Trump Preemptively Threatens Retaliatory Investigations Against Democrats

President Donald Trump will soon be on the receiving end of something he didn’t see much from a Republican-led Congress: orders, backed up by subpoenas, for officials to answer questions on controversial policies like the dispatch of thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Two can play that game!” Trump wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

Now that Democrats have won control of the U.S. House of Representatives, they will be able to force administration officials to testify and provide documents. That will subject Trump’s decision-making — as well as his personal finances and potential conflicts of interest — to deeper public and private examination by key committees, as the national focus shifts to the 2020 presidential election.

[Time]

Trump boasts GOP defied midterm odds, knocks losers who didn’t ’embrace’ him

President Trump on Wednesday took a victory lap after the midterm elections, saying Republicans defied the odds by stopping a so-called “blue wave” of Democrats from taking control of both chambers of Congress.

“There was a big day yesterday. Incredible day,” Trump said during a White House news conference. “The Republican Party defied history to expand our Senate majority while significantly beating expectations in the House.”

Trump suffered a major blow on Tuesday when the GOP lost control of the House, but the president has downplayed that defeat, arguing he feels vindicated by the results in the Senate, where Republicans look like they’ll gain three or four seats.

The president noted that of the 11 candidates he campaigned with during the final week of the race, nine won.

“This vigorous campaigning stopped the blue wave,” he said. “History will really see what a good job we did in the final few weeks.”

Trump blamed GOP losses in the House on the high number of retirements and large fundraising totals for Democrats, as well as negative media coverage that he said “set a new record.”

He also called out several House lawmakers by name, saying their failure to embrace him led to their defeats even though they ran in districts where he is unpopular.

“Too bad Mike,” Trump said of Rep. Mike Coffman (R), who lost in Colorado. The president also appeared delighted that GOP Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Barbara Comstock (Va.) and Mia Love (Utah) were all defeated while distancing themselves from him.

“Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia,” he said.

Taking over the House is a major victory for Democrats, allowing them their first chance to act as a check on Trump. They are expected to carry out aggressive investigations of Trump’s businesses and administration, a dynamic that could pose a real challenge for a president who has not had to worry about a political opponent with power.

But Trump immediately went on the offensive to try to turn the public against the coming onslaught of House oversight probes, painting them as an “investigation fatigue” designed to cause gridlock and stymie his agenda ahead of the 2020 election.

“If that happens, then we’re going to do the same thing and government comes to a halt. And I would blame them,” he said.
Trump appeared to be sending a warning to Democrats that he could use them as a foil, but also dangled the possibility of bipartisan deals on infrastructure and drug pricing.

“It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation,”  Trump said.

[The Hill]

Trump tells black reporter she’s ‘racist’ for asking him to renounce white nationalism

President Donald Trump accused African-American reporter Yamiche Alcindor of asking a “racist” question on Wednesday.

At a White House press conference, the PBS reporter wondered if the president was concerned that he is sending the wrong message by calling himself a “nationalist.”

“Some heard that as emboldening white nationalists,” Alcindor explained. “There are some people that say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric.”

“Why do I have the highest poll numbers ever with African-Americans?” Trump retorted. “My highest poll numbers — that’s such a racist question, honestly. I know you have it written down and you’re going to tell me — that’s a racist question.”

“I love our country, I do,” the president continued. “I don’t mind helping the world but we have to straighten out our country first and our problems.”

Trump added: “But to say what you said is so insulting to me, it’s a very terrible thing you said.”

[Raw Story]

‘Sit down!’ Trump berates CNN’s April Ryan as she tries to question him about voter suppression

In a lengthy press conference Wednesday following a Democratic takeover of the House, President Donald Trump denounced the Mueller investigation as a “disgrace” and shouted at several CNN reporters.

The president’s antipathy towards certain reporters was in full display. He repeatedly shut down CNN’s April Ryan when she tried to ask a question, refusing to cede the microphone to her.

“Will you please sit down?” he shouted at the CNN reporter. Ryan shook her head and took her seat.

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump attacks CNN’s Jim Acosta in angry White House press conference: ‘Just sit down’

Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary tirade against a reporter during a press conference following the midterm elections.

The US president ordered the journalist to put down his microphone and “just sit down”.

The row began following a question about the migrant caravan approaching the US, when Mr Trump was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta if he thought he had “demonised” migrants by calling the group an “invasion”.

“I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better,” the Republican said.

After Mr Acosta attempted to follow up his question with a second on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Mr Trump added, pointing angrily: “That’s enough. That’s enough. That’s enough. Excuse me, that’s enough.”

