Sarah Sanders: Climate change report ‘not based on facts’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the findings of a government report that warned of the impending consequences of climate change, claiming it’s “not based on facts.”

“The president’s certainly leading on what matters most in this process, and that’s on having clean air, clean water,” Sanders told reporters at a press briefing. “In fact, the United States continues to be a leader on that front.”

Sanders disputed the report’s findings, claiming it’s “not based on facts” and arguing that modeling the climate “is never exact.” She did not indicate that Trump would call on world leaders at this week’s Group of 20 summit to address the report’s findings.

“We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” she said. “It’s not data driven. We’d like to see something that is more data driven. It’s based on modeling, which is extremely hard to do when you’re talking about the climate.”

The report was developed by multiple federal agencies. A version of it is mandated to be released every four years under the National Climate Assessment from the multiagency Global Change Research Program.

The hundreds of government and external scientists involved in the research concluded that climate change could cost the United States billions of dollars annually within decades if greenhouse gases aren’t dramatically reduced, and could worsen environmental disasters like wildfires and flooding. Its findings aligned with those of the broader scientific community.

Trump downplayed the report’s findings, telling reporters on Monday’s that he doesn’t “believe” its warnings about the economic impacts of climate change.

The president has long voiced skepticism about the existence of climate change.

Democrats criticized that the report was released on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, saying the timing was meant to bury it. They renewed calls for the use of renewable energy sources and other policies that could mitigate the effects of climate change.

Republican lawmakers have largely acknowledged that the climate is changing but have offered few concrete solutions to address the problem. Some lawmakers have emphasized the need to find innovations that would not adversely affect the economy.

[The Hill]

Trump on dire warnings in climate report: ‘I don’t believe it’

President Trump said Monday that he doesn’t “believe” the findings of a major report his administration released forecasting dire consequences to the United States from climate change.

“Yeah, I don’t believe it,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally for Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith (R) in Mississippi, when asked about the predictions of economic devastation.

“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump said of the report.

The report, part of the fourth congressionally-mandated National Climate Assessment from the multi-agency Global Change Research Program, came out Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and a major shopping day for the United States. That led critics to charge that Trump was trying to bury the findings.

The hundreds of government and external scientists involved in the research concluded that climate change could cost the United States billions of dollars annually within decades if greenhouse gases aren’t dramatically reduced.

“Without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century,” it found.

The conclusions generally align with the scientific consensus on climate change, including that human activity, via greenhouse gases, is the chief cause of global warming and its impacts.

Trump has been outspoken in doubting the scientific consensus on climate. He tweeted in 2012 that “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

His environmental policy since taking office last year has followed that skepticism. Through the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, he has sought to significantly roll back or repeal nearly every climate policy former President Obama put into place, including greenhouse gas rules for power plants, cars and oil and natural gas drillers.

Trump’s position that he doesn’t “believe” the report aligns with some other Republicans who sought to discredit its findings.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that scientists involved in the research were motivated to get to their conclusions by money. He did not provide any evidence to back the claim.

“If there was no climate change, we’d have a lot of scientists looking for work. The reality is that a lot of these scientists are driven by the money that they receive,” he said.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) also charged that scientists were motivated by money.

“Through the entire report, there’s no dissenting opinion. They went out and picked out people that would say what their conclusions they already wrote before they did the report,” he said Monday on CNN. “It’s flawed, it’s ridiculous, and frankly, embarrassing.”

[The Hill]

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Trump Baselessly Alleges Florida Election Fraud in Wild Rant: ‘You Notice the Votes Never Go the Other Way…’

During a White House pool spray on Friday morning, President Donald Trump went off on a wild rant baselessly floating the idea of foul play in the narrow elections in Florida for Senate and Governor — which soon spun off into a rant about corruption at large.

Speaking with reporters before departing for Paris, Trump baselessly claimed that votes tend to go for Democrats in contested elections.

“You notice the votes never go the other way?” Trump said. “They hire lawyers, and the votes don’t ever seem to go the Republican way…I don’t know. You tell me. It’s always the Democrats.”

