Trump fumes after NYT reports on his banking history

President Trump on Monday lashed out at the New York Times after the paper reported that anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank flagged multiple transactions involving him and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in 2016 and 2017, and recommended they be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.

Deutsche Bank executives rejected their employees’ advice, the Times said, and the suspicious transactions were never reported.

Trump, though, did not respond to that part of the report. The president, instead, fixated on the newspaper’s assertion that unlike Deutsch Bank, “most Wall Street banks had stopped doing business with him.”

“The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me,” Trump tweeted. “WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money. Very old fashioned, but true. When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks. Banks have always been available to me, they want to make money.”

The president accused the Times, without evidence, of using made-up sources in an effort to “disparage” him. He then repeated a familiar attack line (“FAKE NEWS is actually the biggest story of all and is the true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”) before returning to his Twitter tirade about the report.

“Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks,” the president continued. “But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”

“DeutscheBank was very good and highly professional to deal with – and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere,” Trump added. “There was always plenty of money around and banks to choose from. They would be very happy to take my money. Fake News!”

The president was tweeting so furiously, it seems, he missed a pair of missives.

“Two Tweets missing from last batch, probably a Twitter error,” Trump tweeted. “No time for a redo! Only the Dems get redos!”

That tweet was quickly deleted. It was unclear what the issue was.

Trump’s reaction to scrutiny of his relationship with Deutsche Bank comes amid efforts by Congress to get ahold of his tax and bank records.

Last month, the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed the German bank for documents related to any suspicious activities detected in Trump’s personal and business bank accounts since 2010.

Trump and his family then sued Deutsche Bank in an attempt to block it from sharing the documents. Although Trump once promised to publicly release his tax returns, he has refused to do so, claiming he is under audit.

Earlier this month, the Times obtained Trump’s tax returns from 1985 to 1994 showing his businesses lost more than $1 billion during that timespan.

[Yahoo News]

President Donald Trump criticizes Fox News over Pete Buttigieg town hall

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to comment on potential rival and Hoosier Pete Buttigieg and his chances on becoming president.

Trump’s tweets came hours before a Fox News town hall Sunday featuring Buttigieg in Claremont, New Hampshire. The 7 p.m. town hall was hosted by “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace.

“Hard to believe that @FoxNews is wasting airtime on Mayor Pete, as Chris Wallace likes to call him. Fox is moving more and more to the losing (wrong) side in covering the Dems. They go dumped from the Democrats boring debates, and they just want in. They forgot the people who go them there,” President Trump tweeted.

On his introduction to the show, Wallace said Buttigieg is “different, he breaks the mold and voters seem to be very intrigued by that at this point.”

Wallace compared Buttigieg’s fast-growing popularity to that of former president Barack Obama and Trump.

Trump tweeted that Wallace never speaks as well of him as he does of Buttigieg. He also referred to the South Bend, Indiana, mayor again as longtime Mad Magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman.

“Chris Wallace said, “I actually think, whether you like his opinions or not, that Mayor Pete has a lot of substance…fascinating biography.” Gee, he never speaks well of me – I like Mike Wallace better…and Alfred E. Newman will never be President!,” he tweeted.

In an interview earlier this month, Trump compared Buttigieg to Mad Magazine’s freckled-faced cartoon boy mascot, saying, “Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States.

The shot landed home with baby boomers and Gen Xers, many of whom remember thumbing through the iconic satirical magazine. But Buttigieg, a millennial, told Politico he had to Google it.

“I guess it’s just a generational thing,” he said. “I didn’t get the reference. It’s kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the president of the United States, and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal.”

The remark came on the heels of one Trump made at a campaign rally a few days earlier.

“Boot-edge-edge,” the president sounded out, according to a story reported by The Hill, “They say ‘edge-edge.’ “

Trump continued, apparently thinking little of Buttigieg’s stature on the world stage: “He’s got a great chance. He’ll be great. He’ll be great representing us against President Xi (Jinping) of China. That’ll be great.”

The president also alluded to Buttigieg on a conservative radio show last month as he speculated which Democrat he might face in the 2020 election, saying “It could be the mayor from Indiana.”

