Trump accuses NYT reporter of breaking the law by alerting FBI to Kushner meetings with Russians

President Donald Trump accused a New York Times reporter of breaking the law by tipping off the FBI to developments in the Russia investigation.

Times reporter Michael Schmidt alerted the FBI’s assistant director for public affairs in March 2017 that he and some colleagues had found out Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn had met in December 2016 with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who then set up a meeting between Trump’s son-in-law and a Russian banker.

Schmidt’s email was then forwarded to FBI special agent Peter Strzok, who was leading the bureau’s Russia investigation, and Jonathan Moffa, an FBI counterintelligence officer, reported the Washington Examiner.

Trump reacted with a pair of tweets suggesting that Schmidt had fed false information to the FBI.

“Just revealed that the Failing and Desperate New York Times was feeding false stories about me, & those associated with me, to the FBI,” Trump tweeted. “This shows the kind of unprecedented hatred I have been putting up with for years with this Crooked newspaper. Is what they have done legal?”

[Raw Story]

Trump calls newspaper report on Russia power grid ‘treason’

President Donald Trump has lashed out at The New York Times, saying it engaged in a “virtual act of treason” for a story that said the U.S. was ramping up its cyber-intrusions into Russia’s power grid.

The Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. has bored into Russian utility systems in an escalating campaign meant to deter future cyber activity by Russia. It comes as the U.S. looks for new ways to punish Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and prevent a recurrence.

The Times, in its official public relations account, called Trump’s accusation “dangerous” and said it had told officials about the story before it was published and no security issues were raised.

The newspaper, basing its reports on three months of interviews with current and former government officials, said this campaign was conducted under new cyber authorities granted by Trump and Congress. But it also reported that two administration officials believed the president had not been briefed in detail, fearing he might countermand the action against Russia or reveal sensitive information to foreign officials.

In a pair of tweets sent Saturday night, Trump asserted the story wasn’t true and denounced reporters as “cowards.”

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country,” he wrote.

The story reported the deployment of American computer code into Russia’s grid and other targets to act as a deterrent. The newspaper also said the U.S. Cyber Command, part of the Department of Defense, has explored the possibility that Russia might try to initiate selective blackouts in key states to disrupt the 2020 election.

In a second tweet, Trump added about the story: “ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

The New York Times’ response also noted that the paper described the article to government officials before publication. “As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.”

The paper said there was no evidence the US had actually activated the cyber tools.

[Associated Press]

Trump says supporters could ‘demand’ he not leave office after two terms

In tweets on Sunday morning, President Donald Trump suggested supporters might not want him to leave office after two terms. 

“The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT),” Trump wrote. 

The president had also been criticizing the Washington Post and the New York Times, calling them “both a disgrace.” 

Trump has talked about the issue before. In March last year, according to a recording obtained by CNN, he told a closed-door fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago that “maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day,” in reference to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s abolishment of term limits. It was unclear if the comments were made in jest.  

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.” 

The only American president to serve more than two terms was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who died during his fourth term in office. 

Some progressive commentators have speculated about the possibility of Trump not leaving office if he loses the election narrowly. Last week, Bill Maher said on CNN that if Trump loses, “he won’t go.”  

To which conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg responded, “Refusing to leave would make him the crazy guy the Marines escort out of the building.”

[USA Today]

‘All of it is new’: Trump, administration officials defend deal with Mexico against reports saying little is new

President Donald Trump and senior members of his administration on Sunday defended the U.S. agreement with Mexico to avoid tariffs that Trump threatened to impose if the country did not stem the flow of migrants, disagreeing with critics who said the U.S. got little new in exchange for dropping the threat.

“All of it is new,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’ve heard commitments before from Mexico to do more on their southern border. The last time they deployed down there is about 400 or 500 officers. This is more than a tenfold commitment to increase their security.”

Democrats derided the deal as overblown and unnecessary.

“I think the president has completely overblown what he purports to have achieved,” said Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate, speaking on ABC’s “This Week” show. “These are agreements that Mexico had already made, in some cases, months ago. They might have accelerated the timetable, but by and large, the president achieved nothing except to jeopardize the most important trading relationship that the United States of America has.”

A senior administration official told NBC News that some key elements of the deal, announced Friday, had been agreed to months ago, but added that the two sides had agreed to expand on some of the previous commitments.

