Sarah Sanders: Climate change report ‘not based on facts’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the findings of a government report that warned of the impending consequences of climate change, claiming it’s “not based on facts.”

“The president’s certainly leading on what matters most in this process, and that’s on having clean air, clean water,” Sanders told reporters at a press briefing. “In fact, the United States continues to be a leader on that front.”

Sanders disputed the report’s findings, claiming it’s “not based on facts” and arguing that modeling the climate “is never exact.” She did not indicate that Trump would call on world leaders at this week’s Group of 20 summit to address the report’s findings.

“We think that this is the most extreme version and it’s not based on facts,” she said. “It’s not data driven. We’d like to see something that is more data driven. It’s based on modeling, which is extremely hard to do when you’re talking about the climate.”

The report was developed by multiple federal agencies. A version of it is mandated to be released every four years under the National Climate Assessment from the multiagency Global Change Research Program.

The hundreds of government and external scientists involved in the research concluded that climate change could cost the United States billions of dollars annually within decades if greenhouse gases aren’t dramatically reduced, and could worsen environmental disasters like wildfires and flooding. Its findings aligned with those of the broader scientific community.

Trump downplayed the report’s findings, telling reporters on Monday’s that he doesn’t “believe” its warnings about the economic impacts of climate change.

The president has long voiced skepticism about the existence of climate change.

Democrats criticized that the report was released on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, saying the timing was meant to bury it. They renewed calls for the use of renewable energy sources and other policies that could mitigate the effects of climate change.

Republican lawmakers have largely acknowledged that the climate is changing but have offered few concrete solutions to address the problem. Some lawmakers have emphasized the need to find innovations that would not adversely affect the economy.

[The Hill]

Sarah Sanders: ‘If Certain Reporters Like Jim Acosta Can’t Be Adults,’ Then CNN Should Send Someone Who Can Be

Sarah Huckabee Sanders took another shot at CNN’s Jim Acosta tonight in an interview on Hannity with… Mike Huckabee.

The White House Press Secretary’s father began the interview by asking her about the protocol for decorum being worked on after the judge’s ruling in Acosta’s favor today.

Sanders said the White House supports a free press, but added that “freedom of the press doesn’t mean freedom to be disruptive, freedom to be rude, freedom to interrupt.”

She claimed that they sent CNN a letter tonight laying out “what we think were some of the missteps that their reporter made at the press conference… and we expect to see a response from that.”

In an interview today, the President himself said, after the ruling, if Acosta “misbehaves” they’ll throw him out again. And Sanders said they don’t want reporters to be “disruptive” and impede anyone’s ability to do their jobs.

When her father asked her about the protocol put in place, Sanders said there are “standard practices” they want addressed, and that “the very basic minimum is that if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”

[Mediaite]

Trump claims deceptively edited video distributed by White House wasn’t altered

President Donald Trump claimed on Friday that a White House-released video depicting contact between a staffer and a CNN reporter wasn’t altered, and he seemingly threatened to revoke the White House press credentials of more reporters.

Trump insisted that the video distributed by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was simply a “close-up” and “was not doctored.”

“Nobody manipulated it. All that is is a close-up,” said the president, who then attacked the reporter for asking the question and called him “dishonest.”

A frame-by-frame comparison with an Associated Press video of the same incident from Trump’s postelection news conference Wednesday shows that the video tweeted by Sanders appears to speed up CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s arm movement when he makes contact with a White House intern who was trying to take away Acosta’s microphone. The speedup appears to make the gesture more threatening.

Trump, in remarks Friday, also did not back off his administration’s decision to suspend Acosta’s press credential, which allows the CNN correspondent access to the White House grounds.

“He’s a very unprofessional guy. I don’t think he’s a smart person but he has a loud voice,” Trump told reporters in a testy 20-plus-minute exchange before he left for Paris and a World War I commemoration ceremony. “You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.”

