Trump blasts Bill Maher for ‘so many lies’ after El Paso visit

President Trump called comedian Bill Maher a “wacko” Saturday and accused him of lying in remarks he made about the president’s trip to visit mass shooting victims in El Paso, Texas, earlier this week.

“Got to see, by accident, wacko comedian Bill Maher’s show – So many lies. He said patients in El Paso hospital didn’t want to meet with me,” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon. “Wrong! Had really great meetings with numerous patients.”

“Said I was on vacation. Wrong! Long planned fix up of W.H., stay here rather than cause big disruption by going to Manhattan,” he continued. “Working almost all of the time, including evenings. Don’t have to be in W.H. to do that…And sooo many other false statements. He is right about one thing, though. I will win again in 2020. Otherwise, he pays 95% in taxes!”

Trump’s remarks came after Maher took aim at the president during his opening monologue for his network show on HBO the night before.

During the program, Maher said “none of the eight patients in the El Paso hospital would agree to meet with Trump, isn’t that something?” 

“They were, they were all asked would you like to meet the president they all said, ‘I’ll Paso,’ ” Maher joked.

Maher was referring to a recent report from The Washington Post, in which a spokesperson for the University Medical Center in El Paso said that none of the eight patients being treated for injuries from the recent mass shooting agreed to meet with Trump during his visit Wednesday.

“This is a very sensitive time in their lives. Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president, some of them didn’t want any visitors,” UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke told the newspaper at the time.

Later during his comedic routine on Friday night, Maher also claimed that the president would be off soon for a “well-earned two-week vacation,” which he jokingly added will be “different from working, how?”

“They want you to know president will be available at all times if there is an emergency that needs to be made worse,” he also jabbed.

Maher appeared to be referring to a recent report from The Associated Press that said the president would be leaving for his yearly August vacation to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for about 10 days starting Friday.

Maher responded to Trump’s comments later on Saturday over Twitter.

[The Hill]

Reality

El Paso UMC officials say none of the eight victims being treated there agreed to meet with Trump, per @BobMooreNews scoop. Two victims already discharged were brought back to the hospital to see Trump.

Trump snarls at NYT’s reporter for exposing his hospital visits as a ‘debacle’ in a Twitter meltdown

Donald Trump is already taking time out from his vacation to rage on Twitter, this time launching an assault on the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman who revealed on CNN on Friday that White House aides consider his trip to see victims of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso a “debacle” that was hidden from the public.

Kicking off Saturday morning’s usual flurry of tweets, the president raged, “Maggie Haberman of the Failing @nytimes reported that I was annoyed by the lack of cameras inside the hospitals in Dayton & El Paso, when in fact I was the one who stated, very strongly, that I didn’t want the Fake News inside & told my people NOT to let them in. Fake reporting!”

[Raw Story]

After ‘beautiful letter’and more N.K. launches, Trump says he’ll meet with Kim again

President Donald Trump on Friday praised a “beautiful letter” from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

Hours later, the regime launched further projectiles as a warning against joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

On Saturday, Trump slammed the “ridiculous and expensive” joint exercises in a tweet, indicating he’ll meet with Kim “in the not too distant future.” 

Trump wrote Saturday: “In a letter to me sent by Kim Jong Un, he stated, very nicely, that he would like to meet and start negotiations as soon as the joint U.S./South Korea joint exercise are over. It was a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises. It was….. …also a small apology for testing the short range missiles, and that this testing would stop when the exercises end. I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future! A nuclear free North Korea will lead to one of the most successful countries in the world!”

“I think we’ll have another meeting,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Friday. “He really wrote a beautiful three-page — I mean right from top to bottom — a really beautiful letter. And maybe I’ll release the results of the letter, but it was very positive.” 

North Korea had five rounds of weapons demonstrations in the past two weeks — including another launch of two projectiles Saturday local time, according to South Korea. 

Trump had dismissed the previous tests, saying they were just for short-range missiles. He added that Kim wrote in the “very personal letter” that he is not happy with the U.S.-South Korea joint exercises. 

“He wasn’t happy with the tests, the war games. The war games on the other side with the United States. And as you know, I’ve never liked it either,” Trump said. “I don’t like paying for it. We should be reimbursed for it, and I’ve told that to South Korea.” 

The missiles North Korea previously tested are able to strike U.S. allies South Korea and Japan as well as U.S. military bases there. But the president said on Friday that Kim sees a “great future” for North Korea, “so we’ll see how it all works out.” 

