Trump doubles tariffs on Turkey

President Trump said Friday that the U.S. will double tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Turkey, as relations between the NATO allies worsen.

Trump tweeted Friday that he authorized raising tariffs on Turkish steel to 50 percent and on aluminum to 20 percent as the country’s currency falls rapidly against the U.S. dollar.

“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!,” Trump tweeted.

“As he stated, the president has authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey,” said White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters in a statement.

“Section 232 tariffs are imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security as defined in Section 232, independent of negotiations on trade or any other matter.”

The lira dropped 11 percent against the U.S. dollar Friday as Turkish President Recep Erdogan warned of a global economic war against his country. Trump’s tweet brought the lira down another 3 percentage points, according to CNBC.

Turkish financial markets have panicked over concerns about the country’s fiscal health, the souring of U.S.-Turkey relations, and Erdogan’s economic policy, according to the Associated Press.

Erdogan said the currency drop was the result of a “campaign” to injure Turkey and called on citizens to convert their U.S. dollars, euros and gold into lira, according to the AP.

“If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah,” Erdogan said.

The U.S.-Turkey alliance has become increasingly strained since 2017, reaching new lows this month over the imprisonment of an American pastor.

The Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions on the Turkish interior and justice ministers after the government refused to let detained Christian pastor Andrew Brunson return to the U.S.

Brunson had spent 23 years as a pastor in Turkey before he was detained more than a year ago. The Turkish government alleged that he was involved in a failed coup against Erdogan in 2016, and Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic cleric Erdogan blames for the failed revolt.

The Turkish government transferred Brunson from prison to house arrest in July, but refused his and the U.S. government’s requests to return to America.

Tensions also flared in May 2017 after Erdogan’s personal security forces attacked demonstratorsprotesting his visit to the U.S. at the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C.

Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent and 10 percent on imported steel and aluminum respectively in March. The White House issued those tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which empowers the president to impose duties on imports to protect U.S. national security.

Key U.S. allies such as Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, which includes Turkey, were exempted from the tariffs until May. Those nations have responded with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports.

[The Hill]

Trump Suggests FBI Kept Carter Page’s Russia Ties Secret to ‘Spy’ on His Campaign

President Donald Trump suggested that the FBI may have tried to use Carter Page as “an excuse to SPY” on the Trump campaign, as they did not inform the then-candidate about Page’s ties to Russia.

“’Why didn’t the FBI tell President Trump that they had concerns about Carter Page? Is there a double standard here?’” Trump tweeted on Thursday, quoting comments made by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Fox News.

Trump then jumped in with his on commentary on the matter: “They told Senator Diane Feinstein that she had a spy – but not Trump. Is that entrapment or did they just want to use Page as an excuse to SPY?”

Just days before the election in 2016, the FBI filed a surveillance application on Page that said, “The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.”

Page responded to the allegations by denying his involvement with the Kremlin.

“I’ve never been an agent of a foreign power by any stretch of the imagination,” the former Trump campaign adviser said.

[Mediaite]

Reality

First, Carter Page left the Trump campaign in September 2016, the FBI sought another FISA warrant in October 2016 after Page left.

Second, the FBI informed Trump the Russians were trying to infiltrate his campaign in July 2016.

Trump is a liar.

Trump: People investigating Russia ‘witch hunt’ are ‘totally corrupt’

President Trump said Thursday that everyone involved in the Russia investigation is either corrupt or conflicted, and said it was started through illegal means.

Trump tweeted that the dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele is “phony” and said many of those involved who were fired are “lying and dishonest,” possibly alluding to former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“Stay tuned!” Trump concluded the tweet.

[Washington Examiner]

Trump wrongly blames California’s worsening wildfires on water diversions

As wildfires continued to scorch California, President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a tweet that befuddled experts, wrongly blaming the state’s water diversions for making the blazes worse.

California’s environmental laws, he claimed, “aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

While decades-old state and federal forest management strategies have been cited as exacerbating California’s wildfires in recent years, experts Sunday were quick to refute Trump’s claim that water policy was to blame.

While California’s river water is tightly managed to account for drinking, agriculture and environmental needs, it is not being diverted into the ocean. And the problem is not that the state lacks the water to fight fires, but that years of drought have made forests and brush more flammable.

“On the water side, it boggles the mind,” UC Merced professor and wildfire specialist LeRoy Westerling told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We do manage all of our rivers in California, and all the water is allocated many times over. So I’m not sure what he was recommending. . . . Even if we eliminated all habitat for riparian species and fish, and allowed saltwater intrusion into the delta and set up a sprinkler system over the state, that wouldn’t compensate for greater moisture loss from climate change.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration on Sunday approved a federal disaster declaration for the state. Nine people have been killed by the 18 wildfires currently burning across the state. The Mendocino Complex fire north of San Francisco has grown to the fifth-largest in state history, burning almost 400 square miles by Sunday. and threatening 15,000 homes. Meanwhile, the Ferguson fire entered Yosemite National Park, which remained largely closed to visitors, and the Carr fire near Redding claimed its seventh life, when a PG&E lineman crashed his vehicle while working with crews to fight the blaze. Overall, more than 470,000 acres have burned in the state, with more than 14,000 firefighters on the front lines.

Trump Falsely Claims His Approval Rating is Better Than Obama’s at This Point in Presidency

President Donald Trump gave himself a pat on the back for his approval ratings on Saturday,  prompting reporters to call out his misleading claim that he had outdone his predecessor Barack Obamain the polls.

Trump made the assertions in a tweet Sunday, stating, “Presidential Approval numbers are very good – strong economy, military and just about everything else. Better numbers than Obama at this point, by far.”

