Trump at Farm Bureau: You are so lucky I gave you the ‘privilege’ of voting for me

President Trump on Monday told people attending the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention in Tennessee that they were “so lucky” he gave them the “privilege” of voting for him during last year’s presidential election given the policies he’s pushed for agriculture.

“We are streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting edge biotechnology, setting free our farmers to innovate, thrive and to grow,” Trump said at the convention.

“Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege,” he said, prompting laughter and cheers from the crowd.

“The other choice wasn’t going to work out too well for the farmers, I hate to — or the miners, or anybody else,” Trump added, referring to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Trump was at the convention in Nashville, Tenn., to tout the GOP tax bill that was passed at the end of 2017. He touched on how farmers would benefit from changes to the estate tax and decreased regulations.

[The Hill]

Media

Trump: I’m a ‘very stable genius’

President Donald Trump slammed reports questioning his mental stability in a series of tweets Saturday morning, writing he’s a “very stable genius” after the publication of an exposé about his first year as President put the White House into damage-control mode.

“Now that Russian collusion, after one year of intense study, has proven to be a total hoax on the American public, the Democrats and their lapdogs, the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence … ” Trump wrote, referring to questions raised about the mental fitness of the former President, who disclosed in 1994 that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

“Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” the President continued. “Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star … to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!”

After his tweets Saturday morning, Trump told reporters at Camp David that Wolff is a “fraud” who doesn’t know him.

“I went to the best colleges, or college,” he told reporters. “I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people, went to television and for 10 years was a tremendous success, as you probably have heard, ran for President one time and won. Then I hear this guy that doesn’t know me at all, by the way, didn’t interview me, said he interviewed me for three hours in the White House. Didn’t exist, it’s in his imagination.”

Trump continued: “I never interviewed with him in the White House at all; he was never in the Oval Office.”

Wolff told “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie on Friday that he “absolutely spoke to the President” while working on “Fire and Fury.”

“Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record,” Wolff said. “I’ve spent about three hours with the President over the course of the campaign, and in the White House. So, my window into Donald Trump is pretty significant.”

The remarkable spectacle of Trump defending his mental stability comes after the President and some of his top officials spent the last few days countering claims in author Michael Wolff’s new book, “Fire and Fury,” about Trump’s mental fitness to serve as President. The book, which went on sale Friday, also paints the picture of a President who neither knows nor cares about policy and doesn’t seem to perceive the vast responsibilities of his role.

CNN has not independently confirmed all of Wolff’s assertions.

Trump’s tweets also come after reports surfaced that a dozen lawmakers from the House and Senate received a briefing from Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee on Capitol Hill in early December about Trump’s fitness to be president.

“Lawmakers were saying they have been very concerned about this, the President’s dangerousness, the dangers that his mental instability poses on the nation,” Lee told CNN in a phone interview Thursday, “They know the concern is universal among Democrats, but it really depends on Republicans, they said. Some knew of Republicans that were concerned, maybe equally concerned, but whether they would act on those concerns was their worry.”

The briefing was previously reported by Politico. Lee, confirming the December 5 and 6 meeting to CNN, said that the group was evenly mixed, with House and Senate lawmakers, and included at least one Republican — a senator, whom she would not name.

[CNN]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The president appeared to echo that criticism in his tweets.

[Los Angeles Times]

Trump accused Clinton of lying but the FBI said she did not

President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that Hillary Clinton had lied to the FBI, going on the offensive days after his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to that same crime.

“Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it’s a shame,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton, on the Fourth of July weekend, went to the FBI, not under oath. It was the most incredible thing anyone’s ever seen. She lied many times; nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and they ruined his life. It’s very unfair.”

In alleging Clinton lies, the president is spreading a falsehood: The FBI asserts that she did not lie to them.

“We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI,” then-FBI Director James Comey testified under oath to the House of Representatives in July 2016 about Clinton’s handling of classified information on a private email server. “I have no basis for concluding that she was untruthful with us.”

The only accurate thing in Trump’s remarks about his former rival? That Clinton wasn’t under oath during her interview last year with the FBI.

Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court to a charge of making false statements to the FBI about his communications with Russia.

Trump’s remarks are the latest in a long stream of attacks on Clinton and defenses of Flynn since his firing. The president tweeted along the same lines on Saturday, criticizing the FBI’s decision not to record Clinton’s interview.

Trump fired Comey in May. His firing — and subsequent testimony that Trump had demanded loyalty and pressured Comey to drop his investigation into Flynn — prompted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the Trump team’s ties to Russia and who negotiated Flynn’s guilty plea. Trump denies that he told Comey to go easy on Flynn.

