Trump attacks ‘very fake’ New York Times for tax law piece

President Trump on Monday attacked The New York Times as “very fake” for publishing an article pointing out most Americans will likely receive a tax cut under his 2017 law, even though a majority say they will not.

Speaking at a Tax Day event in Minnesota, Trump held up a printed copy of the Times article and voiced his displeasure with the headline “Face It: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut.”

“In other words, they’re really pretty upset. You can tell where they’re coming from, come on,” the president said.

Noting the article pointed out a large majority of Americans are expected to receive cuts, something that is positive for him, Trump said “they must have made a mistake. I’m sure these writers will be fired very shortly.”

Trump continued to tout the effects of his tax law but later added that “nothing good comes from The New York Times,” drawing applause from an audience of supporters inside a trucking and equipment facility outside Minneapolis.

The White House staged Monday’s event in order to promote the tax law, which is Trump’s biggest legislative accomplishment and something he plans to tout during his 2020 reelection race.  

Multiple polls show that most Americans believe they are not benefiting from the law, which could limit its effect as a political asset next year. The Times article pointed out the disparity between popular opinion about the law and its actual effects.

“To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained – and misleading – effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase,” it says.

The president has routinely attacked his hometown paper, even though he has sat for multiple interviews with its reporters during his time in office.

His latest remarks came the same afternoon it was announced that the Times had won a Pulitzer Prize for its long-form article investigating Trump’s finances, which said the Trump family has been dodging taxes for years.

[The Hill]

Trump Says He’s Giving Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom After ‘His Incredible Success & Comeback’

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that he plans to give Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — in recognition of his “incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE.”

On Sunday Woods, 43, won the Masters Tournament for the fifth time, a surprising reversal of what had been a years-long slide for the country’s most famous golfer.

He walked off the course to an ecstatic response from assembled fans and his friends and family, including his two young children.

“It’s hard to comprehend right now. I mean, honestly, it’s only been a few hours out of winning the tournament,” Woods told CNN later Sunday. “I’m still trying to enjoy it and figure out that I actually won it.”

“I know I have the green jacket on but it’s just, it’s still, I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to sink in,” he added, referring to the iconic jacket awarded to the Masters winner each year.

In his Monday tweet, President Trump said he and Woods had spoken after the Masters win and Trump congratulated him on his “great victory.” The two have been friendly over the years and golfed together earlier this year.

Last summer, Woods said he and Trump have known each other “a number of years.”

“He’s the President of the United States,” Woods said. “You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is customarily awarded to a range of figures including artists, business leaders, philanthropists and politicians. Last year Trump awarded medals to, among others, Sen. Orrin Hatch and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Woods was a trailblazing figure in golf in the ’90s and well into the ’00s where he racked up major win after major win. But the revelation that a series of women said they had affairs with him while he was married to Elin Nordegren seriously damaged his image, and a series of back problems and surgeries imperiled his athletic performance.

In 2017 he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Florida and subsequently pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

His Masters win on Sunday bumped him from No. 12 in the world rankings to No. 6, according to Golf.com. In December 2017, in the wake of his guilty plea and various surgeries, he was ranked No. 1,999.

[Yahoo]

Reality

Tiger Woods works with Donald Trump, is a member of Mar-a-Lago which Trump still owns, and was golfing with Trump a few days before the Masters.

Trump hotels exempted from ban on foreign payments under new stance

The Department of Justice has adopted a narrow interpretation of a law meant to bar foreign interests from corrupting federal officials, giving Saudi Arabia, China and other countries leeway to curry favor with Donald Trump via deals with his hotels, condos, trademarks and golf courses, legal and national security experts say.

The so-called foreign emoluments clause was intended to curb presidents and other government officials from accepting gifts and benefits from foreign governments unless Congress consents.

But in a forthcoming article in the Indiana Law Journal, the Washington University Law professor Kathleen Clark reveals justice department filings have recently changed tack. The new interpretation, Clark says, is contained in justice filings responding to recent lawsuits lodged by attorneys generals and members of Congress.

Clark’s article notes that in more than 50 legal opinions over some 150 years justice department lawyers have interpreted the clause in a way that barred any foreign payments or gifts except for ones Congress approved. But filings by the department since June 2017 reveal a new interpretation that “… would permit the president – and all federal officials – to accept unlimited amounts of money from foreign governments, as long as the money comes through commercial transactions with an entity owned by the federal official,” the professor writes.

The justice department stance now closely parallels arguments made in a January 2017 position paper by Trump Organization lawyer Sheri Dillon and several of her law partners. On 11 January 2017, just days before he was sworn in, Dillon said Trump isn’t accepting any payments in his “official capacity” as president, as the income is only related to his private business. “Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office,” Dillon said.

That goes against what many experts believe.

