Trump Holds Victory Lap at First Rally After Mueller Submits Report: ‘The Russia Hoax is Finally Dead’

President Donald Trump came out firing against the media, Democrats, and his other opponents at the start of his rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan — the first since Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on the Russia investigation.

“After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead,” Trump exclaimed to the raucous crowd. “Total exoneration, complete vindication.”

“Robert Mueller was a god to the Democrats until he said no collusion, they don’t like them so much right now,” he added.

Trump continued to call the 2016 investigation of Russia’s election interference a “crazy,” “sinister effort” by Democrats and the “fake news” media to “undermine our historic election victory and to sabotage the will of the American people.” He also called it a ploy by the “corrupt establishment” to “illegally regain power by framing innocent Americans.”

While the attorney general’s summary of the Mueller report said it did not find sufficient evidence of conspiracy, it did not make a determination on whether the president obstructed justice. That was left up to AG William Barr, who cleared the president on obstruction.

[Mediaite]

Trump: Media disgraced ‘all over the world’ following Mueller revelations

The conclusion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has discredited media “all over the world,” President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, celebrating the special counsel’s findings by slamming the news coverage of Mueller’s probe.

“The Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE,” he tweeted. “For two years they pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion. They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!”

Trump and his allies have relentlessly attacked the media since Mueller concluded that no one on Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired to work with Russian agents to influence the 2016 presidential election and was unable to conclude whether Trump sought to obstruct justice.

Most of the ire has been focused on pundits on Twitter and cable news, where the Russia investigation was covered extensively, and has drawn mixed calls for introspection and a media reckoning.

On Monday, the president’s reelection campaign urged networks to reconsider the Democrats they invited on their programs, suggesting several familiar cable news faces — including several House committee chairmen — be blacklisted from the airwaves for “lying to the American people by vigorously and repeatedly claiming there was evidence of collusion.”

While the Trump campaign complained this week that the president’s detractors have made “outlandish, false claims,” Trump himself has long faced similar accusations. Several of Trump’s top advisers, too, have faced withering criticism for making false or misleading claims while defending the president and his policies.

While the president’s attack on the media took a more serious tone Tuesday, some of his aides have attempted to inject mockery into their criticisms.

For example, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday shared a mock “Mueller Madness” bracket featuring journalists, celebrities and TV personalities on her Twitter account, asking her 3.8 million followers, “Which of the angry and hysterical @realDonaldTrump haters got it most embarrassingly wrong?”

But while the White House’s attacks on the media are not new, the renewed criticisms have drawn responses from media executives who defended their organizations’ coverage of the Russia investigation. Multiple outlets have noted in recent days that their reporting on Trump and his ties to Russia had been borne out by Mueller’s probe, which resulted in a slew of indictments, convictions and guilty pleas of Trump allies.

[Politico]

Trump Says Media Is Ignoring the “REAL Story on Russia”

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York continue racking up convictions and guilty pleas in the ever-widening scandals connected to Donald Trump, the president is lashing out—at Hillary Clinton, at the Democratic National Committee, and, of course, at the media. Just hours after announcing the departure of his scandal-plagued Interior secretary Saturday, Trump tweeted that “never in history” had the US press been “more dishonest than it is today.”

“Stories that should be good, are bad,” Trump complained. “Stories that should be bad, are horrible.”

[Mother Jones]

Trump Declares ‘NO COLLUSION!’ in Early-Morning Tweet After Cohen, Manafort Memos Drop

After dubiously claiming the Michael Cohen sentencing memo “totally clears” him last night, President Donald Trump this morning sent out a mostly all-caps “NO COLLUSION” tweet.

[Mediaite]

Trump Cites ‘Failing New York Times’ Article to Exonerate Himself From Russian Political Meddling

President Trump issued a…um, bizarre and contradictory statement on Monday where he slammed The New York Times while using it as proof that he wasn’t involved in Russian efforts to interfere with American political institutions.

Its possible Trump was referring to this recent Times article describing FBI’s efforts to convince Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to Paul Manafort, to become an informant on the Russian government’s misdeeds. FBI officials approached Deripaska and other prominent Russian officials over the years in hopes of tracking organized crime, countering Russia’s foreign political meddling, and, eventually, gaining insight on any possible collusion between Trump and the Kremlin.

The line Trump invoked in his tweet doesn’t appear in the Times‘ article, though it does contain this somewhat-resemblant portion that makes reference to Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele.

The contacts between Mr. Steele and Mr. Ohr started before Mr. Trump became a presidential candidate and continued through much of the campaign.

The piece says Ohr and Steele were both involved in efforts to convince Russian oligarchs to cooperate with the FBI. The campaign was reportedly unsuccessful, and Trump and his defenders have been escalating their attacks on Ohr recently in order to discredit Robert Mueller‘s investigations.

