Trump Claims Report on North Korea’s Secret Missile Program ‘Inaccurate’: I’ll ‘Let You Know if Things Go Bad!’

Taking again to Twitter to bash The New York Times, President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that the outlet’s report that North Korea is secretly beefing up its ballistic missile program was false.

“The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate,” he said Tuesday about the Monday article. “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”

In its article, the Times used satellite images to reveal that the regime appeared to be “engaged in a great deception.”

“It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads,” the report read. “The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Ramps Up Attacks on Macron, Hits ‘Very Low Approval Rating’: ‘MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!’

President Donald Trump has been on a tear against French President Emmanuel Macron since returning from his trip to France to commemorate the centennial of the end of WWI.

Early Tuesday morning, Trump mocked France’s performance in the two world wars. Later, he complained about wine tariffs between the two countries. Now, he’s ripping Macron’s approval rating in response to the French president’s rejection of nationalism, a term Trump has embraced.

“The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!” Trump tweeted.

“MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!” he added.

Macron rejected nationalism in a speech on Sunday, in what many considered a rebuke of Trump.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first … we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace, and what is essential: its moral values.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Confused the Baltics with Balkans—and Accused Confused Leaders of Starting Yugoslav Wars

President Donald Trump confused the Baltic states in Europe with the Balkans—and chastised leaders of the former for starting wars in the 1990s that lead to the break-up of Yugoslavia, French daily Le Monde reported.

Trump reportedly made the mistake in a White House meeting with Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia in April.

The leaders were reportedly confused by the president’s accusation, and it took them a minute to realize he had confused the Balkans and the Baltics.

The Baltic states lie in northern Europe, on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea.

Around 1,000 miles away sits the Balkan region in south-eastern Europe. It comprises states including Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Much of the region was incorporated into the state of Yugoslavia, which became a socialist state after German occupying forces were ousted following World War II.

In the 1990s Yugoslavia disintegrated and the region was torn apart in a series of civil wars, culminating with the Kosovo war of 1998-1999.

Trump’s mistake is perhaps more surprising given that his wife, Melania, was born in Slovenia, a state that was part of Yugoslavia until 1991.

Trump, according to the Le Monde report, remained “apparently uneducated in the matter by his wife, Melania, originally from the former Yugoslavia”.

The report comes with new tensions emerging this weekend between Trump and the U.S.’s traditional European allies. The president is in Europe this weekend for events marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

On Friday, Trump attacked French president Emanuel Macron on Twitter, after the French leader said that Europe needed to take more responsibility for its own security.

The president faced widespread criticism Saturday for canceling a visit to Belleau, where 2,000 U.S. Marines were killed in combat in 1918, because it was raining.

In a speech in Paris on Sunday, Macron criticised nationalism—with self-declared nationalist Trump sitting only meters away.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” said Macron, at the Armistice Day commemoration under the Arc de Triomphe.

“By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values.”

[Newsweek]

Trump turns attention to Comcast over alleged antitrust violations

President Trump on Monday lashed out at Comcast after a group representing small cable providers asked the Department of Justice to investigate the company over antitrust concerns.

“American Cable Association has big problems with Comcast. They say that Comcast routinely violates Antitrust Laws,” Trump said in a tweet, adding that the group believes Comcast’s merger with NBC poses greater anticompetitive concerns than the recent AT&T-Time Warner merger.

The ACA wrote to the Justice Department last week arguing that vertical mergers where pay-TV providers like Comcast and AT&T combine with companies that offer programming give the merged firms the “incentive and ability to disadvantage rival distributors by raising the prices it charges these rivals for programming.”

“ACA expects – and there is every reason for DOJ to expect — Comcast-NBCU to act on its natural incentives and use its capabilities to harm rivals, unless the government somehow, either through structural or behavioral remedies, deals with them,” the group wrote.

The president’s attack comes after a Fox Business article suggested the Justice Department could be following through with an investigation.

A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment on the president’s tweet.

Comcast said in a statement that the American Cable Association’s complaint is “without merit” and “constitutes an inappropriate attempt to gain leverage in the commercial marketplace.”

“The video programming and distribution markets are incredibly competitive. New programmers and distribution platforms are offering consumers increasing choices on what and where to watch,” the company said in a statement to The Hill.