Those comments led to the rant about “crooked stuff.”

“It’s always GPS Fusion,” the president said. “It’s always crooked stuff. Look at what happened. How many FBI are gone, how many Justice Department people are gone that I found out?…There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in this country, and we’re finding out. And I’m getting to the bottom of it. And I’ve done a hell of a job.”

[Mediaite]

Trump, Asked by Reporter If Soros Is Funding the Caravan, Says ‘I Wouldn’t Be Surprised’

Speaking outside the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump refused to rule out the possibility that George Soros might be behind the migrant caravan.

Trump was first asked if he thought someone was funding the caravan.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Trump replied.

George Soros?” a reporter pressed.

“I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” Trump continued on. “A lot of people say yes.”

A “lot of people” includes Fox News folks like Lou Dobbs and Laura Ingraham, as well as pro-Trump Congressman Matt Gaetz who tweeted out this:

The conspiracy theory — which apparently dates back to March — may also have contributed to the synagogue slayings in Pittsburgh.

Standing on the White House lawn on Wednesday, Trump gave no further indication about why he would “not be surprised” that Soros was involved, although blaming Soros has proven popular among Trump’s base.

[Mediaite]

Trump laughs about locking up George Soros moments after calling for national unity

President Donald Trump on Friday briefly tried to strike a conciliatory tone when it came to condemning political violence — but he quickly reverted back to attacking his political foes, including musing about having billionaire Democratic donor George Soros arrested.

While addressing the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House on Friday, Trump went on the attack against “globalists” whom he accused of undermining American sovereignty.

“I like the globe too, but we have to take care of our people,” the president said.

While Trump talked about “globalists,” many audience members started yelling, “Soros!” while another member yelled, “Lock him up!”

The president smiled and pointed to the audience member and laughingly repeated, “Ha, lock him up!”

Trump’s laughter about the prospect of locking up Soros comes after Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc was arrested on Friday on suspicion of sending explosive devices to Soros and several top Democrats. Sayoc’s Facebook and Twitter feed are loaded with attacks on Soros and other liberals.

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump baselessly claims Democrats are behind migrant caravan

Donald Trump thrust a caravan of migrants heading toward the US border into the midterm election campaign, saying at a rally on Thursday night that the race will be “an election of the caravan”.

A group that now numbers about 3,000 people has left Honduras and has reached Guatemala’s border with Mexico, with the ultimate goal of reaching the US – infuriating Trump.

“It’s going to be an election of the caravan. You know what I’m talking about,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Missoula, Montana, declaring his intention to use the migrants’ journey as a bludgeon against Democratic candidates.

There is evidence that Trump’s use of the caravan as a campaign issue may be effective among the Republican base. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 75% of voters who intend to vote for a Republican congressional candidate consider illegal immigration a “very big” problem for the country.

That makes it the top-rated issue for Republican leaning voters. By contrast, only 19% of voters supporting a Democrat called illegal immigration a very big problem. Democratic voters instead called gun violence, the affordability of healthcare and college education, government ethics, the gap between the rich and poor, and a host of other issues very big problems.

Trump claimed, without any supporting evidence, that Democrats were behind the caravan, and raised conspiracy theories that the Central Americans had been paid to come to the United States for political reasons.

“Now we’re starting to find out – and I won’t say it 100%, I’ll put a little tiny question mark at the end. But we’re probably not going to need it, but we have the fake news back there,” he told the crowd, adding a familiar jab at news reporterscovering his campaign appearances.

“A lot of money’s been passing through people to come up and try to get to the border by election day, because they think that’s a negative for us. Number one, they’re being stopped. And number two, regardless, that’s our issue.”

Trump appeared to be referring to a video postedby the Florida representative Matt Gaetz, which he claimed showed women and children being given cash to “storm the US border @ election time”. He suggested without evidence that the source could be “Soros? US-backed NGOs?” referring to George Soros, an American billionaire who is the frequent subject of rightwing conspiracy theories.

