Trump: ‘I’d love to see a shutdown’ over immigration

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he supports a government shutdown if Democrats won’t agree to tighten immigration laws, undercutting ongoing bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill.

The comment, which came during a White House meeting on the violent MS-13 gang, was not well received in the room. Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican who represents a district with thousands of federal workers, confronted Trump about the remark and urged him to avoid another government shutdown.

“If we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown,” Trump said of the nation’s immigration laws. “We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.”

He added: “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety, and unrelated but still related, they don’t want to take care of our military, then shut it down. We’ll go with another shutdown.”

The government will run out of funding Thursday if negotiators can’t strike a deal.
Several Republican aides working on the budget deal have voiced concern to CNN that the President’s comments about a shutdown may cause things to fall apart.
“Holding my breath right now,” texted one senior Republican working on the deal.

The issue is whether House Democrats — who have for months been outright resistant to signing onto a budget agreement without a resolution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — will now back away from the breakthrough deal negotiators are approaching.

The President’s remarks happened at the same time Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, in separate news conferences, touted the progress on the talks and made clear a deal was close. The talks also separate the issue from immigration altogether — long the GOP goal — making the President’s comments somewhat confusing.

“Things are in a good place, but also fragile,” another GOP aide said, noting all of the moving parts in the talks. “We could do without anything inflammatory for a couple of days.”

Speaking shortly after Trump during the White House meeting, Comstock said she would not back such a move and urged Trump to avoid it.

“We don’t need a government shutdown on this,” she said. “I think both sides have learned that a government shutdown is bad.”

At a later event, Comstock described her comments with Trump as “a very civil discussion” and that she doesn’t “support government shutdowns.

When asked to clarify his remarks at the end of the roundtable, Trump told reporters again that he would shut down the government over immigration.

“I would shut it down over this issue. I can’t speak for everybody at the table but I will tell you, I would shut it down over this issue,” he said, adding that if the US doesn’t straighten out its borders “we don’t have a country. Without borders we don’t have a country.”
Rep. Pete King, R-New York, who attended the White House meeting, told reporters afterward that he doesn’t think the government will shutdown over immigration policy, despite Trump’s comments.

“I don’t see that in the offing,” King said.

Schumer responded to Trump’s shutdown threat, saying it “speaks for itself.”

“We had one Trump shutdown, nobody wants another, maybe except him,” Schumer said.
Trump oversaw a multi-day government shutdown last month over immigration reform.

Though Trump opposed that government shutdown, he has previously said the United States could use a government work stoppage.

“Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess,” he tweeted in May.

[CNN]

Trump just said the US sold Norway F-52s — but no such aircraft exists

President Donald Trump said the US had sold Norway F-52 fighter jets during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday.

But no such aircraft exists. The president may have misspoke because the US has sold Norway 52 F-35s.

Oslo received the first three last November.

Trump is getting roasted on Twitter for his gaffe

[Business Insider]

Kushner Used Private Email For White House Work

President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has used a private email account to communicate with other officials in the administration about White House business, according to Politico. 

Kushner has used the email to talk about various topics — including media planning and event coverage — with figures such as former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Stephen Bannon and President Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.

Kushner set up the account during the transition period after he campaigned for Trump, who frequently attacked former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for her user of a private email server while she was secretary of State.

“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell told Politico in a statement.

“Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.”

The report comes as special counsel Robert Mueller continues to probe alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the presidential campaign.

Kushner has been seen as a person of interest by Mueller.

The Washington Post reported in May that Kushner and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. had discussed setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin.

It was reported in June that Kushner was present at a Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016 with a Russian lawyer that was organized by Donald Trump Jr. after he was told the lawyer could provide damaging information on Clinton.

[The Hill]

Finland Says No Fighter Deal with Boeing After Trump’s Ad-Lib Comments

President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday denied that Finland was buying new fighter jets from American planemaker Boeing (BA.N), following remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Finland is looking to replace its ageing fleet of 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets with multirole fighter aircraft in a procurement estimated at 7-10 billion euros by 2025.

