1.      Build "a great, great" wall along Mexican border - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

2.      …And have Mexico pay for it   STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump vowed from the beginning of his campaign to "build a great, great wall on our southern border" and "have Mexico pay for that wall." In August, 2015, Trump told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly of his plans to have Mexico pay for the wall.   "So simple.  So simple."  The Trump campaign estimated the cost of the wall would be $12 billion. Currently, one-third of the 1,954-mile border has been fenced or walled off.

Current status:  On January 25, President Trump signed an executive action calling for "the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border" and vowed that construction on the project would begin in months.  Construction industry analysts have said the project could cost up to $20 billion. The GOP leadership in Congress has been working on a plan to fund the wall through the appropriations process. But, on February 3, CNN reported that "A growing number of congressional Republicans are objecting to the cost and viability of a proposal that was a rallying cry for the billionaire businessman during his insurgent campaign." The network quoted Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski: "If you're going to spend that kind of money, you're going to have to show me where you're going to get that money."   On February 10, Reuters reported the wall would cost as much as $21.6 billion, and take more than three years to construct, based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report.

As to Trump's promise that Mexico would pay for whatever barrier is built, President Trump and the Mexican president had a public spat the week after the Trump inauguration over who will and who won't pay for the wall.  After cancelling a face-to-face on the topic due to the disagreement, they agreed during a subsequent private phone call to "work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship" and to "not speak publicly about this controversial theme." 

Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the press on January 26 that the President supports a tax on imports from Mexico to pay for the wall.   "If you tax that $50 billion (trade deficit) at 20 percent of imports - which is by the way a practice that 160 other countries do - right now our country's policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous.  By doing it, we can do $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall just through that mechanism alone.  That's really going to provide the funding." Experts, however, say a tariff on imports from Mexico would, in effect, put the burden of paying for the wall on American consumers.  Edward Alden, a trade expert at the Council on Foreign Relations said, "The notion that a 20% tariff is a way of forcing Mexico to pay for the wall, it's just a falsehood.  It's a way of forcing American consumers to pay for the wall."

President Trump on February 11 tweeted that the $21.6 billion price tag on the Wall is overblown and that "I have not gotten involved in the design or negotiations yet. Price will come WAY DOWN!" (He didn't indicate whether a reduction of the cost will be a benefit to the American taxpayer or to Mexico who, as he originally promised, would pay the tab.) On February 16 at a press conference, Trump again told reporters he would negotiate to get the price down.  He did not say, "and Mexico will pay for it." In fact, the President mentioned Mexico ten times during the press conference but not once in relation to the Wall.  On February 24, President Trump spoke at the annual meeting of CPAC and promised that the wall would go up "soon, way ahead of schedule."  He vowed to always put American citizens first and build a "great, great border wall."  He did not say Mexico would pay for the wall. On March 16, President Trump released his 2017 budget outline, which includes $2.6 billion for building the "big, beautiful wall" paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. According to The Hill, GOP leaders are "expected to exclude the money in the spending bill being prepared to keep the government open beyond April 28.  The issue has become a political thorn in the side of GOP leaders who are facing pushback from Republicans voicing concerns over the diplomatic fallout, the disruption to local communities and the enormous cost of the project." At an April 29 rally in Pennsylvania, the President told a rally of his supporters, "Don't worry, we're going to have the wall. Rest assured. Go home, go to sleep." On April 30, House and Senate leaders reached agreement on a 2017 budget bill that has no money for the wall on the Mexican border. According to the Washington Post, the "final agreement goes further, putting strict limitations on how Trump can use new money for border security (e.g. to invest in new technology and repair existing fencing)." On May 22, President Trump released his 2018 budget proposal to Congress in which he asked for $2.6 billion for planning, designing, and constructing the border wall.

Pushback: On April 21 President Trump demanded that Congress include initial funding for the wall in a funding bill due by the end of this month. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats would refuse to fund the government if the bill included money for a wall. On April 24, President Trump told conservative media members at a special White House function that funding for the wall could be pushed back until 2018. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh reacted on his radio show, "I'm not happy to have to pass this on.  I'm very, very troubled to have to pass this on.  And I want to say at the outset that I hope my interpretation is wrong, and I hope this is not the case. But it looks like, from here, right here, right now, it looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion in the budget for his wall. The Democrats seems to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way."

On April 27, Burgess Everett at Politico commented, "President Donald Trump was supposedly girding for battle.  Not even a week ago, ahead of a possible government shutdown, his aides said the president would insist on funding his border wall and the president himself was prepared to sabotage Obamacare to gain leverage. But after several days of chest-beating from his administration, Trump backed away from both positions in short order, ending the game of chicken before it began.  The president deferred his fight for wall funding until the fall and grudgingly agreed to continue funding Obamacare subsidies.  The episode has left Democratic leaders with the impression that Trump may never go full bore to get his wall funding, no matter his administration's future threats.  Indeed, Democrats believe that Trump himself is coming to the realization that he won't get Congress to pay for the wall."

     Repeal and Replace Obamacare 

      3.   Ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare STATUS - First steps taken

      4.   And replace it with something "so much better" STATUS - PROMISED DROPPED

Background: Trump promised to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law on Day One (also "immediately" and "very, very quickly") of his administration, including the individual mandate.  Americans, he promised, will have "great health care at a fraction of the cost." The GOP candidate said that "we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare. Have to do it. I will ask Congress to convene a special session so we can repeal and replace, and it will be such an honor for me, for you, and for this country because Obamacare has to be replaced and we will do it very, very quickly."  A month before the election, he told an audience, "You're going to have such great healthcare at a tiny fraction of the cost, and it is going to be so easy."  He has promised to preserve key aspects of the law, including refusing to allow insurers to deny coverage because of preexisting conditions. He has also promised to maintain the portion of the law that allows adults and children under 26 to be covered on their parents' plans.  "Everybody's got to be covered," he told 60 Minutes on September 27, 2015.  "I'm going to take care of everybody.  I don't care if it costs me votes or not.  Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now."   And in January, Trump promised, "We're going to have a health care that is far less expensive and far better. Ok." He told the Washington Post that he will provide "insurance for everybody." On March 15, Tucker Carlson on Fox News told President Trump that the current House legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare (scheduled to be voted on by the full House March 23) does not favor the voters who elected Trump but that the tax cuts that are part of the bill will benefit those who voted for Hillary Clinton.  "I know that, I know," Trump replied, promising to negotiate a better bill. "We will take care of our people or I'm not signing it." 

Current status: On March 6, House Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership introduced draft legislation to replace Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence said, "This is the bill and the President supports (it)." President Trump called it "wonderful" and said, "I'm proud to support the replacement plan released by the House of Representatives."  On March 7, S & P Global Ratings issued a report estimating that six to 10 million Americans would lose health insurance coverage under the proposed House bill. The report also stated there would be a decline of between four and six million who would be dropped from the Medicaid system. On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office announced that roughly 24 million more people would be uninsured over the next ten years if the House Republican Obamacare repeal bill is enacted.  The legislation, the CBO analysis shows, would lead to 14 million more people being uninsured by 2018. The Los Angeles Times reported March 14 that the White House has shifted away from President Trump's stated goal of providing "insurance for everybody" to instead claiming the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare offers "more people the option to get healthcare." On March 25, Speaker Ryan and President Trump pulled their Obamacare repeal and replace bill from the House after Republican members declined to support the legislation. On April 20, White House and Republican congressional leaders announced plans for another health care showdown next week to seek passage of legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.  "The plan gets better and better and better and it's gotten really good and a lot of people are liking it a lot," said the President. But, on April 28, for a second time, the President and House leaders backed away from a vote just a day before the 100th of his presidency. On April 30, House and Senate leaders agreed on a 2017 budget that continues to fund Obamacare.

On May 4, the House passed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare with the GOP's American Health Care Act.  The bill was approved along most partisan lines, 217-213. The bill allows states to get federal waivers to allow insurers to charge older customers higher premiums than younger ones by as much as they'd like.  Obama's law limits the difference to a 3-1 ratio.  The states may also seek waivers from Obama's prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems if they have a mechanism to cover people with serious, expensive-to-treat diseases and waivers to exempt insurers from providing coverage of specified health services, including hospital and outpatient care. According to a CBO analysis of the bill, issued weeks after it was passed, 23 million Americans will be without health insurance by 2026 and 14 million uninsured in its first years.  Insurance premiums will continue to rise, especially for older citizens and those with pre-existing health issues. On May 25, a national Quinnipiac University poll shows that 20% of Americans support the House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Believe it or not: In an interview aired April 30 on CBS, President Trump was surprised to learn that the current GOP House bill - the American Health Care Act - does not cover pre-existing medical conditions, contrary to one of his campaign promises.  "Pre-existing conditions are in the bill," the President insisted.  "And I mandate it.  I said, 'Has to be.'" When pressed further on whether there's a guarantee that people with pre-existing medical conditions would be able to get coverage under the current GOP House bill, Trump said, "We actually have a clause that guarantees." Afterwards, health care experts pointed out that Trump doesn't seem to be familiar with his party's current bill or how it functions. Andy Slavitt, who ran health programs for President Obama, tweeted, "Would the @WhiteHouse staff please mind showing him the actual AHCA plan? It raises premiums, deductibles @ removes pre-ex protections." According to CNBC, "The Republican bill does not allocate nearly enough money to protect people with pre-existing health conditions from potentially higher insurance premiums. The bill's $23 billion in funding specifically for such people would cover just 110,000 Americans, according to the Avalere Health study released Thursday.  That's only 5 percent of the 2.2 million current enrollees in the individual insurance market with some type of pre-existing chronic condition."

Conservative pushback:  Avik Roy, a highly respected conservative health care expert and Forbes columnist, wrote this about the GOP's American Health Care Act: "House Speaker Paul Ryan adamantly opposed a means-tested approach to providing financial assistance for premiums, instead insisting on a flat tax credit that remains the same if you're at the poverty line or nearing six figures.  That approach means that millions of low-income Americans in their fifties and sixties will be priced out of the insurance market, while millions of upper-income American who don't need the help will get a big tax credit.  Many of the people adversely affected by the AHCA are Trump voters whose favored candidate campaigned on 'insurance for everybody.'" 


Immigration Issues 

     5. Cancel two key Obama executive actions on immigration - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:   Trump promised to "immediately" rescind Obama’s immigration executive orders regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA). Undoing DACA would make undocumented young people who arrived in the United States as children - "Dreamers" - subject to deportation. The GOP president candidate strongly criticized President Obama for "illegal executive amnesties," including actions that allowed young people brought to the country illegally. Trump also promised to eliminate Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents or DAPA, an expanded version of DACA proposed by Obama in 2014. That program, which applies to some 5 million people, is on hold due to a Supreme Court deadlock.