“At Comcast NBCUniversal, we are competing in this dynamic environment the way we always have — by continuing to innovate and conducting our business in compliance with antitrust laws and other legal requirements.”

Trump’s Justice Department is currently appealing a federal judge’s decision to approve the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

But the agency chose not to renew a set of behavioral restrictions it imposed on the Comcast-NBC tie-up in 2011 that expired in September.

The Justice Department said it would be monitoring Comcast now that the conditions were no longer in effect.

The president has routinely lashed out at the Comcast-owned NBC News over its coverage of his administration, even going so far as to suggest that it’s “license” should be revoked.

But the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t issue broadcasting licenses to networks, only to individual stations, and it doesn’t revoke them based on the content of the licensee’s programming.

Trump has no public events scheduled on Monday, and has tweeted on a number of subjects, including the heated Florida elections, the stock market and the deadly wildfires ravaging California.

[The Hill]

Trump Claims Prospect of ‘Presidential Harassment’ by Democrats Is Causing ‘Big Headaches’ for Stock Market

President Donald Trump claimed today that the stock market is having “big headaches” because of the Democrats.

The Democrats taking the House means they will be able to conduct investigations, and Trump borrowed a phrase that Mitch McConnell has used before – “presidential harassment” – only this time in reference to the market:

“The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!” he tweeted.

Trump recently said at a jobs event that if the midterms didn’t go well for the GOP, “I think you’re going to lose a lot of money.”

Axios reported on Monday that “there are at least 85 topics that Democrats have said they’d target — or are expected to target — in the forthcoming torrent of investigations and subpoenas to be directed at the Trump White House.”

Those investigations could target everything from Trump’s tax returns to, as Rep. Adam Schiff said on Sunday, his administration’s alleged targeting of media outlets like CNN and the Washington Post.

[Mediaite]

Trump Confirms Chilly Relations With European Allies: ‘Ridiculously Unfair to the United States’

President Donald Trump returned from a weekend in Paris that featured much less diplomacy than citizens have come to expect from meetings with world leaders. The presidential visit to France was in part planned as an observation for Veteran’s Day and the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Amid criticism for the Commander in Chief’s decision to skip a ceremony to honor fallen American soldiers buried at a French cemetery, Trump appears to be trying to change the narrative with some Monday morning Tweets that appear to confirm cooled relations between the United States and our closest European allies.

The president notably skipped the “Peace forum” and was reportedly angered by French President Emmanuel Macron‘s suggestion of a European Army designed to protect itself from the United States. Macron also publicly called out “nationalism,” a term the Trump has used quite frequently on the campaign trail in recent weeks.

But according to Trump’s tweets, the chillier relations are a result of his claim that the “U.S. must be treated fairly”:

[Mediaite]

Trump Baselessly Continues Florida Voter Fraud Claims: ‘Honest Vote Count No Longer Possible’

President Donald Trump declared that “an honest vote count is no longer” in the controversial Florida midterm elections for the state’s governor and U.S. Senate positions, claiming without evidence that many of the ballots are “missing or forged.”

The two races, Florida Governor Rick Scott Scott versus Democratic Senator Bill Nelson for the Senate seat and former Rep. Ron DeSantis verses Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor, appeared to be going for Republicans on election night. As more ballots were counted in Democratic-leaning areas, like Broward County and Palm Beach, additional votes started going to Democrats, which narrowed the GOP’s lead and triggered a recount.

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

The president did not include any evidence to back up his claims of voter fraud.

Florida does offer military and overseas voters “a 10-day extension exists for overseas voters” extension for their ballots to be counted, which is what the president may be talking about in his line about “new ballots” showing up “out of nowhere.”

“The overseas voter’s vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election in order to be counted, provided the ballot is otherwise proper,” states Florida’s election information site. “This 10-day extension only applies in presidential preference primary elections, general elections, and special elections and special primary elections (by operation of section 100.191, F.S.)”

Florida officials have also noted that they have not seen any evidence of voter fraud taking place.

[Mediaite]

Trump threatens to pull federal funds for Calif. wildfires over forest ‘mismanagement’

With major wildfires still roaring out of control in California, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to blame “gross mismanagement of the forest” for the catastrophe and threatened to withhold federal funds if the issue is not remedied.

