Data for millions of Trump supporters up for rent

Consultants close to President Trump are offering to rent a list with the email addresses and cellphone numbers of millions of his supporters to GOP candidates and conservative groups, according to a report by The New York Times.

The highly prized database is even being made available to businesses, according to the Times.

Trump’s campaign recently signed a contract with Excelsior Strategies, which is based in Virginia, to rent its list at the rate of $35 per 1,000 addresses, according to the Times.

Eighty-five percent of the money earned from the rental will go to the Trump campaign, according to the report.

“Republicans have suffered from being behind in small-dollar fund-raising, and the president, over the course of the campaign and his presidency, has built the largest Republican first-party data list,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told the Times. Parscale is responsible for the agreement, according to the paper.

“So giving other candidates and groups access to that data through a legal means to rent it was one of the best things I could do for the Republican ecosystem. And the campaign makes a little money, too. It’s a win-win,” he added.

The renting of political lists is common practice in politics.

In 2017, the Democratic National Committee agreed to pay $1.65 million to access voter data compiled by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Federal Election Commission requires campaigns that receive such lists pay fair market value for them.

Trump is already gearing up for his reelection race with more than two years remaining in his first term.

As he boarded Marine One, the presidential helicopter, on his way to a political rally in Kentucky on Saturday, Trump told reporters outside the south portico of the White House that he’s getting flashbacks to 2016.

He said 93,000 people applied for the 10,000 spaces available at Saturday evening’s rally.

“There’s something going on,” he told a gaggle of reports. “This reminds me of ’16. It reminds you of ’16, too.”

[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 administration proposes tough rules on protests

The Trump administration is proposing to overhaul rules for protests in front of the White House and at other iconic locations in Washington, D.C., in an effort that opponents say is aimed at shutting down free speech.

The National Park Service’s (NPS) proposal, for which public comments are due by Monday, would close much of the sidewalk north of the White House to protests, limit the ability for groups to have spontaneous protests without permits in that area and on the National Mall and open the door to potentially charging some demonstrating groups fees and costs for their events.

The plan was released in August with little fanfare. But civil rights groups have been sounding alarm bells in recent days as the comment period comes to a close.

In making the proposal, the NPS cites its mandate to protect land, saying that it wants to “provide greater clarity to the public about how and where demonstrations and special events may be conducted in a manner that protects and preserves the cultural and historic integrity of these areas.”

But opponents see a connection to President Trump’s disdain for protesters, and congressional Republicans’ denunciations of recent demonstrations against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as “mob rule.”

They argue that the iconic places in Washington, D.C., that hosted Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963 and the Occupy encampments in 2012 need to remain as welcoming as possible for the First-Amendment-guaranteed right to protest, not just for D.C. locals, but for people from around the country who travel to the nation’s capital.

Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, said that while most recent administrations have tried to crack down on protests covered by the NPS unit known as the National Mall and Memorial Parks, the Trump effort is more significant.

“This administration’s come in with the most bold and consequential overhaul. The consequences are enormous,” Verheyden-Hilliard told The Hill.

“There’s never been such a large effort at rewriting these regulations,” she said. “I don’t think there can be any question that these revisions will have the intent and certainly the effect of stifling the ability of the public to protest.”

While the proposal itself wouldn’t lead directly to fees being charged for protests, it asks the public to weigh in on the possibility.

Verheyden-Hilliard was particularly critical of a proposal to reduce distinctions between demonstrations and “special events,” which include concerts and festivals. Demonstrations have previously been subject to less scrutiny in permitting and can get their permits almost automatically.

Under the proposal, those protections could change, especially if anyone sings or dances at a protest.

“Speech plus music doesn’t lose its speech character,” she said. “If the event is focused on expressing views and grievances, it is a demonstration.”

The American Civil Liberties Union’s local chapter said in a blog post that major protests like King’s speech could become too expensive for their organizers.

