Trump using Scotland visit to promote his golf course — which is losing millions

President Donald Trump is running an “informercial” for his struggling Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Financial records show that the president’s Trump Turnberry resort has lost money since the New York City real estate mogul purchased the golf course in 2014.

“In fact, the Turnberry operation has lost tens of millions of pounds since he purchased it, filings in Britain show: about £17 million in 2016, the last year for which such comprehensive records are available,” the Times reported. “For 2017, Mr. Trump’s government ethics filing discloses only how much revenue the course generated — $20.4 million — not whether it had earned a profit.”

The commander-in-chief also cited his investment in claiming that Brexit would be good for his struggling business.

“When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly,” Trump publicly concluded.

Ethics watchdogs worry about Trump mixing private business during his public trip to Scotland.

Eisen, the chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) blasted Trump hyping his struggling business during his taxpayer-funded trip.

“Through this trip to Turnberry,” Mr. Eisen said, “the president is forcing his foreign hosts and the United States to spend enormous amounts of money so that he can get free advertising for his resort.”

“He’s the master of earned media,” Eisen noted. “It’s an important part of the way he won the presidency, and that’s what he’s doing here.”

As Trump arrived in Scotland, demonstrators mobilized to protest his visit.

The BBC reported that a power paraglider was flying lose to Trump Turnberry with a banner reading, “Trump: Well below par.”

[Mediaite]

Trump fires back at criticism of Putin press conference

President Trump on Monday sought to quell criticism that he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the U.S. intelligence community during a joint press conference earlier in the day.

In a tweet sent from Air Force One, Trump reiterated confidence in American intelligence officials, hours after he refused to say if he believes the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people,'” Trump tweeted while flying back to Washington, D.C.

“However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!” he added.

The tweet came amid broad backlash from media analysts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle regarding Trump’s remarks in Helsinki. But he stopped short of saying whether he thinks Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

During the press conference with Putin, Trump was asked whether he believes his own intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered, or Putin’s denials.

“My people came to me… they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, he said.

“But I have confidence in both parties,” he added.

The summit came three days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian nationals for their alleged roles in hacking the Democratic National Committee.

Putin said Monday that Trump raised the issue of election interference during their one-on-one meeting earlier in the day, but Trump did not press Putin or condemn the election meddling during the televised press conference.

Trump declared before the summit started that U.S. “foolishness” and special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe were to blame for souring relations between the two countries.

During the press conference, he said he did not collude with Russia in the election. Trump also recounted his victory over Hillary Clinton and called Mueller’s investigation both “ridiculous” and a source of tension between the two countries.

Democrats called Trump’s performance “pathetic” and “disgraceful.”

On the Republican side, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Trump “must appreciate that Russia is not our ally,” while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called the press conference “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

[The Hill]

Reality

Trump also used the term “my intelligence,” instead of the United States intelligence, just like “my generals” and “my military,” showing a pattern of his belief they work for him and not for the good of the country.

Trump sides with Russia against FBI at Helsinki summit

After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote.

Mr Putin reiterated that Russia had never interfered in US affairs.

The two men held nearly two hours of closed-door talks in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday.

At a news conference after the summit, President Trump was asked if he believed his own intelligence agencies or the Russian president when it came to the allegations of meddling in the elections.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it should be,” he replied.

US intelligence agencies concluded in 2016 that Russia was behind an effort to tip the scale of the US election against Hillary Clinton, with a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media.

Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr Trump had sent the Kremlin a message of US “weakness”.

He tweeted: “Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.”

Fellow Republican Senator Jeff Flake – a staunch critic of President Trump – called his words “shameful”.

Some US politicians had called for the summit to be cancelled after 12 Russian military intelligence agents were indicted last week by US special counsel Robert Mueller, accused of hacking the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Speaking on Monday, President Putin offered to allow US investigators to visit Russia to question the officers.

He made it clear that, in return, Russia would want similar access to people in the US it suspects of criminal activity.

President Trump said Mr Putin had been “extremely strong and powerful in his denial” of any election meddling.

[BBC]

Trump’s Turnberry getaway: A little golf, a lot of promoting

President Donald Trump did not let the pressure of his high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin stand in the way of his typical Saturday routine: Tweeting followed by golf on a Trump-branded course.

“The weather is beautiful, and this place is incredible!” Trump tweeted Saturday morning, promoting his own money-losing property in Turnberry.