It was his first tweet on the wildfires, now among the deadliest and most destructive in California history, although he earlier issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

At least nine people have been killed and the entire town of Paradise, in northern California has been destroyed.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

His latest remarks were reminiscent of his tweets during another major outbreak of fires in California in August, when he blamed the wildfires on “bad environmental laws” and his claim that water from the north was “foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.”

In that tweet burst, Trump also said California wildfires “are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.”

At the time, The New York times noted a debate over the allocation of water for irrigation or fish habitat but none regarding water purportedly being diverted into the ocean.

The Times quoted Cal Fire officials as saying there is no shortage of water for fighting fires. Helicopters collect water from lakes and ponds to douse wildfires and have plenty at hand, they said.

Asked about that the president’s tweeted claim of water diversion, a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, Evan Westrup, told the Times in an email, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

The presidents of two professional firefighters associations have denounced President Donald Trump’s assertion that “gross mismanagement of the forests” is to blame.

California Professional Firefighters president Brian Rice called the President’s words “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning” in a written statement.

Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the comments were “reckless and insulting.”

“Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”

The Trump tweet also prompted some harsh criticism from singer Katy Perry, a native Californian, who called his remarks “heartless.”

“This is an absolutely heartless response,” she tweeted. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”

Singer-songwriter John Legend, who lives in Los Angeles, also weighed in, tweeting, “Our National Embarrassment can’t bring himself to show some empathy to Californians dealing with a horrific disaster.”

Trump to African American reporter: ‘You ask a lot of stupid questions’

President Trump on Friday criticized a question from CNN reporter Abby Phillip as “stupid” while speaking with reporters on the White House lawn on Friday.

In a gaggle with reporters, Trump was asked by Phillip if he was hoping that Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general appointed on Wednesday and a past critic of Robert Mueller‘s special counsel investigation, would “rein in” the Russia probe.

“Do you want [Whitaker] to rein in Robert Mueller?” Phillip asked.

“What a stupid question that is,” Trump responded. “What a stupid question.”

“But I watch you a lot,” the president continued. “You ask a lot of stupid questions.”

Declining to answer, Trump then walked away from the gaggle as Phillip and other reporters shouted questions in response.

Trump’s comments aimed at Phillip come as he increasingly feuds with CNN, the cable news network he has long battled.

Trump also called April Ryan, a contributor to the network, a “loser” on Friday. And he again criticized CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, with whom he is feuding.

On Wednesday night, the White House suspended Acosta’s press pass after the reporter pressed Trump on his statements about a migrant caravan at a press conference earlier that day.

The White House then tweeted out an apparently doctored video first posted by the conspiracy site InfoWars to claim that Acosta physically struck a White House intern who was attempting to take his microphone.

Acosta’s arm briefly brushed the White House aide’s arm as she reached in to take his microphone, but Acosta did not put his hands on the aide.

“We will … never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

CNN responded in a statement, stating that Sanders “lied” about the incident between Acosta and the intern, and used a “fraudulent” explanation to justify rescinding Acosta’s press pass.

“It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference,” the network said. “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better.”

[The Hill]

Trump Suggests He Will Call For New Election in Arizona: ‘SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH’

The President of the United States is floating the possibility of throwing out the results of an entire Senate election and calling for a new vote — alleging electoral corruption.

In a Friday afternoon tweet sent from somewhere over the Atlantic — as he’s currently on board Air Force One en route to France — President Donald Trump floated the possibility of a new election in Arizona, where the votes are still being tabulated in the Senate contest between Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R). The reason for the drastic action, according to Trump? “Electoral corruption.”

“Just out — in Arizona,” Trump wrote. “SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!”

The presidential dispatch was sent at 3:33 p.m. ET. Twenty-seven minutes earlier, a report on the Arizona Senate contest aired on Fox News. In it, correspondent Dan Springer stated the following:

“There are still just under 500,000 votes to count. Nearly all are in Maricopa [County]. And that’s where a legal drama is brewing. The Republican party sued over the handling of ballots where the signature either wasn’t there or didn’t match…a short time ago, the Republican Party chairman accused the Maricopa County recorder — a Democrat — of destroying evidence by mixing in disputed ballots in with all the others.”

[Mediaite]

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