Trump Falsely Claims ‘Fake News Media’ Ignored Obama’s ’57 States’ Gaffe

President Donald Trump falsely claimed the “fake news media” refused to cover former President Barack Obama’s “57” states gaffe, tweeting late last night that if he had made such a mistake, then it would have been “story of the year.”

“When President Obama said that he has been to ’57 States,’ very little mention in Fake News Media,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year!”

The president also tagged Fox News host Laura Ingraham in the tweet, meaning the president was watching the conservative pundit’s show, as she had a segment on Obama’s recent attacks against Trump in-which she mentioned the 57 states slip-up.

“Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states?” Obama said in May 2008. “I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”

Obama acknowledged the mistake after, saying, “I understand I said there were 57 states today.”

However, Trump’s claim that the media did not cover it is blatantly false. Every outlet from Reuters, to the Los Angeles Times, to Politico covered the error.

[Mediaite]

White House Reiterates Trump Call for Investigation of Anonymous Opinion Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Wall Street Journal]

Trump Boasts of New York Times Report on Republican Party

On Saturday, President Donald Trumptook to Twitter to brag about a New York Times report on the Republican Party’s loyalty to him.

“So true!” Trump wrote before quoting Nicholas Fandos, who wrote in the Times, “Mr. Trump remains the single most popular figure in the Republican Party, whose fealty has helped buoy candidates in competitive Republican primaries and remains a hot commodity among general election candidates.”

Of course, it is ironic that Trump is tweeting out a comment made in the Times, the paper he has gone to war with in recent days over the anonymous op-ed from a senior White House official who questioned his fitness for office.

In fact, just days ago he slammed them as the “Failing New York Times.”

He also suggested that they use phony sources.

Trump also clearly didn’t read the full  New York Times article which he cited which also talked about how he “raged”and “lashed out” in recent days in wake of the Times op-ed.

[Mediaite]

Trump Wants Attorney General to Investigate Source of Anonymous Times Op-Ed

President Trump said on Friday that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of an anonymous Op-Ed piece published in The New York Times, intensifying his attack on an article that he has characterized as an act of treason.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to Fargo, N.D., Mr. Trump said, “I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.”

Mr. Trump said he was considering action against The Times, although he did not elaborate.

The president has raged against the column since The Times published it on Wednesday afternoon. But his latest remark indicates that he wants to use the Justice Department to root out the author of the column, which described some members of the administration in a state of near-mutiny against a president some view as dangerous and untethered from reality.

“We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” he said.

[New York Times]

Reality

Remember, this is very similar to the Obama administration’s treatment of Fox News report James Rosen, who the Department of Justice treated as a co-conspirator and a criminal in their investigation of leaks.

Trump: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was ridiculed by the ‘fake news’

President Trump on Thursday night claimed that the media “excoriated” President Lincoln when he gave the Gettysburg Address in 1863.

“You know when Abraham Lincoln made that Gettysburg Address speech, the great speech, you know he was ridiculed?” Trump said during a rally in Billings, Mont., citing the 272-word speech that Lincoln gave on a battlefield near Gettysburg, Pa., during the Civil War.

“And he was excoriated by the fake news. They had fake news then. They said it was a terrible, terrible speech.”

Trump said the speech only became widely revered 50 years after Lincoln’s death.

“Fifty years after his death they said it may have been the greatest speech ever made in America,” Trump said. “I have a feeling that’s going to happen with us. In different ways, that’s going to happen with us.”

Trump’s comments came as part of a free-wheeling speech he delivered in support of GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale on Thursday night.

The president touted Rosendale, Montana’s state auditor, during the speech while taking several shots at his Democratic rival, incumbent Sen. Jon Tester.

“Jon Tester will never drain the swamp because he happens to live in the swamp and he loves the swamp,” Trump said.

Tester is one of 10 Democratic senators running for reelection in states that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race between Tester and Rosendale as a “likely” win for the Democrat.

[The Hill]

Trump threatens to reveal classified info to punish political enemies: They’re ‘going crazy — wow!’

President Donald Trump threatened to declassify government documents to expose alleged “corruption” by his political enemies.

The president lashed out at the “Deep State” and the “Fake News Media” after the New York Times published an extraordinary op-ed by an anonymous senior administration official revealing what amounts to a coup within the White House.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted. “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

[Raw Story]

Trump Says He’s Going to Tell Sean Hannity to Stop Airing His Critics

During a rally in Montana Thursday night, President Donald Trump gave a shout out to a Fox News host.

“Do we love Sean Hannity, by the way?” Trump asked the raucous crowd.

He then suggested that he’s going to tell the Fox News host not to air his critics anymore.

“I love him. But here’s the only thing,” Trump said. “He puts up all these losers that say horrible things. I’ve got to talk to him.”

Then pointing to the media pen, he told the crowd, “And by the way, look at all the fake news back there.”

[Mediaite]

Trump demands NYT turn anonymous source over to government ‘for National Security purposes’

President Trump on Wednesday lashed out at The New York Times in a tweet over the paper’s publishing an op-ed by an anonymous Trump administration official.

Hours after the piece was published, Trump questioned whether the official exists and demanded that the paper turn the author over to the government, saying it is a national security issue.

“Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?” he tweeted. “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”

Trump also appeared to question earlier Wednesday whether the official had committed “treason” by writing the piece.

The op-ed was written by an anonymous source claiming to be part of the “resistance” inside the Trump administration. The individual describes in the piece internal efforts among aides and cabinet officials to combat Trump’s “misguided impulses.”

The blistering article sent shockwaves through Washington and frustrated the administration.

The Times published the piece along with an editor’s note stating that the person’s identity was known to the Times, and that publishing the column anonymously was “the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.”

[The Hill]

Trump is accusing his administration’s anonymous op-ed writer of treason. That’s nonsense.

Early Wednesday evening, the president issued the following official statement:

While, in isolation, the tweet is maddeningly enigmatic, most observers immediately recognized that President Trump was referring to a New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous senior official in his administration.

In the op-ed, the official describes themselves and their colleagues as “thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office,” decries the president’s decision-making as “half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless,” and says that early in the Trump presidency, there were “whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president.”

The last part, presumably, is why Trump is calling the author a traitor.

Treason has a very specific constitutional definition

While there’s obviously a colloquial sense in which “traitor” is used as a general descriptor of disloyal people, the term also has a formal legal definition in the Constitution, and as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was swift to note, the op-ed doesn’t qualify:

Graham is right. The op-ed author isn’t guilty of treason. Nor is Trump or any member of his administration or 2016 campaign guilty of treason because of their ties to a Russian election meddling operation.

Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution defines treason as follows:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

As UC Davis’s Carlton Larson, one of the few experts on treason law in academia today, explained to me in 2013, this language provides for two types of treason prosecutions.

The first is an “aid and comfort” prosecution, in which the defendant is accused of aiding the war effort of a country presently at war with the United States. Not just “rivals” but literally at war. Aldrich Ames, the CIA officer turned Soviet spy, got at least 10 people killed through his actions, and FBI Russian spy Robert Hanssen indirectly got at least three killed, but neither was charged with treason because the US was not at war with the Soviet Union/Russian Federation at the time of their actions.

By contrast, successful aid-and-comfort prosecutions include those of American Nazi propagandist Robert Henry Best and of Iva Toguri, who was accused of being “Tokyo Rose,” an English-language Japanese propaganda broadcaster meant to lower American service members’ morale in the Pacific (she was later exonerated and received a presidential pardon).

The second type of treason involves “levying war,” in which the defendants themselves waged war against the United States or an individual state. Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson’s first vice president, was prosecuted for treason on these grounds and acquitted, after being accused of assembling forces to create an independent state in the center of North America. John Brown, the abolitionist revolutionary, was convicted of treason against the state of Virginia on levying war grounds after his raid on Harpers Ferry.

The anonymous senior administration official doesn’t meet either standard

Now, the op-ed author is obviously not going to be prosecuted for levying war. That leaves the claim that he or she provided aid and comfort to our enemies by undermining Trump in print.

For that to be the case, though, one would have to determine that the op-ed was designed to aid a specific foreign enemy with whom the US is at war, and there is no such country in the world right now.

Attempting to help al-Qaeda or any associated violent extremist groups might qualify under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after 9/11, and indeed, an American-born al-Qaeda operative was indicted for treasonin 2006 for aiding the organization. The indictment cites the AUMF as well as Osama bin Laden’s statements that al-Qaeda is at war with the United States to demonstrate that by adhering to al-Qaeda, the operative in question, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, was helping a group with which the US was at war.

But the op-ed author rather obviously did not write the New York Times piece with the express purpose of aiding al-Qaeda. Even if he did want to help al-Qaeda (a claim that, again, is preposterous), the treason allegation would be iffy. Consider the Supreme Court case of Cramer v. United States, in which Anthony Cramer, an American man who met with Nazi agents in the US, saw his treason conviction overturned on the grounds that merely meeting the enemy isn’t enough to count as treason.

In his opinion in that case, Justice Robert Jackson asserted that only a defendant who can be found to have “adhered to the enemy” and “intended to betray” the US could be found guilty of treason — even if he did provide aid and comfort to the enemy.

Proving that the op-ed author not only provided aid and comfort to al-Qaeda by the mere act of writing the op-ed, but also consciously intended to betray the United States of America, would be basically impossible. That holds even in the incredibly unlikely world where those were the intentions of, say, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley or White House chief economist Kevin Hassett or Russia Ambassador John Huntsman or any of the many other officials floated as being the op-ed author.

Treason is a very limited crime. It’s rarely prosecuted outside of wartime; Gadahn was the first person charged with treason since World War II. And it definitely doesn’t apply to this case.

[Vox]

Trump throws tantrum at Woodward: He published ‘work of fiction’ to derail Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused author Bob Woodward of releasing a tell-all White House book in order to derail confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump was asked about Woodward’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” during a pool spray at the White House.

According to tweets from reporters who were in the room, Trump called Woodward’s book a “work of fiction” and said that it was designed to interfere with Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“We run a strong White House, no doubt about it,” the president was quoted as saying.

Read some of the tweets from reporters below.

[Raw Story]

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