Trump Touts Comments from Fox & Friends Guest Who Says POTUS Was ‘Victimized’ by Obama Admin

President Trump watched Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton on Fox & Friends this morning and touted his comments this afternoon.

Fitton has defended Trump on the Russia probe, and on the Fox News morning program today, he talked about the dossier and ties between Hillary Clinton and the Russians.

At one point, he said the following remarks, tweeted by POTUS:

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump prefers oral report to reading daily intel briefing

President Trump is declining to read his daily brief and is instead having officials orally brief him on certain issues, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Trump is breaking with precedent set by seven past presidents in choosing to rarely read the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), which includes what officials have deemed to be the most important U.S. intelligence from hot spots around the globe.

Reading the report is not Trump’s chosen “style of learning,” one source told the Post.

Administration officials told the Post that Trump still receives full briefings and that different presidents get the intelligence in different ways.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Post that “any notion that President Trump is not fully engaged in the PDB or does not read the briefing materials is pure fiction and is clearly not based on firsthand knowledge of the process.”

He added that Trump “engages for significantly longer periods than I understand many previous presidents have done.”

However, top experts — including former CIA Director Leon Panetta — said that Trump could be missing valuable context by not reading the full briefing, which could put himself and the U.S. in a more vulnerable position.

“Something will be missed,” Panetta told the Post. “If for some reason his instincts on what should be done are not backed up by the intelligence because he hasn’t taken the time to read that intel, it increases the risk that he will make a mistake.”

Trump’s intelligence briefings have been a point of interest since he took office. Intelligence analysts have been recommended to keep their daily briefings with Trump short, limiting them to three topics and keeping their findings to a single page.

The briefings have also reportedly been structured in a way that won’t upset Trump, including having information about Russia only included in the written version of the briefing.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo praised Trump last month for his understanding of the intelligence briefings, comparing Trump’s grasp of the information to 25-year intelligence professionals.

[The Hill]

Trump’s secret, shrinking schedule

President Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings, according to copies of his private schedule shown to Axios. This is largely to meet Trump’s demands for more “Executive Time,” which almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence, officials tell us.

The schedules shown to me are different than the sanitized ones released to the media and public.

The schedule says Trump has “Executive Time” in the Oval Office every day from 8am to 11am, but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am.

That’s far later than George W. Bush, who typically arrived in the Oval by 6:45am. Obama worked out first thing in the morning and usually got into the Oval between 9 and 10am, according to a former senior aide.

Trump’s days in the Oval Office are relatively short – from around 11am to 6pm, then he’s back to the residence. During that time he usually has a meeting or two, but spends a good deal of time making phone calls and watching cable news in the dining room adjoining the Oval. Then he’s back to the residence for more phone calls and more TV. Take these random examples from this week’s real schedule:

On Tuesday, Trump has his first meeting of the day with Chief of Staff John Kelly at 11am. He then has “Executive Time” for an hour followed by an hour lunch in the private dining room. Then it’s another 1 hour 15 minutes of “Executive Time” followed by a 45 minute meeting with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Then another 15 minutes of “Executive Time” before Trump takes his last meeting of the day — a 3:45pm meeting with the head of Presidential Personnel Johnny DeStefano — before ending his official day at 4:15pm.

Other days are fairly similar, unless the president is traveling, in which case the days run longer. On Wednesday this week, for example, the president meets at 11am for his intelligence briefing, then has “Executive Time” until a 2pm meeting with the Norwegian Prime Minister. His last official duty: a video recording with Hope Hicks at 4pm.

On Thursday, the president has an especially light schedule: “Policy Time” at 11am, then “Executive Time” at 12pm, then lunch for an hour, then more “Executive Time” from 1:30pm.
Trump’s schedule wasn’t always like this. In the earliest days of the Trump administration it began earlier and ended later. Trump would have breakfast meetings (e.g. hosting business leaders in the Roosevelt Room). He didn’t like the longer official schedule and pushed for later starts. The morning intelligence briefing ended up settling around 10:30am.

