After Donald Trump isolated America from the rest of the world by pulling us out of the historic Paris Accord, there was a race to the bottom from his surrogates to see who could spit out the dumbest excuse to deny settled science.
Newt Gingrich has a take on how Donald Trump can keep from running afoul of U.S. ethics laws: Change the ethics laws.
Trump is currently grappling with how to sufficiently disentangle himself from his multibillion-dollar business to avoid conflicts of interest with his incoming administration, and the president-elect has already pushed back a promised announcement of an ethics firewall.
Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and one-time potential running mate for Trump, says Trump should push Congress for legislation that accounts for a billionaire businessman in the White House.
“We’ve never seen this kind of wealth in the White House, and so traditional rules don’t work,” Gingrich said Monday during an appearance on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” about the president-elect’s business interests. “We’re going to have to think up a whole new approach.”
And should someone in the Trump administration cross the line, Gingrich has a potential answer for that too.
“In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon,” Gingrich said. “It’s a totally open power. He could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers. I pardon them if anyone finds them to have behaved against the rules. Period. Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority.”
Trump’s own tweets — will include handing over the management of his real estate and investment portfolio to his two adult sons and a team of longtime executives. But key details of the Trump plan also remain a work in progress, prompting suggestions from outside Trump Tower that range from a complete selling off for all Trump assets to Gingrich’s call for a sweeping review of the country’s ethics laws themselves.
Gingrich — who says he is not joining Trump’s administration — didn’t provide many details for what a new approach would entail, other than reiterating his support for an outside panel of experts Trump should convene that would regularly monitor how his company and government are operating and “offer warnings if they get too close to the edge.”
The former Georgia GOP lawmaker did concede Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress can’t ignore the potential ethical challenges facing the president, including the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits U.S. government employees from taking payments from foreign governments or the companies they run.
“It’s a very real problem,” Gingrich said. “I don’t think this is something minor. I think certainly in an age that people are convinced that government corruption is widespread both in the U.S. and around the world, you can’t just shrug and walk off from it.”
But Gingrich said Trump is on solid political ground as he prepares to take the White House while maintaining ownership of his business. In fact, Gingrich argued that Trump’s résumé and financial history were among the reasons why the Republican won the presidential election.
“I think there was a general sense that the president had the ability, that this was going to be a billionaire presidency. I don’t think anyone who voted for him was not aware that he was a very, very successful businessman,” he said.
Gingrich also argued that Americans shouldn’t be surprised that there are certain changes that Trump shouldn’t be expected to make, including giving up licensing on his iconic last name or his communications with his adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr., who are slated to take over the business.
“You can’t say the Trump Tower is not the Trump Tower, or the Trump hotel is not the Trump hotel. And you can’t say that the kids who run it aren’t his children,” Gingrich said.
But it was Gingrich’s suggestion that Trump could sidestep potential problems inside his administration — through his constitutional right to issue pardons — that prompted an incredulous reply from the NPR program’s host and two of her guests.
“That level of authority strikes me as rather broad and perhaps ought to be in the hands of Congress rather than within his own hands,” said Rehm, who is set to retire at the end of this week after a more than 30-year run.
“Speaker Gingrich’s statement that wealth trumps the rule of law, basically that’s what he was saying, is jaw-dropping,” added American University government professor James Thurber. “I can’t believe it. He’s a historian. He should also know that we did not want to have a king. A king in this case is somebody with a lot of money who cannot abide by the rule of law.”
Richard Painter, a former George W. Bush White House ethics lawyer, said Gingrich was off on his reading of the Constitution. “If the pardon power allows that, the pardon power allows the president to become a dictator, and even Richard Nixon had the decency to wait for his successor to hand out the pardon that he received for his illegal conduct,” Painter said. “We’re going down a very, very treacherous path if we go with what Speaker Gingrich is saying, what he is suggesting.”
Former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on Monday defended President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter vendetta against the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” arguing that social media use is “a great way” to “cut through the noise or silence” and that Trump has the right to offer his criticism.
“Why do you care?” Conway said when asked by “New Day” host Chris Cuomo about Trump’s “Hamilton” feud. “Who is to say that he can’t do that, make a comment, spend five minutes on a tweet and making a comment and still be president-elect?”
Conway, a senior adviser to Trump, criticized media coverage of the social media controversy, saying that Trump is “just trying to cut through the nonsense of people telling Americans what is important to them, which we saw through the elections wasn’t true. People constantly being told this issue, this statement, this past transgression is important to you — and Americans said, ‘No, it’s not. What’s important to me is this 100-day plan.'”
