Trump on Sessions: ‘I don’t have an attorney general’

US President Donald Trump has said he does not “have an attorney general” in his fiercest attack yet on Jeff Sessions.

In an interview with Hill.TV, Mr Trump renewed criticism of Mr Sessions’ decision to step aside from the inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He also said he was unhappy with Mr Sessions’ response to immigration.

The attorney general is yet to respond to Mr Trump’s comments.

It is unusual for a sitting president to attack their attorney general and critics accuse Mr Trump of trying to meddle in the legal system.

After the president criticised Mr Sessions last month, two key Republican senators signalled that they would support Mr Trump if he were to fire Mr Sessions after the November mid-term elections.

However, other Republicans told Politico they thought this would be a bad move and said they were standing by the attorney general.

Mr Sessions has pushed back against previous criticism by Mr Trump. “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” he said in August.

“I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”

[BBC News]

Trump Goes After ‘Illegal Mueller Witch Hunt’ Again Following Manafort Deal: ‘Continues in Search of a Crime’

President Donald Trump went after Robert Mueller and the special counsel investigation this morning two days after the Paul Manafort deal was announced.

Trump didn’t tweet about Manafort specifically, but instead attacked the Mueller probe again as “illegal” and grasping at straws:

[Mediaite]

Trump Tweets Out Outdated Death Count for Hurricane Florence

On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted out his “deepest sympathies” to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones in Hurricane Florence.

“Five deaths have been recorded thus far with regard to Hurricane Florence! Deepest sympathies and warmth go out to the families and friends of the victims. May God be with them!” Trump wrote.

The death toll in Florence is actually, and sadly, up to at least 11 (some reports have it at 12) on Saturday after being reported as 5 on Friday.

As per Fox News:

The death toll attributed to Florence stands at 11, including 10 in North Carolina and one in South Carolina. Authorities say some other fatalities were unrelated.

Trump’s misreporting of the death toll comes on the heels of his repeated denial that 3000 people died in Puerto Rico following the devastating hurricanes on the island.

[Mediaite]

Trump: Republicans’ and my poll numbers would be higher if not for Mueller’s ‘witch hunt’

President Trump accused special counsel Robert Mueller on Saturday of hurting his and Republican candidates’ approval ratings, again characterizing the special counsel’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”

The president tweeted Saturday afternoon that his approval ratings, which have hovered below 50 percent for weeks in most polls, and those of Republican candidates around the country would be higher if not for Mueller’s investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

“While my (our) poll numbers are good, with the Economy being the best ever, if it weren’t for the Rigged Russian Witch Hunt, they would be 25 points higher!” Trump said.

“Highly conflicted Bob Mueller & the 17 Angry Democrats are using this Phony issue to hurt us in the Midterms. No Collusion!” he added.

Trump’s tweet comes one day after Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guiltyFriday to two federal charges. In pleading guilty, Manafort agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team in its investigation.

As part of his cooperation, Manafort has agreed to submit to interviews with the special counsel, testify in any future cases and provide related documents.

Manafort, the fourth Trump associate to plead guilty in Mueller’s investigation, was found guilty last month of tax and bank fraud charges in a Virginia court and faced another trial in Washington, D.C., this month.

What Manafort’s plea agreement means for Mueller’s probe is yet unknown, but his cooperation could be significant for Mueller’s investigation given his work on the Trump campaign.

Trump’s tweet also followed a series of endorsements for Republican candidates across the country, including several candidates facing tight races in November like Nevada congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian (R) and Texas Rep. Pete Sessions (R).

[The Hill]

Trump Falsely Claims ‘Fake News Media’ Ignored Obama’s ’57 States’ Gaffe

President Donald Trump falsely claimed the “fake news media” refused to cover former President Barack Obama’s “57” states gaffe, tweeting late last night that if he had made such a mistake, then it would have been “story of the year.”

“When President Obama said that he has been to ’57 States,’ very little mention in Fake News Media,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year!”

The president also tagged Fox News host Laura Ingraham in the tweet, meaning the president was watching the conservative pundit’s show, as she had a segment on Obama’s recent attacks against Trump in-which she mentioned the 57 states slip-up.

“Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states?” Obama said in May 2008. “I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”

Obama acknowledged the mistake after, saying, “I understand I said there were 57 states today.”

However, Trump’s claim that the media did not cover it is blatantly false. Every outlet from Reuters, to the Los Angeles Times, to Politico covered the error.

[Mediaite]

Trump Once Again Rejects Puerto Rican Death Toll : ‘FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!’

On Friday night, President Donald Trump tweeted out a quote from the Washington Post in a pair of tweets defending his decidedly false claim that 3000 people did not die as the result of hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

“’When Trump visited the island territory last October, OFFICIALS told him in a briefing 16 PEOPLE had died from Maria.’ The Washington Post. This was long AFTER the hurricane took place. Over many months it went to 64 PEOPLE. Then, like magic, ‘3000 PEOPLE KILLED.’ They hired…” Trump tweeted out in the first part of the tweet.

Then 18 minutes later, he added: “GWU Research to tell them how many people had died in Puerto Rico (how would they not know this?). This method was never done with previous hurricanes because other jurisdictions know how many people were killed. FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIGINAL NUMBER – NO WAY!”

The quote Trump tweeted out appears to be referencing this statement from WaPo:

When Trump visited the island territory last October, officials told him in a briefing that 16 people had died from Maria. But Puerto Rican officials doubled the death toll to 34 later that day.

That quote comes from an article titled, “Trump creates political storm with false claim on Puerto Rico hurricane death toll.”

The reference to GWU Research refers to the independent research study the Puerto Rican government commissioned to track the hurricane deaths.

