Trump contradicts himself in a single tweet about leaks he claims are fake news

President Donald Trump went off on the “fake news” that claims leaks are coming out of the West Wing of the White House. First, he called it fake news, and then he denounced the leaks that were coming out.

“The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are a massive over exaggeration put out by the Fake News Media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are!” Trump tweeted Monday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was bothered by the leak of the comment top aide Kelly Sadler made about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). It has been reported that the communications department is searching for the leak.

When it was revealed that first lady Melania Trump underwent a procedure Monday on her kidney, pundits remarked that no one knew the procedure was coming. They compared the leaks in the East Wing, the first lady’s office, to the sieve in Trump’s West Wing.

[Raw Story]

Trump Blasts ‘Fake News Media’ for Not Reporting on AT&T’s Planned Merger With Time Warner

On Friday, President Donald Trump blasted the “fake news media” for not reporting on litigation revolving around AT&T’s planned merger with Time Warner in a tweet that seemed to come out of nowhere.

“Why doesn’t the Fake News Media state that the Trump Administration’s Anti-Trust Division has been, and is, opposed to the AT&T purchase of Time Warner in a currently ongoing Trial,” Trump wrote. “Such a disgrace in reporting!”

While his exact intent was not clear, Trump was likely reacting to reports that his lawyer Michael Cohen was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by AT&T for a consulting gig that actually amounted to Cohen peddling his access to Trump.

The AT&T payment was also significant because Essential Consulting, the shell consulting firm Cohen set up to receive payments, also happens to be the firm that paid Stormy Daniels the $130,000 in hush money.

AT&T has since said it regretted hiring Cohenand claimed the damage to their reputation will not hurt their planned merger.

So far, Trump, not known for clarification,  has not issued a follow-up tweet.

[Mediaite]

Trump Threatens to Pull Press Credentials from ‘Fake News’ Media Over Negative Coverage

You know how this works. President Trump receives critical press coverage, he gets on Twitter to complain about it, the White House’s relationship with the media deteriorates further, queen to E5.

As you can see, the president is threatening to take press credentials away from “fake news” media outlets until they give him the coverage he approves of it. Trump previously yanked press credentials from multiple news organizations during the 2016 election, and as NYT‘s Maggie Haberman points out, it seems he still doesn’t get that the press isn’t supposed to be his cheerleading squad:

[Mediate]

Trump Denies ‘Changing Any Stories’ About Stormy Daniels Payment. This Tape Proves Otherwise

During a heated exchange with reporters Friday, President Donald Trump insisted that he’s “not changing any stories” related to the $130,000 hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels just days before the November 2016 presidential election.

“We’re not changing any stories. All I’m telling you is this country is right now running so smooth and to be bringing up that kind of crap and to be bringing up witch hunts all the time, that’s all you want to talk about,” Trump told reporters just before boarding Air Force One to Dallas.

Moments later, the president instructed reporters to “take a look at what I said” in April when he took questions from reporters aboard Air Force One about the Daniels payoff. So, what did the president say less than one month ago regarding his knowledge of the $130,000 payment? Here’s the exchange from April:

Reporter: “Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?”

Trump: “No, no. What else?”

Reporter: “Why did Michael Cohen make it if there was no truth to her allegations?

Trump: “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney and you’ll have to ask Michael Cohen.”

Reporter: “Do you know where he got the money to make that payment?”

Trump: “No, I don’t know. No.”

The exchange left little room for interpretation as to whether Trump knew about the payment or not. Thus, it left no wiggle room for the president to now say that “we’re not changing any stories” after Trump’s outside lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that Trump repaid the $130,000 hush money sum to his longtime attorney Michael Cohen.

Whether or not Giuliani had “his facts straight” when made that comment is irrelevant. Even if Giuliani was not correct, the fact remains that the Trump team’s story about the hush money payment did, in fact, change between April and this week. Trump cannot say one moment that he didn’t know about the payment, only for his lawyer to go on national television weeks later and say the exact opposite. Again, even if Giuliani was misinformed, he still changed the narrative in the national media and, like it or not, the narrative in the media is the story.

[Mediaite]

Trump tweets rant against NBC for correcting inaccurate report on Michael Cohen wiretap warrant

President Donald Trump finally smacked NBC News for walking back a report that his attorney Michael Cohen was under a wiretap warrant.

The network and ABC News each issued corrections to reports that Cohen had been wiretapped by the FBI, saying instead that the attorney had instead been subjected to a pen register — which means that his calls were logged in real time.

“NBC NEWS is wrong again!” Trump tweeted. “They cite ‘sources’ which are constantly wrong. Problem is, like so many others, the sources probably don’t exist, they are fabricated, fiction! NBC, my former home with the Apprentice, is now as bad as Fake News CNN. Sad!”

[Raw Story]

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]

The Justice Department Deleted Language About Press Freedom And Racial Gerrymandering From Its Internal Manual

Since the fall, the US Department of Justice has been overhauling its manual for federal prosecutors.

In: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime policies. Out: A section titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial.” References to the department’s work on racial gerrymandering are gone. Language about limits on prosecutorial power has been edited down.

The changes include new sections that underscore Sessions’ focus on religious liberty and the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on government leaks — there is new language admonishing prosecutors not to share classified information and directing them to report contacts with the media.

Not all changes are substantive: Long paragraphs have been split up, outdated contacts lists have been updated, and citations to repealed laws have been removed.

