Trump: Dems ‘stand in our way’ on stronger border

President Trump on Wednesday called on Congress to take immediate action to strengthen border laws while accusing Democrats of standing in the way of legislation.

In a morning tweet, the president said current border laws are “very weak” and that “strong action” would be taken Wednesday.

his comes a day after the president said he wants to deploy U.S. troops to guard the southern border with Mexico until his proposed border wall is completed.

“Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said Tuesday during a meeting with Baltic state leaders.

Trump has received increased pressure from his base to score a policy win on immigration after lawmakers did not address his plea for $25 billion in wall money in recent spending legislation.

The president instead got just $1.6 billion for border fortifications in a recent government funding bill, and most of that money cannot be used to build new portions of the wall.

Trump on Tuesday also cited a “caravan” of Central American migrants heading for the U.S. border, later saying he heard reports the caravan was broken up, crediting his threat to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if Mexico does not arrest more migrants.

“They did it because, frankly, I said you really have to do it,” the president said. “We’re going to have a relationship on NAFTA. We’re going to have to include security in NAFTA.”

The president has been attempting to renegotiate NAFTA terms with Mexico and Canada for months. He exempted the countries from his recent steel and aluminum tariffs and reportedly hopes to have an updated version of NAFTA to unveil during the Summit of the Americas later this month.

[The Hill]

Trump touts Rasmussen poll results: ‘Higher than Cheatin’ Obama’

President Trump on Tuesday touted his job-approval rating in a conservative-leaning poll, saying it is now higher than former President Obama’s was during the same period of his presidency.

“Thank you to Rasmussen for the honest polling. Just hit 50%, which is higher than Cheatin’ Obama at the same time in his Administration,” the president tweeted.

Half of voters told Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll on Monday that they approve of Trump’s performance in office, 4 points higher than Obama scored on the same tracking poll on April 2, 2010.

Trump still faces a very polarized electorate heading into the November midterm elections, with Rasmussen finding that 49 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance.

The poll was taken after a number of developments in the Trump administration, including the departures of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. A number of White House staffers have also recently exited, including communications director Hope Hicks, a longtime aide to Trump.

The president is also facing an ongoing battle with Stormy Daniels, an adult-film star who alleges a 2006 affair with the president shortly after his marriage to first lady Melania Trump.

Rasmussen’s daily tracking polls are conducted on a three-day rolling average basis and contain a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

[The Hill]

Trump Goes After the ‘Crazed’ Media Over Russia Call, Defends His ‘Congratulations’ to Putin

President Trump this afternoon tweeted an attack on the media (again) over its “crazed” coverage of his call with Vladimir Putin.

“I called President Putin of Russia,” POTUS tweeted, “to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also). The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Some Republicans were critical of Trump congratulating Putin as well––particularly John McCain––but the President is standing by his message and dinging the media for getting worked up about it.

Oh, and he wasn’t done:

“They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race,” he continued. “Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the “smarts.” Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!”

[Mediaite]

Trump claims Obama launched Russia probe to discredit campaign

President Donald Trump on Monday accused the Obama administration of using the investigation into potential ties between his campaign and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election to discredit his bid and boost the chances of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

“Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November? Wanted to discredit so Crooked H would win. Unprecedented. Bigger than Watergate! Plus, Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling,” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

It’s unclear exactly what pre-election investigation Trump was referring to, though the FBI opened its investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia in July 2016. Then-FBI Director James Comey oversaw that investigation until Trump fired him in May 2017. Shortly after that, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to continue the probe.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election. Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, three sources familiar with the investigation have told CNN. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive. Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman from May to August 2016.

The FBI also eavesdropped on Carter Page, a campaign associate that then candidate Trump once identified as a national security adviser, on suspicions he was acting as a Russian agent. Page stepped away from the campaign in September 2016 amid questions about his Russian ties.

The surveillance of Manafort and Page was approved by the secret court that oversees domestic surveillance of American citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In Page’s case, the FBI and Justice Department presented enough evidence to the court to convince Republican-appointed judges to continue the surveillance into mid-2017.
Trump, who has called the investigation into potential ties between his campaign and Russia a “witch hunt,” has repeatedly slammed the Obama administration’s handling of the Russia investigation, saying it “did nothing.”

Before leaving office, however, Obama applied new economic sanctions on the Russian government, ordered the State Department to shut down Russian compounds in Maryland and New York, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats that he described as “intelligence operatives.”

[CNN]

Reality

Except the investigation into the Trump campaign wouldn’t have happened if Carter Page, George Papadapolous, Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and others all had conspired with Russia during the campaign. That happened.

And we’ve been over the claim that Obama did nothing to stop Russian meddling before, and it is a clear lie.

Obama faced Putin and told him “to cut it out”, tried to alert the public with a bi-partisan announcement but was blocked by Mitch McConnell, expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two compounds.

