Trump: ‘People would revolt’ if I were impeached

President Donald Trump says in a new interview that he is not concerned about being impeached by Democrats, saying, “I think that the people would revolt if that happened.”

In a Reuters interview Tuesday, Trump spoke out for the first time about new documents filed by prosecutors detailing the alleged crimes of his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Cohen has said he made hush payments to two women accusing Trump of infidelity in the waning days of the 2016 campaign.

Asked if he discussed campaign finance law with Cohen, Trump tells Reuters: “Michael Cohen is a lawyer. I assume he would know what he’s doing.”

He adds: “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?”

[The Washington Post]

CNN offices evacuated in bomb scare just as Trump tweeted ‘ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE’ about media he doesn’t like

Donald Trump launched his latest attack on the media just as the offices of CNN, frequently the target of his anger, were being evacuated following a bomb threat.

Police searched the broadcaster’s New York newsroom after a caller claimed five explosives had been placed inside the building. Officers later gave the all-clear.

Moments after the threat, which CNN said came just before 10pm, the president wrote on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

There is no suggestion he had seen reports of the evacuation when he posted the tweet, which followed posts in which accused the FBI of pursuing a “witch hunt” against him.

But the apparent coincidence is likely to reignite concerns about Mr Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

Earlier this year, CNN and several high-profile critics, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were targeted with mail bombs allegedly sent by a Trump supporter.

New York Police Department said the latest threat against the broadcaster on Thursday night proved to be hoax.

Police said they received an emergency call about the threat at 10.07pm local time (3.07am GMT), a minute before Mr Trump’s tweet.

Staff evacuated the Time Warner Centre and Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight was taken off the air as officers searched the building with a bomb squad on standby.

The network broadcast pre-recorded programming for about 30 minutes before Mr Lemon’s show resumed live from the street outside.

No bombs were found inside the building.

[The Independent]

Trump on Coming Debt Crisis: ‘I Won’t Be Here’ When It Blows Up

Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s aides and advisers have tried to convince him of the importance of tackling the national debt.

Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off, implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors—currently about $21 trillion—because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes even more untenable.

The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.

“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.

The episode illustrates the extent of the president’s ambivalence toward tackling an issue that has previously animated the Republican Party from the days of Ronald Reagan to the presidency of Barack Obama.

But for those who have worked with Trump, it was par for the course. Several people close to the president, both within and outside his administration, confirmed that the national debt has never bothered him in a truly meaningful way, despite his public lip service. “I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former senior White House official attested.

Marc Short, who until recently worked for Trump as his legislative affairs director, said he believed the president recognized “the threat that debt poses” and he pointed to Trump’s concern “about rising interest rates” as evidence of his concern for the matter.

“But there’s no doubt this administration and this Congress need to address spending because we have out-of-control entitlement programs,” Short said, adding, “it’s fair to say that… the president would be skeptical of anyone who claims that they would know exactly when a [debt] crisis really comes home to roost.”

Recent reports have suggested that Trump is determined, at least rhetorically, to address the issue. Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the president, noted that the president and his team have proposed policies to achieve some deficit reduction, “including in his first budget that actually would’ve balanced in 10 years, a historic, common-sense rescissions proposal.”

[The Daily Beast]

A new warning to federal employees: No talk of ‘Resistance’ or opinions about impeachment at work

The federal government has issued a new guidance for the political activity of federal government workers, warning that weighing in on impeachment or talking about “the Resistance” may constitute prohibited activity, in what some ethics advocates say could be an opening to limit dissent.

The Office of Special Counsel is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work. The office, not to be confused with special counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation, is run by Henry Kerner, whom President Donald Trump nominated to the post.

The unsigned “Guidance Regarding Political Activity,” which was issued on Tuesday, takes the form of a question and answer and seeks to clarify the types of actions and rhetoric considered political activity and therefore prohibited at work.

In a nod to the current climate, it stipulated that advocating for or against impeachment of a candidate for federal office would be considered political because of its implications for future elections and that any use of terms like “resistance” and “#resist” would be construed as political activity.

But some government watchdogs said they feared the guidelines could have wide-ranging effects on the nearly 3 million federal government employees in the United States, as well as other state and local employees who work with federally funded programs. The ethics nonprofit American Oversight said the guidance raised “significant concerns” in a letter it sent to the office on Thursday, urging it to withdraw the memo.

“OSC’s position on impeachment advocacy or opinions goes too far,” the group’s executive director, Austin Evers, wrote in the letter, adding that “certainly there is a difference between advocating that an official should (or should not) be elected and advocating that an official did (or did not) commit treason or high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution.”

In particular, Evers expressed concern that the guidelines could constrain whistleblowers.