Taking a look at his past 10 tweets, half of them are personal attacks against those who have criticized him. And we should care because Trump has made a habit of intimidating those who disagree with him, both in the press and private citizens.
A spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC cited World War II Japanese internment camps as “precedent” for President-elect Donald Trump’s discussed plan for a Muslim registry system.
Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL, appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” to argue in favor of the plan, which Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said in a Reuters interview is being modeled after the highly controversial National Security Entry-Exit Registration System implemented after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Confronted with questions about the constitutionality of such a plan, Higbie cited history, in particular the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.
“We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region,” he said. “We’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with [the] Japanese.”
Pressed by host Megyn Kelly on whether he was suggesting re-implementing the internment camps, Higbie said no, before adding: “I’m just saying there is precedent for it.”
Kelly then swiftly rebuked his suggestion.
“You can’t be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the president-elect is gonna do,” she said.
The conversation around a proposed registry comes less than one year after Trump first proposed a “complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States. Since announcing it, Trump has reiterated his support for a ban, but also rebranded it as “extreme vetting” and proposed narrowing its scope to persons from “territories” with a history of terror.
Trump has himself said that he may have supported internment during WWII. “I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer,” Trump told TIME in December 2015. Then-candidate Trump also said during an appearance on MSNBC that he viewed internment and a ban on Muslims as “a whole different thing.”
Rudy Giuliani’s paid consulting for foreign governments would present conflicts of interest as the nation’s top diplomat that would make the Clinton Foundation look trifling.
Since leaving the New York mayor’s office, Giuliani has made millions as a lawyer and consultant, including for some clients at odds with U.S. foreign policy. When some of those ties surfaced amid Giuliani’s own presidential bid in 2007, they were considered to pose an unprecedented number of ethical quandaries for a potential commander in chief.
Now those concerns have no doubt been eclipsed by Donald Trump’s own web of business entanglements, which are still not completely known to the public. Giuliani’s participation in Trump’s transition and contention for the job of secretary of state poses a direct challenge to Trump’s promises to root out Washington self-dealing and ban his administration’s officials from lobbying for foreign governments.
In 2011, an exiled Iranian political party called the Mujahedin e-Khalq, known as the MEK, paid Giuliani to give a speech in Washington calling on the State Department to remove the group from its list of terrorist organizations. The MEK recruited a host of other formal officials to its cause and succeeded in reversing the terrorist designation in 2012.
A subsidiary of Giuliani’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, advised Qatar’s state-run oil company on security at a natural gas plant, The Wall Street Journal reported. Qatar is a U.S. ally that hosts a major American military base but once stifled an attempt to arrest Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who went on to mastermind the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the 9/11 commission report.
The same subsidiary, Giuliani Security & Safety, provided security advice to a Singapore gambling project on behalf of a partnership that included a tycoon close to the North Korean regime who is considered an organized crime figure by the U.S., according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. “I think the person involved, if it’s correct, was a 1 percent owner that had no involvement with us, we never worked for, had nothing to do with,” Giuliani told NBC’s Tim Russert at the time.
Giuliani Partners also advised TransCanada, which sought to build the Keystone XL pipeline that President Barack Obama rejected but Trump has said he wants to approve. And Giuliani helped the maker of the OxyContin painkiller, Purdue Pharma, settle a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation with a fine.
The Houston-based law firm Giuliani joined as a named partner in 2005 lobbied in Texas for Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company then controlled by President Hugo Chavez, The New York Times reported in 2007. The firm also did work for Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry, according to The Associated Press.
The law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, lobbied at the federal level during Giuliani’s time there for energy companies including Southern Company, Duke Energy, Energy Future Holdings, Arch Coal, Chesapeake Energy and NuStar Energy, records show. It also represented Cornell Companies, a private prison operator that later merged with GEO Group. Giuliani never personally registered as a lobbyist. He left the firm for rival Greenberg Traurig this year, and currently is on leave.
Giuliani’s assistant at Greenberg Traurig and the Trump transition didn’t answer requests for comment.
The Clinton Foundation has been hounded by Republican suspicions of selling access to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, and the nonprofit did accept big bucks from foreign governments. But Clinton’s defenders point out there’s no proof she ever made an official act to benefit a foundation donor, and, unlike Giuliani, she never personally profited from the foreign contributions to her charity.
