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Thrilling Thursday – Bolton Claims Trump Asked China to Help Him Get Re-Elected

Bolton Book Offers Scathing Rebuke of Trump as DOJ Escalates Efforts to Block PublicationBolton's book is out.

According to the exerpt from the Wall Street Journal (hardly part of the "Liberal Media"): "The president pleaded with Chinese leader Xi Jinping for domestic political help, subordinated national-security issues to his own re-election prospects and ignored Beijing’s human-rights abuses."  I'm sorry about the "politics" but some of this stuff you just have to read:

In Buenos Aires on Dec. 1, at dinner, Xi began by telling Trump how wonderful he was, laying it on thick. Xi read steadily through note cards, doubtless all of it hashed out arduously in advance. Trump ad-libbed, with no one on the U.S. side knowing what he would say from one minute to the next.

One highlight came when Xi said he wanted to work with Trump for six more years, and Trump replied that people were saying that the two-term constitutional limit on presidents should be repealed for him. Xi said the U.S. had too many elections, because he didn’t want to switch away from Trump, who nodded approvingly.

Trump closed by saying Lighthizer would be in charge of the deal-making, and Jared Kushner would also be involved, at which point all the Chinese perked up and smiled.

Trump spoke with Xi by phone on June 18, just over a week ahead of the year’s G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where they would next meet. Trump began by telling Xi he missed him and then said that the most popular thing he had ever been involved with was making a trade deal with China, which would be a big plus for him politically.

Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words, but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.

Trump’s conversations with Xi reflected not only the incoherence in his trade policy but also the confluence in Trump’s mind of his own political interests and U.S. national interests. Trump commingled the personal and the national not just on trade questions but across the whole field of national security. I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my White House tenure that wasn’t driven by re-election calculations.

Remember the Trump Administration stopped Bolton from testifying during the impeachment hearings – for obvious reasons.  They fought for months to prevent this book from coming out and had much of it redacted but what's left is still a very damning view of the President and his entire Administration.

In a scathing account of his 17 months working for the President, Mr. Bolton describes Mr. Trump as “stunningly uninformed,” easily swayed by authoritarian leaders and often the subject of scorn among his own advisers. Among the episodes he recounts are June 2019 meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping in which he says Mr. Trump pleaded with his counterpart to help him win re-election by purchasing agricultural products from the U.S. and gave China his blessing to continue building camps for Uighur Muslims, which Mr. Bolton likened to concentration camps.

Mr. Bolton echoes allegations that were at the center of the President’s impeachment trial, writing that Mr. Trump repeatedly ordered White House officials to withhold military assistance from Ukraine as retribution for perceived slights during the 2016 election and as leverage to pressure the country to investigate Joe Biden, then a potential and now his presumed election opponent this year. Mr. Bolton describes the objective as a fantasy based on conspiracy theories pushed by the now missing Rudy Giuliani, the President’s personal attorney.

Ukraine tried to take me down. I’m not f—ing interested in helping them,” Mr. Trump is quoted in the book as saying during a White House meeting in May 2019. “I want the f—ing DNC server,” Mr. Trump is quoted as saying.  And remember kids, this is the stuff that WASN'T redacted!  The United States on Tuesday sued Mr. Bolton for breach of contract, seeking to block the June 23 publication of the 577-page book, a copy of which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal.  The Justice Department escalated its case against Mr. Bolton late Wednesday, filing an emergency request for the court to issue a temporary restraining order and injunction to block publication of Mr. Bolton’s book and prohibit his publisher from disseminating it. 

Trump has turned the Government's Justice department into his own personal hit squad, so the book has been leaked in advance to make sure this information gets out to the public – who am I to stop it?  Joe Biden read the exepts and said:

“If these accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values.”  

Hard to see how this will not negatively affect the markets into the weekend with more political turmoil.  As usual, we will be adding more hedging power to protect our Member Portfolios.


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  1. Morning All! The webinar replays are up!



  2. Good Morning.

  3. Sell 20 IMAX Dec $15 puts for $3.40 ($6,800) 

    Buy 40 IMAX Dec $10 calls for $4.90 ($19,600) 

    Sell 40 IMAX Dec $15 calls for $2 ($8,000) 

    Phil, again noobie here. On your imax trade, isn’t there significant risk of getting assigned on the puts considering the stock is around $12 right now? Are you concerned about that? It seems like it’s an even better trade today potentially?