The “US Attorneys’ Manual” is something of a misnomer. Federal prosecutors in US attorney offices across the country use it, but so do other Justice Department — often referred to as “Main Justice” — lawyers. The manual features high-level statements about department policies and priorities as well as practical guidance on every facet of legal work that comes through the department.

The last major update to the manual was in 1997. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the DOJ’s number two official and a veteran federal prosecutor — ordered the top-to-bottom review, according to department spokesperson Ian Prior. In a March speech announcing changes to the department’s policy for enforcing certain anti-corruption laws, Rosenstein lamented the difficulty prosecutors have keeping track of policy and procedure changes when they aren’t reflected in the manual.

Some of the recent changes were publicly announced. In January, for instance, the department said it was adding a section called “Respect for Religious Liberty,” directing prosecutors to alert senior officials about lawsuits filed against the US government “raising any significant question concerning religious liberty” and articulating “Principles of Religious Liberty” that Sessions laid out in an earlier memo.

Most changes haven’t been publicly announced, though, which is common practice, according to former DOJ officials who spoke with BuzzFeed News. US attorney offices have been notified of the significant changes so far, and notice will go out when the review is done, Prior said. The public version of the manual online notes when individual sections were last updated.

The Justice Department declined to comment on specific changes. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Prior said the manual is meant to be a “quick and ready reference” for lawyers, not “an exhaustive list of constitutional rights, statutory law, regulatory law, or generalized principles of our legal system.”

“While sections of the USAM have changed over time, the last comprehensive review and update of the USAM occurred twenty years ago. During that time, policies have changed or become outdated, and leadership memos were issued without being incorporated into the USAM. As part of the effort to consolidate policies into a useful one-stop-shop of litigation-related documents for the Department, the Deputy Attorney General ordered a thorough, department wide review of the USAM,” Prior said. “The purpose of that review is to identify redundant sections and language, areas that required greater clarity, and any content that needed to be added to help Department attorneys perform core prosecutorial functions.”

The review is taking place while the Justice Department is still missing several Senate-confirmed officials, including heads of the Criminal Division, the Civil Division, the Civil Rights Division, and the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Nominees for those posts are waiting for a final vote in the Senate. Trump has yet to announce a nominee for associate attorney general, the department’s third-ranking official, following the February departure of Rachel Brand. Prior said that the review process has included career attorneys from across the department.

Sections of the manual that dealt with a variety of personnel and administrative issues, many of which are explained in other internal department documents or are included in federal statutes and regulations, were removed. Those sections included language about what happens when a US attorney spot is vacant, policies for securing and paying witnesses, and compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

BuzzFeed News compared the latest version of the manual with earlier versions saved via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

[Buzzfeed]

Trump Knocks The ‘Phony’ White House Correspondence Dinner: Isn’t This Rally ‘More Fun?’

Near the tail end of his rally in Washington, MI, President Donald Trump blasted another Washington event that was taking place Saturday evening: the White House Correspondence Dinner.

“By the way, by the way, by the way… is this better than that phony Washington White House Correspondence Dinner? Is this more fun?” Trump asked the rally goers. “I could be up there tonight smiling like I love where they’re hitting you shot after shot. These people, they hate your guts. Shot- and I’m supposed to-”

The president then displayed an overly-large grin to the crowd.

“And you know, you gotta smile, and if you don’t smile, they’ll say ‘Oh, he was terrible! He couldn’t take it,’” Trump continued. “And if you do smile, they’ll say, ‘What was he smiling about?’ You know, there’s no way.”

This marks President Trump’s second consecutive missed White House Correspondence Dinner.

[Mediaite]

Sarah Sanders whines about the media’s tone as she berates CNN’s Jim Acosta

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders clashed with CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday.

During a press briefing, Acosta asked about Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Veteran Affairs. “Yesterday, the president suggested that Ronny Jackson does not have the experience to run the Department of Veteran Affairs — is that a fair assessment,” he wondered.

But Sanders quickly accused Acosta of distorting the president’s words.

Acosta also asked Sanders about remarks earlier in the press briefing, in which she suggested that the Trump administration was a champion of the press.

“We support a free press but we also support a fair press,” Sanders said. “And I think that those things should go hand and hand.”

She added that the reporters at White House briefings often had a “tone” that was “completely unnecessary.”

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump Trashes Journos in Correspondents Dinner Email: ‘Bunch of Fake News Liberals Who Hate Me’

President Donald Trump is explaining his absence from the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner with a fundraising email, and an announcement of a rally the same night.

Rather than being “stuck in a room with a bunch of fake news liberals who hate” him, Trump says he has a better idea. He plans to hold a rally in another kind of Washington–Michigan’s Washington Township–for what he calls his “favorite deplorables who love our movement and love America.”

The email invites “one patriot” plus a friend to donate to Trump’s 2020 campaign, which then enters them into a raffle to attend the event as VIP guests.

“While the fake news media will be celebrating themselves with the denizens of Washington society in the swamp that evening, President Trump will be in a completely different Washington, celebrating our national economic revival with patriotic Americans,” the Trump campaign’s chief  operating officer, Michael Glassner, said in a statement, according to CNN.

The Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday will be the second the president has skipped, and the second time he’s held a rally instead. In 2017, he held an event in Pennsylvania in place of attending the dinner, speaking before crowds as if to be campaigning as he did before the election.

[Mediaite]

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