The president said he had not decided if Acosta’s pass would be reinstated and he suggested there “could be others” who lose their credentials. He belittled several of the reporters gathered around him. He said one had asked “a stupid question,” and he singled out April Ryan, a correspondent for Urban Radio Networks, calling her “very nasty” and “a loser.”

Ryan, who is also a CNN contributor, tweeted in response: “I love this country and have the most respect for the Office of the President. I will continue to ask the questions that affect America, all of America.”

Trump’s latest attacks on the media came in the wake of his free-wheeling and contentious news conference two days earlier, and followed demands by several journalists and organizations — including the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the White House Correspondents Association — that Acosta’s press pass be reinstated.

“It is the essential function of a free press in every democracy to independently gather and report information in the public interest, a right that is enshrined in the First Amendment,” said Julie Pace, AP’s Washington bureau chief. “We strongly reject the idea that any administration would block a journalist’s access to the White House.”

The New York Times editorialized in favor of restoring Acosta’s pass, saying it signaled Trump’s view that asking hard questions disqualifies reporters from attending briefings. The newspaper said that if Sanders was so offended by physical contact, “what did she have to say when her boss praised as ‘my kind of guy’ Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, who was sentenced to anger management classes and community service for body-slamming a Guardian reporter last spring?”

It’s rare for the White House to pull the media credentials.

During Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, the Secret Service denied clearance to Robert Sherrill, a reporter for The Nation who had gotten into physical fights with government officials. During the George W. Bush presidency, Trude Feldman, who worked for various news outlets, was suspended for 90 days after security cameras recorded her looking through a press aide’s desk late one night. In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon tried to get Washington Post reporters banned from the White House.

Despite losing his White House pass, Acosta traveled to Paris this weekend to cover Trump’s trip to meet with world leaders. He tweeted a photo of himself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower early Friday.

Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer who examined the Wednesday footage at AP’s request, noticed that frames in the tweeted video of the exchange at the news conference were frozen to slow down the action, allowing it to run the same length as the AP one.

Sanders, who hasn’t said where the tweeted video came from, noted that it clearly shows Acosta made contact with the intern. In her statement announcing Acosta’s suspension, she said the White House won’t tolerate “a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.”

While the origin of the manipulated video is unclear, its distribution marked a new low for an administration that has been criticized for its willingness to mislead.

CNN has labeled Sanders’ characterization of Acosta’s exchange with the intern as a lie. Its position has been supported by witnesses, including Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who was next to Acosta during the news conference and tweeted that he did not see Acosta place his hands on the White House employee. Rather, Mason said he saw Acosta holding on to the microphone as the intern reached for it.

[Associated Press]

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a doctored video of the Jim Acosta mic-grab that was shared hours earlier by the far-right site Infowars

The White House is accused of using a video of CNN’s Jim Acosta doctored by the conspiracy-theory outlet Infowars as justification for suspending the journalist’s press pass on Wednesday.

Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN, was engaged in a tense exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House when a White House intern walked up and tried to take the microphone away from him. Acosta held on to the microphone and kept trying to question Trump.

Acosta was holding the microphone in his right hand. At one point, the intern reached under Acosta’s left arm to try to grab the microphone, and he appeared to gently block her with his arm. Here is the moment as broadcast live on NBC:

A video shared on Twitter by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, makes Acosta’s movement appear more violent.

What appears to be the same video was shared two hours earlier by Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of Infowars.com, a far-right conspiracy outlet whose content has been barred from almost every major tech content distributor, including Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube, generally for violating their policies on hate speech.

The CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter asked Sanders for the source of the video. “Surely you don’t trust InfoWars…?” he said on Twitter.

Other Twitter users showed Sanders’ video side-by-side with the original broadcast to argue the one she posted had been doctored.

The White House suspended Acosta’s press credentials after the press conference, limiting his access to the White House grounds. Sanders said on Twitter that the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” though no video evidence has so far supported that claim.

[Business Insider]

White House suspends credentials for CNN’s Jim Acosta

The White House has suspended the credentials of a CNN journalist hours after a testy exchange with US President Donald Trump.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says a reporter’s access was removed because he put “his hands on a young woman”.

