Trump Now Wants ‘Bad Ratings’ Fox Anchor Neil Cavuto Fired After Featuring Guest Who Was Mean

President Donald Trump attacked Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on Friday, mocking his “very bad ratings” and “Fake guests.”

“So @TeamCavuto has very bad ratings on @foxnews with his Fake guests like A.B. Stoddard and others that still haven’t figured it all out,” wrote Trump in a Twitter post. “Will he get the same treatment as his friend Shepherd Smith, who also suffered from the ratings drought?”

President Trump previously called out Cavuto on Thursday for hosting a guest who was critical of his debate skills.

“Could somebody at @foxnews please explain to Trump hater A.B. Stoddard (zero talent!) and @TeamCavuto, that I won every one of my debates, from beginning to end,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Check the polls taken immediately after the debates. The debates got me elected. Must be Fox Board Member Paul Ryan!”

President Trump also attacked Fox News during his Thursday campaign rally in Colorado Springs.

“They had a crazy person on today, on one of the Fox shows,” Trump said. “Fox doesn’t treat us the way they used to.”

“Their loser shows are the ones that don’t like Trump,” he continued, adding, “How’s Shep Smith doing by the way?”

Shepard Smith, whose coverage drew the president’s ire on many occasions, left the network in October after 23 years on air.

Fox Business host Trisha Regan shot back at the president for calling out Cavuto, saying, “[Cavuto] is someone who started this network, Fox Business, and someone who is the utmost journalist and always fair… I can tell you that about Neil. He is a fair person, a fair guy, and a good man.”

“So I’m disappointed that the president said those things,” she declared. “Because Neil Cavuto is one guy who just doesn’t deserve it.”

[Mediaite]

Trump quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, Suggesting He’s a ‘King’

The tweets of Donald J. Trump are sometimes inane, sometimes scary, and sometimes baffling. On Saturday he made two that are the latter. Only a few days after inexplicably sharing a clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm that clearly mocked his supporters, the president decided to post something even more Mad Libs-weird: He quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Technically he was quoting someone else quoting Emerson: a piece from his dreaded New York Times that dropped back in early February. The headline was, alas, not exactly flattering: “While Stained in History, Trump Will Emerge From Trial Triumphant and Unshackled.” The article itself, by Peter Baker, wasn’t complimentary about the president’s newfound confidence after getting impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate. Perhaps Trump didn’t read the whole thing. But he did single out one passage.

“Ralph Waldo Emerson seemed to foresee the lesson of the Senate Impeachment Trial of President Trump. ‘When you strike at the King, Emerson famously said, “you must kill him.’ Mr. Trump’s foes struck at him but did not take him down,” the tweet read. “A triumphant Mr.Trump emerges from the biggest test of his presidency emboldened, ready to claim exoneration, and take his case of grievance, persecution and resentment to the campaign trail.” He then cited Baker, at-ed the NYT, and added one of his greatest go-tos: “The Greatest Witch Hunt in American History!

Trump’s out-of-context (but still far from positive) tweeting read as a boast, even if he was quoting a publication he routinely demonizes. The fact that the president was quoting someone quoting Emerson truly weirded some people out.

Others were horrified. After all, he was essentially referring to himself as a king, not a president.

Some pointed out that Trump had been reduced to quoting the “failing” (though actually thriving) New York Times.

[Uproxx]

Trump Openly Claims Authority to Direct Attorney General To Investigate Anyone He Wants

President Donald Trump addressed the latest kerfuffle-cum-constitutional crisis in a Friday morning tweet following Attorney General Bill Barr’s apparent intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone.

Stone was found guilty of seven felony counts last November, including lying to Congress and witness tampering during the investigation into Russian intelligence and interference in the general election. As such, prosecutors recommended a seven to nine-year prison sentence, which Trump criticized vocally. Barr eventually intervened to recommend a lighter sentence, to which Trump tweeted his thanks.

In an interview with ABC News, Barr claimed that he would never be bullied by anyone (including the president) and criticized Trump’s tweets for creating a distraction. It is worth noting that, despite his claims otherwise, Barr appeared to do exactly what Trump had asked, eventually earning Trump’s praise. So that’s the context… still with me?

Ever one to jump on a news cycle, and get ahead of a story, Trump addressed this story obliquely, saying that he has the “legal right” to ask his attorney general to do anything in a criminal case.

“Trump just openly and explicitly stated that it’s perfectly within his authority to direct his Attorney General to open criminal investigations into anyone he wants,” offered Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, in as a pure expression of what many will see as an open flouting of checks and balances in the U.S. government.