Update: At a February 16 press conference, President Trump backed away from reversing President Obama's DACA orders.  "DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me," Trump conceded, promising to address the issue "with heart.  It's one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids." Republican strategists are concerned that suspending DACA could energize Latino activists in key congressional districts during the 2018 midterm elections. "If he repeals DACA, people will start screaming at him," said Alfonzo Aguilar, a Republican strategist.  On February 21, CNN reported the Department of Homeland Security had laid out plans today for "aggressive enforcement of immigrations laws" that did not include dismantling the DACA or DAPA programs.  "No. 1," said a department official, "none of this affects DACA.  No. 2, none of this affects DAPA/expanded DACA." On April 22, President Trump told the Associated Press that young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children can "rest easy."  His administration, he said, is "not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals."

Conservative commentary:  From Daniel Horowitz at Conservative ReviewThe two biggest rallying cries against Obama's imperial presidency in recent years have been 'repeal Obamacare' and 'repeal Obama's illegal executive amnesty.'  Conservatives swore to ourselves that if we ever got back into the White House those two odious policies were as good as dead.  As we've chronicled in this column, repeal of Obamacare is already on the ropes.  If Obama's amnesty is not repealed administratively in short order, it will represent a colossal betrayal of Trump's basic campaign promise and set a terrible precedent for an imperial presidency.

     6.      End birthright citizenship

Background:  Under law, U.S. citizenship is granted anyone born in the U.S.  (Approximately 7.5% of all births in the U.S. are to illegal immigrants.) Since the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, the citizenship of persons born in the U.S. has been controlled by its Citizenship Clause.  It is not clear whether an act of Congress or an amendment to the Constitution would be required to change birthright citizen.

7.     Deport the almost 11 million immigrants illegally living in the United States  STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:  The wall is just one piece of Trump’s immigration policy that defined his campaign since the very beginning. He also pledged to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, something that experts have predicted is nearly impossible. He also promised to deport undocumented immigrants in U.S. on expired visas. Trump explained that he would do this by having “the greatest deportation force” imaginable and tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. 

Current status: Trump shifted on the issue repeatedly, taking 18 different stances on immigration during his campaign, but never disavowed his initial plan.  The president-elect indicated he would move forward with efforts to deport criminals - two to three million, he claims - and decide later about the others. "We will begin moving them out on day one," he told a campaign rally in August, 2016.  "Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone." On February 12, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials held numerous immigration crackdowns across the U.S. The president tweeted out that ICE actions was "merely the keeping of my campaign promise." ICE reported on February 17 that it had made 683 arrests of mostly criminal illegal immigrants, or those with multiple cases against them illegally crossing the border. On February 21, the Department of Homeland Security laid out the Trump administration's plans for aggressive enforcement of existing immigration laws. DHS officials also said the policies mostly enforce existing law and won't lead to immediate massive round-ups of undocumented immigrants but that while serious criminals will continue to be the top target for immigration officers, the Trump priorities will be greatly expanded to include immigrants charged with minor crimes as well, including those who have "abused" public benefits,  drive without a license, misrepresented themselves or "in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security."  The plan also includes hiring 10,000 new immigration officers. On February 23, John Kelly, the head of the Department of Homeland Security announced, "Let me be clear, there will be no mass deportations, everything we do in DHS will be done legally. The focus of deportation will be on the criminal element, all of this will be done in close coordination with Mexico." On May 18, Alan Gomez of USA Today reported, "Arrests of undocumented immigrants are up 38% from the same period in 2016, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement data.  ICE acting director Thomas Homan said his agency is focusing on undocumented immigrants with criminal records, the 'bad hombres' Trump spoke about throughout his presidential campaign. But the data show that the biggest jump in arrests involved undocumented immigrants without a criminal record, a 156% increase from last year."

Benchmarks: A University of Syracuse study in December, 2016 showed that almost 680,000 federal charges against immigrants in the country illegally were filed in the last eight years, up from about 287,000 under President George W. Bush. In the first seven years in office, the Obama administration deported 2.5 million people, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The Department also reported in December that Border Patrol agents apprehended about 39,000 people trying to illegally cross the California border from Mexico in 2015, down by 510,000 - or 93% - from 1996. According to the Pew Research Center, from 2009 to 2014, more Mexicans left the U.S. than came north.

      8. Temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States  STATUS -  On March 16, two federal court justices issued restraining orders on the President's executive order. On May 25, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the ban.

Background: In December, 2015, the Trump campaign released the following statement: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Current status: The President on January 27 signed an executive order that indefinitely blocks refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. and suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days while the administration determines which countries pose the least risk. Trump also imposed a 90-day ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. Former New York City Mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani said President Trump wanted a "Muslim ban" and requested Giuliani assemble a commission to show him "the right way to do it legally." On February 9, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal rejected the Justice Department's request to lift the Seattle-based judge's restraining order blocking the January 27 executive order. Later in February, Dara Lind at Vox.com wrote that because of Trump's repeated campaign promises to institute a Muslim ban, some judges who've heard the case so far have concluded that the order was motivated by anti-Muslim animus. That could make it unconstitutionally discriminatory. On March 6, President Trump signed a new executive order that bans immigrants for at least 90 days from six Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against the executive order.  A Maryland federal judge subsequently issued a second ruling against the ban on March 16.

Pushback: The Washington Examiner editorialized on January 28: "The list of Middle East countries with residents he wants to bar from entry to the U.S. omits Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates. Those happen to be the five Middle Eastern countries where he (Trump) has hotels.  Saudi Arabia is a notable exception from the visa list because 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers came from there." Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post on January 28 commented, "Also untouched by Friday's executive order is the United Arab Emirates, a powerful Muslim ally with whom the United States nevertheless has complicated relations.  Trump has licensed his name to a Dubai golf resort, as well as a luxury home development and spa." The Sacramento Bee editorialized, after the second executive order was issued: "Not one person from those countries (the six banned from sending immigrants) has been involved in a fatal U.S. terrorist attack in the 16 years since 9/11, and the 9/11 hijackers weren't from those countries. Statistically, people here are more likely to be killed for being a Muslim than to be killed by one." Steve Lohr at the New York Times reported May 10, "Canada stands to benefit from the American political climate and the Trump administration's efforts - stalled in court so far - to sharply restrict travel into the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations.  After Mr. Trump's election, applications to Canada for student and temporary visas surged.  'If we look back 10 years from now, I'd be surprised if the Trump effect didn't show up in the data," said Joshua Gans, a professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.'  Immigration is a linchpin in Canada's economic policy.  One-fifth of the country's population of 36 million is foreign-born. Canada has dozens of provincial and federal programs, but a priority is placed on highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs, often with points assigned for specialized expertise, education and language proficiency.  Trends in actual immigration will take time to show up conclusively, but the early evidence of a Trump effect is most apparent in a field like artificial intelligence, where Canada has been at the forefront of innovation and is seeking to build a large A.I. industry."    

      9. ...And implement "extreme vetting"  STATUS - First step taken

Background: Trump first brought up the idea of extreme vetting in August, comparing it to ideological screening tests used in the Cold War. He has said that Muslims or at least those from "terror-prone" countries would be the targets. Trump said the United States needs to screen members of terrorist organizations and vet "any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles — or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law." 

Update: On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order requesting a 90-day interagency review of existing screening measures to ensure that "radical Islamic terrorists" cannot get into the U.S. and "ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has directed diplomatic missions to identify "populations warranting increased security," and toughen screening for visa applicants in those groups, Reuters reported March 24. "Most posts already have populations that they look at for fraud and security issues," said Jay Gairson, a Seattle-based immigration attorney. "What this language effectively does is give the consular posts permission to step away from the focused factors they have spent years developing and revising, and instead broaden the search to large groups based on gross factors such as nationality and religion."  

Reality Check: The U.S., The Hill reported, already had the most stringent vetting system for refugees in the world. Individuals seeking refugee or asylum status in the U.S. must register with the United Nations, pass a series of security checks, interview with State Department contractors, pass another background check, complete an in-person interview, participate in a cultural orientation course and pass one final security check at an American airport upon arrival. To see process put into place by President Obama, see:


      10.  Bar Syrian refugees from entering the country - STATUS -  On March 16, two federal court justices issued restraining orders on President's executive order. 

Background: ...and kick out any who are already living here. (PROMISE DROPPED) Trump says wealthy Persian Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia should pay to set up a heavily guarded "safe zone" in Syria. He called Syrian refugees "the ultimate Trojan horse."

Update: The president signed an executive order on January 27 indefinitely banning all Syrian refugees from entry into the United States. On February 9, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal rejected the Justice Department's request to lift the Seattle-based judge's restraining order blocking the Trump executive order. On March 7, the president signed a new executive order blocking citizens from Syria from obtaining visas for at least 90 days and suspending admission of refugees into the U.S. for 120 days. On March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a worldwide restraining order against the executive order.  A Maryland federal judge subsequently issued a second ruling against the ban on March 16.

On May 26, Anna Giaritelli at the Washington Examiner reported that "the State Department will no longer restrict the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S., a huge break from what President Trump promised on the campaign trail last year.  Organizations that help refugees resettle in the U.S. were informed about an abrupt change to allow the level of refugees that would be 'unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place,' according to an email State official Jennifer Smith said in an email to groups on Thursday."  

     International Trade 

      11. Renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or withdraw from deal - STATUS - First step taken

UPDATE: During the campaign, candidate Trump called NAFTA "the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country." On January 22, President Trump addressed the future of NAFTA while swearing in his senior staff. "I ran a campaign somewhat based on NAFTA," Trump said.  "But we're going to start renegotiating on NAFTA, on immigration and on security on the border." On March 8, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said negotiations will begin "the latter part of this year." On March 30, the Wall Street Journal reported "The Trump administration is signaling to Congress it will seek mostly modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement in coming negotiations with Mexico and Canada despite President Donald Trump having called the trade deal a 'disaster' in the campaign. The U.S. would keep some of NAFTA's most controversial provisions, including an arbitration panel that lets investors in the three nations circumvent local courts." On April 17, Trump told Wisconsin dairy farmers that Canada is doing "some very unfair things" and promised to "get a solution, not just the answer" to what happened, which he didn't detail but said he had read about. He criticized NAFTA and promised "we're gonna make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all.  Cannot continue like this.  Believe me." On April 26, President Trump announced that, after consultation with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, he does not intend to withdraw from NAFTA "as this time." However, he threatened to terminate NAFTA if "we do not reach a fair deal for all." The Trump administration on May 18 formally told Congress it intends to renegotiate NAFTA. Talks with Canada and Mexico can begin after a 90-day period of consultation with Congress.  

Comment: Michael Grunwald at Politico reported on April 4, "In his apocalyptic campaign speeches, Donald Trump routinely cited two catastrophic messes he would clean up as president:  Obamacare and NAFTA. Then his push to undo Obamacare became his first policy fiasco in the White House.  Now Trump may be posed to repeat history with NAFTA. Like Obamacare, NAFTA is an imperfect deal, but not the unmitigated disaster that Trump pretends it is - and, as with Obamacare, any fix would involve difficult trade-offs through a painstaking process that would create winners and losers.  It's another issue where there's no way for the president to wave a wand and make everyone happy, especially when so many people like the status quo."

