Trump: Impeach me and the market crashes

In an interview with Fox & Friends, he said the market would crash and “everybody would be very poor”.

He was speaking after Michael Cohen, his ex-lawyer, pleaded guilty to violating election laws and said he had been directed to do so by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has rarely spoken about the prospect of being impeached.

Correspondents say it is unlikely Mr Trump’s opponents would try to impeach him before November’s mid-term elections.

Why does Trump say the market would crash?

“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job,” Mr Trump told Fox and Friends.

“I tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor.”

Pointing to his head, he said: “Because without this thinking, you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”

[BBC]

Media

 

Trump says he knew about hush payments ‘later on,’ contradicting audio

President Donald Trump said in an interview released Wednesday that he found out “later on” that his former personal attorney Michael Cohen paid two women to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, contradicting Cohen’s statements in court a day earlier.

Cohen said in a statement while formally pleading guilty to fraud charges and campaign finance violations that he oversaw one payment to porn film actress Stormy Daniels and another to former Playboy model Karen McDougal “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” widely understood to be Trump.

But when asked by “Fox & Friends” anchor Ainsley Earhardt in an interview, a clip of which was released Wednesday, whether he knew about the payments, Trump responded that “later on I knew … later on.”

Trump argued that, because the payments did not come from the campaign itself, there was no violation of campaign finance laws. He also told Earhardt he personally paid back Cohen, though prosecutors said Cohen was reimbursed by the Trump Organization.

“They didn’t come out of the campaign. In fact, my first question, when I heard about it, [was] ‘Did they come out of the campaign because that could be a little dicey,’” Trump said. “It is not even a campaign violation.”

Cohen’s attorney Lanny Davis said in an interview on MSNBC that Trump was “misstating the law.”

“Donald Trump tweeted that it only is illegal if it’s campaign funds, not if it’s personal funds. That is completely false under the law,” Davis said.

“The interviewer didn’t say, wait a minute, Mr. President, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a campaign contribution, which you said is dicey, or whether you write a personal check,” he said. “The campaign limitations under the law apply the same.”

The documents describing the charges to which Cohen pleaded guilty say that he broke federal law by exceeding the limit of $2,700 for personal campaign contributions because the hush money was intended to influence the election.

[Politico]

Reality

Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt embarrassed herself and her network in the mother of all softball interviews with Donald Trump, who claimed he only knew of illegal hush payments “later on,” even though Trump is on tape directing Cohen to make the payments.

Trump celebrates as youth unemployment hits half-century low

President Trump on Friday celebrated summer youth unemployment reaching the lowest rate since 1966.

“Just announced, youth unemployment is at a 50 year low!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

The Bureau of Labor statistics reported Thursday that the youth unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in July 2018. The number signified the lowest summer youth unemployment rate since 1966.

The youth labor force consists of 16 to 24-year-old who are seeking work. The youth workforce swells each summer as high school and college students seek summer jobs, and new college graduates pursue permanent employment.

[Washington Examiner]

Reality

But the labor-force participation rate stands at 60.6 percent, far below its peak of 77.5 percent in July 1989, the BLS added. This rate illustrates the share of 16 to 24 year olds who are working or looking and available for work.

For 16-to-19 year-olds in particular, participation is at a record low. Just 35 percent of that age group is looking for work or working—the lowest figure since record-keeping started in 1948.

Dubious Fox News article appears to have sparked Trump attack on Obama

President Donald Trump appeared to rely on a dubious Fox News report Tuesday morning to unleash an attack on his predecessor, accusing President Barack Obama, without any real evidence, of granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians as part of nuclear deal negotiations.

“Just out that Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians – including to government officials,” Trump tweeted. “How big (and bad) is that?”

Jeff Prescott, the former senior director on Obama’s National Security Council, called Trump’s allegation “absurd and entirely false.”

Prescott shared with CNN immigration data from the Department of Homeland Security which showed that the number of Iranians naturalized in the United States over the course of the Obama and Bush administrations was relatively consistent.

“There was no connection between the Iran nuclear deal and immigration policy,” Prescott added.

The unsubstantiated claim first gained attention with a Monday story on Fox News’ website that relied on the word of an Iranian cleric who is also a member of the country’s parliament.

The article, written by Chris Irvine, a Fox News senior editor, cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric, who said the Obama administration provided citizenship to 2,500 unidentified Iranians during nuclear deal negotiations.