“One of the things that is happening is you’re purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing and it’s one of the great planes, the great fighter jets,” Trump said on Monday at a news conference with his Finnish counterpart in the White House.

Niinisto, who was standing next to Trump, looked surprised but did not follow up on the comment. He later denied the deal with Boeing on his Twitter account and on Tuesday in Washington.

“It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed … The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here,” Niinisto told Finnish reporters.

Helsinki is expected to request that European and U.S. planemakers provide quotations for new jets in 2018, with a final decision made in the early 2020s.

A government working group has listed possible candidates as Saab’s (SAABb.ST) Jas Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s (AVMD.PA) Rafale, Boeing’s Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-35 and the Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

[Reuters]

Trump Vows North Korea Threat Will Be Met With ‘Fire and Fury’

Amid sharply escalating tensions with North Korea, President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if the country continues to threaten the United States.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” the president warned, responding to a reporter’s question at his Bedminster Golf Club, where Trump has spent the last several days. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Trump’s remarks came just hours after reports that North Korea had developed a nuclear weapon small enough to fit on a missile.

The president also said North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has been “very threatening” recently.

U.S. officials believe North Korea now has the capability to put a nuclear weapon on a missile, NBC News reported on Tuesday, confirming a report in The Washington Post. According to a U.S. official briefed on the assessment, the advance does not mean North Korea has a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can survive reentry accurately.

Last month, North Korea proved its missile capabilities have reached a point where U.S. cities are within “target range.”

The Dow dropped Tuesday, in response to the president’s warning, thus ending a 10-day streak of nine record closes in a row.

In dealing with North Korea, the Trump administration has relied heavily on China to intervene with Pyongyang and convince Kim to stop his nuclear program, but outreach and action have stalled in recent months.

Top White House advisor Kellyanne Conway called Trump’s remarks on North Korea “strong and obvious,” declining to comment further on the strategy while briefing reporters in New Jersey on the administration’s efforts against the opioid crisis.

The White House continues to insist that all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., criticized Trump’s comments as further isolating North Korea — a strategy she says has not worked to advance American goals in the region.

“The United States must quickly engage North Korea in a high-level dialogue without any preconditions,” Feinstein said in a statement, stating “in my view, diplomacy is the only sound path forward.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement: “We need to be firm and deliberate with North Korea, but reckless rhetoric is not a strategy to keep America safe.”

And Arizona Sen. John McCain said he took “exception to the President’s comments because you’ve gotta be sure you can do what you say you can do.”

Ret. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, in an appearance on MSNBC Tuesday, called the escalation with North Korea the “biggest crisis” that this Trump administration has yet to face on the global stage.

Trump has previously vowed to confront North Korea “very strongly” for testing missile launches, telling reporters during a trip last month to Warsaw, Poland that “I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” in terms of potential responses.

While Trump has said he does not “draw red lines” — a criticism he often levels of former President Barack Obama’s stated threshold in Syria — Trump’s comments Tuesday seem to draw a line at continued threatening rhetoric from North Korea.

[NBC News]

Trump Retweets Fox News Story Containing Classified Info

President Donald Trump’s retweet of a Fox News story claiming US satellites detected North Korea moving anti-cruise ship missiles to a patrol boat is raising eyebrows on Tuesday after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley indicated that the information in the report is classified and was leaked.

“I can’t talk about anything that’s classified and if that’s in the newspaper that’s a shame,” Haley said Tuesday on “Fox and Friends” when asked about the story that cites two anonymous sources.

Pushed on whether the information was leaked, Haley said “it’s one of those things I don’t know what’s going on. I will tell you it’s incredibly dangerous when things get out into the press like that.”

But just a few hours before Haley’s appearance on Fox, Trump retweeted a post from the Fox News morning show promoting the story said to contain classified information.

CNN has not independently verified the Fox News report and the White House has not responded to a request for comment.