When Giuliani ran for president, he reported assets of $18.1 million to $70.4 million.
Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he knew the FBI planned to review more emails tied to Hillary Clinton before a public announcement about the investigation last week, confirming that the agency leaked information to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The former New York City mayor and Trump surrogate has recently dropped a series of hints that he knew in advance that the FBI planned to look at emails potentially connected to Clinton’s private server. The agency discovered the messages while investigating former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) for allegedly sexting with a minor. (Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, is a top aide to Clinton.)
Giuliani has bragged about his close ties to the FBI for months, mentioning in interviews that “outraged FBI agents” have told him they’re frustrated by how the Clinton investigation was handled. And two days before FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency was reviewing the newly uncovered emails, Giuliani teased that Trump’s campaign had “a couple of surprises left.”
“You’ll see, and I think it will be enormously effective,” he said in an interview with Fox News.
All of this has led to suspicion that someone in the FBI is leaking information to Giuliani and the Trump campaign. The Daily Beast’s Wayne Barrett explored those suspicions on Thursday, detailing how Giuliani’s ties to the agency date back to his days as a U.S. attorney in the 1980s.
Giuliani confirmed that notion Friday during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“I did nothing to get it out, I had no role in it,” he said. “Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it, and I can’t even repeat the language that I heard from the former FBI agents.”
Giuliani also said he expected Comey’s announcement to come weeks before it did.
“I had expected this for the last, honestly, to tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be about three or four weeks ago, because way back in July this started, they kept getting stymied looking for subpoenas, looking for records,” he said.
FBI officials knew about the newly discovered emails weeks before Comey’s announcement, according to multiple reports.
Giuliani insisted he had nothing to do with Comey’s decision to announce the probe prior to Election Day ― a move that both Republicans and Democrats have condemned. He also insisted his information comes from “former FBI agents.”
“I’m real careful not to talk to any on-duty, active FBI agents. I don’t want to put them in a compromising position. But I sure have a lot of friends who are retired FBI agents, close, personal friends,” he said. “All I heard were former FBI agents telling me that there’s a revolution going on inside the FBI and it’s now at a boiling point.”
Trump press secretary Hope Hicks did not immediately return a request for comment.
I thought Donald Trump said we should vote for him to stop the corruption and collusion?
This is very serious stuff.
Reps. Elijah Cummings and John Conyers, the top Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, penned a scathing letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz Friday, urging him to probe the bureau for leaks in light of Giuliani bragging about obtaining leaked information from former agents.
“It is absolutely unacceptable for the FBI to leak unsubstantiated — and in some case false — information about one presidential candidate to benefit the other candidate,” Cummings and Conyers said in the letter. “Leaking this information to former FBI officials as a conduit to the Trump campaign is equally intolerable.”
A visibly angry Newt Gingrich battled Megyn Kelly in a Tuesday night TV segment that left Donald Trump supporters accusing Kelly of bias.
Gingrich, speaking as a surrogate for Trump, said Kelly is “fascinated with sex” after Kelly brought up allegations of sexual assault and unwanted touching by the GOP nominee.
“You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy,” Gingrich said.
She responded: “You know what, Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women, and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office.”
Gingrich advanced a common conservative complaint — that allegations against Trump are getting an undue amount of media attention.
The conversation ended with Kelly asserting that Gingrich — a paid Fox News contributor — had “anger issues.”
Gingrich addressed the segment on Twitter Wednesday morning, writing, “For the record, @megynkelly was wrong, i don’t have anger management issues. I do have media bias issues!”
Tuesday’s already tough segment turned fiery when Kelly raised the possibility — stated as a question, not a fact — that Trump could be a “sexual predator.”
Gingrich, who when he was Speaker of the House led the impeachment of Bill Clinton on charges related to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, objected to this. He tried to turn the conversation around by invoking allegations against Bill Clinton: “I just want to hear you use the words. I want to hear the words ‘Bill Clinton sexual predator.’ I dare you. Say ‘Bill Clinton, sexual predator.'”
Kelly did not take his bait.
Gingrich also seemed to dismiss Fox’s own electoral map, which shows Clinton well ahead of the 270 electoral votes she needs to win the presidency.
Kelly cited several such maps, including Fox’s, and said “these are nonpartisan outlets that are just trying to call the electoral scoreboard.”
“They’re not nonpartisan outlets,” Gingrich responded. “Every outlet you described is part of the establishment.”
