“I think the European Union is a foe,” Trump says ahead of Putin meeting in Helsinki

Coming off a contentious NATO summit and a trip to the U.K. in which he seemed to undercut the government of America’s closest ally, President Trump took aim at another Western institution just days before his high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland on Saturday, President Trump named the European Union — comprising some of America’s oldest allies — when asked to identify his “biggest foe globally right now.”

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive,” Mr. Trump said at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland.

“I respect the leaders of those countries. But, in a trade sense, they’ve really taken advantage of us and many of those countries are in NATO and they weren’t paying their bills,” he added.

On Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the BBC that Mr. Trump had encouraged her to “sue the EU” rather than negotiate over the U.K.’s departure from the bloc. May’s conservative government is deeply split over her handling of Brexit, and her hold on power was further weakened by Mr. Trump’s comments to a British tabloid that her approach had likely “killed” any chance of a new trade deal with the U.S. once Brexit is complete. (Mr. Trump tried to walk back his criticism in a joint press conference on Friday.)

At the summit of NATO allies in Brussels last week, Mr. Trump took a hard line toward member nations for failing to meet targeted defense spending goals. He claimed his tough stance had paid off in getting allies to spend more on defense, telling reporters on Thursday that members had “upped their commitments and I am very happy.”

The president kicked off the NATO summit by blasting Germany as “totally controlled” and “captive by Russia” over a natural gas pipeline project, known as the Nord Stream 2. The U.S. fears the deal could give Moscow greater leverage over Western Europe. In Saturday’s interview, the president reiterated the criticisms he made in Brussels.

“Germany made a pipeline deal with Russia. Where they’re going to be paying Russia billions and billions of dollars a year for energy, and I say that’s not good, that’s not fair. You’re supposed to be fighting for someone and then that someone gives billions of dollars to the one you’re, you know, guarding against. I think it’s ridiculous, so I let that be known also this time,” Mr. Trump told Glor. “I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot of anger at the fact that Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars. There’s a lot of anger. I also think it’s a very bad thing for Germany. Because it’s like, what, are they waving a white flag?”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, told reporters after the president’s comments in Brussels that she had “experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union” and said her country today made “independent policies” and “independent decisions.

In the CBS News interview, Mr. Trump also continued to criticize the special counsel’s Russia investigation, saying it is having an impact on America’s standing in the world. “I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole witch hunt that’s going on in the United States,” the president said. “I think it hurts our relationship with Russia. I actually think it hurts our relationship with a lot of countries. I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on.”

Mr. Trump heads to Helsinki on Sunday ahead of his meeting with Putin on Monday. He told Glor he has “low expectations” for the summit. “Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” he said.

[CBS News]

Trump Declares ‘Much of Our News Media is Indeed the Enemy of the People’

President Donald Trump went after the media again this afternoon and once again used that “enemy of the people” line.

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump Trashes CNN, NBC, The Sun During Presser With UK PM Theresa May

While diapered Trump flew over Parliament in London, President Donald Trump treated Brits to one of his Fake News tantrums at Chequers, the country estate of the prime ministers, baring his teeth at reporters on scene from CNN, and NBC.

Trump also accused his mentor Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun of “Fake News” for having accurately reported that he bashed PM Theresa May’s Brexit exit plan, and hailed Boris Johnson as UK’s future PM during a sit-down. The Sun is “Fake News” he explained because it did not include all the nice things he said about May during the interview he gave on his way to Brussels to meet with NATO members.

At this morning’s presser, Trump explained that when he gave the interview, he did not fully understand May’s Brexit exit proposal. He said he does now, after spending the better part of two days with May. He also argued he now knows May much better, calling their relationship at the “highest level of special.”

“I didn’t criticize the PM. I have a lot of respect for the PM. And unfortunately there was a story that was done, which was generally fine, but it didn’t put in what I said about the PM,” he whined.

NBC’s White House correspondent Kristen Welker asked Trump if taking on NATO allies, and criticizing May on her own soil ,gave Russian ruler Vladimir Putin the upper hand heading into their meeting next week, given that Putin seeks to destroy these alliances.

“See, that’s such dishonest reporting. Of course it happens to be NBC — which is possibly worse than CNN,” Triggered Trump responded.