Aides say Trump is always doing something — he’s a whirl of activity and some aides wish he would sleep more — but his time in the residence is unstructured and undisciplined. He’s calling people, watching TV, tweeting, and generally taking the same loose, improvisational approach to being president that he took to running the Trump Organization for so many years. Old habits die hard.

In response to this article, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote:

“The time in the morning is a mix of residence time and Oval Office time but he always has calls with staff, Hill members, cabinet members and foreign leaders during this time. The President is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long. It has been noted by reporters many times that they wish he would slow down because they sometimes have trouble keeping up with him.”

[Axios]

Trump tweets that he ‘seldom’ watches CNN and MSNBC — shortly after both networks cover a report on his viewing

President Trump tweeted on Monday morning that he does not watch as much television as a recent New York Times report claimed, adding that he “seldom, if ever,” tunes in to CNN or MSNBC.

The tweet posted just 28 minutes after MSNBC wrapped up a segment about the Times report and 30 minutes after CNN did the same.

The timing could be a coincidence. Or it could mean that Trump was doing the very thing he denied — watching CNN and MSNBC — shortly before he tweeted.

The Times reported on Saturday that “around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to ‘Fox & Friends’ for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day.”One of the Times journalists who reported the story, Peter Baker, appeared on “Morning Joe” on Monday to discuss the president’s TV habit.“He likes this jolt of television he doesn’t agree with,” Baker said of Trump. “It’s kind of hate-watching. He watches something that he knows is going to rile him up. It’s like a big cup of caffeine. Most people try to avoid things that make them upset, but I think that President Trump — he gets a charge out of it.”

Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio appeared on CNN around the same time that Baker was on MSNBC and said that “people who have been around the president for any real period of time know that he is a television addict. He’s probably watching us right now.”Perhaps he was.

The White House did not respond to an inquiry about whether Trump was watching and responding to CNN and MSNBC.

[Washington Post]

Reality

Also, just the day before, Trump was critical of the coverage on CNN and MSNBC, tweeting anger that they were not covering the health of the economy. Again, this was just the day before.

Graham tweets about ‘spectacular’ Trump golf course

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted about golfing with President Trump at one of Trump’s courses shortly after the pair wrapped up their round.

“Trump International Golf Club is a spectacular golf course,” Graham tweeted.

“Great day of fun playing with @POTUS @realDonaldTrump.”

The pair golfed at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday.

“The president is playing a round of golf with Sen. Lindsey Graham, where the two are discussing the tax cuts and reform legislation and the importance of fully funding our national security needs in upcoming government spending negotiations,” said White House spokesman Raj Shah.

Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, quickly replied to Graham’s tweet promoting Trump’s for-profit business.

Graham and Trump have golfed together before at Trump’s course in Virginia.

Graham told GOLF Magazine that Trump had shot a 73 during their game in October, a score the publication called “unlikely, to say the least.”

[The Hill]

Trump’s morning tweetstorm appears to have been inspired by ‘Fox & Friends’

President Trump unleashed a tweetstorm Sunday morning, saying that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters” following the tenure of former Director James B. Comey, who was fired seven months ago.

The president also suggested bias against him in the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, after news accounts said an agent was removed from Mueller’s team following an internal investigation of text messages interpreted as critical of Trump.

The agent, Peter Strzok, reportedly helped lead the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.

Trump’s comments closely echoed language used during Sunday morning’s episode of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” which aired a report on Strzok under the banner, “Agent’s role in Clinton probe under review.”

At another point during “Fox & Friends,” the banner read, “Report: Anti-Trump FBI agent led Clinton email probe.”

“Now it all starts to make sense!” Trump responded.

The “Fox & Friends” hosts repeatedly referenced Comey in their discussion of Strzok, with co-host Ed Henry describing Strzok as “very close to” the former FBI director.

