Trump blasts Scaramucci and tweets video of his former aide praising him

U.S. President Donald Trump once again lashed out at Anthony Scaramucci, claiming that “nobody ever heard of” the former White House communications director “until he met me.”

“Nobody ever heard of this dope until he met me. He only lasted 11 days!” Trump wrote in a nighttime Twitter post.

Trump and Scaramucci — who was fired in 2017 after serving less than two weeks as communications director — have publicly fallen out recently.

In various news media interviews, Scaramucci suggested the Republican Party should push Trump off the 2020 presidential ticket. The president, in return, took to Twitter to discredit Scaramucci — who is founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital and a GOP donor.

CNBC reached out to Scaramucci for comment on Trump’s Twitter post through SkyBridge Capital’s spokespeople, but didn’t immediately hear back.

In a Monday opinion piece in The Washington Post, Scaramucci wrote that he was wrong to support Trump before.

“I can no longer in good conscience support the president’s reelection,” he added.

[CNBC]

Trump nominates judge who argued countries are stronger if everyone is same ethnic group

A White House lawyer chosen by Donald Trump to serve on the federal appeals court previously argued countries were weakened by ethnic diversity.

Steven Menashi, the president’s nomination for the Court of Appeals Second Circuit, wrote in an academic journal that “ethnic ties provide the groundwork for social trust” and “solidarity underlying democratic polities rests in large part on ethnic identification”.

“Surely, it does not serve the cause of liberal democracy to ignore this reality,” he added in the 2010 article for the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law.

The passages resurfaced on social media following the announcement of Mr Menashi’s nomination on Wednesday and were later discussed on air by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who described them as “a highbrow argument for racial purity in the nation state”.

In the journal article, titled “Ethnonationalism and Liberal Democracy”, the lawyer says he aims to refute claims that “Israel’s particularistic identity — its desire to serve as a homeland for the Jewish people — contradicts principles of universalism and equality upon which liberal democracy supposedly rests”.

“This article, in contrast, argues that ethnonationalism remains a common and accepted feature of liberal democracy, consistent with current state practice and international law,” he writes.

[The Independent]

Trump hammers Federal Reserve, cites commentary from Fox Business

President Trump on Wednesday spent a portion of the day at his New Jersey golf club blasting the Federal Reserve as stocks took a dive amid signs of a potential recession.

The president sent three tweets over a 90-minute span in which he quoted multiple Fox Business Network personalities who echoed Trump’s criticisms of the central bank and defended Trump’s tariff policy toward China.

Trump expressed agreement with Mark Grant, a guest on Stuart Varney’s show who suggested the Federal Reserve should act to boost the U.S. economy.

“Correct! The Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late. Too bad, so much to gain on the upside!” Trump tweeted.

He later shared comments from Fox Business host Charles Payne, who criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his handling of the central bank.

“I agree (to put it mildly!)” Trump tweeted.

He also referenced a quote from Varney’s program which downplayed concerns over the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, arguing it had yet to negatively impact the American economy.

Stocks sank sharply Wednesday morning after the U.S. bond market signaled an impending recession. The dip came one day after Trump announced he would delay further tariffs on Chinese imports until after the bulk of the holiday shopping season, reflecting mounting fears that the trade war could derail the robust U.S. economy.

In a pair of tweets later in the afternoon, Trump emphasized that “China is not our problem,” saying the trouble lies with the Fed.

Trump is at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for the week, and he had no public events listed on his schedule for Wednesday. He has repeatedly hammered the Fed and Powell for its decisions to raise or lower interest rates, arguing that its decisions have held back the economy. 

“This guy has made a big mistake,” Trump said Tuesday at an event in Pennsylvania, referring to Powell. “He’s made a big mistake — the head of the Fed. That was another beauty that I chose.”

The constant critiques have worried critics, who note the central bank has historically been independent of politics.

[The Hill]

Trump Official Lynne Patton Promotes Clinton Conspiracy in Jeffrey Epstein Suicide

Lynne Patton, the head of New York and New Jersey’s Housing and Urban Development, promoted a Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory in the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide.

At around 6:30 a.m. on August 10, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Epstein is believed to have killed himself by hanging. At the time of his death, Epstein was not on suicide watch. A few weeks earlier, it was widely reported that Epstein had attempted suicide in his cell.

Epstein was 66 years old. Epstein, a financier, was arrested in July 2019 and accused of sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York. Epstein’s connections to the political and business worlds had led to his case becoming front page news across the world.

Shortly after news of Epstein’s arrest spread, Patton posted this to her Instagram page.

The caption for the post read, “Hillary’d!! 😳P.S. Let me know when I’m supposed to feel badly about this… #VinceFosterPartTwo.” On that Instagram page, Patton says of herself, “Longtime Trump Aide | RNC Speaker | Posts are my own & do not represent @HUDgov, incl. all images, links, tags & comments left by readers | NY ✈️ DC.” 