Trump did not plug his business from the official government account of the President of the United States, which he does not use. Instead, he gave the property a boost from his personal account, from behind the walls of his private club.

To ethics experts who criticized the president’s use of his office to promote his business, the account he uses marks a distinction without a difference. But it was the latest sign of Trump bending the presidency to fit the old lifestyle he misses — even down to sticking with his own account — rather than being shaped by the demands of the office he occupies.

During the course of his trip, Trump has conducted himself more like his pre-presidential self than ever before, while traveling. In England, he turned to the familiar pages of a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid to mouth off about a world leader — before his election, Trump’s favorite newspaper to call up and chat with was the New York Post. This time, however, he later tried to walk back his comments criticizing British Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations when he seemed to realize that intervening in the fragile government of an ally was a mistake.

At a black tie dinner on Wednesday night at Blenheim Palace, he made sure that the dinner included some familiar faces from home, among the Brits — including Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, a longtime Mar-a-Lago member and Trump friend, Wall Street billionaire Stephen Schwarzman and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.

Later, he mugged for his press secretary by taking a seat in Winston Churchill’s chair while meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers, a casual photo that gave the impression of a Churchill-loving tourist, rather than a visiting head of state.

But his turn at Turnberry has been long planned, aides said. Over the past 18 months in office, associates said, he has often talked about scheduling a visit here to check on his properties.

Trump loves his Scottish clubs, friends said, and typically visited them about once a year in his old life as a private citizen with a mouthy Twitter account. Friends said he has an emotional connection to the clubs here, and often mentions his mother, who was born in Scotland, when he brings up the Trump links at Turnberry and Aberdeen.

Ahead of his trip abroad, he told associates that he was eager to hang out in Scotland and check in on his properties, noting he was frustrated he had gone too long without a visit. (He lasted visited Turnberry as a presidential candidate in 2016.)

One former adviser noted that the Scotland and England portions of the trip were meant to entice Trump to even attend the NATO Summit in Brussels, which he approached with dread, like a dessert he earned after eating his vegetables.We

At home, Trump spends most of his time away from the White House at his own properties: Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach during the winter; the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster during the summer; and the Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia, or the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., on the weekends he stays put.

His two-day break in Scotland, some downtime between from international meetings, however, marked the first time he has spent a weekend at one of his own properties while traveling abroad as president.

On Saturday morning, he tweeted that he was going to be busy with “meetings and calls” at the club, noting that he would squeeze in golf if he had the time. But just like at home, “meetings and calls” appeared to mean more time on the course. Shortly after his tweet, he was spotted playing golf with his son Eric Trump, whose “Trump” branded plane had been waiting on the tarmac when Air Force One landed here on Friday night.

[Politico]

Trump Blames ‘U.S. Foolishness’ for Poor Relations With Russia

In the lead-up to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday claiming U.S.-Russia relations have “NEVER been worse,” blaming the U.S. for damaging the bilateral relationship.

Amid an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Trump blamed “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity” and what he called a “Rigged Witch Hunt” for worsening ties between the two countries.

Trump is due to meet one-on-one with Putin and interpreters in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, on Monday.

The meeting follows a tense NATO Summit last week, at which Trump antagonized U.S. allies by suggesting that other NATO countries weren’t contributing enough to defense spending.

The Justice Department announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents Friday for hacking the Democratic National Committee, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and state election systems, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

[TIME]

Trump: Strzok’s testimony ‘a disgrace to our country’

President Trump in an interview broadcast Sunday called the testimony of FBI agent Peter Strzok “a disgrace to our country.”

“I watched some of the testimony, even though I’m in Europe, of Strzok. And I thought it was a disgrace to our country. I thought it was an absolute disgrace,” Trump told CBS News.

“Where he wants to do things against me before I was even, I guess before I was even the candidate. It was a disgrace. And then he lied about it,” Trump added. “And you know, talking about shutting it down and ‘we, we.’ And he says ‘oh I meant the American people’ all of a sudden you know, he came up with excuses.”

Strzok’s hearing last Thursday quickly devolved into rancorous partisan bickering after he declined to answer questions about special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.

Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, exchanged text messages critical of Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Mueller removed Strzok from the investigation when the messages came to light, but Republicans have zeroed in on him as key to uncovering what they allege was systemic FBI bias against Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats, meanwhile, have cast the effort as a politically driven charade.

