Trump Rips Mueller in Interview From Normandy Cemetery: He ‘Made Such a Fool Out of Himself’

In his latest interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump blasted Robert Mueller by saying the special counsel made a “fool” of himself with his recent press conference.

Trump was late for a D-Day commemorative ceremony on Thursday when his interview with Laura Ingraham apparently ran long, and the first details of their conversation include the president ripping Mueller’s public remarks about his investigative findings.

“Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself,” Trump said, “because what people don’t report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.”

It’s not clear what testimony Trump was talking about, but he seemed to be referring to Mueller’s letter to William Barr, the letter in which Mueller criticized the attorney general for not conveying the full gravity of the special counsel’s conclusions. While Barr has been favorable to Trump by dismissing the idea that the president committed obstruction of justice, Mueller said that Justice Department policies prevented him from charging the president, and, “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Trump also used part of the interview to attack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which comes after their recent feud where he raised questions about her mental fitness. This time, Trump bashed Pelosi by accusing her of ignoring a Justice Department statement insisting there’s no contradiction between Barr and Mueller.

“Nancy Pelosi, I call her Nervous Nancy, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t talk about it,” said Trump. “Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, ok? She’s a disaster. Let her do what she wants, you know what? I think they’re in big trouble.”

[Mediaite]

Trump: We’re ‘looking into’ banning of right-wing commentators on social media

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that his administration is “looking into” the banning of right-wing media personalities from prominent social media platforms — following a purge by Facebook of accounts belonging to several controversial political figures.

The president lamented the apparent suspension of actor and Trump supporter James Woods’ Twitter account, as well as the shuttering of Infowars contributor Paul Joseph Watson’s Facebook profile this week.

“So surprised to see Conservative thinkers like James Woods banned from Twitter, and Paul Watson banned from Facebook!” Trump tweeted.

Infowars chief Alex Jones, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, and activist Laura Loomer were among the other incendiary characters bootedThursday from Facebook and its 

Trump and Republican members of Congress have long railed against Silicon Valley for what they claim is a perceived bias at the world’s largest tech firms against conservative viewpoints.

“The wonderful Diamond and Silk have been treated so horribly by Facebook,” the president wrote online, referring to the pro-Trump video-bloggers who have repeatedly claimed that the company is unfairly silencing them.

“They work so hard and what has been done to them is very sad – and we’re looking into,” Trump tweeted of the sisters, whose real names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson.

“It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) sued Twitter and three of its users in March, alleging that he was defamed and that the social media juggernaut selectively enforces its terms of service to benefit opponents of the Republican Party.

Trump last Tuesday met with with Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and CEO, in the Oval Office — hours after the president complained online about his treatment on the platform.

“No wonder Congress wants to get involved – and they should. Must be more, and fairer, companies to get out the WORD!” Trump tweeted.

[Politico]

Trump defends Charlottesville comments by praising a Confederate general

President Trump on Friday defended his comments after the 2017 “Unite the Right” protests in which an avowed neo-Nazi killed a woman and injured dozens of others in Charlottesville, arguing that his focus was on the protesters defending the monument of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Trump, pressed on whether he stood by his comments that there were “very fine people on both sides,” told reporters, “If you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly. And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.”

Former vice president Joe Biden resurrected Trump’s response to the deadly rally by self-professed white supremacists in a video to launch his presidential campaign on Thursday. In it, Biden said Trump’s remarks “shocked the conscience of this nation.”

“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden says in the video. “And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”

Trump, who spoke to reporters en route to a speech to the National Rifle Association in Indiana, said, “People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.”

Trump and others have tried to distinguish between the self-proclaimed white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and the other supporters of Confederate monuments, who were all marching in Charlottesville that weekend.

But the events that weekend were organized by a self-proclaimed white nationalist, Richard Spencer, and those in attendance wore swastikas and chanted anti-Semitic slogans.

James Alex Fields Jr., who killed Heather Heyer and injured 35 other people when he plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters at the rally by self-proclaimed white supremacists, pleaded guilty to hate crimes in federal court earlier this month.

Fields, 21, of Ohio admitted guilt to 29 of 30 counts in a federal indictment as part of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed they would not seek the death penalty in the case. Fields is set to be sentenced July 3.