[USA Today]

Trump attacks Rep. Amash as a ‘loser’ and ‘lightweight’ after the Republican calls for impeachment

President Donald Trump responded to a Republican House member’s call for impeachment on Sunday, calling the lawmaker a “loser” who seeks to make headlines. 

On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash said in a tweet that Attorney General Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the report from special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election interference, which he said showed that Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct.”

The Michigan Republican said he made that statement “only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely.” 

Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he was “never a fan” of Amash, whom he called “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.” 

“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!” he tweeted.

During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed that Amash made his statement because he “wants to have attention.”

“Now, you’ve got to understand Justin Amash,” McCarthy said. “He votes more with Nancy Pelosi, than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole. What he wants is attention in this process.” 

The president said he did not believe Amash had actually read Mueller’s report. He claimed the report was “strong on NO COLLUSION” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and “ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION.” At the same time, he slammed the report as “biased” because it was “‘composed’ of 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump.”

But Mueller’s report explicitly said that the investigation looked into 10 potentially obstructive acts and the evidence did not clear the president. Rather, it said, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and punted that decision to the attorney general. Barr and then-deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ultimately decided not to bring charges against the president. 

The Mueller report also found that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” with “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton” and a hacking operation that sought to uncover information damaging to Clinton. 

The report concluded “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” but it did not find “that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” 

Because the report did not find evidence of a conspiracy, Barr has argued the president could not have obstructed justice because there was no crime to cover up in the first place. Trump made a similar argument on Sunday. 

“Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side?” he asked, referring to his belief that the investigation was a politically-motivated attack. 

Many legal experts have disputed the assertion that obstruction requires an “underlying crime.” And Amash said he believed Mueller’s report showed that Trump’s acts had “all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.” 

Amash also argued that impeachment “does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.” 

Many congressional Democrats, including many presidential candidates, have agreed with Amash’s call to begin impeachment proceedings. But the party’s leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has yet to back such a move

Pelosi has said impeachment would be too “divisive” for the nation without greater bipartisan support. And, so far, Amash has been the only Republican member of Congress to back impeachment. 

On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Amash “showed more courage than any other Republican” in Congress, but didn’t change the fact that there were “no signs” that impeachment could “even be potentially successful in the Senate.” 

[USA Today]

Trump Issues Threat: ‘If Iran Wants to Fight’ it Will Be the ‘Official End of Iran’

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to issue a threat against Iran amidst escalating tensions between the United States and the Middle Eastern country.

The president’s warning was short and direct: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!

The threat comes just days after the New York Times reported that Trump was seeking to tamp down escalated tensions between his administration and Tehran, telling acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan he doesn’t want a war with the country.

That came after National Security Adviser John Bolton requested the Pentagon to present a military plan that would involve sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East in response to a possible provocation from Iran.

When a reporter asked Trump if the U.S. was going to war with Iran last week, the president replied, “I hope not.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Loses It on Anonymous Sources Within His Administration: ‘It’s Bullsh*t!’

During a speech to realtors on Friday, President Donald Trump swung at the “fake news” and called “bullshit” on stories about his administration that are based on anonymous sources.

Earlier Friday, the president railed on Twitter against “fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” all while simultaneously saying it could be a good thing if causes Tehran to become confused. During a part of his speech in which he denied a conflict between him and his advisers on how to deal with Iran, Trump mocked media reports by remarking on how they rely on confidential sources.

“There is no source, the person doesn’t exist, the person’s not alive,” Trump said. “It’s bullshit.”

But Maggie Haberman of The New York Times wasted little time calling out the president:

[Mediaite]

Trump says Mulvaney had ‘no right’ if he cast doubt on infrastructure talks

President Donald Trump expressed frustrations against his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, for questioning the prospects of striking a deal with Democrats on an infrastructure plan, placing doubt on whether Mulvaney actually criticized the plan even though his comments were captured on camera.

In a newly released clip of a Fox News interview airing Sunday, Trump was asked whether he still wants to pursue a large infrastructure plan with Democrats even though Mulvaney threw cold water on the idea.

“Yeah, if Mick Mulvaney said that, then he has no right to say that. He tells me he didn’t say that and he didn’t mean it. He said it’s going to be hard to finance,” the President told “The Next Revolution” host Steve Hilton.

