Trump: ‘Fake news’ that no one wants chief of staff job

President Trump on Tuesday pushed back on reports that he’s had difficulty finding candidates interested in serving as his next chief of staff, claiming “over ten” people are fighting to get the job.

“Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position,” Trump wrote. “Why wouldn’t someone want one of the truly great and meaningful jobs in Washington.”

The president accused the “fake news” of getting the story “purposely wrong.”

Multiple news reports in the last 24 hours have portrayed Trump as scrambling to find his next chief of staff after the presumptive favorite for the position, Nick Ayers, said he would not be taking the job.

Sources told The Hill there was no clear plan B after Ayers, currently Vice President Pence’s top aide, dropped out.

Other candidates for the job include Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.

Meadows said on Monday that it would be an “incredible honor” to be chosen as chief of staff, while the other candidates have reportedly indicated they’d prefer to stay in their current roles.

Trump announced on Saturday that chief of staff John Kelly would depart the administration at the end of the year, marking the end of an often acrimonious relationship between the two men.

With Kelly’s exit, Trump will seek his third chief of staff in the two years since he took office. Kelly took over in mid-2017 for former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

[The Hill]

CNN offices evacuated in bomb scare just as Trump tweeted ‘ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE’ about media he doesn’t like

Donald Trump launched his latest attack on the media just as the offices of CNN, frequently the target of his anger, were being evacuated following a bomb threat.

Police searched the broadcaster’s New York newsroom after a caller claimed five explosives had been placed inside the building. Officers later gave the all-clear.

Moments after the threat, which CNN said came just before 10pm, the president wrote on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

There is no suggestion he had seen reports of the evacuation when he posted the tweet, which followed posts in which accused the FBI of pursuing a “witch hunt” against him.

But the apparent coincidence is likely to reignite concerns about Mr Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

Earlier this year, CNN and several high-profile critics, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were targeted with mail bombs allegedly sent by a Trump supporter.

New York Police Department said the latest threat against the broadcaster on Thursday night proved to be hoax.

Police said they received an emergency call about the threat at 10.07pm local time (3.07am GMT), a minute before Mr Trump’s tweet.

Staff evacuated the Time Warner Centre and Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight was taken off the air as officers searched the building with a bomb squad on standby.

The network broadcast pre-recorded programming for about 30 minutes before Mr Lemon’s show resumed live from the street outside.

No bombs were found inside the building.

[The Independent]

Trump fires off late-night tweetstorm on the eve of a landmark moment in the Russia investigation

President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets on a range of topics on Thursday evening, the night before the special counsel Robert Mueller was expected to submit several important filings related to the Russia investigation.

Trump fired off two tweets relating to a Fox Business segment in which the anchor Trish Regan sought to cast doubt on the FBI’sjustification for obtaining a FISA warrant to surveil the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Regan suggested the FBI was “weaponized in order to take down President Donald Trump.”

“Is this really America?” Trump tweeted. “Witch Hunt!”

In another tweet one minute later, Trump appeared to revive a particularly inflammatory attack on the news media, saying only “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Trump went on to mention Arizona, which he claimed was “bracing for a massive surge at a NON-WALLED area.”

Trump appeared to be referringto the Customs and Border Patrol’s training exercise in Tucson, Arizona, on Thursday, where agents prepared “to deal with the potential of large crowds and assaultive behavior by caravan members, should a situation arise.”

Trump also mentioned the Democratic lawmakers Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who refused to support Trump’s plans for a $5 billion down payment to fund a wall on the US-Mexico border.

“WE WILL NOT LET THEM THROUGH,” Trump tweeted. “Big danger. Nancy and Chuck must approve Boarder Security and the Wall!”

Trump’s rapid-fire tweets came the night before Mueller’s deadline to submit documents outlining what the special counsel’s office has described as the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s “crimes and lies,” including allegations he lied in violation of his plea deal with the special counsel. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel while pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of conspiracy against the US in September.

Trump followed up with a series of five tweets on Friday morning in which he repeated his common refrain that the Russia investigation was a “witch hunt” and accused Mueller of having multiple conflicts of interest, including being “Best Friends” with former FBI Director James Comey, who was set to testify to Congress on Friday.

The special counsel’s team also Friday was expected to submit its sentencing recommendation for the former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to financial crimes and, more recently, lying to Congress.

