Trump defends use of tear gas at the border

President Trump on Monday defended the use of tear gas against asylum seekers at the border, telling reporters that it was a “very minor form of tear gas” and questioning why migrants were trying to cross the border.

“First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe,” Trump told reporters Monday evening in Mississippi.

“But you really say, why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming? And it’s going to be formed and they’re running up with a child,” he added.

Photos circulated on Monday showing women and children at a port of entry near San Diego fleeing tear gas, which was fired by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

The CBP said in a statement Monday that agents fired the tear gas after migrants attempted crossing the border illegally, some of them throwing rocks at border agents.

Trump earlier Monday said that border agents were forced to fire the tear gas.

“They had to use because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they used tear gas. And here’s the bottom line: nobody’s coming into our country unless they come in legally,” he told reporters.

In his comments Monday evening, Trump also claimed without evidence that some asylum seekers trying to cross the border were only pretending to be parents because of “certain advantages” that come with having a child.

“In some cases, they’re not the parents. These are people — they call them grabbers. They grab a child because they think they’re going to have a certain status by having a child,” he said.

“You have certain advantages in terms of our crazy laws that, frankly, Congress should be changing. If you changed the laws, you wouldn’t be having this problem,” Trump added.

The president also repeated that “violence” from asylum seekers could lead him to closing off the southern border.

“If they do a charge. Because with a closed border, it’s very easy to stop,” he said. “With an open border it’s not. If they do a charge. As you know, we have a big caravan coming up, another one.”

Trump in recent days has threatened to close off the southern border as he has ramped up his claims that the caravan of migrants moving through Mexico present a national security threat to the U.S. and presses for border wall funding to be included in the spending bills under negotiation by Congress.

[The Hill]

Media

Trump suggests creating U.S. ‘worldwide network’ to compete with CNN

President Donald Trump on Monday suggested the United States should create a “worldwide network” to combat the “unfair” way the country is treated by the media, saying CNN doesn’t have enough competition overseas.

“Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair….” the president tweeted. “….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

CNN has both a domestic and international network.

The U.S. government currently funds Voice of America, an international radio broadcast source. Congress in 2017 eliminated the board of directors for the organization, with a new CEO position created, which is appointed by the president.

Trump has had a tense relationship with the press, including a brief legal battle with CNN after the White House revoked reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass.

[Politico]

Trump Lies in Tweet Ripping ‘Fake 60 Minutes’ Episode on Child Separation: ‘I Tried to Keep Them Together’

On Sunday, 60 Minutes ran a report on Trump’s family separation policy.

Trump quickly replied by calling the segment “fake news.”

“60 Minutes did a phony story about child separation when they know we had the exact same policy as the Obama Administration,” Trump wrote. “In fact, a picture of children in jails was used by other Fake Media to show how bad (cruel) we are, but it was in 2014 during O[bama] years. Obama separated children from parents, as did Bush etc.. because that is the policy and law.”

He added: “I tried to keep them together but the problem is, when you do that, vast numbers of additional people storm the Border. So with Obama separation is fine, but with Trump it’s not. Fake 60 Minutes!”

Trump’s tweet repeats a claim made by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other Trump officials to defend the child separation policy.

Yet, the administration cannot provide statistics to back up their claim that Trump’s policy was the same as Obama’s or other presidents.

In addition, Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center noted to FactCheck.org that previous administrations used “family detention facilities, allowing the whole family to stay together while awaiting their deportation case in immigration court, or alternatives to detention, which required families to be tracked but released from custody to await their court date,”  making it clear Trump’s policy is indeed not the “exact same” policy as Trump claimed in his Sunday night tweet.

[Mediaite]

Trump Announces All Asylum Seekers Must Now ‘Stay in Mexico’ Until Claims Approved in Court

On Saturday, President Donald Trump announced via a pair of tweets that migrants seeking asylum will now have to remain in Mexico until their claims are approved in court.

“Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court. We only will allow those who come into our Country legally. Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No ‘Releasing’ into the U.S.,” Trump wrote.

He then added in a second tweet: “All will stay in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!”

Trump’s announcement comes just days after the Washington Postreported on plans to implement the policy as early as Friday.

According to DHS memos obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday, Central American asylum seekers who cannot establish a “reasonable fear” of persecution in Mexico will not be allowed to enter the United States and would be turned around at the border.