Mr Acosta, chief White House correspondent for CNN, was called a “rude, terrible person” by Mr Trump at a press conference on Wednesday.

A staff member tried to take his microphone during the exchange.

However, Mr Acosta refused to give it up as he attempted to ask the president a further question.

Video of the incident quickly appeared online.

What did the White House say?

Ms Sanders, in a statement posted in a Twitter thread, said the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job”.

“The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it’s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration,” she said.

“As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”

Mr Acosta called Ms Sanders’ assertion that he placed his hands on the woman “a lie”.

He also posted a tweet saying he was stopped by the Secret Service from entering White House grounds.

What happened at the earlier press conference?

President Trump insulted Mr Acosta after the reporter challenged his recent assertions about a migrant caravan heading to the US from Central America.

It was during this exchange the female staff member attempted to take the microphone from Mr Acosta.

“That’s enough, that’s enough,” the president said, before telling Mr Acosta to sit down and to put down his microphone.

“CNN should be ashamed of themselves, having you work for them,” he said. “The way you treat Sarah Huckabee [Sanders] is horrible.”

[BBC]

Media

Sanders says Trump won by ‘overwhelming majority of 63 million’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a Monday press briefing said President Trump won by an “overwhelming majority” of 63 million votes — despite the fact that his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, won 65.8 million votes and he lost the popular vote.

Trump did win the electoral college, which determines the presidency, and he did so handily, winning 304 electoral votes compared to 227 for Clinton.

That’s more electoral college votes than any GOP president since George H.W. Bush in 1988, though fewer than what former President Obama won in 2008 and 2012.

“He got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans who came out and supported him and wanted to see his policies enacted. He’s delivered on that,” Sanders said during her first White House press briefing in weeks.

She make the remark while going over the accomplishments of the president, which she said were ignored by much of the news media.

Sanders’s comment on Monday was only the most recent attempt by the White House to claim that Trump won a majority of votes in 2016.

The president has repeatedly touted the falsehood that he won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” a claim that has been disproven multiple times. Studies have shown that voter fraud was not a widespread issue during the 2016 election.

Multiple journalists and commentators immediately took to social media to fact-check Sanders’s Monday assertion.

Sanders spent the bulk of the press briefing casting blame on the news media for dividing the country, saying the media typically reports negatively about the president.

She declined to name any media outlets in particular.

[The Hill]

Sarah Sanders Suggests Negative Coverage of Trump Partly to Blame for Bomb Scares

On Fox and Friends on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders spoke about President Trump‘s rally last night and the many devices and suspicious packages mailed to prominent administration critics and foes this week. Sanders said that the media is partly to blame for the events.

Host Brian Kilmeade first noted that there were additional targets, including Robert de Niro and Joe Biden, noting both are critics of Trump, and co-host Steve Doocy brought up the President’s tweet from this morning in which he placed blame on “fake news.”

Sanders first replied to Kilmeade that the administration condemns “violence in all forms”, calling the situation a “despicable act”. She answered Doocy by agreeing with the President.

“Certainly the media has a role to play in this process,” she said. “When 90% of the coverage about this president is negative, despite the historic successes, when ideas are perpetuated and continued of negativity that is not helpful for the American discourse. And Certainly the president is calling on everyone to come together and if you have a problem with one another, let’s voice that but let’s do so peacefully and let’s do that at the ballot box.”

Co-host Ainsley Earhardt then brought up the shooting of Republicans at a softball game just over a year ago in a politically motivated attack by a man who hated Trump and the GOP, as well as the incidents of enraged citizens confronting administration officials with their families in restaurants.

“We saw what happened to Steve Scalise where he was shot. We saw what happened to you and your family in the restaurant. We have Maxine waters that is calling for people to get into the face of folks in the administration they don’t agree with. Hillary Clinton says we won’t be civil until Democrats are in power,” said Earhardt. “Not just saying it is Democrats but it is on both sides but is this a good reminder to us we all need to take a step back? We can disagree about politics, but is this pretty scary to you, we’re seeing more and more violence and threats?”

