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Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 5/28/19

Economist, Judy Shelton, appears to be Mr. Trump’s next nominee to the Fed.  Ms. Shelton has sent mixed messages in terms of her agenda and priorities, but clearly does support positions that Mr. Trump has taken on the economy.  Her record as an economist clearly qualifies her for the Fed, whether you agree with her positions or not.  This is a person who should be confirmed to the Fed, in contrast to Mr. Trump’s previous unqualified nominees.

The ongoing trade war with China seems to be deepening, although Mr. Trump has backed off somewhat with regard to the ban on Huawei that may be more of a concession to US businesses than it is walking back his positions visa vie China.  On the other hand, China recently has made clear it will likely use its rare earth minerals as a negotiating chip in this process.  It will likely place export controls on these minerals which the US relies on for industrial production, and could cause some industries to virtually come to a halt.  In addition, this could cause industries needing these minerals to consider production in China, resulting in job loss in the US.

Democrats, according to recent polling, run the risk of losing independents if they proceed with impeachment.  Conversely, those same voters think that Democrats should continue to investigate the President.  This certainly creates a conundrum for Democrats.  I would also point out that the standard for high crimes and misdemeanors is defined by the Congress, not by any statute nor is it defined in the Constitution.  It is equally clear that if impeachment proceedings were brought, much of the debate about what could be accessed by Congress would essentially evaporate.  The Courts have historically held that Congress has the sole power to impeach and to define what acts constitute impeachable offenses.  Even this Supreme Court would find that a difficult precedent to overturn.  My advice to Democrats is keep investigating and stay away from impeachment as Mr. Trump knows the polling and is trolling you. 

The events of May 22nd and 23rd are just another act in the Speaker POTUS drama.  Mr. Trump, unable to control his impulses, reacts to the Speaker’s verbal traps.  If it wasn’t so important, it would be humorous. 

Prime Minister May of England announced on May 24, 2019 her resignation as of June 7, 2019.  The Brexit process is at least temporarily stalled.  We’ll continue to watch this story.

Mr. Trump appears to be preparing pardons for US soldiers convicted of crimes in Iran and Afghanistan.  Senator McCain warned about the threats to US soldiers who are captured if we mistreated prisoners we held.  The same reasoning applies to these pardons.  Note- I was a USAF JAG officer.

Mr. Trump will provide $16 Billion to farmers as the result of the impact of tariffs on their crop scales.   What about those impacted by business tariffs?  Is this a purely political payoff?

On May 23, the House passed a bill amending pension rules allowing contributions and delaying minimum with drawls from IRA’s and 401k’s until age 72.5.  Seems like a wise decision to me.  

This week a memo from the IRS was leaked, which offered a different legal opinion than that asserted by Secretary Mnuchin. IRS concluded it had no choice but to deliver the Mr. Trump’s tax returns to the House Intelligence Committee.  This obviously will be a strong arrow in the House’s quiver when this matter goes to Court for the enforcement of that Subpoena.  It must be the deep state at it again.  

Mr. Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford Owens in Plattsburgh, NY and a Senior Advisor to Dentons to Washington, DC.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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