The plan, called “Remain in Mexico,” amounts to a major break with current screening procedures, which generally allow those who establish a fear of return to their home countries to avoid immediate deportation and remain in the United States until they can get a hearing with an immigration judge. Trump despises this system, which he calls “catch and release,” and has vowed to end it.

At the time, Department of Homeland Security spox Katie Waldman said the policy will not start “this week.”

Yet, Trump also teased plans to close the entire border while speaking with reporters on Thanksgiving Day.

Earlier today, WaPo also reported that the Trump administration had reached a deal with Mexico to allow migrants to wait in the country. However, incoming Interior Minister Olga Sanchez has since deniedsuch deal exists.

The ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is likely to meet court challenges in the days ahead especially since just this past Monday a San Francisco judge ruled Trump may not rewrite immigration laws.

[Mediaite]

Trump Rips Ninth Circuit and Migrant Caravan to Deployed Troops in Thanksgiving Call

On Thanksgiving morning, President Donald Trump held a long teleconference call with various members of the military deployed overseas from his Mar-a-Lago resort. During the call, he brought up border policy, bashed the ninth circuit, and asked about his trade policies.

In the above clip, the President talks to Brigadier General David Lyons of the U.S. Air Force about immigration and the border before bashing the courts.

“Our mission here, we defend the two busiest airfields in Afghanistan, Kandahar and Bagrām,” said the General as he introduced himself and the troops in the room to Trump. They shouted Happy Thanksgiving, and Trump thanked them, and asked Gen. Lyons how things are going.

“Well both the Taliban and ISIS are resilient adversaries, but I think we’re doing well. We get after them every single day. Our objective here is to fight the away game. And so what I mean by that, we never want this adversary to reach our shores again. And so every airman here is dedicated to keeping this fight away from our shores,” he said. “We do what we do for America, sir.”

When speaking of ISIS reaching our shores, most would associate the comment with fighting terrorism abroad rather than at home, which is the mission in the war on terror in which these troops are serving and for which they are risking their lives. President Trump, however, related it to border policy and immigrants.

“You said what you said better than anybody could have said, keep them away from our shores and that’s why we’re doing the strong borders,” said the President. He said that the General had probably seen the news, mentioning “large numbers” of people who “in many cases they are not good people” that are “forming at our border,” an obvious reference to the migrant caravan. He said we have to be careful with the border, and that it was essentially shut down at the moment.

“We’re not letting in anybody, essentially, because, we want to be very, very careful,” he said. “So you’re right, you’re doing it over there, we’re doing it over here.”

He told the General about the troops at the border, and how the wall was being wrapped with barbed wire.

“Nobody is getting through these walls, and we’re going to make sure they’re the right people. That is what you and your family want, and all of your families, that’s what they want” said Trump. “That is why we are all fighting. We are fighting for borders.”

He turned then to the court.

“We get a lot of bad court decisions from the ninth circuit, which has become a big thorn in our side,” said the Commander in Chief to the Brigadier General. “We always lose, and then you lose again, and again. And hopefully you win at the Supreme Court, which we’ve done.”

“But it’s a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border, it’s a disgrace,” Trump added.

In closing, he said that he would see Lyons when he returns home, or “maybe I will see you over there, you never know what is going to happen.”

In the next segment of the call, he spoke trade policy. We’ll have that clip shortly.

[Mediaite]

Trump Warns ‘Whole Border’ Could Be Shut: We May ‘Close Entry Into the Country for a Period of Time’

After speaking with members of the military who are deployed around the world, President Donald Trump took questions from the media, and said that he might have to close the southern border altogether.

He talked about the border, as he did on the call with the military members, and said that the U.S. border had been entirely closed two days ago, and may have to be closed again.

Speaking specifically about the caravan, Trump said that if the military has to, they’ll use lethal force. He cited the reaction of the people of Tijuana, Mexico to the massive influx of people from the caravan.

“You ask the people in Tijuana, Mexico, they opened up with wide arms, just come in, come in, let me help you, let us take care of you. And within two days, now they’re going crazy to get them out. They want them out,” he said. “Because things are happening, bad things are happening in Tijuana. And again, it’s not in this country because we’ve closed it up.”

“Actually, two days ago, we closed the border. We actually just closed it. We say nobody is coming in because it was out of control,” he said.

A reporter asked, “What do you mean you closed the border and nobody is coming in? What do you mean by that?”

“If we find that it’s uncontrollable, Josh, if we find that it’s — it gets to a level where we are going to lose control or where people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control,” he answered.