Trump’s motive for retweeting the Fox News story remains unclear but the decision to promote a report that — according to the US ambassador to the United Nations — contains classified information leaked to the press by anonymous sources comes just days after the President praised Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ plan to combat that very practice in the name of national security.

“After many years of LEAKS going on in Washington, it is great to see the A.G. taking action!” Trump tweeted. “For National Security, the tougher the better!” Trump tweeted over the weekend.

Tuesday’s retweet also coincided with the release of a series of new polls that not only call Trump’s Twitter habits into question but also reveal major concerns around the President’s trustworthiness and ability to effectively manage the standoff with North Korea.

According to a new CBS News poll only a third of those surveyed having confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the situation with North Korea.

A new CNN poll shows that a majority (52%) of Americans say Trump’s tweets are not an effective way for him to share his views on important issues, and 72% say they do not send the right message to other world leaders.

Further, 62% overall say that Trump’s statements and actions since taking office have made them less confident in his ability to be president.

In May, Trump was criticized after The Washington Post reported that he shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador to the US in a White House meeting.

Despite statements from top administration officials that called the report “false,” two former officials knowledgeable of the situation confirmed to CNN at the time that the main points of the Post story were accurate.

[CNN]

Trump Mindlessly Tweets Fox & Friends Report That Blames Him for Obamacare Premium Hikes

President Donald Trump promoted a Fox News article that suggests he is responsible for Obamacare premium hikes.

At 4:40 a.m. ET on Thursday, Trump shared a tweet from his favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, that warned Obamacare premiums would be rising.

But the article concluded by suggesting that the president was at fault for the premium hikes because he had threatened to withhold payments from insurers.

The Journal reported that insurers are concerned about Trump’s threat to halt payments to the industry that in turn help bring down costs, as well as whether Republicans will continue to enforce the individual mandate to buy insurance.

According to the Journal, one insurer in Montana linked the bulk of its proposed 23 percent increase to those two concerns.

[Raw Story]

Intel Officials Fret Trump Doesn’t Understand Info Given to Him During 30-Minute Security Briefings

It’s now well-known that President Donald Trump allegedly revealed classified information to Russian officials during an unorthodox Oval Office meeting a few weeks ago. The underlying message behind that story, according to a new Washington Post report, is about how the president consumes the intelligence that comes across his desk.

According to the Post, Trump’s intelligence briefings “often run past their scheduled time, stretching for 30 or 45 minutes, prompting Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to pop into the Oval Office to cut off the discussion: ‘Mr. President, we’ve got people backing up outside.’”

It’s not just the length, but also the content of the Trump’s briefings that appear to be cause for concern. Prior reports reveal that the president prefers the use of “visual aides” like infographics and photos in his briefings, and this latest Post report reinforces that.

“As they huddle around the desk, Trump likes to pore over visuals — maps, charts, pictures and videos, as well as “killer graphics,” as CIA Director Mike Pompeo phrased it,” Post reporters Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker wrote. This tendency towards visuals is, according to their sources, due to Trump’s career in real estate that required him to regularly view blueprints.

Despite efforts by White House staff to make intelligence more legible for the president, “there are signs that the president may not be retaining all the intelligence he is presented, fully absorbing its nuance, or respecting the sensitivities of the information and how it was gathered,” Parker and Rucker wrote.

The president’s seeming mishandling of the classified intelligence he gave to the Russians, according to the Post, provides an uneasy “portrait of Trump as a consumer of the nation’s secrets”.

During his presidential transition, Trump infamously said he only needed weekly briefings, and reports from the transition noted that he would often refuse briefings presented to him.

“Pompeo and [Director of National Intelligence Dan] Coats are doing their best to give him the most accurate daily briefing, but my sense is in the rank-and-file, they are very worried about how do you deal with him and about sharing with him sensitive material,” former Assistant CIA Director Mark Lowenthal told the Post. “This is the result of his behavior.”

