Trump: NYT ‘set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation’

President Donald Trump wrote online Tuesday that “Liddle'” Sen. Bob Corker had been unwittingly recorded by The New York Times, the newspaper to which the prominent Republican lawmaker offered a scathing criticism of the president.

“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, pinning a diminutive nickname to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In an interview published Sunday by the Times, Corker (R-Tenn.) said Trump is treating the presidency “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something” and expressed concern that the president could put the nation “on the path to World War III.” Corker, once under consideration to be Trump’s secretary of state, told the Times that the president “concerns me” and “would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Despite the president’s assertion that Corker was unaware he was being recorded, excerpts from the interview’s transcript indicate that the senator knew the conversation was on the record. Jonathan Martin, the Times reporter who interviewed Corker, wrote online that two of the senator’s aides had sat in on the phone call and “made sure after it ended that I was taping, too.”

Earlier Sunday, Trump and Corker launched criticisms at each other via Twitter, with Trump firing the first salvo, writing that “Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement).” In another post, Trump added that the Tennessee senator “also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”

Corker quickly responded with his own online post, writing that “it’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

The feud between the two men seemed to grow slowly in recent weeks as Corker, who has announced he will not seek reelection in 2018, grew increasingly public with his criticisms of the president. In a particularly sharp barb last week, Corker praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly as “those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

[Politico]

Trump Quotes New York Times: ‘Fox & Friends’ is ‘Most Powerful T.V. Show in America’

President Trump early Thursday appeared to quote The New York Times in praising Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”

“Wow, the Failing @nytimes said about @foxandfriends ‘….the most powerful T.V. show in America,'” Trump tweeted.

“Suddenly, for no other reason than its No. 1 fan, it is the most powerful TV show in America,” reads a line from the piece, titled “Watching ‘Fox & Friends,’ Trump Sees a Two-Way Mirror.”

It also says the morning show is “easily the most-watched cable news morning show, averaging 1.6 million viewers in the year’s second quarter, following a post-Trump ratings boost.”

Trump’s early morning tweet came after a “Fox & Friends” co-host held up a copy of the Times with an ad that featured the line from the article calling the Fox News show the “most powerful TV show in America.”

“This program, the program you are watching, is, according to The New York Times, the most powerful TV show in America,” Steve Doocy said.

[The Hill]

Reality

What the Fox and Friends hosts were holding up and quoting was a $100,000 paid advertisement by Fox that ran in The New York Times. Not a quote by the New York Times.

Trump Twitter-Rages About Pardons and At Media

President Donald Trump was up bright and early Saturday morning, attacking the media for reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed Trump campaign issues with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the 2016 election.

The report was based on intelligence sources, which upset the president who called it a “INTELLIGENCE LEAK,” while attacking the “Amazon Washington Post.”

No content with that, Trump then accused the New York Times of aiding “the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi” — but without providing any details.

“The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security,” Trump tweeted.

Trump later tweeted that he has “complete power” to issue pardons, writing, “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS.”

[Raw Story]

Reality

Let’s take every one of Trump’s claims and review each one and review the outright lies and falsehoods.

Comey illegally leaked classified information

Trump is repeating a false claim made by Fox News, that Comey gave classified memos to his friend to leak to the press. This was so untrue that Fox News issued a rare correction stating they were wrong. Trump is simply repeating this already debunked assertion.

New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill Al-Baghdadi

CBS thinks they were able to figure out what this was about. While Mr. Trump did not provide any evidence for his accusation, the tweet came about 20 minutes after a segment about leaks aired on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” At one point, the chyron read “NYT FOILS U.S. ATTEMPT TO TAKE OUT AL-BAGHDADI.”

So Trump was just again parroting what he saw on Fox News.

A President has complete power to pardon

Amidst the Russia investigation, Donald Trump is looking to see if he can legally pardon his family and even pardon himself.

This excellent podcast from The Brookings Institution discusses the political legitimacy and risks associated with a President going full authoritarian on his powers to pardon.

In short, a president can pardon himself except during an impeachment, has pardoned their own family in the past, and a pardon has never been overturned by the courts.

However, looking into pardoning yourself and doing things like investigating Robert Mueller, who is investigating you, gives an immediate impression that you’re guilty as hell.