A reporter asked, “do you mean the entire border?”

“The whole border. I mean the whole border,” the President confirmed. “And Mexico will not be able to sell their cars into the United States where they make so many at great benefit to them — not a great benefit to us, by the way. But at least now we have a good new trade deal with Mexico and with Canada. But we will close the border. And that means that Mexico is not going to be able to sell their cars into the United States until it’s open.”

“We’re going to either have a border or we’re not. And when they lose control of the border on the Mexico side, we just close the border,” he repeated. “And we have a very powerful border. We built a very strong border in a very short period of time.”

[Mediaite]

Trump disputes CIA findings in Khashoggi killing, says too much at stake to punish ally

Responding to questions about Saudi Arabia’s role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that the U.S. can’t afford to punish foreign nations for killing people.

“Do people really want me to give up hundreds of thousands of jobs?” he said. “And frankly, if we went by this standard, we wouldn’t be able to have anybody who’s an ally, because look at what happens all over the world.”

NBC and other outlets have reported that the CIA recently determined, reportedly with “high confidence,” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in early October.

Trump rejected that characterization in an exchange with reporters in Palm Beach, Fla., where he is spending the Thanksgiving holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort, but said the American relationship with Riyadh wouldn’t be affected even if the crown prince is responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

“Whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently,” Trump said. “The CIA doesn’t say they did it. They do point out certain things, and in pointing out those things, you can conclude that maybe he did or maybe he didn’t.”

The aftermath of the killing bothered him, he said, but he argued the CIA gave him conflicting information about the act.

“I hate the cover-up. And I will tell you this, the crown prince hates it more than I do,” he said. “And they have vehemently deny it. The CIA points it both ways. As I said, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But I will say very strongly that it’s a very important ally.”

By design, intelligence community analyses don’t reach conclusions. Instead, analysts provide evidence and a degree of confidence about their judgments, along with information about any uncertainties.

After Trump tweeted a statement of support for Saudi rulers Wednesday, Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan slammed Trump in an op-ed.

“A clear and dangerous message has been sent to tyrants around the world: Flash enough money in front of the president of the United States, and you can literally get away with murder,” Ryan wrote.

Pressed Thursday on whether his message to foreign leaders is that they can act with impunity, Trump said “no.”

“Not at all,” he said. ” Saudi Arabia has been a longtime strategic partner. They’re investing hundreds of billions of dollars in our country. I mean hundreds of billions. They’re keeping the oil prices low.”

The U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis does not report figures for Saudi Arabia’s direct investment in the U.S. to avoid revealing information about specific companies. While overall data is not available, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative reports that “Saudi Arabia’s direct investment in the U.S. is led by real estate, information services, and retail trade.”

Financial transactions between the two countries amounted to a negative number in 2017 — about $161 million in Riyadh’s favor — according to BEA.

Saudi Arabia spent about $9 billion on U.S. arms between 2013 and 2017, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, but Trump has said erroneously that Saudi rulers are ready to spend many multiples of that in the coming years — up to $450 billion in goods, including $110 billion in military equipment. Saudi Arabia’s annual gross domestic product has been below $700 billion in each of the last three years.

[NBC News]

Trump Thanks Saudi Arabia for…Making America Great Again With Lower Oil Prices?

After more or less excusing Saudi Arabia’s alleged murder of a journalist, President Trump is showing praise on them over lower gas prices.

In his first tweets of the day, Trump celebrated the fact that oil prices are falling on the market amid fears of a global slowdown in economic growth. In any case, he’s giving thanks to the Saudis over this news and finishing it off with “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” for good measure.

Trump’s tweets come a day after he released a statement declaring he will take Saudi Arabia’s side over the controversy of whether their royal family was directly involved in Jamal Khashoggi‘s gruesome murder in Turkey. Trump justified his decision by declaring “America first,”embraced Saudi Arabia’s smears of Khashoggi for being a political dissident, and he also ignored reported evidence collected by the intelligence community that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing.

[Mediaite]

Reality

We only get 10% of our imported oil from Saudi Arabia, which is already a fraction of the oil we generate ourselves.

OPEC has recently called for a drop in oil production because of a looming glut on the market and a fear that oil prices were going to fall lower. There are also links to the economy that a possible slow down in economic growth has been signaled by a drop in oil prices.