Some Trump supporters have become Charlottesville truthers, arguing that Trump’s comments were taken out of context. They maintain, as Trump does, that he was not calling self-proclaimed neo-Nazis and white supremacists “very fine people,” and in fact, he said they should be condemned.

Post writer Aaron Blake more thoroughly examined the fallacies of this argument, noting that it’s hard to make the case that there were “very fine people” marching alongside people chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”

[Washington Post]

Reality

Then on August 15, 2017 Trump again defended the backlash of his comments equating neo-Nazis with those protesting the neo-Nazis by first claiming it was “the left” who was violent and initiated the violence, then again and again stuck to his guns that “both sides” were to blame, which is when Trump made the statement “there was very fine people on both sides.” Later in the press conference Trump said he’s not defending the neo-Nazis, but the obvious problem is this.

First, It was a neo-Nazi rally.

It was always billed as a neo-Nazi rally with prominent white supremacists, such as Richard Spencer, David Duke, and others, all to support the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a traitor who fought the United States specifically for the right to own humans of African descent as property.

Second, Trump later in the press conference, while clarifying his remarks, said that the night before the rally he saw the Unite the Right protesters walking very quietly the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee.

They were not walking very quietly, but were all carrying tiki torches and chanting “Blood and Soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!”

And finally Trump attacked the “left” for showing up to protest the neo-Nazis without a permit, and pointing out the neo-Nazis had a permit and a right to be there.

Donald Trump was absolutely giving neo-Nazis a pass, and morally equating them with people protesting neo-Nazis.

Watch the press conference in full.

Trump Again Denies White Nationalism is Rising Threat

Donald Trump said he did not view white nationalism as a rising threat around the world, as New Zealand is reeling from a white supremacist attack on two mosques that killed 49 people.

Asked by a reporter on Friday if he saw an increase globally in the threat of white nationalism, the US president responded: “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess, if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s a case. I don’t know enough about it yet.”

There have been more than a dozen deadly white supremacist attacks across the globe in the last eight years. In Norway in 2011, 77 people were killed in a bomb attack and shooting that targeted a youth camp of the country’s Labor party. The shooter said he wanted to prevent an “invasion of Muslims”.

A shooter with anti-Muslim views killed six people during evening prayers at a Quebec City mosque in 2017. The gunman said he feared refugees would kill his family.

Later that year, in London’s Finsbury Park, a man shouting “I want to kill all Muslims” drove a van into worshippers outside a mosque, killing one and injuring twelve others.

In the US, violence by far-right attackers has surged since Trump took office. There has been a documented rise in anti-Muslim hate groups in the country in the last three years, and the FBI has reported a steady increase in reports of hate crimes. Last year, a shooter with far-right views killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

The suspected perpetrator of the massacre during Friday prayers in New Zealand had posted online before the attack and displayed white supremacist symbols on his weapons during the killings.

New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, described the carnage as one of the country’s “darkest days”.

Ardern told reporters on Saturday that she did not agree with Trump’s assessment that white supremacy wasn’t a growing problem.

Ardern also said she had spoken to Trump following the attack in Christchurch. Responding to a question from the president about what he could do after the attack, she asked him to show all Muslim communities “sympathy and love”.

“He acknowledged that and agreed,” Ardern said.

Ardern said she and Trump had not discussed reports that the suspect, Brenton Tarrant, had mentioned the president in an anti-Muslim manifestohe posted online before the attacks.

Trump made the remarks about white supremacy at the Oval Office while announcing his decision to overrule Congress in his effort to protect his declaration of a national emergency and secure funds for a US-Mexico border wall.

Announcing his veto, the president said, “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is.”

Trump’s claims about immigration trends and an “invasion” are similarly unsupported by facts. Unauthorized border crossings have declined dramatically since record highs in the early years of the 21st century.

Trump, who proposed a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US during his 2015 campaign, has a history of sparking widespread criticisms for his response to far-right violence.

In 2017, he said there were “very fine people on both sides” after a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

[The Guardian]

Reality

Right-wing extremism in the United States appears to be growing. The number of terrorist attacks by far-right perpetrators rose over the past decade, more than quadrupling between 2016 and 2017. The recent pipe bombs and the October 27, 2018, synagogue attack in Pittsburgh are symptomatic of this trend. 

