TRUMP THREATENS “CIVIL WAR” IF HE’S IMPEACHED

Over the past two and a half years, Donald Trump has carved out a niche for himself as a manic, deranged tweeter the likes of which the Oval Office—nay, the world—has never seen. In times of great stress—the Special Counsel’s investigation, the blue-wave midterms, a Fox News host not sufficiently fellating him—the president has amped up his output, tweeting dozens of times a day. But Sunday may have set a new record when the leader of the free world fired off a whopping 46 messages to the universe, including retweets from random supporters and one from an account called “Trump But About Sharks,” which replaces random words from his tweets “to make them about sharks.”

Most notable, though, was the president’s quoting of pastor/Fox News contributor Robert Jeffress, who made a rather bold impeachment prediction on air:

For those of you keeping up at home, threatening a Civil War is an escalation from Trump’s go-to prediction regarding what will happen to the country if he loses power, which is typically a stockmarketcollapse. Democrats, characteristically, condemned the retweet, but it inspired noteworthy pushback from one Republican corner as well: “I have visited nations ravaged by civil war,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a veteran, tweeted back. “I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President. This is beyond repugnant.”

[Vanity Fair]

Trump Encourages New ‘Activist’ AT&T Investor to Stop ‘Fake News Emanating’ From CNN

President Donald Trump lauded the news that an activist hedge fund has a multi-billion dollar stake in AT&T — and called for them to “put a stop to all of the Fake News” presented by CNN and its anchors.

In a pair of — at best, ethically questionable — tweets Monday morning, the president raged against CNN, following news of Elliott Management disclosing a $3.2 billion stake in communications giant AT&T, which owns CNN.

“Great news that an activist investor is now involved with AT&T,” Trump wrote. “As the owner of VERY LOW RATINGS @CNN, perhaps they will now put a stop to all of the Fake News emanating from its non-credible “anchors.” Also, I hear that, because of its bad ratings, it is losing a fortune … But most importantly, @CNN is bad for the USA. Their International Division spews bad information & Fake News all over the globe. This is why foreign leaders are always asking me, “Why does the Media hate the U.S. sooo much?” It is a fraudulent shame, & all comes from the top!”

As flagged by Matthew Gertz of Media Matters, Mornings With Maria on Fox Business covered the AT&T news approximately 30 minutes before Trump’s tweet.

Further, as noted by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, Trump’s tweet coincided with a CNN report on how a spy was pulled out of Russia in 2017 over fears of the president handling classified intelligence.

CNN VP of communications Matt Dornic has responded, via Twitter — touting the network’s most recent monthly Nielsen numbers, which were bolstered by two mammoth ratings nights for the Democratic presidential debates:

[Mediaite]

After hate-watching MSNBC prison reform special, Donald Trump attacks Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

As a televised town hall hosted by Lester Holt wound down Sunday night on MSNBC, President Donald Trump posted a rambling series of tweets claiming that he had not received enough credit for his work on criminal justice reform as he took aim at the “boring musician” John Legend and “his filthy mouthed wife” Chrissy Teigen. 

“When all of the people pushing so hard for Criminal Justice Reform were unable to come even close to getting it done, they came to me as a group and asked for my help,” the president tweeted. “I got it done with a group of Senators & others who would never have gone for it.” 

Trump was referring to the First Step Act, legislation designed to shorten the mandatory sentences for some federal drug offenses, which was signed into law with bipartisan support in December. However, criminal justice advocates question the current commitment to the implementation of the law. It seeks $75 million a year for five years for prison education and job-training, but Trump’s 2020 budget priorities only showed $14 million to finance its programs. 

“I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did,” Trump continued Sunday. “Guys like boring musician @johnlegend, and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is—but I didn’t see them around when we needed help getting it passed.” 

It should be noted that in the “Dateline” episode that preceded Sunday’s town hall, Holt did credit Trump for the First Step Act. Though, as Holt pointed out, “That doesn’t affect more than 90 percent of the U.S. prison population, which is locked up in state and local facilities.” 

While Legend, who uses his platform to advocate for prison reform, was part of the town hall, Teigen was not mentioned during the broadcast. However, if you have been remotely active on Twitter since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, you’re already aware that the commander-in-chief has a proclivity to start — and maintain — crude Twitter feuds with celebrities and members of the media, especially women. 

The habit is frequent enough that it has populated numerous listicles such as “Trump’s Most Ridiculous Twitter Feuds In 2017” and “Donald Trump vs. Everyone: His 20 Best Media Feuds.” 

