Trump Boasts Fox News’ Ratings, Trashes CNN on Twitter: ‘Fake News CNN is Dead!’

It’s no secret that President Trump plays favorites when it comes to his cable news watching.

In the cable news war, Fox News continues to dominate in ratings and has remained the #1 cable news network for 197 consecutive months. Meanwhile CNN saw a 25% decrease in viewership.

Real @FoxNews is doing great, Fake News CNN is dead!” Trump tweeted.

It is worth noting though that instead of attacking the “Failing” New York Times today, Trump seemed to have endorsed some of their reporting as of late. At least on Twitter

[Mediaite]

NPR publishes audio of Cohen threatening reporter

New released audio recordings revealed on Thursday that President Trump‘s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen made a string of vulgar legal threats to a reporter in an effort to protect Trump.

The audio, taken from a 2015 interview with Cohen and then-Daily Beast reporter Tim Mak and published by NPR – Mak’s current employer – on Thursday, reveal Cohen making legal threats to Mak over a piece he was writing about a 1993 Trump biography.

The biography, written by former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III and titled “The Lost Tycoon,” details a sworn deposition from Trump’s first wife, Ivana, who alleged during her divorce proceedings that Trump had raped her.

When he reached out to Trump’s then-campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks for more information about the claim, Mak said he received an angry call from Cohen.

According to Mak, the lawyer initially attempted to convince him not to go through with the story by falsely claiming that spousal rape was not a crime.

“You’re talking about Donald Trump, you’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as private individual, who never raped anybody and of course understand that by the very definition you can’t rape your spouse,” Cohen said in one audio recording.

Spousal rape has been illegal in the state of New York, where Donald and Ivana Trump resided during their marriage, since 1984. The incident to which Ivana Trump’s claim refers took place in 1989.

“Mark my words for it, I will make sure that you and I meet one day over in the courthouse and I will take you for every penny you still don’t have, and I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen went on. “Do not even think about going where I know you’re planning on going. And that’s my warning for the day.”

“Michael, besides the warning, do you have a substantive comment that I can include in the piece that reflects your views on this?” Mak responds.

“I have no views because there’s no story,” Cohen said before warning Mak to “tread very f—ing lightly because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting.”

“Do you understand me? Don’t think you can hide behind your pen because it’s not going to happen.” Cohen said. “I’m more than happy to discuss it with your attorney and with your legal counsel because motherf—er you’re going to need it.”

The release of the audio recordings come amid Cohen’s ongoing legal trouble.

Cohen is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. His home and office were raided by the FBI last month as part of Mueller’s investigation.

[The Hill]

Trump tweets he ‘never fired’ Comey over Russia, contradicting reports about memo

President Trump tweeted Thursday that he “never fired James Comey because of Russia” — despite past statements and recent reports that Russia did come into play.

“Not that it matters but I never fired James Comey because of Russia!” the president tweeted early Thursday. “The Corrupt Mainstream Media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true!”

The tweet followed reports first published by the New York Times Wednesday of a memo written by then-Acting Director Andrew McCabe that detailed a conversation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding former FBI Director James Comey. A source close to the matter told ABC that in the memo McCabe described how Rosenstein allegedly told him Trump asked him to mention Russia in his May 9 letter recommending Comey’s firing.

A representative for McCabe declined to comment for this story, and a Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last May, the White House said Trump used letters from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein that cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers in his decision to fire Comey.

But Trump later seemed to contradict himself in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt when said he considered “this Russia thing” in making the decision.

“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,'” Trump said in the interview.

It’s been over a year since Comey was fired and special counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into possible Trump campaign ties with Russia.

[ABC News]

Media

NBC News

Trump Responds to Fury Over Roseanne, but Not Her Racist Remarks

President Trump acknowledged on Wednesday the furor over a racist Twitter post made by Roseanne Barr, but focused on an apology issued by ABC instead of the offensive content of the television star’s remarks.

It was unclear what Mr. Trump meant by “horrible statements” on ABC.

It was the first time the president, who previously had called Ms. Barr to congratulate her on the success of her sitcom’s reboot, had weighed in on the fallout over her Twitter post.

But Mr. Trump did not acknowledge the specifics of what Ms. Barr wrote, and later deleted on Tuesday, in reference to Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

Ms. Jarrett said on Tuesday that Robert A. Iger, chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s corporate parent, had personally called her to apologize for the Twitter post before it was publicly announced that Ms. Barr’s sitcom had been canceled.

Ms. Barr has been vocal in her support of Mr. Trump and wanted the revival of her eponymous sitcom to address some of the divisive political issues facing the United States. In the aftermath of her show’s cancellation, she has since apologized, blaming the Twitter posts in part on medication.

In another Twitter post that has since been deleted, Ms. Barr asked her supporters to not defend her comments. “It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible,” she wrote.

The makers of Ambien, a sleep aid, immediately pushed back on Ms. Barr’s excuse.

