Now we don’t need to wait for controversies to tail US President Donald Trump when most of them are his own creation. And they are aplenty – even if it is just six months for Trump in the White House – he brought presidential order to block people from Muslim majority countries in the US; he withdrew the US from global trade and climate deals, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris Climate Deal; he has tried hard but has failed so far in repealing his predecessor Barack Obama’s healthcare act; he has cracked down on immigrants and introduced an immigration bill this week to slash down the number of legal immigrants; and his campaign pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it.

The 45th US President is writing the newest chapters of the book on few controversial US Presidents so far. A CNN analysis few days back, in fact, had found a term to describe Trump – The Most Un-presidential President. Ever since Trump’s inauguration, his popularity has been rapidly coming down and new survey has found 61 per cent of registered American voters disapproving his way of governance.

Now another major US publication, The Washington Post, that has already done its series of revelations and expose on Trump’s misadventures and has been in Trump’s firing line of his vitriolic wit and tweets, has come out with another bombshell. The Post has released leaked transcripts of Trump’s phone conversations with his Mexican and Australian counterparts. And like said, they are so un-presidential that the White House did not release them in first place.

When we go through the entire transcript, we can easily look into the mind of Donald Trump, that why he is so – someone who believes he is the greatest person on the earth and then goes on to boast it.

There is no denying to this established fact that the US President is the most powerful person on the earth – but he is certainly not the greatest one. That is a human virtue that doesn’t need the power corridors of the White House. By virtue of being the US President, Donald Trump, indeed could have been the most powerful person in the world. But the irony is, he is not even the most powerful one in America, owing to the spate of controversies around him and his family. The robust system of checks and balances in the US administration cannot allow him to be so. What can be a better testimony to this than his failed attempts to repeal Barack Obama’s healthcare act that he so vehemently detests or wide criticism in the US that his travel ban plan from Muslim majority nations attracted.

The transcript shows him fighting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull like some small time, factional politician and not the President of the United States of America, an office that is most powerful in the world and is also supposed to be the most dignified one. But how can it be dignified when its inhabitants are not.

This one ‘I am the greatest person on the earth’ is a perfect example of it. While discussing with his Australian counterpart an already agreed deal to take in Nauru and Manus islands refugees who were trying to enter Australian through sea route but were caught and imprisoned, he can be seen using un-parliamentary words not just for human lives but also for his predecessor Barack Obama who had signed the deal with Australia. Trump declares the deals signed by Obama stupid and rotten.

Portions of this Trump-Turnbull conversation were leaked earlier which had created tension between the US and Australia. Reportedly, after the 20-minute conversation had ended, Trump had described Turnbull, who is considered a moderate, a brawler and not a shrinking poppy, something that Trump had expected before the call.

But what shocks is the utter disregard for human lives that Trump has. During the course of conversation with Turnbull on January 28, Trump says, “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.”

Even if Turnbull assures that they are not bad people but economic refugees and Australia has full knowledge of their backgrounds, Trump keeps on repeating his scorn for the refugees as if he is not hearing what Turnbull is saying, “I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.”



The article originally appeared on India Today.

It’s proving to be a bad day for US President Donald Trump. A federal US court has upheld a lower court ruling which blocked Trump’s ambitious but highly divisive travel ban plans targeting travellers from six Muslim majority nations.

In March, a Hawaii court had blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt to reintroduce the travel ban, and said it was biased and discriminatory.

Trump signed a new executive order on March 6, weeks after the first futile attempt to ban immigration from some Muslim majority countries.

The Trump administration made some minor changes to the first version of the executive order, which was issued on January 27, so that it could evade the courts. For example, the second order excluded Iraq from the list of countries facing the ban, and featured exemptions for green card holders, permanent US residents, and for those already having a US visa.

But the courts weren’t satisfied.


Earlier in the day, it was widely reported that Trump’s proposed speech in the Israeli parliament – Knesset – had been cancelled.

An Associated Press report quoting Israel’s parliament speaker said “a proposal that Donald Trump would speak before the Knesset during his visit to Israel was scrapped over fears that the American president would be interrupted and heckled by some lawmakers”.

And the day began with a news break that left Trump embarrassed.

Furious British authorities warned that they would stop sharing information with the United States, after it surfaced that intelligence on the Manchester Arena bombing which they’d shared with the US had been leaked to the US media.

British PM Theresa May said she would raise the issue with Donald Trump when she meets him at the NATO Summit in Brussels.

In damage control mode, Trump asked the US Department of Justice to find the culprit and “prosecute the person to the fullest extent of the law”.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

Donald Trump has termed the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the Special Counsel to probe Russia’s role into last year’s US Presidential election a political witchhunt.

Mueller has been hired to lead the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling into last year’s US Presidential Election and to find out whether some members of the campaign team of Donald Trump were complicit in the whole Russian game that intended to benefit Trump’s campaign.

Accusing the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration of indulging in illegal acts, Trump said, “There was never a special counsel appointed to oversee the acts of his Democrat predecessors”. He has likened the appointment of the Special Counsel with the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history”.

