Trump declares New York Times ‘enemy of the people’

President Trump on Wednesday labeled The New York Times “a true enemy of the people” one day after an extensive report detailing the ways in which he has sought to influence the investigations into his presidency and allies.

“The New York Times reporting is false,” Trump tweeted. “They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

The president’s tweet did not refute any specific reporting from the Times, but marked yet another escalation in his sustained attacks on his hometown paper and the media as a whole.

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger issued a statement hours later condemning the president’s use of the term “enemy of the people” as “dangerous” and inaccurate.

“It is particularly reckless coming from someone whose office gives him broad powers to fight or imprison the nation’s enemies,” Sulzberger said. “As I have repeatedly told President Trump face to face, there are mounting signs that this incendiary rhetoric is encouraging threats and violence against journalists at home and abroad.”

Sulzberger, who has met with Trump on at least two separate occasions in the past year, noted that past presidents have complained about coverage of their administration, but “fiercely defended” the free press.

Trump’s latest diatribe against the Times came after the newspaper reported Tuesday that Trump asked then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker late last year to put U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in charge of the investigation in New York’s Southern District into Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Berman, an ally of Trump who donated to his 2016 campaign, had been recused from the investigation, and Whitaker did not act on Trump’s request.

Trump denied that he requested Berman be put in charge of the investigation when asked about it Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t know who gave you that,” Trump said, calling the report “fake news.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement that the White House has not asked Whitaker to interfere in investigations, pointing to his congressional testimony from earlier this month indicating as much.

Trump has a well-documented track record of attacking the press, and the Times in particular. He has called negative coverage of him and his administration “fake news” and referred to reporters and news outlets as the “enemy of the people.”

[The Hill]

Trump Cheers on Covington Student’s Lawsuit Against Washington Post: ‘Go Get Them Nick!’

President Donald Trump issued a tweet cheering on the defamation lawsuit a Kentucky high school student filed against The Washington Post for the paper’s coverage of his encounter with a Native American activist last month.

The lawsuit, according to the Post, claims the paper “targeted and bullied” 16-year-old Nicholas Sandmann“because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented, biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.”

“Go get them Nick,” Trump tweeted to the MAGA hat-wearing student. “Fake News!”

The suit was filed by Sandmann’s parents, according to the Post, who are seeking $250 million in damages — the sum Jeff Bezos paid for the paper when he bought it in 2013.

[Mediate]

Trump says ‘stock market would be down 10,000 points by now’ had ‘the opposition’ done this

President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted that the stock market would effectively have crashed had he lost the 2016 race for the White House, reiterating a number of similar statements he has made that have assigned credit to his administration for buoying financial markets over the past two-plus years.

Trump didn’t specify which benchmark he was referencing but, the 45th president was likely referring to the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.08% which has gained 42%, or more than 7,600 points, since the day before his stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8, 2016. (A 10,000-point fall in the Dow would have taken the blue-chip gauge to 8,259, representing a 55% tumble.)

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 SPX, +0.19%  has climbed 30.2% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.21%  has advanced by roughly 45% over the same period, according to FactSet data.

Perhaps more than any other president, Trump has hitched his success to that of the stock market.

He has signed into law a late-2017 corporate tax cut that delivered a fillip to U.S. stocks. However, Trump is dogged by an investigation into whether his presidential campaign colluded with Russia and his hard-charging tactic in negotiations with China on tariffs has helped to roil markets, even if there is hope that the testy discussions lead to a fairer trade pact between the two largest economies in the world.

[MarketWatch]

Reality

Donald Trump is again trying to take credit for a stock market that was booming, at the start of his presidency.

The reality is, the stock market was booming years before he took office, smashing an all-time record in 2014, thanks to the economic policies of President Barack Obama.

Frazzled and furious Trump attacks McCabe, Mueller and the media in hours-long Twitter meltdown

President Donald Trump closed Presidents Day weekend with a repeat performance of his late Sunday night into early Monday morning tweetstorm. For the second night in a row the President was up late Monday launching angry – and this time, juvenile – tweets, attacking his favorite targets: the Mueller investigation, former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and, as usual, the media.

And accusing some, like McCabe, of “Treason!”

Trump was clearly watching Fox News’ Sean Hannity when he tweeted that attack, and clearly he liked the “lying & leaking” part because about 30 minutes later, this juvenile attack:

Less than nine hours later, Trump was back with the attacks, again, quoting Fox News:

And then, minutes later, the media:

And then, the Democrats. Trump has literally no idea how the U.S. court system works. He thinks California has the option of filing a lawsuit in, say, Maine. They don’t. The 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over California, but Trump doesn’t understand that, so he displays his ignorance time and time again. But he’s also wrong: it’s 16 states, not cities, led by California.

