Trump Blasts ‘Lowest Rated’ Shepard Smith and Other Fox Anchors: ‘Should Be Working’ at CNN

President Donald Trump lashed out at several Fox News anchors Sunday, writing in a tweet they “should be working” at CNN.

In a day packed with Twitter missives, Trump’s latest attack takes aim at Smith, a weekday anchor, and Leland Vittert and Arthel Neville, both weekend anchors at the president’s favorite network.

“Were @FoxNews weekend anchors, @ArthelNeville and @LelandVittert, trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse?” Trump wrote. “In any event, that’s where they should be working, along with their lowest rated anchor, Shepard Smith!”

Trump’s attack on the hard news side of Fox News comes hours after he called for Jeanine Pirro — the opinion host suspended by the network for suggesting a congresswoman’s hijab meant she was anti-American — to be brought back on air.

[Mediaite]

Trump defends Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro after Islamophobic comments

President Trump came to Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro’s defense on Sunday in response to the network taking her off the air without explanation, one week after she implied Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) use of a hijab was antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Context: The string of tweets comes one day after authorities said “an immigrant-hating white supremacist” killed at least 50 people at a pair of mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Trump issued a single tweet on the day of the attack extending his sympathies to the people of New Zealand, but he did not condemn the shooter’s racial motives or acknowledge the targeting of Muslims.

  • When asked on Friday if he believes white nationalism is a “rising threat,” Trump said he believes “it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.” Far-right extremists have killed more people in the U.S. since 9/11 than any other organized terrorist group.

The big picture: A series of damning incidents over the past several weeks has seen Pirro, fellow host Tucker Carlson and Fox News as an entity come under fire for charges of racism and coziness with the Trump administration.

[Axios]

Trump Attacks McCain For 2nd Day Straight, Falsely Claims McCain Graduated ‘Last in His Class’

Donald Trump — who reportedly had Michael Cohen threaten all of his schools to keep his own transcripts a secret — spent a second consecutive day attacking the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), falsely claiming that McCain was “last in his class” at Annapolis.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted another attack on McCain, saying that it was “‘last in his class’ (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election.”

Trump’s claim about McCain is false. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class, and self-effacingly noted in 1993 that “My four years here [at Annapolis] were not notable for individual academic achievement but, rather, for the impressive catalogue of demerits which I managed to accumulate.”

Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen has testified that Trump had him threaten all of his own former schools to keep his academic records secret.

Trump’s attack cones a day after he similarly slammed McCain, prompting a cutting response from Meghan McCain. Trump’s obsession with attacking John McCain’s military record dates back at least twenty years, when he told Dan Rather “He was captured. Does being captured make you a hero? I don’t know. I’m not sure.”

It was an attack that he infamously repeated during the 2016 presidential campaign, but which did not dim his popularity with Republican voters.

[Mediaite]

Trump says he intentionally called Apple’s Tim Cook ‘Tim Apple’

President Trump on Monday claimed he intentionally referred to Apple CEO Tim Cook as “Tim Apple,” seeking to push back on media coverage of his remark, which was mocked online.

Trump wrote on Twitter that he just tried “to save time & words” by referring to the tech industry titan by the wrong name last week at a White House meeting with business leaders.

“The Fake News was disparagingly all over this, & it became yet another bad Trump story!” he tweeted.

Trump made the slip of the tongue while he thanked Cook for investing in his company’s U.S. operations.

“I mean, you’ve really put a big investment in our country. We really appreciate it very much, Tim Apple,” Trump said at the time.

Cook reacted playfully, changing the name on his Twitter profile to Tim with an Apple logo emoji.

While the encounter was a viral moment for only short amount of time, it has stuck with Trump, who is sensitive about the way he is portrayed in the media.

Axios reported Sunday that Trump told a group of Republican donors over the weekend he actually said “Tim Cook, Apple” very quickly but that the “Cook” was said quietly.

A video recording of the event, however, shows Trump said “Tim Apple” and not “Tim Cook, Apple.”

[The Hill]

Media

Trump Denies Calling Tim Cook ‘Tim Apple.’ It Happened on TV.

Last week, President Trump made a small, comic gaffe when he called Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, “Tim Apple.” Friday night, at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, Trump called the reports “fake news.” Jonathan Swan reports that Trump told the donors he actually said “Tim Cook, Apple,” very quickly, with the “Cook” part under his breath, so it sounded like “Tim Apple.”

That is not what happened. Here is the video:

“I just thought, why would you lie about that,” one of the donors told Swan. “It doesn’t even matter!”

Trump has consistently generated anxiety among the Republican elite through his habit of lying about absolutely everything, rather than just the things Republicans want him to he lie about (tax cuts don’t increase deficits, greenhouse gas emissions don’t warm the planet, repealing Obamacare won’t take away anybody’s coverage, etc.). Part of it has to do with the fact that Trump has far more things he actually needs to lie about due to his extreme shadiness. But another part is that Trump is simply a pathological liar, who tells weird and obviously made-up stories in his campaign speeches for no apparent reason.