“When you look at what we’ve done in terms of Russia,” Trump said. “I guarantee whoever it is in Russia, they’re saying, ‘Oh, gee, do we wish that trump was not the victor in that election.’ We have been far tougher on Russia than anybody,” nothing that when Russia poisoned people in the UK May “asked would I do something and we expelled 60 people, and Germany did three. The Fake News doesn’t want to talk about that,” he said, inaccurately.

Also at that presser, CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask a question, but Trump cut him off, saying “CNN is Fake News; I don’t take questions from CNN.” Trump pointedly took the next question from Murdoch’s Fox News Channel, saying “let’s go to a real network.”

But Trump included Murdoch’s The Sun in his Fake News category during today’s presser. His complaint? The newspaper did not put in all the good things he said about her in that interview.

“It’s called Fake News,” he said.

“I said very good thing about her…they did not put it in the headline. That’s one of those things,” Trump said. May he reported, reacted like “a total professional.”

“When I saw her this morning I said I wanted to apologize because I said such good things about you.” she said don’t worry it’s only the press.”

When May seemed to mumble something about antagonizing media at a presser, Trump shot back, “Don’t worry; they’ve been doing it to me and I do it to them.”

[Deadline]

Trump Goes on Anti-Immigrant Rant: They’re ‘Changing The Culture’ of Europe

President Donald Trump, whose family once immigrated to the United States from Germany and Scotland, slammed immigrants coming into Europe for changing the continent’s “culture.”

Times editor Francis Elliott asked Trump about his remarks to The Sunthat Europe is “losing [its] culture” because of immigration.

“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago,” he told The Sun, the last remark presumably referring to the fabled “no-go zones” of London dreamt up by Breitbart bloggers.

In the presser with Theresa May, Trump doubled down, stating immigration has “been very bad for Europe.”

“You see the same terror attacks that I do,” he said. “I just think it’s changing the culture. It’s a very negative thing for Europe.”

“It’s not politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it, and I’ll say it loud,” he continued. “I think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture. You are changing a lot of things.”

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, had a different response to the question.

“The UK has a proud history of welcoming people who are fleeing persecution to our country,” she said. “We have a proud history of welcoming people who want to come to our country to contribute to our economy and contribute to our society. And over the years, overall immigration has been good for the UK. It’s brought people with different backgrounds, different outlooks here to the UK.”

“Of course what is important is that we have control of our borders, what is important is we have a set of rules that enable us to determine who comes into our country,” she added. “And of course that is what, as a government, we have been doing for a number of years and will continue to do in the future.”

[Mediaite]

President Trump Called The Sun “Fake News”. But The Tabloid Quoted Him Accurately.

US president Donald Trump has labelled Murdoch tabloid the Sun “fake news” for its publication of an exclusive interview, despite the newspaper conducting the interview on the record and accurately quoting him.

In a press conference alongside Theresa May at Chequers on Friday, Trump tried to contain the fallout after his comments criticising the prime minister’s proposed Brexit deal, which had run in Friday’s edition of the newspaper.

“I didn’t criticise the prime minister,” Trump said.

“I have a lot of respect for the prime minister and unfortunately there was a story that was done and it was generally fine but it didn’t put in what I said about the prime minister.

“I said tremendous things. Fortunately we tend to record stories now so we have it, so we can have it for your enjoyment if you’d like it.

“We record when we deal with reporters – it’s called ‘fake news’.”

The Sun’s interview was conducted by political editor Tom Newton Dunn in Brussels on Wednesday, with Trump’s praise for the prime minister included both online and on page 2 of the newspaper.

udio of Trump’s comments has also been published online since the interview went live. Later in the press conference, Trump was told the Sun’s political editor was among the journalists gathered and went on to ask him whether he’d praised May during the interview.

“Did I say nice things about Theresa May, please?” Trump said, with the camera panning around to Newton Dunn, who was nodding.

Trump continued: “I didn’t think they put it in. They didn’t put it in the headline. I wish they put it in the headline.”

He said he apologised to the prime minister on Friday morning, claiming May was dismissive of the Sun interview.

“I want to apologise, because I said such nice things,” Trump said. “She said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s only the press.'”

In response, the Sun issued a statement that both said the newspaper stood by the publication of the interview and seemed to defend Trump’s “fake news” outburst from his critics.