Trump Regrets Hiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions

US President Donald Trump has said he would never have appointed Jeff Sessions if he had known the attorney general was going to recuse himself from leading a Russia investigation.

Mr Trump told the New York Times the actions of Mr Sessions had been “very unfair to the president”.

Mr Sessions recused himself after admitting meeting Russia’s ambassador.

He said on Thursday he would not resign and he would continue running the Justice Department effectively.

“I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he said.

The president also accused Mr Sessions of giving “some bad answers” at his confirmation hearing performance.

With Donald Trump, loyalty will only get you so far.

Mr Sessions was the earliest and most enthusiastic of Mr Trump’s top-tier political supporters, and he was rewarded with a plum Cabinet appointment. Now, however, that position of power appears not quite as golden a prize.

While the former Alabama senator has toiled to implement the president’s agenda as attorney general, Mr Trump personally blames him for the ongoing independent counsel investigation that has bedevilled his presidency.

The irony is that while Mr Trump views Mr Sessions’s recusal from the Russia probe as a betrayal, the attorney general made clear during his confirmation hearings that he would likely do just that if he were implicated in an investigation that had not yet begun in earnest.

It was only later that then-FBI Director James Comey – himself a target of the president’s scorn – revealed the Trump campaign itself was under the microscope.

Now the president has made clear that Mr Sessions lacks his full confidence. While the attorney general says he loves his job and plans to keep it, how secure can his position be when his boss lobs bomb after bomb his way from the White House?

Mr Sessions would have headed the justice department’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election. Congress is also conducting inquiries.

His recusal ultimately led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation.

The Times interview reflects the anger the president feels at this development.

He said: “A special counsel should never have been appointed in this case… Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else.”

Mr Trump said Mr Sessions had given him “zero” notice of the recusal.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.”

‘I didn’t do anything wrong’

Mr Trump then reflected on the performance of Mr Sessions at his Senate confirmation hearing in January at which he denied meeting any Russians. He later revealed he had met Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Mr Trump said: “Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers… He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”

The president suggested the justice department’s Russia investigation was rife with conflicts of interest, not least that Mr Mueller had wanted to replace James Comey, who Mr Trump had sacked as FBI director.

“There were many other conflicts that I haven’t said, but I will at some point,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Trump warned Mr Mueller about straying too far from his remit but again said he did not think he was personally being investigated.

“I don’t think we’re under investigation,” Mr Trump said. “I’m not under investigation. For what? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

US media have reported that Mr Mueller is investigating Mr Trump for possible obstruction of justice, both in the firing of Mr Comey and over whether Mr Trump tried to end an inquiry into sacked national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Associated Press news agency quoted a Trump adviser as saying that the president’s comments did not mean he was going to sack the attorney general, but the adviser questioned whether such a public dressing-down might prompt him to quit.

[BBC News]

Reality

Mr Sessions actually recused himself citing Department of Justice regulations stating employees should not participate in investigations of a campaign if they served as a campaign adviser.

President Trump Attacks ‘Lunatic,’ ‘No-Talent,’ ‘Dumbest Person’ in TV

President Donald Trump says he thinks CNN’s Chris Cuomo looks like a “chained lunatic” on television. CNN’s Don Lemon is “perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting” and CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert is a “no-talent guy” who talks “filthy.”

Those were just some of the comments Trump offered over dinner Monday night when asked about the media he consumes as President of the United States. But he did little to hide his frustration, explaining that he had been surprised that the journalistic criticism had gotten worse after the campaign. He also said he had been working on tuning out news that is critical of him.

“I’ve been able to do something that I never thought I had the ability to do. I’ve been able not to watch or read things that aren’t pleasant,” he said, maintaining that he no longer watches CNN or MSNBC. “And it keeps you young.”

There was little doubt, however, that he remained acutely aware of what reporters and correspondents were saying about him. He has large flat-screen televisions set up in the Treaty Room in the White House residence and in his private dining room in the West Wing. He continues to have stacks of newspapers and magazines delivered to his office suite in the West Wing.

“Washington Post, New York Times, they’re really, really dishonest,” he said, before directly addressing the TIME reporters he had invited for dinner. “You people are quite dishonest in all fairness.” He said he used to watch MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough but no longer does. He also claimed to have helped CNN president Jeff Zucker, an old friend and business colleague, get his job at the network.