“As OSC knows well, it is critically important to ensure public employees are comfortable raising concerns about waste, fraud, or abuse in the government,” he wrote. “Impeachment is primarily a remedy for severe misconduct. If public employees are aware of conduct that could be impeachable but fear civil or criminal liability under the Hatch Act for saying so, they may be reluctant to approach OSA, inspectors general, or Congress.”

Nick Schwellenbach, the director of investigations at the Project on Government Oversight and an employee of the OSC from 2014 to 2017, said he felt the guidance likely crossed a legal line, saying the Hatch Act was meant to be narrowly focused on political activities around parties and candidates.

“The way OSC has traditionally balanced its enforcement of that statute with the First Amendment is [focused on] supporting a candidate or political party for election. I think once you start talking about more general political views, you’re starting to infringe upon people’s rights,” he said. “This one, I think, goes too far for them. It runs the risk of turning the OSC into an Orwellian enforcer inside the federal workforce.”

Schwellenbach said he believed the guidance could be successfully challenged in court on its constitutionality.

Evers also worried that the restrictions could be used to hem in employees abilities to weigh in on policy discussions.

“If resistance terminology can become inherently ‘political activity,’ so too could statements like ‘Build the Wall’ or ‘Protect our Care,’ which reflect policy positions that nonetheless are tied to the president’s campaign positions,” he wrote. “In addition, conflating resistance terminology with electoral advocacy opens the door to public employees being retaliated against for their policy positions or opinions. … If using resistance terminology is categorically barred under OSC’s Hatch Act interpretation, it could create new, insidious tools for appointees to target public employees.”

The Office of Special Counsel did not return an immediate request for comment.

[Chicago Tribune]

Trump, When Asked Why He Sided With Saudi Arabia Over CIA: ‘Because It’s America First!

President Donald Trump was asked by a reporter on Tuesday why he sided with Saudi Arabia over his own intelligence agencies regarding who is responsible for the murder or Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump issued a bizarre statement on Tuesday announcing the U.S. would stand by Saudi Arabia regardless of whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of the Washington Post writer in Turkey, as the CIA has reportedly concluded.

“It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” Trump told reporters as he made his way from Washington D.C. to his Mar-a-Lago resort for Thanksgiving.

“Why are you siding with Saudi Arabia over your own intelligence community?” a reporter asked.

“Because it’s America First,” Trump replied. “It’s all about American First. We’re not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars in orders, and let Russia and China have them.”

(The Washington Post called Trump’s claims about the jobs and revenue created by Saudi investment in the U.S. a “fantasy” in their report on his statement.)

“We are with Saudi Arabia, we’re staying with Saudi Arabia,” Trump added.

Trump’s statement drew criticism for its apparent defense of Saudi Arabia’s actions and questioning of its leader’s culpability in the gruesome murder of a dissident who resided in the United States.

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump wrote in his statement. “That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump Thinks You Need ID To Buy Cereal

President Donald Trump expressed the extent of his knowledge on voter ID laws Wednesday when he said that buying a box of cereal requires identification.

As midterm election votes for the governor of Georgia continue to be counted, along with a recount of votes for governor and Senate positions in Florida, Trump has baselessly claimed that Democratic operatives are attempting to steal the election. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) himself said late last week that there was no evidence of voter fraud.

 

He doubled down in an interview with The Daily Caller on Wednesday when he called for more voter ID laws.

“The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump said, without evidence. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

He then added, “If you buy a box of cereal — you have a voter ID.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, which The Daily Caller did a very thorough job of not doing. Is the president saying buying cereal requires identification? Maybe he’s referencing that some businesses require a photo ID when paying with a personal check? Or maybe he means to suggest that for certain individuals, a box of cereal itself could act as identification (we’re looking at you, Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch and that Trix rabbit).

This is at least the second time the president has suggested identification is needed to buy groceries. In a July rally in Florida, Trump boasted about his supposed knowledge of both identification laws and grocery shopping.

“You know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need ID,” Trump said at the time.

The July statement caused even The New York Times to ask: Has this man ever shopped at a grocery store before? The publication talked to close friends and personal associates of Trump, who could not confirm the president has ever shopped at a grocery store.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

[Huffington Post]

Donald Trump Makes Absurd Claim That Illegal Voters Change into Disguise in Their Car and That’s Why Republicans Lose

Illegal voters, after having already cast their ballots, head to their cars and change outfits in order to vote again, according to President Donald Trump in an interview released Wednesday. The president also stressed what he believed to be the necessity for voter IDs in elections.

The president made his claims just over a week removed from major Republican losses in the House and in governor’s races, with Democrats picking up 33 seats in the House and flipping control for the first time since 2010.

Trump pegged Republican losses to voter fraud, similar to his unfounded excuse for not winning the popular vote over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

“The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump said in an interview with The Daily Caller, a conservative news and opinion site. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States.

Several reports have indicated the president was angry over losing the House to Democrats, and a week ago he even called out Republicans who lost their seats for not accepting his “embrace.”

