Trump says NFL players who kneel during national anthem ‘maybe shouldn’t be in the country’

Taking a knee during the national anthem during a National Football League game should “maybe” be a deportable offense, President Donald Trump appeared to say in an interview that aired Thursday morning.

Speaking just moments after the NFL announced that all players who are on the field when the national anthem is heard before a game must stand and show respect — or can choose to remain in the locker room without penalty — Trump praised the new policy but also said it didn’t go far enough in punishing players who might continue to take a knee during the anthem.

“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country,” Trump said in a wide-ranging sit-down with “Fox and Friends” that took place Wednesday but wasn’t aired until Thursday.

“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, and the NFL owners did the right thing,” he added.

Under the new policy, teams will be subject to a fine if a player does not comply.

The NFL had previously suggested that players should stand, but it stopped short of enforcing fines. The new policy says clubs can still develop their own work rules for players and personnel who don’t stand, but they must be “consistent with the above principles.” That means teams could choose to pass along fines to players.

The controversy over players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” has raged since 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback with the 49ers, first refused to stand as a lone protest against police brutality, particularly against black Americans, and racial oppression. Protests expanded, prompting Trump to criticize the the kneeling as “disgraceful.”

Trump, in the interview with Fox, took credit for creating the issue but said it was “the people” who “pushed it forward.”

“I think the people pushed it forward, not me. I brought it out. it could have been taken care of when it first started,” he said.

Trump, in his interview, also discussed immigration, the MS-13 gang and his decision last year to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

“I’ve done done a great service for the country by firing him,” Trump claimed.

The president, who spoke to the network Wednesday following a roundtable discussion on MS-13 and immigration in New York, added that he would not consider an immigration bill that did not include provisions to build his border wall.

“Unless it includes a wall, I mean a real wall … there will be no approvals from me,” Trump said. He said he was “watching one or two” of the bills that are expected to be voted on in the House, following an expected forced vote process by moderate Republicans known as a discharge petition.

The petition would force a vote on bipartisan legislation unveiled in March that would allow for the consideration of four different proposals, including: a conservative immigration bill proposed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; a bipartisan version of the Dream Act; and a bipartisan bill to protect people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while enhancing border security.

Trump, however, said, “it’s time to get the whole package,” referring to his desire that any immigration deal include not only money for his wall and protections people covered by DACA, but also increased border security measures like ending so-called “chain migration.”

[NBC News]

Trump Rails Against ‘Failing and Crooked’ NY Times For ‘Boring’ Report on Gulf Prince Offering Campaign Assistance

President Donald Trump went on a Twitter tirade Sunday against a New York Times exposé revealing his son and other campaign officials met with a Gulf emissary who offered a hand in winning the 2016 election.

Trump blasted the report, calling the publication “Failing and Crooked,” while adding in a jab at Hillary Clinton. He contended that the report was merely “a long & boring story” showing Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation “has found nothing on Russia & me.”

But it didn’t stop there. Launching into one of his trademark tweetstorms, Trump railed against Mueller’s probe as being the work of a bunch of angry democrats, and suggested that they re-focus the investigation onto the Clinton emails.

The Times reported that during the meeting arranged by Erik Prince, the former head of Blackwater, Donald Trump Jr. was assured by emissary George Nader that leaders in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were hopeful Trump would secure the election, and they wanted to help. Nader has been cooperating with the the special counsel’s investigation in recent months, CNN reported.

While Trump was quick to dismiss the report and again bash the Mueller probe, the investigation has already resulted in more than a dozen indictments along with five guilty pleas.

The president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, believes there is a chance Trump could be subpoenaed in the probe, and has begun preparing him in the event that he’s interviewed, Politico reported.

[Mediaite]

Trump urged postmaster general to double rates on Amazon

President Trump has reportedly urged the U.S. postmaster general to double shipping rates for Amazon.com and other companies amid months of his continued criticism that the online retailer is costing the Postal Service “billions” of dollars in revenue.

Trump has personally met with Postmaster General Megan Brennan multiple times since 2017 to petition her for a hike on rates for Amazon and other firms that ship packages, The Washington Post reported Friday, citing officials familiar with the conversations.

The president’s demands came despite counsel from close advisers and top Postal Service employees that Amazon, the largest shipper of packages through USPS, actually helps keep it afloat financially.

According to the Post, Brennan explained to Trump in their conversations that the Postal Service is bound by its contracts with retail companies, noting that to change them would require a review by the independent regulatory agency that oversees the USPS.

Trump signed an executive order last month to create a task force to look into the Postal Service’s “unsustainable financial path.”

USPS has given Amazon a shipping discount due to the volume of packages it ships, but has not released details on its agreement with the retailer. Analysts have estimated that the company uses the Postal Service for about 40 percent of its shipping.

Trump also reportedly met with different groups of senior advisers including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn on the service’s financial dealings and whether Amazon was in fact costing the USPS “massive amounts of money,” as he once claimed in a tweet.

The president has frequently taken aim at The Washington Post, which Amazon owner Jeff Bezos purchased in 2013.