“We stand by our reporting and the quotes we used – including those where the President was positive about the Prime Minister, in both the paper and in our audio – and we’re delighted that the President essentially retracted his original charge against the paper later in the press conference,” a Sun spokesperson said.

“To say the President used ‘fake news’ with any serious intent is, well… ‘fake news’.”

The newspaper had led its coverage of the Trump interview with the president’s scathing assessment of May’s Brexit handling and a future possible trade deal, with the front-page headline: “May has wrecked Brexit… US deal is off!”

According to the Sun interview, Trump said he would have taken the “opposite” of May’s approach and suggested the prime minister’s current plan would “kill” off a trade deal between the US and UK.

“I would have done it much differently,” Trump said. “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”

On Friday afternoon, standing alongside May, Trump walked back his comments.

“Once the Brexit process has concluded and perhaps the UK has left the EU, I don’t know what they’re going to do, but whatever you do is OK with me, that’s your decision,” Trump said.

“Whatever you’re going to do is OK with us. Just make sure we can trade together.”

Attacking the media was a feature of the Friday press conference at Chequers, with Trump’s “fake news” slur of the Sun not the only instance where the president complained about reporters and specific outlets.

Unhappy with a question about his upcoming meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump called an NBC reporter’s question “dishonest” and said her network was “possibly worse than CNN”.

He also snubbed a CNN reporter, yelling “CNN is fake news and I don’t take questions from CNN,” as May grimaced alongside him.

[Buzzfeed]

Media

Here is the audio of Trump’s interview with The Sun.

President Trump attacks U.K. politicians, says ‘baby’ blimp makes him feel unwelcome in London

President Donald Trump came out swinging in a British tabloid interview Thursday, calling the mayor of London “soft on terrorism” and saying he felt unwelcome in the English capital.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Trump injected himself into a British political landscape still feeling the aftershocks of a cabinet shakeup fueled by a growing rift over Brexit. He said Boris Johnson, the former foreign minister who resigned this week in a split with Prime Minister Theresa May, “would make a great prime minister.”

The interview was so explosive in the United Kingdom that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a late-night statement, clarifying that “the president likes and respects Prime Minister May very much” and “is a really terrific person.”

Trump made clear he’s firmly on the side of Johnson and others who want the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. He said he warned British Prime Minister Theresa May not to work toward a so-called “soft Brexit” that would maintain political and economic ties with the continent.

“I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me,” he said.

And he even warned that May’s proposed compromise — in which the U.K. would maintain open borders with Europe while seeking more political autonomy — would kill the possibility of a U.S.-U.K. trade deal.

“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” he said.

More: President Donald Trump arrives to Britain in ‘turmoil’

Trump will meet with May Friday, followed by a joint press conference and tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle before leaving for Scotland.

Trump called the 92-year-old queen — the longest-reigning monarch in British history — “a tremendous woman.”

“My wife is a tremendous fan of hers. She has got a great and beautiful grace about her,” Trump said in the interview, which took place in Brussels Wednesday morning but was published Thursday night.

More: Melania Trump stuns in sweeping Grecian-goddess J. Mendel gown for dinner at Churchill’s palace

Although Trump is staying at the U.S. ambassador’s London mansion during his two-day trip to London, all of his scheduled public events are outside the city.

“I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?” he said  “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London.”

Trump was referring to the 20-foot “Trump Baby” balloon floating above protests in London.

Trump also lashed out at his longtime nemesis, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim who has criticized Trump’s ban on travel to the United States from several predominately Muslim countries.

“You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job,” Trump said “Take a look at the terrorism that is taking place. Look at what is going on in London.”

And Trump suggested that Khan’s criticism of him personally reflected a disrespect for the office he holds.

“He might not like the current president, but I represent the United States,” Trump said.

[USA Today]

Reality

Trump told May he wouldn’t come to England until he had a warm welcome. He didn’t get it.

Trump: I could pull out of NATO, but that’s “unnecessary”

President Trump was just asked directly he was threatening to pull out of NATO.

A reporter asked: “Are you still threatening to potentially pull the United States out of NATO for any reason, and do you believe you can do that without Congress’s explicit support and approval?

Here’s what Trump said:

“I think I probably can, but that is unnecessary. They have stepped up today like they have never stepped up before.”