  4. Good morning!

    TSLA up at $1,010 this morning – they don't care…

    Under 3,000 on /ES at the moment, good for a bull or bear play using that line for a stop (bull only if they cross over, of course).  

    It would be amazing if people don't take profits into this weekend but SO MUCH MONEY being pumped into this market.  

    IMAX/Jbiz – I thought we killed that one?

    If you get assigned, you net in for $11.60.  The person forcing you to buy the stock for $15 already gave you $3.40 for the right to do that so $15 comes out of your account, less the $3.40 he paid you is net $11.60 and then you turn around and sell it for $12 and say "thanks for the 0.40" and then you sell more puts if you'd like and HOPE that that guy gives you another net 0.40 ($800) for no reason.

    If someone would promise to "force" me to do that every day, that's all I would do!  

  5. That makes sense! When you say you thought you killed it are you saying you closed the trade? 

  6. @Pharmboy — ARNA

    Pharm — I followed you in the ARNA butterfly play (never did one so I took a small chance).  Mine got filled at 0.77 and I since rolled down from the 65 calls to the 60 for $2.50 when it dipped last week.  So now my basis is $3.02 on the 60/70/75 'broken wing' butterfly  — I also read up on butterfly spreads to educate myself and figured the roll was a good idea.  Are you still confident in the $70 target?

  7. IMAX/Jbiz – I thought we did but I'll check as I do the reviews.

  8. Phil/Closing trades

    You talked about it during the webinar, but said that you would decide over the next couple of days.

  9. Talking about politics:

    James Bennet is out of NYT. he was a extraordinary editor who tried to make NYT a balanced open opinion editorialist within a clear official line of the paper…now he is out because he allowed an article of the opinion of Tim Cotton (R).

     Is identity the new communism?, I´m thinking of canceling my NYT subscription.

  10. Phil / IMAx – I think this was killed because you felt the runway of December was too soon for a recover….  I exited the position 

  11. is interesting probably more risk here than meets the eye.


    Pompeo, Top Chinese Envoy Meet Amid Heightened Tensions

    Face-to-face in Hawaii, diplomats discussed Hong Kong, Taiwan, coronavirus, commercial issues

  12. Justice Roberts doing good work…again. (Good Republican)

  13. Phil / Thoughts on Trump – I apologize for venting, but as I read about Texas going out of control I'm loosing it ( I don't live there but have a lot of family there).  

    Trump just lost on LGBTQ inclusions on Civil Right Protections, as well as killing DACA – so – these two areas were a major focus for him…. He stacked up the courts and then brought in the cases and lost both.   On the Second, DACA ruling he lost not because the government did not have the right, but because they failed to present a coherent case, on the first they also had a weak case, but assumed since they stacked the court they would win.   So, he does he not handle things under pressure, and in a crisis – Civil demonstrations rights and pandemic, he can't execute when the playing field is tilted in his favor because he does not have the organization to execute….    If I were a republican, I'd be furious now….  

  14. Short-Term Portfolio (STP) Review:  The last time we checked in on the STP was way back on June 4th, when the S&P was at 3,122 in the morning, as I wrote our report.  At the time it was at $527,965 and we decided to make some aggressive adjustments to lock in some silly gains in the LTP, which had hit $855,428 as of the previous day's close.   We've been on a road to nowhere since and now the STP is at $521,587 – very little has changed for the STP in the past two weeks and that's good – because hopefully the LTP is doing it's job and making money on short puts and calls we sold, even in a flat market.

    Advill thinks I might have political bias but, if I didn't tell you how I felt, you wouldn't be able to judge for yourselves and clearly, most analysts DON'T tell you how they feel about such things for fear of losing readers.  So, if you prefer to have your analysts lie to you and pretend they are neutral, politically and have no views on the World – there are thousands of them happy to lie to you and take your money.

    If you want to understand an analyst and how he forms his opinions so you can weigh that and make intelligent decisions of your own.  Well, there's me and……   hmmm…..

    Anyway, Trump sucks again and these Bolton revelations are horrifying and I think that's a reason to be extra-cautious over the weekend, in addition to 10,000 more people will be infected in Florida by Monday and 100,000 more in the US, etc.  That's my premise, these are the trade ideas:

    • CANE – Went ripping higher last week and I feel good about the bottom call we made.