The reference to Vince Foster is regarding Bill Clinton’s former White House counsel who committed suicide in July 1993, six months after Clinton took office. Five separate investigations ruled Foster’s death a suicide. Despite this, conspiracy theories regarding a Clinton-led cover-up remain to this day.

NBC News’ Tom Winter tweeted about Epstein suicide considering he had been on suicide watch saying, “It is really incomprehensible how Jeffrey Epstein was allowed to be in a position where he could hang himself. High-profile defendant. Previous attempt at injuring himself. Dozens of victims seeking justice they now won’t get. The law enforcement community is steaming.”

Conservative talk show host Andrew Wilkow reiterated the Clinton conspiracy theory in a tweet that read, “#JeffreyEpstein attempted suicide before, was he or was he not suicide watch? If not who decided to give him another chance? This has the Clinton’s fingerprints all over it.”

Less than two hours after Epstein’s suicide was announced, the term “ClintonBodyCount” became a trending topic on Twitter. As did the phrase “Another Clinton.”

[Heavy]

State Department confirms alleged leader of white-nationalist group is an employee, won’t say if he’ll be fired

A current State Department official served as the leader of a white-nationalist organization in Washington, DC, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released on Wednesday. 

The official, identified as Matthew Gebert, “hosted white nationalists at his home and published white nationalist propaganda online,” the report said. 

A State Department spokesperson on Wednesday told INSIDER that Gebert is a foreign-affairs officer assigned to the Bureau of Energy Resources in Washington, DC.

When asked whether the allegations in the SPLC report would affect Gebert’s employment status, the department spokesperson told INSIDER, “The Department of State cannot comment on personnel issues but is committed to providing an inclusive workplace.” 

Gebert was placed on leave as of Thursday, according to a Politico report

Gebert joined the department in 2013, according to the SPLC report, during the Obama administration. Based on his position as a foreign-affairs officer, he’s a civil servant and not a political appointee. 

According to the SPLC report, Gebert operated online under the pseudonym “Coach Finstock.”

“Through that alias, he expressed a desire to build a country for whites only,” the report said.

[Business Insider]

Trump parrots Lou Dobbs in flip-flopping attack on his own Fed chairman

On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump quoted Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs’ attack on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for cutting interest rates — ironically, something that he has spent the past several months demanding that Powell should do:

Trump has been at odds with Powell ever since he appointed him to the role in 2018, accusing him of trying to stifle the economy.

[Raw Story]

Trump met with Nunes to talk intel chief replacements

President Donald Trump recently spoke to top House Intelligence Republican Devin Nunes about replacements for the country’s intelligence chief — the latest sign that Dan Coats’ tenure may be short-lived.

Nunes, who grabbed national attention with his controversial allegations of Obama administration surveillance abuses, met with Trump and other senior White House officials last week to discuss who could take over for Coats at the Office of Director of National Intelligence, according to three people familiar with the get-together.

Coats has run ODNI since early in the Trump administration, but his job security is the subject of constant speculation, especially after he gave public testimony on North Korea, Iran and Syria that diverged from Trump’s prior comments on the issues. The ODNI chief oversees the government’s intelligence agencies, coordinates the country’s global information-gathering operation and frequently briefs the president on threats each morning.

The meeting between Trump and Nunes has only fueled more chatter about Coats’ departure. The pace of Trump’s discussions with allies about potential replacements has ramped up in recent weeks, the people said.

Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst who served as national security adviser John Bolton’s chief of staff, has been discussed as a possible ODNI replacement. Fleitz left his White House post in October 2018 to serve as president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, a far-right think tank that has been sharply critical of “radical Islam.”

Some within the intelligence community have also promoted the ODNI’s current No. 2, Sue Gordon, as be a logical replacement for Coats. Gordon is a career intelligence official who is generally well-liked within the organization.

[Politico]

Monica Crowley, Fox promoter of bigoted conspiracy theories, named to top Treasury post

Monica Crowley, President Donald Trump’s pick for the top communications position at the Treasury Department, is a longtime Fox News contributor who has pilloried journalists as “dishonest, hostile, biased, rude fake news” and has endorsed a series of racist conspiracy theories, including about President Barack Obama’s “real father.”

Trump intends to nominate Crowley to be assistant secretary of the Treasury for public affairs, the White House announced Monday night. The position does not require Senate confirmation. 

Crowley spent decades in right-wing media — joining Fox in 1998 — after serving as an aide to former President Richard Nixon in the early 1990s. At Fox, she was a C-list voice the network’s hosts regularly booked to provide the casual bigotries, hypocrises, talking points, and lies that fuel the Fox propaganda machine. 