[CNN]

Furious Trump unleashes unhinged tweet against ‘Ex-FBI LAYER Lisa Page’

Lisa Page has ignored a subpoena from Congressional investigators who have abandoned the Russia investigation and pivoted to investigating the FBI instead.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) threatened Page that he would enforce the subpoena, but has yet to do so.

“Ex-FBI LAYER [sic] Lisa Page today defied a House of Representatives issued Subpoena to testify before Congress! Wow, but is anybody really surprised! Together with her lover, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, she worked on the Rigged Witch Hunt, perhaps the most tainted and corrupt case EVER!” Trump ranted.

About an hour later, Trump tweeted out another accusation on what he now calls a “Rigged Witch Hunt,” as opposed to a regular witch hunt he previously called special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is unclear if by saying the investigation is rigged Trump believes the investigation should be restarted. That would mean it would continue for many more years.

[Raw Story]

Reality

This was, of course, a complete mis-characterization of Page’s lawyer’s answer to the subpoena. They requested more time to read the documents sent over by Congress, and will testify the following day.

Trump to Dems: If You Want to ‘Win’ SCOTUS, ‘Don’t Obstruct… WIN ELECTIONS!’

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to tell Democrats that if they want to have a Supreme Court pick, they should “WIN ELECTIONS!”

“If the Democrats want to win Supreme Court and other Court picks, don’t Obstruct and Resist, but rather do it the good ol’ fashioned way, WIN ELECTIONS!,” Trump tweeted out.

Trump was, of course referring to the fact that Democrats have come forward in opposition of his new SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh, a judge that may move SCOTUS sharply to the right.

“This will not happen without a fight,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Bookersaid to a rally crowd outside SCOTUS. “We who believe that a woman has the right to make her own medical decisions, we now must fight! Don’t tell me this battle is already lost — I don’t believe that.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also tweeted out this:

However, Trump’s latest tweet ignores the very recent history of the case of one-time SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland. Garland was nominated by Obama for the nation’s top court, however, his bid for the Supreme Court was quickly steamrolled by Sen. Mitch McConnelland his other cronies.

[Mediaite]

Reality

We did win elections, then Mitch stole a Supreme Court* pick through historic obstruction. We expect the Democrats to treat Kavanaugh as well as the GOP treated Merrick Garland.

At NATO, Trump lashes out at allies and then asks them to double their defense spending goals

President Trump on Wednesday issued an ambitious call for vastly more defense spending at NATO, pushing for a doubling of their defense spending commitments hours after he delivered a blistering tirade against Germany and other allies.

The demand during a closed-door meeting of NATO leaders would radically increase the amount of money channeled toward military purposes in the Western alliance — and even the United States is currently falling well short of Trump’s new goal.

Although Trump joined fellow NATO leaders in approving a sweeping set of plans to bolster defenses against Russia and terrorism, the U.S. president has complained that Europe has been taking advantage of U.S. military support for the continent. He urged his counterparts to substantially raise targets that they are already missing.

The move would raise billions more for defense. But not even the United States — which spends more money on defense than any other nation in the world — meets Trump’s new goal of annual spending of 4 percent of nations’ gross domestic product. Washington spent 3.6 percent last year.

“During the president’s remarks today at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent. The president raised this same issue when he was at NATO last year,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

“President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations,” she said.

Asked at a news conference about Trump’s demands on defense spending, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg  suggested that the focus should be on getting every member country to reach the current goal of 2 percent. Only eight of 29 NATO countries are on track to meet the 2 percent goal this year.

Despite Trump’s pugnacious posture and rhetoric, allies sought to project unity at the conclusion of meetings in Brussels.

“We do have disagreements, but most importantly, we have decisions that are pushing this alliance forward and making us stronger,” Stoltenberg said. “At the end of the day, we all agree that North America and Europe are safer together.”

Trump raised the spending issue during his remarks in the first and main session of the NATO summit.

The decision to sign on to the NATO defense plans plans suggested that Trump is holding back from slashing support for the alliance, despite his anger over what he says is Europe’s taking advantage of the U.S. security umbrella. NATO leaders are still concerned that he will make concessions to Russian President Vladimir Putin when the two meet on Monday in Helsinki.

[Washington Post]

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