Trump calls Stormy Daniels ‘Horseface’ as defamation suit dismissed.

President Donald Trump lashed out at adult-film star Stormy Daniels and her attorney Tuesday morning, vowing to “go after” the pair, who he referred to as “Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer.”

The tweet from Trump comes a day after a federal judge in California handed the president a rare legal victory in his ongoing legal battles with Daniels.

Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti – who has been teasing a possible run for president against Trump in 2020 – wasted little time in responding in kind to the insults, calling Trump a “disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States.”

“Bring everything you have,” Avenatti crowed, “because we are going to demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are.”

Also firing back on her (usually) not-safe-for-work Twitter feed, Daniels wrote, “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present your president.”

“[H]e has demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control on Twitter AGAIN!” Daniels wrote.

The barrage of Twitter barbs follows a ruling Monday by US District Court Judge S. James Otero that dismissed Daniels’ defamation claim, one of two lawsuits she filed against the president.

Otero ruled that a tweet Trump sent earlier this year mocking Daniels’ credibility was free speech protected by the First Amendment.

The judge noted that Daniels had “sought to publicly present herself as an adversary” to Trump, and that to deny him the ability to engage in responding to her allegations “would significantly hamper the office of the President.”

An attorney for the president, Charles Harder, characterized that ruling in a statement as “a total victory for President Trump and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels.”

The court also ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s legal fees and costs associated with defending the lawsuit. The amount has yet to be determined.

Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti quickly filed a notice of an intention to appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The dismissal of the defamation claim has no bearing on Daniels’ separate lawsuit challenging the validity of the non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016 to keep quiet about her allegations of a sexual tryst with Trump in 2006.

Trump has denied her allegations.

The defamation claim from Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was originally filed in New York federal court earlier this year. The lawsuit claimed Trump acted with “actual malice” and “reckless disregard for the truth” when he posted a tweet mocking her claim that she was threatened by an unknown man to stay silent. The case was later transferred to federal court in California.

In an April appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Daniels and Avenatti released a sketch of the man she claims menaced her and her toddler daughter in 2011 in a Las Vegas parking lot shortly after she granted an interview to In Touch magazine about her alleged relationship with Trump, then a real estate mogul and reality-TV star.

Daniels alleges the man told her to “leave Trump alone” and to “forget the story.”

The magazine didn’t publish its story about Daniels claims until January of 2018 – after the Wall Street Journal published the first accounts of a non-disclosure agreement signed just weeks before the 2016 election.

In interviews with The View and on CBS’ 60 Minutes earlier this year, Daniels intimated that either Trump or his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, must have been behind the alleged threat.

To date, no evidence has emerged to support the claim.

One day after Daniels revealed the sketch – Trump ridiculed the claim on Twitter as “a sketch years later about a non-existent man.” He called it a “total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools.”

[ABC News]

Trump says ‘who cares’ after Warren takes DNA test, denies $1 million offer

President Donald Trump claims he “didn’t say” that he would pay $1 million to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren for taking DNA test to review her Native American heritage, after she released the results of one on Monday morning.

“Who cares?” Trump said when asked about the DNA test. When pressed on the once-promised $1 million payment, Trump responded: “I didn’t say that. You better read it again.”

In fact, Trump did promise $1 million, during a July rally, but only if the test showed she was “an Indian.”

At a rally in July, Trump said: “And we will say, ‘I will give you a million dollars, paid for by Trump, to your favorite charity if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian … we’ll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no but we will hold it for the debates.”

Warren has released the results of a DNA analysis showing she has distant Native American ancestry in an apparent attempt to pre-empt further questions and attacks should she run for president in 2020.

Warren first faced scrutiny for her purported Native American heritage during her 2012 Senate race. But Trump has revived and amplified the controversy as he eyes Warren as a possible rival, frequently mocking her with the nickname “Pocahontas.”

But Warren now has documentation to back up her family lore — a analysis of her genetic data performed by Carlos Bustamante, a professor of genetics at Stanford and adviser to Ancestry and 23 and Me.

Bustamante’s analysis places Warren’s Native American ancestor between six and 10 generations ago, with the report estimating eight generations.
After his initial “who cares” response, Trump said Monday he hopes Warren runs for president because she will be “easy” to beat.