The article itself quoted, toward the end of the story, the network’s own commentator, former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, saying, “This sounds like totally made up BS.” The story said the Department of Homeland Security and State Department declined to comment, and that a representative for former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson could not be reached.

Prior to the Fox News article, the claim had not received any noticeable attention from the US media.

But after Fox News published its story, other outlets, primarily in the conservative media space, published similar stories. Those outlets included The Daily Mail, The Gateway Pundit, and TownHall.

The claims were also shared on Twitter by Fox News host Sean Hannity and frequent Fox guests David Clarke and Charlie Kirk.

On Tuesday morning, just hours before Trump’s tweet, the story made its way to Fox News’ airwaves on “Fox & Friends First,” the network’s early morning show. It also later aired on “America’s Newsroom,” a late-morning news program on Fox News.

“It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this is a case of Donald Trump parroting Fox News, which is peddling the claims of an Iranian hardliner,” Prescott told CNN.

Jake Sullivan, a former Obama official who was involved at the start of the Iran nuclear negotiations, also skewered Trump for relying on Fox News’ thin report to make what he called a “completely false” claim.

“What is interesting about this is that what happened is a hardline crank in Iran just randomly made this comment, Fox News writes a story on it, and then Trump tweets it,” Sullivan said on “The Situation Room.”

[CNN]

White House Spox: Claim That Families Are Being Separated at Border Is ‘Completely False’

In a truly stunning show of outright lying Monday morning, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox & Friends that the claim the Trump administration is separating children from their families at the border is “completely false.”

“Do you think that the message from the media is correct, that your administration is separating parents, moms and kids?” Fox & Friendshost Brian Kilmeade asked.

“It is completely false,” Gidley replied.

“This is all the Democrats’ doing,” he continued. “Democrats are saying ‘you can’t deport them, you can’t detain them, you can’t prosecute them,’” Gidley said. “The only thing you can do, per a Democrat, is release them into the Interior without any ramification for what they’ve done by breaking our laws.”

“There are only one of two things that can happen when [immigrants] come here [illegally],” Gidley claimed. “You either have to release them into the Interior of the United States as a family unit, or you have to separate the families. That’s what the law says.”

“The Democrats’ policies put drug cartels in business… and also the child smuggling industry,” he later added. “International child smuggling is up because Democrats create incentives by not closing these loopholes.”

Um, holy crap, that’s a glaring lie. There is clear evidence from the DHS that nearly 2000 children have been separated from their families at the border in six weeks’ time as a direct result of the “zero tolerance” policy instated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Despite Trump’s attempts to blame the other party for the policy in an effort to draw out immigration concessions, separating families at the border has nothing to do with Democrats.

[Mediaite]

Trump told 4 lies about the inspector general report in one short Fox News hit

President Donald Trump went on Fox & Friends to talk about the inspector general report on the FBI’s handling of the 2016 election on Friday. His comments contained at least four significant and demonstrable lies.

Let’s go through them.

Lie 1: the FBI was working against him during the campaign

“They were plotting against my election,” Trump said, in perhaps the biggest of the four lies.

This is not true. Inspector General Michael Horowitz was quite clear on this point in the report, which reviewed the FBI’s handling of both the Clinton email investigation and the early stages of the Trump-Russia probe. “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed,” Horowitz concluded.

Trump did eventually confront this uncomfortable fact during the interview. He claimed the no bias conclusion was irresponsible, a throwaway line at the end of the report.

Lie 2: The IG “blew it” by concluding the FBI wasn’t biased

“It was a pretty good report, and then I say the IG blew it at the end,” Trump told Fox’s Steve Doocy. The IG report was a horror show. I thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous.”

The conclusion said that the FBI wasn’t biased was not a throwaway conclusion at the end of the report, but a conclusion that’s examined in-depth and repeated with some frequency throughout the report. Chapters five and 12 of the more than 500-page report, for example, look at anti-Trump text messages sent by Peter Strzok, the FBI’s deputy director for counterintelligence, to see if Strzok had allowed his anti-Trump sentiments to affect the investigation.

Investigators took a deep look at Strzok’s conduct after they came across the texts that seemingly threatened the Trump campaign and examined internal FBI records of the meetings concerning Trump that Strzok was involved in. According to Horowitz, they found that “Strzok was not the sole decisionmaker for any of the specific investigative decisions examined,” nor was there any evidence that he exercised inappropriate influence over any investigative decisions.