“Fox News? Really? Are we? I don’t think so,” she said.
“Oh c’mon,” Gingrich said.
The segment ended up proving what Gingrich said at the very beginning: That Americans are living in “two parallel universes” right now.
Trump and his surrogates are having a very hard time distinguishing between Bill Clinton’s consensual sex and Donald Trump’s sexual assault. As conservative commentator Ana Navarro explained, “Sexual assault and sex are two different things. One is unwanted, one is wanted.”
Newt Gingrich made an interesting point that Megyn Kelly was fascinated with sex because was in a unique position to be somewhat of an expert being on his third marriage, cheated on his first two wives, asked them for an open marriage, and was having an affair while he was impeaching Bill Clinton.
But I’m sorry we were talking about Megyn Kelly and her supposed fascination with sex.
Top Donald Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani claimed Sunday that Democrats could steal a close election by having dead people vote in inner cities, while vice presidential candidate Mike Pence said the ticket will “absolutely accept the result of the election.”
“I’m sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans,” the former New York City mayor told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “You want me to (say) that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that.”
But he did say the amount of cheating would only impact extremely close races — noting, for example, if either Trump or Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania by “5 points,” the cheating he alleges would occur would be negligible and not change the outcome.
Giuliani was backing up Trump, the Republican nominee, who has repeatedly claimed on the campaign trail — without providing evidence — that his race against Clinton is being rigged.
Trump tweeted Sunday: “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD”
But Pence told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that he will accept the Election Day results.
“We will absolutely accept the result of the election,” he said. “Look, the American people will speak in an election that will culminate on November the 8. But the American people are tired of the obvious bias in the national media. That’s where the sense of a rigged election goes here, Chuck.”
Tapper pushed back on Giuliani, saying even Republicans had debunked the conspiracy theories pushed online that low vote totals in Philadelphia in 2012 for Mitt Romney were the result of a rigged process.
Giuliani said as a prosecutor, he remembers an election in Chicago in which 720 supposedly dead people voted — and that 60 dead people cast ballots in his own mayor’s race.
He said elections fraud would only make a difference in a 1 to 2 percentage point races.
He also said that only Democrats do it, because it happens in inner cities.
“I can’t sit here and tell you that they don’t cheat. And I know that because they control the polling places in these areas. There are no Republicans, and it’s very hard to get people there who will challenge votes. So what they do is, they leave dead people on the rolls and then they pay people to vote as dead people, four, five, six, seven” times, Giuliani said.
“I’ve found very few situations where Republicans cheat. They don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats do,” he said.
Tapper said: “I think there are a lot of elections experts that would have very, very strong disagreements with you.”
Giuliani responded: “Well then they never prosecuted elections fraud.”
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and also a top Trump ally, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump’s concerns about election rigging are “not about election officials at the precinct level.”
However, he also urged Trump voters to monitor polling stations.
“I remember when Richard Nixon had the election stolen in 1960, and no serious historian doubts that Illinois and Texas were stolen. So to suggest that, we have, you don’t have theft in Philadelphia is to deny reality,” Gingrich said.
Rudy Giuliani has spit out so many conspiracy theories and out-right lies, he is starting to conflate them all together. So not only does he not have any evidence for the two originating conspiracy theories, he would also not have any evidence for this new one he just invented, that dead people are voting in Philadelphia and Chicago, either.
First Giuliani is claiming that dead people are voting in elections, and to this there is a kernel of truth. For example earlier this year an investigation by CBS in Los Angeles uncovered 215 instances of voter impersonation since 2004 of people who have since deceased voting in local elections. However, unlike alt-right website like Breitbart who try to blow it way out of proportion calling it ‘hundreds‘, those numbers are so low compared to the 4.8 million registered voters in Los Angeles to hardly be a concern in a county that is so deeply blue it is often a target to conservatives. And while Rudy tries to paint this as a Democrat conspiracy, keep in mind in that report while 146 of the voters were indeed Democrats, 86 were registered Republicans.
And second, ever since the 2012 election there have been internet claims of voter fraud in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where 0 votes were cast for Mitt Romney. Even Sean Hannity jumped into these waters a few times, all of which have been debunked over and over again. In the 59 divisions of Philadelphia, the average number of registered Republicans in these divisions was 17 people. The Philadelphia Inquirer sought out these voters after the election and found that many people moved, some were registered incorrectly, and others just plain didn’t vote.