A journalist who interviewed people on the ground where the video was taken reported that local merchants had collected money and given it out as aid to migrants. He located the site in Guatemala, not Honduras as the congressman had claimed.

Gaetz later posted a tacit correction, saying he had believed the video was taken in Honduras because it was sent to him by a Honduran official.

Speaking of Democrats, Trump said: “They wanted that caravan. And there are those who say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen.”

Trump threatened on Thursday to close the US-Mexico border and deploy the military if caravan members approach the frontier.

The Mexican government said it was in touch with members of the caravan, some of whom have arrived at the country’s southern border seeking refuge, and will process any legitimate claims for entry in an orderly manner. Mexican officials have said that anyone who enters illegally will be subject to deportation.

Despite the extremist campaign trail rhetoric, the Trump administration has supported a Mexican government plan to work with the United Nations refugee agency to deal with the caravan, USA Today reported.

[The Guardian]

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 continues to Twitter attack anti-Kavanaugh women as ‘paid protesters handed expensive signs’

President Donald Trump lashed out at women opposing his nomination of conservative jurist Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday, preceeding a vote by the United States Senate.

“Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capital Hill in preparation for a 3-5 P.M. VOTE,” the commander-in-chief tweeted.

“It is a beautiful thing to see – and they are not paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs,” he argued. “Big day for America!”

The Saturday tweet continued an argument Trump made on Friday against the women protesting his nominee.

“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad,” he alleged.

“Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others,” he continued, adding the hashtag #Troublemakers.

[Raw Story]

QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Got a Photo with Trump in the Oval Office

By now you’re probably heard about the conspiracy theory “QAnon,” particularly after a Trump rally last month featured some very noticeable Q signs, shirts, etc. from the rallygoers.

Well, one QAnon conspiracy theorist actually got a photo with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office this week.

According to The Daily Beast, Lionel Lebron said he didn’t ask Trump directly about the issue, but believes Trump knows all about it already.

And White House officials didn’t really have a good answer for this:

All four White House officials the Beast did speak with about how Trump, the leader of the free world, ended up in a smiling photo op at the Resolute Desk with a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist, pleaded ignorance about when this occurred, and why. Two of these West Wing officials audibly could not contain their laughter.

The Washington Post confirmed that White House officials had no idea how this happened:

[Mediaite]

Trump Goes on Tweetstorm While Watching Fox News, Quotes Hannity and Mark Levin

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday evening to share criticism about ex-CIA director John Brennan that he heard on Fox News.

“’John Brennan is a stain on the Country, we deserve better than this.’” Former Secret Service Agent and author of new book, ‘Spygate, the Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump,’ Dan Bongino,” Trump wrote, referring to the conservative commentator and frequent Fox News guest.

He added: “Thank you Dan, and good luck with the book!”

Bongino’s comments came during a discussion of Trump’s decision to yank Brennan’s security clearance just one day after Brennan criticized him on both Twitter and MSNBC citing Brennan’s “erratic behavior.”

Speaking to the Wall Street Journalearlier today, Trump pushed back on criticism of his decision, telling the WSJ, “[I] would put a Republican on, too, if I thought they were incompetent or crazy.”

Brennan also spoke out on Trump’s decision, calling Trump’s move an effort to “intimidate and suppress” his critics.

“I do believe that Mr. Trump decided to take this action, as he’s done with others, to try to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration,” Brennan said on Wednesday afternoon, after learning he had lost his clearance. “And revoking my security clearances is his way of trying to get back at me.”

In addition to using a Fox News quote to slam Brennan, Trump also tweeted out a remark from a Fox News guest who said Hillary Clinton “got a pass by the FBI.”

Then, later on Wednesday evening, he even tweeted quotes from Sean Hannity‘s show from Mark Levin and Hannity himself. Hannity said, “I’d strip the whole bunch of them. They’re all corrupt. They’ve all abused their power. They’ve all betrayed the American people with a political agenda.”

[Mediaite]

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