Trump goes off script at opioid summit: ‘I know about rigging the system because I had the system rigged on me’

President Donald Trump alleged on Wednesday that the U.S. justice system had been “rigged” against him.

While speaking at an event on opioid abuse, the president argued that pharmaceutical companies are giving European countries better prices than they give U.S. customers.

Trump vowed to stop the practice and called his promise “a big deal.”

“At long last we’re stopping drug companies in foreign countries from rigging the system,” Trump said before straying from his prepared remarks.

“I know all about the rigging of the system because I had the system rigged on me,” the president said, likely referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

“I think you know what I’m talking about,” Trump added. “Unfortunately, that will be your soundbite tonight but that’s okay. The system was rigged!”

[Raw Story]

Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court

President Trump on Wednesday said that he would attempt to challenge impeachment in the Supreme Court if Democrats carried out such proceedings, though it’s unclear the high court would hear such a case.

“The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump tweeted.

“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all,” he continued.

The president accused Democrats, Hillary Clinton and “dirty cops” of being guilty of criminal activity.

“We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!” Trump concluded.

The House holds the power to carry out impeachment proceedings, while the Senate is responsible for whether to convict the individual in question. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, currently John Roberts, would preside over the Senate trial.

There is little precedent to support the idea of the Supreme Court weighing in on the merits of impeachment, as a sitting president has not previously challenged impeachment proceedings in the high court.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1993 case of federal Judge Walter Nixon that whether the Senate properly conducted an impeachment trial was a political question, and therefore nonjusticiable.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, rejected the possibility of Trump taking an impeachment to the Supreme Court.

“Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate, where [Chief Justice] Roberts would preside over Trump’s Impeachment Trial,” tweeted Tribe, an outspoken critic of the president.

The president has been fixated in recent days on pushing back against the specter of impeachment proceedings, while maintaining that he is “not even a little bit” concerned about the possibility of removal from office.

Democratic leaders have largely said they don’t yet support starting the impeachment process, but remained open to the possibility in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s full report.

In the partly redacted document, investigators did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, but did not exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. 

Investigators instead detailed 10 episodes they reviewed for potential obstruction by the president, with Mueller saying that Congress has the authority to conduct potential obstruction probes.

Talk of whether to carry out impeachment hearings has split Democrats, and discussions have intensified in the aftermath of Mueller’s report.

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down to in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. “But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”

House Democrats have launched a flurry of investigations into the president, seeking to review his finances, potential abuse of power and corruption within the administration.Trump later asserted in a pair of tweets that he had been cooperative with the Mueller investigation, and suggested Congress should focus on legislation instead of seeking additional information from the White House as part of its own probes. “Millions of pages of documents were given to the Mueller Angry Dems, plus I allowed everyone to testify, including W.H. counsel. I didn’t have to do this, but now they want more,” Trump tweeted. “Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

[The Hill]

Trump retweets hit list suggesting he’s going after Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper the Democratic Party and more

On Monday, President Donald Trump retweeted a ‘hit list’ from Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative self-styled watchdog group.

Fitton tweeted a list out with Democrats name who believed have abused President Donald Trump.

People on the list included Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.

[Raw Story]

Trump: ‘I could have fired everyone’ on Mueller team if I wanted to

President Trump on Thursday pushed back against questions about whether he may have obstructed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, asserting that he could have “fired everyone,” including special counsel Robert Mueller, if he had so chosen. 

Trump quoted Fox News host Jesse Watters, who said on “The Five” that Trump “was being framed” and “fought back.”

“I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted,” the president tweeted. “I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to. I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!”

The president’s tweet came as he traveled aboard Air Force One to Palm Beach, Fla., where he will spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

A redacted version of Mueller’s full report was released Thursday morning. In it, the special counsel detailed 10 areas where investigators looked at whether Trump may have obstructed justice.

Mueller looked into, among other topics, Trump’s efforts to remove the special counsel, his conduct surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his encouragement of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take control of the investigation.

The special counsel ultimately did not exonerate or implicate Trump on obstruction charges.

“[I]f we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment,” the report states.

Attorney General William Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did not find sufficient evidence to prove obstruction of justice on the part of the president. 

Mueller’s report further established there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russian government, Barr said.

Trump’s tweet marked one of his few public comments in the wake of the report’s release.

The president briefly addressed the report’s findings at an event for wounded military service members, saying that he was “having a good day” and reiterating his stance the report found “no collusion. No obstruction.”

He also tweeted a photo inspired by the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” showing him staring into a fog behind the statement: “No collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats—Game Over.”

Trump did not address reporters as he departed the White House for Florida.