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: According to the February 24 issue of The Week, NAFTA - negotiated by George H. W. Bush and signed by Bill Clinton - has had mixed results.  The Good: Trade between the three countries has grown from $290 billion in 1993 to $1.1 trillion in 2016.  It lifted tariffs and protected intellectual property.  Today, about 14 million U.S. jobs are directly related to trade with Mexico and Canada.  The bad and ugly:  The trade balance between the U.S. and Mexico flip-flopped from a $1.7 billion American surplus to a $49.2 billion deficit.  Nearly 700,000 U.S. workers lost good jobs, mostly in manufacturing.  The number of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. quadrupled from three million in 1994 to 12 million in 2007. (Since the Great Recession in 2008, however, the net influx has been negative, with more Mexican nationals returning to their home country than arriving.)

      12. On first day in office, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership - STATUS - COMPLETED.

Update: On January 23, President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the U.S. from the TPP.

Consequence of action: John Berthelsen, the former editor of the Hong Kong-based Asia Sentinel, wrote, "If President Trump had set out to deliberately create a vacuum in Asia that would allow Chinese influence to grow and wreck the American position in the region, he couldn't have done a better job than by canceling U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  So, instead of China being frozen out of a trading organization that covers 40 percent of world gross domestic product and a third of world trade, it looks likely that it is the U.S. that will be frozen out." Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, "We are embarking upon insularity and smallness.  Nor is this just theory. Trump's long-promised but nonetheless abrupt withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the momentous first fruit of his foreign-policy doctrine.  Last year the prime minister of Singapore told John McCain that if we pulled out of TPP, 'You'll be finished in Asia.'  He knows the region.  For 70 years, we sustained an international system of open commerce and democratic alliances that has enabled America and the West to grow and thrive.  Global leadership is what made America great. We abandon it at our peril."

Senator Bernie Sanders, however, praised Trump's action.  "Now is the time to develop a new trade policy that helps working families, not just multi-national corporations."

Update: On March 24, Politico reported that China, not one of the original signers of the TPP, was in Chile meeting with countries that were part of the now-defunct deal. "Here's what happens when the U.S. pulls out of a major trade deal: New Zealand seizes the opportunity to send more of its milk and cheese to China.  Japanese consumers pay less for Australian beef than for American meet. Canadians talk about sending everything from farm products to banking services to Japan and India." And on March 29, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote, "Now more Asian nations are falling in line with China's regional trading association - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership - which has no serious environmental, intellectual property, human trafficking or labor standards like TPP. A Peterson Institute study said TPP would 'increase annual real incomes in the United States by $131 billion' by 2030, without changing total U.S. employment levels. Goodbye to that."

       13.   Impose tariffs on many imports - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised to introduce the End the Offshoring Act within his first days in office by imposing tariffs on goods made abroad, especially those manufactured by companies formerly based in the U.S. During the campaign he also promised to heavily tax Chinese goods coming into the country and label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office. In December, 2016 he said there will be a 35% "tax" on goods coming into the country from U.S. companies that move production out of the country. "We will stop these countries from taking our jobs.  I promise we can fix it so fast."

Update: Peter Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, leads the White House National Trade Council.  Navarro said, "Trump will impose countervailing tariffs not just on China, but on any American trade partner that cheats on its trade deals using practices such as currency manipulation and illegal export subsidies."  Trump named Robert Lighthizer, a harsh critic of China's trade practices, to be his chief trade negotiator. Lighthizer has argued that China has failed to live up to commitments made in 2001 when it joined the World Trade Organization and that tougher tactics are needed to change the system, even if it means deviating from WTO rules.  As recently as mid-January, Trump told European papers he intends to impose 35% import duties on Germany's BMWs that are built outside the U.S. and that the auto maker should scrap plans to open a new plan in Mexico and build the factory in the U.S. instead.  On April 25, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the U.S. will levy a tax on Canadian softwood lumber imports that averages out to be about 20%, but could be as high as 24%.  The imports are subsidized as Canada is getting lumber from government-owned land.  The U.S. takes in about 80% of Canada's supply.  The U.S. International Trade Commission will need to find that the U.S. industry has suffered injury before the tariff is imposed. However, Trump did not keep his promise to terminate the End Offshoring Act within 100 days of his presidency or impose tariffs on China or label China a currency manipulator. On May 4, Trump was interviewed by The Economist. He repeated his pledge to impose a 35% tax on goods coming into America from U.S. companies that move production out of the country. "I said, 'Look, we don't mind if you leave the country. You can build all you want out of the country, I hope you enjoy your plant.  But when you build your car, you're going to have a 35% tax when you bring it back in.  And if your numbers work, we wish you well."


     14. Rebuild the country's aging infrastructure - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised, “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” Team Trump announced it has a "rough blueprint" for a $1 trillion project over 10 years, creating 3.3 million jobs. Among the stated goals: modernize airports and air traffic control systems. While many Republicans and Democrats support Trump's proposal, huge questions remain, including how to pay for it and what projects exactly will be funded. 

Update: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in December tried to tamp down expectations, telling reporters he wants "to avoid a $1 trillion stimulus."  Trump told the New York Times he didn't realize during the campaign that New Deal-style proposals to put people to work building infrastructure conflict with his party's small-government philosophy. But at his inauguration, Trump re-emphasized this promise when he said, "We will build new roads and highways and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.  We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor." Axios reported on February 27 the Trump administration is planning to put the $1 trillion infrastructure plan before Congress in 2018 when both Republicans and Democrats will support election-year projects and jobs. On April 4, Time Magazine reported "Although Trump often spoke during the campaign of unlocking $1 trillion in infrastructure investments, the pledge may prove as hollow as his promised mastery of the health care muddle.  Ten weeks after Trump's inauguration, key House and Senate leaders say they are not in talks with the White House on the plan.  And the reason is is that there is no blueprint to discuss. Only in early March did White House economic adviser Gary Cohn convene a meeting to create a framework for drafting a proposal."  On April 17 in Wisconsin, Trump promised a "big infrastructure bill.  Infrastructure is coming, and it's coming fast." On May 22, President Trump submitted to Congress his 2018 budget, asking for $200 billion over 10 years for infrastructure, exactly 20% of what he promised during the campaign.   "Simply providing more Federal funding for infrastructure is not the solution," the White House said in its budget document.
15.  Grow the nation's economy by at least 6 percent

Background: Trump says that his policies as president will boost GDP growth to 4%, which is about double the average seen in this century. In some speeches, Trump said his plans would result in even higher GDP growth, perhaps as strong as 5% or 6%.

Benchmarks: In December, 2016, the unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. The stock market and home prices are both at record heights. Annual economic growth has averaged 2.1 percent since the recession ended in 2009. Currently, 11.5 percent of men ages 25 to 54 are outside the labor force and wages grew 2.1 percent over the past 12 months.

Update: At a press conference April 24, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin said, "3% or higher sustained economic growth" is the administration's target. However, on May 9 Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said 3% growth is not possible this year and not until all of the Trump administration's tax, regulatory, trade and energy policies are fully in place.

      16. Create 25 Million New Jobs

Perhaps no promise was more critical to Trump’s ability to win over voters than the one guaranteeing he would be “the greatest jobs president God ever created.” The Trump campaign pledged that his policies would create 25 million jobs over the next decade, mostly as a result of tax cuts, deregulation, and new trade deals.

Benchmarks: During President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, somewhere between 9 and 14 million jobs were created, compared to 5.7 million under George W. Bush and 21 million under Bill Clinton. America’s official unemployment rate has dropped steadily since 2010, and remained below 5% in 2016. The last time unemployment was consistently this low was before the Great Recession.

Reality check: John Maxfield at the Motley Fool reported March 24: There's a lot of talk about the impact of immigrants on American jobs. In reality, however, the real bogeyman when it comes to displacing workers isn't immigration - it's robots.  Case in point: Amazon's vast network of fulfillment centers is using 45,000 robots to help pick, sort and ship units.  People have a right to be worried about jobs, but it you're looking for someone to blame, then you'll need to find a robot. On April 4,  Claire Cain Miller at the New York Times wrote: "The industry most affected by automation is manufacturing.  For every robot per thousand workers, up to six workers lost their jobs and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent, according to a new paper by economists, Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University.  It appears to be the first study to quantify large, direct, negative effects of robots."

      17.  Bring manufacturing back jobs from China and Mexico and Japan, etc.

Background: Among his related promises included "Get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country" and convince Ford Motor Co. to not build a massive new plant in Mexico.

Trump also called China the "grand champion" of currency manipulators. He said previous U.S. presidents "haven't had a clue" about how to deal with it.  "I will direct the secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator" in the first 100 days of his presidency. On April 12, a week after meeting the president of China, President Trump told the Wall Street Journal, "They're not current manipulators." According to the report, Trump changed his mind so as not to "strain the relationship between China and the United States as the two discuss handling the threat of nuclear weapons in North Korea." (STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED)

Action on the job front: Ford announced plans in January to cancel plans to build a new plant in Mexico.  It will invest $700 million instead in Michigan, creating 700 new jobs. Last year, the company had announced plans to invest $1.6 billion in Mexico to transfer production of the Ford Focus from Michigan to Mexico.  Now the Focus will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico and Ford will expand its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. But the New York Times reported on May 13, "When Ford canceled plans for a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, Mr. Trump tweeted his thanks for the company's 'creating 700 new jobs' in the United States. 'We didn't cut a deal with Trump,' Mark Fields, the Ford chief executive told CNN.  'We did it for our business.'" 

Fiat Chrysler also announced in January it would spend $1 billion on U.S. manufacturing, including modernizing plants in Michigan and Ohio, a move that's set to add 2,000 jobs.  According to the company's plan, the plant in Michigan will be made capable of producing a pickup truck currently built in Mexico.   The company insisted the decision had been made more than a year ago. The Seattle Times on Jan. 12 reported, "Amazon.com said it plans to hire 100,000 full-time U.S. employees over the next 18 months, a move that came amid pressure on the private sector by the incoming Trump administration to create jobs." 

In January, Trump also tweeted criticism of Toyota and GM for importing foreign-made cars into the U.S.  He threatened both with "big border tax" for cars made in Mexico and sold in this country. Weeks later, GM announced plans to invest $1 billion in U.S. factories and add or keep 7,000 white-collar and factory jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.  But, the paper also reported, "General Motors' announcement today is mostly theater to play in the news cycle created by President-elect Trump's tweets," said Michelle Krebs, an auto industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  "These investments and hiring plans have long been in the works." 