Chrissy Teigen ended up on Trump’s online enemies list during the 2016 election after she voiced her disdain for his politics on Twitter. In July 2017, the president blocked Teigen after she tweeted that “no one likes you.” 

As of last night, Trump still has Teigen blocked. Nonetheless, he still appeared to be nursing a grudge. 

“lol what a p**sy ass b*tch. tagged everyone but me. an honor, mister president,” Teigen responded. “[T]he absolute best part of his tweet is I literally didn’t speak in the special, nor was I mentioned. I’m cackling at the pointless addition of me because he cannot not be a bitch.” 

As of Monday, the Twitter landscape overwhelming reflected the content of Teigen’s response, with the following topics trending: #foulmouthedwife, #PresidentPAB, #PABOTUS and #TeamChrissy.

Meanwhile, Legend issued a more subtle retort to Trump. 

“Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody–ANYBODY–will praise you,” the musician tweeted. “Melania, please praise this man.  He needs you.” 

[Salon]

Trump Quotes Lou Dobbs Going Off on FBI Over Comey: The Nation Is ‘Disgusted With the FBI’

President Donald Trump tonight watched and tweeted quotes from Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs going off on the FBI and the president’s critics.

Dobbs was speaking with Alan Dershowitz and asking about when people like James Comey will be held accountable.

At one point Dobbs said, “The ideal here is that we have a nation right now that is disgusted with the FBI. The corrupt leadership…”

Dershowitz said he agrees.

“We have a crisis of confidence in the number one law enforcement agency in this country,” Dobbs continued. “And they’re behaving as if it’s a game.”

Trump watched Dobbs tonight and tweeted that quote from the segment, as well as another quote from Dobbs railing against Democrats opposing the president who he said “choose to hate America”:

[Mediaite]

On Labor Day, Trump slams top union leader and NAFTA

On Labor Day, President Trump called out one of the country’s top labor leaders, Richard Trumka, with an accusation that he and “his Dems” didn’t do enough to oppose the “terrible” North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

His comments on the AFL-CIO president followed an appearance by Trumka on “Fox News Sunday”

“Just watched AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on @FoxNews and thought to myself how different he is on TV than he is when he is with me at the White House. Likes what we are doing until the cameras go on. We got robbed on Trade and everything else while his Dems just sat back and watched,” Mr. Trump tweeted. 

He added, “NAFTA is the worst Trade Deal ever made – terrible for labor – and Richard let it stand. No wonder unions are losing so much. The workers will vote for me in 2020 (lowest unemployment, most jobs ever), and should stop paying exorbitant $Dues, not worth it! ” Mr. Trump continued to quote segments airing on Fox News for much of Labor Day morning. 

NAFTA, the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, has been in place since 1994 and will remain so until the new deal signed by the president, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), is ratified.

In the past, Trumka praised the president’s move to end the longstanding trade agreement, but he has since disparaged USMCA as “falling short of what we need.” USMCA has not yet been ratified by lawmakers, but the White House hopes to send legislation to Congress this month. 

In his appearance on Fox, Trumka argued that USMCA isn’t enforceable, telling the outlet, “An unenforceable trade agreement is a windfall for corporations and a disaster for workers.” 

In response to the president’s tweets, the AFL-CIO said in a statement to CBS News: “We’ve been clear on what working people want, in private and in public. It’s our job to tell the president what he needs to hear—not what he wants to hear.”  

The president’s tweets came as the Southeast braces for potential impact of Hurricane Dorian which has already ripped through the Bahamas, bringing catastrophic winds and rain. 

Mr. Trump had originally planned to be in Poland to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II, but late last week he canceled the trip, sending Vice President Pence in his place, so that he could be in the U.S. to keep an eye on the gathering storm.

Meanwhile, as the president was spotted taking in a round of golf at his Sterling, Virginia course, the Trump re-election campaign unveiled its labor day commemoration plans by taking their thanks to America’s workforce to the skies.

The Trump campaign will employ aerial advertising in five locations around the nation to reach beachgoers at peak times of the day on Monday. The locations include Detroit, MI; Cleveland, OH; Milwaukee, WI; Erie, PA; and Virginia Beach, VA — all notably battleground states for the 2020 election. 

“Labor Day is the perfect time to thank American workers for everything they do for our country,” said Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director in a statement.

“Under President Trump’s policies, the economy is strong and growing, and more Americans are working than ever before.  The American economy is the envy of the world and our American workers are the best on the planet.”