Mexican officials agreed to move more quickly to deter migrants than they had previously, the official said, adding that their commitment to deploy up to 6,000 troops was modestly larger than the earlier agreement, representing a promised personnel increase of about 10 percent.

The official also pointed to an expansion of the program allowing migrants to remain in Mexico while their asylum cases are processed as something new, with both sides agreeing to increase resources in the effort.

Mexico did not agree to accept what is called a “safe third country” treaty, which would have allowed the U.S. to reject asylum seekers if they had not first applied for refuge in Mexico — something the Trump administration had strongly pushed for.

The New York Times, citing U.S. and Mexican officials familiar with the negotiations, reported Saturday that while Trump excitedly presented the agreement as a groundbreaking deal, it contained actions largely agreed upon in earlier negotiations.

The Mexican government had already pledged to deploy its national guard to stem the flow of migrants during secret negotiations with then Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in March, the Times reported. And the agreement to expand a program that allows asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are processed was reached in December and announced by Nielsen to the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing that same month.

The president disputed the Times’ report in a Twitter post on Sunday, calling the article “another false report” and lamenting that he was not getting enough credit in the media for his dealmaking.

“We have been trying to get some of these Border Actions for a long time, as have other administrations, but were not able to get them, or get them in full, until our signed agreement with Mexico,” Trump wrote. “Additionally, and for many years, Mexico was not being cooperative on the Border in things we had, or didn’t have, and now I have full confidence, especially after speaking to their President yesterday, that they will be very cooperative and want to get the job properly done.”

Trump added that there were “some things” the countries agreed on that were “not mentioned” in his administration’s press release, but he did not say what those were.

In a tweet on Saturday, Trump said Mexico agreed to “immediately begin buying large quantities of agricultural product from our great patriot farmers!”

But in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Mexican ambassador to the U.S. Marta Bárcena Coqui did not confirm whether any such agreement regarding agricultural products was a part of the deal.

On Friday, the two countries reached an agreement after days of negotiations in Washington that led Trump to drop — at least temporarily — his threat of tariffs on Mexican goods that would have increased in 5 percent increments to 25 percent over a several-month span.

In announcing the agreement, the State Department said Mexico agreed to deploy its national guard, “giving priority to its southern border,” while expanding “migrant protection protocols” requiring those seeking asylum in the U.S. to stay in Mexico until their cases are processed. Many of the specifics of the agreement have yet to be released.

While Trump has hailed the agreement on Twitter, the White House is taking a wait-and-see approach to the deal. The senior administration official said the administration will monitor the flow of migrants at the border to see if Mexico is carrying out its promises and if it’s working to curb the flow of migration. If Trump feels enough progress has not been made, the deal may be re-evaluated.

After threatening substantial tariffs on Mexico, Trump had come under intense pressure from business leaders and top Republicans to retract the threat because of concerns such tariffs could cause substantial harm to the U.S. economy.

On “Fox News Sunday,” McAleenan said the threat of tariffs worked.

“People can disagree with the tactics,” he said. “Mexico came to the table with real proposals.”

[NBC News]

Trump fumes after NYT reports on his banking history

President Trump on Monday lashed out at the New York Times after the paper reported that anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank flagged multiple transactions involving him and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in 2016 and 2017, and recommended they be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.

Deutsche Bank executives rejected their employees’ advice, the Times said, and the suspicious transactions were never reported.

Trump, though, did not respond to that part of the report. The president, instead, fixated on the newspaper’s assertion that unlike Deutsch Bank, “most Wall Street banks had stopped doing business with him.”

“The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me,” Trump tweeted. “WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money. Very old fashioned, but true. When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks. Banks have always been available to me, they want to make money.”

The president accused the Times, without evidence, of using made-up sources in an effort to “disparage” him. He then repeated a familiar attack line (“FAKE NEWS is actually the biggest story of all and is the true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”) before returning to his Twitter tirade about the report.

“Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks,” the president continued. “But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”

“DeutscheBank was very good and highly professional to deal with – and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere,” Trump added. “There was always plenty of money around and banks to choose from. They would be very happy to take my money. Fake News!”

The president was tweeting so furiously, it seems, he missed a pair of missives.

“Two Tweets missing from last batch, probably a Twitter error,” Trump tweeted. “No time for a redo! Only the Dems get redos!”