[Raw Story]

Trump’s Irish Proverb Come From a Nigerian Muslim Poet

During the annual White House meeting with the Irish Prime Minister on Thursday, President Donald Trump shared one of his favorite proverbs with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The only problem was, as many pointed out on social media after the meeting’s broadcast, it may not have been an Irish proverb at all.

“As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of a proverb — and this is a good one, this is one I like. I’ve heard it for many, many years and I love it,” Trump said. “Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue, but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.”

The proverb that Trump cited does indeed appear on a few websites that list “St. Patrick’s Day Blessings” and in a few memes dotting Pinterest and Instagram profiles.

But as viewers were quick to point out after Trump’s meeting with Kenny aired on MSNBC, a Google search for the proverb quickly leads to a longer poem posted online in January 2013 by a Nigerian Muslim bank manager named Albasheer Adam Alhassan.

The 32-year-old told NBC News he wrote the poem in 2001 when he was a teenager, “when no one in Nigeria had access to the internet.”

The mystery continues to unfurl over where, exactly, Trump found the stanza. Similar quotes appear in books published in 1997 and as far back as 1936, as The Guardian discovered on Friday, but none cite the passage as Irish.

Irish social media users also weighed in, with some — including Twitter’s former Ireland director Mark Little — highly skeptical that a quote they’d never heard of was indeed an old proverb from the Emerald Isle.

Regardless of where the quote came from, the bulk of social media responses pointed to Alhassan’s poem as a suspected source — noting its prominence in Google search results.

“I’m actually surprised because I’m wondering how someone like the American president got to find a poem that I just posted on the internet,” said Alhassan.

“I have no idea how he found it,” said Alhassan, who told NBC News that his religion is Islam.

NBC News reached out to the White House to ask whether it’s possible a mistake was made, and to verify the source of the proverb. The White House did not immediately respond.

Alhassan told NBC News that he’s been writing poetry since 2001, but doesn’t have much time for it these days due to his position at the First Bank of Nigeria, the country’s largest. Of the poem “Remember to Forget,” he said the subject was “human nature.”

“I noticed that people are always nice to you when they need something but when they get what they want they abandon you,” said Alhassan of the poem’s meaning. “People use you as tools.”

He couldn’t explain how the poem he claimed as his own had appeared in several other books. He was adamant it was his own work.

Alhassan described himself as an introvert, and said when he was younger he preferred writing to going out and playing with friends. He was just sharing his thoughts, he said, when he posted the poems online, and never expected a powerful U.S. president to come across them — much less to conflate them with Ireland.

“I don’t know why he related it to St Patrick’s Day — it’s got nothing to do with that,” said Alhassan. “It’s just based on my personal experiences.”

The irony of an African Muslim’s words potentially being read by a president who promised during the campaign to ban Muslims from the U.S. is not lost on Alhassan, who said he disagrees with Trump’s travel ban.

“I think that policy is very harsh. There is a big difference between the way people see Islam and how it actually is,” Alhassan said.

Like many, Alhassan wants to stay positive about Trump’s presidency and said he doesn’t necessarily want to be part of a chorus of critics.

At the same time, said Alhassan, “There are some policies that do not favor the blacks and religious beliefs.”

(h/t NBC News)

Media

 

Trump Leaked Classified CIA Intel to Tucker Carlson on Live TV

Pres. Donald Trump either leaked classified intelligence information to the world or told another whopping fib on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Wednesday when he said that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s servers were hacked under Pres. Barack Obama.

TheHill.com reported that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said in a press release, “In his effort to once again blame Obama, the President appeared to have discussed something that, if true and accurate, would otherwise be considered classified information.”

“I just want people to know, the CIA was hacked, and a lot of things taken — that was during the Obama years,” claimed Trump Wednesday night. “That was not during us. That was during the Obama situation. Mike Pompeo is there now doing a fantastic job.”

Schiff said, “The President has the power to declassify whatever he wants, but this should be done as the product of thoughtful consideration and with intense input from any agency affected. For anyone else to do what the President may have done, would constitute what he deplores as ‘leaks.’”

(h/t Raw Story)

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