Trump: Tech companies, not Russia, trying to ‘rig the election’

President Donald Trump today suggested tech giants like Google and Twitter are the greatest threat to the integrity of the 2020 presidential election — and said anti-conservative bias among the companies had a greater impact in 2016 than Russian meddling.

“Let me tell you, they’re trying to rig the election,” Trump said in a phone interview on Fox Business. “That’s what we should be looking at, not that witch hunt, the phony witch hunt.”

Charging Google with being “totally biased” in favor of Democrats and fomenting “hatred for the Republicans,” Trump downplayed Russia’s 2016 social media manipulation: “You know, they talk about Russia because they had some bloggers—and by the way, those bloggers, some of them were going both ways. They were for Clinton and for Trump.”

Lawmakers, academics and U.S. intelligence officials are in broad agreement that Russia mounted a vast online disinformation campaign ahead of the 2016 election with the aim of inflaming American political and social tensions, supporting Trump’s candidacy and depressing Democratic voter turnout.

Trump’s comments reiterated claims that he and other prominent Republicans have made alleging that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are biased against conservatives and deliberately stifle their accounts and content. The companies flatly deny these allegations.

His criticisms came immediately after an extended broadside against Twitter for allegedly blocking people from following his account on the site, a claim the president has made repeatedly without evidence.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A Google spokesperson said, “We build our products with extraordinary care and safeguards to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without any regard for political viewpoint,” noting the company’s publicly available criteria for determining the quality of search results.

[Politico]

Trump threatened Time magazine reporter with prison time

President Trump reportedly appeared to threaten a Time magazine reporter with prison time after a photographer tried to take a picture of a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Time reports.

During an interview with the publication in the Oval Office on Monday, Trump asked the reporters to go off the record while he showed them the letter he received from Kim.

According to the interview transcript, the photographer appeared to try and snap a photo of the document, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it wasn’t allowed.

Later on in the interview, the publication asked Trump about former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who testified that the president, “under threat of prison time,” told him to direct former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian election interference.

“Excuse me,” Trump said. “Under Section II — well, you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter I gave you … confidentially, I didn’t give it to you to take photographs of it.

“So don’t play that game with me,” Trump said.

“I’m sorry, Mr. President,” the reporter responded. “Were you threatening me with prison time?”

“Well, I told you the following. I told you you can look at this off-the-record. That doesn’t mean you take out your camera and start taking pictures of it. O.K.?” Trump said. “So I hope you don’t have a picture of it.”

“You can’t do that stuff,” he continued. “So go have fun with your story. Because I’m sure it will be the 28th horrible story I have in Time magazine. … With all I’ve done and the success I’ve had, the way that Time magazine writes is absolutely incredible.”

[The Hill]

Trump Afraid to Say He Doesn’t Trust Kim Jong Un Because ‘It Would Be Very Insulting To Him’

President Donald Trump said that even if he no longer trusted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, he would not say so because “it would be very insulting to him,” but thankfully for Kim’s feelings, Trump went on to say that he does still trust Kim.

In yet another telling exchange during his series of interviews with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump closely guarded the relationship he has cultivated with the dictator whom Trump says he has fallen “in love” with.

During a sit-down in the Rose Garden, Stephanopoulos asked Trump about his blunt declaration, one year ago, that “there’s no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

“But there is a nuclear threat today, isn’t there?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Well, it could change,” Trump replied. “I would say not much. There’s been no testing, no anything. But it could change.”

North Korea conducted two short-range missile tests within the space of a week in early May, which Trump would acknowledge during the interview.

“But they have stockpiles,” Stephanopoulos interrupted. A recent study estimated that North Korea possesses a stockpile of up to 30 nuclear warheads.

In an exchange that was edited from the broadcast of the interview, but included in the transcript, Trump then offered to show Stephanopoulos a letter he had received from Kim, and praised the dictator as “tough” and “smart.”

“I will actually show you the letter,” Trump said. “But– I’d show it to you a little bit off the record. But it was– a very nice letter. But I’ve received many very nice letters. And he’s a very tough guy. He’s a very smart person. He doesn’t treat a lot of people very well, but he’s been treating me well. Now, at some point that may change. And then I’ll have to change, too. But right now, we have a very good, you know, relationship. We have a really very strong relationship.”

“So you still trust him?” Stephanopoulos asked, a question which was included in the broadcast.

“Well, look, I, I don’t, I — first of all, if I didn’t, I couldn’t tell you that,” Trump said, adding “It would be very insulting to him.”