Update and more fact checking: At his February 28 speech to Congress, the President took credit for Ford and many other companies announcing "that they will invest billions and billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs." Politico reported that "many of those were already in the works before Trump took office or even won the presidency." Softbank, Fiat-Chrysler, Walmart and GM - all cited by Trump in his speech to Congress - had announced their new investments and jobs before the election. On May 3, Apple announced it will invest $1 billion to start a fund geared toward boosting advanced manufacturing in the U.S.  On May 13, Steven Rattner at the New York Times completed an analysis of Trump's claims of creating or retaining jobs for U.S. workers and concluded: "A thorough review of Mr. Trump's celebrations reveals that virtually none of the pronouncements involved jobs generated or preserved by the new president's actions.  Indeed, they mostly consisted of a rehash of old decisions - some with origins dating back as many as six years - or plans made independently by companies for their own business reasons." Rattner reported that in late March the president tweeted that he was "thrilled to announce a commitment of $25 billion and 20,000 Americans jobs over the next four years" by Charter Communications.  That commitment was made by Charter in June 2015. "In fact, there not a single job that the president can clearly take responsibility for creating and only one case of jobs being retained because of his efforts, the 800 positions that Carrier was persuaded shortly after Mr. Trump's election not to send to Mexico. Even those few jobs came at a stiff price - $7 million of incentives from the state of Indiana, where Vice President-elect Mike Pence was still governor." 
     18. Get rid of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform - STATUS - First steps taken

Update: On February 3, Bloomberg Politics reported the Trump Administration has ordered - by executive action of the President - a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The 2010 law reined in risky mortgage practices and derivatives trading, and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The executive orders are intended to relieve restrictions and scrutiny that post-crisis regulations have put on banks," Bloomberg reported. "The orders are the most aggressive steps yet by Trump to loosen regulations in the financial services industry and come after he has sought to stock his administration with veterans of the industry in key positions." According to the Washington Examiner, "Trump and his allies have repeatedly blasted Dodd-Frank, arguing the legislation prevents community banks from lending to small businesses by forcing them to comply with the same burdensome rules that apply to big banks." On March 30, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump's "failure to get a health-care reform bill through the House has raised fears that his broader agenda, from tax cuts to infrastructure, could be in jeopardy."  The article goes on to say the failure with Obamacare repeal and replacement "chills overall expectations for the U.S. economy and interest rates and undermines hopes for deregulation of the financial industry...It appears even less likely that this Congress will manage to pass a bill overhauling Dodd-Frank." On April 4, the Wall Street Journal reported "The House won't vote until this summer at the earliest on changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-overhaul law, a senior Republican said Monday, demonstrating how the path for regulatory relief remains in flux as lawmakers grapple with health-care policy, a tax overhaul and other issues." On May 4, a panel headed by House Republicans took a major step toward their long-promised goal of unwinding Dodd-Frank by pushing forward sweeping legislation that would undo much of President Obama's landmark banking law.

Pushback: Former New York Times Washington bureau chief Hedrick Smith, writing in the Sacramento Bee February 19, observed, "Trump told voters in Ottumwa, Iowa, in January 2016, 'I know Wall Street.  I know the people on Wall Street.  I'm not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. Wall Street has caused tremendous problems for us...I don't care about Wall Street guys.  I'm not taking any of their money.'  But in fact, Trump's campaign did take money from Wall Street's super rich and rewarded several with Cabinet plums. He chose three of the 'system rigging, string-pulling' Goldman Sachs veterans for his inner circle - Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, Gary Cohn as director of his National Economic Council, and Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and White House Rasputin."

19.  Allow corporations a one-time window to transfer money being held overseas - STATUS - First step taken

Background: Currently, corporations are required to pay up to 35% of their earnings in taxes to "repatriate" overseas profits. Trump has indicated he wants to charge a much-reduced one-time tax of 10 percent. It is estimated US companies hold about $2.5 trillion abroad. In its May 12 issue, The Week reported that "Apple has more than $250 billion in cash, an amount greater than the market value of Walmart and more than the foreign currency reserves of the United Kingdom and Canada combined.  More than 90 percent of Apple's cash is held outside the U.S."

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that includes an undefined one-time tax on corporate profits held overseas in an attempt to bring the money back to the U.S. On May 4, the president was interviewed by The Economist. He said the amount of cash held abroad is no longer $2.5 trillion but "anywhere from $4 trillion to $5 trillion." He repeated his promise to drop the rate from 35% to 10%.

      20. Bring back the coal industry - STATUS - First steps taken

Background:  At a memorable campaign stop in West Virginia in May, 2016, Trump told miners holding "Trump Digs Coal" signs, "Get ready, because you're going to be working your ass off!"

RealityCheck: Trump made this promise despite America's shift to natural gas, the steady technology-driven move toward renewable energy sources and huge productivity gains in the coal industry (i.e. work that required 10 miners now requires just one.) On March 29, Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight.com reported, "Coal's biggest problem isn't regulation - it's natural gas. For decades, coal was the dominant source of electrical power in the U.S. But starting in the mid-1990s, the twin technologies of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") and horizontal drilling led to a surge in natural-gas production, which in turn pushed down prices.  That, along with other facts - gas-fired power plants are cheaper to build and operate than coal-fired ones, for example - led power companies to burn more gas and less coal." Casselman said the second most powerful factor challenging the growth of coal miner employment is automation. "Employment in the mining industry has been falling for decades, a decline that long predates the recent drop in coal production."

Update: President Trump signed a resolution February 16 repealing regulations on the coal industry that were issued by the Obama administration in its final weeks. In killing the Environmental Protection Agency's last-minute Stream Protection Rule, the Republican leadership called it a rushed regulation that blindsided states with unnecessary and burdensome rules for coal mining. Trump called the regulation "another terrible job killing rule" and said ending it would save "many thousands American jobs, especially in the mines." On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order "scrapping former President Barack Obama's climate change agenda," the Washington Examiner reported. But eliminating the Obama's Clean Power Plan will take time and "could very well continue into the next election cycle, say lawyers and analysts tracking the issue.  That's because undoing the regulation, which has been law for two years, will require going through a public notice and comment period under the Administrative Procedure Act, in addition to the time it will take for EPA to initiate a review of the power plan." On April 18, economic Stephen Moore wrote in the Washington Times, "Buried in an otherwise humdrum jobs report for March was the jaw-dropping pronouncement by the Labor Department that mining jobs in America were up by 11,000 in March.  Since the low point in October 2016 and following years of painful layoffs in the mining industry, the mining sector has added 35,000 jobs."

    Tax Policies 

21.  Lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% and get rid of most corporate tax loopholes or incentives - STATUS - First step taken

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that would reduce corporate tax rates from 35% to 15% for multinational corporations and mom-and-pop shops.  

      22.  Give middle class a large tax cut and reduce the number of tax brackets  STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: Trump promised in his "Contract with the American Voter," that the "largest tax reductions are for the middle class." Other elements of his promise include: eliminate the "marriage penalty" for taxpayers, get rid of the alternate minimum tax, and eliminate income tax on single individuals earning less than $25,000 per year or couples earning less than $50,000.

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that would reduce the number of personal income tax brackets from seven to three, with rates of 10%, 25% and 35%.  Among the deductions eliminated include payment of state and local taxes. It would also double the standard deduction, which currently is $12,700 for a married couple filing jointly.  The question of whether the tax proposal would be a large tax cut for the middle class is impossible to determine because the income levels for each tax bracket have not been announced by the administration. ABC News reported, however, that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he couldn't say how Trump's sweeping tax overhaul plan would affect the president personally or guarantee that middle-class families wouldn't pay more under the proposal. 

Are the rich (and President Trump) getting the largest tax cut? NBC News' First Read quotes the New York Times as pointing out: "The 15 percent rate (according to Trump's tax plan) would apply both to corporations, which now pay 35 percent, and to a broad range of firms known as pass-through entities - including hedge funds, real estate concerns like Mr. Trump's and large partnerships - that currently pay taxes at individual rates, which top off at 39.6 percent." First Read then points out, that "going from 39.6% to 15% is a big break right? Don't forget this Trump exchange on Today last year: Savannah Guthrie: Do you believe in raising taxes on the wealthy?  Trump:  I do. I do. Including myself. I do." On May 4, the House passed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare with the GOP's American Health Care Law.  One of the key features of the bill, which now goes to the Senate, is to cut health care taxes on the wealthy.  CNN Money reported, "Nearly everyone in the Top 1%, who earn more than $774,000 a year, would enjoy a hefty tax cut, averaging $33,000.  Those in the Top .1% would get an average tax cut of about $197,000." Edward D. Kleinbard, a professor at the University of Southern California law school and former chief of staff for the Joint Committee on Taxation, said, "Repeal-and-replace is a gigantic transfer of wealth from the lowest-income Americans to the highest-income Americans." On May 4, the president was interviewed by The Economist which pointed out that "the biggest winners from this tax cut, right now, look as though they will be the very wealthiest Americans." Trump replied, "Well, I don't believe that. Because they're losing all of their deductions, I can tell you.  You're going to get an interest deduction, and a charitable deduction. But we're not going to have all this nonsense that they have right now."

      23.  Eliminate the carried interest loophole for Wall Street 

Background: What is the carried interest loophole? It's a 20% tax rate that allows Wall Street investors, real estate developers and mutual fund managers to avoid the 39.6% tax rate paid by salaried Americans.  They do this with investments that are taxed as long-term capital gains.

      24. Eliminate the federal estate tax, the alternative minimum tax and the so-called marriage penalty that affects some high-income earners.  - STATUS - First step taken

Update: On April 26, President Trump's economic team released a one-page tax reform proposal that included elimination of the federal estate tax and the alternative minimum tax. Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com wrote the tax proposals forwarded by the Trump administration will be a "massive tax cut for the rich," including the President and his family. Scrapping the alternative minimum tax, which cost Trump $31 million in 2005, will save him millions going forward and ending the estate tax would save the Trump family up to $4 billion. On May 19, USA Today reported that conservative billionaire Charles Koch is launching a multimillion dollar campaign to drive Trump's tax plan through Congress.  "About 550 ultra-wealthy donors help finance the constellation of political and non-profit groups associated with Koch and his brother David."

    Domestic Policies 
      25.  Make child care more affordable - STATUS - First step taken

Background: During a speech in suburban Pennsylvania, Trump, flanked by his daughter Ivanka Trump, a working mother who helped craft the policies, said he would seek to make child care expenses tax deductible for families earning less than $500,000 and called for establishing tax-free accounts to be used for child care and child enrichment activities. He also called for guaranteeing six weeks' maternity leave to biological mothers by extending unemployment insurance benefits to working mothers whose employers do not offer paid maternity leave.

Update: At his first speech before Congress in late February, President Trump told the nation: "My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave."  The proposal would cost an estimated $500 billion over 10 years, according to Bloomberg. On April 26, the Trump Administration released a one-page tax reform proposal that offers "relief for families with child and dependent expenses" but doesn't explicitly say what form this relief would take. On May 22, President Trump released his 2018 budget, which includes $25 billion over 10 years to support Ivanka Trump's family leave proposal. The program, which Republicans have long resisted, would give fathers and mothers six weeks of paid time-off to care for a new child and would, according to the White House, benefit 1.3 million caregivers. 

      26. Invest more heavily in programs that help military veterans transition back to civilian life.

Background: Trump's promise included job training, placement services and increased funding for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues.