However, despite the President’s claim that Mulvaney hadn’t cast doubts on the plan, he did so on camera last month.

“Is this a real negotiation? I think it remains to be seen,” Mulvaney said at the Milken Institute in Beverly Hills referring to the infrastructure deal, adding, “I think there’s a much better chance of getting NAFTA passed than getting an infrastructure deal passed.”

The comment came as Democrats met with Trump and administration officials at the White House to discuss a potential infrastructure plan. Both parties suggested the meeting went well, but there hasn’t been much news on where the negotiations will go next.

Pressed further during the Fox News interview whether he’d still like to pursue an infrastructure plan with Democrats, Trump said he does want to move forward, but worried about raising taxes.

“I do, but I also think we’re being played by the Democrats a little bit,” he said.
“You know, I think what they want me to do is say, ‘well what we’ll do is raise taxes, and we’ll do this and this and this,’ and then they’ll have a news conference — see, Trump wants to raise taxes. So it’s a little bit of a game.”

[CNN]

Reality

Watch Mick Mulvaney say the thing Trump claimed he never said.

Trump on de Blasio: ‘NYC HATES HIM!’

President Donald Trump on Thursday took a swipe at the newest candidate in the Democratic primary pool: Mayor Bill de Blasio, a fellow New Yorker.

The New York City mayor announced his presidential bid in a three-minute videoThursday morning, about half of which was dedicated to attacking Trump and presenting de Blasio as the Democrat best positioned to challenge the president’s hold on the White House in 2020.

“I’m a New Yorker. I’ve known Trump’s a bully for a long time. This is not news to me or anyone else here,” de Blasio said. “And I know how to take him on.”

Hours after the mayor’s campaign launched, the president weighed in on de Blasio’s candidacy on Twitter.

“The Dems are getting another beauty to join their group,” Trump wrote. “Bill de Blasio of NYC, considered the worst mayor in the U.S., will supposedly be making an announcement for president today. He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he’s your man. NYC HATES HIM!”

The two New Yorkers’ relationship dates to before the president left the Empire State for Washington. The pair exchanged volleys while both were on the campaign trail in 2016. Trump was seeking the White House that year, while de Blasio was trying to hold on to his seat in City Hall in 2017.

With momentum sagging during his first term in office, de Blasio adopted a campaign strategy based partially on an opportune moment: the rise of Trump. After the president was elected, the mayor pledged to protect the people of New York and resist any moves by the Trump administration to “undermine” his constituents.

De Blasio’s message Thursday echoed this rallying cry, albeit with a more national focus. The mayor detailed efforts to combat climate change, protect families separated at the border and take the Trump administration to court over security funding.

“Donald Trump must be stopped,” de Blasio said. “I’ve beaten him before, and I will beat him again.”

The mayor responded to Trump’s tweet on Thursday less than an hour after it was posted with a link to his campaign site and his own nickname for the president known for belittling his opponents with various monikers.

“NYC has record low crime & record high jobs,” de Blasio wrote. “We’re investing in working families with free Pre-K & guaranteed health care. #ConDon taking advantage of working families is no joke.”

[Politico]

Trump sending ‘500 migrants a month’ to Florida Democratic strongholds

President Donald Trump‘s plans to send potentially hundreds of undocumented immigrants each month to the Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties ignited a torrent of criticism from local Florida officials who called the move political.

“The blatant politics, sending them to the two most Democratic Counties in the state of Florida, is ridiculous,” said state Sen. Gary Farmer, a Democrat who represents portions of Broward County. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Broward County officials described the plans Thursday in a press release, saying the Trump administration plans to release asylum seekers caught along the southern U.S. border into the county. A month earlier, Trump floated the idea of shipping undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. Neither Palm Beach nor Broward counties fit that description, but politically they’re enemy territory for Trump and Republicans.

“That is so typically Trump,” Farmer said. “When the facts don’t fit the narrative, you slightly adjust the narrative.”

Broward County state Rep. Evan Jenne, opposed the move but said the county will do what it can to help those sent its way.