That tweet was quickly deleted. It was unclear what the issue was.

Trump’s reaction to scrutiny of his relationship with Deutsche Bank comes amid efforts by Congress to get ahold of his tax and bank records.

Last month, the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed the German bank for documents related to any suspicious activities detected in Trump’s personal and business bank accounts since 2010.

Trump and his family then sued Deutsche Bank in an attempt to block it from sharing the documents. Although Trump once promised to publicly release his tax returns, he has refused to do so, claiming he is under audit.

Earlier this month, the Times obtained Trump’s tax returns from 1985 to 1994 showing his businesses lost more than $1 billion during that timespan.

[Yahoo News]

Trump attacks ‘very fake’ New York Times for tax law piece

President Trump on Monday attacked The New York Times as “very fake” for publishing an article pointing out most Americans will likely receive a tax cut under his 2017 law, even though a majority say they will not.

Speaking at a Tax Day event in Minnesota, Trump held up a printed copy of the Times article and voiced his displeasure with the headline “Face It: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut.”

“In other words, they’re really pretty upset. You can tell where they’re coming from, come on,” the president said.

Noting the article pointed out a large majority of Americans are expected to receive cuts, something that is positive for him, Trump said “they must have made a mistake. I’m sure these writers will be fired very shortly.”

Trump continued to tout the effects of his tax law but later added that “nothing good comes from The New York Times,” drawing applause from an audience of supporters inside a trucking and equipment facility outside Minneapolis.

The White House staged Monday’s event in order to promote the tax law, which is Trump’s biggest legislative accomplishment and something he plans to tout during his 2020 reelection race.  

Multiple polls show that most Americans believe they are not benefiting from the law, which could limit its effect as a political asset next year. The Times article pointed out the disparity between popular opinion about the law and its actual effects.

“To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained – and misleading – effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase,” it says.

The president has routinely attacked his hometown paper, even though he has sat for multiple interviews with its reporters during his time in office.

His latest remarks came the same afternoon it was announced that the Times had won a Pulitzer Prize for its long-form article investigating Trump’s finances, which said the Trump family has been dodging taxes for years.

[The Hill]

Trump Bashes NY Times for Making Him Look Bad: ‘In 6 Years They Will Be Gone’

Back from his round of golf with Tiger Woods, President Donald Trumptook to Twitter on Saturday evening to bash the New York Times for being corrupt after running a story about sanctuary cities.

“The New York Times Sanctuary Cities/Immigration story today was knowingly wrong on almost every fact. They never call to check for truth. Their sources often don’t even exist, a fraud. They will lie & cheat anyway possible to make me look bad. In 6 years they will be gone,” Trump wrote.

He also insisted that the paper had to beg subscribers for forgiveness after botching coverage of the 2016 election.

“When I won the Election in 2016, the @nytimes had to beg their fleeing subscribers for forgiveness in that they covered the Election (and me) so badly,” Trump wrote. “They didn’t have a clue, it was pathetic. They even apologized to me. But now they are even worse, really corrupt reporting!”

Trump, by the way, doesn’t exactly have his facts right. The New York Timesactually reported that they had a “Trump bump” as a result of the election.

Here is the report from November 2018 (emphasis mine):

More than three million paid digital-only subscribers. More than four million total.

The New York Times Company announced on Thursday that it surpassed those milestones during the third quarter of 2018, when the number of its digital subscribers showed a net increase of roughly 203,000.

That was the highest gain in digital subscribers in a quarter since the so-called Trump bump in the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 after the presidential election.

[Mediaite]

Trump continues manic Twitter assault on the press by calling the New York Times the ‘Enemy of the People’

President Donald Trump attacked The New York Times on Saturday, only one hour after attacking CNN.

“Horrible and totally dishonest reporting on almost everything they write,” Trump argued.

“Hence the term fake news, enemy of the people, and opposition party,” he said, while listing multiple terms.

[Raw Story]

Reality

Trump isn’t quoting Jill Abramson, he is quoting Fox News’ Howard Kurtz quoting Jill Abramson, which means her words are being twisted and taken out of context to fit a Republican narrative.

Abramson told the Associated Press Kurtz misrepresented her comments in an attempt to “Foxify” her.