“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” the company, Sanofi U.S., said on Twitter. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

[The New York Times]

Trump accuses media, and not Russia, of ‘most highly sophisticated Disinformation Campaign in history of politics’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the entire U.S. mainstream media of running a “highly sophisticated Disinformation Campaign” to undermine his 2016 campaign and his presidency.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Trump said it was the media, and not Russia, that had conducted a campaign of “disinformation” during the 2016 election.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had promised to stop obsessing over the 2016 campaign and “to start focusing my energy on North Korea Nuclear, bad Trade Deals, VA Choice, the Economy, rebuilding the Military, and so much more.”

[Raw Story]

Audio of White House Official Directly Disproves Trump ‘Phony Sources’ Attack on NY Times

New audio of a White House senior official briefing reporters disproves an assertion that President Donald Trump made in a tweet Saturday that a source quoted in the New York Times “doesn’t exist.”

According to the Times, the official said that “even if the meeting [with North Korea] were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.”

Trump held that the source was “phony” in his tweet:

Multiple reporters refuted this claim, saying that the quote came from a background briefing that an aide gave hundreds of reporters.

Journalist Yashar Ali tweeted out the audio of this briefing, proving that the reporters were indeed correct.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah can be heard introducing the aide as Matt Pottinger, deputy assistant to the president for Asia, and instructing reporters to refer to him as a senior White House official.

[Mediaite]

Pruitt bars AP, CNN from EPA summit on contaminants, guards push reporter out of building

The Environmental Protection Agency barred The Associated Press and CNN from a national summit on harmful water contaminants on Tuesday — and guards forcibly shoved a female reporter out of the building.

The EPA blocked the media organizations, along with the environmental-focused E&E News, from attending the meeting in Washington, convened by EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building.

When the reporter, Ellen Knickmeyer, asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building. She said she was not injured and was later permitted to attend the meeting.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s selective barring of news organizations, including the AP, from covering today’s meeting is alarming and a direct threat to the public’s right to know about what is happening inside their government,” said AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee.

“It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed,” Buzbee added.

CNN said in a statement that its reporter also was turned away from covering the event “after multiple attempts to attend.”

“We understand the importance of an open and free press and we hope the EPA does, too,” CNN said, according to the AP.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the barred organizations they were not invited and there was no space for them, but gave no indication of why they specifically were barred.

“This was simply an issue of the room reaching capacity, which reporters were aware of prior to the event,” Wilcox told NBC News. “We were able to accommodate 10 reporters, provided a livestream for those we could not accommodate and were unaware of the individual situation that has been reported.”

The reporter threatened “negative coverage” if she couldn’t get in, Wilcox alleged.

Some media that had been permitted to attend said that there appeared to be a handful of open seats for the press in the room despite claims that there was no room left.

A reporter for E&E News tweeted about being shut out by the EPA.

Amid criticism for barring the media outlets, Wilcox announced later that the afternoon session of the meeting would be open to all press.

Following that decision, the AP said, “We are pleased that the EPA has reconsidered its decision and will now allow AP to attend the remainder of today’s meeting. The AP looks forward to informing the public of the important discussions at the water contaminants summit this afternoon.”

Pruitt spoke Tuesday as he opened a hearing on the contaminants, known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl. The chemicals were used in items like nonstick coating and firefighting foam and have contaminated some water systems nationwide. The compounds are linked to developmental defects and other health problems.

Pruitt has faced criticism in recent weeks over emails showing the EPA sought to intervene in a critical study on the contaminants.

Convening Tuesday’s session, Pruitt is pledging to work on establishing a maximum allowable level for the chemicals in drinking water.

Representatives of states, tribes, the chemical industry, environmental groups and others attended the session.

[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 Tweets ‘Nothing Has Happened With ZTE Except As It Pertains To The Larger Trade Deal’

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that the reversal on trade policy around ZTE Corp. does not indicate a slackened position on China trade negotiations.

Here’s what Trump said in a series of tweets:

“The Washington Post and CNN have typically written false stories about our trade negotiations with China. Nothing has happened with ZTE except as it pertains to the larger trade deal. Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year with China…We have not seen China’s demands yet, which should be few in that previous U.S. Administrations have done so poorly in negotiating. China has seen our demands. There has been no folding as the media would love people to believe, the meetings…haven’t even started yet! The U.S. has very little to give, because it has given so much over the years. China has much to give!”

Why It’s Important

The president’s support of trade with ZTE had driven a spike in optical stocks exposed to the Chinese business. Some shares traded lower Wednesday on the clarified policy.

Acacia Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACIA) fell 4.3 percent and Oclaro Inc (NASDAQ: OCLR) 1.1 percent, while Applied Optoelectronics Inc(NASDAQ: AAOI) and Lumentum Holdings Inc(NASDAQ: LITE) dipped marginally.

What’s Next

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington Tuesday for a five-day visit packed with trade talks. Reuters reported that several U.S. lawmakers U.S. lawmakers rejected any planby Trump to ease restrictions on ZTE Corp., calling the company a security threat and vowing not to abandon legislation clamping down on the company.

[Yahoo News]

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