Trump No Longer Thinks Climate Change is a Hoax, Still Not Sure It’s Manmade

During an interview with CBS’s Lesley Stahl on Sunday that aired on 60 Minutes, President Donald Trump backed off his claim that climate change is a hoax but made it clear he was not ready to say it was indeed manmade.

“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” Trump said. “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”

At one point Stahl noted it would be remarkable if all the recent weather emergencies may change his mind.

“You know, I– I was thinking what if he said, ‘No, I’ve seen the hurricane situations, I’ve changed my mind. There really is climate change.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, what an impact,’” Stahl said.

Trump replied: I’m not denying climate change. But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talkin’ about over millions of years. They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael.”

Stahl, who suggested Trump really was denying it, then asked him to pin down when he says, “they say.”

“People say,” Trump replied, before casting doubt on scientists’ agendas.

“You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley,” the president said.

[Mediaite]

Trump On Trade Wars With China, U.S. Allies: ‘We’ve Been the Stupid Country for So Many Years’

During his broad-ranging interview with 60 Minutes, President Trump said America has been a “stupid country” in the past, while also defending his approach to international economics and foreign policy.

Lesley Stahl pressed Trump on his escalating trade wars with China and their retaliation across multiple markets. Trump disputed her “trade war” characterization and that eventually led to a chat on the Trump Administration’s tariffs against American allies.

“I mean, what’s an ally?” Trump said. “We have wonderful relationships with a lot of people. But nobody treats us much worse than the European Union.”

Stahl continued to ask about this “hostile” approach, and whether Trump would consider dissolving the western alliance under NATO.

“We’ve been the stupid country for so many years,” Trump said. “We shouldn’t be paying almost the entire cost of NATO to protect Europe, and then on top of that, they take advantage of us on trade.”

[Mediaite]

Trump on Mocking Christine Ford at Rally: ‘It Doesn’t Matter. We Won’

During an interview on 60 Minutes, CBS’s Lesley Stahl challenged President Donald Trump about his mockery of Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi rally.

“I watched you mimic her and thousands of people were laughing at her,” Stahl said at Trump claimed he was not making fun of her.

“I– I will tell you this. The way now Justice Kavanaugh was treated has become a big factor in the midterms. Have you seen what’s gone on with the polls?”

Stahl then pressed: “Do you think you treated her with respect?”

Trump said he did.

“But you seem to be saying that she lied,” Stahl pressed further.

Trump then tried to change the subject.

“You know what? I’m not gonna get into it because we won,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. We won.”

[Mediaite]

Trump: Robert E. Lee comment was ‘actually a shoutout’ to Grant

President Trump on Sunday accused the media of “purposely” changing the meaning of his comments on Robert E. Lee.

In a tweet, Trump claimed that his comments about the Confederate general were “actually a shoutout” to Ulysses S. Grant.

“NBC News has totally and purposely changed the point and  meaning of my story about General Robert E Lee and General Ulysses Grant,” Trump tweeted. “Was actually a shoutout to warrior Grant and the great state in which he was born. As usual, dishonest reporting. Even mainstream media embarrassed!”

At a campaign rally Friday night, the president said Lee was a “great general,” and spoke at length about Lee, Grant and Abraham Lincoln.

“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the rally.

Later in his monologue, he also said Grant was a “great general,” and that he “knocked the hell out of everyone,” adding multiple times that Grant had a “drinking problem.”

Trump’s “Lee was a great general” comment has drawn widespread backlash, including from a descendant of Lee himself.

[The Hill]

Trump says those who made ‘false statements’ about Kavanaugh ‘should be held liable’

Hours after his Supreme Court pick was sworn in Saturday, President Donald Trump said on Fox News that those who made up “false” stories about Brett Kavanaugh should be penalized.

Trump, talking with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, said he hated watching the slew of sexual assault allegations grow against Kavanaugh and dubbed all the accusations “fabrications” with “not a bit of truth.”

“I think that they should be held liable,” Trump told Pirro. “You can’t go around and whether it’s making up stories or making false statements about such an important position, you can’t do that. You can destroy somebody’s life.”

Pirro started the segment by congratulating the president on Kavanaugh’s swearing-in then asked about the accusations and whether any of those who came forward or promoted “falsehoods” should suffer “consequences.” She specifically asked about allegations brought by Julie Sweatnick, who was represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti.

Swetnick alleges she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and his classmate Mark Judge to get teenage girls “inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang-raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.”

Avenatti has been dueling with the president for months in court representing porn star Stormy Daniels, who alleges an affair with Trump and signed a hush money deal to stay quiet.

[USA Today]

Data for millions of Trump supporters up for rent

Consultants close to President Trump are offering to rent a list with the email addresses and cellphone numbers of millions of his supporters to GOP candidates and conservative groups, according to a report by The New York Times.