Per the AP:

In her email, Abramson notes that Kurtz ignored her passage in the book saying that under Baquet’s leadership, the depth and intensity of its accountability coverage of Trump “was masterful. On most days it outshone the Post’s. The news report as a whole had never been stronger.”

 

Trump Claims Report on North Korea’s Secret Missile Program ‘Inaccurate’: I’ll ‘Let You Know if Things Go Bad!’

Taking again to Twitter to bash The New York Times, President Donald Trump claimed without evidence that the outlet’s report that North Korea is secretly beefing up its ballistic missile program was false.

“The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate,” he said Tuesday about the Monday article. “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”

In its article, the Times used satellite images to reveal that the regime appeared to be “engaged in a great deception.”

“It has offered to dismantle a major launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others that would bolster launches of conventional and nuclear warheads,” the report read. “The existence of the ballistic missile bases, which North Korea has never acknowledged, contradicts Mr. Trump’s assertion that his landmark diplomacy is leading to the elimination of a nuclear and missile program that the North had warned could devastate the United States.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Refutes iPhone Usage in Angry Tweet Sent From iPhone

President Trump began his Thursday morning by blaming the attempted assassination of his political adversaries on the media. He’d said as much the night before at a rally in Wisconsin, but his early-morning tweet seems to be inspired by New York Times report about the president’s careless cell phone use, which has allowed China and Russia to listen in on his calls.

Less than half-an-hour before he attributed the “Anger we see today in our society” to the “Fake News,” Trump railed against the story in the Times.

Trump followed up his capitalized show of reverence to “Government Phones” by noting that he rarely even uses cell phones, preferring the far more dignified “Hard Lines.”

In April, CNN reported that Trump was beginning to use his cell phone with increasing frequency, and that, according to a senior White House official, he “is talking to all sorts of people on it.” The tweets he wrote Thursday morning refuting the story in the Times were sent using an iPhone.

Trump’s refusal to abandon his personal phone has been well documented, but this latest report from the Times delves into the implications of the president’s indifference to securing his communications. The report notes that U.S. intelligence has found that the Chinese are often listening when Trump rings up his friends, “putting to use invaluable insights into how to best work the president and affect administration policy.”

In May, Politico reported that the president uses an unsecured cell phone that is susceptible to hacking and surveillance, and that he has ignored staffers who have insisted he strengthen the security of his communications. According to administration officials, Trump has two cell phones, one for Twitter and one for making calls, and has gone as long as five months without having the latter checked by security experts. The report notes that President Obama swapped out his phone every 30 days. Both Politico and now the Times reported that Trump has refused to do the same, calling the practice too “inconvenient.” The Times also noted that in addition to the two White House cell phones, Trump also maintains a personal iPhone with no security protections because he is able to store his contacts in it.

Though a White House official assured Politico that Trump’s “devices are more secure than any Obama-era devices,” not everyone agrees. “Foreign adversaries seeking intelligence about the U.S. are relentless in their pursuit of vulnerabilities in our government’s communications networks, and there is no more sought-after intelligence target than the president of the United States,” said Nate Jones, who served as a counterterrorism director on the National Security Council under President Obama. The Times report from Wednesday notes that intercepting calls is “a relatively easy skill for governments,” which is why most heads of state refrain from using cell phones.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that both China and Russia have been listening in on the president’s calls. The Times reports that China in particular is using the calls to determine how to influence the president, especially as the trade war between the two superpowers intensifies. Because some of the business magnates with whom the president regularly speaks have interests in China, the nation’s government is attempting to use other business figures to lobby them to nudge the president in a direction they deem beneficial to China. “The strategy is that those people will pass on what they are hearing, and that Beijing’s views will eventually be delivered to the president by trusted voices,” officials told the Times, noting that “they can only hope” the president doesn’t divulge any sensitive information.

The president has reportedly been warned that the adversaries are listening to his phone calls, but has refused refused to change his practices. Meanwhile, Trump’s supporters continue to call for Hillary Clinton to be jailed over her use of an unsecured private email server. Questions surrounding Clinton’s emails served as the foundation of Trump’s attacks against her during the 2016 campaign. “We can’t hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies,” Trump said that June.

[Rolling Stone]

Reality

Use Twitter’s TweeDesk service, do a search for @realDonaldTrump, find the tweet.

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