[The Hill]

Trump doctor Harold Bornstein says bodyguard, lawyer ‘raided’ his office, took medical files

In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man showed up at the office of Trump’s New York doctor without notice and took all the president’s medical records.

The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a “raid,” took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years.

In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt “raped, frightened and sad” when Keith Schiller and another “large man” came to his office to collect the president’s records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump’s bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.

“They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos,” said Bornstein, who described the incident as frightening.

A framed 8-by-10 photo of Bornstein and Trump that had been hanging on the wall in the waiting room now lies flat under a stack of papers on the top shelf of Bornstein’s bookshelf. Bornstein said the men asked him to take it off the wall.

Bornstein said he was not given a form authorizing the release of the records and signed by the president known as a HIPAA release — which is a violation of patient privacy law. A person familiar with the matter said there was a letter to Bornstein from then-White House doctor Ronny Jackson, but didn’t know if there was a release form attached.

“If Ronny Jackson was the treating doctor, and he was asking for his patient’s paperwork, a doctor is obligated to give it to him to ensure continuity of care,” said NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres, “but it has to be given in a secure fashion. Nobody who doesn’t have HIPAA clearance can see the patient records.”

NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said that patients generally own their medical information, but the original record is the property of the provider. “New York state law requires that a doctor maintain records for at least six years, so a doctor who hands over his original records runs the risk of violating New York state law,” said Cevallos.

Bornstein said the original and only copy of Trump’s charts, including lab reports under Trump’s name as well as under the pseudonyms his office used for Trump, were taken.

Another man, Trump Organization chief legal officer Alan Garten, joined Schiller’s team at Bornstein’s office, and Bornstein’s wife, Melissa, photocopied his business card. Garten declined to comment for this article.

Schiller, who left the White House in September 2017, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Asked about the incident by Hallie Jackson of NBC News on Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that taking possession of medical records was “standard operating procedure for a new president” and that it was not accurate to characterize what happened as a “raid.”

“Those records were being transferred over to the White House Medical Unit, as requested,” said Sanders.

Bornstein said that Trump cut ties with him after he told The New York Times that Trump takes Propecia, a drug for enlarged prostates that is often prescribed to stimulate hair growth in men. Bornstein told the Times that he prescribed Trump drugs for rosacea and high cholesterol as well.

The story also quotes Bornstein recalling that he had told Rhona Graff, Trump’s longtime assistant, “You know, I should be the White House physician.”

After the article ran on Feb. 1, 2017, Bornstein said Graff called him and said, “So you wanted to be the White House doctor? Forget it, you’re out.’ ”

Two days after the article ran, the men came to his office.

“I couldn’t believe anybody was making a big deal out of a drug to grow his hair that seemed to be so important. And it certainly was not a breach of medical trust to tell somebody they take Propecia to grow their hair. What’s the matter with that?”

Bornstein said he is speaking out now after seeing reports that Jackson, who has allegedly been called “the candy man” for loosely prescribing pain medications as White House doctor, will not return to his post after being considered to run the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This is like a celebration for me,” he said.

Jackson has denied improperly prescribing drugs.

Bornstein, 70, had been Trump’s personal doctor for more than 35 years.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, Bornstein wrote a letter declaring “unequivocally” that Trump would be the healthiest president in history. He called Trump’s health “astonishingly excellent.” The Trump campaign released the letter in December 2015.

Bornstein told NBC News in 2016 that he wrote the note in just five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his office.

Asked how he could justify saying Trump would be the healthiest president ever, Bornstein said, “I like that sentence, to be quite honest with you, and all the rest of them are either sick or dead.”

[NBC News]

Trump calls WHCD a ‘very big, boring bust’

President Trump continued to denigrate the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Sunday morning — calling the gathering a “very big, boring bust.”

Trump fired off a few tweets celebrating the campaign-style rally he held for supporters Saturday night in Michigan, which was organized to coincide with the annual dinner organized by the White House Correspondents’ Association. This was the second consecutive year that the president broke from tradition by skipping the black-tie affair.

Comedian Michelle Wolf’s pointed performance elicited fierce reactions from fans and critics. It was variously described as “magnificently funny” and “unnecessarily cruel.” Trump agreed with the latter, calling Wolf a “so-called comedian” and suggesting that Fox News host Greg Gutfeld host next year’s dinner.

Most of the criticism directed toward Wolf dealt with her jokes at the expense of conservative women. Many prominent figures, both liberal and conservative, were offended what the “Daily Show” contributor said about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Trump, who was famously lampooned at the 2011 dinner by Seth Meyers, sent Sanders to represent the administration in his place. She was seated on the dais throughout Wolf’s performance.

Margaret Talev, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, told Politico that some of Wolf’s material made her feel uncomfortable.

“The association by tradition does not preview or censor the entertainer’s remarks,” Talev said. “Some of them made me uncomfortable and did not embody the spirit of the night. And that is protected by the First Amendment. I appreciated Sarah Sanders for joining us at the head table and her grace through the program.”

Sanders’s father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, condemned the dinner, claiming it celebrated “bullying, vulgarity, and hate” rather than the First Amendment, as intended.