“I hope she’s running for president because I think she’d be very easy. I do not think she’d be very difficult at all,” Trump said, adding: “I don’t want to say bad things about her because I hope she’s one of the people that get through the process.”

Trump added that Warren would turn the US into Venezuela.

[CNN]

Reality

Here is the video of Trump promising to donate $1 million if Warren proved ‘Indian’ ancestry:

Trump: Saudi Journalist Could Have Been Murdered By ‘Rogue Killers’

President Donald Trump spoke out on Monday about his call with the Saudi King to discuss allegations his government killed and dismembered Washington Post writer and dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Monday, Trump repeatedly noted Saudi Arabia’s denial of alleged killing was “very strong,” even adding that Khashoggi could have been murdered by “rogue killers.”

“I just spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia, who denies any knowledge with what took place,” Trump said. “And he firmly denies that.”

Trump added that he has sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Saudi King Salman.

“The king firmly denied any knowledge of it, he didn’t really know, maybe, I don’t want to get into his mind, but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers,” Trump said. “Who knows, we’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial.”

“He told me in a very firm way that they had no knowledge of it,” Trump continued. “He said it very strongly.”

“His denial to me could not have been stronger,” Trump added.

Turkish officials say they have proof that Khashoggi — missing since he entered the Saudi consulate on October 2 — was murdered by a team of Saudi agents. Trump has repeatedly stressed that the Saudis vehemently deny their involvement in his disappearance. In a tweet on Monday morning, he emphasized that U.S. resident Khashoggi is a “Saudi citizen,” and that King Salman “denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened.”

The disappearance and possible murder of Khashoggi poses a problem for Trump administration attempts to build a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia, notably through Jared Kushner‘s relationship with young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

[Mediaite]

Reality

Trump & Saudi Business:
•1991: Sold yacht to Saudi Prince
•2001: Sold 45th floor of Trump World Tower to Saudis
•Jun 2015: I love the Saudis…many in Trump Tower
•Aug 2015: “They buy apartments from me…Spend $40M-$50M”
•2017: Saudi lobbyists spent $270K at Trump DC hotel

Trump Defends Child Separation in Contentious Exchange With Lesley Stahl: ‘I’m President and You’re Not’

President Donald Trump‘s interview with Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutesaired on Sunday night, and during one contentious exchange, the president snapped at the CBS News journalist.

Stahl first asked Trump if he had any regrets from his first two years in office, and he replied that the press has treated him “terribly.”

When Stahl pressed, Trump held firm: “I regret that the press treats me so badly.”

Stahl pressed further and eventually asked Trump about his controversial immigration policy that separated migrant children from their parents at the southern border. Trump retorted by falsely claiming his policy was the same as former President Barack Obama‘s.

“It was on the books, but he didn’t enforce it,” Stahl corrected, noting Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. “You enforced it.”

When Trump defended the policy as an effective deterrent to illegal immigration, Stahl asked if he would reprise the program. The president did not respond, but held that “there are consequences from coming into a country, namely our country, illegally.”

Trump eventually called out Stahl for her questions, claiming he was being treated differently than Barack Obama.

“I disagree, but I don’t wanna have that fight with you,” Stahl said.

“Lesley, it’s okay,” Trump snapped back. “In the meantime, I’m president and you’re not.”

[Mediaite]

Trump No Longer Thinks Climate Change is a Hoax, Still Not Sure It’s Manmade

During an interview with CBS’s Lesley Stahl on Sunday that aired on 60 Minutes, President Donald Trump backed off his claim that climate change is a hoax but made it clear he was not ready to say it was indeed manmade.

“I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again,” Trump said. “I don’t think it’s a hoax. I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”

At one point Stahl noted it would be remarkable if all the recent weather emergencies may change his mind.

“You know, I– I was thinking what if he said, ‘No, I’ve seen the hurricane situations, I’ve changed my mind. There really is climate change.’ And I thought, ‘Wow, what an impact,’” Stahl said.

Trump replied: I’m not denying climate change. But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talkin’ about over millions of years. They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael.”