The one network he praised was Fox News, saying he watches their shows and is responsible for its ratings bump.

Spokespeople for MSNBC and CBS said the networks had no comment on the president’s criticism. A CNN spokesperson said, “His comments are beneath the dignity of the office of the President.” Trump’s claims about CNN’s Zucker have been repeatedly refuted by the executives involved.

Here’s an extended excerpt of his conversation with TIME:

For instance I don’t watch CNN. I don’t watch MSNBC. Scarborough used to treat me great. But because I don’t do interviews and stuff and want to … He went the other way. Which is fine. He’s got some problems. But I don’t watch the show anymore. It drives him crazy. I don’t watch the show.

I do watch Fox in the morning, and their ratings have gone through the roof because everyone knows I’m watching Fox. But they’re pleasant. And if I do something wrong they report on it. I don’t mean they – if I do something wrong. But it’s really, honestly it’s the most accurate.

CNN in the morning, Chris Cuomo, he’s sitting there like a chained lunatic. He’s like a boiler ready to explode, the level of hatred. And the entire, you know the entire CNN platform is that way. This Don Lemon who’s perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting, Don Lemon at night it’s like – sometimes they’ll have a guest who by mistake will say something good. And they’ll start screaming, we’re going to commercial. They cut him off. Remember?

I’ve seen things where by mistake somebody they bring in a guest and it turns out to be a positive. And they go, I mean they get just killed. The level of hatred. And poor Jeffrey Lord. I love Jeffrey Lord. But sometimes he’s sitting there with eight unknown killers that nobody ever heard of. And CNN actually is not doing nearly as well as others. They’re all doing well because of me. But it’s not doing as well as others that are doing better actually. But Fox treats me very fairly. MSNBC is ridiculous. It’s just bad.

It’s an ability I never thought I’d have. I never thought I’d have the ability to say, they’re doing a big story on me on CNN and I won’t watch it. And it’s amazing, it doesn’t matter. But it really, the equilibrium is much better. As far as newspapers and things, I glance at them. They’re really dishonest. I mean they’re really dishonest.

Trump also brought up The Late Show host Stephen Colbert’s blistering and crude May 1 monologue, in which the comedian delivered an oral-sex joke about the president and Russian President Vladimir Putin:

You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high—highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.

(h/t Time)

Asked For Wiretapping Proof, Trump Cites Reports That Don’t Prove His Claim

Asked about his unsubstantiated claim that President Obama ordered wiretapping at Trump Tower, President Donald Trump said he relied on media reports for the assertion.

In an interview with Trump on Wednesday, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson asked the President how he originally learned the information that led to his charge. Trump tweeted on March 4 that he “just found out” that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped.’”

Trump referenced as evidence a New York Times article six weeks earlier, about Trump campaign affiliates who were reportedly under investigation for communicating with Russian officials. (Everyone mentioned in the story has denied wrongdoing.) He also said that Fox News’ Brett Baier had used the word “wiretapping” the day before his claim.

“I had been reading about things,” he told Carlson. “I read in, I think it was January 20, a New York Times article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article, I think they used that exact term.”

“There were other things,” he continued. “I watched your friend Brett Baier the day previous, where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening, and wiretapping. I said, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a lot of wiretapping being talked about.’ I’ve been seeing a lot of things. Now, for the most part, I’m not going to discuss it, because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn’t been submitted as of yet. But it’s potentially a very serious issue.”

It’s unclear which single committee Trump was referring to, as multiple are looking into his claim. The Republican chair and Democratic ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee both said Wednesday that they had so far seen no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

And the Times did not report that Trump Tower or Trump himself were under surveillance. The Times also did not report that President Obama was personally involved at all in the investigation of Trump’s affiliates, as Trump claimed.

On Friday, March 3, Fox’s Brett Baier asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) if he was concerned “that the Obama administration may have been surveilling members of the Trump campaign in a pretty detailed investigation during the election?”

“I don’t think that’s the case,” Ryan responded.