Trump Deletes Tweet Promoting Breitbart After Interview Derided for Suggesting Violence

President Donald Trump, or more likely his social media team, have deleted a Thursday tweet that linked to Breitbart.com featuring an exclusive interview that had been widely criticized for the promotion of violence.

In the Wednesday interview, Trump seemed to threaten that things will get “very bad” if his supporters in the military, police, and motorcycle clubs decide to start playing “tough.”  The now-deleted tweet was posted at 10:05 PM EDT.

Seeing as the tweet came after news of the mass shooting of Muslims worshiping at a Christchurch, New Zealand mosque that resulted in the deaths of roughly 50 individuals, many commentators saw this particular response as inappropriate.

Given the volume of Trump tweets, it is a relatively uncommon occasion that President Trump deletes a tweet, and most often the reason for deletion is an obvious and sometimes embarrassing typo. But the tweeting of the website — that features a recently published article that ostensibly warns his detractors of Trump supporters getting “tough” — was considered beyond the pale for White House social media monitors (and perhaps even Mr. Trump) and therefore taken down.

So far the White House has not yet commented or given a reason for the deletion of this tweet.

[Mediaite]

Trump suggests that it could get ‘very bad’ if military, police, biker supporters play ‘tough’

President Trump in a new interview suggested that his supporters are tougher than Democrats, and that if they actually play tough things could get “very bad.”

Trump made the comments in the context of an interview with the conservative outlet Breitbart in which he argued that Democrats play a tough political game. 

“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny,” Trump said in the interview with Breitbart published on Wednesday. “I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher.”

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump said.

“But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations] — that’s all they want to do is — you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.”

In his remarks, Trump traveled down territory he has visited in the past.

During a rally for then-Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley (R) in September, Trump said that his opponents “were lucky that we’re peaceful,” The Washington Post noted in a post on his more recent comments.

“Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump … They travel all over the country …. They’ve been great,” Trump said at the time. “But these are tough people … But they’re peaceful people, and antifa and all — they’d better hope they stay that way.”

The latest remarks were seized upon in some quarters as another example of Trump seeming to offer threats toward his political opponents.

Trump has faced scrutiny in the past for directly calling on his supporters to use violence. He once said at a 2016 rally in Las Vegas that he’d like to punch a protester in the face. 

Trump also encouraged his supporters at another event to “knock the crap” out of any protesters causing trouble. 

“I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees,” Trump said. 

Trump has repeatedly denounced his political opponents during his time in the White House. He has also continually referred to the media as the “enemy of the people.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association in February called on Trump to make it “absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.”

[The Hill]

The chairman of the far-right Proud Boys sat behind Trump at his latest speech

Amid the sea of dark suits and red “Make America Great Again” gear behind President Trump at his televised speech in Miami on Monday, one man stood out. Appearing above the president in some live shots, he wore dark sunglasses, a black baseball cap and a black T-shirt with a message of support for Trump’s longtime adviser now facing federal charges: “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong!”

The man is notable for more than his attire, though. Enrique Tarrio is the chairman of the Proud Boys, a far-right, self-described “western chauvinist” organization known for violently clashing with antifascists and for its alleged links to white nationalists.

Neither Trump nor the White House knew he was in attendance, Tarrio told The Washington Post. Rather, he said he scored the prime seat simply by showing up early at Florida International University.

“I got there at 7 a.m., so I got to pick my seat,” Tarrio told The Post. “I was the second person in line. I stood in the hot Miami sun.”

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a message about Tarrio’s appearance.

The Proud Boys leader’s prominent placement at Trump’s speech could give new fuel to critics who say the president has failed to distance himself from the far right in the years since he claimed there were “very fine people on both sides” at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which was organized by a man who once attended Proud Boys meetings. Tarrio also attended the rally, though he claims to have left before the violent attacks began.

Tarrio disputes the Southern Poverty Law Center’s claim that his organization is a hate group, an allegation that also led Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes to sue the SPLC earlier this month.

“I’m not a white supremacist. I’m not an extremist. I’m a regular dude,” said Tarrio, a small-business owner who identifies as Afro-Cuban and who served nearly a year in federal prison for his role in a scheme to resell stolen medical equipment.