27.  Reduce and eliminate the $19 trillion national debt - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: Reducing and eliminating the national debt will be achieved by "vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, ending redundant government programs and growing the economy to increase tax revenues."  Part of this plan would be implementing the "Penny Plan," reducing net spending by 1% each year. (But exempting defense and public safety spending.) Trump promised "the plan will reduce spending by almost $1 trillion without touching defense or entitlement spending." He also told the Washington Post he would be able to get rid of the nation’s more than $19 trillion national debt “over a period of eight years."

Update: Trump named Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) to the key position of director of the Office of Management and Budget.  Mulvaney promised "The Trump administration will restore budgetary and fiscal sanity back in Washington after eight years of an out-of-control, tax and spend financial agenda." However, less than a week after his inauguration, President Trump told Sean Hannity, "So a balanced budget is fine.  But sometimes you have to fuel the well in order to really get the economy going.  And we have to take care of our military.  Our military is more important to me than a balance budget." On March 3, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson wrote: "Trump's budget does little to please Republican budget hawks.  Trump is proposing to shift spending into defense and law enforcement, with no net cut in spending.  'He seems to be arguing,' says Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, 'for keeping the same budget trajectory we are on now, but still taking the political pain and human cost of big discretionary cuts.' That is not an easy sell to Republicans."  On March 19, NBC News reported that Budget Director Mick Mulvaney isn't bull on balancing the budget this year.  "We don't know what health care reform will look like, what it will do to the budget.  We don't know what tax reform will look like, will do to the budget.  We haven't finished the infrastructure program yet.  Those are the really, really big picture items that we won't know more about for a couple months." Then on April 12, Susan Wright at Redstate quoted Mulvaney explaining Trump's promise to eliminate the national debt.  "It's fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole.  I'm not going to be able to pay off $20 trillion worth of debt in four years.  I'd be being dishonest with you if I said I could.  The reason the president doesn't want to change some of the mandatory spending is because the public's not ready for it yet." On April 20, Axios reported that "The Trump Administration has no plans to pay for its proposed tax cuts."  Top White House officials Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin told a conference gathering that "economic growth would be the primary way to pay for corporate and individual tax cuts." On April 26, the Trump Administration released a one-page description of its tax reform proposal, including large tax cuts for corporations and, in particular, wealthy individuals, but did not provide any analysis of how much it would increase the national debt.  Experts interviewed by ABC News largely agreed the proposal would significantly reduce federal revenue and balloon the national deficit. On May 4, President Trump was interviewed by The Economist. They asked if it was okay if his tax plan increased the deficit. "It is OK, because it won't increase it for long.  You may have two years where you'll...you understand the expression 'prime the pump'? We have to prime the pump." On May 8, the Washington Post reported that a poll by the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business of 37 economists found not one believe the Trump tax cut will stimulate the economy enough to cancel out the effect on total tax revenue. On May 24, Dan Primack at AXIOS reported that the 2018 budget released May 22 by President Trump, "double-counted more than $2 trillion in estimated tax revenue. As such, the budget would not balance over 10-years (as promised), even if the U.S. economy were to hit sustained 3% growth (as projected by the White House, but by very few others.)"  Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank quoted Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as saying he was "honestly surprised" he could balance the budget at all.  "How?" asked Milbank.  "By making magical assumptions.  'You can never balance the budget at 1.9 percent' growth, said Mulvaney. And so - voila! - the Trump administration assumes a 3 percent growth for the next 10 years, a level not seen in decades.  Magical assumptions make budgets magically balance."

An academic analysis of President Trump's April 26 tax reform proposal:  Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, wrote, in part, in the Washington Examiner: "Experiences around the world have shown that a reduction of the corporate rate pays for itself. As Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute has shown, Canada and England have dramatically cut their rates, and their revenue-to-GDP ratios have stayed around the same.  Also, a new paper by Strategas Research Partners shows that the 2003 tax cut paid for itself, and in fact, 'the tax cut earned the government $77 billion.' Also, we know that the payoff in term of economic growth will be large...The fact that the administration and many Republicans in Congress are not serious about cutting spending, and hence aren't serious about some level of deficit-neutrality, is a tremendous weakness to the whole plan.  Gigantic tax cuts are disconcerting if not married with real commitment to restrain the growth of government spending, in particular when it comes to the so-called entitlement programs." 

      28. Get rid of Common Core

Background: Common Core created a set of academic standards within the subjects of English and math throughout our public school system. Trump has pledged to abolish Common Core, saying that education should be managed on a local level – not a national one (though Common Core is not a federal program). He's call Common Core "a disaster" and a "very bad thing." 

Update: TIME magazine reported on December 22, "Both Trump and (Secretary of Education Betsy) DeVos have promised to 'end' the controversial state-based achievement standards.  But the Education Department is forbidden under the new federal law from either setting such benchmarks or incentivizing states of adopt them.  Common Core was adopted by state lawmakers, and will also have to be dismantled by them."

      29. "Be the nation's biggest cheerleader for school choice." STATUS - First steps taken

Background: Trump has expressed support for allowing families to redirect their share of education spending to a private, charter, magnet, religious or homeschool.  He also said he supports $20 billion in federal funding to send low-income students to private and charter schools.

Pushback: TIME magazine in December reported: "Trump's federal voucher plan would require not only that Congress allocate $20 billion to the program - a potentially heavy lift given that lawmakers have already promised tax cuts and a balance budget. It would also require states to pony up another $110 billion."

Update: On February 28, at his first speech before Congress, the President said, "I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them." On March 3, the President visited, with his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, a Catholic private school in Florida to praise school vouchers as an antidote to failing schools and falling test scores.  The school has embraced a Florida state program that uses public money to allow low-income students to attend private schools.

      30. Appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade

Background: At the third debate, Trump was asked about abortion by moderator Chris Wallace. He confirmed that he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade — the monumental court case that legalized abortion in 1973.

Update:  President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 8.  As of this date, there are no pending cases before the Supreme Court that will test the President's promise.

     31.  On his first day in office, get rid of gun-free zones at military bases and in schools - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Candidate Trump pledged to eliminate gun-free zones on his first day in office to keep the United States safe from mass shootings.  "I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and - you have to - and on military bases," told a Burlington, VT. rally January 8, 2016.  "My first day, it gets signed, okay?  My first day.  There's no more gun-free zones." (The federal Gun-Free School Zones Act prohibits firearms from being carried in schools.)

Update: By April 1, President Trump had signed 11 measures from Congress revoking regulations that took effect during the final months of the Obama administration, including limitations on gun purchases by 75,000 mentally ill people determined by the Social Security Administration to be incapable of handling their own finances.  He has not yet, however, honored this promise or #36, Obama's restrictions on firearm sales at gun shows. On April 25, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing 60 percent of gun owners say firearms should not be allowed in schools.

     32. Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cutting benefits - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised repeatedly during his White House bid not to touch entitlements. "I'm not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I'm not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid." He added, "Have to do it.  Get rid of the fraud.  Get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it." Before entering the race he tweeted, "I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid."  He also tweeted, in 2015, "The Republicans who want to cut (Social Security) & Medicaid are wrong."

Update: On March 6 the House leadership introduced a repeal and replace bill for Obamacare that would cut, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $880 billion from federal Medicaid funds over the next 10 years.  In all, CBO projected that total Medicaid spending would be 25 percent less in 2026 than under current law. The program would insure 14,000,000 fewer Americans. And on March 16, the House Budget Committee voted to recommend further cuts to Medicaid beyond the $880 billion already targeted. On March 24, House Speaker Ryan and President Trump, who called the bill "wonderful," pulled the repeal and replace bill after Republicans in the House declined support. However, on May 4, the House passed the bill - the American Health Care Act - which includes an $880 billion cut to Medicaid. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the Senate may pursue similarly deep cuts in the bill. "We've got to get it under control.  Right now it's out of control." President Trump on May 22 released his 2018 budget proposal which, in fact, would cut Medicaid and several Social Security programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance, by over $850 billion over the next ten years. Medicaid currently covers about 73 million Americans. SSDI covers approximately 10 million Americans. 

     33. Fire "the corrupt and incompetent" leaders of the Department of Veterans Affairs - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: And dramatically reform the agency, including investigating "the fraud, cover-ups and wrongdoing" at the VA and allowing veterans to access any medical facility that accepts Medicaid patients. Trump's 10-point plan to fix the VA focuses in part on the firing and disciplining of VA employees.

Update: President Trump nominated Dr. David Shulkin to lead the Veterans Affairs Department. Shulkin was the VA's top health official and a hold-over from the Barack Obama administration. According to CNN, Shulkin is "rejecting a dismantling of the beleaguered agency or wide-scale firings as a way of doing it." Shulkin said, "VA has many dedicated employees across the country, and our veterans tell us that every day."  Mark Lucas, executive director of the conservative Concerned Veterans of America, warned, "It will be disappointing if Dr. Shulkin defends the status quo - veterans who took President Trump's campaign promises about VA reform seriously will be immediately concerned."

     34. Defund Planned Parenthood  - STATUS - First step taken

Update: In early January, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans plan to strip Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding as part of their rapid push to repeal Obamacare.  Ryan said a defunding measure would appear in a special fast-track bill that is expected to pass Congress as soon as February.  On March 6, the leadership of the House submitted a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that would also defund Planned Parenthood. On March 24, Trump and Ryan pulled their repeal and replace bill after Republicans in the House refused support. On April 13, President Trump signed a resolution that will allow states to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  The resolution overturns a rule enacted by the Obama administration last year that prevented states from defunding Planned Parenthood.  Now, states can withhold federal family planning grants. On April 30, House and Senate leaders approved a 2017 budget that continues to fund Planned Parenthood. However, on May 4, the House passed the American Health Care Act, which would de-fund Planned Parenthood and sent the bill to the Senate.   

     35. Gut, if not eliminate, the Environmental Protection Agency - STATUS - First steps taken

Background:  Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, a key foe of EPA regulations, to lead the agency. Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, joined a coalition of state attorneys general in suing the federal government over the agency's Clear Power Plan, the Obama administration's principal policy aimed at reducing U.S. greenhouse gas admissions. He also sued, along with others, the federal government over regulations seeking to curtail the emissions of methane.

Update: On April 30, House and Senate negotiators agreed to a 2017 budget that would trim the EPA budget just one percent, with no staff cuts. But on May 23, President Trump released his 2018 budget which cuts the EPA budget by 30.5%. 

       36. Cancel Obama's executive actions on guns

Background: Trump called Obama’s executive order to require background checks on firearms sold at gun shows an assault on the Second Amendment, and vowed he would "unsign that so fast."

      37. Rebuild and fix the inner cities - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:  After complaining about the lack of jobs and an alleged increase in crime in American cities, Trump promised, "I'm going to fix it." 

"I'll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you're not gonna be shot."  He promised to stop the crime in Chicago within "one week."

