Trump contradicts past denials, admits sending Giuliani to Ukraine

Emboldened after his impeachment acquittal, President Donald Trump now openly admits to sending his attorney Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine to find damaging information about his political opponents, even though he strongly denied it during the impeachment inquiry.

The reversal came Thursday in a podcast interview Trump did with journalist Geraldo Rivera, who asked, “Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?” Trump responded, “No, not at all,” and praised Giuliani’s role as a “crime fighter.”

“Here’s my choice: I deal with the Comeys of the world, or I deal with Rudy,” Trump said, referring to former FBI Director James Comey. Trump explained that he has “a very bad taste” of the US intelligence community, because of the Russia investigation, so he turned to Giuliani.

“So when you tell me, why did I use Rudy, and one of the things about Rudy, number one, he was the best prosecutor, you know, one of the best prosecutors, and the best mayor,” Trump said. “But also, other presidents had them. FDR had a lawyer who was practically, you know, was totally involved with government. Eisenhower had a lawyer. They all had lawyers.”

Trump had previously denied that he sent Giuliani to Ukraine. Asked in November if he directed Giuliani to “do anything” in Ukraine, Trump said, “No, I didn’t direct him,” but went on to call Giuliani a “great corruption fighter.” Giuliani says he’s exposing legitimate corruption in Ukraine, even though his claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden have been widely debunked.

In the new interview, Trump defended the decision to “use” Giuliani, even though US diplomats previously testified that Giuliani had undermined long-standing US policy toward Ukraine.

Giuliani was a central player in the scandal that got Trump impeached, though the President was acquitted by the Senate last week. Multiple witnesses described how Giuliani met with former Ukrainian officials in search of dirt against Joe and Hunter Biden. Other key players described how Giuliani and his allies pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens.

Trump’s past denials came in November, when the House of Representatives was investigating the President’s conduct with Ukraine. Multiple US diplomats and national security officials testified that Giuliani was a central figure in the pressure campaign to secure political favors from Ukraine. Trump also mentioned Giuliani in his phone call last summer with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the week since his acquittal, Trump has taken a series of bold steps to punish his opponents and reward his supporters. He fired several US officials who had testified against him in the impeachment inquiry, and he successfully lobbied the Justice Department to water down its request that his longtime adviser Roger Stone face as many as nine years in prison for lying to Congress.

[CNN]

Trump Administration Diverts $3.8 Billion In Pentagon Funding To Border Wall

The Trump administration has notified Congress that it plans to divert $3.8 billion from the Defense Department’s budget to build the border wall.

This is in addition to more than $11 billion that’s already been identified to construct more than 500 miles of new barriers along the southern U.S. border with Mexico. That includes money that Congress has appropriated and funding that was previously diverted from military construction and counternarcotic operations.

The latest funding diversion takes $1.5 billion originally allocated for buying equipment for National Guard and Reserve units, such as trucks, generators and spare parts, as well as fighter jets and ships.

This administration said the diversion of funds was in support of “higher priority items” that were “necessary in the national interest,” according to the notice transmitted to Congress. It continues:

“[The Department of Homeland Security] has identified areas along the southern border of the United States that are being used by individuals, groups, and transnational criminal organizations as drug smuggling corridors, and determined that the construction of additional physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the United States border is necessary in order to impede and deny drug smuggling activities.”

The move drew bipartisan criticism, including from the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry.

“The wall should be funded, but the funding must come through the Department of Homeland Security rather than diverting critical military resources that are needed and in law,” Thornberry said in a statement.

He added that Congress must act and is weighing how to proceed.

“Congress has the constitutional responsibility to determine how defense dollars are spent,” he said. “The re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress’s constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action. I will be working with my colleagues to determine the appropriate steps to take.”

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, accused the president of being “obsessed with fulfilling a campaign promise” while accusing the administration in a tweet of “stealing billions” from the Department of Defense.

Meanwhile, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the ranking member on the House Committee on Appropriations, championed the President’s decision.

She blamed Democrats for failing to work on securing the border, which in turn “forced the president to redirect funds.”

“I unequivocally support President Trump’s efforts to secure our nation’s borders and support our men and women in uniform. Democrats have refused to work with us on border security, which has forced the President to redirect funds from other defense programs in the short term in order to secure the southern border,” she said in a statement.

Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesperson, said the Department of Defense was “committed” to helping Homeland Security to construct fences and roads, and install lighting to thwart drug smuggling. He said the $3.8 billion will build more miles of barrier “to protect our borders.”