Going back to Trump’s tweet, however, reactors online felt that he sorta garbled his point by bashing the Times while – at the same time – using them as the basis for his claim against the “rigged witch hunt.” Others pointed out how American intelligence workers obviously tried to counter Russia’s objectionable behavior long before Trump became politically-relevant.

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump admits he’s sad about Manafort — but ‘it has nothing to do with collusion’

President Donald Trump spoke to the press after he landed in Charleston West Virginia Tuesday.

“Paul Manafort’s a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of very different people over the years,” Trump said. “I feel very sad about that. I still feel, you know, it is a very sad thing that happened.”

Trump then turned to repeat his talking point that there was no Russian collusion.

“This has nothing to do with Russia and collusion,” he said. “This started as Russian collusion. This has absolutely nothing to do. This is a witch hunt and a disgrace. This has nothing to do what they started locking out looking for Russians involved in our campaign. There were nothing.”

He then returned to praise Manafort, saying he feels bad. “He worked for Bob Dole. He worked for Ronald Reagan. He worked for many, many people. And this is way it ends up.”

He then blasted the efforts by the special counsel, which he characterized as a witch hunt.

“It was not the original mission. Believe me. It was something very much different. So, nothing to do with Russia and collusion. We continue the witch hunt. Thank you very much,” he said.

[Raw Story]

Reality

Sorry Trump fans but Manfort’s verdict has EVERYTHING to do with Russian collusion. Manafort refused to turn state’s evidence against Donald Trump regarding the 2016 Trump Tower meeting he attended with Trump Jr. & Jared Kushner. He wouldn’t play ball with Robert Mueller so now he goes to jail, or cooperates.

Trump Admits He Revoked Brennan’s Security Clearance Over “Rigged Witch Hunt”

All it took for the White House’s James Comey story to collapse was a single TV appearance by Donald Trump. After the administration had sworn up and down that the former F.B.I. director was fired on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for mishandling the probe into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, the president appeared on NBC and famously told Lester Holt, “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ‘you know, this Russia thing . . . is a made-up story.’” Trump has since contradictedhis own words, denying that the Department of Justice’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election had anything to do with his decision to cut Comey loose.

Nevertheless, the incident is reportedly of critical interest to Robert Mueller as he seeks to determine whether the president obstructed justice. So it was with a strange sense of déjà vu that many read Trump’s Wednesday night interview with The Wall Street Journal,wherein he suggested that the security clearance of former C.I.A. director John Brennan was not revoked over fears that he would spill classified secrets on cable news, as the White House claimed, but because of the key role Brennan played in the beginning of the Russia probe. “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham. And these people led it!” Trump told the paper. “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

His tirade, of course, flies in the face of the White House’s purported reason for stripping Brennan of his clearance: during Wednesday’s briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read aloud a statement declaring that Brennan’s alleged “lying and recent conduct characterized by increasingly frenzied commentary” and “wild outbursts on the internet and television” prompted the unprecedented move, arguing that someone prone to making “unfounded and outrageous” claims in public should not have access to the country’s most closely held secrets. Putting aside the obvious irony, many were skeptical of this line of reasoning, including Brennan himself. “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics,” he wrote on Twitter.

By what the White House would almost certainly argue is pure coincidence, much of Brennan’s “frenzied commentary” has been anti-Trump. Last month, the former intelligence chief was critical of Trump’s performance during the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, likening him to Bernie Madoff in that the two share a “remarkably unethical ability to to deceive & manipulate others.” More recently, Brennan chided Trump over his characterization of Omarosa Manigault Newman as “that dog.” “It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity,” he wrote in a widely shared tweet.

In fact, the White House’s list of those whose security clearances are under review—Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; former F.B.I. Director James Comey; former Director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden; former National Security Adviser Susan Rice; former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; former Deputy Director of the F.B.I. Andrew McCabe; Peter Strzok, an F.B.I. agent who was fired over the weekend; former F.B.I. attorney__Lisa Page;__ and Bruce Ohr,who still works at the Justice Department but was demoted earlier this year—reads like a laundry list of people Trump views as his enemies. While speaking with the Journal, Trump suggested that any number of them could face the same retribution as Brennan. “I don’t trust many of those people on that list,” he said. “I think that they’re very duplicitous. I think they’re not good people.” He also referenced the F.B.I.’s Clinton e-mail probe, in which a number of those whose security clearances are now under scrutiny were involved. “You look at any of them and you see the things they’ve done,” he said. “In some cases, they’ve lied before Congress. The Hillary Clinton whole investigation was a total sham.” (Comey and McCabe have said that their security badges were automatically demagnetized after they were fired.)