He pivoted to say the U.S. has routinely been taken advantage of by foreign countries, including its allies “in many cases more than anybody else.” Earlier, he told reporters he hopes South Korea and Japan — which have been locked in an economic feud even during North Korea’s weapons demonstrations — would “start getting along.” 

“You know, they are supposed to be allies. And it puts us in a very difficult position. South Korea and Japan are fighting all the time,” Trump said.

[Politico]

White House proposal would have FCC and FTC police alleged social media censorship

A draft executive order from the White House could put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of shaping how Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and other large tech companies curate what appears on their websites, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

The draft order, a summary of which was obtained by CNN, calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.

If put into effect, the order would reflect a significant escalation by President Trump in his frequent attacks against social media companies over an alleged but unproven systemic bias against conservatives by technology platforms. And it could lead to a significant reinterpretation of a law that, its authors have insisted, was meant to give tech companies broad freedom to handle content as they see fit.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment on the draft order, but referred CNN to Trump’s remarks at a recent meeting with right-wing social media activists. During the meeting, Trump vowed to “explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech.”

According to the summary seen by CNN, the draft executive order currently carries the title “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship.” It claims that the White House has received more than 15,000 anecdotal complaints of social media platforms censoring American political discourse, the summary indicates. The Trump administration, in the draft order, will offer to share the complaints it’s received with the FTC.

In May, the White House launched a website inviting consumers to report complaints of alleged partisan bias by social media companies.

The FTC will also be asked to open a public complaint docket, according to the summary, and to work with the FCC to develop a report investigating how tech companies curate their platforms and whether they do so in neutral ways. Companies whose monthly user base accounts for one-eighth of the U.S. population or more could find themselves facing scrutiny, the summary said, including but not limited to Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.

The Trump administration’s proposal seeks to significantly narrow the protections afforded to companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Under the current law, internet companies are not liable for most of the content that their users or other third parties post on their platforms. Tech platforms also qualify for broad legal immunity when they take down objectionable content, at least when they are acting “in good faith.” From the start, the legislation has been interpreted to give tech companies the benefit of the doubt.

In a Senate floor speech last year, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the authors of Section 230, said his aim with the legislation was to make sure “that internet companies could moderate their websites without getting clobbered by lawsuits.”

“Imagine how hard it would be to launch a platform that’s open to discussion of any topic when even the simplest, most narrowly-focused website on the internet can become a magnet for lawsuits,” Wyden said.

By comparison, according to the summary,the White House draft order asks the FCC to restrict the government’s view of the good-faith provision. Under the draft proposal, the FCC will be asked to find that social media sites do not qualify for the good-faith immunity if they remove or suppress content without notifying the user who posted the material, or if the decision is proven to be evidence of anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive practices.

Yet in its current form, the draft order could lead to significant questions about the role the FCC and FTC can play when it comes to interpreting and enforcing Section 230, an area they have previouslyleft largely unaddressed. The effort to draft the order has been ongoing for some time, the people said, and the proposal remains subject to change.

“It makes no sense to involve the FCC here,” said Berin Szoka, president of the libertarian-leaning think tank TechFreedom. “They have rule-making authority, but no jurisdiction — they can’t possibly want to be involved. It would be an impossible position.”

The FTC and FCC both declined to comment.

The attempt to write the order comes as the White House on Friday prepared to meet with a number of tech companies to discuss their approaches to detecting and responding to violent extremism.

The midday meeting is expected to involve five-minute presentations from the companies on their respective policies and projects, according to copies of an invitation obtained by CNN. The presentations will be followed by a group discussion on technology and the companies’ roles in fighting “signals of violence … while respecting free speech.”

Some people close to the tech industry expressed frustration that the White House seemed to be trying to have it both ways — excoriating tech companies for allegedly censoring conservative speech, a claim the platforms vigorously dispute, while castigating them for failing to block enough violent or hateful content.

“The internal inconsistency of this is outrageous,” one of them said.

[CNN]

White Supremacists Responsible for All Race-Based Domestic Terrorism Incidents in 2018 – DOJ Blocked Report

The Trump administration has known since at least April that alleged white supremacists were responsible for every single act of race-based domestic terrorism in the U.S. in 2018, yet not only took no action to combat the growing right wing violent extremism, but actually substantially reduced or even eliminated funding and programsthat combat white supremacist extremism, violence, and terrorism – and then blocked the data from reaching the hands of Congress.