You might think a Trump donor watching this could have some misgivings about handing money to help a pathological liar keep the most powerful job in the world — at a fundraiser held at Trump’s privately owned club, in order to guarantee that his campaign work lines his own pockets, no less. Instead the prevalent attitude is, It would be great if the president was not a pathological liar, but what are you gonna do?

[New York Magazine]

State Dept. Cancels Journalist’s Award Over Her Criticism of Trump

Jessikka Aro, a Finnish investigative journalist, has faced down death threats and harassment over her work exposing Russia’s propaganda machine long before the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. In January, the U.S. State Department took notice, telling Aro she would be honored with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award, to be presented in Washington by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Weeks later, the State Department rescinded the award offer. A State Department spokesperson said it was due to a “regrettable error,” but Aro and U.S. officials familiar with the internal deliberations tell a different story. They say the department revoked her award after U.S. officials went through Aro’s social media posts and found she had also frequently criticized President Donald Trump.

“It created a shitstorm of getting her unceremoniously kicked off the list,” said one U.S. diplomatic source familiar with the internal deliberations. “I think it was absolutely the wrong decision on so many levels,” the source said. The decision “had nothing to do with her work.”

The State Department spokesperson said in an email that Aro was “incorrectly notified” that she had been chosen for the award and that it was a mistake that resulted from “a lack of coordination in communications with candidates and our embassies.”

“We regret this error. We admire Ms. Aro’s achievements as a journalist, which were the basis of U.S. Embassy Helsinki’s nomination,” the spokesperson said. 

Aro received a formal invitation to the award ceremony not from the embassy but from the State Department’s Office of the Chief of Protocol on Feb. 12. 

There is no indication that the decision to revoke the award came from the secretary of state or the White House. Officials who spoke to FP have suggested the decision came from lower-level State Department officials wary of the optics of Pompeo granting an award to an outspoken critic of the Trump administration. The department spokesperson did not respond to questions on who made the decision or why. 

To U.S. officials who spoke to FP, the incident underscores how skittish some officials—career and political alike—have become over government dealings with vocal critics of a notoriously thin-skinned president. The Trump administration has barred the hiring of prominent Republican foreign-policy experts who publicly denounced the president during the 2016 election season, including some who have since walked back their criticisms. As another example, Trump himself last year revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who regularly castigates the president on Twitter, and threatened to follow suit with other former national security officials who did the same. 

In the minds of some diplomats, this has created an atmosphere where lower-level officials self-censor dealings with critics of the administration abroad, even without senior officials weighing in.

Aro said the decision to cancel her award and corresponding trip to the United States caught her completely by surprise.

“[When] I was informed about the withdrawal out of the blue, I felt appalled and shocked,” Aro told FP. “The reality in which political decisions or presidential pettiness directs top U.S. diplomats’ choices over whose human rights work is mentioned in the public sphere and whose is not is a really scary reality.”

Aro is a prolific Twitter user and was originally chosen for the award because of her investigative work exposing Russian troll factories. She often debunks misinformation spread online and comments on major news events related to propaganda and election interference, including Brexit and the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into links between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign. She has regularly tweeted criticism about Trump’s sharp political rhetoric and attacks on the press. Aro also helped organize a demonstration in Helsinki when the Finnish capital hosted a summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2018.

“I use Twitter to exchange ideas and share information freely,” Aro said. “I find the idea of U.S. government officials stalking my Twitter and politicizing my perfectly normal expressions of opinion deeply disturbing.”

After first being notified she would get the award, Aro filled out forms and questionnaires at the request of officials and cancelled paid speaking engagements to travel to Washington to attend the March 7 ceremony in Washington. The State Department also sent her an official invitation to accept the award and planned an itinerary for a corresponding tour of the United States, complete with flights and high-profile visits to newspapers and universities across the country.

Since 2007, the State Department has held an annual award ceremony honoring women around the world who “have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk and sacrifice,” according to the department’s website.

This year, the award is being given to Razia Sultana of Bangladesh; Naw K’nyaw Paw of Myanmar; Moumina Houssein Darar of Djibouti; Magda Gobran-Gorgi (“Mama Maggie”) of Egypt; Col. Khalida Khalaf Hanna al-Twal of Jordan; Sister Orla Treacy of Ireland; Olivera Lakic of Montenegro; Flor de Maria Vega Zapata of Peru; Marini de Livera of Sri Lanka; and Anna Aloys Henga of Tanzania.

The awards “demonstrate the United States commitment to gender equality, social inclusion, and advancing the global status of women and girls from all backgrounds across sectors as part of our foreign policy,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Pompeo will host the ceremony honoring the awardees on Thursday morning. First lady Melania Trump is also expected to attend and speak at the ceremony.

In 2014, Aro pursued reporting on a Russian troll factory in St. Petersburg that aimed to alter western public opinions. Long before the U.S. elections in 2016, which propelled Russian disinformation campaigns to the spotlight, she unearthed evidence of a state-sanctioned propaganda machine trying to shape online discourse and spread disinformation. After she published her investigation, Russian nationalist websites and pro-Moscow outlets in Finland coordinated smear campaigns against her, accusing her at times of being a Western intelligence agent and drug dealer, and bombarding her with anonymous abusive messages. She also received death threats.