Stahl, who suggested Trump really was denying it, then asked him to pin down when he says, “they say.”

“People say,” Trump replied, before casting doubt on scientists’ agendas.

“You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley,” the president said.

[Mediaite]

Trump On Trade Wars With China, U.S. Allies: ‘We’ve Been the Stupid Country for So Many Years’

During his broad-ranging interview with 60 Minutes, President Trump said America has been a “stupid country” in the past, while also defending his approach to international economics and foreign policy.

Lesley Stahl pressed Trump on his escalating trade wars with China and their retaliation across multiple markets. Trump disputed her “trade war” characterization and that eventually led to a chat on the Trump Administration’s tariffs against American allies.

“I mean, what’s an ally?” Trump said. “We have wonderful relationships with a lot of people. But nobody treats us much worse than the European Union.”

Stahl continued to ask about this “hostile” approach, and whether Trump would consider dissolving the western alliance under NATO.

“We’ve been the stupid country for so many years,” Trump said. “We shouldn’t be paying almost the entire cost of NATO to protect Europe, and then on top of that, they take advantage of us on trade.”

[Mediaite]

Trump: Robert E. Lee comment was ‘actually a shoutout’ to Grant

President Trump on Sunday accused the media of “purposely” changing the meaning of his comments on Robert E. Lee.

In a tweet, Trump claimed that his comments about the Confederate general were “actually a shoutout” to Ulysses S. Grant.

“NBC News has totally and purposely changed the point and  meaning of my story about General Robert E Lee and General Ulysses Grant,” Trump tweeted. “Was actually a shoutout to warrior Grant and the great state in which he was born. As usual, dishonest reporting. Even mainstream media embarrassed!”

At a campaign rally Friday night, the president said Lee was a “great general,” and spoke at length about Lee, Grant and Abraham Lincoln.

“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the rally.

Later in his monologue, he also said Grant was a “great general,” and that he “knocked the hell out of everyone,” adding multiple times that Grant had a “drinking problem.”

Trump’s “Lee was a great general” comment has drawn widespread backlash, including from a descendant of Lee himself.

[The Hill]

Donald Trump Jr. Retweeted A Conspiracy Theory About Missing Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

On Friday, Trump Organization Senior Vice President Donald Trump Jr. retweeted an unverified theory about missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi — a Saudi journalist who has been critical of the government — has not been seen since he went into the Saudi consulate on Oct. 2 in Istanbul to obtain marriage paperwork for himself and his Turkish fiancée, according to The New York Times.

CNN reported that authorities in Turkey said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, an accusation the Saudi government called “false” in a Times report.

Trump retweeted an unverified claim that Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, is a sympathizer or friend of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda, according to CNN. The tweet from Patrick Poole — who lists himself as a national security and terrorism correspondent for @PJMedia_com on Twitter — posted photos of a decades-old newspaper piece by Khashoggi about the mujahedeen.

The article was published along with a photo of Khashoggi and men who were identified as members of the extremist group. Another photo Poole shared shows a published photograph of bin Laden and various associates.

“I didn’t realize until yesterday that Jamal Khashoggi was the author of this notorious 1988 Arab News article of him tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam. He’s just a democrat reformer journalist holding a RPG with jihadists,” Poole wrote.

Poole is not the only conservative writer online furthering the theory. Federalist co-founder Sean Davis retweeted Poole with the comment, “Huh. It’s almost like reality is quite different than the evidence-free narratives peddled by media with a long history of cooperating with or getting duped by Iran echo chamber architects.”

Trump Jr. then retweeted Davis’ commentary and by extension, Poole’s original tweet.

President Donald Trump has been reluctant to cut ties with the Saudi government, a key ally to the United States. On Friday, Trump said answers about what happened to Khashoggi after he entered that consulate will be revealed “sooner than people think,” according to CNN.

[Bustle]

Trump suggests support for family separations, after earlier practice caused outcry

President Donald Trump suggested on Saturday that he believes the controversial policy of family separations could continue in the United States and that the practice could dissuade immigrants from entering the country illegally.