“Managing public lands for the benefit of the American people is what Congress funds the National Park Service to do. That includes demonstrators just as much as tourists or hikers,” wrote Arthur Spitzer, co-legal director of the ACLU of D.C.

Top Democratic lawmakers are also getting involved.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, joined with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), his counterpart for the House Judiciary Committee, and other Democrats this week in denouncing the fee idea in a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“National parks must be accessible and open to the American public for peaceful assembly,” they wrote.

“While the recuperation of costs may be an appropriate standard for special events that are celebratory or entertainment-oriented, the proposed shift could have the disastrous result of undermining the freedoms of expression and assembly — which are fundamental constitutional rights — in one of our nation’s premier public parks.”

NPS spokesman Brent Everitt said any fee changes would require a separate regulatory proposal. But he nonetheless defended potential fees, citing as an example the 2012 Occupy protests in downtown D.C.’s McPherson Square and elsewhere, which cost the agency nearly $500,000.

“At this time, we want to have a genuine conversation with the public about updating a comprehensive plan to best facilitate use and enjoyment of the National Mall while preserving and protecting its monuments and memorials. Permit fees and cost recovery considerations are just one part of that overall conversation,” Everitt said in a statement.

He said the agency wants input on whether the costs to the agency are an “appropriate expenditure of National Park Service funds, or whether we should also attempt to recover costs for supporting these kinds of events if the group seeking the permit for the event has the ability to cover those costs.”

The myriad rules and standards for events on NPS land in the nation’s capital have been shaped largely by decades of litigation. And if the agency pursues a regulation like the one proposed, the lawsuits will only continue.

“If these regulations go through in current form or a substantially similar iteration, we are prepared to have them enjoined,” Verheyden-Hilliard said. “We believe that they are unconstitutional and fundamentally unsound. And moreover, they are unjustified.”

The NPS is taking comments through Monday on its regulations.gov portal.

[The Hill]

 

Trump: ‘Robert E. Lee was a great general’

President Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee as “a great general” on Friday during a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio.

“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said before launching into a monologue about Lee, Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

“He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee,'” Trump said.

“And he had all of his generals, they looked great, they were the top of their class at West Point. They were the greatest people. There’s only one problem — they didn’t know how the hell to win. They didn’t know how to fight. They didn’t know how,” he continued.

Trump went on to say, multiple times, that Grant had a drinking problem, saying that the former president “knocked the hell out of everyone” as a Union general.

“Man was he a good general. And he’s finally being recognized as a great general,” Trump added.

Trump has drawn criticism for his defense of Confederate statues, including those of Robert E. Lee.

He drew widespread condemnation last year following a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., saying that white nationalist protesters were there to oppose the removal of a “very, very important” statue.

“They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the time. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Trump, speaking at another rally in Ohio last year, said that he can be one of the “most presidential” presidents to hold office. “…With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office,” he said to a crowd in Youngstown.

[The Hill]

Trump: ‘We’ve learned how to live with’ the ‘fake news’ media

President Trump on Friday railed against the media, joking that his administration and its supporters have “learned how to live with them.”

“Look at the number of the media back there. Fake news,” Trump said during a rally in Lebanon, Ohio, his third rally this week.

“You go back and they’ll say, did he say this or that or this,” he added. “That’s okay, you know what, we’ve learned how to live with them. We don’t like it, but we’ve learned.”

Trump has repeatedly railed against the press throughout his presidency, continually referring to them as the “enemy of the people” and frequently lashing out at publications and their reporters, including The New York Times and CNN.

Trump escalated his attacks earlier this year, stating that the media can also “cause war.”

His comments on Friday came amid reports that a Washington Post journalist may have been killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate by a Saudi entourage, but the Saudis have denied those claims.

Trump, before the rally, said he would call King Salman of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

“I will be calling, I will be calling at some point King Salman. I’ll be speaking to him yes,” Trump told reporters in Ohio, where he is attending campaign events.

Trump is facing increasing scrutiny from lawmakers over how he’ll respond to Khashoggi’s disappearance.

