Trump says he’ll refuse to stop skyrocketing drug prices if Democrats investigate him

President Donald Trump, during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden earlier this week, stressed that he refuses to work with Democrats in Congress on infrastructure projects as long as they continue to investigate him. But infrastructure isn’t the only thing Trump is holding hostage: on Friday, the president declared that he can’t work with Democrats on prescription drug prices either unless all investigations cease.

Trump asserted that “with Congress,” he could reduce drug prices in the U.S. by “40 percent and 50 percent, but I can’t do that when all they do is want to try and do a redo of the Mueller report.”

Bloomberg News’ Steven Dennis addressed Trump’s threat on Twitter, commenting, “So, if you’re Pharma, do you now hope for a year of impeachment proceedings?” And one Republican who, according to Dennis, clearly wants to see Trump and Democrats in Congress working together on reducing prescription drug prices is Maine Sen. Susan Collins—who told Bloomberg she thinks Trump will reconsider because he “wants action” on drug prices and other issues.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, ordinarily a passionate supporter of Trump, is also worried about Trump’s threat to quit working with House and Senate Democrats on key issues—telling Bloomberg that while he understands Trump’s “frustration,” refusing to work with Democrats in Congress altogether is “not a sustainable position.” The South Carolina Republican warned that the party giving the impression that “they don’t want to govern at all is going to be in real trouble.”

According to the Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. has the highest prescription drug prices in the developed world—spending $1011 per capita compared to $351 per capita in Sweden, $401 per capita in Norway,  $553 per capita in France or $686 per capita in Germany.

[Raw Story]

Trump Admits Donald Trump Jr Called Him Before the Trump Tower Meeting With Russian Lawyer

President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden speech on Wednesday was notable largely just because it was so absurd, but he also dropped a piece of information about the infamous Trump Tower meeting before the 2016 election for the first time.

The president suggested that an opposition research firm was behind the Trump Tower meeting, told the press that they should be “ashamed” of themselves and announced that he won’t work with Democrats until they stop investigating him.

But, at one moment, the president said that his son, Donald Trump Jr., called him just before the famous Trump Tower meeting in which he met with a Russian lawyer.

Trump was talking about the meeting and the phone calls that were made around the time that had been scrutinized by Mueller’s team. The president said, “[Donald Trump Jr.] had the meeting and he called me and he had the meeting after.”

This is just another revelation in the long string of disclosures about that meeting. At first, President Trump told Reuters that he didn’t know about the meeting until the New York Times broke a story on it.

When the Times wrote that story, Trump Jr. released a statement. At first, the president said that he had nothing to do with the statement but, finally, the White House admitted that he at least helped his son put the statement together.

Then, in the summer of 2018, Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen said that the president knew about the meeting in advance.

The meeting is important because it took place in the summer of 2016, only a few months before the election and because Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner were both in the meeting. Kushner struggled to get a security clearance because he lied about his contacts with foreign officials

But, Wednesday is the first time that the president said that he talked to Donald Trump Jr. before he went into the meeting.

[IJR]

Trump Walks Out of Meeting With Democrats After 3 Minutes, As Talk of Impeachment Grows

President Trump, angered over comments from Speaker Nancy Pelosi that accused him of a “cover-up,” stormed out of a White House infrastructure meeting with Democrats Wednesday, claiming he was unable to work with opposing party members until they had completed their “phony investigations.”

Trump was scheduled to meet with Democrats including Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer to discuss a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, but left after just three minutes without sitting down or shaking hands with anyone, according to multiple reports.

The president entered the Cabinet Room sit-down fuming over comments Pelosi made earlier in the day, in which she told reporters she believed Trump “is engaged in a cover-up,” according to the New York Times.

As Trump later explained, he was angered by the comments and for that reason cut the meeting short, telling attendees that Pelosi had said something “terrible,” the Times reports.

After making his abrupt exit, Trump headed to the Rose Garden and unleashed a heated statement to reporters.

“So I came here to do a meeting on infrastructure with Democrats, not really thinking they wanted to do infrastructure or anything else other than investigate. And I just saw that Nancy Pelosi, just before our meeting, made a statement that, ‘We believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,’” he said. “Well, it turns out I’m the most transparent president probably in the history of this country.”

He continued, “Instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said I was doing a cover-up. I don’t do cover-ups…. I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at it, that’s what I do. But you know what? You can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.’”

He also addressed the situation on Twitter Thursday morning, assuring his followers he was “extremely calm” during the meeting, despite “Fake News Media” reports that said otherwise.

“I was extremely calm yesterday with my meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, knowing that they would say I was raging, which they always do, along with their partner, the Fake News Media,” he wrote. “Well, so many stories about the meeting use the Rage narrative anyway – Fake & Corrupt Press!”

For their parts, Pelosi and Schumer expressed surprise and disappointment, with Pelosi saying he “took a pass” on the meeting, and Schumer saying Trump’s behavior had made his jaw drop, according to the Times.

