Trump demands credit for getting along with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump continued to defend his budding relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday, demanding credit for his role in making “initial steps toward a deal” by establishing a personal rapport with the young dictator during last week’s summit in Singapore.

“If President Obama (who got nowhere with North Korea and would have had to go to war with many millions of people being killed) had gotten along with North Korea and made the initial steps toward a deal that I have, the Fake News would have named him a national hero!” Trump tweeted.

Amid lingering skepticism over North Korea’s commitment to complete denuclearization in the wake of the Singapore summit, Trump has aggressively pushed the idea that Kim is sincere in his intentions and that the two leaders were able to develop a unique chemistry.

It’s a conviction South Korean officials share. South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-Nam said Monday in Washington that any diplomatic progress should be credited to the connection that Trump and Kim established through an “unprecedented top-down approach” to negotiations.

“The actors for this top-level diplomacy are completely different leaders as compared to the past,” Lim told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Moreover, the personal chemistry between them has been unique as well.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, asked about Trump’s praise for Kim, suggested the President is as willing to use carrots as he would be — if necessary — to use sticks. “If you try to play Trump or back out, there’s going to be a war and nobody wants war,” Graham told CNN.

Trump’s claims to a cozy relationship may reflect an effort to butter-up Kim “to make it easier to get a better deal,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN last week.

Indeed, the administration hopes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can build on that rapport to create substantial movement toward denuclearization.

But sources have told CNN that there is nothing to suggest that North Korea has begun destroying its missile launch sites, despite Trump’s repeated claims to the contrary and his declaration last week that the country is no longer a nuclear threat.

Harry Harris, Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, said last week that North Korea continues to be a nuclear threat and that major military exercises should be paused to give Kim a chance to prove whether he is “serious.”

Trump announced in Singapore that the US would suspend “war games” with South Korea and Japan, taking Seoul, Tokyo, lawmakers and parts of the US military by surprise.

Additionally, several US defense officials said that, so far, there is no indication that Kim has made good on his promise to return the remains of prisoners of war and soldiers declared missing in action during the Korean War — something Trump has repeatedly said the two leaders agreed upon during their meeting.

These officials also cautioned that a lengthy DNA verification process would be needed when and if any remains are returned to the US.

In South Korea, however, the prism is different. Discussions center less on Trump’s achievements or lack of them, or his failures to live up to his own word, and more on the possibilities his summit opened up — in particular his new relationship with Kim.

While critics continue to suggest that Trump failed to secure concrete concessions from North Korea — including guarantees related to verifiable irreversible denuclearization and ending human rights abuses — South Korean officials have publicly credited the US President for facilitating the signing of the Panmunjom declaration and the Singapore statement, despite questions over specific terms.

“President Trump has made an unprecedented strategic decision to meet face-to-face with the leader of the DPRK,” Vice Foreign Minister Lim said, noting that Trump accounted for cultural considerations in dealing with Kim by showing him “due respect” and treating “him as a leader of a state.”

[CNN]

Trump busted lying about Germany

President Donald Trump on Monday made clearly false claims about Germany — which will likely only buttress support for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump made three claims about Germany.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” Trump tweeted.

Jeremy Cliffe, the Berlin bureau chief for The Economist, reminded that, “Merkel remains the most popular politician in Germany.”

Ironically, Trump tweeting against Merkel actually shores up her domestic political support.

“The US president’s intervention could be useful domestically for Ms Merkel because of his unpopularity; just 11 per cent of Germany has a favourable view of Mr Trump, according to research by pollster Pew for the Germany public broadcaster DW,” The Independent noted.

In fact, Trump may have just thrown Merkel a life preserver.

“Nice of the president to help Angela Merkel by giving her exactly what she needed politically : a Trump endorsement of her opponents,” explained Hudson Institute fellow Benjamin Haddad.

Trump’s second claim was that, “crime in Germany is way up.”

Reuters national security correspondent Jonathan Landay explained how thoroughly Trump had misrepresented crime in Germany.

“This is another lie by Trump,” Landay reported. “Crime is at a 30-year low in Germany.”

Trump’s third claim was that it was a “big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

“Under Merkel, Germany opened its borders to welcome around 1 million asylum-seekers in 2015. At times more than 10,000 people were arriving daily in the country, which had a population of around 81 million,” NBC News reported Monday. “But according to official figures released last month, Germany last year recorded its lowest number of criminal offenses since 1992, with figures showing the crime rate is falling more quickly among non-German suspects.”

CNN political contributor Keith Boykin reminded how this particular lie has been used in the past.

“Germany last month reported its lowest crime rate since 1992,” Boykin reminded. “Austrian-born Adolf Hitler also used lies and misinformation about crime to complain about groups of people in Germany who had ‘changed their culture.’”

The host of the Michelangelo Signorile Show on SiriusXM had even hasher words.

“Crime is not up. This is another lie. And the last line is a chilling call to white supremacists,” Signorile observed. “He’s gone full on Nazi.”