Mr Trump said he was “not concerned about anything” because the investigation was “a hoax”.

Continuing to berate Mr Acosta, he added: “That’s enough. Put down the mic.”

Mr Acosta was seen to tussle with a female White House aide who was trying to retrieve the microphone.

As the reporter continued to quiz him and interrupt him, Mr Trump became more agitated and stepped away from the podium. Mr Acosta then sat down.

Returning to the podium, Mr Trump said: “I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.

“The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible and the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”

A second reporter, Peter Alexander, was called on by the president and said: “In Jim’s defence I’ve travelled with him a lot, he’s a diligent reporter.”

Mr Trump cut him off, telling the NBC News journalist that “I’m not a big fan of yours either”, prompting laughter in the room.

Mr Acosta continued to try to ask questions without his microphone, causing Mr Trump to tell him: “Just sit down, please. When you report fake news – no – when you report fake news, which CNN does, a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”

Mr Trump appeared to be in a sour mood following the Democrats’ capture of the House of Representatives last night, though he talked up the Republicans’ gain of at least two seats in the Senate.

But he mocked a number of losing Republican candidates who did not campaign for him. “Those are some of the people who decided for their own reason not to embrace – whether it’s me or what we stand for,” he said.

“They did very poorly. I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad but I feel just fine about it.”

Mr Trump clashed with a series of reporters during the testy, 90-minute press conference, as journalists frequently spoke over him and each other when trying to raise their questions.

Asked repeatedly by a Yahoo! News reporter about alleged racist comments – which he strongly denied – Mr Trump said: “Quiet. Quiet. See, when you talk about division [in America], it’s people like this that cause division, great division.

“Point of fact is I never used a racist remark, that’s the point of fact. Who are you from? Yahoo? Oh, good. I hope they’re doing well.”

Mr Trump’s infrequent set-piece press conferences tend to address a huge range of topics as reporters try to press the president on any and all issues. Their rarity increases the pressure on journalists to get answers.

[The Independent]

Fox News Hosts Hannity, Pirro Shill For Trump at Rally: ‘All Those People in the Back are Fake News’

Fox News host Sean Hannity denied that he would campaign on stage during President Donald Trump‘s final rally before the midterm elections, but as it turns out… that’s exactly what happened.

Hannity was billed by the Trump campaign as a “special guest” for the president’s speaking engagement in Missouri, even though he originally insisted that he would only interview the president backstage and host his show from the venue.

A Fox News spokesperson also told Mediaite that “Hannity will only be hosting his show from that location and interviewing the president.”

Hannity mingled with the crowd and hosted his show in front of the rallygoers, before interviewing the president. Eventually, he was summoned to the podium by Trump, where he started by taking aim at media covering the rally.

“All those people in the back are fake news,” Hannity said.

Hannity insisted that he had no idea Trump was going to invite him up, nonetheless, he showered Trump with the praises he had in his opening monologue from earlier in the evening.

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was also at the rally as part of Hannity’s show, so Trump eventually invited her to the stage as well, and she too delivered litany of compliments for the president.

“If you like the America that he is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet, everyone you know…get them out there to vote for Donald Trump and all the people who are running for the Republican Party,” Pirro said.

Interestingly, Fox News did not carry the speech live.

[Mediaite]

Trump on prospect of Dems demanding his tax returns: ‘They can do whatever they want’

President Trump on Monday downplayed the possibility that Democrats could demand his tax returns if they retake control of the House in Tuesday’s elections.

“I don’t care. They can do whatever they want and I can do whatever I want,” Trump said when asked if he was concerned Democrats may go after his tax returns if they win the majority.

Trump spoke to reporters upon arriving in Fort Wayne, Ind., for one of three campaign rallies he was set to hold on Monday. He suggested that a Democratic majority would force the White House to “have to work a little bit differently.”

“It’ll all work out but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Trump said, expressing confidence in Republicans’ chances on Tuesday. “I think we’re doing very well in the House. I think we’re doing very well in the Senate.”

Democrats and critics of the president have suggested that Trump’s tax returns could reveal potential conflicts of interest, and liberal groups have urged Democratic lawmakers to demand the president’s filings should they regain control of the House.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last month that compelling Trump to turn over his tax returns would be “one of the first things we’d do” if Democrats win back the House majority.

Under federal tax law, the chairmen of congressional tax committees can request tax returns from the Treasury Department and review them in a closed session before voting to make all or parts of the returns public.