These are things that have nothing to do with the US government’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Trump hits back at Chief Justice Roberts,

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and President Donald Trump took swipes at each other Wednesday in an extraordinary exchange over just how partisan federal courts really are.

Roberts said Wednesday morning there are no “Obama judges or Trump judges” after the president attacked the judge who ruled against his attempt to restrict asylum seekers at the border earlier this week.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said in a statement. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Later in the afternoon, Trump hit back with two posts on Twitter:

“Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’ and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country. It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an ‘independent judiciary,’ but if it is why…..,” the president wrote, followed by: “…..are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned. Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security — these rulings are making our country unsafe! Very dangerous and unwise!”

The statement from Roberts, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, was a stark divergence from the chief justice’s stoic aversion to publicly criticizing Trump, even as the president has railed against federal judges who did not rule in his favor.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, called Trump’s comments against the judiciary “unprecedented” in modern history and praised Roberts for defending the Judicial branch. Chief justices have historical avoided fighting with the other co-equal branches of government, but Tobias said he was “heartened” by Wednesday’s break from deference to keep Trump in his lane.

“I think it’s great that the chief justice has said something, because the Senate has done nothing on these issues and somebody has to protect the independence of the judiciary,” Tobias said. “So I’m not troubled.”

The Associated Press first reported Roberts’ comments.

Talking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, Trump criticized Judge Jon Tigar of U.S. District Court in Northern California, who ruled against his policy announced this month that would require migrants to apply for asylum at legal border crossings. Currently, migrants can present themselves to immigration officers after illegally crossing the border and request asylum. Cases from the Northern District of California are appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A number of advocacy groups sued the Trump administration shortly after it announced the policy, and Tigar issued a temporary restraining order effectively thwarting the president’s efforts. Trump on Tuesday accused Tigar of being an “Obama judge” and called the 9th Circuit a “disgrace.” Tigar was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

“Every case gets filed in the 9th Circuit because they know that’s not law. They know that’s not what this country stands for. Every case that gets filed in the 9th Circuit, we get beaten.” Trump said. “People should not be allowed to immediately run to this very friendly circuit and then file their case.”

He also said, “The 9th Circuit is really something we have to take a look at because it’s not fair.”

Trump added that he felt confident the case over his asylum policy would go to the Supreme Court where his administration would prevail — similar to his travel ban on citizens of several majority Muslim countries. A modified version of that policy was upheld in the Supreme Court after several challenges in lower federal courts, with Roberts writing the majority opinion in that case.

Even before Trump’s presidency, Republicans have tried to fill federal courts with conservative judges, blocking Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from getting a Senate vote. Trump ultimately filled the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Senate Republicans stalled several of Obama’s appointees to federal courts until former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) unleashed the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules requiring only a simple majority to approve most federal judicial nominations.

This year, Republicans and Democrats engaged in a dramatic fight over the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh — Trump’s second nominee to the high court — which was mired in allegations of sexual assault. Both parties accused each other of toying with parliamentary procedure and manipulation in order to block or ram through the confirmation.

Trump has a track record of attacking the judiciary. He disparaged a federal judge in Hawaii last year as practicing “unprecedented judicial overreach” when he blocked an executive order barring entry to citizens of some majority Muslim countries.

[Politico]

Trump, When Asked Why He Sided With Saudi Arabia Over CIA: ‘Because It’s America First!

President Donald Trump was asked by a reporter on Tuesday why he sided with Saudi Arabia over his own intelligence agencies regarding who is responsible for the murder or Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump issued a bizarre statement on Tuesday announcing the U.S. would stand by Saudi Arabia regardless of whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of the Washington Post writer in Turkey, as the CIA has reportedly concluded.

“It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” Trump told reporters as he made his way from Washington D.C. to his Mar-a-Lago resort for Thanksgiving.

“Why are you siding with Saudi Arabia over your own intelligence community?” a reporter asked.

“Because it’s America First,” Trump replied. “It’s all about American First. We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders, and let Russia and China have them.”

(The Washington Post called Trump’s claims about the jobs and revenue created by Saudi investment in the U.S. a “fantasy” in their report on his statement.)

“We are with Saudi Arabia, we’re staying with Saudi Arabia,” Trump added.

Trump’s statement drew criticism for its apparent defense of Saudi Arabia’s actions and questioning of its leader’s culpability in the gruesome murder of a dissident who resided in the United States.

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump wrote in his statement. “That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”

[Mediaite]

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