“Last month we received a new request from the Department of Homeland Security asking for assistance in blocking drug-smuggling corridors on Federal land along the southern border of the United States,” Mitchell said.

“In response, the Secretary of Defense authorized support of $3.8B to build approximately 177 miles of fencing that will help to protect our borders. We will continue to support DHS and other agencies as needed to keep our homeland is secure.”

Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York disagree.

They issued a joint statement that said Congress, not the executive branch, has the power of the purse, adding that it’s “a power that cannot be nullified so the President can fulfill an outrageous campaign promise.”

“This latest theft of nearly $4 billion in military funds represents another of President Trump’s broken promises to our servicemembers, especially our brave sailors who he assured would receive funding for urgently needed, state-of-the-art ships,” the press release said.

This is not the first time the Trump administration has redirected funds from the Pentagon to go toward a wall along the southern border.

Last March the Defense Department announced it would shift $1 billion from a military personnel account in order to pay for a 57-mile section of fencing.

The administration said at the time the dollars became available after recruiting goals of some service branches came up short of expectations.

The border wall has been controversial since then-candidate Trump made building a barrier a central pillar of his 2016 presidential campaign. He promised back then the wall would come at no cost to U.S. taxpayers and that Mexico would fully fund the project, which it has not.

In a status report last month, NPR’s John Burnett noted that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing the barrier construction, said the price tag for project has exceeded $11 billion dollars, making it the most expensive wall of its kind in the world.

[NPR]

Trump installs loyalists in top jobs after impeachment purge

President Donald Trump is surrounding himself with loyalists after a week of banishing staffers across the government in a post-impeachment revenge plot.

On Thursday, the White House confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s most trusted confidants, will return to the White House to work directly for the president’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner, as a senior adviser after nearly two years away. Trump’s “body man” Johnny McEntee is also being promoted to run the office responsible for filling hundreds of top political jobs throughout the federal agencies, according to three senior administration officials, replacing Sean Doocey, who will move over to the State Department.

One senior administration official said the West Wing personnel changes are likely to continue in the coming weeks to prepare for both the 2020 campaign season and a potential second term.

Taken together, the moves have signaled a pattern of reinstating and promoting those closest to Trump after purging staffers Trump viewed as insufficiently loyal or part of the alleged “deep state” plot to get him. The last seven days have seen a makeover of White House and agency offices, driven partly by Trump’s desire for revenge post-impeachment and partly by his wish to staff the West Wing with people with whom he feels comfortable.

The new hires and promotions like Hicks and McEntee also happen to be close with Kushner, who is overseeing the reelection campaign and has his own influential power center within the White House.

“POTUS is surrounding himself with people who believe in him and his policy agenda,” said Jason Miller, a former top communications adviser on the 2016 campaign who applauded Hicks and McEntee’s return to the West Wing.

Trump’s vengeance campaign has claimed people across the government.

At the White House, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top National Security Council Ukraine staffer, was escorted off the premises as retaliation for damaging testimony during the House impeachment hearings. His twin brother, an NSC lawyer, was also booted from his job. Both have returned to the military, where they worked before being detailed to the White House.

At the State Department, Trump fired Gordon Sondland, the now-former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, after he also took a turn on the witness stand. Elsewhere, Trump pulled the nomination of former U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu for a top position at the Treasury Department because of her role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s case against Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime political confidant who was convicted on charges of lying to Congress.

McEntee’s new position atop the White House personnel office will be critical for staffing up across the government in 2020 and into a potential second Trump term. The office has long been seen as a weak spot within the administration, given the huge number of vacancies across agencies and a lack of vetting of several top officials that led to fallen nominees and embarrassing headlines. Trump even once said he was simply outsourcing his vetting process to the media instead of doing it in-house.

Donors and the business community have also been frustrated by the lack of responsiveness from the personnel office, according to one Republican close to the White House — not to mention the office’s reputation for frat boy antics inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Over in the West Wing, Hicks will work in her new role under Kushner as a counselor to the president and senior adviser, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed, calling Hicks “one of the most talented and savvy individuals I have come across.” Hicks departed the White House in March 2018 after working as communications director for Trump. She then moved to Los Angeles to work in a senior communications role at Fox Corporation.

“There is no one more devoted to implementing President Trump’s agenda than Hope Hicks,” Kushner said in a statement. “We are excited to have her back on the team.”