Aro won the Finnish Grand Prize for Journalism in 2016 for her investigative work, and in 2018, she successfully sued the founder of MV-Lehti, a far-right, pro-Russian website in Finland, for defamation and negligence after it published offensive content about her following her initial investigation.

In late February, Aro submitted a letter drafted by her lawyer to the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki asking for justification about why her award was rescinded at the last minute and who made the decision. The letter also reserved the right to seek damages, due to Aro having to cancel paid speaking events that would have conflicted with Thursday’s award ceremony.

Aro said the embassy has not yet responded to the letter.

[Foreign Policy]

Trump: I did not break campaign finance laws

President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his assertion he did not break the law when he involved himself in a scheme to pay two women who alleged in the lead-up to the 2016 election that they had extramarital affairs with him.

“It was not a campaign contribution, and there were no violations of the campaign finance laws by me. Fake News!”  Trump tweeted.

The comments come after The New York Times reported Trump signed checks to reimburse his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, while he was serving as president.

Cohen last year pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws, in addition to other financial crimes, and lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Cohen implicated Trump in the scheme in court and in congressional testimony.

Federal prosecutors in December alleged that Cohen acted at the direction of “Individual-1,” a person widely believed to be Trump, when he committed the campaign finance violations.

Prosecutors said the payments to Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress who said she slept with Trump, broke the law because they were meant to influence the outcome of the election. Cohen reached the agreement with Daniels in October 2016, one month before Election Day.

During his explosive testimony last week to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cohen presented several checks signed by the president he said were meant to reimburse him for payments to Daniels.

The Times reported Wednesday that Trump authorized one of the checks for $35,000 in October 2017, nine months after his inauguration.

While the checks do not prove Trump committed a crime, they could be used as evidence by prosecutors should they pursue a case alleging that the president directed an illegal hush money scheme while in office.

Trump initially denied any knowledge of the payments to Cohen, but then shifted his explanation after Cohen pleaded guilty, saying the payments did not violate the law because they “didn’t come out of the campaign.”

Then in December, Trump said he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law” while repeating his assertion that Cohen’s actions in the hush money scheme were not illegal.

[The Hill]

Trump Quotes Tucker Carlson to Bash ‘Fake News’ as ‘Enemy of the People’ Again

President Donald Trump quoted Tucker Carlson‘s opening monologue on how far the media has fallen tonight to bash the “fake news” as the “enemy of the people” once again.

Carlson tonight opened by blasting BuzzFeed, mocking their cat coverage, ripping their Russia reporting after Michael Cohen‘s testimony last week, and facing off with editor-in-chief Ben Smith, but before all that he said this:

“We’ve seen an awful lot of change during the two years Trump has been president. American politics has been completely reordered. But also the American media has changed forever. News organizations that seemed like a big deal just five years ago are now extinct. Some of them are totally forgotten. Those that remain have either degraded themselves beyond recognition––like the New Yorker––or they’ve been purchased like Jeff Bezos to conduct unregistered lobbying for Amazon.com, like the Washington Post. It’s hard to remember that not so long ago, America had prestige media outlets.”

He went on to deride BuzzFeed as a “New York-based cat blog.”

And after Carlson’s show finished tonight, the president approvingly quoted him to once again bash the “enemy of the people”:

This morning the New Yorker––one of the news outlets Carlson name-dropped––published a report on the president’s relationship with Fox News, including how he “frequently posts about points that he agrees with” while watching.

[Mediaite]

Trump Accuses Adam Schiff of ‘Illegally Leaking to Fake News CNN’

President Donald Trump baselessly accused Rep. Adam Schiff of leaking to CNN on Sunday.

Trump’s accusation, framed with a question mark at the end, came on a busy day of tweeting for the president.

At one point, Trump seemed to blame Democrats in some way for his lackluster North Korean summit, writing: “For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the ‘walk.’ Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!”

And then this

[CNN]

‘These People Are Sick’: Trump Mocks Media for Coverage of His ‘Russia, If You’re Listening…’ Comments at CPAC

President Donald Trump teed off on the media today at his CPAC speech, mocking them for taking his infamous “Russia, if you’re listening…” campaign comments about Hillary Clinton‘s emails seriously.

When he brought up the “fake news,” the president said, “If you tell a joke, if you are sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena people in an arena, and if you say something like ‘Russia, please, if you can get us Hillary Clinton’s emails! Please, Russia, please!’”

He said it in a mocking voice, which was immediately followed up by chants of “Lock her up!”

“Then that fake CNN and others say, ‘He asked Russia to get the emails. Horrible,’” Trump continued. “I mean, I saw it like two weeks ago. I’m watching and they’re talking about one of the points. ‘He asked Russia for the emails.’ These people are sick. And I’m telling you, they know the game. They know the game. And they play it dirty.”

[Mediaite]

Reality

It wasn’t a joke, Donald Trump was well aware in July 2016 that Russia had hacked DNC emails and were preparing to release them. Donald Trump Jr. told him. Roger Stone told him. George Papadapolous told him.

1 2 3 44