“For over a hundred years, the justice department has strictly interpreted the constitution’s anti-corruption emoluments clause to prohibit federal officials from accepting anything of value from foreign governments, absent congressional consent,” Clark told the Guardian.

“In 2017, the department reversed course, adopting arguments nearly identical to those put forward by Trump’s private sector lawyers. Instead of defending the republic against foreign influence, the department is defending Trump’s ability to receive money from foreign governments,” Clark added.

A justice department spokesperson declined to comment, but pointed to its filings in the emoluments lawsuits which Clark has noted contain five arguments similar to those used by Trump’s business lawyers. Among the key justice arguments is that the foreign emoluments clause only was intended to prohibit the president accepting gifts and employment compensation from a foreign government, but allows him to benefit from what it calls “commercial transactions”.

Other legal scholars also voice strong qualms about the justice department’s current position on emoluments and criticize the administration’s lax attitude about conflicts involving Trump and his business empire.

“The heart of the matter is that these are clauses meant to guard against undue foreign influence and conflicts of interest,” John Mikhail, a professor at Georgetown Law Center, said.

Two attorneys general from the District of Columbia and Maryland have filed lawsuits arguing the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where numerous foreign and state delegations have stayed or hosted events, has violated the anti corruption clauses. Some 200 members of Congress have also filed a lawsuit alleging that Trump has conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries.

The inspector general at the General Services Administration, which oversees the government-owned Old Post Office building leased by the Trump International Hotel, has faulted the agency for “improperly ignoring (the) emoluments clauses” and for conflicts of interest involving the hotel while Trump is in office.

Former intelligence officials also expressed concerns. “There’s a perception among lobbyists for foreign governments that the White House is for sale,” said Robert Baer, a 21 year CIA veteran with a Middle East background. “It’s a counter intelligence nightmare.”

The Trump Organization did pledge that while Trump was president it would donate any profits from foreign entities to the treasury. To that end it has written checks for $342,000 to the government covering the years 2017 and 2018. But some ethics watchdogs have questioned the methodology for calculating these payments, arguing it doesn’t account for foreign revenues to Trump businesses which overall have had yearly losses.

Further critics note that while Trump opted to let his two sons run his real estate businesses, and pledged he would not be involved with it as long as he was president, he has not been shy about publicly touting his properties including his Scottish golf course. Advertisement

A chief focus of critics and the emolument lawsuits has been the Trump International Hotel which has become a mini mecca for numerous foreign delegations – including ones from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey and the Philippines – who have used it for overnight stays and various meetings.

The hotel is leased from the GSA for 60 years and located on Pennsylvania Avenue just a few blocks from the White House. The IG’s report this January said the lease should have been reviewed again with Trump’s election to determine if it was in violation of the emoluments clause.

Critics of Trump’s ongoing ties to the Trump International and his business empire also note that some countries with major political and business problems in Washington have frequented his properties. “It appears that President Trump may be benefiting from foreign use of his properties designed to influence his decisions,” said the former Republican congressman Mickey Edwards.

For instance, a 60-person Malaysian government delegation stayed at Trump International in the fall of 2017 at a time when the justice department was conducting a major corruption investigation of Malaysian officials including the then prime minister, Najib Razak, who had a White House meeting with Trump during their stay, as first reported by radio station WAMU and Reveal.

Meanwhile, lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, which has aggressively courted Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, spent at least $270,000 at his DC hotel after Trump won the election, booking 500 rooms over an estimated three-month period, according to a Washington Post report.

Last March, a Saudi delegation traveling with the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seemed to enjoy a lavish stay at Trump’s New York hotel, which helped to reverse a two-year revenue decline at the property, according to the Washington Post.

These foreign dealings with Trump hotels are exhibit A for many critics of the weak kneed enforcement of the emoluments clause in the Trump era.

“This administration gives off every appearance of turning the White House into a giant cash register,” said Mikhail. “ Rather than drawing bright lines between the Trump Organization and the Trump administration they seem intent on blurring those lines.”

The lawsuits have to wend their way through the courts – which could see tough battles given mixed court rulings thus far. But critics in Congress and outside are raising more questions about emoluments and Trump’s business conflicts as new issues keep arising.

“Congress now must conduct independent oversight so the American people can determine for themselves whether the President is acting in our nation’s best interests or his own,” said congressman Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House committee on oversight and reform.

Mike Carpenter, who served on the National Security Council in the Obama years, added: “When foreign powers patronize the president’s businesses it creates an enormous national security risk.”

[The Guardian]

Trump Claims ‘USA has the Absolute Legal Right’ to Send Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

President Donald Trump tweeted out on Saturday night that “the USA has the absolute legal right” to send migrants to sanctuary cities.

“Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s tweet comes just following a segment on Fox News where his deputy Press Secretary defended the plan.