“With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign and the Obama administration, there was never a special counsel appointed”, Trump tweeted.

After Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for the latter’s handling of Russia’s meddling role in the US election and after Comey claimed that Trump had asked him to drop the probe into his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s Russia connection, the Trump Administration and the White House faced a barrage of questions. Democrats were openly accusing Trump of trying to influence the FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling for his vested interests.

Under pressure, Deputy Attorney General of the United States Rod J. Rosenstein announced Mueller’s appointment. Mueller headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, a period that witnessed a Republican President in George Bush and a Democrat President in Barack Obama. Mueller has earned the reputation of being a hard taskmaster and an honest, tough and resolute person. He is known as someone who doesn’t toe the line and instead stands for principles as he did in 2004 when he had threatened to resign if the then US President George Bush went ahead with his domestic surveillance plans without approval of the US Department of Justice.

Trump welcomed the appointment, saying “A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know. There was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.” Robert Mueller, while accepting this responsibility, said he would discharge it to the best of his ability.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is modified and extended.

That may be the case if the US puts into place one of many ideas that the Donald Trump administration is working on to introduce the extreme vetting measures for visiting foreign nationals as Donald Trump had promised during his presidential campaign.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, that has widely echoed in the US media and has started a debate, the Trump administration is considering, among many other things, to ask the travellers to hand over their mobile phones and the passwords of their social media accounts to see who they are ‘communicating with’ and if they are following an ideology that is hostile to the US interests.

How seriously the Trump administration is thinking about implementing these harsh vetting measures can be gauged from the fact that the US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly talked about it during a Congressional hearing in February. “We want to say for instance, ‘what sites do you visit? And give us your passwords,’ so that we can see what they do on the internet”, the Wall Street Journal report quoted him saying. Mr. Kelly added, “If they don’t want to give us that information then they don’t come’, a favourite campaign promise of Donald Trump.

The extreme vetting process that the Trump administration is working on is going to be designed to start at the application level where one would be asked to share one’s phone contacts so that it can be probed against the information available in the US database and the changes are expected to apply even to people from friendly countries and allies like Japan, the UK, France and Australia, the report says.


Thorough vetting on airports is common, especially on the US airports after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, at times it raises controversies when some important person of a country is detained on the US airports merely on the suspicion raised by his name, like it happened with Shahrukh Khan.

Extreme vetting that is Donald Trump’s favourite phrase, intends to take the existing vetting process to the extreme level. He always uses it to convey his viewpoint on how to regulate entry of foreigners in the United States. During an interview last year, he had said that he didn’t care what people called it but, if elected, he would see to it that people from suspicious territories are subjected to ‘deep scrutiny’.

An NBC News report quoted Donald Trump saying, “We’re going to have a thing called ‘extreme vetting.’ And if people want to come in, there’s going to be extreme vetting. We’re going to have extreme vetting. They’re going to come in and we’re going to know where they came from and who they are.” He reiterated this in his speeches and tweets.

After becoming the US president, he introduced his highly controversial immigration and travel ban plan targeting people from some Muslim majority countries. In defense, he tweeted that the US needed ‘strong borders and extreme vetting.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
6:38 PM – 29 Jan 2017

The US courts found both the versions of his travel ban discriminatory and in bad taste and blocked them. But extreme vetting was part of Trump’s executive order on travel ban that the court didn’t put a hold on.

The proposed move has already created a big debate in the US with civil society groups and advocacy groups raising their concerns. One of their main logics is what if other countries decide to do the same with the US citizens. Also, the concern is about its effectiveness. Terrorists who are plotting something against the US will try to enter the US with a clean slate to thwart these extreme vetting measures. And then the all encompassing issue of the ‘right to privacy’, that may again take the whole extreme vetting issue to the courts.



‘Extreme vetting’ is Donald Trump’s favourite phrase. He always use it to convey his viewpoint on how to regulate entry of foreigners in the United States. During an interview last year, he had said that he didn’t care what people called it but, if elected, he would see to it that people from suspicious countries are subjected to ‘deep scrutiny’.

An NBC News report quoted Donald Trump saying, “We’re going to have a thing called ‘extreme vetting.’ And if people want to come in, there’s going to be extreme vetting. We’re going to have extreme vetting. They’re going to come in and we’re going to know where they came from and who they are.” He reiterated this in his speeches and tweets.

After becoming the US president, he introduced his highly controversial travel ban plan, targeting people from some Muslim majority countries, which was banned by the courts for being discriminatory and in bad taste. In defence, he tweeted that the US needed ‘strong borders and extreme vetting.

Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
Our country needs strong borders and extreme vetting, NOW. Look what is happening all over Europe and, indeed, the world – a horrible mess!
6:38 PM – 29 Jan 2017

In the light of Donald Trump’s failed travel ban plans and his harsh rhetoric on immigrants, refugees, foreign nationals visiting the US, Muslims and racial minorities, we are going to hear more and more of this phrase.