Trump’s comments come on the heels of a Friday report in The Washington Post that the White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The newspaper, which cited several administration officials it did not name, reported that one option under consideration would detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days and then give parents a choice of staying in family detention with their child as their immigration cases proceed or allowing children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians could seek custody.

“We’re looking at a lot of different things having to do with illegal immigration,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

“I will say this: If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come,” Trump said.

The practice of separating children from their parents at the border ignited a firestorm of criticism. Under pressure, Trump in June signed an executive order that said he said would end the practice and allow families to be detained together.

At least 2,600 children were separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that called for prosecuting everyone who entered the country illegally. A federal judge ordered families to be reunified, and in September the government reported it had reunified or released 2,251 children.

The policy, in effect from May 6 through June 20, did not put a significant dent in the number of families crossing the border, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Trump has made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his campaign and presidency. On Saturday he insisted he wants workers to come into the country but repeated his refrain that he wants a “merit-based” immigration system and that he opposes the current lottery system.

A bill proposed by Republicans in August would halve the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States while moving to a “merit-based” system of entry. Trump has said he supports that bill.

[NBC News]

Trump Attacks the Fed as Stocks Fall and the Midterms Loom

President Trump responded to falling stock prices on Thursday by continuing to throw rocks at the Federal Reserve, which he has described as “crazy,” “loco,” “going wild” and “out of control” for slowly raising interest rates against the backdrop of a booming economy.

No other modern president has publicly attacked the Fed with such venom or frequency. Indeed, some scholars said the only close historical parallel was with President Andrew Jackson, who campaigned successfully in the 1830s to close the Fed’s predecessor, the Second Bank of the United States.

Mr. Trump’s pointed remarks reflect the high political stakes less than a month before midterm elections that have been cast by his political opponents as a referendum on his presidency. Mr. Trump has been riding the economy hard, bragging about job creation, tax cuts and reduced federal regulation, and claiming credit for the rise of the stock market. Now that the market has lost 5 percent of its value in the last week, Mr. Trump is insisting someone else is to blame.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closed at 2,728.37 on Thursday, down 2.06 percent.

In fact, despite the stock market’s plunge, the American economy continues to grow, which is what is prompting the Fed to raise interest rates and drawing the president’s ire. The Fed’s chairman, Jerome H. Powell, has said that the economy is in a “particularly bright moment” and that he sees no clouds on the horizon.

The stock market sell-off instead appears to reflect the movement of money into bonds, a normal consequence of higher interest rates since those securities pay more as rates rise; concern about the health of the global economy; and hesitations about the value of tech stocks.

But after hitching his political fortunes to the rise of the stock market, Mr. Trump is now looking to decouple himself from its fall. Republicans are instead emphasizing continued economic growth and the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.

So far, the president’s comments have made little impression on market expectations about Fed policy. Unlike Jackson’s concerted campaign, Mr. Trump’s attacks appear curiously unmoored from the policies of his own administration or the longstanding goals of the Republican Party. Mr. Trump’s own aides have insisted that the president’s remarks are personal musings, not an attempt to dictate policy.

The Fed has also brushed off the attacks; it still expected to raise rates in December for the fourth time this year.

Mr. Powell, selected for the job by Mr. Trump, said at a September news conference that Mr. Trump’s views would not influence the Fed’s decisions. “We don’t consider political factors or things like that,” Mr. Powell said. “That’s who we are, that’s what we do, and that’s just the way it’s always going to be for us.”

Mr. Powell emphasized that the decision to raise rates to a range between 2 and 2.25 percent was not intended to get in the way of continued growth. “My colleagues and I are doing all we can to keep the economy strong, healthy and moving forward,” he said.

A spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday.

Some experts warned that a continued assault on the Fed could have long-lasting consequences.

Peter Conti-Brown, a professor of legal studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a political history of the Fed, pointed to the example of the F.B.I., another institution Mr. Trump has repeatedly attacked by raising questions about the integrity of its decision making. Mr. Conti-Brown said technocratic institutions are insulated from political pressure by public confidence. If confidence erodes, it becomes harder for technocrats to resist the politicians.

The F.B.I. has seen a loss of leadership, an erosion of morale and an increase in congressional scrutiny.