[CBS News]

Reality

Funny thing is, Trump’s USMCA is NAFTA with a few tweeks on the margins, and the shift from NAFTA to USCMA should not impact the three countries dramatically. Only certain industries will be affected, and only by a small amount. 

After criticism by Paul Krugman, Trump just lashed out at American labor on Labor Day

For a newspaper that he constantly describes as “failing” and “Fake News,” Donald Trump pays an awful lot of attention to The New York Times.

A series of tweets by the paper’s Nobel Prize-winning economics columnist Paul Krugman referenced an article in the newspaper on how Trump’s establishment of “Opportunity Zones” — part of the Republican tax bill that gave billions in tax cuts to the already wealthy while offering pittances to everyone else — primarily benefited Trump’s associates and benefactors in a swampy mass of corruption as usual.

Krugman’s strong indictment of the Trump administration’s tax policies — coupled with The New York Times’ exposure of the dark underbelly of billionaire tax evasion schemes — was enough to set the president off on an epic Twitter rant, one not likely to earn him the Nobel Prize in economics that his critic already possesses.

With growing predictions of an impending economic recession looming, Trump defended his economic policies with the usual parcel of lies he offers in defense of his economic stewardship to his gullible followers.

Nothing says “truthiness” like a quote praising Trump from Fox News, at least in the president’s own eyes.

Trump went directly after Krugman in his next tweet.

Trump’s criticism of Krugman’s economic advice would certainly carry more weight if the figures he used in his tweet were anything close to the reality of the stock market performance.

No, the stock market hasn’t grown “over 50%” since Trump took office. The S&P 500 was up around 29% since the beginning of the president’s term until mid-August of this year — a figure that compares negatively to the index’s performance of a 46% gain at the same point in the Obama presidency.

Yet, any rise in the market during the Trump administration also ignores the fact that only slightly more than 50% of Americans actually own any stocks whatsoever and that the richest 10% of households controlled 84% of the total value of the stock market.

Trump says that anyone following Krugman’s advice would be doing “VERY poorly,” but their opinions about that advice will change dramatically when the poor market fundamentals caused by Trump’s trade wars and tariff impositions lead to an inevitable market collapse and wipe out the paper wealth that was generated during his term.

Unfortunately for America and the global economy, Trump is the one who doesn’t “get it.” With the U.S. Treasury bond yield curve still inverted — a historical sign that a market crash is imminent as investors flee the stock market to the safety of government bonds — chances are good that the US will enter a recession before the 2020 elections are held.

At that point, no amount of tweeted lies by Donald Trump will help reverse the economic damage his policies have caused. The smart money is following Krugman’s advice while the rich continue to exploit Trump’s tax policies to siphon money from government services that the rest of us depend on while driving up government debt to make their case to cut back or even eliminate those services.

[Occupy Democrats]

Trump Champions Faulty Legal Analysis From Fox News Commentator

Following the release of the Justice Department Inspector General’s report pertaining to the conduct of James Comey’s handling of government information, President Donald Trump has been relentlessly attacking the former FBI director. Despite the IG finding that Comey’s conduct violated FBI regulations but not any criminal statutes, Trump on Friday reiterated his belief that Comey should have been charged criminally, a conclusion which appears to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the relevant law.

“’They could have charged Comey with theft of government documents, 641 of the Criminal Code, because the IG found these were not his personal documents, these were government documents,’” Trump tweeted Friday, quoting from an article written by attorney and Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett. “Comey’s claim that these were just his own personal recollections would not pass the laugh test, and the Inspector General just knocked that down.’”

While 18 U.S.C. 641 does make it a crime to “steal or knowingly convert” a government record “with intent to convert it to his use” or to convey it to another without authority, as Jarrett wrote, it is also only a part of any relevant analysis of the statute. Jarrett is a former defense attorney and adjunct law professor.

Attorney Bradley P. Moss, who specializes in national security, federal employment and security clearance law, responded by pointing out that the cited law is inapplicable to the circumstances at issue.

Moss is referring to the DOJ’s Resource Manual explanationdescribing the parameters of how 641 should and should not be applied, and reads as follows:

“[T]he [DOJ] Criminal Division believes that it is inappropriate to bring a prosecution under 18 U.S.C. § 641 when: (1) the subject of the theft is intangible property, i.e., government information owned by, or under the care, custody, or control of the United States; (2) the defendant obtained or used the property primarily for the purpose of disseminating it to the public; and (3) the property was not obtained as a result of wiretapping, (18 U.S.C. § 2511) interception of correspondence (18 U.S.C. §§ 1702, 1708), criminal entry, or criminal or civil trespass.”