Speaking with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro on Saturday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley praised Trump’s proposal.

He claimed, though, that the actual transport hasn’t started yet because Trump is still considering all of his options and they are still working on the legality of the issue.

In defense of Trump’s proposal, Gidley said this:

“They are telling us you cannot keep family units who come here illegally and unlawfully at the southern border. You can’t keep them at detention facilities. You can’t deport them. The only thing you can do is as an administration is release them into American communities…So, the president said listen, there are sanctuary cities out there where Democrats have said we welcome any and all whether they criminals, whether they are here illegally, seeking asylum, regardless. Anybody who disagrees with us is racist. So the president said fine, I’ve got a great idea. We’d love to work with you guys to figure out exactly the best way to transport these people were here illegally and unlawfully and into your communities and your districts and your states.”

Gidley then added that not a single Democrat has signed up for the plan.

Pirro next asked when all this was going to start.

“He’s looking at any and all options right now,” Gidley said, referring to Trump. “We’re going through the process, reviewing everything we can do lawfully.”

Pirro then asked if it had started already.

“Not yet, we’re trying to figure out if we can do that Legally,” Gidley replied.

A few minutes later, Trump tweeted out that the “USA has the absolute legal right” to what he wants and send migrants to sanctuary cities.

[Mediaite]

Trump threatens to send ‘gang members’ and ‘human traffickers’ to sanctuary cities in latest immigration meltdown

President Donald Trump again threatened to send asylum seekers to sanctuary cities.

“Democrats must change the immigration laws fast,” Trump demanded, despite nothing being done during the two years of his presidency that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

Trump then branded immigrants as “criminals of all shapes.”

“If not, sanctuary cities must immediately act to take care of the illegal immigrants – and this includes gang members, drug dealers, human traffickers, and criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds,” Trump continued.

“Change the laws now,” he demanded.

[Raw Story]

Trump Bashes NY Times for Making Him Look Bad: ‘In 6 Years They Will Be Gone’

Back from his round of golf with Tiger Woods, President Donald Trumptook to Twitter on Saturday evening to bash the New York Times for being corrupt after running a story about sanctuary cities.

“The New York Times Sanctuary Cities/Immigration story today was knowingly wrong on almost every fact. They never call to check for truth. Their sources often don’t even exist, a fraud. They will lie & cheat anyway possible to make me look bad. In 6 years they will be gone,” Trump wrote.

He also insisted that the paper had to beg subscribers for forgiveness after botching coverage of the 2016 election.

“When I won the Election in 2016, the @nytimes had to beg their fleeing subscribers for forgiveness in that they covered the Election (and me) so badly,” Trump wrote. “They didn’t have a clue, it was pathetic. They even apologized to me. But now they are even worse, really corrupt reporting!”

Trump, by the way, doesn’t exactly have his facts right. The New York Timesactually reported that they had a “Trump bump” as a result of the election.

Here is the report from November 2018 (emphasis mine):

More than three million paid digital-only subscribers. More than four million total.

The New York Times Company announced on Thursday that it surpassed those milestones during the third quarter of 2018, when the number of its digital subscribers showed a net increase of roughly 203,000.

That was the highest gain in digital subscribers in a quarter since the so-called Trump bump in the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 after the presidential election.

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump posts video of IIhan Omar with footage of NYC 9/11 attack

President Donald Trump posted a video criticizing freshmen Rep. Ilhan Omar, using footage of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 to denounce her recent comments about the attacks. 

The video was criticized by Democrats, who accused the president of using out-of-context comments and video of one of America’s most horrific and devastating terrorist attacks  to slam a political foe. 

The 43-second video, which Trump pinned to the top of his Twitter account, is set to dramatic music and shows the Twin Towers burning, New Yorkers covered in debris and the aftermath of the 2001 attack at the Pentagon. It is coupled with footage of Omar’s recent comments, referencing the attacks as, “something” done by “some people.” 

Omar has been heavily criticized by conservatives for the remarks, including by members of Congress and a Fox News host who questioned her allegiance to the United States. 

Democrats have argued the comments were taken out-of-context and Omar was attempting to differentiate terrorists from all Muslims. 

Trump’s video shows Omar’s comments repetitively then switches to a black screen with the words “some people did something?” The video then shows the moment one of the jetliners crashed into one of the towers and people running in fear as the buildings collapsed.

The video ends with the words “September 11, 2001. We remember” stretched across the screen. 

Democrats accused the president of jeopardizing Omar’s life with the post, arguing the content was geared to incite Trump followers. A New York man was arrested last week after allegedly threatening to kill Omar, one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress, by putting a “bullet in her (expletive) skull.”

Fellow freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has also been a target of Trump and other Republicans, called on fellow lawmakers to denounce the president and his attack on Omar. 

“Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today,” she wrote on Twitter. “@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out.”

Along with the call to fellow lawmakers, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., posted a photo of a display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The photo showed a quote at the museum from a theologian who was imprisoned during Adolf Hitler’s rule in Germany. 

[USA Today]

Trump told CBP head he’d pardon him if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law

During President Donald Trump’s visit to the border at Calexico, California, a week ago, where he told border agents to block asylum seekers from entering the US contrary to US law, the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon, senior administration officials tell CNN.

Two officials briefed on the exchange say the President told McAleenan, since named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants,” as one of the officials paraphrased.

It was not clear if the comment was a joke; the official was not given any further context on the exchange.The White House referred CNN to the Department of Homeland Security. A DHS spokesman told CNN, “

At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”

[CNN]

Trump Says He Is Considering Releasing Migrants in ‘Sanctuary Cities’

President Trump said on Friday that his administration was “strongly” considering releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities,” suggesting that the idea should make liberals “very happy” because of their immigration policies.

“We are looking at the possibility, strongly looking at it to be honest with you,” he said on Friday in response to a question about the proposal.

“We might as well do what they always say they want,” Mr. Trump said if Democrats do not agree to new immigration policies. “We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it,” he said, adding that California welcomed the idea of more people coming to the state.

“We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply,” he said.

The comments came a day after the administration said the policy proposal was never seriously considered. But after the president’s Twitter posts on Friday, a White House spokesman said Democrats should work with the administration to welcome migrants into their districts.

“Democrats say we must have open borders and that illegal immigrants have a right to be in this country at all costs,” the spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said, adding, “so they should be working with the administration to find the best ways to transport those illegal aliens that are already set for release, into communities in their districts and states.”

Democratic lawmakers do not want “open borders,” as the president has suggested. They favor improving border security, but they do not support many of Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration policy proposals, such as building a wall along the southwestern border.

Last year, Trump administration officials had floated the idea of transporting migrants to sanctuary cities, which do not strictly adhere to federal immigration laws, as a way to address the influx of migrants crossing the border with Mexico.

One of the highest-profile sanctuary cities is San Francisco, home to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the president’s top political rivals and a thorn in his efforts to change American immigration laws. The White House raised the proposal again in February, suggesting it could punish Democrats for rejecting budget requests for border security.

Ms. Pelosi’s office condemned the Trump administration for the idea, which the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday was ultimately rejected.

But Mr. Trump’s tweets on Friday indicated it was not off the table, and the president appeared to revel in the Democratic outrage, saying, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, a state with several sanctuary cities, criticized the president’s proposal.

“Trump’s plan to release migrants into ‘enemy’ cities as if they are some kind of contagion is reprehensible,” Mr. Markey tweeted. “Trump is obsessed with the border and sanctuary cities because he only wins by dividing people.”

There has been an influx of migrant families crossing the southern border into the United States, exceeding the staffing and resources available for immigration enforcement. And with a shortage of space in shelters and detention centers, immigration officials have been releasing migrants into the country as they wait to appear before an immigration court. Those courts are so backlogged with cases that it can be months or years before the migrants are called to appear before a judge.

[The New York Times]

Trump in 2016: ‘I love WikiLeaks,’ Trump now: ‘I know nothing about WikiLeaks’

President Donald Trump, when asked if he still “loves” WikiLeaks as he said in 2016, told reporters in the Oval Office that he knows “nothing about WikiLeaks.””

I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing and I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange. I’ve been seeing what’s happened with Assange,” Trump told reporters while meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, referring to the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.Assange was arrested Thursday morning in London after Ecuador revoked his diplomatic asylum claim. He has been charged with helping the former Army intelligence specialist Chelsea Manning access Defense Department computers in 2010 in an effort to disclose secret government documents, the US Justice Department announced Thursday morning, hours after Assange was forcibly removed by authorities from the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

Trump on Thursday repeatedly denied knowledge about WikiLeaks and Assange. But, in fact, Trump has a history of supporting WikiLeaks, saying at one rally in 2016: “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.”During the campaign, Trump routinely applauded WikiLeaks for its role in disseminating the contents of internal communications stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. He even publicly encouraged the Russians “to find the 30,000 emails (from Hillary Clinton’s server) that are missing.”Still, Trump said Thursday he knows “nothing” about Assange or WikiLeaks.”

I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing and I know there is something having to do with Julian Assange,” he said. “I’ve been seeing what’s happened with Assange, and that will be a determination. I would imagine mostly by the attorney general, who is doing an excellent job. So he’ll be making a determination. I know nothing really about him. That’s not my deal in life.””

I don’t really have an opinion,” Trump asked when reporters continued to ask questions.

[CNN]

Reality

Donald Trump praised WikiLeaks 141 times in the one month before the 2016 election.

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