Trump keeps up attacks on Obama over Russian meddling

President Donald Trump is continuing to blame his predecessor for not doing enough to deter Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump’s latest criticism of President Barack Obama comes as he’s deflected questions about his own administration’s response to Russian meddling and measures the US can take to prevent it. The President notably has refused to condemn the interference in the wake of last week’s indictments against 13 Russian nationals, instead claiming that the latest developments in the investigation demonstrate a lack of collusion between his campaign and Russia.

In one tweet, Trump quoted Obama saying toward the end of the 2016 race that there was no evidence America’s elections were “rigged,” suggesting the then-businessman should “stop whining.” Obama, however, was referring to Trump’s claims of a rigged election and calls at the time for supporters to monitor polling sites for potentially ineligible voters attempting to cast ballots.

Tuesday’s tweet came soon after “Fox & Friends” highlighted the comment.

“That’s because he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win and he didn’t want to ‘rock the boat.’ When I easily won the Electoral College, the whole game changed and the Russian excuse became the narrative of the Dems,” Trump said.

Trump also claimed on Tuesday he’s “been tougher on Russia than Obama.”

The 44th president, however, personally warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against messing with the election, imposed sanctions on Russian individuals and entities, kicked out 35 Russian diplomats and closed two of the Kremlin’s compounds in the United States.

Trump, in comparison, still has not imposed sanctions designed to punish election meddling by Moscow.

Representatives for Obama declined to comment Tuesday on Trump’s latest round of tweets.

And over the weekend, Trump publicly rebuked his own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, after he said there was “incontrovertible” evidence that Russia meddled in the election.

Trump also questioned on Monday why Obama didn’t do more to prevent Moscow from interfering in US elections, tweeting: “Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election. So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?”

Trump has adamantly denied any cooperation between his team and Russia and has called the investigation a Democratic hoax.

[CNN]

Reality

Obama faced Putin and told him “to cut it out”, tried to alert the public with a bi-partisan announcement but was blocked by Mitch McConnell, expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two compounds.

Let’s take score. Trump calls the investigation a hoax, attacks his FBI, fired an FBI director for not easing up on it, never condemned Russia, took Putin at his word that he had no involvement, never implemented Russian sanctions passed by Congress which is a dereliction of duty, and tried to reopen the Russian compounds Obama closed.

Timeline

July 2016: The FBI opens an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

August 2016: Obama receives top secret intelligence file detailing Putin’s direct involvement in Russian election meddling.

September 2016: U.S. intelligence agencies reach unanimous agreement regarding Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. At a G20 meeting in Huangzhou, China, Obama pulls Putin aside and warns him directly “to cut it out.” Obama then held a meeting with 12 key members of both parties of Congress and top intelligence officials to release a public bi-partisan statement on Russian election interference, but Mitch McConnell blocked the statement not believing the underlying intelligence.

October 2016: At Obama’s direction, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issue a public statement saying, “The U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

December 2016: Obama approves a set of relatively modest — and primarily symbolic — sanctions, including expelling 35 Russian diplomats and closing two compounds in Maryland. The administration had considered several steeper measures including “cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could ‘crater’ the Russian economy,” per the Post.

Trump blames Obama, lashes out at Schiff and Democrats, but spares Russia criticism in weekend tweet storm

President Donald Trump has lashed out at his critics, political rivals, American institutions and even his own national security advisor in a weekend tirade about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Yet the president spared Russia itself from his harshest criticism.

Trump zeroed in on his predecessor in the Oval Office, Barack Obama, for not doing enough to stop Russian operations intended to sow chaos in the American political system.

“Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing,” Trump posted Sunday morning on Twitter.

Trump was referring to comments from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own probe into Russia’s election-interference efforts.

Schiff, an outspoken critic of Trump, said Friday that the Obama administration shared some responsibility in the Russia controversy, because it should have been more aggressive and revealed the operation to the public.

“We should have called them out much earlier,” Schiff said Friday morning. “While I respect the motive in terms of the Obama administration, they didn’t want to be seen as meddling, the American people had a right to know what was going on and could be trusted to do the right thing with it. And they should have defended being more public and aggressive at the time, at least in my view.”

Schiff made his comments ahead of several federal indictments of Russian nationals and entities by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The indictments revealed Friday did not include any allegation that Russia efforts actually had any effect on the outcome of the election, but it did not conclude otherwise, either. The charges allege that the Russians waged “information warfare” on the U.S. political system to aid Trump’s campaign.

The latest developments in the case compelled Trump to acknowledge that Russia had interfered. Previously, he described the Russia plot as a “hoax” and the investigation into it a “witch hunt.” In his Sunday tweet storm, he stated that he always meant that the “Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

[CNBC]

Reality

It is very easy to look backwards and say we could have done better, especially knowing now the scope of the election interference and we also didn’t know then. But we did know enough, enough that Obama wanted to release a bipartisan statement to the public alerting them of Russian involvement, but Mitch McConnell flatly refused to cooperate.

We also know that when Jeh Johnson, Obama’s secretary of homeland security, contacted people in charge of elections in various states whose election data had been possibly compromised, the Republicans in those states blew him off.

And as Joe Biden pointed out, “Can you imagine if the president of the United States called a press conference in October with this fella, and Stephen Bannon and company, and said ‘tell you what, the Russians are trying to interfere in our elections and we have to do something about it.’”