    • SDS – These are the short calls left over from the old spread.  We sold them for $38,000 and they are up $24,250 (63%) in two months, so that's nice but, more importantly, the net of the $15/30 spread was $95,900 so we just paid for 25% of that!  SDS is a 2x ETF and the S&P would have to drop 50% to get to $40, so those are pretty safe but a long time to wait for $13,750 so let's clear margin (we don't need but good for people who do) and buy them back.  The July $20s are $1 and we have 100 more longs than shorts so why not sell 100 July $20s for $10,000 as they will decay nice and fast (29 days to expiration) and then we'll see how the weekend goes.  

    • SQQQ – Also a leftover leg but will expire worthless.  I'll do the rest later.
    • AAPL – Wow, good for a new trade I'd say as the net is $154.72 – less than 50% of where they are now.  Not very margin-efficient though.  
    • JPM – More free money for those of us wealthy enough to promise to buy a stock at a ridiculously low price and then not have to buy it at all and still make $73.8% 3 months later.  It's good to be the king!  

    • TQQQ – This was more for fun than anything as I wanted to see if it would outperform SQQQ and look – it has!  More money on a 3x ETF means more room for decay and, even though we're out of the money, the combo is still working.  Up $14,875 on our net $50,500 entry (no margin required) is 29.4% in just over a month.  Very good to be the king…

    • CMG – Are you freakin' kidding me with $1,029?  WTF people?  Who is buying this?  Oh well, we're ahead and shouldn't complain but this is idiotic.  Why are we ahead when our premise is that CMG will be below $950 in 2022 and it's $75 over that now?  Because we are BEING the House and selling the short-term puts and calls and they are doing the heavy lifting.  Now I want to take our $30,000 in profits (so far) and buy back the short puts for $12,760 and then we'll wait for the next dip to sell more.  The short June puts will expire worthless but also I'd rather wait for a dip to sell more.  We stand to collect another $6,650 on the short July calls anyway.  

    • SQQQ – The meat and potatoes hedge.  Jna $5s are $3 in the money and we paid net $2.75 for them so can't complain, can we?  It's a 3x ETF so 20% drop in the Qs (well-deserved) would be 60% pop to $12.80 and our short calls are $15 so they are never going to get paid.  Short puts are in the money but they can be rolled so no worries.  

    • TSLA – Wrong on both ends so far.  TSLA fell 60% in the last crash – I want to be there when it happens next so we roll the 3 Jan $850 puts at $124 to the $950 puts at $174 for net $50 on the $100 roll up and we'll sell 2 more for good luck since it's a good hedge that would pay $350 at $600 for about a $100,000 profit on the set – that's our new hedge for the week then.

    • UNG – It's a hedge on our hedges, something that will make money in a bullish market.  Not so far but may as well do the right thing and buy 50 more 2022 $8 calls for $3.70 – just in case there's a hurricane that shuts more production than the production that's being shut now due to low demand for oil (sometimes same wells).  

  15. Phil,  You mentioned that you would think about a new CMG play, but you were too tired during the webinar.  The stock is crazy-high and the market is toppy, how would you construct a new play at these levels? Thanks.

  16. malsg

    That guy did not have any clue what he was doing after you read that story.  

  17. Phil,/Politics

    Jajaja…hopefully I will have a personal discussion with you if you organize again one of that Las Vegas Meetings you had before, I will debrief some themes then with you, in the meantime, you are still one of my TWO favorite advisors.

  18. Phil,

    WP Carey announced a secondary (4.75 million common with gross proceeds expected of $332.5 million = anticipated price of $70; with underwriter's 30 day option to purchase 712, 500 addl shares, no date given).

    Stock has been down slightly past two days. WPC tends to increase # shares each year for past few years. I have some short July 50 puts. Not real concerned but would like your sense of what to expect with the upcoming dilution (<4% of total outstanding) – my first rodeo.




    Facebook Removes Trump Campaign Posts, Ads for Violating Policy Against Organized Hate

    Facebook took down Trump campaign ads for violating its policy against organized hate. The ads contained a symbol Nazis used to identify political prisoners.;

  20. RE: Robinhood trader suicide -  they are rife with violations on approval to trade options. Guys at work with ZERO experience trading equities are getting approval for trading options on margin, even approved to short naked calls. And they are trading with the same mentality as gambling junkies. Mostly they are getting their accounts wiped out buying deep OTM calls, but to hit -$730,000. I mean wow, I just wish I had been on the other side of that trade.

  21. What would be a good new TQQQ hedge? 

  22. That's another reason to close out the portfolios, these reviews are exhausting!  

    Closing/DC – Yep, just starting the review process and off to a very slow start since I'm doing huge reading at this inflection point.