The highly prized database is even being made available to businesses, according to the Times.

Trump’s campaign recently signed a contract with Excelsior Strategies, which is based in Virginia, to rent its list at the rate of $35 per 1,000 addresses, according to the Times.

Eighty-five percent of the money earned from the rental will go to the Trump campaign, according to the report.

“Republicans have suffered from being behind in small-dollar fund-raising, and the president, over the course of the campaign and his presidency, has built the largest Republican first-party data list,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told the Times. Parscale is responsible for the agreement, according to the paper.

“So giving other candidates and groups access to that data through a legal means to rent it was one of the best things I could do for the Republican ecosystem. And the campaign makes a little money, too. It’s a win-win,” he added.

The renting of political lists is common practice in politics.

In 2017, the Democratic National Committee agreed to pay $1.65 million to access voter data compiled by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Federal Election Commission requires campaigns that receive such lists pay fair market value for them.

Trump is already gearing up for his reelection race with more than two years remaining in his first term.

As he boarded Marine One, the presidential helicopter, on his way to a political rally in Kentucky on Saturday, Trump told reporters outside the south portico of the White House that he’s getting flashbacks to 2016.

He said 93,000 people applied for the 10,000 spaces available at Saturday evening’s rally.

“There’s something going on,” he told a gaggle of reports. “This reminds me of ’16. It reminds you of ’16, too.”

[The Hill]

Donald Trump Jr. Retweeted A Conspiracy Theory About Missing Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

On Friday, Trump Organization Senior Vice President Donald Trump Jr. retweeted an unverified theory about missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi — a Saudi journalist who has been critical of the government — has not been seen since he went into the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 in Istanbul to obtain marriage paperwork for himself and his Turkish fiancée, according to The New York Times.

CNN reported that authorities in Turkey said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, an accusation the Saudi government called “false” in a Times report.

Trump retweeted an unverified claim that Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, is a sympathizer or friend of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda, according to CNN. The tweet from Patrick Poole — who lists himself as a national security and terrorism correspondent for @PJMedia_com on Twitter — posted photos of a decades-old newspaper piece by Khashoggi about the mujahedeen.

The article was published along with a photo of Khashoggi and men who were identified as members of the extremist group. Another photo Poole shared shows a published photograph of bin Laden and various associates.

“I didn’t realize until yesterday that Jamal Khashoggi was the author of this notorious 1988 Arab News article of him tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam. He’s just a democrat reformer journalist holding a RPG with jihadists,” Poole wrote.

Poole is not the only conservative writer online furthering the theory. Federalist co-founder Sean Davis retweeted Poole with the comment, “Huh. It’s almost like reality is quite different than the evidence-free narratives peddled by media with a long history of cooperating with or getting duped by Iran echo chamber architects.”

Trump Jr. then retweeted Davis’ commentary and by extension, Poole’s original tweet.

President Donald Trump has been reluctant to cut ties with the Saudi government, a key ally to the United States. On Friday, Trump said answers about what happened to Khashoggi after he entered that consulate will be revealed “sooner than people think,” according to CNN.

[Bustle]

Trump suggests support for family separations, after earlier practice caused outcry

President Donald Trump suggested on Saturday that he believes the controversial policy of family separations could continue in the United States and that the practice could dissuade immigrants from entering the country illegally.

Trump’s comments come on the heels of a Friday report in The Washington Post that the White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The newspaper, which cited several administration officials it did not name, reported that one option under consideration would detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days and then give parents a choice of staying in family detention with their child as their immigration cases proceed or allowing children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians could seek custody.

“We’re looking at a lot of different things having to do with illegal immigration,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

“I will say this: If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come,” Trump said.

The practice of separating children from their parents at the border ignited a firestorm of criticism. Under pressure, Trump in June signed an executive order that said he said would end the practice and allow families to be detained together.

At least 2,600 children were separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that called for prosecuting everyone who entered the country illegally. A federal judge ordered families to be reunified, and in September the government reported it had reunified or released 2,251 children.

The policy, in effect from May 6 through June 20, did not put a significant dent in the number of families crossing the border, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Trump has made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his campaign and presidency. On Saturday he insisted he wants workers to come into the country but repeated his refrain that he wants a “merit-based” immigration system and that he opposes the current lottery system.

A bill proposed by Republicans in August would halve the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States while moving to a “merit-based” system of entry. Trump has said he supports that bill.

[NBC News]

Trump administration proposes tough rules on protests

The Trump administration is proposing to overhaul rules for protests in front of the White House and at other iconic locations in Washington, D.C., in an effort that opponents say is aimed at shutting down free speech.