Ben Carson says it doesn’t matter whether the women accusing Donald Trump of sexual misconduct are telling the truth because the accusations are far less important than what he believes is the impending fall of our nation.
Before they fall, nations “take their eye off the ball, start engaging in things that really don’t matter that much — not that sexual language and abuse is not important, but when you’re talking about the train going off the cliff you really need to deal with that first,” Carson said in a heated interview with the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe Friday.
Carson — who has been known to veer off talking points when he’s acting as a surrogate for Trump — did say he had doubts about one of the women’s accounts. Jessica Leeds told The New York Times Trump grabbed her on a plane and tried to stick his hand up her skirt.
“If somebody is sitting next to you on the first class section of the airplane, there are stewardesses, there are people around and there’s this gigantic armrest — what happened to all those things?” Carson asked.
“Are you saying that these women are lying?” BBC News reporter Katty Kay asked. Carson avoided the question and said Kay was trying to characterize him as the bad guy.
When the conversation began to get heated Carson jumped in: “Hey can you turn her microphone off please? Turn her microphone off so I can talk.”
“It doesn’t matter whether they’re lying or not,” Carson said, he then added: “What matters is that the train is going off the cliff and we’re taking our eye off of that and we’re getting involved in other issues that can be taken care of later.”
Carson has repeatedly used the train analogy as an example of what’s at stake in this election. He believes Trump is the only candidate who can stop the train before it plummets off the cliff and he compared the recent accusations about Trump to a fight in one of the cabins, which is a distraction but not the big picture.
As Kay pointed out again that Carson’s description of the first class cabin suggests he thinks the women are lying Carson kept trying to interrupt.
“Listen, listen, would you listen for a moment? Do you guys have a plug please?” Carson asked someone off camera.
“It’s like hitting against a brick wall, getting people and particularly people in the news media, to understand how much trouble we’re in,” Carson said.
When the retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate was asked how he felt about the fact that multiple women have accused Trump of misconduct, Carson dismissed it.
The Republicans ran on a platform of moral authority, and with their defense of Donald Trump’s bragging of sexual assault and comments like Dr. Carson, it shows how thin their morals actually were.
Ben Carson for decades wrote books, gave speeches, and just this year ran for president on a platform of morality and now has chose to turn his back on his own message because it is politically beneficial to him.
Dr. Carson claimed there was a gigantic armrest in the first class seats that would have prevented anyone from invading another person’s space.
However while Dr. Carson chooses to use his “common sense” we’ll use actual verifiable evidence. According to Leeds’ interview with Anderson Cooper the flight was on Braniff Airlines flight, which had seats equipped with reclining armrests at that time.
So far, I’ve found photos of armrests stowing on 70s-80s vintage Braniff, National and TWA first class cabins. pic.twitter.com/UDuFpbNrsL
The Trump brothers have come to their father’s defense this week over the disturbing sexual assault allegations that have surfaced.
Eric Trump, defending his dad’s conversation with Billy Bush on Monday, chalked it up to his “alpha” personality. On Thursday, Donald Jr. dismissed Trump’s conversation as something that, “makes him a human,” adding “I think it makes him a normal person not a political robot,” CNN reports.
On Wednesday night, the New York Times published a report about two women who alleged that Donald Trump had groped them.
Donald Jr. responded to the Times report on Thursday’s segment of Charlotte Morning News on WBT radio and said, “Come on guys, it’s so ridiculous, I’ve never heard anything dumber in my life. All of sudden, two, three weeks before election, someone comes out — it’s not like he hasn’t been in the public eye for 30 years.”
Trump surrogates doing damage control this week have all brought up similar questions about timing — specifically that election day is nearing and these women must have come forward now because of that.
However, it is more likely than not that women are coming forward about being assaulted by Trump at this moment because of his denial of the claims.
During the second presidential debate on October 9, CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper asked, “You described kissing women without consent, grabbing the genitals. That is sexual assault. You brag that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?”
Trump responded that it was just words, that it was untrue, and that he never engaged in such sexual misconduct. These women are likely coming forward now to hold him accountable for his continued denial of abusing women, not because the election is nearing.
Donald Jr. said in his interview, “[The New York Times] keep libeling and doing these kind of things I imagine that would be the intention. It’s one thing to report the news, it’s another to try to smear someone’s name time and time again for political motives and political gain.”
He added, “I’ve had conversations like that with plenty of people where people use language off color. They’re talking, two guys, amongst themselves.”