UPDATE: At his inauguration, President Trump said, "For too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

On April 24, the Chicago Tribune reported: "The number of people shot in Chicago this year is nearing 1,000 after a violent weekend left seven dead and 31 others wounded.  As of Monday morning, at least 992 people had been shot in Chicago this year.  Last year, the city passed the 1,000 marked on April 20 and had reached 1,054 by this time." President Trump has made no effort to address this issue.

    US Military  

38.  Strengthen the military - STATUS - First steps taken

Background: So that it's "so big and so strong and so great" that "nobody's going to mess with us." First step: ask Congress to repeal the defense sequester.  Other related promises: Grow the Naval fleet to 350 ships and subs and increase both the size of Army and Marine Corps. 

Update: On May 22, President Trump submitted his 2018 budget to Congress, seeking a 10 percent increase - $54 billion - in the Pentagon's base budget, with some of the money going toward new jets and ships. 

Pushback: The Washington Examiner reported on February 5, "There's only one big problem:  Congress, specifically, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which created across-the-board spending caps for 10 years.  Democrats have insisted that any increase in Pentagon spending must also include hikes in non-defense spending.  Republican deficit hawks also believe the military wastes too much money to warrant opening the federal checkbook. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain argues it will take about $430 billion increase above current Pentagon spending plans for fiscal 2018 - 2022 to make up for the limitation of the sequestration spending caps." 

     International Relations  
      39. Find an "out" clause in the Iran deal - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background:  And then "totally" renegotiate the whole thing.  On April 5, President Trump described the deal as "one of the worst deals I have ever witnessed."

At his confirmation hearing in January, Gen. James Mattis, Donald Trump's secretary of defense nominee, said he believed the United States should stick with the Iran deal.  "I think it is an imperfect arms control agreement -- it's not a friendship treaty.  But when America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies."  However, just days later, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said in a Sunday morning TV show that the Iran deal is "on life support" and "it's yet to be seen" if President Trump will uphold or scrap it. 

Update: On February 3, House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged the Iran nuclear deal is likely to stay in place due to the rolling back of the multilateral sanctions that were previously in place against Iran. "I don't think you're going to go back and reconstitute the multilateral sanctions that were in place," he told Meet the Press. David Andelman, the editor emeritus of World Policy Journal, wrote on March 3, "You don't hear that 'rip it up' language any longer. And you won't. Indeed, in his landmark message to Congress on Tuesday, the President touched only once on Iran. It was becoming increasingly clear that if Trump were to follow through on his ill-considered threat to 'tear up' the agreement, he would be doing so alone.  None of the other signatories to the pack - Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - have made any move to follow him." 

On April 5, Nasser Karimi and John Gambrel of the Associated Press reported the Boeing Co. had signed a $3 billion deal with an Iranian airline for 30 new aircraft, with an option for another 30, forcing "Trump to choose between two major campaign promises: Taking a harder line against Iran or defending American manufacturing jobs.  'On the one hand, there's the attraction of jobs and export orders for American goods.  On the other hand, of course, they were elected partly on the promise of getting tough on Iran,' said Richard Aboulafia, an aircraft analyst and vice president of analysis at the Virginia-based Tel Group. ' They'll have to make tough decisions.'"  Boeing says the deal will create 18,000 U.S. jobs. On April 29, Boeing ran ads in major U.S. newspapers congratulation President Trump on his first 100 days in office.  "Thank you, President Trump, for your commitment to U.S. manufacturing and to making American businesses more globally competitive." 

On April 19, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a letter to Congress that the National Security Council will lead an interagency review of whether easing economic sanctions against Iran as part of the accord "is vital to the national security interests of the United States. Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods." The Trump administration, however, on the same day confirmed that Iran continues to comply with the 2015 nuclear disarmament agreement that candidate Trump promised to dismantle. NBC News' First Read commented, "The Trump administration admitting that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal - despite so much GOP rhetoric to the contrary - is another reminder that, besides its rhetoric and firing off some cruise missiles in Syria, Team Trump is still pretty much following the Obama playbook, at least when it comes to actions."   

      40.  Allow Russia to deal with the Islamic State in Syria - STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: In 2013, when President Obama was mulling a military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's first use of chemical weapons, citizen Trump tweeted, "We should stay the hell out of Syria!" Two years later, candidate Trump told CNN's Erin Burnett in September, 2015, that the U.S. should let Russia fight it out against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.  "You have Russia that's now there. Russia's on the side of Assad, and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more, because they don't want 'em coming into Russia. Let them fight, take over the remnants.  Let Russia fight ISIS, if they want to fight 'em..in Syria. Let Syria and ISIS fight. What do we care?" A year later, on October 26, 2016, candidate Trump said, "What we should do is focus on ISIS.  We should not be focusing on Syria.  You're going to end up in World War III over Syria is we listen to Hillary Clinton...You're not fighting Syria anymore, you're fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right?  Russia is a nuclear country."

Update: On April 6, President Trump ordered a military attack on a Syrian airfield in response to an April 4 chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime on a rebel-held town. The U.S. military, after notifying the Russians, launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into the airfield.

      41.  Alter the US role with NATO and Asian allies - STATUS - First steps taken

Background: In his first 100 days, Trump told the Washington Post, he would cut taxes, “renegotiate trade deals and renegotiate military deals,” including altering the U.S. role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Trump expects Germany, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia to pay more for US security protection. He had called NATO "obsolete" and wants to update "NATO's outdated mission and structure."  NATO members, Trump has complained, do not pay "what they should" for their defense. (The U.S. foots the bill for about 22 percent of the 28-nation NATO spending.)

Update:  On January 27, British Prime Minister Theresa May put President Trump on the record as being "100 percent" behind NATO.  "Mr. President, I think you said, you confirmed, that you're 100 percent behind NATO," May said at a press conference following their first meeting. Trump responded quietly to her, "It's true." On April 12, President Trump, in a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, announced that he no longer believes that NATO is obsolete.  "I said it was obsolete.  It is no longer obsolete," citing the group's recent anti-terror efforts.  Stoltenberg, however, noted that NATO soldiers have fought terror for many years, in including in Afghanistan and against ISIS. President Trump called NATO a "great alliance" and the "bulwark of international peace and security." On May 25, President Trump, visiting NATO headquarters, "scolded NATO allies for not paying their fair share for defense", according to The Hill. "Trump pointed out that 23 of the 28 member nations are not meeting NATO's target of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense." Franco Ordonez of McClatchy's Washington Bureau pointed out, "It was Trump's undiplomatic rhetoric that got the issue to the top of the group's agenda this week, when NATO's members are expected to accept the idea of public report cards to make sure everyone's meeting the requirements of the alliance."

        42.  Cancel the 2015 Paris climate change accord 
Background: Climate change allegations and science are a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, Trump said on the campaign trail. In a March, 2016 interview with the Washington Post's editorial board, he said, "I think there's a change in weather. I am not a great believer in man-made climate change. I'm not a great believer...I'm not a big believer in man-made climate change."

The Paris accord, which seeks to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century with a shift from fossil fuels, states in Article 28 that any country wanting to pull out after joining has to wait four years. The accord has been endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change. Trump, during the campaign, pledge to "cancel" the 2015 agreement. 

Update: On March 29, the New York Times reported, "During his first two months in office, President Donald J. Trump has rolled back key Obama-era greenhouse gas regulations.  Without these rules in place, the United States is set to fall far short of its 2015 Paris Agreement pledge: to lower emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. In an executive order released Tuesday, Mr. Trump instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse course on the Obama administration's biggest climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants. If implemented to its fullest extent, the plan would have reduced carbon emissions by nearly 650 megatons by 2015 - just under halfway to the Paris pledge." On April 15, the Washington Post reported that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is urging the president to withdraw from the Paris accord.  "Paris is something that we need to really look closely at.  It's something we need to exit in my opinion." According to Politico, White House senior staff are divided into the pro-Paris Accord camp (Mr. and Mrs. Kushner and Secretary of State Tillerson) and the anti-Paris Accord camp (Bannon, Perry and Pruitt). On May 25, 22 Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, sent the president a letter urging him to make a clean exit from the Paris Agreement.

      43. Repeal President Obama's executive orders regarding Cuba

Background:  Trump promised to reverse Obama's Cuba-related executive orders - including opening a U.S. embassy and lifting restrictions on trade and tourism - if Cuba did not meet his "demands," including religious and political freedom and the freeing of political prisoners. Vice President-elect Pence told supporters in Florida: "We will support continuing the embargo until real political and religious freedoms are a reality for all the people of Cuba. Donald Trump will stand with freedom-loving Cubans in the fight against Communist oppression."

      44. Move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem STATUS - Promise being reconsidered

Background: Trump promised to do it "fairly quickly."  Jason Greenblatt, an Orthodox lawyer who advised candidate Trump, told the press after the election that the president-elect was "going to do it" because he was "a man who keeps his word." One day before his inauguration, Trump reiterated his promise in an interview with an Israeli newspaper, noting, "You know I'm not a person who breaks promises." 

Update: David Friedman, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, promises to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.  "I intend to work tirelessly to strengthen the unbreakable bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region, and look forward to doing this from the US Embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."

However, CNN reported in mid-January that the Trump transition team is "floating the possibility of initially having the U.S. Ambassador to Israel work and live in the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, while the American Embassy remains in Tel Aviv."  The idea comes amid warnings from Arab and European diplomats that the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could unleash violence, undermine the peace process and damage U.S. standing in the Middle East." And on January 19 in the Wall Street Journal, Richard Haass, president of the Council of Foreign Relations, warned it would be a "mistake" for Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem.  "Moving the embassy comes with real downsides, only some of which relate to the diplomacy - going nowhere slowly - intended to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The bigger argument is that moving the embassy risks making Jerusalem an even greater magnet for protest, violence and terrorism.  The move could take a conflict that has lost more than a little salience in the Muslim world and transform it into a crisis." On April 24, Politico reported that GOP mega-donor and Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has privately complained about Trump's failure to fulfill his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. On the day President Trump landed in Israel for his first state visit,  May 22, the Associated Press reported, "While Israeli officials cheered Trump's election, some are now wary of the tougher line he has taken on settlements: urging restraints but not a full halt to construction.  Trump has retreated from a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same diplomatic and security concerns as other presidents." On May 21, Trump visited Israel and made no mention of moving the U.S. Embassy.  A Trump administration official said, "We don't think it would be wise to do it at this time.  We've been very clear what our position is and what we would like to see done, but we're not looking to provoke anyone when everyone's playing really nice."   

War on Terrorism 

45.  Bring back waterboarding - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised the U.S. will use interrogation techniques that go even further than waterboarding, because “torture works.” Even if such tactics don't work, "they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."

“Don't tell me it doesn't work – torture works. Okay, folks? Believe me, it works. Okay."

