Trump Responds to Sketch of Man Who Allegedly Threatened Stormy Daniels: ‘A Total Con Job!’

President Donald Trump replied to a Twitter troll on Wednesday morning who sent him a photo of the newly revealed sketch of the man who allegedly threatened porn star Stormy Daniels.

Stormy appeared with lawyer Michael Avenatti on The View on Tuesday, and revealed a composite sketch of a man she claims threatened her in Las Vegas in 2011.

According to Stormy, the threats came in response to a story she was working with Us Weekly on regarded her alleged affair with Trump in 2006.

“A guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone, forget the story,’” Stormy said on 60 Minutes. “And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.”

Trump has now obviously weighed in on the sketch, which elicited wild speculation on the internet (it bears an uncanny resemblance to Tom Brady, Michael Avenatti with hair, Matt Damon’s character in Team America, and so on).

“A sketch years later about a nonexistent man,” Trump tweeted. “A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”

Stormy and her lawyer believe the man was sent by Trump’s lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen, who was the subject of a sweeping FBI raid last week.

[Mediaite]

Trump touts Rasmussen poll: ‘51% Approval despite the Fake News Media’

President Trump touted a conservative-leaning poll of his job approval on Tuesday while slamming surveys from news organizations, such as The Washington Post and CNN, as inaccurate.

“Rasmussen just came out at 51% Approval despite the Fake News Media,” Trump tweeted. “They were one of the three most accurate on Election Day.”

Rasmussen Reports, a right-leaning polling firm, routinely pegs the president’s approval ratings higher than other pollsters. As of Tuesday, Trump’s approval rating sat at 49 percent, according to the firm, and 50 percent disapprove.

RealClearPolitics, which averages data from a number of pollsters, had Trump’s current figure at about 42 percent on Tuesday.

Trump has seen relatively low approval ratings throughout much of his first 15 months in office, but has repeatedly insisted that many surveys are inaccurate.

Trump has long questioned the accuracy of public opinion polls, especially during the 2016 presidential race, when many pollsters projected a win for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

[The Hill]

Trump orders Postal Service review after blasting Amazon deal

After accusing Amazon for months of not paying its fair share of postage, President Trump has ordered a review of the US Postal Service’s finances via an executive order issued late Thursday night. The order calls for a task force to evaluate the operations and finances of the USPS. The order does not mention Amazon by name, but it seems clear that Trump is trying to back his claim that the USPS is losing “many billions of dollars a year” due to the financial arrangement with its biggest shipper of packages, or about $1.50 for every Amazon package it delivers.

Trump may very well be correct regarding the numbers, although his rage seems misplaced. Experts, and even Trump’s own advisers, have said that the enormous volume of packages shipped by Amazon have helped keep the Postal Service afloat. Rather, the long, slow decline in junk and first-class mail are the reasons for the USPS’s mounting financial losses. Trump’s executive order acknowledges this.

“A number of factors, including the steep decline in First-Class Mail volume, coupled with legal mandates that compel the USPS to incur substantial and inflexible costs, have resulted in a structural deficit,” the president says in the order. “The U.S.P.S. is on an unsustainable financial path and must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

It’s unclear how quickly the task force will begin its review, but it has 120 days to respond to the president with a summary of its findings and recommendations. Trump created a similar commission last year to support his claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election — a claim thoroughly debunked by election experts from both parties. The commission was dissolved in January.

Trump often screams “FAKE NEWS!” on Twitter after The Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, publishes incriminating stories about Trump or his administration. Last week Trump calledThe Post “Amazon’s ‘chief lobbyist,’” a claim he’s fond of repeating. And during his presidential campaign, Trump saidthat Amazon had a “huge anti-trust problem” and “is getting away with murder, tax-wise.” It all makes you wonder what Trump’s real angle is.

[The Verge]

 

Trump denies NYT report on firing Mueller in angry morning tweet — but also threatens to do it

President Donald Trump denied a New York Times report but confirmed its premise in an angry morning tweet.

The president logged into Twitter on Thursday morning to refute a Tuesday night report that he sought to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in December.

“If I wanted to fire Robert Mueller in December, as reported by the Failing New York Times, I would have fired him,” the president tweeted. “Just more Fake News from a biased newspaper!”

Republicans have said firing Mueller could trigger serious consequences, but they have refused to pass any legislative measures to protect the special counsel.