“But the answer is, yeah, I believe that he would like to do something,” Trump continued. “I believe he respects me. It doesn’t mean it’s going to get done. This has been going on for many, many decades with the family. But I get along with him really well, I think I understand him, and I think he understands me.”

Asked if he still believes Kim is building nuclear weapons, Trump replied: “I don’t know. I hope not. He promised me he wouldn’t be. He promised we– me he wouldn’t be testing.”

And in another portion that was edited from the broadcast, Trump said, “I think he’d like to meet again. And I think he likes me a lot. And I think– you know, I think that we have a chance to do something.”

Trump has gone out of his way to praise Kim Jong Un, and recently shared his love of heckling former Vice President Joe Biden with the dictator.

[Mediaite]

Trump Snaps at April Ryan Over Future Meeting With Putin: ‘You People are So Untrusting’

President Donald Trump went off on White House reporter April Ryan on Wednesday as he took questions from journalists in the Oval Office.

As Trump sat beside Polish President Andrzej Duda, he was asked about how Russia has denied a recent statement of his that they are supposedly withdrawing military forces from Venezuela.

“Well, let’s just see who’s right,” Trump said. “You’ll see in the end whose right okay? You just watch it. And we’ll see who’s right. Ultimately, I’m always right.”

After that, Ryan got in a question about who Trump expects to meet with at the upcoming G20 summit. When she tried to follow up by asking if he’ll be flanked by national security officials when he meets Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the president responded: “Well it’s probably easier because you people are so untrusting so it’s probably better.”

“Would you like to be in the room? I can imagine you would be,” Trump continued with visible agitation. “I think it’s probably easier if we have people in the room because you people don’t trust anything.”

[Mediaite]

Trump praises Kim Jong Un, saying he received a ‘beautiful’ letter from him

Washington is seeking to rebuild momentum in stalled talks with Pyongyang, aimed at getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Trump and Kim last met early this year in Hanoi but failed to reach a denuclearization agreement.

Trump hailed what he called a “beautiful” letter he received from Kim. “I think that something will happen that’s going to be very positive,” he said, while giving no details.

Trump, who has described previous correspondence from Kim as “beautiful letters,” said the most recent one was a “very warm, very nice letter.” He repeated that he believes North Korea has “tremendous potential.”

After exchanging insults and war-like rhetoric with Kim early in his presidency, Trump in the past year has repeatedly praised him. They have held two summits as Trump tries to convert what he feels is a warm personal relationship into a diplomatic breakthrough.

North Korean state media called on the United States earlier on Tuesday to “withdraw its hostile policy” toward Pyongyang or agreements made at their first summit in Singapore might become “a blank sheet of paper”.

Trump, speaking a day before the one-year anniversary of their landmark Singapore summit, did not rule out another meeting with Kim. He is due to travel to Japan and South Korea later this month.

Trump said Kim had thus far kept his promises not to test long-range ballistic missiles or conduct underground nuclear tests.

“He’s kept his word to me. That’s very important,” said Trump.

In May, North Korea conducted a “strike drill” for multiple launchers, firing tactical guided weapons in a military drill supervised by Kim.

Trump said at the time that those launches did not pose a problem in his eyes, although his advisers called them a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions

[Reuters]

Trump says Kim has ‘kept his word’ hours after Bolton said he hasn’t

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has “kept his word” when it comes to nuclear and missile testing, contradicting his own national security adviser, John Bolton, who just hours earlier had accused Pyongyang of failing to follow through on its commitments.

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump said he had received a warm letter from Kim before again downplaying North Korea’s latest test of a short-range ballistic missile — a move Bolton and acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan have said violated UN resolutions.

“He kept his word. There’s no nuclear testing. There’s no large, there’s no long-range missiles going up. The only things he’s set up were very short term, short range. That was just a test of short range. It’s a whole different deal, but he’s kept his word to me. That’s very important,” the President said.

Earlier Tuesday, Bolton had told the Wall Street Journal at a speaking event in Washington that North Korea is not complying with the terms agreed upon during Trump’s first summit with Kim, in Singapore last year.

“What they’ve said was that they’re not going to test ballistic missiles, intercontinental range ballistic missiles, or have nuclear tests. That’s continued. They’re doing a lot of other things that still indicate that they have not made a strategic decision to give up the pursuit of deliverable weapons, which is why we continue the maximum pressure campaign,” Bolton said.

In May, Bolton said that “there is no doubt” the tests violated the UN resolutions, something Shanahan has also said publicly.