Her appointment is an additional sign of the unprecedented merger between Fox and the Trump White House. She is at least the 17th former Fox employee to join the administration and replaces Tony Sayegh, himself a former Fox contributor. 

Crowley was previously tapped for a top communications job in Trump’s National Security Council shortly after his election. But she declined to take the position after CNN and Politico respectively reported that she had plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and her doctoral dissertation.  

A few months later, she told Fox star Sean Hannity that she had been the victim of “a despicable, straight-up political hit job” and falsely claimed the charges had been “debunked.”

Such attacks on journalism are as much a part of the job description for Trump administration communications staffers as they are for right-wing commentators. Crowley has been an eager combatant in this fight, regularly decrying the “corrupt,” “leftist” media while praising Trump for putting the “dishonest, hostile, biased, rude fake news in its place.”

Crowley’s tenure as a conservative commentator is most notable for her adoption of conspiracy theories about Obama’s heritage during his presidency.

She argued that it was “very legitimate” to question Obama’s birth certificate, argued that such issues “have traction” because of the then-president’s “un-American” policies, and speculated that Obama might not be a “natural-born citizen” eligible for the presidency. 

Crowley also promoted the myths that Obama “is not Black African, he is Arab African” and that he might be a Muslim.

Crowley’s promotion of bigoted conspiracy theories about Obama culminated with her enthusiastic promotionof Dreams from My Real Father, a 2012 documentary by conservative filmmaker Joel Gilbert that alleged that Obama is actually the biological son of the communist writer Frank Marshall Davis. 

Gilbert’s film takes one actual fact — Obama wrote in his memoir that he had been friendly with Davis as a teenager in Hawaii, having been introduced by his grandfather — and uses fake sources and wild speculation to extrapolate that Davis is his “real father.” But mostly, the film’s thesis is based on Gilbert’s opinion that Obama looks more like Davis than he does the elder Barack Obama, and it features several juxtaposed images in which Gilbert circles their supposedly similar features.

Crowley praised the film as “just dynamite” during an interview with Gilbert on her radio show, claiming that he had amassed “some very powerful evidence” and urging listeners to watch the documentary and “judge the story for themselves.”

These are the sorts of people you end up hiring when you’re drawing on the Fox green room for your staff.

[Media Matters]

Kellyanne Conway Snaps Back at Reporter: ‘What’s Your Ethnicity?’

When White House reporter Andrew Feinberg posed a question to Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday about the president’s racist tweets against the four congresswomen known as the “Squad,” he found himself taken aback by her response. 

Feinberg, a reporter for the website BeltwayBreakfast.com, asked the White House counselor which countries President Donald Trump was referring to when he suggested Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—all U.S. citizens—should “go back” to where they came from. 

Instead of answering that question, Conway asked him, “What’s your ethnicity?” 

“Uh… why is that relevant?” Feinberg asked before Conway interrupted him to say, “Because I’m asking you a question.”

After Conway shares that her ancestors are from Ireland and Italy, the reporter said, “My ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you.” 

Conway still would not answer Feinberg’s question, instead insisting that he question was relevant because Trump said “originally” from—he didn’t—and going on a rant about how “a lot of us are sick and tired in this country of America coming last,” echoing comments she made on Fox News earlier in the day about the “Squad” representing a “dark underbelly in this country.” 

In that same Fox interview, Conway distanced herself from her husband George Conway, whose latest Washington Post column is headlined: “Trump is a racist president.” 

Reached for comment, Feinberg told The Daily Beast, “It’s not the first time she’s responded to one of my questions with an irrelevant question, but this time was particularly bizarre.”

“I just wanted to get back to what I was asking her about,” he added, “so I was glad she was able to confirm the president’s thinking on the matter.”

[The Daily Beast]

Media

Trump says he will not fire Kellyanne Conway for Hatch Act violations

President Trump said Friday he will not fire Kellyanne Conway as White House counselor for violating the Hatch Act, rebuking the recommendation of a top federal watchdog.

“No, I’m not going to fire her. I think she’s a terrific person,” Trump said during a call-in interview on “Fox & Friends.”

The president’s comments came one day after the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) publicly said Conway should be removed from office, calling her a “repeat offender” who has flouted the law barring federal employees from engaging in political activity in their official duties.

The office is not related to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation.

Trump said he will “get a very strong briefing” on Conway’s Hatch Act violations, but suggested he will not recommend that she change her behavior.

“It looks to me they’re trying to take away her right from free speech and that’s just not fair,” he said.

A 17-page report submitted to the White House found that Conway violated the law in more than half a dozen television interviews and tweets by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity.”

The White House argued the OSC applied the law too broadly and violated Conway’s First Amendment rights. The Hatch Act bars the vast majority of federal employees from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.” It was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1947 and 1973.

[The Hill]

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