While Trump may protest such a request, the decision would ultimately fall to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mnuchin told The New York Times earlier this month that he would work with the department’s general counsel and the general counsel for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to address any requests should Democrats win the House.

The president broke with decades of precedent when he opted not to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The White House has repeatedly brushed off questions about releasing Trump’s taxes after the election, claiming the documents were under audit and therefore could not be made public. Financial experts, reporters and lawmakers have noted that the president could still request that they be released.

Calls for Trump to release his returns intensified following a New York Times report that cited records and interviews indicating the president engaged in “dubious” tax practices to shield income from his father’s real estate empire from taxes. Trump and the White House blasted the story, though they did not refute specific claims.

[The Hill]

Trump defends controversial ad, telling reporter ‘your questions are offensive a lot of times’

President Trump on Monday responded to critics calling his controversial anti-immigration ad “offensive” by saying “a lot of things are offensive.”

A reporter asked Trump about the widespread controversy over the ad, which NBC and Fox pulled from the airwaves on Monday.

“I don’t know about it,” Trump said. “We have a lot of ads. And they certainly are effective, based on the numbers that we’re seeing.”

“A lot of things are offensive,” the president told a reporter pressing him over the ad. “Your questions are offensive a lot of times so, you know.”

The ad, paid for by the Trump campaign, links the so-called migrant caravan heading towards the southern border with Luis Bracamontes, a man convicted of killing two U.S. police officers. It accuses Democrats of seeking to bring people like Bracamontes into the U.S., particularly through the caravan.

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave Trump “four Pinocchios” for claiming in the ad that Democrats brought Bracamontes back into the country. A review of court records by the Post reveals his case was handled primarily by Republicans.

CNN over the weekend said the ad is “racist,” saying the network declined the opportunity to be paid to air the ad.

The ad comes as Trump has leaned into immigration as an issue to stoke his base ahead of Tuesday’s elections.

[The Hill]

Trump accuses CNN of ‘Fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric’

President Trump on Monday accused CNN of promoting “fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric” one day before the 2018 midterm elections.

“So funny to see the CNN Fake Suppression Polls and false rhetoric,” Trump tweeted. “Watch for real results Tuesday.”

“Don’t fall for the Suppression Game,” he added. “Go out & VOTE.”

He ended the tweet by touting the country’s impressive economic growth.

Trump’s tweet came hours after a new CNN poll showed Democrats continuing to hold a double-digit lead over Republicans in a generic congressional ballot among likely voters.

The poll also found Trump’s approval rating at 39 percent overall, with a 55 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance. That is the worst pre-election approval rating for any president ahead of their first midterm election, CNN reported.

Other polls indicate slightly higher approval ratings for Trump, with polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight placing him at a 41.9 percent approval rating on Nov. 5.

A Harvard-Harris poll released last week found Trump’s approval rating at 44 percent among registered voters and 46 percent among likely voters.

Thirty-three percent of registered voters in the poll said their midterm election votes will be a signal of support for Trump while 40 percent said it will be a signal of opposition to the president. Twenty-seven percent said they are not voting according to their disposition on Trump.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll in late October found Trump’s approval rating ahead of the midterm elections at a higher level than former President Obama’s ahead of the 2010 midterms.

The poll found Trump’s approval rating at its highest level for that poll yet, at 47 percent. Obama’s approval rating was at 45 percent around the same time in 2010, according to a similar NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken in late October 2010.

The new CNN poll surveyed 1,151 likely voters between Nov. 1-3 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Most polls have Democrats at an advantage on generic congressional ballots and the party is widely expected to win back the House on Tuesday.

[The Hill]

Trump Says He Told U.S. Military at Border to ‘Consider it a Rifle’ if Migrants Throw Rocks

During an address on immigration from the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump took questions from the press.

At one point, in response to a question from a reporter about if he would foresee a situation where the military may fire on the Central American migrants making their way to the border, he said that the United States military will consider a rock held in the hands of migrants the same as a firearm.

“I will tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm,” Trump said. “Because there’s not much difference. When you get hit in the face with a rock, which as you know, that was very violent a few days ago. Very, very violent.”

Then a little while later he doubled down, saying that he considers a rock like a rifle: “They’re throwing rocks, viciously, and violently. You saw that three days ago. Really hurting the military. We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We’re gonna consider, and I told them consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

Just one week ago, in an interview with Fox News, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen downplayed the possibility of the US military opening fire on the migrants, saying, “We do not have any intention right now to shoot at people…They will be apprehended, however.”

[Mediaite]

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