This is the very point made Thursday night on CNN by Jeffrey Toobin following a Washington Post report about this very concept. “The idea [James Comey] committed a crime is absurd. The person in a really perilous condition right now is the CNN contributor Andrew McCabe, who is under investigation from the U.S. Attorney’s office right now. And, you know, has had his case dangling out there. The president obviously wants Andy McCabe prosecuted and it’s just grotesque that you have the President of the United States behaving this way with the power of prosecution exercised in this way.”

The attorney general IS appointed by the president, then confirmed by Congress. And it’s not unusual for the top law enforcement official to work hand in glove with the sitting president. Many might read Trump’s tweet, however, as a rather foreboding omen of what may come to Trump’s political foes.

If he feels that someone has done him wrong, and he can direct the AG to serve as his own personal henchman (of which there is an abundance of evidence) then what is to keep him from seeking investigations into those he feels might threaten his reelection? Oh wait, he’s already done that.

[Mediaite]

Trump says John Kelly must ‘keep his mouth shut’ after ex-chief of staff said Vindman did the right thing

President Donald Trump blasted his former chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday after the ex-top aide said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman did the right thing in reporting his concerns about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.

“When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head,” Trump tweeted. “Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.”

“His incredible wife, Karen, who I have a lot of respect for, once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you,” Trump continued. “Wrong!”

Trump was responding to comments Kelly made during a 75-minute speech and question-and-answer session at a Wednesday night event before students and guests at Drew University in New Jersey, which The Atlantic reported.

The retired Marine Corps general, who also served as Trump’s Homeland Security secretary prior to taking on his job as chief of staff, said Vindman was simply following his military training in reporting concerns about Trump’s call.

That phone call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats, led to Trump’s impeachment. Last week, the Senate acquitted the president on two charges, although it was the first time in history a member of a president’s own party— Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah— voted to convict.

Vindman “did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly said. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

Vindman, who was the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council and testified in the House impeachment inquiry, was escorted out of the White House last week. Trump later attributed Vindman’s removal to the impeachment.

Kelly said Vindman was right to flag the call because it marked a huge change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine and suggested the content of that call was akin to hearing “an illegal order.”

“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said, according to The Atlantic. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”

“We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss,'” Kelly added.

Kelly, who departed the administration in late 2018, was also critical of other areas of the Trump presidency. He said Trump “tried” to get North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons “but it didn’t work.”

“I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively,” Kelly said.

In announcing Kelly’s impending departure in 2018, Trump told reporters: “John Kelly will be leaving — I don’t know if I can say ‘retiring.”’

“But, he’s a great guy,” Trump continued.

[NBC News]

Trump lashes out with a dangerous lie at the federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case

President Donald Trump lashed out Tuesday night at Amy Berman Jackson, a federal judge who has overseen several key cases that arose from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. She is currently presiding over the case against longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, who is due to be sentenced soon after being found guilty of lying to Congress and attempting to impede its Russia investigation.

In response to a tweet naming Jackson, Trump tweeted: “Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”

Judge Jackson did send Manafort to prison ahead of his trial in the summer of 2018, finding that he had violated the terms of his release. But judges do not determine the conditions prisoners are kept in; those decisions are made by the prisons and jails that house inmates.

And despite his lawyer’s claims that Manafort was in solitary confinement, prosecutors described his conditions as far more accommodative than is usually imagined when the term is invoked. As Vox reported, a filing from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team said his conditions included:

  • Manafort “is not confined to a cell”
  • Between 8:30 am and 10 pm, Manafort “has access to a separate workroom at the jail to meet with his attorneys and legal team”
  • He has “his own bathroom and shower facility”
  • He has “his own personal telephone,” which he can use more than 12 hours a day
  • Those calls are limited to 15 minutes each, but when they cut off, he can just call the person back immediately
  • He’s made nearly 300 phone calls in the last three weeks
  • He has a personal laptop he can use in his unit to review materials and prepare for his trial
  • He was provided an extension cord to let him use his laptop in either his unit or his workroom
  • He’s not allowed to send emails, but he “has developed a workaround” for even that — his legal team brings in a laptop, he drafts the emails on that laptop, and they send them out after they leave.
  • He’s being treated like a “VIP,” according to his own account on a monitored phone call.

Jackson noted at one hearing that Manafort was later moved to another jail in Alexandria, Virginia, because of his team’s complaints. CNN explained:

She said Manafort “realized the tactic had backfired immediately.” He was in a self-contained (“VIP”) suite in Northern Neck, Jackson added.

“I’m not going to split hairs over whether the word solitary was accurate because he had a room of his own,” Jackson said.

What Manafort’s detention quarters looks like now: Now he’s in protective confinement, not technically solitary. He has a window, radio, newspapers and view of TV. He’s released for a few hours a day to walk around and be with other people

“Mr. Manafort, I don’t want to belittle or minimize the discomforts of prison for you. It’s hard on everyone, young and old, rich or poor,” she said.