“As I predicted, 16 cities, led mostly by Open Border Democrats and the Radical Left, have filed a lawsuit in, of course, the 9th Circuit! California, the state that has wasted billions of dollars on their out of control Fast Train, with no hope of completion, seems in charge!”

All in all, 10 tweets in 10 hours, including, quite ironically – and an amazing self-own – this:

[Raw Story]


Trump Urges ‘Retribution’ Against Saturday Night Live and ‘Many Other Shows’

Donald Trump‘s Sunday morning rage-tweet began with the suggestion of “retribution” against Saturday Night Live after the sketch show lampooned his “national emergency” press conference, in a pair of tweets that could serve as the script for next week’s show.

Trump slammed SNL and “many other shows,” called for “retribution,” and suggested that comedy shows be investigated for “collusion”:

Saturday night’s episode of SNL featured a cold-open that tore into the press conference at which Trump admitted his national emergence was not a national emergency while he was declaring a national emergency. There was also a biting segment during Weekend Update in which Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi rubbed Trump’s nose in the border compromise deal.

This is not the first time Trump has levelled accusations of “collusion” and suggested action against this particular television program. In December, Trump said that SNL and “unfair news coverage” should be “tested in courts.”

It is unclear what, exactly, Trump wants investigated, or what “retribution” he thinks is in order, but the First Amendment appears to protect comedy shows, even if they all make fun of the same guy.

[Mediaite]

Trump warns Europe he will free ISIS fighters if allies won’t prosecute them

President Donald Trump threatened Sunday to release hundreds of Islamic State fighters being held in Syria if allies in Europe don’t agree to take custody of the militants.

“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” Trump said in a late-night tweet. “The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.”

Trump, who intends to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, said the likely destination for the militants would be European countries. “The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go,” Trump said.

During the civil war in Syria, hundreds of militants flooded into the country, many coming from Europe to join ISIS’ ranks. It’s unclear how many of the militants Trump is referring to are actually European citizens.

Trump’s comments come as global leaders wrap up three days of security talks in Munich, where the conflict in Syria was among the agenda items.

James Jeffrey, the U.S.’s special representative on Syria issues, said in Munich that the U.S. will leave northeastern Syria, but the troop pullout will not be abrupt.

“It will be an orderly step-by-step withdraw,”Jeffrey said without offering a timeline.

In December, Trump called for a complete withdraw of U.S. forces in the country. And on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that the U.S. still plans to wind down the mission in Syria.

Still, the U.S. said it intends to keep its coalition together and wants allies to play a larger role in the broader campaign to root out ISIS elements.

Jeffrey said there are hundreds of ISIS cells scattered throughout the region. U.S. air power will remain ready to respond when needed, he said.

Trump has essentially declared victory over the group, which has been forced out of all its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria. But there remain concerns that ISIS could regroup if the U.S. pulls out. Trump said the time has come for other countries to pick up the slack.

“We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!,” Trump tweeted.

[Stars and Stripes]

Reality

Trump promised in the campaign he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS in 90 days. Instead:

1. 90 days came and went.

2. Said you’ll have a plan soon.

3. Your plan was to give the generals 90 days to formulate a plan.

4. Their plan was Obama’s strategy.

5. You take credit for #winning.

Trump just tweeted a video of Democrats looking sad set to REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” Really.

After declaring a national emergency to get his wall at the US-Mexico border on Friday, President Donald Trump took a little time on Twitter to mock his Democratic critics — and Mitt Romney.

The tweet features a video of Trump’s State of the Union last week, with REM’s “Everybody Hurts” playing in the background, and shots of various Democrats — Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and more — looking sad while they watched Trump speak. There is also a cut to Romney, who’s at times critical of Trump.

The video is credited to @Carpedonktum, a pro-Trump meme-maker — making it even weirder, since presidents usually don’t promote random Twitter accounts’ content.

Sure, this is funny — if, say, The Daily Showor Stephen Colbert does something like it.

But for the president to tweet it, it’s alarming. In the past, presidents have tried to keep at least a bit of an appearance that they respected and were willing to work with the other party. With his tweet, Trump is doing nothing of the sort; he’s just mocking his Democratic rivals.

It’s another example of how strong negative partisanship — or, in conservative parlance, “owning the libs” — has become. On both sides of the aisle, people love dunking on the other team. As American politics becomes more and more polarized, and Republicans in particular move in more extreme directions, this is becoming a bigger problem — one that’s fracturing both sides’ ability to work together to pass legislation and solve problems.