“Domestic Terrorism in 2018,” a document (embedded below) prepared by the State of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, “shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists,” Yahoo News’ Jana Winter and Hunter Walker report.

That document finds there were “32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018.”

The report was “circulated” throughout the U.S. Dept. of Justice “and around the country in April just as members of the Senate pushed the DOJ to provide them with precise information about the number of white supremacists involved in domestic terrorism.”

The Justice Department, under President Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General Bill Barr, refused to hand over the data or the document to Congress.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in January of 2019 had already compiled a report, announcing that, “Right-Wing Extremism Linked to Every 2018 Extremist Murder in the U.S., ADL Finds.”

ADL reported that “Right-wing extremists were linked to at least 50 extremist-related murders in the United States in 2018, making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995, according to new data from the ADL.”

1995 was the year domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, slaughtering 168 people and injuring more than 680 others.

“The tally represents a 35 percent increase from the 37 extremist-related murders in 2017,” ADL reported, “making 2018 the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970. Last year saw the highest percentage of right-wing extremist-related killings since 2012, the last year when all documented killings were by right-wing extremists.”

Why the Dept. of Justice and the White House blocked the data from reaching Congress is now yet another investigation Congress should take up.

Here’s the document the DOJ refused to hand over to Members of the House and Senate:

[New Civil Rights Movement]

Trump Rages at Former Biographer For Pointing Out He Is a Racist

President Trump lashed out at MSNBC and CNN, saying the networks invite guests to appear “as experts on ‘Trump’ ” that “have no idea what I am all about,” The Hill reports.

Tweeted Trump: “Just watched a world class loser, Tim O’Brien, who I haven’t seen or spoken to in many years, & knows NOTHING about me except that he wrote a failed hit piece book about me 15 years ago. Fired like a dog from other jobs? Saw him on Lyin’ Brian Williams Trump Slam Show. Bad TV.”

He added: “I am so amazed that MSNBC & CNN can keep putting on, over and over again, people that have no idea what I am all about, and yet they speak as experts on “Trump.’”

[Political Wire]

Reality

O’Brien was on MSNBC the next evening and explained it was his discussion on Trump and his racism that set him off.

“Tim O’Brien wrote a very successful book that included a dismantling of Donald Trump’s claim he was a billionaire and Donald Trump lost his liable suit against Tim O’Brien about that book,” O’Donnell noted.

“Tim, congratulations. It’s been years since he attacked you,” said O’Donnell, who has also been attacked by Trump.

“Four years,” O’Brien replied.

“That means he really, really hates you when he doesn’t attack you for years because he hates giving you and attention but you tripped him last night.

“We talked about racism — and that set him off,” O’Brien suggested.

“That will do it,” O’Donnell replied. “Let’s see if you can get him going tonight.”

Trump lashes out at Fox News’s Shep Smith, says ‘fake news CNN is better’

President Trump on Wednesday renewed his criticism of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, arguing that “Fake News CNN is better” and saying that he now tunes in to the conservative news outlet One America News Network whenever he gets the chance.

“Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted on a day when he visited first responders and survivors of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “Actually, whenever possible, I turn to [One America News Network]!”

It was not immediately clear what Trump’s tweet — which came during Smith’s daily program and while Trump was aboard Air Force One to El Paso — was referencing. 

Trump earlier Wednesday visited Dayton to meet with those impacted by a mass shooting over the weekend that left nine people dead. 

Smith acknowledged Trump’s tweet during his show Wednesday, saying, “Good afternoon, Mr. President. It’s nice to have you with us.”

The Hill has reached out to Fox News for comment.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the media during his presidency, often referring to it as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” But he has consistently praised Fox News and network hosts such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. He has taken a different view of Smith, though. 

In March, the president derided Smith as the “lowest rated anchor,” saying that he should be working at CNN. 

Smith has consistently taken a critical view of Trump during his two-plus years in the White House. Among other things, he fact-checked Trump’s prime-time address on border security in January during his daily news program. 

Last month, he described Trump’s attacks on a group of minority congresswomen as a “misleading and xenophobic eruption of distraction and division.”

Trump has recently shown a greater willingness to condemn Fox News over what he views as unfair coverage. After the network aired a “F— Trump” chant from a bar in France in July, Trump claimed that Fox News was “changing fast” and forgetting “the people who got them there.”

He lashed out at the network again just weeks later after one of its polls showed him losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2020 presidential matchup. 

“Fox News is at it again,” he tweeted. “So different from what they used to be.”

