Trump Attacks ‘Crazed’ Mika Brzezinski for ‘Butt Boy’ Comment About Pompeo

President Donald Trump went after MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski this afternoon for the comment she made yesterday calling Sec. Mike Pompeo a “wannabe dictator’s butt boy.”

She made the comment after Pompeo’s remarks on Fox News about Saudi Arabia and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Brzezinski later acknowledged that the comment was homophobic and apologized, saying she should have said something like “water boy,” and was absent from Morning Joe Thursday because of a pre-planned day off.

She got a lot of flak for those comments, including from U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell:

Well, now President Trump has weighed in, saying if Brzezinski was conservative she’d be banned from TV immediately:

[Mediaite]

Trump Pushes Back: ‘I Never Directed Michael Cohen to Break the Law’

President Donald Trump is addressing the recent legal developments surrounding his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes he pled guilty to in a Manhattan court.

Cohen pled guilty to illegally paying off women with whom Trump had allegedly engaged in extramarital affairs, and strongly implicated the President during the court proceedings. “I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,” Cohen said. “I was weak for not having the strength to refuse his demands. Owning this mistake will free me to be once more the person I am.”

Trump is hitting back via Twitter:

President Trump denies directing Cohen for the actions that led to his sentencing, however, the Federal prosecutors in his own Department of Justice disagree.

Court filings clearly identify Trump has having directed these actions. Also, an audio recording surfaced earlier this year in which Cohen and Trump appear to talk about the illicit payments.

President Trump previously denied knowledge paying off adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen MacDougal, though he has denied ever engaging in any untoward behavior with both.

[Mediaite]

Trump Doubles Down on Shutdown Threat: ‘I Don’t Mind Owning That Issue’

President Donald Trump spoke to reporters again this afternoon following his contentious public spat with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on the border wall and a possible government shutdown.

Trump directly said he would be “proud” to shut down the government in the name of fighting for border security.

During a bill signing this afternoon, Trump said the meeting was “very friendly” and stood by his comments. When asked about owning the idea of a shutdown, he said, “I don’t mind.”

He elaborated:

“I don’t mind having the issue of border security on my side. If we have to close down the country over border security, I actually like that in terms of an issue, but I don’t want it to be an issue, I want it to be something that the country needs… We need border security, and part of border security is a wall. So I don’t mind owning that issue.”

And if the fight is on border security, Trump added, “I think I win that every single time.”

[Mediaite]

Judge orders Stormy Daniels to reimburse Trump’s legal fees

A US judge has ordered porn actress Stormy Daniels to reimburse President Donald Trump’s legal fees after her defamation case was thrown out.

Ms Daniels, who says she had sex with Mr Trump in 2006, sued him after he mocked her claim that a stranger had threatened her to keep quiet.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered her to pay over $293,052.33 (£234,000) – roughly 75% of Mr Trump’s legal fees.

A lawyer for Mr Trump celebrated the ruling as a “total victory”.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Los Angeles Judge James Otero declined to impose the “significant additional sanctions” requested by the US president’s legal team against Ms Daniels.

Mr Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, had earlier requested that Ms Daniels be forced to pay almost $800,000 after her lawsuit was dismissed in October.

He said on Tuesday that the penalty includes $1,000 for having filed a “meritless” case.

“The court’s order,” Mr Harder said, “along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case.”

Ms Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said in a tweet that the ruling “will never hold up on appeal”.

Mr Avenatti is representing Ms Daniels in another lawsuit against Mr Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.

The adult film actress is seeking to void a nondisclosure agreement about her alleged affair with the president.

What was the defamation case about?

Ms Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, said last April that she had been threatened by a man in a car park to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

She shared a sketch of the man who she claimed had threatened her and her child.

Mr Trump retweeted the image, calling it a “total con job”, and describing the image as being of a “non-existent man”.

She sued arguing that the president’s tweet was defamatory as it accused Ms Daniels of “committing a serious crime” – namely, falsely accusing a person of threatening her.

But in October, the judge ruled that Mr Trump’s tweet was protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to freedom of speech.

The judge said Mr Trump’s tweet was merely a “hyperbolic statement” against a political antagonist.

After that initial court victory, Mr Trump promptly took to Twitter, saying his legal team could now “go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer”.

Who is else is involved?

Mr Trump’s former personal attorney, Mr Cohen, will be sentenced in New York on Wednesday for paying Ms Daniels $130,000 to keep the alleged liaison private.

According to prosecutors, Mr Cohen was directed to make the payment to Ms Daniels – and to another woman – by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has acknowledged the payment was made, describing it only this week as “a simple private transaction”, though he denies having a sexual relationship with her.

Mr Cohen has admitted the payment, which was not reported to election officials, was a violation of campaign finance laws.

[BBC]

Trump insists his tense meeting with Dem leaders went great after throwing Oval Office tantrum

President Donald Trump held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to address an earlier contentious meeting with Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“Believe or not it was actually a friendly meeting,” Trump said.

He reiterated the idea that Congress is on the cusp of passing criminal justice reform and a farm bill. Trump then somewhat reluctantly added border security to the list. Earlier in the day Schumer and Pelosi clashed with the president over funding for a border wall.

Trump threatened to shut down the government over the wall.