[Washington Post]

Don’t condemn white nationalists, Veterans Affairs’ diversity chief was told after Charlottesville, emails show

A top White House appointee at the Department of Veterans Affairs sought to silence the agency’s chief diversity officer, who — in the aftermath of last year’s racially charged violence in Charlottesville — pushed for a forceful condemnation that was at odds with President Trump’s response, newly disclosed emails show.

The tense exchange between Georgia Coffey, a nationally recognized expert in workplace diversity and race relations, and John Ullyot, who remains VA’s chief communications official, occurred during a low point in Trump’s presidency: when he blamed “many sides” for the deadly clash in Charlottesville without singling out the white nationalists and neo-Nazis who rallied there.

One woman was killed and dozens were injured in the August 2017 protest, which began over the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park and ended when a car plowed into a crowd of anti-racism protesters.

VA’s secretary at the time, David Shulkin, made headlines that week when he appeared to break with Trump, telling reporters the violence in Charlottesville “outraged” him. Coffey, a career senior executive at VA, pressed the agency’s leaders to issue a statement making it clear that VA stood against such a “repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan,” according to the emails.

The emails were provided to The Washington Post by the nonprofit watchdog group American Oversight, which obtained them via the Freedom of Information Act. The correspondence sheds new light on the politically delicate decisions federal agencies faced as officials sought to balance the need to address employee concerns with a desire not to upset the White House.

A statement from VA leaders was necessary, Coffey wrote in one email to Ullyot, because the agency’s workforce was unsettled by the uproar caused by the Charlottesville violence. Minorities make up more than 40 percent of VA’s 380,000 employees, the federal government’s second-largest agency.

Ullyot told Coffey to stand down, the emails show. A person familiar with their dispute, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Post that Ullyot was enforcing a directive from the White House, where officials were scrambling to contain the fallout from Trump’s comments, and they did not want government officials to call further attention to the controversy.

VA spokesman Curt Cashour said the agency received no such guidance from the White House.

Coffey, who declined to comment, retired from VA shortly after the dust-up, frustrated with what she felt was a lack of support from the Trump administration, according to her former colleagues. She now works as senior manager for diversity and inclusion at Lockheed Martin.

Ullyot, a seasoned media professional who worked on Trump’s campaign, is VA’s assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs. His exchange with Coffey was respectful, and he noted that he was acting at Shulkin’s direction, according to his emails. Shulkin, whom Trump forced out of the Cabinet post in March, and other officials were copied on the messages.

At VA, the fallout from Charlottesville remains a sensitive subject. In response to a request seeking comment for this report, VA’s current secretary, Robert Wilkie, issued a statement affirming that “John Ullyot is on the VA team because he is committed to veterans and has spent a lifetime of exceptional service as a Marine and public servant.”

Ullyot referred questions to VA’s public affairs office.

On Aug. 17, days after the Charlottesville violence, Coffey — then deputy assistant secretary for diversity and inclusion — emailed public affairs. She shared a draft of her statement and accompanying remarks, and requested help disseminating it to employees and the public.

Her remarks said the incident served “as a tragic reminder that our work in civil rights and inclusion is not finished.” She called on VA employees to be mindful of federal anti-discrimination policies and the agency’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The response from a staffer in public affairs said, “John Ullyot does not want to post the message, as the Secretary previously made statements in the news media on this topic earlier this week.”

In an emotional statement the day before, at Trump’s private golf club in Bedminster, N.J., Shulkin said he gave “my personal opinions as an American and as a Jewish American. . . . And for me in particular, I think in learning history, that we know that staying silent on these issues is simply not acceptable.”

Other top administration officials echoed his sentiments.

Coffey urged expediency, telling Ullyot that she had sent the statement to Shulkin and his chief of staff for their review, according to their email exchange.

Ullyot then indicated that after consulting with Shulkin, the secretary said that “we should all feel free to share our own personal views on the recent events . . . as he did.’’ Ullyot wanted to remove the statement’s more incendiary language but told Coffey she could keep the part that reminded employees of VA’s “strong commitment” to equal employment opportunity and diversity, their emails show.

Coffey told Ullyot that she worried his edits would “dilute my message and fail to convey the sense of condemnation that I hope we all feel,” the emails show. She offered to remove Shulkin’s name from the statement, but Ullyot told her that he and Shulkin had agreed not to use it.