[Raw Story]

Reality

Trump used his false claims to assert Europe is losing it’s white European culture, making a very clear appeal to white nationalism.

Trump Once Again Declares the ‘Fake News Media’ the ‘Enemy of the People’

On Sunday, President Donald Trump capped off Father’s Day by accusing the FBI of providing too much information to the media.

“Why was the FBI giving so much information to the Fake News Media. They are not supposed to be doing that, and knowing the enemy of the people Fake News, they put their own spin on it – truth doesn’t matter to them!” Trump wrote.

[Mediaite]

Trump urges Washington Post employees to go on strike and ‘get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time’

As part of a frantic tweet storm on Sunday morning, President Donald Trump urged unionized workers at The Washington Post to go on strike for higher pay — and rid him of “Fake News” for awhile.

Trump’s antipathy for Post owner Jeff Bezos — founder of Amazon.com — caused the president to take up the mantle of workers’ rights, with the president tweeting, “Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough. I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is a registered lobbyist?”

Trump has long waged war against Bezos, complaining his paper is too critical of him, and has previously called for an higher postal rates for Amazon customers.

[Raw Story]

Trump Attacks FBI Agent Peter Strzok Who Wants to Testify on Firing as ‘Sick Loser’

President Donald Trump called Peter Strzok a “sick loser” after the FBI agent said he’s willing to testify to Congress about his removal from the Russia probe for sending anti-Trump text messages. Special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his team last summer after an investigation revealed texts in which the agent said the FBI would stop Trump from becoming president. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Friday he wanted to issue a subpoena for Strzok to testify as part of the House GOP investigation into the FBI’s actions in the 2016 election, but Strzok’s lawyer said his client “intends to voluntarily appear and testify before your committee and any other congressional committee that invites him.” Trump tweeted about Strzok late Sunday: “Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that ‘we’ll stop’ Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!”

[The Daily Beast]

Trump Declares His Supporters the ‘Smartest, Strongest, Most Hard Working’ in America’s History

President Donald Trump just declared his supporters the “smartest” in the history of the country.

Writing on Twitter early Saturday, Trump said this: “My supporters are the smartest, strongest, most hard working and most loyal that we have seen in our countries history. It is a beautiful thing to watch as we win elections and gather support from all over the country. As we get stronger, so does our country. Best numbers ever!”

[Mediaite]

Trump told 4 lies about the inspector general report in one short Fox News hit

President Donald Trump went on Fox & Friends to talk about the inspector general report on the FBI’s handling of the 2016 election on Friday. His comments contained at least four significant and demonstrable lies.

Let’s go through them.

Lie 1: the FBI was working against him during the campaign

“They were plotting against my election,” Trump said, in perhaps the biggest of the four lies.

This is not true. Inspector General Michael Horowitz was quite clear on this point in the report, which reviewed the FBI’s handling of both the Clinton email investigation and the early stages of the Trump-Russia probe. “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed,” Horowitz concluded.

Trump did eventually confront this uncomfortable fact during the interview. He claimed the no bias conclusion was irresponsible, a throwaway line at the end of the report.

Lie 2: The IG “blew it” by concluding the FBI wasn’t biased

“It was a pretty good report, and then I say the IG blew it at the end,” Trump told Fox’s Steve Doocy. The IG report was a horror show. I thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous.”

The conclusion said that the FBI wasn’t biased was not a throwaway conclusion at the end of the report, but a conclusion that’s examined in-depth and repeated with some frequency throughout the report. Chapters five and 12 of the more than 500-page report, for example, look at anti-Trump text messages sent by Peter Strzok, the FBI’s deputy director for counterintelligence, to see if Strzok had allowed his anti-Trump sentiments to affect the investigation.

Investigators took a deep look at Strzok’s conduct after they came across the texts that seemingly threatened the Trump campaign and examined internal FBI records of the meetings concerning Trump that Strzok was involved in. According to Horowitz, they found that “Strzok was not the sole decisionmaker for any of the specific investigative decisions examined,” nor was there any evidence that he exercised inappropriate influence over any investigative decisions.

The conclusion that there was no bias, in short, wasn’t “one line” — it was a conclusion they arrived at after examining a tremendous amount of evidence, and a major focus of the report.

Lie 3: Trump says the IG report says he did nothing wrong

The third Trump lie is that the IG report somehow exonerated him on the question of collusion with Russia during the campaign. “I did nothing wrong, there was no collusion, there was no obstruction. The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that,” Trump said. “I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.”

This is actually a number of different lies packed into three short sentences; a Russian nesting doll of lies, if you’ll pardon the metaphor.

The IG report did not come to any conclusions about the true nature of Trump-Russia ties. It only covered the appropriateness of the FBI’s conduct in 2016. It couldn’t come to any conclusions about obstruction of justice because Trump didn’t become president until 2017. Likewise, it couldn’t discredit the Mueller investigation because Mueller didn’t take over the investigation until President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last May.