Mueller’s office released a similar recommendation this week for the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who cooperated with investigators after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

Trump’s tweets on Friday morning Trump targeted Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor on the special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Trump accused Weissmann of having a “horrible and vicious prosecutorial past” and said he “wrongly destroyed people’s lives” — referring to a conviction he made against an Enron auditor that waslater overturned by the Supreme Court.

Trump also accused members of Mueller’s team of having made donations to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and asked whether it would be included in Mueller’s report. He also revived his talking points alleging corruption in the Democratic National Committee and on Clinton’s campaign.

[Business Insider]

Donald Trump cancels G-20 news conference “out of respect” for George H.W. Bush

President Trump canceled a planned press conference at the G-20 summit in Argentina on Saturday, citing respect for former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday at the age of 94. Mr. Trump’s planned unilateral news conference for Saturday afternoon was expected to cap an eventful trip, amid domestic legal concerns and troubled international relations.

“I was very much looking forward to having a press conference just prior to leaving Argentina because we have had such great success in our dealing with various countries and their leaders at the G20,” Mr. Trump said in the first of two tweets. “However, out of respect for the Bush Family and former President George H.W. Bush we will wait until after the funeral to have a press conference.”

Mr. Trump and the first lady will attend Bush’s funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. next week.

The press availability was supposed to occur after Mr. Trump’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the day.

Mr. Trump was expected to be asked about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, amid new developments in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump canceled his meeting with Putin, which was intended for Saturday morning, on Thursday via Twitter, citing Russian aggression against Ukraine. His announcement came shortly after Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former private lawyer, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress as part of the special counsel investigation.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Mr. Trump’s decision to cancel the news conference was in no way influenced by Cohen’s plea deal.

“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is hopefully now nearing an end, is doing very well. Unfortunately, it probably does undermine our relationship with Russia. However, the reason for our canceled meeting is Ukraine. Hopefully, that will be resolved soon so that productive conversations can begin,” Sanders said.

[CBS News]

Trump suggests, without evidence, that Mueller is encouraging witnesses to lie in Russia probe

Donald Trump suggested without evidence on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team are bullying witnesses into lying about collusion in order to be spared punishment, marking the president’s latest attempt to discredit the Russia probe.

The president on Wednesday complained in a tweet that “While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief.”

Though Trump did not specify to whom he was referring, Jerome Corsi, an associate of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, has been in the news in recent days for his refusal to agree to a plea deal with Mueller’s investigators.

Mueller’s team has investigated Corsi, who is known for his right-wing birther conspiracies, for possibly acting as a conduit between Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In a late-in-the-campaign bombshell, Assange published the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that were determined to be stolen by Russian hackers.

Corsi said the special counsel’s team sought to strike a deal on one count of perjury, but Corsi has insisted that he hasn’t lied to investigators and suggested that Mueller’s prosecutors were attempting to coerce him into a plea deal.

Another major player in the Russia investigation, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, saw his plea deal put in danger this week after Mueller’s team accused him of lying to investigators. Manafort had entered into the deal and agreed to become a government witness following his first trial, but his subsequent lack of cooperation with investigators has renewed murmurs of a possible pardon from Trump.

There is no hard evidence that Trump’s claims are accurate and he neglected to provide proof of his accusations. But he invoked in his tweet the time period when Americans were falsely accused and investigated without evidence of being communists, calling this moment “our Joseph McCarthy Era!”

[Politico]

White House Tells CNN They’ll Revoke Acosta’s Press Credential Once Restraining Order Passes

CNN’s Brian Stelter reported in Sunday night’s Reliable Sources newsletter that the White House intends to revoke the Press Credential of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta at the end of the month.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered, on Friday, that Acosta’s “hard pass” be returned immediately. Kelly found that Acosta’s First Amendment rights superseded the White House’s right to hold orderly press conferences.

The ruling only represented a temporary “victory” for CNN and Acosta according to Stelter’s reporting (emphasis his):

After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires.

From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.

CNN responded with this statement on Sunday: “The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.”

Acosta’s press credential had been revoked, reportedly at the direction of President Donald Trump, after a contentious White House press conference in which the CNN reporter persisted in asking follow-up questions and refused to give up a microphone despite Trump’s direction.

Supporters of Trump’s banning of Acosta believe that his disruptive behavior flouted accepted standards of White House decorum, while CNN and Acosta supporters point out disruptive questions are a time-honored journalist tradition. Or put another way, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

So it seems the ongoing war over First Amendment rights versus accepted standards of behavior will feature another battle, which will bring another distracting topic for cable news pundits to discuss at length. It’s almost as its a designed distraction from stories that paint the Trump administration in a less than flattering light?