Baier also referenced a “report,” seemingly from radio host Mark Levin and later amplified by Breitbart, that the Obama administration had twice requested a FISA warrant to monitor “communications involving” Trump, and specifically a server owned by Trump that Breitbart and others reported was located in Trump Tower. In fact, the server is operated by a company in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

“I’ve seen nothing of that. I’ve seen nothing come of that,” Ryan said.

Carlson asked Trump why he hadn’t, as President, simply asked intelligence officials directly for proof that Obama had directed surveillance on him.

“Because I don’t want to do anything that’s going to violate any strength of an agency,” he said, before changing topics briefly. “You know, we have enough problems. And by the way, with the CIA, I just want people to know, the CIA was hacked and a lot of things taken. That was during the Obama years. That was not during us. That was during the Obama situation. Mike Pompeo is there now doing a fantastic job now.”

“But we will be submitting certain things and I will be perhaps speaking about this next week, but it’s right now before the committee and I think I want to leave it there,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in the committee.”

“Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it?” Carlson asked. “Don’t you devalue your words when you can’t provide evidence?”

“Because the New York Times wrote about it,” Trump said. “Not that I respect the New York Times. I call it the failing New York Times. But they did write, on January 20, using the word ‘wiretap.’ Other people have come out with – ”

Carlson interrupted: “Right, but you’re the President! You have the ability to gather all the evidence you want.”

“I do, I do, but I think that frankly we have a lot right now,” Trump said. “And I think if you watched the Brett Baier and what he was saying, and what he was talking about, and how he mentioned the word wiretap, you would feel very confident that you could mention the name. He mentioned it. And other people have mentioned it. But if you take a look at some of the things written about wiretapping and eavesdropping…”

“And don’t forget, when I say ‘wiretap,’ those words are in quotes,” he continued. “That really covers – because wiretapping is pretty old-fashioned stuff. But that really covers surveillance and many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that’s a very important thing. But ‘wiretap’ covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”

In fact, the White House itself has brought up this point in recent days. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a press briefing Monday that Trump had told him to say as much during a conversation about his wiretapping charge.

“He said they were in quotes, it’s referring to surveillance overall, it was something that had been referred to in other reports,” Spicer said, explaining why Trump had used quotes around “wires tapped” and “wire tapping.” In two tweets, though, Trump omitted the quotes:

(h/t Talking Points Memo)

Trump on ‘New York Times’: ‘The Intent is So Evil and So Bad’

President Trump got specific in his latest discussion about the “fake news media,” singling out The New York Times for scorn, while heaping praise on Breitbart News and an individual Reuters reporter.

As in his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, the president explained that he is not calling all media the “enemy of the American people” during an Oval Office interview with Breitbart Monday. Rather, it is only the “fake media” that he considers the “opposition party.”

“There’s a difference,” Trump said. “The fake media is the enemy of the American people. There’s tremendous fake media out there. Tremendous fake stories. The problem is the people that aren’t involved in the story don’t know that.”

“I didn’t say the media is the enemy — I said the ‘fake media,'” the president explained. “They take the word fake out and all of a sudden it’s like I’m against — there are some great reporters like you. I know some great honorable reporters who do a great job like Steve [Holland] from Reuters, others, many others. I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about the ‘fake media,’ where they make up everything there is to make up.”

Trump has included some of the country’s most widely-consumed and well-respected news organizations in his definition of “fake media.” All three major television networks (NBC, ABC and CBS), CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post are among the outlets Trump has slapped the label on.

But no news media organization has drawn the president’s ire like the Times.

“If you read The New York Times, it’s — the intent is so evil and so bad,” Trump told Breitbart. “The stories are wrong in many cases, but it’s the overall intent.”

Trump cited a May 2016 story titled “Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved Badly With Women in Private,” as an example of what he considers bad reporting by the newspaper. One of the women interviewed in the story, Rowanne Brewer Lane, went on cable news after the piece ran to criticize the Times‘ story, saying her words were taken out of context.

“They did a front page article on women talking about me, and the women went absolutely wild because they said that was not what they said,” Trump said. “It was a big front-page article, and the Times wouldn’t even apologize and yet they were wrong. You probably saw the women. They went on television shows and everything.”

The Times stood by the story.

Annonymous sources have been a particular source of consternation for Trump. FactCheck.org points out that the use of unnamed sources has been the subject of ongoing debate within the media. But despite Trump’s tirades against the practice, he has often used anonymous sources himself, according to FactCheck.org.