The president also reiterated previous false statements about voters requiring identification to purchase food, and thus should have the same requirement when voting.

“If you buy a box of cereal—you have a voter ID,” Trump told the conservative news outlet. “They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.”

Trump also called for the firing of Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, as she faced accusations of impropriety while the county continues to tally ballots.

llegal voters, after having already cast their ballots, head to their cars and change outfits in order to vote again, according to President Donald Trump in an interview released Wednesday. The president also stressed what he believed to be the necessity for voter IDs in elections.

The president made his claims just over a week removed from major Republican losses in the House and in governor’s races, with Democrats picking up 33 seats in the House and flipping control for the first time since 2010.

Trump pegged Republican losses to voter fraud, similar to his unfounded excuse for not winning the popular vote over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

“The Republicans don’t win and that’s because of potentially illegal votes,” Trump said in an interview with The Daily Caller, a conservative news and opinion site. “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States.

Several reports have indicated the president was angry over losing the House to Democrats, and a week ago he even called out Republicans who lost their seats for not accepting his “embrace.”

The president also reiterated previous false statements about voters requiring identification to purchase food, and thus should have the same requirement when voting.

“If you buy a box of cereal—you have a voter ID,” Trump told the conservative news outlet. “They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.”

Trump also called for the firing of Broward County Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes, as she faced accusations of impropriety while the county continues to tally ballots.

[Newsweek]

Trump Baselessly Continues Florida Voter Fraud Claims: ‘Honest Vote Count No Longer Possible’

President Donald Trump declared that “an honest vote count is no longer” in the controversial Florida midterm elections for the state’s governor and U.S. Senate positions, claiming without evidence that many of the ballots are “missing or forged.”

The two races, Florida Governor Rick Scott Scott versus Democratic Senator Bill Nelson for the Senate seat and former Rep. Ron DeSantis verses Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor, appeared to be going for Republicans on election night. As more ballots were counted in Democratic-leaning areas, like Broward County and Palm Beach, additional votes started going to Democrats, which narrowed the GOP’s lead and triggered a recount.

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

The president did not include any evidence to back up his claims of voter fraud.

Florida does offer military and overseas voters “a 10-day extension exists for overseas voters” extension for their ballots to be counted, which is what the president may be talking about in his line about “new ballots” showing up “out of nowhere.”

“The overseas voter’s vote-by-mail ballot must be postmarked or dated by Election Day and received within 10 days of the election in order to be counted, provided the ballot is otherwise proper,” states Florida’s election information site. “This 10-day extension only applies in presidential preference primary elections, general elections, and special elections and special primary elections (by operation of section 100.191, F.S.)”

Florida officials have also noted that they have not seen any evidence of voter fraud taking place.

[Mediaite]

Trump Suggests He Will Call For New Election in Arizona: ‘SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH’

The President of the United States is floating the possibility of throwing out the results of an entire Senate election and calling for a new vote — alleging electoral corruption.

In a Friday afternoon tweet sent from somewhere over the Atlantic — as he’s currently on board Air Force One en route to France — President Donald Trump floated the possibility of a new election in Arizona, where the votes are still being tabulated in the Senate contest between Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R). The reason for the drastic action, according to Trump? “Electoral corruption.”

“Just out — in Arizona,” Trump wrote. “SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!”

The presidential dispatch was sent at 3:33 p.m. ET. Twenty-seven minutes earlier, a report on the Arizona Senate contest aired on Fox News. In it, correspondent Dan Springer stated the following:

“There are still just under 500,000 votes to count. Nearly all are in Maricopa [County]. And that’s where a legal drama is brewing. The Republican party sued over the handling of ballots where the signature either wasn’t there or didn’t match…a short time ago, the Republican Party chairman accused the Maricopa County recorder — a Democrat — of destroying evidence by mixing in disputed ballots in with all the others.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Baselessly Alleges Florida Election Fraud in Wild Rant: ‘You Notice the Votes Never Go the Other Way…’

During a White House pool spray on Friday morning, President Donald Trump went off on a wild rant baselessly floating the idea of foul play in the narrow elections in Florida for Senate and Governor — which soon spun off into a rant about corruption at large.

Speaking with reporters before departing for Paris, Trump baselessly claimed that votes tend to go for Democrats in contested elections.

“You notice the votes never go the other way?” Trump said. “They hire lawyers, and the votes don’t ever seem to go the Republican way…I don’t know. You tell me. It’s always the Democrats.”

Those comments led to the rant about “crooked stuff.”

“It’s always GPS Fusion,” the president said. “It’s always crooked stuff. Look at what happened. How many FBI are gone, how many Justice Department people are gone that I found out?…There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in this country, and we’re finding out. And I’m getting to the bottom of it. And I’ve done a hell of a job.”

[Mediaite]

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