Trump calls for DOJ to investigate Obama over Iran

President Donald Trump was up early Sunday morning, tweeting that he can’t understand why former President Barack Obama was not investigated for the Iran deal before then launching an attack on House intel member Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Hours after undermining his own National Security Adviser on Twitter, Trump went after Obama.

“Never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!” Trump wrote.

You can see the tweets below:

[Raw Story]

Reality

In 1979, Iran’s then-monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi paid $400 million to the United States government to purchase military parts. But that year’s revolution toppled the shah, and the military parts were never delivered.

To regain its funds, Iran filed a claim against the United States in 1981 in the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, which adjudicates disputes between the two nations. The body, located at the Hague, was established amid negotiations to end the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis, in which pro-revolution students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Trump still privately questions Obama’s birth certificate

President Trump is still privately questioning the authenticity of former President Obama’s birth certificate, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

A senator, who asked not to be named, told The Times that Trump is having difficulty moving on from his past claims that Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

Trump led the “birther” movement against Obama, claiming for years that the former president was born outside of the U.S.

Obama eventually released his birth certificate to counter Trump’s claims.

Trump said that Obama was born in the U.S. during a campaign stop last year.

Trump advisers reportedly told The Times that Trump has continued to talk about conspiracy theories that aren’t based in fact since taking office.

The newspaper first reported last week that Trump has been questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape that features audio of him bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent.

Trump acknowledged that it was him on the tape when it was first released last year and apologized for the comments.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say if Trump thinks the tape is fake at a press briefing Monday.

“The president addressed this, this was litigated and certainly answered during the election by the overwhelming support for the president and the fact he’s sitting here in the Oval Office today,” Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

“He’s made his position on that clear at that time, as have the American people in support of him.”

[The Hill]

Trump: Ask Gen. Kelly If Obama Called When His Son Died

President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his false claim that his predecessor didn’t call the families of soldiers killed in action by alluding to former Gen. John Kelly’s son, a Marine who died in Afghanistan.

“You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump said in a radio interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.

Kelly, who came on as Trump’s chief of staff in July, does not often speak about the son he lost in 2010. 1st Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, 29, was killed in combat in Afghanistan after stepping on a landmine.

“I don’t know what Obama’s policy was. I write letters and I also call,” Trump said, adding he has called “virtually everybody” during his past nine months as commander in chief.

Trump’s comments Tuesday come a day after he falsely claimed that President Barack Obama did not call the families of soldiers killed in action after being asked why he had not yet addressed the deaths of American troops killed in Niger earlier this month.

When pressed by NBC News on how he could make that claim, Trump said he was told that Obama “didn’t often” call families of fallen soldiers.

“President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do — all I can do is ask my generals,” he said.

According to a 2011 profile in The Boston Globe, Kelly has avoided speaking publicly about his son so as not to draw attention.

“We are not inclined to make ourselves out to be any different, just because I’m a lieutenant general in the Marines,” Kelly said then. “We are just one family. It’s not worse for us; it’s not easier for us.”

A White House official told NBC News on Tuesday that Obama did not call Kelly after the death of his son. But a person familiar with the breakfast for Gold Star Families at the White House on May 30, 2011, told NBC News that Kelly and his wife attended the private event and were seated at first lady Michelle Obama’s table.

A former senior Obama administration official disputed Trump’s initial claim on Monday that Obama didn’t call Gold Star families, calling it “wrong.”

“President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country,” the ex-official told NBC.

Trump said Tuesday that he had to allow a little time to pass but he “will be calling, have called, and will be calling the parents and loved ones, wives of the soldiers that recently were killed.”

The White House said later that the president was scheduled to call the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger on Tuesday.

[NBC News]

Trump falsely claims Obama, other past presidents didn’t call families of fallen soldiers

President Trump on Monday claimed former President Obama and other past presidents didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers.

Trump made the remark after being asked about the four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger last week.

The president said he planned to call the parents and families of those who were killed, something he said he has done “traditionally.”

“The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens – soldiers are killed,” Trump said.

“It’s a very difficult thing. Now it gets to a point where you make four or five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day. For me that’s by far the toughest,” he said.

“So the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”

Trump’s remarks were immediately criticized online, as Obama and other past presidents did make calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

Obama and former President George W. Bush have both described the difficultly in making those calls.

About 15 minutes later, as the news conference continued, Trump was pressed on his claim and said that he was “told” Obama didn’t often call the families of slain soldiers.

“And a lot of presidents don’t, they write letters. … I do a combination of both. Sometimes, it’s a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told,” Trump said.

Trump said again that other presidents did not call.

“And some presidents didn’t do anything,” he said. “I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter.”

[The Hill]

Media

Watch on CNN

Reality

A quick search of news archives reveals multiple times Obama met with military family members in which he offered thanks and condolences for their sacrifice.

We’ll even defend George W. Bush here too:

Later in the press conference, Trump was asked what evidence he had that Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers, and he said that it was simply something he had heard about and could not recall from who.

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