Hicks’ return to the White House gives Trump an ally who’s adept at translating his wishes to the broader staff.

Hicks was always well-liked among the communications and press staff, getting along well with the competing factions from the 2016 campaign and the Republican National Committee. Since leaving the White House, she has also remained close with Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, visiting them at the president’s Bedminster resort. McEntee is also extremely close with the entire Trump family.

Hicks will likely start her new position early next month, though the exact details are still being worked out, according to a senior administration official.

Hicks, Doocey and McEntee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Politico]

Trump says John Kelly must ‘keep his mouth shut’ after ex-chief of staff said Vindman did the right thing

President Donald Trump blasted his former chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday after the ex-top aide said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman did the right thing in reporting his concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump tweeted. “Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.”

“His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you,” Trump continued. “Wrong!”

Trump was responding to comments Kelly made during a 75-minute speech and question-and-answer session at a Wednesday night event before students and guests at Drew University in New Jersey, which The Atlantic reported.

The retired Marine Corps general, who also served as Trump’s Homeland Security secretary prior to taking on his job as chief of staff, said Vindman was simply following his military training in reporting concerns about Trump’s call.

That phone call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats, led to Trump’s impeachment. Last week, the Senate acquitted the president on two charges, although it was the first time in history a member of a president’s own party— Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah— voted to convict.

Vindman “did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

Vindman, who was the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and testified in the House impeachment inquiry, was escorted out of the White House last week. Trump later attributed Vindman’s removal to the impeachment.

Kelly said Vindman was right to flag the call because it marked a huge change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine and suggested the content of that call was akin to hearing “an illegal order.”

“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said, according to The Atlantic. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”

“We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss,'” Kelly added.

Kelly, who departed the administration in late 2018, was also critical of other areas of the Trump presidency. He said Trump “tried” to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons “but it didn’t work.”

“I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively,” Kelly said.

In announcing Kelly’s impending departure in 2018, Trump told reporters: “John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.”’

“But, he’s a great guy,” Trump continued.

[NBC News]

Trump congratulates Barr for ‘taking charge’ of Stone case

President Donald Trump praised Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday for “taking charge” of the federal case against Roger Stone — a maneuver that has provoked outrage from congressional Democrats and appeared to prompt the withdrawal of four government prosecutors.

“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”

A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment on the president’s social media post.

Trump’s tweet comes amid escalating tensions at the Justice Department, which ramped up Tuesday after the department backed off a previous sentencing recommendation for Stone, a longtime informal political adviser to Trump.

Federal prosecutors had urged Monday that Stone be sent to prison for seven to nine years for impeding congressional and FBI investigations into connections between the Russian government and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But after the president blasted that proposal Tuesday as a “horrible and very unfair situation,” the Justice Department submitted a revised filing that offered no specific term for Stone’s sentence and stated that the prosecutors’ recommendation “could be considered excessive and unwarranted.”

Trump also took shots Tuesday targeting former special counsel Robert Mueller’s squad of federal prosecutors — two of whom served on Stone’s prosecution team — as well as U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was scheduled to sentence Stone and has overseen several other Mueller-related cases.

By the end of the day, the quartet of attorneys who had shepherded Stone’s prosecution had either resigned or notified the court that they were stepping off the case. Trump reprised his attack on their initial sentencing filing Wednesday, suggesting it was perhaps the product of “Rogue prosecutors.”

“Two months in jail for a Swamp Creature, yet 9 years recommended for Roger Stone (who was not even working for the Trump Campaign),” the president tweeted, making apparent reference to a former Senate Intelligence Committee aide who pleaded guilty in 2018 for lying to the FBI. “Gee, that sounds very fair! Rogue prosecutors maybe? The Swamp!”

Trump claimed Tuesday that he had not asked the Justice Department to change the sentencing recommendation, and Hogan Gidley, the White House’s principal deputy press secretary, repeated that denial Wednesday — asserting that neither the president nor anyone at the White House pressured the attorney general or other department officials to reduce Stone’s sentence.

“Unequivocally no,” he told Fox News, adding that the president “did not interfere here with anything.”

“Look, he’s the chief law enforcement officer. He has the right to do it. He just didn’t,” Gidley said of Trump. “He didn’t make any comment — didn’t have a conversation, I should say, rather, with the attorney general, and that’s just ludicrous. It’s just another scandal that the Democrats are trying to push forward.”