The National Park Service’s (NPS) proposal, for which public comments are due by Monday, would close much of the sidewalk north of the White House to protests, limit the ability for groups to have spontaneous protests without permits in that area and on the National Mall and open the door to potentially charging some demonstrating groups fees and costs for their events.

The plan was released in August with little fanfare. But civil rights groups have been sounding alarm bells in recent days as the comment period comes to a close.

In making the proposal, the NPS cites its mandate to protect land, saying that it wants to “provide greater clarity to the public about how and where demonstrations and special events may be conducted in a manner that protects and preserves the cultural and historic integrity of these areas.”

But opponents see a connection to President Trump’s disdain for protesters, and congressional Republicans’ denunciations of recent demonstrations against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as “mob rule.”

They argue that the iconic places in Washington, D.C., that hosted Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963 and the Occupy encampments in 2012 need to remain as welcoming as possible for the First-Amendment-guaranteed right to protest, not just for D.C. locals, but for people from around the country who travel to the nation’s capital.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said that while most recent administrations have tried to crack down on protests covered by the NPS unit known as the National Mall and Memorial Parks, the Trump effort is more significant.

“This administration’s come in with the most bold and consequential overhaul. The consequences are enormous,” Verheyden-Hilliard told The Hill.

“There’s never been such a large effort at rewriting these regulations,” she said. “I don’t think there can be any question that these revisions will have the intent and certainly the effect of stifling the ability of the public to protest.”

While the proposal itself wouldn’t lead directly to fees being charged for protests, it asks the public to weigh in on the possibility.

Verheyden-Hilliard was particularly critical of a proposal to reduce distinctions between demonstrations and “special events,” which include concerts and festivals. Demonstrations have previously been subject to less scrutiny in permitting and can get their permits almost automatically.

Under the proposal, those protections could change, especially if anyone sings or dances at a protest.

“Speech plus music doesn’t lose its speech character,” she said. “If the event is focused on expressing views and grievances, it is a demonstration.”

The American Civil Liberties Union’s local chapter said in a blog post that major protests like King’s speech could become too expensive for their organizers.

“Managing public lands for the benefit of the American people is what Congress funds the National Park Service to do. That includes demonstrators just as much as tourists or hikers,” wrote Arthur Spitzer, co-legal director of the ACLU of D.C.

Top Democratic lawmakers are also getting involved.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, joined with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), his counterpart for the House Judiciary Committee, and other Democrats this week in denouncing the fee idea in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“National parks must be accessible and open to the American public for peaceful assembly,” they wrote.

“While the recuperation of costs may be an appropriate standard for special events that are celebratory or entertainment-oriented, the proposed shift could have the disastrous result of undermining the freedoms of expression and assembly — which are fundamental constitutional rights — in one of our nation’s premier public parks.”

NPS spokesman Brent Everitt said any fee changes would require a separate regulatory proposal. But he nonetheless defended potential fees, citing as an example the 2012 Occupy protests in downtown D.C.’s McPherson Square and elsewhere, which cost the agency nearly $500,000.

“At this time, we want to have a genuine conversation with the public about updating a comprehensive plan to best facilitate use and enjoyment of the National Mall while preserving and protecting its monuments and memorials. Permit fees and cost recovery considerations are just one part of that overall conversation,” Everitt said in a statement.

He said the agency wants input on whether the costs to the agency are an “appropriate expenditure of National Park Service funds, or whether we should also attempt to recover costs for supporting these kinds of events if the group seeking the permit for the event has the ability to cover those costs.”

The myriad rules and standards for events on NPS land in the nation’s capital have been shaped largely by decades of litigation. And if the agency pursues a regulation like the one proposed, the lawsuits will only continue.

“If these regulations go through in current form or a substantially similar iteration, we are prepared to have them enjoined,” Verheyden-Hilliard said. “We believe that they are unconstitutional and fundamentally unsound. And moreover, they are unjustified.”

The NPS is taking comments through Monday on its regulations.gov portal.

[The Hill]

 

Trump: ‘Robert E. Lee was a great general’

President Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee as “a great general” on Friday during a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio.

“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said before launching into a monologue about Lee, Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

“He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee,'” Trump said.

“And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point. They were the greatest people. There’s only one problem — they didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how,” he continued.

Trump went on to say, multiple times, that Grant had a drinking problem, saying that the former president “knocked the hell out of everyone” as a Union general.

“Man was he a good general. And he’s finally being recognized as a great general,” Trump added.

Trump has drawn criticism for his defense of Confederate statues, including those of Robert E. Lee.

He drew widespread condemnation last year following a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., saying that white nationalist protesters were there to oppose the removal of a “very, very important” statue.

“They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the time. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Trump, speaking at another rally in Ohio last year, said that he can be one of the “most presidential” presidents to hold office. “…With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office,” he said to a crowd in Youngstown.

[The Hill]

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