[Raw Story]

Trump Says He’ll Take ‘Very Serious Look’ at Amazon’s Business

President Donald Trump said he will take a “very serious look” at Amazon.com Inc. and what he said is an “uneven playing field” the retailer enjoys against competitors.

“I’m going to study it and take a look,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday. “We’re going to take a very serious look at that.”

Trump aides said earlier in the week that the White House wasn’t preparing punitive measures toward Amazon, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether the president’s comments indicated a potential shift.

Amazon was little changed in extended trading, dropping 0.1 percent to $1,451.75 at 5:43 p.m. in New York. While Trump’s broadsides against the company battered the stock last week and into Monday, investors have shrugged off his latest assaults and sent the shares up each of the past three days.

Trump has fired off a barrage of criticism against Amazon and chief executive officer Jeff Bezos in Twitter postings since last week, sinking the Seattle-based Internet retailer’s market value by as much as $55 billion at one point. Trump has argued the company receives favorable treatment on taxes and postal rates.

“You look at the sales tax situation which is going to be taken up I guess very soon, there’s going to be a decision from the Supreme Court,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “So we’ll see what happens. The post office is not doing well with Amazon that I can tell you.

“The playing field has to be level for everybody,” he said as he returned from a trip to West Virginia.

Amazon collects sales tax in every state that has one. But Amazon’s policies don’t apply to third-party merchants selling goods through its website, and many of those transactions remain untaxed. Such sales make up about half of the company’s volume. Amazon has said it’s up to the sellers to collect any taxes and many don’t.

The Trump administration has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to let state and local governments collect billions of dollars in sales taxes from online retailers. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments next month centering on a South Dakota law that calls for collecting sales taxes from large internet retailers even if they don’t have brick-and-mortar stores in the state. A ruling is expected by late June.

While its contract with Amazon is confidential, the Postal Service has argued that its e-commerce services benefit the organization and its mail customers. It is legally prohibited from charging shippers less than its delivery costs. Further, taxpayers don’t directly support the Postal Service’s operations.

Amazon regularly uses the Postal Service to complete what’s called the “last mile” of delivery, with letter carriers dropping off packages at some 150 million residences and businesses daily. The company has a network of 35 “sort centers” where customer packages are sorted by zip code, stacked on pallets and delivered to post offices for the final leg of delivery.

The company remains exposed to government action on other fronts.

The Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission could open antitrust or consumer protection investigations. The company is also competing for a multi-billion-dollar contract to provide cloud computing services to the Pentagon.

Safra Catz, the chief executive of Oracle Corp., one of Amazon’s rivals for the Defense Department contract, criticized the bidding process in a private dinner with Trump Tuesday, complaining that it favored Amazon, people familiar with the plans said.

Trump heard her out and said he wants the contract competition to be fair, but made no indication he’d interfere in the bidding, the people said. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump isn’t interfering in the contract decision.

[Bloomberg]

Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”

It’s seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify “any and all” coverage related to the agency or a particular event, according to a request for information released April 3.

The data to be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. No value for the contract was disclosed.

“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the statement. DHS agencies have “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners,” it said.

The DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents. It also wants the ability to track media coverage in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.

The request comes amid heightened concern about accuracy in media and the potential for foreigners to influence U.S. elections and policy through “fake news.” Nineteen lawmakers including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month, asking whether Qatar-based Al Jazeera should register as a foreign agent because it “often directly undermines” U.S. interests with favorable coverage of Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

The DHS request says the selected vendor will set up an online “media influence database” giving users the ability to browse based on location, beat, and type of influence. For each influencer found, “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.”

A department spokesman didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment.

Responses are due April 13. Seven companies, mainly minority- or women-owned small businesses, have already expressed interest in becoming a vendor for the contract, according to the FedBizOpps web site.

[Bloomberg]

Trump Blasts Washington Post Over ‘Phony’ Headline on China Trade War Story: ‘Amazon’s Chief Lobbyist’

Earlier this week, Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman reported, through a source, that President Donald Trump has been consumed of late by the following question:

“[H]ow can I fuck with [Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos]?”

Trump’s answer, apparently, is to go after Amazon — and the Bezos-owned Washington Post for good measure — on Twitter.

In a Thursday morning Tweet, Trump blasted the paper for its headline on a story about the escalating trade conflict with China.