[The Hill]

Trump Rage-Tweets at Biden Speech Condemning Him for ‘Fanning the Flames of White Supremacy’: ‘Sooo Boring!’

After visiting victims in Dayton and en route to visiting victims in El Paso, President Donald Trump trashed Joe Biden on Twitter as the networks covered the former veep’s speech denouncing the president.

Biden said that POTUS has “fanned the flames of white supremacy” and that no one was fooled by his “low-energy” condemnation this tweet.

Trump tweeted in response by insulting “Sleepy Joe” and remarking, “Sooo Boring!”

He also got in a dig at the media, saying, “The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them.”

[Mediaite]

Trump blames news media for causing ‘anger and rage’ in wake of domestic terror attack

Donald Trump has blamed what he called “Fake News” for stoking “anger and rage” in the wake of two gun attacks that killed a total of 29 people, one of which is being treated as a case of domestic terrorism.

In a tweet on Monday morning, the president said the media had a responsibility to safeguard “life and safety” in the United States. 

“Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years,” he wrote. 

“News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”

The tweet came at the end of a string of angry missives about the El Pasoand Dayton mass shootings over the weekend, which saw 29 people shot dead in less than 24 hours. 

Earlier, Mr Trump had thrown his support behind tougher background checks for buying guns, but then insisted any legislation was tied to immigration reform. 

There is no obvious connection between the two shootings and immigration reform. The suspect in El Paso, Patrick Crusius, is believed to be a white nationalist and police are treating the attack as an act of domestic terrorism.

Now, the president has turned his ire on the familiar foe of the media and appeared to accuse journalists of being partly to blame for the epidemic of gun violence which blights America. 

Speaking to reporters just before boarding Air Force One, Mr Trump had offered his condolences to the families of those killed in Dayton and El Paso. 

“We love the people,” he added. “Hate has no place in our country.”

However, earlier Democrats had accused Mr Trump of “sowing seeds of hate” and said he, not the media, was responsible for the wave of right-wing terrorist attacks in recent years.

Cory Booker, a Democratic senator and presidential candidate, told NBC: “You reap what you sow, and he is sowing seeds of hate in this country.

“This harvest of hate violence we’re seeing right now lies at his feet. He is responsible.”

Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked the media since he was elected, condemning almost any critical coverage of his divisive presidency as “fake news”. 

Although the business mogul’s linking of the press with the two shootings appears to simply continue this trend, he is not the first person to connect journalism and gun violence. 

There is some evidence the media’s coverage of mass shootings can lead to a wave of copycat attacks. 

One study from last year by Australian researchers concluded there were spikes in the numbers of shootings in America after a high profile incident is given wall-to-wall exposure on rolling TV news. 

In total, the study suggested 58 per cent of all shootings in the three year sample they examined could be linked to coverage of previous tragedies. 

[The Independent]

Trump Abruptly Drops John Ratcliffe As DNI Nominee Amid Political Headwinds

President Trump abruptly dropped his intention to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to serve as director of national intelligence on Friday.

Coolness from Senate Republicans and reports in the press about past overstatements about Ratcliffe’s record appear to have prompted the White House to calculate that it was wiser to cut bait now than try to press ahead against those headwinds.

Trump wrote on Twitter that Ratcliffe had been treated “unfairly” in media coverage and that he’d told the congressman it might be easier to just stay in the House.

Trump also wrote that he would announce another nominee to become director of national intelligence “shortly.”

The position is to become vacant with the resignation of Dan Coats, with whom Trump never developed a rapport.

Tensions between the president and the intelligence community also appear to have worsened over the Ratcliffe episode, as people in the spy world made clear via the newspaper coverage how unqualified they believed he is and how unwelcome he would be atop the sprawling alphabet soup of domestic and foreign spy agencies.

The feeling is clearly mutual: The New York Times reported on Friday that Trump has at least once barred Coats’ deputy, Sue Gordon, from the Oval Office and that the White House might attempt to stop her from serving as the interim DNI during the interregnum after Coats’ departure.

Gordon is an intelligence community lifer with some three decades of experience and has served as the day-to-day, hands-on manager. Her supporters faulted what appeared to be a scheme to deny her at least an interim role in the top job, which they argue is owed her by law.

Senate intelligence committee ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., told the Times the idea of denying Gordon was “outrageous.”

As for Ratcliffe, he thanked Trump in a Twitter post following the one Trump used to announce he would no longer be nominated. Ratcliffe also said he would have been a candid and professional director of national intelligence, following worries that he was being installed as a political lackey.

[NPR]

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