Shulkin said in an interview that he does not recall his conversations with Ullyot about how VA should respond to the incident. “I’ve been pretty public about my opinions on the Charlottesville events . . . and of course I think all Americans should express their views,” he said.

Coffey’s staff worried that she would get in trouble if she disregarded Ullyot’s guidance, according to other emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group that first publicized the episode last year. The staff suggested that she should tone down her remarks, but Coffey declined. She posted the full remarks under her name in the monthly newsletter posted online by VA’s diversity office. Agency officials removed it and reprimanded her. She retired soon after.

Cashour said Shulkin had “dictated explicitly to John how he wanted this particular issue handled.” The secretary, Cashour said, was “adamant that VA employees keep their personal views on the Charlottesville issue out of official VA communications, as Shulkin had done himself in public comments two days beforehand. John was simply ensuring that Coffey understood and followed Shulkin’s guidance.”

The agency has grappled with issues surrounding race in recent years.

VA has long had an Office on Diversity and Inclusion to help improve race relations internally, and during the Obama administration appointed a senior official to travel around the country to set up conversations on race. The official, John Fuller, retired last year, citing a lack of support from the Trump administration.

In October, a senior official in VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization was forced to remove a portrait of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and the Ku Klux Klan’s first grand wizard, from his office in Washington after offending employees. The official said he was unaware of Forrest’s affiliation with the hate group.

The same month, VA took down a placard outside a conference room in the same office that employees had named for Stonewall Jackson, another Confederate general. Cashour said officials were unaware the room had been named for Jackson and blamed a contractor employed by VA and the contractor’s supervisor. The contractor was instructed to take down the placard but had failed to do so, Cashour said.

[Washington Post]

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a doctored video of the Jim Acosta mic-grab that was shared hours earlier by the far-right site Infowars

The White House is accused of using a video of CNN’s Jim Acosta doctored by the conspiracy-theory outlet Infowars as justification for suspending the journalist’s press pass on Wednesday.

Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN, was engaged in a tense exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House when a White House intern walked up and tried to take the microphone away from him. Acosta held on to the microphone and kept trying to question Trump.

Acosta was holding the microphone in his right hand. At one point, the intern reached under Acosta’s left arm to try to grab the microphone, and he appeared to gently block her with his arm. Here is the moment as broadcast live on NBC:

A video shared on Twitter by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, makes Acosta’s movement appear more violent.

What appears to be the same video was shared two hours earlier by Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of Infowars.com, a far-right conspiracy outlet whose content has been barred from almost every major tech content distributor, including Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube, generally for violating their policies on hate speech.

The CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter asked Sanders for the source of the video. “Surely you don’t trust InfoWars…?” he said on Twitter.

Other Twitter users showed Sanders’ video side-by-side with the original broadcast to argue the one she posted had been doctored.

The White House suspended Acosta’s press credentials after the press conference, limiting his access to the White House grounds. Sanders said on Twitter that the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” though no video evidence has so far supported that claim.

[Business Insider]

Trump Posts Breitbart Story on Media ‘Smearing His Supporters’ After Bomb Scare

President Donald Trump is doubling down on defiance in the face of critics who suggested he tone down his anti-media rhetoric after a man sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and the CNN headquarters in New York.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted out a story from right-wing website Breitbart — “Donald Trump Thunders at Media for Trying to Smear His Supporters after Bomb Scares” — that detailed his attacks on the media at a rally Friday night.

Per the Breitbart story Trump linked to:

Trump condemned political violence and called for an end to the politics of personal destruction, especially from the media.

“Political violence must never ever be allowed in America and I’ll do everything in my power to stop it,” he said. “The media has a major role to play, whether they want to or not.”

The president paused as his supporters continued to chant “CNN SUCKS!”

“They have a major role to play as far as tone, as far as everything,” Trump said. “The media’s constant unfair coverage, deep hostility, and negative attacks only serve to drive people apart and to undermine healthy debate.”

The man suspected of sending the pipe bombs to the president’s critics was arrested on Friday. He appears to be a fanatical supporter of Trump, and his white van was plastered with decals of the president — as well as one saying “CNN SUCKS.”

[Mediaite]

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