In short, Trump’s attack on Jackson was a lie.

It was also extremely dangerous. Jackson’s high-profile cases have already left her vulnerable to public threats; Stone himself posted a disturbing image of the judge ahead of his trial. And Trump’s efforts to attack a judge online are at least an order of magnitude worse. His fans have been known to target the subjects of his public rebukes before, most notably in the case of Cesar Sayoc, who sent pipe bombs to Trump’s perceived enemies. The fact that he is tossing out such inflammatory attacks ahead of his friend’s sentencing in another extreme assault on the rule of law.

[Alternet]

Trump Deletes Tweet Calling Bloomberg ‘TOTAL RACIST’ Over Very Same Stop & Frisk Policy He Backed in 2016

President Trump ripped 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg as a “total racist” after audio released Tuesday from a 2015 speech showed the former mayor unapologetically defending his controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy, which targeted young men of color.

“WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!” the commander-in-chief tweeted early Tuesday along with a link to the audio clip.

Within minutes, the tweet had been taken down.

In leaked audio of Bloomberg’s speech, the Democrat sounded defiant in his acknowledgment of how the policy targeted minority kids in minority neighborhoods, arguing that they were targeted “because that’s where all the crime is.”

“Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” Bloomberg said.

In late 2016, then-candidate Trump called for a nationwide stop-and-frisk policy during an interview with Fox News, saying the program “worked very well” for New York City.

“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically,” the then-GOP nominee told the network.

“You understand, you have to have, in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked.

“Now, we had a very good mayor, but New York City was incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do,” he added.

Upon entering the Democratic primary contest in November, Bloomberg apologized for his controversial policing policy.

A spokesperson for Bloomberg’s campaign could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment on Trump’s tweet.

DOJ set to lower Stone sentencing recommendation that was criticized by Trump

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday is reportedly expected to change its sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone a day after telling a federal judge the Trump associate should serve between seven and nine years in prison, guidance that was sharply criticized by President Trump.

Department officials found prosecutors’ initial recommendation “excessive,” according to multiple news outlets, including The Washington Post, Fox News and The Associated Press, citing an anonymous department source.

Reports of the expected change came after Trump denounced the recommended prison term as “horrible and very unfair” in an early Tuesday morning Tweet.  

“The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” Trump said, sharing a message from a Daily Caller reporter about Stone’s prison sentence.

Stone, a 67 year-old right-wing provocateur, was convicted in November of seven counts of obstructing and lying to Congress and witness tampering related to his efforts to provide the Trump campaign inside information about WikiLeaks in 2016.

Stone is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20 by D.C. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee.

Prosecutors recommended in a Monday filing that Stone serve between 87 and 108 months in prison in accordance with federal guidelines.

“Roger Stone obstructed Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, lied under oath, and tampered with a witness,” the DOJ court filing reads. “And when his crimes were revealed by the indictment in this case, he displayed contempt for this Court and the rule of law.”

Department prosecutors wrote that a sentence of up to nine years would “accurately reflect the seriousness of his crimes and promote respect for the law.”

Stone’s attorneys in a Monday night filing asked that the judge impose probation as an alternative to prison.

A Stone lawyer on Tuesday said the legal team had “read with interest” the new reporting on the DOJ’s shifting position.

“Our sentencing memo stated our position on the recommendation made yesterday by the government,” attorney Grant Smith told The Hill. “We look forward to reviewing the government’s supplemental filing.”

The department will reportedly clarify its recommendation on Stone’s sentencing later Tuesday.

[The Hill]

Trump Insists Real Photo Revealing His Fake Tan Is Fake

Last night, an especially grotesque photo of President Trump began to circulate online. The image, taken by photographer and apparent Trump enthusiast William Moon, showed the sunset-lit president with the wind sweeping his hair back, revealing an especially striking contrast between whatever fake tan or coloration he uses and the ghostly pallor of the skin bordering his hair:

Moon also posted an even more disturbing black-and-white version:

The photo became an instant meme, and so irked Trump that he insisted it was “fake news,” and complained that his opponents would do “anything to demean” him:

Some suspect the images were altered, but Moon posted other photos from the scene, and after comparing his with press-pool shots of the moment, it seems apparent that the wind did indeed expose the fault line in Trump’s orange coloring:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8SEry-pySm/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

It is of course hilarious that Trump would complain that he is being demeaned on the basis of his appearance. He has spent his entire career as a celebrity put-down artist, sexual harasser, and politician who relentlessly demeans his targets based on their bodies. He is especially cruel to women, having called his former lover Stormy Daniels “Horseface,” mocked Carly Fiorina as ugly (“Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Mr. Trump said during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”), and belittled such targets as Heidi Cruz, Rosie O’Donnell, and many others.