Change of mind: On November 23, 2016 in an interview with the New York Times, Trump "suggested" he had changed his mind about the usefulness of waterboarding after recently talking with James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general and Trump's nominee for Secretary of Defense. Mattis told Trump there were better ways of securing valuable information from prisoners. But, Trump also told the Times, "I'm not saying it changed my mind." But it did. The week after he was sworn in as the 45th President, Trump told ABC News that he would defer to Mattis and Mike Pompeo, his CIA director, both of whom indicated that torture is illegal. "I'm going to go with what they say," Mr. Trump said. 
     46.  "Bomb the shit out of ISIS" STATUS - First step taken

Background:  After repeated promises in 2015 and 2016 that he had a "foolproof plan" to defeat ISIS and "bomb the hell out of" the terror group, Trump in September, 2016 pulled a "one-eighty" and said, at a campaign stop in North Carolina, he would give his top generals 30 days to present a plan to defeat ISIS. 

Update:  In his inauguration address, the new President pledged to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism "completely from the face of the Earth." In his first week in office, Trump signed a directive ordering the Joint Chiefs of Staff to return within 30 days with a plan to defeat ISIS. Columnist Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote on March 7, "In his speech to Congress, President Trump hardly mentioned foreign policy. But he did repeat his campaign promise to 'demolish ISIS' and 'extinguish (it) from the planet.' The battle to uproot the so-called Islamic States, which is centered in the cities of Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, has been underway for months, using local forces backed by U.S. advisors and air power.  The president wants it done faster." On April 13, the U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb  - the Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) - on an ISIS tunnel and cave hideout in Afghanistan, reportedly killing almost 100. The 21,600 lb. bomb is known as the "mother of all bombs." (Irony alert: The tunnels that MOAB destroyed were built with U.S. taxpayer dollars in the 1980s for the mujahedeen fighting, at that time, against the Soviets.) 

      47.  …And take their oil - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: “I would just bomb those suckers, and that's right, I'd blow up the pipes, I'd blow up the refineries, I'd blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left. And you know what, you'll get Exxon to come in there, and in two months, you ever see these guys? How good they are, the great oil companies, they'll rebuild it brand new... And I'll take the oil.”

Trump promises to seize the oil and give the profits to military veterans who were wounded while fighting.

Update: A day after his inauguration, the President visited the CIA and told a gathering of employees, "To the victor belong the spoils. We should have kept the (Iraqi) oil. But, O.K., maybe you'll have another chance." However, a month later, on February 20, Defense Secretary Mattis, while visiting Iraq, said the U.S. does not intend to seize Iraqi oil.  "I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America, have generally paid for our gas and oil all along, and I'm sure we will continue to do that in the future. We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil."


      48.  Prosecute Hillary Clinton  - “Lock her up!”  STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: Trump promised to appoint a special prosecutor to go after his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton during his campaign, and "lock her up!" was a constant chant amongst supporters on the campaign trail. During one debate, he famously responded that if he were in charge she'd "be in jail."

Change of mind: After the election on 60 Minutes, Trump immediately walked that back: "I don't want to hurt them. They're, they're good people," he said. A senior advisor went further: Trump will not push for further criminal investigations into potential wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton. “I think when the president-elect, who's also the head of your party now … tells you before he's even inaugurated he doesn't wish to pursue these charges, it sends a very strong message, tone and content, to the members."

At a post-election rally in December, the crowd began chanting "lock her up!"  Trump replied, "That plays great before the election -- now we don't care, right?" And then, at his Inauguration, the Clintons not only attended but participated in the post-ceremony luncheon where the new President told the assembled crowd he was "very, very honored" that the former first couple was there and asked them to stand for a round of applause.  "There's nothing more I can say," the President added, "because I have a lot of respect for those two people, so thank you all for being here." 

49.  “Drain the Swamp”  STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

There are several scandals and potential scandals challenging the Trump Administration and President Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”  Those covered below include:

1.      The President of the United States decided not to divest himself of his private holdings, thus opening the door to potential conflicts of interest and ignoring the Constitution.

2.      Business is suddenly good between the Trump Family and China.  Chinese authorities are approving trademark requests benefiting the President and his family.

3.      National Security Advisor Michael Flynn spoke by phone to the Russian ambassador to the United States before Trump’s inauguration and discussed U.S. sanctions but told Vice President Pence the conversations never took place. And now Flynn and other Trump campaign officials are being investigated for connections to Russia and other foreign nations.

4.      Federal officials, including Congress, are investigating the connection between Russia and the Trump campaign after it was revealed that regular contacts had been made during the 2016 presidential campaign between Trump allies and Russian officials, agents and hackers. On May 17, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named a Justice Department special counsel to oversee the federal government’s investigation of the connection between Russia and the Trump campaign following reports that President Trump had asked fired FBI Director James Comey to back off the investigation of former National Security Advisor Flynn.

Here are some of the details on each.

PRESIDENT TRUMP                

President Trump owns or has a position in more than 500 companies, according to a CNN analysis. That includes about 150 that have done business in at least 25 foreign countries, including Turkey, India, Canada, Uruguay, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Because President Trump refuses to release his tax returns, the extent of his potential conflict remains unknown.  For example, loans that help finance his companies from foreign governments and banks - even on projects that are already built - could be perceived as affecting his decisions as President.

Then there’s the Trump-owned hotel in The Swamp (i.e. Washington, D.C.). Trump International Hotel is located in a building- the Old Post Office Building – owned by the federal government. Trump has a 60-year lease with the government on the property.  But the lease states no "elected official of the Government of the United States" shall be "admitted to any share or part of this Lease." Some experts say this clause should force Trump to relinquish his equity stake in the hotel since he is now President. (The hotel is valued at roughly $200 million, much of it financed by Deutsche Bank, a German company.)

Trump may, according to experts, be in conflict with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits elected officials from receiving gifts or earning profits from foreign governments.  Politico reported in December, "Diplomats from Bahrain and Kuwait have already booked events at his Washington hotel, raising questions of whether a foreign government would be making payments to Trump's businesses.”  The Emoluments Clause forbids any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under (the United States)” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state” unless Congress explicitly consents.

Update: At his mid-January press conference, Trump announced that his businesses and assets will be put into a trust run by his two sons for the duration of his presidency and that he will have "no involvement whatsoever" in the businesses.  Under his new ethics plan, Trump, his children and a longtime business associate will be barred from discussing company operations with the President. (Bobby Burchfield, a veteran Republican attorney, will serve as an outside ethics adviser. Some corporate transactions will not be undertaken without his approval. However, Trump will maintain a significant ownership stake in the company and financially benefit from its profits.) Trump’s attorney also announced Trump will "voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made by his hotels to the United States Treasury.  This way it is the American people who will profit."  (Update: On May 24, MSNBC reported that "the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump's pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure.) 

Pushback: On January 20, Inauguration Day, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) took action on both the Trump International Hotel and its government lease and other possible conflicts of interest of the new President. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request.  Said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, “We want to know how the Trump transition team and the government offices tasked with supervising ethics-related issues for the incoming administration have been thinking about and confronting these potential conflicts.  In pursuit of that information, we’ve asked for a gamut of documents - legal opinions, policy advisories, communications, and more – that address them.”

CREW sent a letter to the administrator of the General Services Administration claiming the new President “stands in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.”  The CREW letter also asked that the GSA “immediately initiate the process for establishing that Trump Old Post Office LLC (which owns Trump International Hotel, the former Old Post Office Building) is in breach of its ground lease for the Old Post Office Building."

On January 23, CREW filed a lawsuit arguing that President Trump is violating the Constitution's ban on officials accepting benefits from foreign governments.   The suit claims Trump's business dealings with foreign countries that rent space in his buildings or lend money to his real estate venture run afoul of the foreign emoluments clause in the Constitution.

On February 25, Politico reported, "Despite handing over daily control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime Trump Organization executive, legal documents show that Trump himself still maintains significant power over the entire operation by holding the right to revoke at any time the entire arrangement and also because the purpose of the trust he established is really just for holding 'assets for the exclusive benefits of Donald J. Trump.'"

On March 23, Politico reported, The General Services Administration concluded that Trump's pledge not to take money from the Old Post Office project resolves concerns that language in the lease declares that no government employee should be permitted to benefit from the lease. "What this accomplishes is that the funds generated by the hotel will not flow to the President through DJT Holdings LLC," contracting officer Kevin Terry wrote. Some specialists in the area panned the GSA's new finding.  The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which complained to GSA about Trump's ownership, called the decision disappointing because it failed to resolve the conflict of interest. "Donald Trump still owns the hotel, still will benefit from payments and still has a vested interest in its success," executive director Noah Bookbinder said.

On March 24, Forbes reported Eric Trump admitted he will continue to keep his father updated - quarterly - on the family business.  "There is a kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain, and I am deadly serious about that exercise," he says, echoing previous statements from his father. "I do not talk about the government with him, and he does not talk about business with us.  That's kind of a steadfast pack we made, and it's something that we honor." But less than two minutes later, he concedes that he will continue to update his father on the business while he is in the presidency.  "Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that." 

On April 24, Politico reported, "President Donald Trump isn't the only one promoting his Mar-a-Lago club as the 'winter White House.' His foreign policy team is doing it too. The State Department and at least two U.S. embassies - the United Kingdom and Albania - earlier this month circulated a 400-word blog post detailing the long history of the president's South Florida club, which has been open to dues-paying members since the mid-1990s." On April 28, Matthew Yglesias at Vox reported that President Trump is actually making money when he visits his hotels and resorts. "The Secret Service agent use golf carts to get around the courses.  And to get their hands on the golf carts, they need to rent them from the golf courses at which the president plays.  All of this is fundamentally normal - except for the fact that Trump golfs at courses he owns."  Yglesias also reported the Secret Service paid $64,000 for "elevator services" in Trump Towers and that the president is personally profiting from the security procedure.

Trump begins to monetize his presidency

Columnist Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner on March 5 wrote:

If you pay $200,000 a year to the company Donald Trump owns, you too can have access most weekends to the president and his top officials. As an alternative, your organization could cut a $150,000 check to bring in a couple of hundred people who will have a chance to schmooze with the president and cabinet officials. Foreign moguls and dignitaries welcome.

This isn't Bill Clinton's Lincoln Bedroom. This isn't the Clinton Foundation during Hillary's reign at the State Department. This is Mar-a-Lago.

Donald Trump, for the fourth weekend in the past five, has gone down to his Florida resort, and once again he is mingling with guests.

As attendees danced inside the ballroom where the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute held its gala, the president was spotted nearby, shaking hands and talking with club members and guests.
Earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also took a few moments from high-level meetings to greet guests at the estate.

It's a nice setup for those who want some government favor and can afford a six-figure check. And it's a nice setup for Donald Trump.

The Wall Street Journal reported April 15 that nearly $500,000 from President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign had gone directly to Trump-owned restaurants, hotels and golf clubs . During the 2016 campaign, Trump's campaign spent more than $14 million on Trump-branded companies and family-owned businesses.