But that conclusion is at odds with Trump’s own assertions.

“My people think it could have been a violation,” Trump said in May. “I view it differently.”

The President added that he thinks Kim could be a man “who wants to get attention,” but said there are no nuclear tests or long-range missiles being fired, something he again pointed out Tuesday.

Trump claims remains ‘keep coming back’

Trump also claimed Tuesday that the remains of US soldiers in North Korea “keep coming back,” despite the US Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency telling CNN in May that the effort was suspended due to a lack of communication from North Korean officials following the second summit between the two leaders, in Hanoi, Vietnam, earlier this year.

“We have a very good relationship together,” Trump said of Kim. “Now I can confirm it because of the letter I got yesterday, and I think something will happen that’s going to be very positive. But in the meantime, we have our hostages back, the remains keep coming back, we have a relationship.”

The return of American remains was part of the US-North Korea agreement reached during Kim and Trump’s Singapore summit.

Following the summit, North Korea handed over 55 cases of presumed remains of US service members killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

“DPRK officials have not communicated with DPAA since the Hanoi summit,” Chuck Prichard, a spokesman for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said in May.

“As a result, our efforts to communicate with the Korean People’s Army regarding the possible resumption of joint recovery operations for 2019 has been suspended,” he added.

‘I wouldn’t let that happen’

Trump would not confirm reports that Kim Jong Un’s half brother was a CIA asset Tuesday but said he would tell Kim that “would not happen under my auspice.”

“I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half brother and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspice, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices,” he said when asked about details published by the Wall Street Journal.

The CIA operative claims are also described in a book by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield published on Tuesday. “The Great Successor,” about Kim Jong Un, details meetings between Kim Jong Nam and his handlers in the two countries. The CIA has declined to comment to CNN.

When asked if the CIA was wrong to use Kim’s half-brother as an asset if it did indeed do so, Trump said: “I don’t know anything about that. I know this, that the relationship is such that that wouldn’t happen under my auspices, but I don’t know about that. Nobody knows.”

[CNN]

Trump promises not to use Kim Jong Un’s family members as CIA assets

President Donald Trump promised Tuesday not to use Kim Jong Un’s family members as intelligence assets, and reassured the North Korean dictator of his commitment to detente.

A report released Monday showed Kim’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, met with Central Intelligence Agency contacts in Malaysia back in 2017 shortly before he was assassinated.

A Wall Street Journal story entitled “North Korean Leader’s Slain Half Brother Was A CIA Source” claims a “person knowledgeable about the matter” confirmed he was feeding intelligence to American officials.

Trump referred to his current relationship with Kim during an exchange with reporters outside Marine One Tuesday, saying he believes the two still have a strong relationship.

“I just received a beautiful letter from Kim Jong Un,” he said.

Speaking to the press pool, Trump said, “I think the relationship is very well, but I appreciated the letter. I saw the information about the CIA with regard to his brother or half brother, and I would tell him that would not happen under my auspices. I wouldn’t let that happen under my auspices.”

Kim Jong Nam was murdered in February of 2017 when two women smudged his face with VX nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

In March, the Malaysian attorney general dropped the murder charge against Siti Aisyah, following high-level lobbying from Jakarta and Doan Thi Huong was released in May.

The two women have also been accused of conspiring with four North Koreans who prosecutors said have left the country, AP reported.

[Fox News]

Trump claims he was ‘sticking up for’ Biden with ‘low IQ’ comment

President Trump on Tuesday offered what appeared to be a tongue-in-cheek defense of his criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden while traveling in Japan, which triggered bipartisan blowback against the president.

“I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil. Kim Jong Un called him a ‘low IQ idiot,’ and many other things, whereas I related the quote of Chairman Kim as a much softer “low IQ individual.’ Who could possibly be upset with that?” the president tweeted. 

Trump appeared to be responding to Biden’s presidential campaign, which earlier Tuesday blasted the president for agreeing with the North Korean leader’s criticism of his potential 2020 White House rival as having a “low IQ.”

Biden campaign official Kate Bedingfield called Trump’s attacks “beneath the dignity of the office” and said “to be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former vice president speaks for itself.”

Trump has repeatedly hammered Biden as the former vice president has solidified his position at the top of the Democratic presidential primary field. But Trump’s latest comments drew pointed criticism because he made them while overseas, his latest violation of the norm that domestic politics stop at the water’s edge.

“Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” Trump said during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump first stated his agreement with Kim’s attack on Biden in a Saturday tweet in which he brushed aside North Korea’s short-range missile test that was condemned by the U.S. and its allies.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump tweeted.