A senior Justice Department official said Tuesday that the decision to alter the prosecutors’ filing was unrelated to the president’s venting on social media and came before Trump issued his critical tweet. Instead, the official said, department leaders were “shocked” by the proposal, which “was not the recommendation that had been briefed to the department.”

Still, Democratic lawmakers quickly denounced the department’s intervention in the Stone case, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling Tuesday for an investigation by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz into the reversal.

Democrats’ condemnation continued Wednesday, as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) demanded Barr’s resignation.

“I think that Attorney General Barr has no choice but to follow these dedicated prosecutors out the door,” he told MSNBC. “Because he’s acting simply as a henchman — a political operative — of the president, who’s always wanted the attorney general of the United States to be his Roy Cohn, his personal attorney.”

Blumenthal, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said he had not heard back from that panel’s leader, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), regarding his request to probe the Justice Department’s actions.

Like Schumer, Blumenthal asked for Horowitz “to conduct an immediate, intensive investigation — because this kind of political interference is exactly the abuse of power, the dictatorial interference that we all ought to resist.”

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also had harsh words for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

“Bill Barr is demonstrating that he is not the attorney general for the people of the United States,” he told CNN. “He swore allegiance to the Constitution, not to one president, and I suspect it’s a tough day for a lot of career prosecutors in the U.S. Department of Justice. This is a critical moment for rule of law in our country.”

[Politico]

Trump suggests military should consider additional discipline for Vindman

President Trump on Tuesday suggested the military should consider additional disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who provided damaging testimony against Trump in the impeachment inquiry and was reassigned from his White House job last week.

“We sent him on his way to a much different location, and the military can handle him any way they want,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “Gen. Milley has him now. I congratulate Gen. Milley. He can have him.”

Gen. Mark Milley is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Asked specifically if the Pentagon should pursue further action against Vindman, Trump said it would be “up to the military.”

“But if you look at what happened, they’re going to certainly, I would imagine, take a look at that,” he said.

The president’s comments on Tuesday signaled he was open to additional punishment for officials who testified against him in the impeachment inquiry. Some of his allies have sought to cast the ouster of witnesses like Vindman as justifiable reassignments rather than retribution.

Trump added that there were more departures to come, but it was unclear if he was referring specifically to impeachment witnesses.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday signaled there would be no punishment for Vindman, saying the Pentagon protects service members from retribution. 

“We protect all of our persons, service members, from retribution or anything like that. We’ve already addressed that in policy and other means,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon during a press conference with his Colombian counterpart.

Vindman had been working temporarily at the White House as a member of the national security council when he was dismissed. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was fired later the same day.

Both officials were among those who testified about Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine during House impeachment inquiry hearings last year. The House ultimately impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, alleging he withheld security aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate his political rivals.

The Senate acquitted Trump last week in a party-line vote.

Vindman proved to be one of Democrats’ most memorable witnesses. A Purple Heart recipient, Vindman testified that he believed Trump’s conduct on a July 25 call with the Ukrainian president was inappropriate and that he reported it to his superior.

Trump has mocked Vindman for wearing his military uniform during the hearing and complained about the contents of his testimony.

On Tuesday, the president accused Vindman of leaking and going outside the chain of command

[The Hill]

Trump pulls nomination of former US attorney in charge of Roger Stone case

President Trump pulled the nomination of a former US attorney who oversaw the prosecution of Roger Stone for a top position in the Treasury Department, according to a report.

The withdrawal of Jessie Liu’s nomination was revealed hours after four federal prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case — when the Justice Department overruled them and said it would seek a more lenient sentence for the longtime Trump ally, Fox News reported late Tuesday.

The prosecutors had been seeking a sentence of up to nine years in prison.

Liu, a former US attorney for Washington, DC, also supervised the case of one-time White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was found guilty of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials while working for the Trump campaign.

She was scheduled to begin her confirmation hearing in the Senate on Thursday.

If confirmed, Liu, 46, would have served as undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes.

Trump previously had considered nominating her as associate attorney general, the No. 3 slot in the Justice Department, but she withdrew her name last March.

[New York Post]

Trump lashes out with a dangerous lie at the federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case

President Donald Trump lashed out Tuesday night at Amy Berman Jackson, a federal judge who has overseen several key cases that arose from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. She is currently presiding over the case against longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, who is due to be sentenced soon after being found guilty of lying to Congress and attempting to impede its Russia investigation.