Business is suddenly good between Trump Family and China

More questions were raised on February 15 when the Chinese government announced that Trump had been granted something he had been seeking for 10 years - trademark protection for the use of the Trump name in the construction industry.  The Chinese announcement came only six days after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation, after which Trump announced he now supports the long-standing "one China" policy of the U.S. (In early December, 2016, president-elect Trump held, according to the Associated Press, a "highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect" phone call with the leader of Taiwan, congratulating her on becoming president in 2016.) 

The Associated Press reported "This may well be the first foreign trademark to be handed to Trump during his presidency, but it unlikely to be the last.  In China alone he has 49 pending trademark applications." Then on March 8, AP News reported "China has now granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services."  Dan Plane, a director at Simone IP Services, a Hong Kong intellectual property consultancy, said he has never seen so many applications approved so expeditiously. 

Norman Eisen, an ethics guru, told the Washington Post, "I doubt the abrupt about-face by the Chinese authorities was because they suddenly determined that his legal case had merit.  It appears instead to be a not very subtle effort to influence him by giving him a very large and very valuable gift of these trademarks.  Presents from foreign governments 'of any kind whatever' are of course expressly forbidden by the foreign emoluments clause."

Former New York Times executive editor and Harvard journalism instructor Jill Abramson wrote on May 10, "The Chinese know that one of the best ways to curry favor with any ruler is to shower riches on his family members.  There are so many millionaires among the children of its leaders that they have a moniker: the Princelings.  This uniquely Chinese brad of influence peddling is now being lavished on President Trump's Princelings and Princesslings. Suddenly, all kinds of business opportunities have opened up for Trump family members in the notoriously closed Chinese market. Kathleen Clark, a professor of ethics at Washington University in St. Louis, told NPR, 'when Donald Trump is dealing with the Chinese government on behalf of the United States, he may also be thinking about what the Chinese government can do not just for the U.S. but for Donald Trump and his businesses and his own financial well-being.'"

On April 18, the Washington Examiner reported that the same day Ivanka Trump dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, her company won provisional approval for three new trademarks.   China gave Trump's company monopoly rights to sell the brand's jewelry, bags and spa services. Ivanka Trump's U.S. imports, almost all of them from China, shot up an estimated 166 percent in 2016. The week Trump dined with President Xi, 3.4 tons of her handbags, wallets and blouses arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to an April 23 story from the Associated Press.  Sales in February, 2017, spiked 771 percent from the same month in 2016, after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway exhorted Fox viewers to "Go buy Ivanka's stuff." On May 6, The Hill reported that the sister of Trump's senior presidential advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, held a business meeting with wealthy Chinese in Beijing encouraging them to "invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States." Nicole Meyer, Jared's sister, touted her links to the Trump family and the White House and urged the audience to garner an EB-5 immigrant investor visa by investing in a New Jersey real estate project her family is involved with.  

Wrote Redstate columnist Allahpundit, "For cripes sake. The point of Trump's populist revolution was not to enrich the Kushner family by trading precious American immigration privileges for filthy lucre. It was to enrich the Trump family.  Eyes on the prize, people."  

MICHAEL FLYNN - Resigned 2/13/17

National security adviser Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States a month before President Trump took office, contrary to subsequent public assertions by Flynn and Trump officials, including Vice President Pence. In those calls with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn reassured Moscow that sanctions imposed by President Obama in late December over Russia's hacking of the 2016 U.S. election would be lifted by the incoming Trump Administration.

Days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied Flynn had discussed sanctions with the ambassador. He said he had personally spoken to Flynn, who assured him that the conversation was an informal chat that began with Flynn extending Christmas wishes.

“They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia,” Mr. Pence said on the CBS News program Face the Nation.

In late January, the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, and a senior career national security official, informed the White House that they believed Flynn had misled the new administration about the nature of his communications with the Russians.  (Yates, a holdover from the Obama Administration, was subsequently fired by President Trump when she refused to support, in court, Trump's Muslim ban, which was ultimately rejected by a federal district court.)

On February 13, 2017, President Trump asked for Flynn's resignation and received it.

On April 24, the Washington Post reported Flynn "likely broke the law by failing to disclose foreign income he earned from Russia and Turkey." House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md) "said they believe Flynn neither received permission nor fully disclosed income he earned for a speaking engagement in Russia and lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to reinstate his security clearance." Said Chaffetz: "As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey or anybody else. It was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for a violation of law."

On May 22, media sources reported thatl Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination on Monday as he notifies the Senate Intelligence committee that he will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents. Flynn's decision comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for Flynn's documents as part of the panel's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. The Senate committee responded by sending subpoenas to two of Flynn's businesses, seeking additional documents. The lawmakers said they did not believe the businesses could invoke the 5th Amendment.

NOTE: Flynn has the distinction of being fired by both Presidents Obama and Trump. He was fired in April, 2014 by the Democratic president after clashing with superiors over his alleged chaotic management style and vision for the agency.

The Trump Campaign and Russia

The New York Times reported February 14 that phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they discovered evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The alleged intercepts 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.

UPDATE: The FBI is examining intercepted communications between the Russian ambassador to the U.S. and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who served with Sessions as a member of the Trump campaign’s national security advisory council. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees are also undertaking a review of the matter. In addition, Reuters reported February 18, "This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said."

On February 16 at a press conference, President Trump was asked if anyone in his campaign was in contact with the Russians before the election.  Politico reported, '"President Donald Trump dodged and then dismissed lingering questions about his relationship with Russia...first describing recent reports on the scrutiny as 'fake news,' then saying he has no knowledge of campaign associates contacting the country before the election.  Trump did not, notably, say definitively that his campaign had no contact with Russian officials, but vaguely offered that he had no knowledge that it had."

On March 2, after stories broke indicating that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not told his Senate confirmation hearings the whole truth about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, Sessions held a press conference to announce he had, contrary to his testimony, met twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and was, therefore, recusing himself from overseeing any investigation(s) by his department related to Russia's contacts with the Trump campaign.

The New York Times reported in early March that American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials - and others close to Russia' president, Vladimir Putin - and associates of President-elect Trump.

On March 17, Reuters reported that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.

“The buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.”

On March 20, FBI Director James Comey confirmed before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 president election, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.  "This will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed," Comey told the intelligence panel. The Washington Post in mid-May reported the FBI inquiry now “also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president.”

On March 30, Michael Flynn formally asked the House and Senate intelligence committees to grant him immunity from prosecution in return for testimony.

On April 11, news sources revealed that the FBI obtained a secret court order in 2016 to monitor the communications of Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Page was believed to be acting as an agent of a foreign power - in this case, Russia. On the same day, the Associated Press reported that Paul Manafort had, contrary to his prior denial, received at least $1.2 million in payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine while serving as an international political consultant.

Blog Editor’s Note 3/6/17: The Hill has reported that two members of Trump’s campaign team spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.  J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, two of Trump’s early foreign policy advisors, met with Kislyak at a conference hosted in Cleveland during the 2016 GOP convention.  Rolling Stone has reported other members of the Trump campaign that spoke with Russian representatives include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, informal advisor and personal friend Roger Stone and former campaign manager Paul Manafort. (Stone on March 10 admitted to the Washington Times that he had private conversations and exchanged emails with a hacker who helped leak information from the Democratic National Committee during the campaign. "It was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it.") CNN reported that a foreign affairs advisor to the Trump campaign, Walid Phares, was also part of a meeting in July with the Russian ambassador. The New Yorker ran a list of Trump associates being investigated by the FBI for their Russian connections and included another, his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. And the Wall Street Journal reported the same day that Donald Trump, Jr. was paid $50,000 in October to speak before a French think tank in Paris whose founder and his wife are allies of the Russian government.

UPDATE #2: Oren Dorell of USA TODAY reported on March 28: To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics several allegedly connected to organized crime, according toUSA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor. The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering.

Among them:

• A partner in the firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York is a twice-convicted felon who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man and later scouted for Trump investments in Russia.

• An investor in the SoHo project was accused by Belgian authorities in 2011 in a $55 million money-laundering scheme.

Trump told reporters in February: "I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all." (On May 12, lawyers for President Trump said a 10-year-review of his tax returns show no income, debt or equity investments tied to Russia, "With a few exceptions."  The claim could not be independently verified since Trump has refused to release his tax returns (see below)). 

On May 9, Politico reported that President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, "eliminating one of the Senate intelligence committee's most critical allies in investigating President Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia, potentially knocking the probe into turmoil. Comey, who had led the FBI since 2013, confirmed publicly in March that the bureau was investigating potential ties between Trump associates and the Russian government."  Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating the Trump campaign-Russian link, said the firing "raises profound questions about whether the White House is brazenly interfering in a criminal matter."  Commentator Charles Krauthammer wrote of Trump's decision at National Review Online, "So why did he do it? Now we know: The king asked whether no one would rid him of this troublesome priest, and got so impatient he did it himself."

On May 17, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named a Justice Department special counsel to oversee the federal government’s investigation of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign following reports that President Trump had asked fired FBI Director James Comey to back off the investigation of former National Security Advisor Flynn. The appointment was made after the media reported Comey’s personal notes of a February 14 meeting with the President indicated Trump asked Comey to close the agency’s investigation into Flynn. According to Comey’s notes, Trump dismissed Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions from the room and told Comey, “I hope you can let this go.” It was an apparent reference to the bureau’s counterintelligence inquiry into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates – including Flynn – and Russian officials accused of seeking to influence the presidential election.  Trump critics claimed the request could lead to obstruction of justice charges and possible impeachment. White House officials have said Comey's memo was "not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation."  The New York Times subsequently reported  that Trump told Russian officials during a May 10 meeting in the White House, "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.  I faced great pressure because of Russia.  That's taken off."  

Mueller’s appointment was made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Attorney General Sessions has recused himself from any involvement in the Russian investigation since he is one of many involved in the Trump campaign who communicated with Russian officials.

On May 22, the Washington Post reported that President Trump "asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against the FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government." Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence, and Admiral Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, both refused to comply with the request, the paper reported. 

On May 23, The Hill reported that former CIA head John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee, "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign." Brennan was sufficiently concerned to inform the FBI. On May 26, the Washington Post reported that Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed in December, 2016 the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring. Kushner's attorney said he had no recollection of the exchanges.  

      50. Release his tax returns  - STATUS - PROMISE DROPPED

Background: After the election, on 60 Minutes, Trump again said that he would release his tax returns, despite his failure to live up to this promise for at least two years (he first made the promise in 2014 and repeatedly since.) As usual, Trump said that he couldn’t release his returns just yet because he is under routine IRS audit, even though the IRS says Trump is totally free to release his tax returns, audit or no audit.

Update: Two days after President Trump's inauguration, special assistant KellyAnne Conway told ABC's "This Week" that Trump would not be releasing his tax returns. "We litigated this all through the election.  People didn't care. They voted for him, and let me make this very clear: Most Americans are very focused on what their tax returns will look like while President Trump is in office, not what his look like." On March 28, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee blocked a Democratic effort to force President Trump to submit 10 years worth of tax returns to Congress for review.


It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while
he is in love, drunk, or running for office.

Shirley MacLaine