[The Hill]

Trump’s Not Gonna Let a Little Murder Get in the Way of His $110 Billion Arms Deal

new report in The Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence intercepts, appears to confirm what is looking increasingly likely: that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the operation to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, and had him murdered. Turkish security officials told The New York Times that they believe he was “dismembered . . . with a bone saw” by a 15-person team, dispatched from Saudi Arabia to make the vociferous critic of Salman’s government disappear. It is, in other words, not a good look for the so-called “reformer” prince, whose country has denied killing Khashoggi, but is not trying particularly hard to be convincing. Nor is it a good look for Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, who don’t seem eager to terminate a chummy relationship with the crown prince over a credible murder allegation. At least not just yet.

For those who need a quick refresher on the Kushner-M.B.S. bromance, the two first bonded over lunch at the White House back in March 2017, with the Boy Prince of New Jersey subsequently persuading his father-in-law to visit Riyadh for his first trip abroad as president. From there, it was basically a buddy comedy for the ages, with Kushner championing M.B.S. when the young prince was battling with his cousin to become his father’s heir; supporting his move to blockade Qatar and tacitly supporting his brutal war in Yemen; having back-slapping dinners with the prince in D.C. and the Saudi capital; and reportedly giving M.B.S. the names of disloyal Saudi royals who were later rounded up and imprisoned (Kushner denies this). Perhaps most significant, the two struck a deal for a $110 billion weapons sale—not a bad inducement if you’re trying to get the future king’s blessing for your Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Salman’s financial ties to Trump run deep, too. In March, the prince’s entourage almost single-handedly boosted revenue at Trump’s New York hotel by 13 percent. Presumably, Kushner and M.B.S. had discussed plans to get a boys trip on the calendar in between work and family commitments.

So the news that Saudi Arabia likely murdered a journalist who spoke critically of the crown prince’s regime has put Kushner in, as the Times puts it, an “extremely awkward position”! At first, Kushner and the White House chose to stay silent on the matter, like friends of Brett Kavanaugh refusing to dignify allegations of their pal being a fall-down drunk with a sexual-predator problem. But as the evidence kept piling up, it was clear they had to at least feign some level of concern, which apparently involved calling up M.B.S. and being like, “Hey, did you kill this guy? Nope? O.K., works for us!”

On Tuesday, the White House said, Mr. Kushner and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, spoke to Prince Mohammed by phone about Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called him.

“In both calls, they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process,” said the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Meanwhile, Kushner’s father-in-law suggested Wednesday night that he thought the Saudis probably didkill Khashoggi, expressing less anger about the situation than he did when Nordstrom dropped his daughters’s clothing line. “It would not be a positive,” he told Fox News. “I would not be happy at all.” But while the smallest perceived slights generally result in the president vowing to destroy another country—for instance, threatening to economically cripple Ecuador for promoting breastfeeding—he apparently sees no reason to stop doing business with the kingdom:

. . . The president expressed reluctance to punish Saudi Arabia by cutting off arms sales, as some in Washington were proposing. “I think that would be hurting us,” he said. “We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country.”

Also on Thursday, Trump made his disregard for Khashoggi’s death even more obvious, telling reporters: “Again, this took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge Khashoggi is not a U.S. citizen, is that right? He’s a permanent resident, O.K. . . . As to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country . . . that would not be acceptable to me.” Incidentally, many say the deal is not worth anywhere near $110 billion, though accuracy has never been the president’s forte (that would be cozying up to autocrats who flout democratic values and human rights).

[Vanity Fair]

Senate confirms climate skeptic to head DOJ environment office

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm a climate change skeptic and former industry attorney to lead the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) environment division.

Lawmakers voted 52 to 45 to confirm Jeffrey Bossert Clark to be the assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), both running for reelection GOP states, joined all Republicans present in voting to confirm Clark.

Clark is and attorney at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, where he has represented numerous industry clients, including oil giant BP in its efforts to fight certain claims from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and spill, and the Chamber of Commerce. He’s said climate change science is “contestable.”