The morning show team also suggested that Strozk’s alleged bias was evidence that he and Comey had colluded to improperly clear Clinton of criminal charges in the email probe while somehow implicating the president’s associates in wrongdoing related to the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

Co-host Pete Hegseth summarized his concerns, saying: “Comey’s being briefed on Hillary Clinton’s email investigation by a guy who’s in the tank for Hillary Clinton, which is the greatest fear that we all have: that the deep state has infiltrated the so-called Justice Department or the FBI.”

The president appeared to echo that criticism in his tweets.

[Los Angeles Times]

Trump teeing off with Tiger Woods, but vows the round of golf will go ‘quickly’

President Trump made a rare acknowledgement Friday of his plans to play golf, noting in a tweet that he was teeing off with Tiger Woods but stressing he will play “quickly” before returning to the burdens of the office.

Trump, who is spending Thanksgiving weekend at Mar-a-Lago, said he will play with the golf legend as well as Dustin Johnson, currently ranked the world’s No. 1 golfer.

The threesome is scheduled to tee off at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., about 20 miles north of the presidential retreat at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump was careful in his tweet to underscore he planned a quick round. He also said he was going to be talking to the president of Turkey and also focusing on the economy.

He also used his pre-golf morning to blast NFL players who “disrespect” the country, the flag and national anthem with their pre-game protests “without penalty.”
Since taking office, Trump has rarely acknowledged playing golf. In recent years, particularly during the 2016 campaign, he slammed President Obama repeatedly for playing the game, chiding his “work ethic” and even criticizing the president for going to Hawaii during the holiday and taking Secret Service personnel away from their families.

For his part, Trump pledged to largely forego golf while in office, saying he was “not going to have time to play golf.”

After a year in the Oval Office, however, published reports indicate he has played at least 34 times since the inauguration and has visited his golf courses more than 70 times.

In addition, the traveling press is rarely allowed to observe his rounds and aides traditionally decline to say when the golf is played.

This week, after the presidential entourage arrived in Florida, the White House had to correct itself after a spokesperson initially said she was expecting a “low-key day” while the president spent time at the Florida resort. Minutes later, the correction was that the president “will NOT have a low-key day.”

Abut 90 minutes later, however, the press poll noted the motorcade arriving at a Trump golf club near West Palm Beach and left some five hours later, the New York Post reported.

Aides were mum on how he spent the time period, which is roughly the length of a round of golf, unless you play quickly.

[USA Today]

Reality

Donald Trump has visited a Trump property, which he still owns and receives profits from, 34 out of his 45 weeks in office so far.

Trump’s team insists he has a ‘full schedule’ an hour before he goes golfing

President Trump is at Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach, Fla., for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, a day that can generally be fairly described as low-key for most people. In fact, you’re not even reading this right now; you’re driving to a relative’s house or you’re trying to remember what you need to get at the grocery store.

“Low-key” is also how deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters described the day to the press pool Wednesday morning. Trump would make a few calls this week, she said, but otherwise not much going on.

Less than 10 minutes later, though, the White House asked the press pool for a correction.

“While the White House communications staff expects the press pool to have a ‘low-key day,’” the update from The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson wrote, “the president will NOT have a low-key day and has a full schedule of meetings and phone calls.”

Got that? Not Trump on vacation at Mar-a-Lago. Trump working hard at what he calls the “Winter White House.” Trump tweeted to that effect Wednesday morning.

Trump calls it the “Winter White House” so that people will see his time there as an extension of his normal work life. In one sense it is: A president is never actually off-duty. In most senses, though, it isn’t. Trump’s calendar is generally clear when he’s at Mar-a-Lago (or at his club in Bedminster, N.J.), with time instead reserved for playing golf.

But Trump consistently wants to give Americans the impression that he’s working when he’s at one of his private clubs. This is the president, after all, who on the campaign trail insisted that he probably wouldn’t have time to play golf if elected. It’s why he always talks about phone calls and meetings that aren’t on his official calendar, taking advantage of the public’s assumption that a president is working 24/7 to provide cover for the time he spends at leisure.

So we get a parade of tweets like these.