[The Hill]

Trump slams ‘dirty cops’ at FBI over Steele dossier

President Trump on Wednesday took aim at top officials at the FBI as well as Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), accusing them of conspiring to undermine his 2016 campaign and eventual presidency.

Trump tweeted that the dossier authored by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, a political intelligence firm, and provided to the FBI by Steele had been a “total fraud on your President and the American people!”

“Wow! FBI made 11 payments to Fake Dossier’s discredited author, Trump hater Christopher Steele. @OANN @JudicialWatch The Witch Hunt has been a total fraud on your President and the American people!” he wrote.

“It was brought to you by Dirty Cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC,” Trump continued.

Trump and his allies have argued for years that the dossier authored by Steele on the president’s ties to Russia, which has not been fully verified, was the impetus for the FBI’s initial investigation of the Trump campaign begun under the Obama administration, which Trump has claimed led to illegal spying on his campaign.

The president’s reelection campaign echoed those claims over the weekend, falsely telling supporters in a fundraising email that Attorney General William Barr had revealed “unlawful” surveillance on the Trump campaign.

“Attorney General William Barr said what the president has thought all along: He believes “unlawful spying did occur” against Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign,” read the fundraising email.

Barr told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing last week that he believes “spying” did occur on the Trump campaign, but made no determination as to whether or not it was conducted legally.

“I think spying did occur,” the attorney general said. “But the question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

“I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred. I’m saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it. That’s all,” he added.

[MSN]

Trump calls Mueller investigation ‘attempted coup’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as an “attempted coup” that failed and praised Attorney General William Barr for saying he is investigating how the probe began — a move congressional Republicans have long advocated.

“This was an attempted coup. This was an attempted takedown of a president and we beat them. We beat them,” Trump told reporters at the White House ahead of his departure for Texas. “So the Mueller report, when they talk about obstruction, we fight back. You know why we fight back? Because I knew how illegal this whole thing was: It was a scam.”

At about the same time, Barr, on Capitol Hill, said “I think spying did occur: on the Trump campaign and he wanted to look into how it began and whether it was legally justified.

Trump also blasted what he called the “haters of Trump” and “dirty cops” and bad people” who worked on the investigation but, according to him, still found no evidence of the campaign colluding with Russia to influence the presidential election.

“What has been found during this period of time are the illegal acts of getting this whole phony investigation started. And hopefully that’s where people are going now. That’s where people are going, and it’s very interesting. It was an illegal investigation,” Trump said.

Trump said he still has not read the Mueller report and said he’s not interested in the report, beyond the possibility that the Justice Department could look into the origins of the investigation.

“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care about the Mueller report. I’ve been totally exonerated. No collusion, no obstruction,” Trump said. “I am not worrying about something that never, ever should have taken place.”

[ABC News]

Trump retweets QAnon conspiracy theorist, via Larry the Cable Guy, to slam the TSA

From a QAnon conspiracy theorist to actor James Woods to comedian Larry the Cable Guy to the leader of the free world. Thus travels information in the age of Twitter and President Trump, who took a late-night swing at a familiar punching bag — the Transportation Security Administration — via a nearly two-year-old video spread by a character on the far fringes of the Internet.

“Not a good situation!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday just before midnight about the clip of a young man subjected to a very thorough pat-down by a TSA agent.

Trump’s critique of the TSA, an agency he has lashed out at repeatedly on the campaign trail, is hardly extreme. The video he retweeted garnered millions of views and sparked outrage back in March 2017 after a woman named Jennifer Williamson filmed her son, who she said had a sensory processing disorder, at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

But the source who belatedly brought the video to Trump’s attention, through a winding path of Twitter celebrities, is likely to raise new questions about where a president fond of spreading conspiracy theories gets his information.

The video was reshared on Monday by a Twitter account called Deep State Exposed, which is operated by Jeremy Stone, a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Stone’s twitter bio includes the phrase “WWG1WGA,” shorthand for “Where We Go One We Go All,” a rallying cry for the bizarre theory that ties together the Pizzagateconspiracy and a supposed “deep state” plot to control American politics. Stone soon added a follow-up tweet to the viral video claiming that “TSA goes out of their way to hire high school dropouts with an inclination for sexual perversion. It’s mind control!!!”

On his Twitter feed, Stone regularly mixes fake Hillary Clinton quotes with truly odd conspiracies. The next clip posted after the video retweeted by the president was a piece of shaky cellphone footage suggesting that empty Walmarts are being used as “CONCENTRATION CAMPS SET TO HOUSE AMERICAN CITIZENS!!”