“How long before the Fed is looking at its political context and saying, ‘We can’t stick our heads out as far as we need to,’” Mr. Conti-Brown asked rhetorically. “How long will people stay if the job itself becomes terrible, and there are protesters everywhere you go?”

Mr. Trump criticized the Fed when it raised interest rates in July, and again when it raised interest rates in September. But his attacks have sharply intensified in recent days, in tandem with the drop in the stock market.

“I think the Fed has gone crazy,” he told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. Later in the day, speaking with Fox News, he continued to increase the heat. “The Fed is going wild,” he said. “I don’t know what their problem is. They are raising interest rates and it’s ridiculous.”

“It’s not right,” he said Thursday. “It’s not necessary, and I think I know more about it than they do.”

Mr. Trump added that he was “disappointed” with Mr. Powell but did not plan to fire him — an authority the president may not even have. While the president in theory has the power to remove a Fed chairman “for cause,” courts have held that the permissible causes do not include policy disagreements.

For the moment, Mr. Trump’s criticism of the Fed does not seem to be catching on with Republican candidates. Many Republicans have argued for years that the Fed was waiting too long to raise interest rates, and then that it was moving too slowly. The party is trying to hold on to majorities in the Senate and the House by running on a strong economy and using the heated liberal opposition to Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation as an example of the threat Democrats pose if they control Congress. That dynamic could change, however, if the stock market continues to fall.

Modern presidents have always kept an uneasy eye on the Fed, because its decisions about monetary policy have a significant influence on the pace of economic growth.

Until the early 1950s, the Fed essentially operated as an arm of the Treasury Department. Even after the Fed gained operational independence, presidents often opined publicly about what the Fed should do and, if the Fed ignored their advice, they sometimes sought to bend its officials to their will.

President Lyndon B. Johnson protested a decision to raise interest rates in the late 1960s by summoning the Fed chairman at the time, William McChesney Martin, to his East Texas ranch and pinning the smaller man against a wall. President Richard M. Nixon instructed aides to blackmail Mr. Martin’s successor, Arthur Burns. President George Bush declared in a State of the Union address that the Fed should keep rates low.

But the volume of public commentary greatly diminished in recent decades as politicians concluded that pressuring the Fed was counterproductive. The administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all made a policy of silence on monetary policy.

Krishna Guha, the head of the central bank strategy team at Evercore ISI, said he did not expect Mr. Trump’s remarks to influence the Fed, and he saw no evidence that markets were paying attention. But he added that if Mr. Trump did succeed, he would most likely regret doing so.

If Mr. Trump’s attacks convince markets that the Fed may move more slowly, or show greater tolerance of inflation, bond yields would rise, which would put further downward pressure on equity prices.

Still, Mr. Guha — formerly a senior official at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — said that the president’s criticisms were not good for the central bank or the future conduct of economic policy.

“You never want to be in a position where some part of society doesn’t just question whether you made the right call or not, but whether you made that call in the public interest,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s aides have sought to play down his broadsides. Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, said Mr. Trump was just offering his two cents. “I don’t think he’s ‘calling out the Fed,’ quote unquote,” Mr. Kudlow told reporters outside the White House on Thursday morning. “I really mean this. I think he’s giving you his opinion. He is a, obviously, successful businessman, he’s a very well-informed investor. He has his views. But he’s not saying to them, ‘Change your plan.’”

Mr. Kudlow added, “He knows the Fed is independent, and he respects that.”

Mr. Trump’s criticisms appear strangely at odds with the way he has handled the most powerful means at his disposal to influence monetary policy. Since taking office less than two years ago, he has had the unusual opportunity to fill six of the seven seats on the Fed’s board of governors.

He filled the top three positions on the Fed’s board, including the chairman’s job, with members of the Republican policymaking establishment, which has long been committed to keeping inflation firmly under control. Three other nominees, still awaiting confirmation, are a more diverse group, but there is no indication any share Mr. Trump’s stated opposition to raising interest rates.

“In most areas of administrative policy that have been highly politicized, his appointments have privileged politics over competence,” Mr. Conti-Brown said. “The Fed has been an exception.”

A looming question, he said, is whether Mr. Trump might begin to match his actions to his words.

[The New York Times]

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