    Bennett/Advill – And who's over at Fox making sure they are presenting a balanced opinion?  Don't act all offended when the other side learns how to fight on a level playing field.

    IMAX/Batman – That's what I thought.  

    China/Batman – Yep, lots of hedges.  

    Furious/Batman – Too busy in denial…

    Robin Hood/Malsg – That's terrible.  How do they let unqualified people trade like that anyway?

    CMG/John – It's doing too well so I left it along but the concept is fine as is.  The 2022 put does not change much in value but the 2021 put gets crushed – that's the idea.  Then you sell puts and calls inside for income but 2x covered by the spread to the downside (which is what we think will happen).  

    Boy was I tired yesterday – good now….

    Anyway, so CMG ridiculous at $1,034 so I want to:

    • Sell 4 CMG Jan $1,200 calls for $67.50 ($27,000) 
    • Buy (to cover) 4 CMG 2022 $1,300 calls for $110 ($44,000) 
    • Sell 2 CMG July $1,100 calls for $20 ($4,000) 
    • Sell 2 CMG July $950 puts for $16.50 ($3,300) 

    So it's net $9,700 and you sold $7,300 in premium in the first 30 days out of 582 you have to sell.  This requires abstract thinking as the 2022 $1,500 calls are $60 so, what you really have is the 2022 $1,200/1,500 spread (because you can always roll the short Jan $1,200s there) 2x covering the short July $1,100s (rollable) and the short puts will also offset a move higher and, if CMG goes lower, the Jan $700 puts are $20 and so are the 2022 $450 puts.  

    Vegas/Advill – I wish!  I love doing those things.  

    WPC/8800 – I have no problem with companies selling small amounts of stock to raise capital instead of borrowing.  WPC HAD good growth but slowed down in Rev growth and profits around $300M for a $12Bn valuation is 40x earnings so THAT is what bothers me about them, not that they are raising some capital while the stock price is high.   

    Oh that Trump, Batman, what a scamp!  

    Donald Trump's history with alt-right racists - Business Insider

    Wow Dawg, that's COLD!  

    TQQQ/Dawg – I like the July $85 ($5.50)/$75 ($3) bear put spread at $2.50 so that pays $10 (+300%) if we crash.  Sept $105 ($21.50)/80 ($10.25) bear put spread at $11.25 pays $25 but then you could short the July $75 puts for $3 and you are on the road to paying for the hedge but you've got to keep stops on 1/3 of the short puts at $4 and 1/3 at $6 and the last 1/3 you can roll out and that would raise your net back to about $14 but still and OK hedge.  

    Wow time flies – I have to try to finish up some portfolios tonight.

    Blah kind of day for the market…

  23. Facebook removal

    Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) Tweeted:
    It’s also used by some antifa and far-left groups who have appropriated symbol, which is what the ads were referencing. Facebook, WaPo et al ignore this context to drive a particularly dishonest narrative about Trump campaign using it in support of Nazism.

    just to be clear…..

  24. At the risk of sounding like a Robinhood Newb, I never knew that SPY has nearly daily expirations. Yesterday I was not wearing a contact and bought some 6/17’s, thinking it was this months- 6/19.I was wondering why my broker was sending me messages that I had options expiring ! 

    These might be a fun lotto type play. I rolled them to tomorrow’s expiration. I’m in a dollar spread for a quarter now.

  25. Randers/SPY

    They are fun, but move like nuts. I trade them often as a surrogate for futures plays, its much easier to walk away from them as the risk is defined. 

  26. Phil:  Thank you for working up a trade on CMG.  I appreciate it.

  27. Randers, I don't want to be reading about you next, be careful!  angel

    Florida 3,000 infections today, doubling from Monday's rate – and I'm going out for dinner…

  28. Not only denying science but using their power to hurt people who choose to believe science:

    Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) is threatening to withhold federal COVID-19 relief funds from counties that require people to wear masks while inside government buildings and courthouses.

  29. Wow, new levels of insanity….

  30. 3,135 rejected yet again.  Isn't the 5% Rule amazing?

    You know I look at Laffer and he's made an entire career about talking about one, single thing that's not even accurate.  Maybe we should just promote the 5% Rule as a simple solution for the timing the markets and that's all I'll do from now on – just a book about the rule, then talk shows, TV, politics….  

    Damn, I forgot – I hate all of those things….