According to Moss, Comey’s conduct clearly aligns with the exceptions laid out in the guidelines.

“Under this DOJ policy (which is not binding and could be ignored as a matter of discretion), the Comey Memoranda qualify as ‘intangible’ given that they exist solely as a memorialization of Comey’s conversations with the president,” Moss wrote in an email to Law&Crime explaining why the first prong of the guidelines in applicable to Comey’s conduct (the second and third prongs are self-evident).

Furthermore, the DOJ policy is specifically designed to protect whistle-blowers, stating that, “a government employee who, for the primary purpose of public exposure of the material, reveals a government document to which he or she gained access lawfully or by non-trespassory means would not be subject to criminal prosecution for the theft.”

Moss explained that while the criteria for defining a whistleblower is “malleable,” the section is essentially applicable to all persons seeking to divulge non-classified information for the purpose of informing the American public.

“The core premise is that Section 641 should not be used to prosecute unauthorized disclosures of information to the press that were done for transparency reasons,” Moss wrote, adding, “This policy in no way suggests prosecution is unwarranted under different statutory provisions if the information was classified, of course.”

[Law and Crime]

Trump Tweets Videos of Fox News Segments Trashing Comey, Decrying ‘Attempted Coup’

President Donald Trump‘s public complaints about Fox News this week have not stopped his his typical social media habit of sharing clips from the network.

Today he posted a number of videos from Fox News trashing former FBI director James Comey after the OIG report released yesterday. Comey was not charged, but he was criticized for setting a “dangerous example” with his actions.

This morning Trump shared a Fox & Friends segment with former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright saying “in 2016, we had effectively a coup” going on:

This afternoon, he shared clips of both Congressmen Doug CollinsPeter King (who railed against an “attempted coup” too), and Jim Jordan:

[Mediaite]

Trump says Fox News ‘not working’ for him anymore

President Donald Trump on Wednesday ratcheted up his attacks on Fox News, blasted Puerto Rican leaders as another hurricane approached the island, and kept up his drumbeat of criticism of the Federal Reserve for its failure to cut interest rates.

“Fox not working for us anymore!”

A vacationing president is unhappy that Fox News is giving some airtime to Democrats, grumbling in a tweet: “Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”

The ire of Trump was triggered by a Fox interview Wednesday morning with Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman at the Democratic National Committee. Hinojosa criticized the president repeatedly and contended that Trump was polling poorly in several key states.

Trump has lashed out at Fox several times in recent months, complaining about liberal analysts Donna Brazile and Juan Willams and news host Shep Smith. On Wednesday he said he and his supporters need to find a new media ally.

Fox News anchor Brett Baier defended the network last week, saying it has a news side and an opinion side. “Fox has not changed,” he said.

[Market Watch]

Trump hammers Federal Reserve, cites commentary from Fox Business

President Trump on Wednesday spent a portion of the day at his New Jersey golf club blasting the Federal Reserve as stocks took a dive amid signs of a potential recession.

The president sent three tweets over a 90-minute span in which he quoted multiple Fox Business Network personalities who echoed Trump’s criticisms of the central bank and defended Trump’s tariff policy toward China.

Trump expressed agreement with Mark Grant, a guest on Stuart Varney’s show who suggested the Federal Reserve should act to boost the U.S. economy.

“Correct! The Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late. Too bad, so much to gain on the upside!” Trump tweeted.

He later shared comments from Fox Business host Charles Payne, who criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his handling of the central bank.

“I agree (to put it mildly!)” Trump tweeted.

He also referenced a quote from Varney’s program which downplayed concerns over the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, arguing it had yet to negatively impact the American economy.

Stocks sank sharply Wednesday morning after the U.S. bond market signaled an impending recession. The dip came one day after Trump announced he would delay further tariffs on Chinese imports until after the bulk of the holiday shopping season, reflecting mounting fears that the trade war could derail the robust U.S. economy.

In a pair of tweets later in the afternoon, Trump emphasized that “China is not our problem,” saying the trouble lies with the Fed.

Trump is at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for the week, and he had no public events listed on his schedule for Wednesday. He has repeatedly hammered the Fed and Powell for its decisions to raise or lower interest rates, arguing that its decisions have held back the economy. 

“This guy has made a big mistake,” Trump said Tuesday at an event in Pennsylvania, referring to Powell. “He’s made a big mistake — the head of the Fed. That was another beauty that I chose.”

The constant critiques have worried critics, who note the central bank has historically been independent of politics.

[The Hill]

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