[The Hill]

Trump plays down North Korea’s missile test, putting him at odds with Abe

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday he doesn’t view North Korea’s short range missile tests as disturbing, a view deeply at odds with his Japanese hosts and in conflict with statements made a day earlier by his national security adviser.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

This is a major blow ahead of his meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which are set to begin in a few hours.

The Japanese government has said North Korea’s recent test of short range missiles violated UN resolutions — a determination that national security adviser John Bolton agreed with in Tokyo on Saturday during a briefing with reporters before Trump arrived in Japan.

In his tweet, Trump went on to say he smiled when North Korea called former Vice President Joe Biden a low IQ individual.

“I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan (sic) a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?”

[CNN]

Trump breaks with Bolton and Abe on North Korea’s missile tests

Earlier this month, North Korea conducted two tests of short-range ballistic missiles, ending an 18-month break in provocations. Many analysts viewed the tests as (literal) warning shots to Trump that Pyongyang is very, very unhappy that months of nuclear talks have produced few tangible results.

The two tests prompted Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton to tell reporters in Tokyo on Saturday that there was “no doubt” North Korea violated United Nations resolutions barring such launches, effectively making the case that they were a severe provocation.

But Trump, who has spent months trying to strike a nuclear deal with Kim, brushed those concerns aside.

“My people think it could have been a violation, as you know. I view it differently,” Trump said, with Bolton sitting only a few feet away during the joint press conference with Abe. “There have been no ballistic missiles going out,” he continued, going against even the Pentagon’s assessment. “There have been no long-range missiles going out. And I think that someday we’ll have a deal. I’m not in a rush.”

The Japanese prime minister had a different take, though. “North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile. This is violating the Security Council resolution,” Abe said. “So my reaction is, as I said earlier on, it is of great regret,” he continued, making sure still to give credit to Trump for engaging diplomatically with Kim.

That moment was, to put it mildly, troubling.

Japan, a staunch US ally, is the country that is among the most directly threatened by North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile programs. North Korea views Japan, its former colonizer, as a mortal enemy, and many of the missiles the country tests land near — or even fly directly over — Japan (although the last two tests didn’t threaten Japan at all).

At a time like this, the US president would normally stand firmly alongside the Japanese prime minister and state unequivocally that North Korea should stop conducting tests of weapons that could kill thousands of Japanese people. Instead, Trump’s avid desire for a deal with Kim led to a massive break in Washington and Tokyo’s position on a top national security issue for both capitals.

Put together, Monday’s press conference was an unmitigated disaster for Trump. It would be an extraordinary event if it weren’t already so ordinary.

[Vox]

Reality

Remember Trump said North Korea promised him no more missile launches, after their 2018 summit.


Trump sides with Kim Jong Un over Joe Biden in Japan

President Donald Trump seems to have a new ally in his 2020 reelection fight: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. More shocking, though, is that Trump appears fine with it — and is siding with the brutal dictator over a fellow American.

Last week, the state-run Korean Central News Agency published a scathing article targeting top Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden. Among other insults, the commentary called the former vice president “a fool of low IQ” and listed off a series of embarrassing moments in his life — like the time Biden fell asleep during a 2011 speech by then-President Barack Obama, or how in 1987 he admitted to plagiarizing in school.

Trump seemed delighted by the KCNA hit piece, tweeting Sunday that he had “confidence” Kim had “smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse.”

And asked about his tweet during a press conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo* the next day, Trump reiterated his stance. “Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” the president told reporters.

Just stop for a second and think about that: The president of the United States endorsed a foreign government’s nasty insults of America’s former vice president — and did so while standing next to the leader of a top American ally.

That’s appalling behavior from the president. There’s an unwritten rule that Americans — and especially high-level American politicians — are supposed to leave domestic politics at the water’s edge when they travel abroad. That means you don’t talk badly about your political opponents overseas, but instead show a united front as a representative of the United States.

Not only did Trump violate that very basic principle, he did so gleefully — and sided with a murderous, repressive dictator while he was at it.

Even some of Trump’s allies in Congress, like Rep. Pete King (R-NY), were appalled by Trump’s behavior.

Some experts, however, aren’t too shocked by Trump’s remarks. “This is Trump being Trump, using anything he can to strike his political enemies,” Harry Kazianis, a North Korea expert at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, told me.

Still, it shows that Trump has a penchant for siding with dictators when it most suits him — even at the expense of Americans and US allies.

[Vox]

1 2 3 4 5 19