Tuesday night was not Trump’s first brush with that account’s particular brand of paranoia. The Twitter bio for Deep State Exposed boasts of nine retweets from the president. The feed made headlines in September 2017 when Trump reshared a meme from the account about Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened.”

Stone’s latest presidential nod of approval tapped into a long-simmering point of anger for Trump: the TSA and the American airport experience in general. In May 2016, Trump complained that the TSA was “falling apart.” At the Republican National Convention two months later, Trump called the agency a “total disaster”and promised that he would “fix TSA.” Yet, among Trump’s budget moves was a proposal in 2017 to slash TSA’s funding to help pay for his border wall.

At rallies and in interviews, Trump also routinely complains that America’s airportsare “like from a third-world country.”

So it’s no surprise that the video of the young man in Dallas undergoing an intense body search would resonate. James Woods, an actor turned conservative social media activist who has been suspended from Twitter in the past for sharing a hoax, helped spread the clip by tweeting it with the simple phrase, “Uh…”

Larry the Cable Guy, a stand-up comedian famed for his “Git-R-Done” catchphrase, then weighed in, calling the video “Absolutely ridiculous!”

“How many times do you have to feel a kid up to figure out he’s not a threat? This is infuriating and hard to watch,” the comedian tweeted, which caught the president’s eye hours later. Donald Trump Jr. also joined in the outrage, calling the video “sickening.” (Deep State Exposed quickly thanked the president’s son for the retweet, adding in a fake Hillary Clinton quote for good measure.)

As for TSA, the agency in 2017 defended its handling of the viral pat-down at the Texas airport, noting that the procedure took “approximately two minutes” and “was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.” The agency even wrote a lengthy blog post titled “TSA Mythbuster: The Rest of the DFW Pat-down Story” to combat blowback from the incident.

“TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop,” spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told The Post at the time. “The passengers were at the checkpoint for approximately 45 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the mother and to screen three carry-on items that required further inspection.”

[Washington Post]

Trump Attacks McCain For 2nd Day Straight, Falsely Claims McCain Graduated ‘Last in His Class’

Donald Trump — who reportedly had Michael Cohen threaten all of his schools to keep his own transcripts a secret — spent a second consecutive day attacking the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), falsely claiming that McCain was “last in his class” at Annapolis.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted another attack on McCain, saying that it was “‘last in his class’ (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election.”

Trump’s claim about McCain is false. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class, and self-effacingly noted in 1993 that “My four years here [at Annapolis] were not notable for individual academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits which I managed to accumulate.”

Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has testified that Trump had him threaten all of his own former schools to keep his academic records secret.

Trump’s attack cones a day after he similarly slammed McCain, prompting a cutting response from Meghan McCain. Trump’s obsession with attacking John McCain’s military record dates back at least twenty years, when he told Dan Rather “He was captured. Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure.”

It was an attack that he infamously repeated during the 2016 presidential campaign, but which did not dim his popularity with Republican voters.

[Mediaite]

Trump promotes legal analysis from Diamond & Silk to attack New York’s attorney general

President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked New York Attorney General Letitia James by promoting analysis by loyal supporters Diamond and Silk.

“AG Letitia James of New York is abusing her power by targeting the POTUS,” the social media duo wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “Using the Attorney General office as a weapon to deliberately target the President because of Political Bias should be against the Law and a violation of the Hatch Act!”

Trump subsequently retweeted Diamond and Silk, a seeming endorsement of their analysis of the Hatch Act, which says that most executive branch employees are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities. It is unlikely that James’ activity would fall under the Hatch Act since she is the attorney general for the state of New York, rather than a federal employee covered by the Hatch Act.

James this week subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank asking them for records on their dealings with the Trump Organization, which potentially opens up a new avenue of investigation against the president, who already faces probes from Congressional Democrats, special counsel Robert Mueller, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

[Raw Story]

Trump Rails Against Mueller: Trying to Take Me Down With ‘BullshIt!’

President Donald Trump railed against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, his team of investigators and former Attorney General Jeff Sessionsduring a lengthy and profane tirade at CPAC on Saturday.

During an extensive improvised riff, Trump praised his own election victory in 2016, calling it “the greatest of all time.”

“You put the wrong people in a couple of positions…and all of a sudden, they are trying to take you out with bullshit!” Trump said, which drew rapturous applause and chants of “Bullshit!” from inside the hall, per reports.

“Robert Mueller never received a single vote,” Trump said, of the investigator appointed to lead a probe into his campaign’s ties with Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump then turned his ire to Sessions, who served as attorney general through several years of presidential Twitter abuse, after he recused himself from the Russia investigation given his work on the 2016 campaign.

[Mediaite]

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