“Jeff Clark is one of the leading environmental litigators in the country, and has been counsel in many of the most significant environmental and natural resource cases of the past two decades, both here at the Department of Justice and in private practice,” Attorney General Jeff Sessionssaid in a statement welcoming Clark to the department.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the Thursday vote that Clark is imminently qualified for the position.
“Mr. Clark’s legal colleagues describe him as one of the most capable lawyers with whom they’ve ever worked, and no fewer than seven former assistant attorneys general for the environment and natural resources division tell the Senate that his well-rounded background and prior experience in the division make him an excellent choice for this position,” he said.
Clark’s past experience includes a stint as deputy assistant attorney general in the same DOJ division.

Democrats said Clark’s history shows he would further President Trump’s pro-industry environmental record, to the loss of the climate and public health.

“He is a favorite of the Federalist Society, having chaired that  group’s environmental law and practice group. But his nomination is  strongly opposed by groups that care about protecting the environment,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

“He is exactly the  wrong person to be in this job of enforcing regulations to protect our  environment.”

Clark’s responsibilities at the DOJ will include being the top law enforcement official in pursuing claims against polluters and companies that violate environmental laws. He’ll also be responsible for defending Trump’s aggressive deregulatory agenda against an onslaught of lawsuits.

“Jeffrey Bossert Clark’s blatant hostility toward environmental protection is good news for polluters, but awful news for the rest of us,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. “The guy who defended the company that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history is not likely to aggressively go after corporate environmental outlaws.”

Trump nominated Clark to the post in June 2017, but the full Senate didn’t act on the nomination until this week.

Sessions both thanked senators for confirming Clark and criticized the length of time it took.
“He is ready to lead this division — and it should not have taken us 16 months to get him confirmed,” he said.

Clark will replace Jeffrey Wood, who has been acting assistant attorney general in the environment division since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

[The Hill]

Trump Rips Eric Holder For His ‘When They Go Low, We Kick Them’ Remark: ‘It’s a Disgrace’

President Donald Trump weighed in on recent remarks made by his former 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder.

This week, Clinton told Democrats that they “cannot be civil” with Republicans until they take over the House and/or the Senate and Holder rebuked former First Lady Michelle Obama‘s saying of “when they go low, we go high,” changing the expression to “when they go low, we kick them.”

When asked by Fox News anchor Shannon Bream about how critics point to him as the root cause of the incivility in America, Trump says he didn’t “think so.”

“My rallies have been very peaceful and even at the beginning when there seemed to be conflict, they sent paid people to disrupt our rallies,” Trump said. “And when you do that, you know, bad things happen. But they were the ones that started everything. So noo, it wasn’t us. It was totally the other side. I would have a rally and paid people were going into those rallies causing trouble. And in many cases, it didn’t work out so well for those people.”

“But not okay to punch them,” Bream pushed back.

Trump then pivoted to Holder and Clinton’s remarks.

“When I hear Holder making a statement like he did today, I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump continued. “And Hillary, I really understand. She just doesn’t get it. She never did. She never will. And that’s why she lost the election.”

Bream concluded the interview by expressing hope that civility can be restored in this country, something that the president agreed with.

[Mediaite]

White House Will ‘Look Into’ Fox News’ Decision to Stop Broadcasting Trump Rallies

The White House has vowed to “look into” a decision taken by Fox News to stop broadcasting Donald Trump’s rallies live and in full because they’re no longer bringing in high ratings. Politico reports viewing figures for Trump rallies have dropped and tend to be similar to, or even below, those for regular programming. The network only showed clips of his three rallies over the last week, rather than broadcasting the whole events uninterrupted. The report states White House figures are concerned Trump is losing control of a key platform ahead of the midterms. One senior White House official told Politico they were unsure why the network is cutting away from the rallies, saying officials planned “to look into that” and that they expect White House Communications Director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, to be in touch with his former colleagues about the move.

[The Daily Beast]

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