“The Fake News Washington Post, Amazon’s ‘chief lobbyist,’ has another (of many) phony headlines, “Trump Defiant As China Adds Trade Penalties.” WRONG!” Trump wrote. “Should read, “Trump Defiant as U.S. Adds Trade Penalties, Will End Barriers And Massive I.P. Theft.” Typically bad reporting!”

Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron has sought to dispel Trump’s notion that Bezos controls the paper’s reporting.

“It’s completely made up,” Baron said this week, in an appearance on CBS This Morning. “There isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon. Not one penny.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Commands Latvian President to Call on ‘Real News, Not Fake News’ Reporter in Stunning Presser

During his press conference with fellow world leaders from the Baltics, President Donald Trump asked the president of Latvia to take questions from the international press corps because the American media is all “fake news.”

Latvia’s Raimonds Vejonis stood with Trump today as they and their counterparts from Estonia and Lithuania took questions from the room. At one point, Trump pointed at Vejonis and beckoned him to choose the next reporter to speak.

“A Baltic reporter ideally,” Trump said. “Real news, not fake news.”

Vejonis grinned as a tangible awkwardness took hold, though Trump kept calling on him to pick a reporter. Trump warned him however to not pick the same journalist who asked the last question because he “was very tough.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump continues Amazon attacks, says it costs USPS ‘massive amounts’

President Trump is not backing down on his argument that Amazon financially hurts the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), tweeting on Tuesday that the mega-retailer costs USPS “massive amounts of money.”

“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy. Amazon should pay these costs (plus) and not have them bourne [sic] by the American Taxpayer. Many billions of dollars. P.O. leaders don’t have a clue (or do they?)!” Trump tweeted.

The president’s strike at Amazon on Tuesday follows a series of tweets in which he criticized the company’s shipping arrangements with USPS.

“Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon,” the president tweeted Monday. “THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!”

The USPS does give Amazon a shipping discount because of the volume of packages it ships and has a deal with the USPS to ship packages on Sundays, but details of the arrangement have not been made public.

The accusation that Amazon is hurting the USPS has been disputed, with some fact-checkers saying that while the Postal Service is having problems, it is not because of Amazon.

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos has long been a target of Trump.

Bezos also owns The Washington Post, and Trump on Saturday accused him of using the newspaper as a “lobbyist” for Amazon. He has also often accused the Post of being “fake news.”

The Post and Amazon are two separate businesses and operate independently of one another.

[The Hill]

Donald Trump Tweet-Attacks CNN And Jeff Zucker, Gets Punched Back

President Donald Trump kicked off Tuesday tweet-ranting about CNN, claiming “you cannot get a job at CNN unless you state that you are totally anti-Trump.”

CNN chief Jeff Zucker – or “Little Jeff Zuker” as spelling-challenged Trump called him – is “not having much fun lately” POTUS said, claiming the job of his former boss, from his Apprentice days, is in jeopardy, job-wise.

“They should clean up and strengthen CNN and get back to honest reporting,” Trump said.

Maybe explaining Trump’s latest tantrum, on Monday, his latest campaign manager suggested pulling credentials of CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. That’s because Acosta had asked Trump about declaring DACA to be dead that morning, via Twitter. Trump had kicked off the day with that incendiary tweet, but the White House decided it would not have a press briefing on Monday. That left Acosta asking the question while Trump was photo-opping with children at the White House Easter Egg Roll.

After attacking CNN and Zucker, Trump then simper-tweeted thanks to Rasmussen which reported Trump’s approval rating at 50% in its latest poll. Trump insisted that “is higher than Cheatin’ Obama at the same time in his Administration.” Trump did not explain why he called Obama “cheatin’.”

No response from Obama so far. But CNN shot back.

“Once again, false,” the cable news network tweeted. “The personal political beliefs of CNN’s employees are of no interest to us. Their pursuit of the truth is our only concern. Also, Jeff’s last name is spelled Z-U-C-K-E-R. Those are the facts.”

“As for ‘challenged,’ CNN just finished its second highest rated first quarter in the past nine years. Those are the facts,” CNN continued.

“Interesting poll out of Monmouth: more people trust @CNN than @realDonaldTrump http://bit.ly/2IlT6Qf, ” CNN concluded.

[Deadline]

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