Trump likewise has mocked Jerry Nadler as fat; sundry opponents, like Marco Rubio, Adam Schiff, and Michael Bloomberg, as short; and had a period of fixating on the allegedly narrow size of Schiff’s neck.

Trump himself places more importance on appearance than any president in history, and perhaps any powerful person who does not work in modeling, television, or film. He staffs his administration in large part based on their appearance. He blocked a second term for Janet Yellen in part because she was too short, initially hesitated to hire John Bolton due to his mustache, and constantly praises the officials surrounding him because they look like they come from “central casting” — the job criteria he most values.

Yet Trump himself is not a central-casting pick for his job. (He was cast for the role of president in Sharknado 3, but he was tabbed to play himself, and tragically turned down the offer at the last minute because he decided to run for real president.) Despite being a tall, white male — the traditional American cultural norm for his position — his appearance is nonetheless anything but “presidential.”

He has to avoid wind, or guard against it by wearing a hat, lest it turn his combover into comic, flapping yellow wings:

As for his orange color, Trump is clearly aware that it creates a strange look, but he oddly blames it on newfangled light bulbs, and seems to believe that rolling back bulb efficiency standards will make his skin look normal again.

Trump’s superficiality is the main problem. That a president would bully others based on their appearance, and select his aides on their looks, is one of his many utterly disqualifying character traits. But as bad as it may be that the president does this, what tips it from the infuriating to the absurd is the fact that the body-shamer-in-chief is also quite possibly the most ridiculous-looking president in American history.

[The New Yorker]

Trump assails Rep. Dingell, citing her late husband, amid wave of attacks on Dems

President Donald Trump on Saturday launched a vitriolic attack on his perceived enemies, including the widow of a prominent Democratic congressman, days after he was acquitted in his impeachment trial.

Trump took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to heap scorn on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), the widow of the late Rep. John Dingell, among others.

“@RepDebDingell, who called me, tears flowing, to thank me for rolling out the maximum ‘Red Carpet’ for the funeral of her husband, then voted against me on the partisan Impeachmen Hoax, said ‘everybody (Dems) wants to get out of town. This has been, in my whole career, one of… …the worst weeks ever.’ She could have had a much better week if Crazy Nancy, who is the most overrated person in politics (going to lose the House a second time), didn’t bring the phony & corrupt Impeachment Hoax,” Trump tweeted.

The tweets came at the end of a week that saw Trump acquitted Wednesday, a rambling post-impeachment White House address Thursday that mocked Democratic lawmakers and opponents, and the ousting of two impeachment witnesses Friday.

Trump has attacked Dingell before over her role in the impeachment inquiry, saying to supporters at a Michigan rally in December that her late husband, the longest-ever serving congressman when he died in February 2019, was “looking up” from hell.

Those comments drew condemnation from lawmakers, including from Republicans like Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) who called on Trump to apologize.

The president on Saturday continued lacing into Pelosi, who told Democrats she felt “liberated” after ripping up a paper copy of Trump’s Tuesday State of the Union speech on national television, which became one of the most talked about moments of the event.

“Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Hoax has lifted Republican Congressional Polls (she lost the House once before!), and my Polls, WAY UP, which was expected,” he tweeted, without citing examples.

He also attacked Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the NSC official who testified about the president’s actions on Ukraine, drawing a furious response from Vindman’s lawyers, who called Trump’s attacks a “campaign of intimidation.”

Later Saturday, Trump also assailed Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) for their votes to convict him, in an echo of attacks he’d leveled against the senators on Friday.

Manchin responded in kind, tweeting: “I’ve read the transcripts thoroughly & listened to the witnesses under oath. Where I come from a person accused defends themselves with witnesses and evidence.”

Trump’s tweeting — totaling more than 40 tweets or retweets sent Saturday — didn’t end there.

The president also retweeted a photograph of himself that showed a darkened layer of makeup on his face as he walked across the White House lawn, which had gone viral online. While the original photograph was in color, Trump tweeted a black and white version of it.

“More Fake News. This was photoshopped, obviously, but the wind was strong and the hair looks good?” Trump said. “Anything to demean!”

[Politico]

Trump justifies firing Alexander Vindman for being “insubordinate”

President Trump tweeted on Saturday morning to explain why he fired national security official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who had testified before the House Intelligence Committee that the president’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “improper.”

“I don’t know [Vindman], never spoke to him or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly…….and was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT.'”

Context: Vindman was fired on Friday just before U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was dismissed. The firings took place two days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

  • Trump “expressed deep anger … over the attempt to remove him from office because of his actions toward Ukraine,” the Washington Post writes.

[Axios]

Reality

If any other person in America retaliated against witnesses like Donald Trump is doing, they would be in jail. But today we have a monarch.

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