However, CNN’s Ryan Lizza called Trump’s bluff, using Gallup data to back him up.

Lizza was joined by Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale, who went as far as labeling the president’s claim a total lie, pointing to polling numbers from RealClearPolitics as evidence.

CNN’s Brian Stelter also pointed out that while Trump may be praising poll numbers on Sunday, just last night “He claimed that polls are used for vote ‘suppression’ purposes.”

[Mediaite]

Trump says Trump Tower meeting meant to obtain information on Clinton

President Trump tweeted Sunday morning about the now-infamous June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Russians and Trump campaign officials, including his son, Donald Trump Jr.

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

Why it matters: Trump and his son have repeatedly changed their stance on the purpose of the 2016 meeting. In a statement to The New York Times last July, which investigators now know was dictated by President Trump, Don Jr. said the meeting was primarily about Russian adoptions. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has also claimedthat the president approved the meeting ahead of time, contradicting continued denials by Trump and his legal team.

[Axios]

Trump Starts Sunday Morning Saying Press is ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Sick’ and They ‘Cause War’

At his rally on Saturday, President Trump divided the media into two groups: Fox News, and Fake News.

On Sunday morning he blasted Fake News, meaning all non-Fox News, as the “enemy of the people” once again, and said that they are “dangerous”, “sick”, and “cause war.”

“The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE,” he Tweeted, obviously catching the Sunday morning news and seeing reporting on his comments from Saturday’s rally. “I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People.”

On Saturday, Trump called MSNBC “disgusting” and “corrupt”, and the crowd chanted “CNN sucks.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Smears MSNBC as ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Corrupt’ at Rally, Crowd Erupts in ‘CNN Sucks’ Chant

During a raucous rally in Ohio that hit on a number of familiar themes from his earlier rallies, President Donald Trump once again took swipes at the media, calling MSNBC “disgusting” and prompting a chant of “CNN sucks.”

“They had this false report that I was supporting somebody else and they were right,” he said before laughing, “It was fake news.”

“They were right and I was supporting somebody else, Steve Stivers but he’s in a  totally different district. Did they apologize…”

Then turning to the media bullpen, Trump asked, “Did you apologize for that mistake?”

That prompted loud boos and chants of “CNN sucks” from the crowd.

Finally, continuing on with his story only after the anti-CNN chants died down, Trump continued on, taking another media jab: “So, I heard that Troy was like my second choice. I said he was my first choice. He has always been the one I want to win. It’s always dangerous when you do this…They give us false records.”

The mistake Trump was referring to a tweet he sent out on August 2 calling for people to get out and vote for Stivers, who is not on the special election ballot.

Despite calling for the media to apologize during the rally, that tweet — sent by Trump — has since been deleted.

Yet, as it turns out Trump’s call for the apology was just the warm-up. Later on during the same Ohio rally, Trump once again hit on the media, calling out CNN and MSNBC by name and once again sparking a fierce reaction from the crowd.

“MSNBC is so corrupt. It is so disgusting, so disgusting. I would say almost worse,” Trump said, prompting boos for the media from the crowd.

Then after praising Fox News — even calling out Fox News personalities by name — Trump said to the sycophant and loud crowd, “CNN is down at the bottom of the totem pole. MSNBC isn’t even close [to Fox].”

[Mediaite]

Trump on ‘elite’: I became president and it’s driving them crazy

President Trump on Saturday renewed his jab at the “elite,” saying that his election to the presidency was “driving them crazy.”

“You are the elite. You’re smarter than they are … you’ve got everything going … the elite? They’re more elite than me?” Trump said while addressing a campaign rally crowd in Ohio, where he is seeking to help Republican Troy Balderson ahead of a special election for the House on Tuesday.

“I have better everything than they have,” Trump said to roars from the crowd.

“I became president and they didn’t,” he said to more cheers and applause, for which he paused.

“And it’s driving them crazy,” he said to louder applause.

It’s not the first time Trump has brought up the “elite” as an opponent.

Trump had previously derided the elite at campaign rallies in Minnesota and North Dakota, calling the group “stone cold losers” at a June rally in Fargo, N.D.

“I’m smarter than they are. I became president and they didn’t. And I’m representing the best people on earth, the deplorables,” Trump said at another June rally in Duluth, Minn., referencing the term former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used to describe then-candidate Trump’s base during the 2016 campaign.

Trump, speaking at his third campaign rally of the week, visited Ohio to boost Balderson in his bid to represent the state’s 12th District.

Balderson is in a dead heat with Democrat Danny O’Connor in a district that Trump won by 11 points in 2016.

[The Hill]

Trump Reacts to Iran Snubbing His Offer to Meet: ‘It Doesn’t Matter – It is Up to Them’

On his way to a rally in Ohio on Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted about Iran.

“Iran, and it’s economy, is going very bad, and fast!” Trump wrote. “I will meet, or not meet, it doesn’t matter – it is up to them!”

Trump’s tweet appeared to be in response to the news from earlier this week that Iran had rejected an offer to meet with Trump.

In addition, according to the Fox News report — which just so happened to air a segment on the topic shortly before Trump tweeted — Iranian officials snubbed an offer from Trump who “this week said he would sit down with the country’s leader without any preconditions.”

The report also featured National Review columnist John Fundinsisting Trump’s offer to meet with Iranian’s leader amounted to “shadowboxing” and was not actually going to happen anyhow.

“So Donald Trump is trying for a third [meeting] with the deplorables of the nations of the world,” Fund said. “He knows the Iranians are not going to meet because they have no incentive to meet…This is shadowboxing.”

The chyron underneath Fund also reinforced Iran’s snub, reading: “Iran rejects President Trump’s offer to meet without any pre-conditions.”

[Mediaite]

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