[Yahoo]

Fireworks at Trump Rally as POTUS Goes on Wild Comey Rant: ‘I Did You a Favor’ By Firing Him

President Donald Trump unleashed a lengthy tirade against ex-FBI Director James Comey during his Saturday night rally in Washington Township, MI. The crowd erupted in applause as Trump began repeatedly asking “What about James Comey?” several times and “How ’bout this guy Comey?” before condemning the former head of the federal agency and the American press.

“And what about — hey, what about Comey? Have you watched him on the interviews? What about Comey? What about Comey? How about that? So Comey — how about this guy, Comey?” Trump began. “He said the other night the fake dirty dossier, he said the other night on Fox, he said very strongly, ‘No, I didn’t know that it was paid for by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.’ He didn’t know. He didn’t know. How about that?”

The president was referring to Comey’s wide-ranging interview on Friday with Fox News’ Bret Baier to discuss his new book, A Higher Loyalty, as well as the FBI’s investigations into Trump and Clinton.

“When did you learn that the [Democratic National Committee] DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign had funded Christopher Steele’s work?”

“I still don’t know that for a fact,” Comey replied. “I’ve only seen it in the media. I never knew exactly which Democrats had funded. I knew it was funded first by Republicans.”

Fusion GPS, the firm which produced the dossier, was first funded by the conservative publication The Washington Free Beacon “to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary,” according to statements representatives from the outlet provided to Congressional investigators last year.

But at Trump’s rally on Saturday, the president decried Comey and the situation surrounding the dossier, describing both as a “disgrace.”

“Comey is a liar and a leaker,” he continued. “You know, I did you a great favor when I fired this guy. I tell you, I did you a great favor. Because when you look at what was going on at the top of the FBI, it is a disgrace and everybody in this room understands it.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Twitter-taunts GOP lawmakers and attacks Jeff Sessions for not going after Comey and Hillary Clinton

President Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning Twitter flurry by touting a Fox News report about GOP lawmakers asking the Justice Department to investigate former FBI Director James Comey and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign rival, Hillary Clinton.

Writing on Twitter, Trump stated, “‘GOP Lawmakers asking Sessions to Investigate Comey and Hillary Clinton.’ @FoxNews Good luck with that request!”

[Raw Story]

President says Flynn’s life ‘destroyed’ as Comey cashes in

Trump compared the situations of his ex-aide Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents, and former FBI Director James Comey, in a tweet, saying Comey is making “lots of money from a third rate book” while Flynn’s life has been “totally destroyed.”

Memos written by Comey, which were released Thursday night, match things he has said previously, including that Trump asked him to end a probe into Flynn. “The guy has serious judgment issues,” Trump said about Flynn, according to the memos. Trump has attacked Comey over the former FBI chief’s critical memoir, dubbing him a “slimeball.”

[MarketWatch]

 

Trump claims vindication after release of Comey memos

President Trump late Thursday night trumpeted the release of a series of memos written by former FBI Director James Comey, claiming they exonerated him of allegations that he obstructed justice and colluded with Russia.

“James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION,” Trump tweeted. “Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?”

Comey’s memos have become a flashpoint in an increasingly bitter partisan fight on Capitol Hill tied to whether Trump tried to obstruct justice in the ongoing probe into possible ties between his campaign and Russia.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) was forced to hand over the memos to Congress on Thursday or face a subpoena from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). He and other Republicans, including Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have been investigating alleged anti-Trump bias at the DOJ in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Following the release of the memos, which mostly contained details already known to the public thanks to Comey’s testimony on Capitol Hill and leaked excerpts from his autobiography, the three Republicans released a statement saying the memos provided clear evidence there was no obstruction of justice.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, meanwhile, claimed they “provide strong corroborating evidence of everything [Comey] said about President Trump” and show a “blatant effort to deny justice.”

In his tweet, Trump was also apparently referring to the fact that Comey had provided one unclassified memo to a friend who then gave it to The New York Times. Comey did so in order to trigger the appointment of a special counsel in the Russia probe.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the probe, frequently referring to it as a “witch hunt.” He has also stepped up his attacks on Comey in recent days, as the ex-FBI director mounts a media blitz in order to promote his new book.

[The Hill]

Trump Says ‘Slippery’ Comey ‘Was Not Fired’ Because of Russia Probe, After Suggesting He Was

President Donald Trump pushed back on suggestions that he fired former FBI director James Comey because of the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia — a key tenet of allegations he sought to obstruct justice.

Of course, the president has not always been so clear on this front. After Comey was fired, the White House claimed it was based on a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over Comey’s handling of the Clinton email probe.

But then, Trump was interviewed by Lester Holt in May 2017, and said the following: “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’” (Watch above.)

Trump also reportedly told Russian officials that his firing of Comey, who he called “a real nut job, took the “pressure” he was facing over the Russia probe off.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said, according to a U.S. official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

In light of Comey’s media blitz to promote his new memoirs, A Higher Loyalty, Trump is attempting to set the record straight, tweeting: “Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!”

[Mediaite]

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