UPDATE: CNN has responded by filed a status report asking for the Court to intervene. BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman reports:

[Mediaite]

Trump on Acosta: ‘If he misbehaves we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference’

President Trump brushed off a federal judge’s Friday ruling that the White House must reinstate press credentials for Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent.

The president also said during an interview set to air on “Fox News Sunday” that if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference the White House could “throw him out.”

“Yeah, it’s fine. I mean, it’s not a big deal,” Trump told Fox News’s Chris Wallace when asked about the ruling Friday to reinstate Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked last week.

“What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etc., etc. We’re doing that, were going to write them up right now,” Trump continued. “It’s not a big deal. And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”

The White House stripped Acosta of his press pass last week following a fiery exchange with the president during a press conference, with the CNN reporter holding on to the microphone to continue asking questions when an intern attempted to take it away.

“We had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts you know doing what he’s supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and you know just shouting out questions and making statements, too,” Trump said Friday.

“But I will say this, look, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do, and if I think somebody is acting out of sorts, I will leave. I will say, ‘thank you very much everybody, I appreciate you coming,’ and I’ll leave,” he added.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, ordered the White House on Friday to restore Acosta’s press pass, giving him regular access to the White House grounds to cover events and press conferences.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would abide by the judge’s ruling, but staff “will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”

Kelly argued in his ruling that the White House violated Acosta and CNN’s Fifth Amendment rights to due process by kicking Acosta out, but did not say their First Amendment rights to free speech were infringed.

Trump and Acosta engaged in a tense exchange during the televised press conference last week after the reporter pushed Trump on his comments criticizing a group of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

As Acosta continued to press the president, a White House intern attempted to take the microphone away. Acosta did not let go, with his hand brushing against the intern.

After the press conference, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the intern and cited the incident as the reason for why his media access was being revoked.

In court Friday, Kelly said the White House’s characterization was likely untrue.

Acosta and CNN argued that the press pass was revoked because the administration didn’t like the questions Acosta asked.

[CNN]

Trump Boasts About Midterms in Which GOP Took Heavy Losses: ‘Epic Victory’

President Donald Trump declared the 2018 midterm elections an “epic victory” for the GOP on Twitter today, as he pimped out the two Senate seats earned by Republicans and attacked the media for focusing on Democrats taking the House.

“People are not being told that the Republican Party is on track to pick up two seats in the U.S. Senate, and epic victory: 53 to 47,” Trump tweeted this afternoon.

He then criticized the presiding media narrative on the midterms, which is that Democrats etched out a win since they took the House: “The Fake News Media only wants to speak of the House, where the Midterm results were better than other sitting Presidents.”

Trump has called the midterms a victory in the past.

Before many of the results had even come in, the president took to Twitter: “Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!”

[Mediaite]

Trump says decreasing media favorability is a ‘great achievement’ of his presidency

Donald Trump said Wednesday that one of his great achievements as president is lowering the media’s favorability among Americans, claiming a victory in his crusade against what he considers unfair press coverage at the same time that CNN is suing his administration to restore one of its reporter’s revoked White House credentials.

The president, in an interview with the Daily Caller on Wednesday, said he believes Americans are starting to see many media outlets — Trump named CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC — as “fake news.”

“You look at what’s going on with the fake news and the people get it,” the president said. “And you know, they had a very high approval rating before I became president and I think it’s actually a great achievement of mine.”

“Their approval rating now is down as low as just about anybody,” the president continued.

The president has long had a contentious relationship with media, often labeling press coverage he does not like as “fake news.” Egged on by the president, supporters at Trump’s rallies also heckle reporters, sometimes chanting “CNN sucks.” Trump also argued at a press conference last week with CNN‘s Jim Acosta, refusing to answer the reporter’s questions in an exchange that prompted the administration to revoke Acosta’s press credentials. CNN has since filed a lawsuit against the president and other top White House officials to have those credentials returned.

Fifty-five percent of Americans trust national news networks, according to a Poynter Media Trust Survey released in August. In regards to national newspapers, 59 percent trust them, with 47 percent trusting online-only organizations.

Trump also claimed that media approval rating is “much lower than your president.”

The president’s approval rating is at 43.2 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, which takes the average of nine major polls. That same polling average showed a 52.9 percent disapproval of Trump’s handling of the presidency.

“I actually have good approval ratings, which nobody ever writes,” he said.

[Politico]

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]

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