[Washington Post]

Trump says Pence’s trip to NFL game was ‘long planned’

President Donald Trump on Monday morning doubled down on Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to the Indianapolis Colts game Sunday, saying it was “long planned.”

“The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!” the president wrote on Twitter.

Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday after several players on the opposing San Francisco 49ers team kneeled in protest during the national anthem.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter on his official @VP account following his departure.

Trump also praised Pence’s decision to leave in a tweet Sunday, adding that if any players kneeled, he had asked Pence to leave the stadium.

The tweets, along with Pence’s subsequent trip to Los Angeles, have prompted some to speculate that the vice president’s departure was a pre-planned stunt.

Pence’s office put out a statement Sunday night, responding to critics: “The Vice President was not going to miss the Las Vegas memorial prayer walk on Saturday, which he was honored to attend on behalf of President Trump. If the Vice President did not go to Indiana for the Colts game, he would have flown back to D.C. for the evening – which means flying directly over Indiana. Instead, he made a shorter trip to Indiana for a game that was on his schedule for several weeks.”

The 49ers are the former team of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 started the protest of kneeling during the anthem as a way to bring attention to police mistreatment of African-Americans.

[Politico]

Reality

Vice President Mike Pence was shocked… shocked… that 49er players, who have protested racial injustice during the National Anthem for over a year now, protested the National Anthem. While the anthem was still playing, Pence performed a protest of his own and left the stadium, showing by his own standards a disrespect for soldiers, the Flag, and anthem.

Just last week both Trump and Pence were critical of NFL players, who were also protesting Trump calling Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch” and demanding free speech be stifled, for injecting politics into sports… but now Trump and Pence are injecting politics into sports?

And Trump admitted in a tweet that this was planned for a long time, proving it was nothing more than an expensive PR stunt and that Trump is more interested in running a reality show than a country.

Secret Service out of money to pay agents because of Trump’s frequent travel

The Secret Service can no longer afford to pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President Trump’s family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.

Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.

The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration. Agents must protect Trump – who has traveled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia – and his adult children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas.

“The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,” Alles said. “I can’t change that. I have no flexibility.”

Alles said the service is grappling with an unprecedented number of White House protectees. Under Trump, 42 people have protection, a number that includes 18 members of his family. That’s up from 31 during the Obama administration.

Overwork and constant travel has also been driving a recent exodus from the Secret Service ranks, yet without congressional intervention to provide additional funding, Alles will not even be able pay agents for the work they have already done.

The compensation crunch is so serious that the director has begun discussions with key lawmakers to raise the combined salary and overtime cap for agents, from $160,000 per year to $187,000 for at least the duration of Trump’s first term.

But even if such a proposal was approved, about 130 veteran agents would not be fully compensated for hundreds of hours already amassed, according to the agency.

“I don’t see this changing in the near term,” Alles said.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed deep concern for the continuing stress on an agency, first thrust into into turmoil five years ago with disclosures about sexual misconduct by agents in Colombia and subsequent White House security breaches.

A special investigative panel formed after a particularly egregious 2014 White House breach also found that that agents and uniform officers worked “an unsustainable number of hours,” which also contributed to troubling attrition rates.

While about 800 agents and uniformed officers were hired during the past year as part of an ongoing recruiting blitz to bolster the ranks, attrition limited the agency’s net staffing gain to 300, according to agency records. And last year, Congress had to approve a one-time fix to ensure that 1,400 agents would be compensated for thousands of hours of overtime earned above compensation limits. Last year’s compensation shortfall was first disclosed by USA TODAY.

“It is clear that the Secret Service’s demands will continue to be higher than ever throughout the Trump administration,” said Jennifer Werner, a spokesperson for Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who was the first lawmaker to sound the alarm after last year’s disclosure that hundreds of agents had maxed out on pay, recently spoke with Alles and pledged support for a more permanent fix, Werner said.

“We cannot expect the Secret Service to be able to recruit and keep the best of the best if they are not being paid for these increases (in overtime hours).”