The conclusion that there was no bias, in short, wasn’t “one line” — it was a conclusion they arrived at after examining a tremendous amount of evidence, and a major focus of the report.

Lie 3: Trump says the IG report says he did nothing wrong

The third Trump lie is that the IG report somehow exonerated him on the question of collusion with Russia during the campaign. “I did nothing wrong, there was no collusion, there was no obstruction. The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that,” Trump said. “I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.”

This is actually a number of different lies packed into three short sentences; a Russian nesting doll of lies, if you’ll pardon the metaphor.

The IG report did not come to any conclusions about the true nature of Trump-Russia ties. It only covered the appropriateness of the FBI’s conduct in 2016. It couldn’t come to any conclusions about obstruction of justice because Trump didn’t become president until 2017. Likewise, it couldn’t discredit the Mueller investigation because Mueller didn’t take over the investigation until President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last May.

Lie 4: James Comey is a criminal

And that brings us to our final lie. Fox’s Doocy asked Trump a leading question — “Should James Comey be locked up?” — and the president responded as expected:

Certainly, they just seem like very criminal acts to me. What he did was criminal. What he did was so bad in terms of our Constitution, in terms of the well-being of our country.

Once again, Horowitz’s report closely examined questions raised by Comey’s conduct. He was harshly critical of the former FBI director — “In key moments, then Director Comey chose to deviate from the FBI’s and the Department’s established procedures and norms and instead engaged in his own subjective, ad hoc decisionmaking” — but there’s no evidence in the report that Comey violated any kind of criminal statute, let alone acted unconstitutionally.

In fact, the report concludes, Comey’s decisions during the Clinton email investigation, while questionable, came from his professional judgment and were not the result of any malign intent.

“Comey’s decision was the result of his consideration of the evidence that the FBI had collected during the course of the investigation and his understanding of the proof required to pursue a prosecution under the relevant statutes,” as Horowitz puts it when discussing his closing of the Clinton email case.

Trump’s characterization of the IG report is thus basically wrong in every way.

[Vox]

Trump says he wants “my people” to sit at attention for him like people do for Kim Jong Un

President Trump declared in a spur-of-the-moment interview with “Fox and Friends” Friday morning that he wants people to sit at attention for him like they do for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Kim stands accused of leading a murderous regime that starves its own people. But Mr. Trump has heaped praise on Kim since meeting with him in Singapore, saying repeatedly that the two have “good chemistry.”

“Hey, he is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’ Steve Doocy on the White House lawn Friday. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Pressed by a reporter about those remarks moments later, Mr. Trump said he was “kidding.”

“I’m kidding, you don’t understand sarcasm,” the president said.

The spur-of-the-moment White House lawn interview was, in the memory of those present, unprecedented.

Mr. Trump was later asked how he can mourn the death of American Otto Warmbier, who was held hostage in North Korea, while defending Kim’s disastrous human rights record.

“I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family,” Mr. Trump said. “I want to have a good relationship with North Korea. I want to have a good relationship with many countries.”

Those comments come after a different Fox News interview earlier this week, when the president also downplayed Kim’s human rights record.

“You know you call people sometimes killers, he is a killer. He’s clearly executing people,” Fox News’ Bret Baier told Mr. Trump.

“He’s a tough guy,” the president responded.

“Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have,” the president continued. “If you can do that at 27 years old, I mean that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy, he’s a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.”

[CBS News]

Media

Trump Quotes NRA TV Pundit to Bash Ex-CIA Chief as a ‘Liar’ After Brutal Op-Ed

Thrice failed congressional candidate Dan Bongino has made a name for himself in recent months using a common formula: appear on Fox & Friends to hawk the battiest Deep-State-Spy-Gate conspiracy theories you can muster, and President Donald Trump might just notice you.

Bongino snagged yet another one of the coveted Trump shoutouts on Saturday morning, after he trashed former CIA director John Brennanon the Fox News morning show.

“John Brennan, no single figure in American history has done more to discredit the intelligence community than this liar,” Trump quoted Bongino. “Not only is he a liar, he’s a liar about being a liar.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post tally of Trump’s false or misleading claims in office ticks on: it now stands at 3,251.