In response to a tweet naming Jackson, Trump tweeted: “Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”

Judge Jackson did send Manafort to prison ahead of his trial in the summer of 2018, finding that he had violated the terms of his release. But judges do not determine the conditions prisoners are kept in; those decisions are made by the prisons and jails that house inmates.

And despite his lawyer’s claims that Manafort was in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his conditions as far more accommodative than is usually imagined when the term is invoked. As Vox reported, a filing from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team said his conditions included:

  • Manafort “is not confined to a cell”
  • Between 8:30 am and 10 pm, Manafort “has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys and legal team”
  • He has “his own bathroom and shower facility”
  • He has “his own personal telephone,” which he can use more than 12 hours a day
  • Those calls are limited to 15 minutes each, but when they cut off, he can just call the person back immediately
  • He’s made nearly 300 phone calls in the last three weeks
  • He has a personal laptop he can use in his unit to review materials and prepare for his trial
  • He was provided an extension cord to let him use his laptop in either his unit or his workroom
  • He’s not allowed to send emails, but he “has developed a workaround” for even that — his legal team brings in a laptop, he drafts the emails on that laptop, and they send them out after they leave.
  • He’s being treated like a “VIP,” according to his own account on a monitored phone call.

Jackson noted at one hearing that Manafort was later moved to another jail in Alexandria, Virginia, because of his team’s complaints. CNN explained:

She said Manafort “realized the tactic had backfired immediately.” He was in a self-contained (“VIP”) suite in Northern Neck, Jackson added.

“I’m not going to split hairs over whether the word solitary was accurate because he had a room of his own,” Jackson said.

What Manafort’s detention quarters looks like now: Now he’s in protective confinement, not technically solitary. He has a window, radio, newspapers and view of TV. He’s released for a few hours a day to walk around and be with other people

“Mr. Manafort, I don’t want to belittle or minimize the discomforts of prison for you. It’s hard on everyone, young and old, rich or poor,” she said.

In short, Trump’s attack on Jackson was a lie.

It was also extremely dangerous. Jackson’s high-profile cases have already left her vulnerable to public threats; Stone himself posted a disturbing image of the judge ahead of his trial. And Trump’s efforts to attack a judge online are at least an order of magnitude worse. His fans have been known to target the subjects of his public rebukes before, most notably in the case of Cesar Sayoc, who sent pipe bombs to Trump’s perceived enemies. The fact that he is tossing out such inflammatory attacks ahead of his friend’s sentencing in another extreme assault on the rule of law.

[Alternet]

Trump Says He Has the ‘Absolute Right’ to Tell DOJ What to Do – but Claims He Didn’t in Stone Case Despite Angry Tweet

President Donald Trump says he has the “absolute right” to direct the Dept. of Justice in who and how it prosecutes, but claims that he didn’t, despite his furious tweet overnight attacking the DOJ and calling prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation of Roger Stone a “miscarriage of justice.”

Trump also called the 7 to 9 year recommendation of jail time for Stone, his ally, confidant, and former campaign advisor, an “insult to our country.” Trump often conflates himself and the nation, as if he is the country.

Saying he did not speak to anyone at DOJ Trump then said, “I’d be able to do it if I wanted I have the absolute right to do it.”

Calling the sentencing recommendation “ridiculous” Trump added, “I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous.”

“That was a horrible abberition,” he concluded, apparently meaning “aberration.”

[New Civil Rights Movement]

Media


Trump Deletes Tweet Calling Bloomberg ‘TOTAL RACIST’ Over Very Same Stop & Frisk Policy He Backed in 2016

President Trump ripped 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg as a “total racist” after audio released Tuesday from a 2015 speech showed the former mayor unapologetically defending his controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy, which targeted young men of color.

“WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!” the commander-in-chief tweeted early Tuesday along with a link to the audio clip.

Within minutes, the tweet had been taken down.

In leaked audio of Bloomberg’s speech, the Democrat sounded defiant in his acknowledgment of how the policy targeted minority kids in minority neighborhoods, arguing that they were targeted “because that’s where all the crime is.”

“Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg said.

In late 2016, then-candidate Trump called for a nationwide stop-and-frisk policy during an interview with Fox News, saying the program “worked very well” for New York City.

“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically,” the then-GOP nominee told the network.

“You understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked.

“Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York City was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do,” he added.

Upon entering the Democratic primary contest in November, Bloomberg apologized for his controversial policing policy.

A spokesperson for Bloomberg’s campaign could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment on Trump’s tweet.

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