The whole kerfuffle started with another, earlier tweet where Trump wrote, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico.”

As CNN and WaPo noted, Trump’s claim that 3000 people did not die does not stack up to the facts.

[Mediaite]

Despite massive death toll, Trump calls Puerto Rico hurricane response ‘an incredible, unsung success’

President Donald Trump touted his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as “an incredible, unsung success” during an Oval Office briefing on the upcoming hurricane bearing down on the Carolinas.

His comments run counter to how many locals and experts have assessed the federal government’s response.

“I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful,” Trump said, noting that the island location is “tough” during a hurricane due to the inability to transport vital equipment and supplies by truck. “It was one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.”

Earlier this month, the island’s governor formally raised the death toll from the 2017 storm to an estimated 2,975 from 64 following a study conducted by researchers at George Washington University. The study accounted for Puerto Ricans who succumbed to the stifling heat and other aftereffects of the storm and had not been previously counted in official figures. Much of the US territory was without power for weeks.

Trump on Tuesday, alongside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, said the island’s electric grid had been already “in bad shape.”

The President praised the job FEMA and law enforcement did in Puerto Rico as “an incredible, unsung success.”

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who has been a vocal critic of the administration’s handling of the storm, has cast blame on the federal government for failing to provide adequate assistance in the aftermath of the storm, and slammed Trump’s assertion Tuesday.

“In a humanitarian crisis, you should not be grading yourself. You should not be just having a parade of self-accolades. You should never be content with everything we did. I’m not content with everything I did, I should have done more. We should all have done more,” Cruz told CNN’s Anderson Cooper later Tuesday evening.

She continued, “But the President continues to refuse to acknowledge his responsibility, and the problem is that if he didn’t acknowledge it in Puerto Rico, God bless the people of South Carolina and the people of North Carolina.”

Cruz said she spoke with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Wilmington, North Carolina, Mayor Bill Saffo to “just (let) them know, we know how it feels.”

“We know how much they’re going to have ahead of them,” she said.

While the President has frequently praised the government response in the year since the hurricane, others in the administration have acknowledged learned lessons.

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office released a report that revealed FEMA had been so overwhelmed with storms by the time Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico that more than half of the workers it was deploying to disasters were known to be unqualified for the jobs they were doing in the field.

And Long said FEMA had made changes to some of its priorities and procedures.
“We made a lot of changes in real time in addition to the high-level efforts that we learned through our after-action process. Bottom line is, we are concentrating on what we call critical lifelines — health, safety, security. You know, we’ve got food, shelter, health and medical, power and fuel, communications, transportation, hazardous waste,” he told reporters on a conference call on Hurricane Lane preparations last month.

Long continued: “We are hyper-focused on those seven critical lifelines because we realized last year that if any one of those lifelines goes down, then life safety is in jeopardy. And so we’re reorganizing the firepower of the federal government underneath these critical lifelines, we’re pushing forward.”

Trump said Tuesday that Tropical Storm Isaac, which had been downgraded from hurricane status overnight, currently poses a threat to Puerto Rico.

“We do not want to see Hurricane Isaac hit Puerto Rico,” he said.

[CNN]

Trump Boasts of New York Times Report on Republican Party

On Saturday, President Donald Trumptook to Twitter to brag about a New York Times report on the Republican Party’s loyalty to him.

“So true!” Trump wrote before quoting Nicholas Fandos, who wrote in the Times, “Mr. Trump remains the single most popular figure in the Republican Party, whose fealty has helped buoy candidates in competitive Republican primaries and remains a hot commodity among general election candidates.”

Of course, it is ironic that Trump is tweeting out a comment made in the Times, the paper he has gone to war with in recent days over the anonymous op-ed from a senior White House official who questioned his fitness for office.

In fact, just days ago he slammed them as the “Failing New York Times.”

He also suggested that they use phony sources.

Trump also clearly didn’t read the full  New York Times article which he cited which also talked about how he “raged”and “lashed out” in recent days in wake of the Times op-ed.

[Mediaite]

Trump Wants Attorney General to Investigate Source of Anonymous Times Op-Ed

President Trump said on Friday that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of an anonymous Op-Ed piece published in The New York Times, intensifying his attack on an article that he has characterized as an act of treason.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to Fargo, N.D., Mr. Trump said, “I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.”

Mr. Trump said he was considering action against The Times, although he did not elaborate.

The president has raged against the column since The Times published it on Wednesday afternoon. But his latest remark indicates that he wants to use the Justice Department to root out the author of the column, which described some members of the administration in a state of near-mutiny against a president some view as dangerous and untethered from reality.

“We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” he said.

[New York Times]

Reality

Remember, this is very similar to the Obama administration’s treatment of Fox News report James Rosen, who the Department of Justice treated as a co-conspirator and a criminal in their investigation of leaks.

After scathing op-ed, Trump defends leadership by taking credit for Obama’s economic policies

After the publication of a scathingly critical essay purportedly from an anonymous senior administration official, President Donald Trump used a series of morning tweets to defend his leadership, citing strong economic data and praise from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted. “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

The New York Times published an op-ed Wednesday that it said was from a senior official who described the president as erratic and amoral and said staff worked to thwart “misguided” decisions they feared would be detrimental to the country.

In the hours after the Times posted the story Wednesday afternoon, an angry Trump criticized the newspaper for not identifying the author. He demanded that the Times out him or her and suggested that the person should be investigated.

In a third post, Trump returned to the economy, proclaiming “consumer confidence highest in 18 years, Atlanta Fed forecasts 4.7 GDP, manufacturing jobs highest in many years.”

[USA Today]

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