[NBC News]

No justice!’: Trump blasts ‘rigged system’ that ‘destroyed’ Mike Flynn in second set of wild Saturday tweets

President Donald Trump took to Twitter again on Saturday evening to complain about the Department of Justice’s handling of ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and to attack a favorite opponent, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday “interrogation” with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?” he wrote.

He continued, “Many people in our Country are asking what the ‘Justice’ Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and “acid washed” 33,000 Emails? No justice!”

He went on to — once again — insist that the Russia investigation is a “witch hunt” by way of offering a left-handed compliment to ABC News for suspending Brian Ross.

“Congratulations to @ABC News for suspending Brian Ross for his horrendously inaccurate and dishonest report on the Russia, Russia, Russia Witch Hunt. More Networks and ‘papers’ should do the same with their Fake News!” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, tweets from Trump’s account raised eyebrows by appearing to be an admission of obstruction of justice. The White House frantically walked that back by blaming Trump’s personal attorney John Dowd for the reckless tweet.

Observers say that Trump is acting more erratic and is constantly fuming about the Russia investigation.

Frequently when Trump is under pressure or feeling trapped, he makes his wildest and most outlandish accusations on Twitter in an attempt to change the subject. The tweets that are now blamed on John Dowd could place Trump in considerable legal jeopardy if they are proven to be his statements.

‘No justice!’: Trump blasts ‘rigged system’ that ‘destroyed’ Mike Flynn in second set of wild Saturday tweets

 

 

 

 

Trump asks why ‘deep state authorities’ aren’t investigating Clinton emails

President Trump on Tuesday asked why “deep state authorities” aren’t looking into the handling of the investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, referencing a guest who had just appeared on Fox News.

“Charles McCullough, the respected fmr Intel Comm Inspector General, said the public was misled on Crooked Hillary Emails,” Trump tweeted. “Why aren’t our deep State authorities looking at this? Rigged and corrupt?”

McCullough, who was appointed to his post by former President Obama, said in an interview on Monday with Fox News that he experienced pushback from Democrats when he tried to explain the seriousness of the investigation into Clinton’s emails.

“I’ve heard people say this is overblown, I’ve heard people say this is much ado about nothing. Had the information been released, there would have been harm to national security,” McCullough said in the interview.

“There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,” McCullough told Fox News.

McCullough appeared Tuesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to reiterate his claims, roughly an hour before Trump’s tweet.

The FBI concluded last year that it would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton for her “extremely careless” handling of classified materials while she was secretary of State.

Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign said Clinton should be prosecuted for using a personal server to handle classified emails.

Republican lawmakers have in recent weeks pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor to look into how the email case was handled.

[The Hill]

Trump calls Hillary Clinton the ‘worst’ loser ever, after she says he’s ‘disgraced’ the office

President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are at it again.

Trump lashed out at his former rival on Saturday, calling Clinton “the worst (and biggest) loser of all time,” after the ex-Democratic nominee made pointed criticisms in a series of interviews about Trump’s political and moral legitimacy.

The president tweeted: “Give it another try in three years,” in an apparent attempt to bait Clinton to run for president again.

The president’s remarks followed two interviews on Friday, in which the former Democratic nominee differentiated between sexual assault accusations against GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic Sen. Al Franken. Clinton questioned why Trump was never hurt by past allegations from women that he behaved improperly, and tried to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump’s win by invoking Russia’s suspected meddling in the 2016 general election.

In an interview with Mother Jones, Clinton said she can’t explain why Trump’s candidacy was not affected by the allegations or his bullying of his rival candidates on the campaign trail.

“I don’t understand a lot about how he got away with so many attacks and insults and behaviors that allowed him to win the presidency,” the publication reported Clinton as saying.

Trump has always denied allegations made by several women to the New York Times before the election, and around the time of the release of the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape. In the second presidential debate, Trump admitted to bragging on the tape about kissing and groping women, but said he actually never did any of those things.

On WABC radio, Clinton said the Franken situation differs from Moore because the Minnesota senator apologized, and said he would “gladly cooperate” with an ethics investigation. “I don’t hear that from Roy Moore or Donald Trump,” Clinton said. “Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump who have done neither.”

The president has been blasting Franken, while trying to stay out of the Moore situation. Trump’s has said the voters of Alabama should decide on whether to elect Moore in next month’s special election.

The former secretary of State — appearing to promote her new book “What Happened” — also told WABC radio that Trump has “disgraced the office” of the presidency. “I didn’t think he’d be as bad as he turned out to be,” she added.