“Absolutely,” said Sanders. “As the president said yesterday, political violence has no place in our country, and it is certainly something that we won’t tolerate, we won’t stand we’ll continue to condemn it.”

This month the President praised the body-slamming of a reporter, and has repeatedly demonized the press as not only “fake news” but as the “enemy of the people”. One of the bombs in the mail on Wednesday was delivered to CNN.

A Harvard study in 2017 found that most coverage of the Trump administration is negative, but did not also find that most of that coverage was inaccurate.

[Mediaite]

White House Reiterates Trump Call for Investigation of Anonymous Opinion Writer

The White House press secretary on Monday called for the Justice Department to investigate who wrote an anonymous opinion column last week that was critical of President Trump, echoing the president’s demand for such a probe.

“If that individual is in meetings where national security is discussed or other important topics, and they are attempting to undermine the executive branch, that would certainly be problematic and something that the Department of Justice should look into,” Sarah Sanders told reporters at Monday’s briefing.

Mr. Trump last week said he wanted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch an investigation into who in his administration penned the column in the New York Times, which was attributed only to a senior administration official and said there was a secret resistance movement at work in Mr. Trump’s administration that aims to curtail his “worst inclinations.”

The president said he was concerned the author may be involved in discussions about national security issues. “I don’t want him in those meetings,” he said.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on Monday. When Mr. Trump raised the prospect of an investigation last week, a department spokeswoman said the agency doesn’t confirm or deny investigations.

Presidents typically avoid calling for Justice Department investigations, particularly ones related to their own administrations, to avoid the perception they are interfering in department matters. Mr. Trump has done so on multiple occasions.

A parade of senior members of Mr. Trump’s administration publicly denied writing the column last week.

Ms. Sanders declined on Monday to say what crime the author of the column may have committed. “I’m not an attorney,” she said. “It’s the Department of Justice’s job to make that determination, and we’re asking them to look into it.”

Asked whether the president was aware that the column was protected under the First Amendment, Ms. Sanders said: “It’s less about that part of it, and whether or not somebody is actively trying to undermine the executive branch of the government and a duly elected president.”

She declined to say whether the White House was launching an internal search for the column’s author, whom she called “gutless.” “We’re certainly focused on things that actually matter,” she said.

[Wall Street Journal]

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]

Sanders cites inaccurate numbers to claim Trump has created more jobs for African-Americans than Obama

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday cited inaccurate data that she claimed showed President Trump has created hundreds of thousands of more jobs for African-American workers than former President Obama did in his entire term.

Sanders drastically deflated the number of jobs Obama created for African-Americans as part of a broader response to questions about whether Trump had ever used the “N-word.”

Asked if she could guarantee Americans will “never hear” Trump say the racial slur on a recording, Sanders said she “can’t guarantee anything” before highlighting economic gains made under Trump.

“This is a president who is fighting for all Americans, who is putting policies that help all Americans, particularly African-Americans,” Sanders said. “Just look at the economy alone.”

She claimed that the economy has added 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans in Trump’s first 18 months in office, which is accurate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sanders then said Obama only oversaw the creation of 195,000 jobs for African-Americans during his eight years in office.

The latter number is far from accurate. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the economy added roughly 3 million jobs for African-Americans during Obama’s time in office.

Sanders did not immediately respond to questions from The Hill about the inaccurate information, or whether she meant to cite a different timeframe.

Bloomberg first reported on Sanders’s exaggerated answer from the podium.

Tuesday’s press briefing was largely dominated by questions about Trump’s rhetoric toward African-Americans, and particularly toward former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Manigault Newman’s new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” alleges Trump is a racist and a misogynist. She claims there are tapes of Trump using the “N-word” on the set of “The Apprentice.”

Trump has denied such tapes exist and tweeted Monday night that the racial slur has never been part of his vocabulary. He went on to attack Manigault Newman, who was once the highest ranking black official in his White House, as a “dog,” a “lowlife” and “wacky and deranged.”

[The Hill]

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