Citing “oligopolies in the media,” the Breitbart interviewer suggested that Trump might consider blocking the pending merger of AT&T with Time Warner because Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.

“I don’t want to comment on any specific deal, but I do believe there has to be competition in the marketplace and maybe even more so with the media because it would be awfully bad after years if we ended up having one voice out there,” Trump replied.

(h/t USA Today)

White House Blocks Major News Organizations From Press Briefing

CNN and other news organizations were blocked Friday from a White House press briefing.

There was no immediate explanation from the White House.

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Politico were also excluded from the meeting, which is known as a gaggle and is less formal than the televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room.

The Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the briefing because of how it was handled. The White House Correspondents Association is protesting.

The conservative media organizations Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One America News Network were allowed in.

Hours earlier, at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, President Trump mocked and disparaged the news media. He said that much of the press represents “the enemy of the people.”

“They are the enemy of the people because they have no sources,” Trump said. “They just make them up when there are none.”

He also said reporters “shouldn’t be allowed” to use unnamed sources.

(h/t CNN)

Trump Attacks NY Times, Washington Post in Tweets

President Trump took to Twitter early Saturday morning to attack two of the nation’s most prominent newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post.

“The failing @nytimes has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted just after 8 a.m. Eastern on Saturday.

“Thr coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost gas been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its … dwindling subscribers and readers.They got me wrong right from the beginning and still have not changed course, and never will. DISHONEST,” he added.

It was not immediately apparent what prompted Trump to launch his attacks. He frequently attacks the media in general and has specifically singled out both the Times and Post before, as well as CNN, NBC News, Fox News, BuzzFeed and others.

Both newspapers closely covered Trump’s Friday signing of an executive order suspending refugee entry into the U.S. and barring immigration from seven Muslim nations.

Despite his regular attacks, he granted an interview to the Times days ago.

(h/t The Hill)

 

 

Trump Disavows Alt-Right But Still Holds Their Policies

President-elect Donald Trump is again distancing himself from the alt-right movement as its white supremacist members claim his election as a boon for their agenda.

“I disavow and condemn them,” Trump said Tuesday during a wide-ranging interview with staff members of The New York Times.

It’s the latest attempt from Trump to separate himself from groups and individuals widely condemned for their advocacy of white supremacy in American culture.

The Republican president-elect added that he does not want to “energize” the groups, one of which garnered viral headlines this weekend with a gathering in Washington, where organizers and attendees evoked Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich with cries of “Heil Trump” and reprisals of the Nazi salute.

The Times has not yet released a full transcript or video of the meeting, but participants used Twitter to share his remarks throughout the exchange.

Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader who convened the weekend gathering sponsored by his National Policy Institute, told the Associated Press he was “disappointed” in Trump’s comments. But Spencer said he understands “where he’s coming from politically and practically,” adding that he will “wait and see” how the real estate mogul’s administration takes shape.

Still, Spencer argued Trump needs the alt-right movement and should be wary of shunning it because of a few news cycles of bad publicity “that do not define what we’re doing.” Spencer said Trump needs people like him “to actualize the populism that fueled his campaign.”

Trump’s denunciation also comes amid continued criticism over Trump tapping Steve Bannon, who managed the final months of the billionaire businessman’s presidential campaign, as chief White House strategist. Bannon was previously the leader of Breitbart News, an unapologetically conservative outlet that Bannon has described as a “platform for the alt-right.”

At the Times, Trump said Breitbart “is just a publication” that “covers subjects on the right” and is “certainly a much more conservative paper, to put it mildly, than The New York Times.”

Before Trump’s latest denunciations, Spencer told AP earlier Tuesday that he doesn’t see either Trump or Bannon as members of his movement, though “there is some common ground.”

(h/t Salon)

Reality

This is a step in the right direction and something that was a year-and-a-half overdue, but actions speak louder than words and Trump has yet prove he disavows the racist, sexist, and white-nationalist campaign promises that made him a darling of the alt-right .

Once Trump reverses course on the policies of mass deportations of immigrants, blocking all entry to immigrants from certain countries, and singling out minority communities for heavier policing, only then can he honestly disavow the anti-Semitic and white supremacist alt-right movement.

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