Clinton, also a former senator from New York and first lady, called the GOP tax reform plan “bad policy” that’s “downright cruel” to working Americans. “I will predict to you that a number of Republican members of Congress who voted for it, will lose their seats in 2018.”

[CNBC]

Trump reverts to campaign-trail name-calling in Twitter rant calling for probe of DNC

President Trump issued a flurry of tweets over a five-hour span Friday urging the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee over a joint fundraising agreement they signed in August 2015.

Trump’s accusations follow publication by Politico of an excerpt from former acting DNC Chair Donna Brazile’s upcoming book. Brazile alleges she found “proof” that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged in Clinton’s favor.

Previous presidents have avoided even seeming to direct the Justice Department on whom to investigate — but not Trump.

Trump reverted to his campaign-trail name-calling of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), again referring to her as “Pocahontas.”

He also in one post called Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) “Crazy Bernie.” Trump has described this kind of rhetoric as “modern day presidential.”

Trump’s epic Twitter rant took place in the hours and minutes before he was set to depart the South Lawn via Marine One for his Air Force One flight to Hawaii to kick off his 12-day swing through Asia.

Implicit in the messages was more criticism of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, though Trump did not mention the nation’s top prosecutor by name.

Asked later Friday if he would fire the attorney general if he doesn’t investigate Trump’s Democratic political rivals, the president said, “I don’t know.”

Two White House officials quickly cautioned against reading too much into Trump’s comments, reiterating that he has no plans to fire Sessions. And although the White House maintains that Trump’s tweets are “official record,” it says Trump has not ordered Sessions or the FBI to do anything related to Democrats.

The aides said the tweets were a media savvy way to deflect attention from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

This week, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, who also had a role in the campaign, were indicted on 12 counts, and former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying about his dealings with Russians who were offering “dirt” on Clinton.

[Los Angeles Times]

Trump blasts media for ignoring stories on Russia uranium deal

President Donald Trump complained Thursday that the “fake media doesn’t want to follow” news related to an Obama-era sale of uranium deal involving the Russian government, resurfacing an issue he spoke of often on the campaign trail to attack Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!” the president wrote online Thursday.

The controversy, which centers around a 2010 sale that put the Russian government in control of more than 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply, made its way back into the spotlight this week when the Senate Judiciary Committee opened a fresh investigation on the matter. That probe was triggered by a story published by The Hill reporting that the FBI had uncovered Russian nuclear officials were engaged in an array of illegal activities in the U.S., including bribery, extortion and kickbacks.

Trump often used the uranium deal during last year’s presidential campaign in an effort to paint Clinton as corrupt, pointing to donations made to the Clinton Global Initiative as an indication that she approved the sale to appease donors.

But while the State Department was one of the agencies involved in approving the uranium deal, both the Clinton campaign and officials from the department have said that the former secretary of state was not involved in the approval process because such matters did not rise to her level within the department.

[Politico]

Reality

As Vox points out, the political reason Trump is embracing both of these stories is clear enough: He’s trying to cast Russia-related dirt on both Democrats and the FBI (which he views as part of a “deep state” unfairly persecuting him), to try to discredit the investigation as a whole, and to change the subject from the question of whether any of his associates colluded with the Russian government during the campaign

Trump After ‘Lock Her Up’ Chant: Talk to Jeff Sessions

 

President Donald Trump told an Alabama crowd Friday night that if “Crooked Hillary” Clinton had won the 2016 election, “you would not have a Second Amendment.”

“You’d be handing in your rifles,” Trump said. “You’d be turning over your rifles.”

The comment was met by chants of “lock her up,” reminiscent of his own campaign rallies during the 2016 presidential rally.

“You’ve got to speak to Jeff Sessions about that,” Trump replied, referencing his US attorney general.

Though Trump had threatened to pursue charges against Clinton before the election, after the election he signaled he would not.

Trump told The Wall Street Journal on November 11 that “it’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought, because I want to solve health care, jobs, border control, tax reform.”

He excited rally-goers with mention of the Second Amendment when campaigning for Republican Sen. Luther Strange ahead of Alabama’s runoff election next week.

Trump is in Huntsville, Alabama, campaigning for Strange who is up against Roy Moore in Tuesday’ Republican primary runoff.

Trump spent much of his speech applauding his administration’s work — including its strong support of the Second Amendment.

“We’ve got a lot of things done — they hate to admit it — including, we have a Supreme Court Justice, Judge Gorsuch, who will save, how about a thing called your Second Amendment? Right? OK, remember that?” Trump said.

[CNN]

Media

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