The controversial FBI agent was also an investigator in the probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s private email server.

“He was a disgrace to the FBI,” Trump told CBS News. “So when I look at things like that and he led that investigation or whatever you call it. I would say that yeah, I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries.”

[The Hill]

Theresa May: Trump told me to sue the EU

Donald Trump told Theresa May she should sue the EU rather than negotiate over Brexit, she has told the BBC.

The US president said on Friday at a joint news conference he had given Mrs May a suggestion – but she had found it too “brutal”.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr what it was he said, she replied: “He told me I should sue the EU – not go into negotiations.”

It came as another government member resigned over her Brexit plans.

Robert Courts said he quit as a Parliamentary Private Secretary – an unpaid Parliamentary aide – at the foreign office to “express discontent” with Mrs May’s policy before key Brexit votes on Monday.

“I had to think who I wanted to see in the mirror for the rest of my life,” he said in tweet.

He could not tell his constituents he supported Mrs May’s proposals “in their current form,” he added.

Mr Courts replaced David Cameron as the Conservative MP for Witney, Oxfordshire in 2016.

[BBC]

“I think the European Union is a foe,” Trump says ahead of Putin meeting in Helsinki

Coming off a contentious NATO summit and a trip to the U.K. in which he seemed to undercut the government of America’s closest ally, President Trump took aim at another Western institution just days before his high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — when asked to identify his “biggest foe globally right now.”

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive,” Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland.

“I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills,” he added.

On Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC that Mr. Trump had encouraged her to “sue the EU” rather than negotiate over the U.K.’s departure from the bloc. May’s conservative government is deeply split over her handling of Brexit, and her hold on power was further weakened by Mr. Trump’s comments to a British tabloid that her approach had likely “killed” any chance of a new trade deal with the U.S. once Brexit is complete. (Mr. Trump tried to walk back his criticism in a joint press conference on Friday.)

At the summit of NATO allies in Brussels last week, Mr. Trump took a hard line toward member nations for failing to meet targeted defense spending goals. He claimed his tough stance had paid off in getting allies to spend more on defense, telling reporters on Thursday that members had “upped their commitments and I am very happy.”

The president kicked off the NATO summit by blasting Germany as “totally controlled” and “captive by Russia” over a natural gas pipeline project, known as the Nord Stream 2. The U.S. fears the deal could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. In Saturday’s interview, the president reiterated the criticisms he made in Brussels.

“Germany made a pipeline deal with Russia. Where they’re going to be paying Russia billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that’s not good, that’s not fair. You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you’re, you know, guarding against. I think it’s ridiculous, so I let that be known also this time,” Mr. Trump told Glor. “I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars. There’s a lot of anger. I also think it’s a very bad thing for Germany. Because it’s like, what, are they waving a white flag?”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters after the president’s comments in Brussels that she had “experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union” and said her country today made “independent policies” and “independent decisions.

In the CBS News interview, Mr. Trump also continued to criticize the special counsel’s Russia investigation, saying it is having an impact on America’s standing in the world. “I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that’s going on in the United States,” the president said. “I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on.”

Mr. Trump heads to Helsinki on Sunday ahead of his meeting with Putin on Monday. He told Glor he has “low expectations” for the summit. “Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” he said.

[CBS News]

Trump Declares ‘Much of Our News Media is Indeed the Enemy of the People’

President Donald Trump went after the media again this afternoon and once again used that “enemy of the people” line.

[Mediaite]

Trump on Whether He’ll Ask Putin to Extradite Indicted Russians: ‘I Might, I Hadn’t Thought of That’

President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Jeff Glor and previewed his big summit with Vladimir Putin.

And given the indictments handed down Friday against 12 Russian officers for hacking the Clinton campaign and the DNC, there have been many calls for Trump to call off the summit. Senator John McCain said it shouldn’t happen if Trump’s “not prepared to hold Putin accountable.”

Trump told Glor he believes in meetings, saying having meetings with Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Xi Jinping are good.

Of the Putin summit in particular, the President said, “Nothing bad’s going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out. But I go in with low expectations, I’m not going in with high expectations. I don’t really––I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can tell you what I’ll be asking for and we’ll see if something comes of it.”

[Mediaite]

Media

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