Like it is phrased, it is going to be more and more extreme in coming days as Trump and his administration will try to impose its narrow worldview in the context of Trump’s mounting failures and controversies.

Trump won the US polls riding high on an inward looking, divisive agenda and embarked soon on implementing it with prolific disdain for the global trade and military agreements including the NATO, his desperate emphasis on ejecting out immigrants and racial minorities, his audacious verbal launch of the wall along the Mexican border that miserably failed and most recently, his biggest debacle so far, when he and his Republican Party could not garner enough votes in the US Congress to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare, the healthcare programme launched by Barack Obama in 2010. Trump’s loss precipitates even more because he demonized Obamacare like anything.

But as most of these Trump policies have failed or have attracted domestic as well as international condemnation, Trump and his team may chose to play even harder its inward looking, divisive agenda that had initially propelled his supporters, in order to divert attention from his increasing failures and decreasing popularity. Indications coming out from the most powerful public office in the world tell so.



It is the businessman Donald Trump’s White House.

It is the millionaire Donald Trump’s White House.

It is the playboyish Donald Trump’s White House.

It is the White House of a US president who is termed outright liar by many.

It is the White House of a president who was controversial even before his White House days, who began his White House stay with controversies, and who is getting neck deep in controversies – all of his own making.

It is the White House of a president which doesn’t care for norms, even if it is about belying the centuries old established ethical standards of the US polity – like promoting family interests, nepotism and scoring business goals.

It is the White House of a president who believes in taking along his coterie. They may be businesspersons or his friends. Qualification and expertise to hold the office is not necessary. Even if it about advising the United States President, unarguably the most powerful (and hence the most responsible, we suppose) person on earth. But Donald Trump, so far by his acts, indicates us that he is going to disappoint us.

The latest controversial move by him is to appoint his daughter as his official adviser. The official announcement was done today. Before that, she already had an office in the White House.

She is adviser to the President Donald Trump.

Her husband is senior adviser to the President Donald Trump.

They both are unpaid advisers.

But even Donald Trump has said that he will not take his salary he is entitled to. He has said that he will work round the clock, without offs. He has said he will reach to the last person in the US, bringing jobs and welfare unlike any of his predecessors. He invented a term #MAGA (Make America Great Again).

#MAGA was his pet line during the pre-election campaign and even then when his government was inaugurated on January 20, 2017 with historically low approval ratings, just two months after his stunning victory on November 8, 2016.

It is sounding a hollow phase now. Trump’s continued trips to his mansion Mar-a-Lago on officials trips, costing taxpayers millions or his golf course timeouts are self-explanatory.

And like many of Donald Trump ministers, her daughter and son-in-law has no experience of public life and political office.

So the reason is fiascos like Trump’s both versions of travel bans which failed miserably or failed grand promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare (by Trumpcare) or adopting an eerie silence on the Mexican wall or withdrawing the US from the global leadership or cutting down on programmes of social welfare while increasing the defense budget. Trump has completed just two months in the White House but his list of controversies and failures is getting so long that not even the US, but the whole world may have to regret later.



The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified and extended.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that those who are trying to defame US President-elect Donald Trump with unsubstantiated claims are ‘worse than prostitutes’.

According to a report from Russian news agency TASS, Putin has said that ‘prostitution is a serious ugly social phenomenon as young women engage in this also because they cannot provide a worthy life for themselves otherwise and this is largely the guilt of societies and the state. But people who order fakes like this, which are currently being spread against the US President-elect, are fabricating and using them in the political struggle. They are worse than prostitutes’.

Putin was reacting on the claims that the Russian intelligence has compromising material on Donald Trump and Russia may use it to blackmail him in future. An unverified dossier, authored by a former British intelligence officer, made headlines last week with its sensational allegations on Donald Trump of accepting bribes and indulging in sexual favours while he was in Russia. Both, Trump and the Kremlin had dismissed the dossier as fake.

Putin added that the ‘people who ordered such information have no moral restraints whatsoever’.

Saying that Trump has been in showbiz, Putin doubted that ‘Trump fell for girls with reduced social responsibilities’. He said, “Trump is a person who has dealt with organizing beauty pageants for many years and has communicated with the world’s most beautiful women. You know, I can imagine with difficulty such a thing that he immediately headed off for the hotel to meet with our girls of reduced social responsibility”.

Trump had slammed people spreading such rumours and had taken to Twitter to question if John Brennan, the outgoing CIA chief, was behind the leak of the fake news.

‏@realDonaldTrump -.@FoxNews “Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand.” Oh really, couldn’t do…
5:46 AM – 16 Jan 2017

‏@realDonaldTrump – much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?
5:59 AM – 16 Jan 2017

Donald Trump has indicated that he would take a soft approach towards Russia and would ease sanctions slapped on the country if ‘Moscow decides to work with the US’. There are reports that during first foreign visit of Trump to Iceland, a summit between Putin and Trump is being finalized.