Schumer also suggested the storm-out may have possibly been staged as a stalling tactic.

“Hello! There were investigations going on three weeks ago when we met, and he still met with us,” Schumer reportedly said. “But now that he was forced to actually say how he would pay for it, he had to run away. And he came up with this preplanned excuse.”

To back his claim that the storm-out was premeditated, the New York senator cited a pre-printed sign that Trump had on display on his lectern when he got to the Rose Garden that read, “No Collusion, No Obstruction” and had statistics about Robert Mueller’s investigation.

An official, however, denied that claim to the Washington Post, telling the outlet the sign had been printed weeks earlier and that the Rose Garden statement was not planned.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also denied the allegation that Trump’s walking out of the meeting was scripted, telling CNNhe “absolutely” intended to stay.

“So far what we’ve seen from the Democrats in Congress is that they are incapable of doing anything other than investigating this president,” she said.

“They spend all of their time attacking him, and the fact that they would have a meeting an hour before they are set to arrive at the White House, where Nancy Pelosi literally accuses the president of a crime and then wants to walk into his office and sit down as if nothing happened, that’s just lunacy, that’s not even in the realm of possibilities.”

The subject of Pelosi’s earlier Wednesday meeting with House Democrats was lessening mounting calls to impeach Trump — which Pelosi herself is against right now, according to the Post.

At an event the same day, Pelosi said, “I’m not sure we get more information if we do an impeachment inquiry. But if so, that’s a judgment we have to make.”

Pundits and late-night comics alike eviscerated Trump for what CBS’ Stephen Colbert called the president’s “hissy fit,” summing up his refusal to work with Congress on infrastructure as: “It’s my way, or no highways.”

As for the Cabinet Room meeting being over in three minutes, Colbert quipped, “According to Stormy Daniels, that’s two bonus minutes.”

[People]

Trump Decries Dem ‘Fishing Expedition’ in House: ‘They Want a DO OVER’

President Donald Trump went on another Twitter tear tonight over the White House showdown with the Democratic-controlled House for witnesses and documents.

The White House has already rejected several requests from multiple committees, and Trump today said multiple times that he considers a lot of this an attempt at a Democratic “do-over” of the Mueller report:

Trump went on to quote former CIA Director John Brennan‘s walk-back of some of his previous Russia speculation:

That walk-back from Brennan was from March 25th. It’s unclear why the president shared it today, though it’s worth noting the clip was played on Fox News earlier tonight (in the context of Brennan’s appearance on Capitol Hill today):

[Mediaite]

Trump attacks Rep. Amash as a ‘loser’ and ‘lightweight’ after the Republican calls for impeachment

President Donald Trump responded to a Republican House member’s call for impeachment on Sunday, calling the lawmaker a “loser” who seeks to make headlines. 

On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash said in a tweet that Attorney General Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the report from special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election interference, which he said showed that Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct.”

The Michigan Republican said he made that statement “only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely.” 

Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he was “never a fan” of Amash, whom he called “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.” 

“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!” he tweeted.

During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed that Amash made his statement because he “wants to have attention.”

“Now, you’ve got to understand Justin Amash,” McCarthy said. “He votes more with Nancy Pelosi, than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole. What he wants is attention in this process.” 

The president said he did not believe Amash had actually read Mueller’s report. He claimed the report was “strong on NO COLLUSION” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and “ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION.” At the same time, he slammed the report as “biased” because it was “‘composed’ of 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump.”

But Mueller’s report explicitly said that the investigation looked into 10 potentially obstructive acts and the evidence did not clear the president. Rather, it said, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and punted that decision to the attorney general. Barr and then-deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ultimately decided not to bring charges against the president. 

The Mueller report also found that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” with “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton” and a hacking operation that sought to uncover information damaging to Clinton. 

The report concluded “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” but it did not find “that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” 

Because the report did not find evidence of a conspiracy, Barr has argued the president could not have obstructed justice because there was no crime to cover up in the first place. Trump made a similar argument on Sunday. 

“Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side?” he asked, referring to his belief that the investigation was a politically-motivated attack. 

Many legal experts have disputed the assertion that obstruction requires an “underlying crime.” And Amash said he believed Mueller’s report showed that Trump’s acts had “all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.” 

Amash also argued that impeachment “does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.” 

Many congressional Democrats, including many presidential candidates, have agreed with Amash’s call to begin impeachment proceedings. But the party’s leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has yet to back such a move

Pelosi has said impeachment would be too “divisive” for the nation without greater bipartisan support. And, so far, Amash has been the only Republican member of Congress to back impeachment. 

On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Amash “showed more courage than any other Republican” in Congress, but didn’t change the fact that there were “no signs” that impeachment could “even be potentially successful in the Senate.” 