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the Republican chairman of the House oversight panel, is “working with other committees of jurisdiction to explore ways in which we can best support” the Secret Service, his spokesperson Amanda Gonzalez said.

Talks also are underway in the Senate, where the Secret Service has briefed members of the Homeland Security Committee, which directly oversees the the agency’s operations.

“Ensuring the men and women who put their lives on the line protecting the president, his family and others every day are getting paid fairly for their work is a priority,” said Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, the panel’s top Democrat. “I’m committed to working with my colleagues on both sides to get this done.”

Without some legislative relief, though, at least 1,100 agents – for now – would not be eligible for overtime even as one of the agency’s largest protective assignments looms next month. Nearly 150 foreign heads of state are expected to converge on New York City for the United Nations General Assembly.

Because of the sheer number of high-level dignitaries, the United Nations gathering is traditionally designated by the U.S., as a “National Special Security Event” and requires a massive deployment of security resources managed by the Secret Service.

That will be even trickier this year. “Normally, we are not this tapped out,” said Alles, whom Trump appointed to his post in April.

The agents who have reached their compensation limits this year represent about a third of the Secret Service workforce, which was pressed last year to secure both national political conventions in the midst of a rollicking campaign cycle. The campaign featured regular clashes involving protesters at Trump rallies across the country, prompting the Secret Service at one point to erect bike racks as buffers around stages to thwart potential rushes from people in the crowd.

Officials had hoped that the agency’s workload would normalize after the inauguration, but the president’s frequent weekend trips, his family’s business travel and the higher number of protectees has made that impossible.

Since his inauguration, Trump has taken seven trips to his estate in Mar-a-Lago, Fla., traveled to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club five times and returned to Trump Tower in Manhattan once.

Trump’s frequent visits to his “winter White House” and “summer White House” are especially challenging for the agency, which must maintain a regular security infrastructure at each – while still allowing access to paying members and guests.

Always costly in manpower and equipment, the president’s jaunts to Mar-a-Lago are estimated to cost at least $3 million each, based on a General Accounting Office estimate for similar travel by former President Obama. The Secret Service has spent some $60,000 on golf cart rentals alone this year to protect Trump at both Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster.

The president, First Lady Melania Trump and the couple’s youngest son Barron – who maintained a separate detail in Trump Tower until June – aren’t the only ones on the move with full-time security details in tow.

Trump’s other sons, Trump Organization executives Donald Jr. and Eric, based in New York, also are covered by security details including when they travel frequently to promote Trump-branded properties in other countries.

A few examples: Earlier this year, Eric Trump’s business travel to Uruguay cost the Secret Service nearly $100,000 just for hotel rooms. Other trips included the United Kingdom and the Dominican Republic. In February, both sons and their security details traveled to Vancouver for the opening of new Trump hotel there, and to Dubai to officially open a Trump International Golf Club.

In March, security details accompanied part of the family, including Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner on a skiing vacation in Aspen, Colo. Even Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter, took vacation to international locales such as Germany and Hungary with her boyfriend, which also require Secret Service protection.

While Alles has characterized the security challenges posed by the Trump administration as a new “reality” of the agency’s mission, the former Marine Corps major general said he has discussed the agency’s staffing limitations with the White House so that security operations are not compromised by a unusually busy travel schedule.

“They understand,” Alles said. “They accommodate to the degree they can and to the degree that it can be controlled. They have been supportive the whole time.”

Over time, Alles expects the Secret Service’s continued hiring campaign will gradually relieve the pressure. From its current force of 6,800 agents and uniform officers, the goal is to reach 7,600 by 2019 and 9,500 by 2025.

“We’re making progress,” he said.

For now, Alles is focused simply on ensuring that his current agents will be paid for the work they have already done.

“We have them working all night long; we’re sending them on the road all of the time,” Alles said. “There are no quick fixes, but over the long term, I’ve got to give them a better balance (of work and private life) here.”

[CNBC]

1 2 3