Lie 4: James Comey is a criminal

And that brings us to our final lie. Fox’s Doocy asked Trump a leading question — “Should James Comey be locked up?” — and the president responded as expected:

Certainly, they just seem like very criminal acts to me. What he did was criminal. What he did was so bad in terms of our Constitution, in terms of the well-being of our country.

Once again, Horowitz’s report closely examined questions raised by Comey’s conduct. He was harshly critical of the former FBI director — “In key moments, then Director Comey chose to deviate from the FBI’s and the Department’s established procedures and norms and instead engaged in his own subjective, ad hoc decisionmaking” — but there’s no evidence in the report that Comey violated any kind of criminal statute, let alone acted unconstitutionally.

In fact, the report concludes, Comey’s decisions during the Clinton email investigation, while questionable, came from his professional judgment and were not the result of any malign intent.

“Comey’s decision was the result of his consideration of the evidence that the FBI had collected during the course of the investigation and his understanding of the proof required to pursue a prosecution under the relevant statutes,” as Horowitz puts it when discussing his closing of the Clinton email case.

Trump’s characterization of the IG report is thus basically wrong in every way.

[Vox]

Trump threatened to send 25 million Mexicans to Japan

Donald Trump threatened Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he would ship 25 million Mexicans to his country, one of a series of bizarre missives that jarred fellow leaders at last week’s acrimonious G7 meet, according to a report on Friday.

The Group of Seven summit gathering of top industrialized democracies finished in disarray after the US president abruptly rejected its consensus statement and bitterly attacked Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Behind the scenes, Trump’s counterparts were dismayed by verbal jabs on topics ranging from trade to terrorism and migration, The Wall Street Journal said, quoting European officials who were present.

At one point he described migration as a big problem for Europe then said to Abe: “Shinzo, you don’t have this problem, but I can send you 25 million Mexicans and you’ll be out of office very soon,” creating a sense of irritation in the room, according to an EU official.

The source added that when the topic turned to Iran and terrorism, Trump took aim at French President Emmanuel Macron, saying: “You must know about this, Emmanuel, because all the terrorists are in Paris.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also came under fire and was repeatedly described by Trump as a “brutal killer” in reference to the bloc’s antitrust and tax fines against US tech companies that have run into billions of dollars.

Bitter differences over trade dominated the summit hosted by Canada, with leaders of the world’s largest economies lining up against Trump’s threats to impose stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

After rejecting the joint statement, Trump and his top aides assailed Trudeau, accusing him of dishonesty and betrayal.

Trump on Friday rejected reports of discord, blaming the “Fake News Media” on Twitter for portraying a false picture while posting several photos of himself appearing to get along well with fellow G7 leaders.

[Yahoo]

Trump Blasts FBI’s Strzok and Page Over IG Report, Praises Himself For Firing Comey: ‘Good Instincts

President Donald Trump weighed in on the newly released inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigations during the 2016 election, focusing on the texts exchanged between agent-cum-paramours Peter Strzokand Lisa Page.

“FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton & Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from becoming President,” Trump said on Twitter. “Doesn’t get any lower than that!”

The text exchange between Strzok and Page has been exhibit A for the FBI’s critics that the agency was rankled with anti-Trump bias during the 2016 election, and the latest text exchange is certainly explicit. A few months before the 2016 election, Page texted Strzok that she feared Trump would win, and he reassured her: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

Strzok was at the time serving as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, and was working on the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties as well as the Clinton email probe. But the inspector general concluded that despite Strzok’s clear and inappropriate bias, the was no evidence that he acted on his disdain for Trump.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump took aim at James Comey, calling the IG report “a total disaster” for the former FBI director and “his minions.”

“Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI,” Trump wrote, before praising his “good instincts” for “firing him.”

He also shouted out the current FBI director, Christopher Wray.

Comey brutalized Clinton’s campaign days before election day by publicly announcing the Clinton probe was being re-opened, while the FBI went to great lengths to keep the Trump-Russia probe quiet.

[Mediaite]

GOP Chairwoman Accused of Threatening Republicans Who Don’t Support Trump

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was accused of threatening Republicans who don’t support Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda over an ominous message she posted on social media yesterday.

On Wednesday evening, McDaniel took to Twitter to warn people of the dangers of opposing the president. “Complacency is our enemy. Anyone that does not embrace the @realDonaldTrump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake,” McDaniel wrote.

Following her post, social media users quickly criticized McDaniel’s tone as threatening.

“What in the actual hell…is this a threat, Ronna?” replied Meghan McCain, Sen. John McCain’s daughter and co-host of ABC’s The View.

Walter Michael Shaub Jr., the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, added: “That sounds like a threat.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes only had one word to say: “Gross.”

McDaniel’s message was posted the day after South Carolina’s Rep. Mark Sanford lost his primary. After being an outspoken critic of Trump, the president tweeted support for his opponent shortly before the polls closed.

“Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA [make American great again]. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

[Newsweek]

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