[USA Today]

Barr Defends Trump’s Attacks on Mueller Probe: If Falsely Accused, I Would Call It a ‘Witch Hunt’

Attorney General Bill Barr said during his confirmation hearings that he doesn’t personally believe Robert Mueller “would be involved in a witch hunt.” He has since said it’s understandable why President Donald Trump would express that frustration.

In his Fox News interview today, Barr was asked by Bill Hemmer if he agrees with the “witch hunt” label.

“He was saying he was innocent and that he was being falsely accused,” Barr said. “And if you’re falsely accused, you would think that something was a witch hunt.”

He said for two and a half years Trump’s been hammered for allegedly “conspiring with the Russians, and we now know that was simply false.”

Hemmer asked again if he’s comfortable with the “witch hunt” label personally. Barr said, “I use what words I use… but I think if I had been falsely accused I’d be comfortable saying it was a witch hunt.”

[Mediaite]

Barr names Connecticut prosecutor to investigate Russia probe’s origins

Attorney General William Barr has reportedly assigned a federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the investigation into Russia’s election interference and alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

The New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported on Monday night that John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, had been tapped by Barr to look into the probe’s inception. The newspaper reported the inquiry is the third publicly known investigation focused on the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign. 

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz is reviewing how investigators used wiretap applications and informants as well as whether political bias motivated decisionmaking. 

John W. Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, is also examining aspects of the investigation. 

A spokesman for Durham’s office and the DOJ declined a request for comment from the Times. The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Durham was nominated by Trump in 2017 and has served as a lawyer within the Justice Department for nearly 40 years, according to the Times. He has a history of performing special investigations. 

Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned Durham to conduct a probe of the CIA in 2008 over the agency destroying videotapes that showed terrorism suspects being tortured. 

Bloomberg News reported in April that Barr had formed a team to review the actions of the Justice Department and FBI leading up to the Russia investigation. He told Congress around that time that he was “reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”

He also testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that he believed “spying” took place. 

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” he said. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week that he wouldn’t use “spying” to describe lawful investigative activities taken up by the FBI. 

Durham’s new assignment comes just weeks after the Justice Department released special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report, which detailed the findings of his 22-month investigation into President Trump

Mueller’s investigation did not uncover evidence to conclude that a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow took place. But the report noted that Mueller could not come to a conclusive determination with regard to whether the president obstructed justice. 

[The Hill]

Trump’s lies he’s never used foreign help to win a campaign

President Donald Trump told the press Monday that he doesn’t need to use foreign materials or information to attack an opponent in a campaign. He then followed his comment with a false declaration that he never has in the past.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump commented about or quoted Wikileaks 164 times and 141 of those were in the final month of the campaign. The site’s chief is now expected to be sent to the United States to stand trial for conspiring with Chelsea Manning to steal American documents and publish them online. 

Trump only said he “would agree” to not using foreign information.

Watch:

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump: McGahn had a better chance of being fired than Mueller

President Trump denounced his former counsel Don McGahn on Saturday, following a report that the White House asked the lawyer twice to say publicly that Trump didn’t obstruct justice by asking for special counsel Robert Mueller’s dismissal.

Why it matters:The New York Times report appears to indicate how far the Trump administration has gone to prove the president did not attempt to obstruct justice. The revelations prompted House Democrats to say it’s critical for McGahn to testify before Congress regarding the Mueller report.

[Axios]

Reality

The Mueller Report is very clear, Donald Trump fired Robert Mueller several times, it’s just his orders were never carried out because his aides knew they would be in deep legal jeopardy.

On June 17,2017 Don McGahn recalled Trump said something along the lines of, “You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod,” Mueller’s report said. McGahn said he told the president he would see what he could do and did not act on the request.

Trump followed up that call telling McGahn “Mueller has to go” and “call me back when you do it.”

Trump Rage-Tweets Fox & Friends Segment About ‘Russian Involvement’: ‘TREASONOUS HOAX!’

A Fox & Friends segment in the 7 a.m. ET hour drew President Donald Trump‘s ire on Tuesday — one focused in on what Fox’s Ainsley Earhardt termed “this Russia involvement” in the 2016 election.

In a pair of tweets, the President — chiming in three-and-a-half hours after the original segment aired — quoted Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade…and then added his own editorial commentary.

“Everyone wants to know who needs to be held accountable for this,’ Earhardt said. “Because it took up two years of our lives, basically, talking about Russia involvement. It proved no collusion. And people want to trace it back to find out how this all happened — how the investigation happened — and how Carter Pageended up being surveilled.”

After the quote, Trump weighed in by writing, “TREASONOUS HOAX!”

The President took some liberties and paraphrased the subsequent comment from Brian Kilmeade.

“And why Christopher Steele was so determined to get this information out before the election,” Kilmeade said. “This British spy!”

Notably, Trump added: “(this fake dossier.”

[Mediaite]

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