Some level of blame-shifting is to be expected from Trump, who has repeatedly sought to turn the “collusion” spotlight on Democrats and the Clinton campaign. But here he seems to be cementing a new strategy, a sort of feedback loop in which actions taken by his own administration serve as evidence that Mueller’s investigation should be shut down. After Deputy F.B.I. Director David Bowdich overruled the recommendation of Inspector General Michael Horowitz and ordered that Strzok be fired over a series of anti-Trump texts, Trump wrote on Twitter, “Strzok started the illegal Rigged Witch Hunt – why isn’t this so-called ‘probe’ ended immediately? Why aren’t these angry and conflicted Democrats instead looking at Crooked Hillary?” On Wednesday morning, foreshadowing the Brennan announcement, he expanded on this argument: “The Rigged Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on as the ‘originators and founders’ of this scam continue to be fired and demoted for their corrupt and illegal activity,” he wrote. “All credibility is gone from this terrible Hoax, and much more will be lost as it proceeds.”

The president, of course, has routinely cast the Russia probe as orchestrated by his political enemies, failing to acknowledge the continued threat Russian hackers pose to U.S. elections, not to mention the dozens of indictments Mueller has delivered. But Trump’s spin could prove to be the only thing that matters. While Republican leadership has repeatedly signaled that any move against Mueller would be met with Congressional opposition, stripping Brennan’s security clearance may have been a litmus test of sorts—in an interview with CNN Wednesday night, Clapper confirmed that Trump could do the same to Mueller, effectively hamstringing him: “The president does have the authority to exercise here if he so chooses,” Clapper said. Indeed, if the White House was holding its breath for Congressional uproar, it’s unlikely to arrive: though Paul Ryan said the president was merely “trolling” people when the White House first floated the idea of revoking security clearances last month, he has so far stayed quiet on Trump’s choice to follow through with the threat.

[Vanity Fair]

Trump Quotes Dubious Claim From Maria Bartiromo’s Show Slamming Russia Investigation

Sitting in for Neil Cavuto Thursday on Fox News, Maria Bartiromo took on a subject that has become a consistent field of coverage for the business anchor: the supposedly corrupted Russia investigation.

And the president was apparently watching.

Bartiromo, during a discussion on special counsel Robert Mueller probe, made the claim that there was “no evidence whatsoever” to support an investigation into collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia.

“[Rep.] Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the Intel committee on the House, has been with me several times telling me there was no evidence whatsoever to launch even an investigation into potential collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians. And so here we are a year and a half later, the special counsel still going on, and we continue to see texts from FBI agents showing this incredible amount of bias.”

Trump quoted from the segment on Twitter Friday morning.

The idea that there is no evidence to support a collusion investigation is simply false. As NBC News’ Ken Delanian lays out here, the FBI began investigating the Trump campaign after Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat that Russians offered him dirt on Hillary Clinton. Further, there is extensive documented contact between various individuals connected with Donald Trump’s campaign, and Russia. To say collusion hasn’t yet been proven is entirely fair. The idea that there’s no evidence to start an investigation is not.

[Mediaite]

Trump says Trump Tower meeting meant to obtain information on Clinton

President Trump tweeted Sunday morning about the now-infamous June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Russians and Trump campaign officials, including his son, Donald Trump Jr.

“Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”

Why it matters: Trump and his son have repeatedly changed their stance on the purpose of the 2016 meeting. In a statement to The New York Times last July, which investigators now know was dictated by President Trump, Don Jr. said the meeting was primarily about Russian adoptions. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has also claimedthat the president approved the meeting ahead of time, contradicting continued denials by Trump and his legal team.

[Axios]

Trump urges followers to read Dershowitz book arguing against impeachment

President Trump on Thursday urged people to buy and read Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz’s new book arguing against his possible impeachment.

Trump tweeted that Dershowitz is “a brilliant lawyer, who although a Liberal Democrat who probably didn’t vote for me, has discussed the Witch Hunt with great clarity and in a very positive way.”

“He has written a new and very important book called “The Case Against Impeaching Trump,” which I would encourage all people with Trump Derangement Syndrome to read!,” Trump continued.

Dershowitz, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, has emerged as a regular voice in the media defending Trump on legal issues, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s election interference.

The Harvard law professor, who is an opinion contributor for The Hill, said earlier this month that his new book argues that the Supreme Court could intervene and reverse a vote to remove Trump from office.

Dershowitz also makes the case that if incriminating evidence of collusion with the Russian government emerged, it wouldn’t be a criminal offense because it’s “not a crime to collude with a foreign government.”

Dershowitz writes in the book that impeaching Trump would be possible “if he did it because he was paid or extorted.”

Democratic lawmakers have introduced articles of impeachment against Trump several times since he took office. None of the attempted votes have succeeded, and top Democrats have also warned against impeachment efforts.

This is the second book Trump has promoted this week: Fox News host Jeanine Pirro posted photos on Tuesday of her and Trump in the Oval Office with a copy of her new book, “Liars, Leakers and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.”

[The Hill]

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