“It’s common sense, the country needs it,” Trump added.

“We need border security and part of border security is a wall,” the president added.

[Raw Story]

Media

Donald Trump Tweets: No “Smocking” Gun Tying His Campaign To Russia

Monday morning and President Donald Trump is tweeting – this time cribbing from Fox News’ morning talk about Democrats’ inability to find a “smocking gun.”

“Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony,” Trump tweeted, in re GOP-ers in House Judiciary Committee having hauled Comey back in for a day’s worth of grilling, mostly about Hillary Clinton’s emails according to Comey, talking to reporters at end of Friday. Transcript to come.

“No Smocking Gun…No Collusion,” Trump boasted in his early morning tweeting.

“That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly calling it a campaign contribution…which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s – but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me).

[Deadline]

Reality

A brief moment on Monday’s Fox and Friends First was the catalyst for an early-morning tweet from President Trump.

This is an amazing admission of guilt, and an amazing misspelling of “smoking” twice, but let’s also walk through the lies in this tweet.

First, James Comey testified in a closed door session a few days prior on the demands of House Republicans, who pulled him in to ask questions about Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server. An obvious ploy to change the national conversation away from Trump by Republicans… not Democrats.

And second, a lawyer for the Department of Justice accompanied Comey to the hearing and any time a Republican Congressman asked him questions prying into the Robert Mueller probe, the lawyer instructed Comey he couldn’t comment about an ongoing investigation.

So Republicans and Fox News framed this very basic understanding of our justice system to their their viewers as “James Comey refused to answer questions.”

 

Trump Declares ‘NO COLLUSION!’ in Early-Morning Tweet After Cohen, Manafort Memos Drop

After dubiously claiming the Michael Cohen sentencing memo “totally clears” him last night, President Donald Trump this morning sent out a mostly all-caps “NO COLLUSION” tweet.

[Mediaite]

President Trump takes 8-car motorcade across the street to greet Bushes

President Donald Trump is taking criticism for using an eight-car motorcade to travel about 250 yards to welcome the Bush family at Blair House, the guest quarters across the street from the White House.

Washington Post article cited a former Obama administration official who said previous presidents, including Barack Obama, “have made that walk before.”

“Bone spurs?” CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd sarcastically wondered, referring to a medical condition cited as the explanation for Trump’s fifth deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War.

But observers suggested that the Secret Service likely requested Trump take the motorcade. Twitter users pointed out to a passage from former first lady Michelle Obama’s new book “Becoming” in which she said the Secret Service would sometimes request she and her husband take a motorcade across the street.

Post reporter David Nakamura tweeted that while he found six examples of Obama walking across the street to visit Blair House, he had not yet been able to find an example of him using a motorcade to do so.

[USA Today]

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s aides and advisers have tried to convince him of the importance of tackling the national debt.

Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off, implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors—currently about $21 trillion—because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes even more untenable.

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.

“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.

The episode illustrates the extent of the president’s ambivalence toward tackling an issue that has previously animated the Republican Party from the days of Ronald Reagan to the presidency of Barack Obama.

But for those who have worked with Trump, it was par for the course. Several people close to the president, both within and outside his administration, confirmed that the national debt has never bothered him in a truly meaningful way, despite his public lip service. “I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former senior White House official attested.

Marc Short, who until recently worked for Trump as his legislative affairs director, said he believed the president recognized “the threat that debt poses” and he pointed to Trump’s concern “about rising interest rates” as evidence of his concern for the matter.

“But there’s no doubt this administration and this Congress need to address spending because we have out-of-control entitlement programs,” Short said, adding, “it’s fair to say that… the president would be skeptical of anyone who claims that they would know exactly when a [debt] crisis really comes home to roost.”

Recent reports have suggested that Trump is determined, at least rhetorically, to address the issue. Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the president, noted that the president and his team have proposed policies to achieve some deficit reduction, “including in his first budget that actually would’ve balanced in 10 years, a historic, common-sense rescissions proposal.”

[The Daily Beast]

Trump points to French riots to justify pulling out of Paris climate deal

President Trump on Tuesday cited recent riots in France as justification for his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate deal, which he called “fatally flawed.”

“I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago. The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters in the world,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president argued that he has “been making great strides in improving America’s environment,” but suggested the Paris agreement put the burden for environmentally-friendly policies on American taxpayers.

The president’s tweet came after France on Tuesday delayed plans to implement steep taxes on diesel fuel and gasoline as part of Macron’s effort to reduce emissions.

“No tax is worth putting in danger the unity of the nation,” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said in announcing the delay.

The announcement was preceded by intense protests in Paris, where demonstrators vandalized monuments and clashed with police, injuring more than 100 people. The protesters had lashed out against the planned fuel tax and, more broadly, Macron’s leadership.

Trump announced in June 2017 that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris agreement, which includes nearly every country as part of a global effort to combat climate change. The accord does not allow nations to submit exit paperwork until November 2019, and the United States’s departure would not be effective until November 2020.

The president has long voiced skepticism about the existence of climate change, and his administration has undone a number of environmental regulations established during the Obama years.

Trump late last month dismissed the findings of a government report that warned of dire consequences if the country does not address climate change. The president went on to dispute the scientific consensus that human activity contributes to climate change.

[The Hill]

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