This even showed up in Trump’s State of the Union speech. Peter Baker reported for the New York Times that the initial speech was supposed to promote a more unified, bipartisan message, but Trump tried to edit it to make it meaner to Democrats — because, Baker wrote, Trump was still “stung by his failure to use a partial government shutdown to pressure Congress into paying for his border wall.”

And we’ve seen it in governments’ inability to really function in recent years, with various threats that the debt ceiling won’t be increased and multiple government shutdowns.

All of that may lead to some funny, unexpected tweets. But those tweets are a symptom of America’s broken politics.

[Vox]

Trump demands California pay him for funds sent for high-speed rail

Always one to attack the state of California, President Donald Trump demanded the state send him $3 billion after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) said that the project is on hold while the state figures out some of the problems facing the state.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!” Trump tweeted.

Newsome announced in his first state of the state address that he would scale back plans. The decision isn’t a surprise as California is grappling with one of the largest fires in their history, sparked in part by the main energy company. PG&E is steps from bankruptcy to avoid the billions of dollars courts have ordered them to pay to repair and maintain their electrical lines.

“We’re going to make high-speed rail a reality for CA,” Newsome said on Twitter. “We have the capacity to complete the rail between Merced and Bakersfield. We will continue our regional projects north and south. Finish Phase 1 enviro work. Connect the Central Valley to other parts of the state.”

[Raw Story]

Trump calls on Omar to resign over remarks condemned as anti-Semitic

President Trump on Tuesday called on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to resign for comments on Israel that were criticized as anti-Semitic.

“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Trump said of the freshman lawmaker.

Omar apologized on Monday for suggesting that U.S. support for a Jewish state is the result of money flowing from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

The comments were quickly condemned by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders. But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Roll Call that Omar would not be stripped of her committee assignments. 

The president said Omar’s comments are “deep seated in her heart” and called her apology “lame.”

Trump was similarly critical of Omar on Mondaynight but had stopped short of calling on the congresswoman to step down.

“I think she should be ashamed of herself,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.  

Asked at the time what an appropriate response would be for Omar, Trump said, “She knows what to say.”

Omar prompted criticism from members of both major parties on Sunday evening when she retweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald’s response to a story about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promising “action” toward the Minnesota lawmaker and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their alleged anti-Semitism.

She captioned that retweet with the message, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” referring to money.

Conservatives have touted GOP leaders’ decision last month to strip Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of his committee assignments after he questioned why the term “white supremacist” is offensive, contrasting it to Democrats’ response to Omar.

But some Democrats have called Republicans’ punishment for King too little too late, pointing out that the Iowa lawmaker has made inflammatory comments about Hispanic immigrants for years.

[The Hill]

A Trump Supporter Attacked Journalists After The President Blasted The Media At His Texas Rally

A man wearing a Make America Great Again hat barreled into the press pit at Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas, Monday night and started shoving reporters, knocking over their equipment, and yelled “fuck the media,” minutes after the president had lashed out at journalists.

About half way through his lengthy, campaign-style speech, Trump ridiculed the media for “refusing to acknowledge” his administration’s successes, invoking loud boos and jeers from the crowd.

“I guess 93% of the stories are negative. No matter what we do, they figure out a way to make it that,” the president said, rattling off topics, such as North Korea, the economy, and manufacturing, which he feels that the media has unfairly skewed.

As Trump went on touting how his successes, a man in a red MAGA hat suddenly burst toward the group of reporters and photographers who were covering the speech, pushing them over, knocking their cameras and tripods, and repeatedly yelling, “fuck the media.”

“I was trying to tweet and watch the president and all of the sudden the riser started shaking and two tripods in front of me fell on top of one another and then a guy almost fell on me,” Yasmine El-Sabawi, a producer with TRT World, a Turkish news channel, told BuzzFeed News.

A photographer dropped his camera as she and other reporters quickly tried to figure out what was happening.

“Then it set in that someone was here who wasn’t supposed to be here and then you saw the red hat and it sinks in and you get it,” El-Sabawi said.

The attacker “went straight for the BBC camera man,” El-Sabawi added.

Several members of the BBC who were at the rally shared their footage and accounts on Twitter.

In one clip, a BBC camera steadily trained on Trump’s podium suddenly falters and blurs. Eleanor Montague, the outlet’s Washington editor, tweeted that it was because he was “attacked by a Trump supporter.”

“The crowd had been whipped into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night,” she wrote.

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