Bongino’s outrage came in response to Brennan’s scathing op-ed in which he compared Trump to the “corrupt, incompetent and narcissistic foreign officials” he encountered while serving at the CIA. Brennan wrote that he “will continue to speak out loudly and critically until integrity, decency, wisdom — and maybe even some humility — return to the White House.”

Trump also quoted the NRA TV pundit’s bashing of the “scam” Mueller investigation:

[Mediaite]

Media

Dinesh D’Souza on His Pardon From Trump: He Called Me a ‘Great Voice for Freedom’

Conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza appeared on Fox & Friends today to continue his celebrations after President Trump pardoned him yesterday for his criminal violations of campaign finance law.

D’Souza said the pardon was not something he expected, and he also reiterated what Trump said yesterday about how the case against him was unfair and he wanted D’Souza to be a bigger voice.

“The president said Dinesh, you have been a great voice for freedom. And he said that I got to tell you man-to-man have you been screwed. He goes I have been looking at the case. I knew from the beginning that it was fishy. But he said upon reviewing it he felt a great injustice had been done and that using his power he was going to rectify it and clear the slate, and he said he just wanted me to be out there and be a bigger voice than ever defending the principles that I believe in.”

D’Souza went on by continuing his argument that he was a victim of “selective prosecution” in which the Obama-era justice system targeted him and other conservatives.

“This was a vindictive political hit that was kind of aimed at putting me out of business, essentially making, destroying my credibility, making it impossible for me to make movies, write books. And that has failed but it still left a cloud over me. I would be a lifelong felon. I would never be able to vote and never have my full rights. So I’m very grateful to President Trump for giving me those rights back.”

D’Souza also took the opportunity to take more shots at Preet Bharara, the Obama-era U.S. attorney whose office oversaw the prosecution against him. He said that he only pled guilty to campaign finance violations because the justice system used “legal bludgeoning tactics” to force his admission, or else the government would’ve filed more charges against him.

[Mediaite]

Reality

D’Souza once praised the 9/11 hijackers as “warriors.” This is who Trump pardoned.

Media

Trump says NFL players who kneel during national anthem ‘maybe shouldn’t be in the country’

Taking a knee during the national anthem during a National Football League game should “maybe” be a deportable offense, President Donald Trump appeared to say in an interview that aired Thursday morning.

Speaking just moments after the NFL announced that all players who are on the field when the national anthem is heard before a game must stand and show respect — or can choose to remain in the locker room without penalty — Trump praised the new policy but also said it didn’t go far enough in punishing players who might continue to take a knee during the anthem.

“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms. But still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country,” Trump said in a wide-ranging sit-down with “Fox and Friends” that took place Wednesday but wasn’t aired until Thursday.

“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, and the NFL owners did the right thing,” he added.

Under the new policy, teams will be subject to a fine if a player does not comply.

The NFL had previously suggested that players should stand, but it stopped short of enforcing fines. The new policy says clubs can still develop their own work rules for players and personnel who don’t stand, but they must be “consistent with the above principles.” That means teams could choose to pass along fines to players.

The controversy over players who kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” has raged since 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback with the 49ers, first refused to stand as a lone protest against police brutality, particularly against black Americans, and racial oppression. Protests expanded, prompting Trump to criticize the the kneeling as “disgraceful.”

Trump, in the interview with Fox, took credit for creating the issue but said it was “the people” who “pushed it forward.”

“I think the people pushed it forward, not me. I brought it out. it could have been taken care of when it first started,” he said.

Trump, in his interview, also discussed immigration, the MS-13 gang and his decision last year to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

“I’ve done done a great service for the country by firing him,” Trump claimed.

The president, who spoke to the network Wednesday following a roundtable discussion on MS-13 and immigration in New York, added that he would not consider an immigration bill that did not include provisions to build his border wall.

“Unless it includes a wall, I mean a real wall … there will be no approvals from me,” Trump said. He said he was “watching one or two” of the bills that are expected to be voted on in the House, following an expected forced vote process by moderate Republicans known as a discharge petition.

The petition would force a vote on bipartisan legislation unveiled in March that would allow for the consideration of four different proposals, including: a conservative immigration bill proposed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; a bipartisan version of the Dream Act; and a bipartisan bill to protect people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while enhancing border security.

Trump, however, said, “it’s time to get the whole package,” referring to his desire that any immigration deal include not only money for his wall and protections people covered by DACA, but also increased border security measures like ending so-called “chain migration.”

[NBC News]

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