“He has been threatening this for a while, and I’m sure his voters will think it’s a great idea,” said Jenne (D-Dania Beach). “We will do what we can to help them, I’m sure with no help from the federal government.”

Jenne called the Trump policy a form of “fiscal punishment,” a sentiment shared by other regional officials.

A statement from Broward County said Trump “has threatened to send people who illegally cross the border to communities that are considered immigrant friendly.”

“This is a humanitarian crisis. We will do everything possible to help these people,” Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen, a Democrat, said in the statement. “If the President will not provide us with financial assistance to house and feed these people, he will be creating a homeless encampment.”

Adding to the political intrigue, the Trump administration has not said whether it will send immigrants to the state’s most-populous county that’s also a liberal bastion — Miami-Dade, which has Florida’s largest Spanish-speaking and foreign-born population.

Miami-Dade has a large base of support for Trump among Cuban-Americans, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Republican and early backer of some of the president’s detention policies. The mayor’s son has also lobbied for Trump in prior years.

Immigration and Border Patrol spokesperson Kaitlyn Pote referred questions to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which did not respond to requests for comment.

Rubio said the counties will be getting a big influx of undocumented immigrants from the border.

“Unlawful arrivals are overwhelming our system,” Rubio wrote on Twitter. “Now I have just been informed by #PalmBeach Sheriff that starting next week Border Patrol will begin transporting 500 migrants a month from border to #Broward & PalmBeach #Florida, & releasing them pending an asylum hearing.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), said he has reached out to the White House and DHS to get additional information. He said Democrats “refuse to help fix” the federal immigration policy.

“There were almost 99,000 apprehensions at the southern border in April, more than double the number of apprehensions in January,” Scott spokesperson Chris Hartline said. “It’s a crisis and needs to be fixed.”

Bogen, the Broward mayor, suggested a place to house the hundreds of undocumented immigrants: Trump-owned properties.

“In my opinion, the people that we can’t find shelter for and will become homeless, I would suggest that we bring them to the Trump hotels and ask the President to open his heart and home as well,” Bogen said.

During Florida’s recently-adjourned legislative session, one of the most divisive issues was legislation outlawing sanctuary cities. Democrats and immigration activists flooded the Capitol in protest, but the bill easily passed the Legislature and is supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a longtime Trump political ally.

In a statement after the bill cleared the Legislature, DeSantis said he would sign the proposal.

“We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safer communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level,” he said.

[Politico]

Barr names Connecticut prosecutor to investigate Russia probe’s origins

Attorney General William Barr has reportedly assigned a federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the investigation into Russia’s election interference and alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

The New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported on Monday night that John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, had been tapped by Barr to look into the probe’s inception. The newspaper reported the inquiry is the third publicly known investigation focused on the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign. 

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz is reviewing how investigators used wiretap applications and informants as well as whether political bias motivated decisionmaking. 

John W. Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, is also examining aspects of the investigation. 

A spokesman for Durham’s office and the DOJ declined a request for comment from the Times. The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Durham was nominated by Trump in 2017 and has served as a lawyer within the Justice Department for nearly 40 years, according to the Times. He has a history of performing special investigations. 

Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned Durham to conduct a probe of the CIA in 2008 over the agency destroying videotapes that showed terrorism suspects being tortured. 

Bloomberg News reported in April that Barr had formed a team to review the actions of the Justice Department and FBI leading up to the Russia investigation. He told Congress around that time that he was “reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”

He also testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that he believed “spying” took place. 

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” he said. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week that he wouldn’t use “spying” to describe lawful investigative activities taken up by the FBI. 

Durham’s new assignment comes just weeks after the Justice Department released special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report, which detailed the findings of his 22-month investigation into President Trump

Mueller’s investigation did not uncover evidence to conclude that a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow took place. But the report noted that Mueller could not come to a conclusive determination with regard to whether the president obstructed justice. 

[The Hill]

Former DHS officials blocked Trump plan to arrest thousands of migrants before being ousted

Former leaders at the Department of Homeland Security, including then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, pushed back on a White House plan for mass arrests of migrants shortly before their ouster, according to The Washington Post.

The Trump administration had planned to arrest thousands of parents and children in 10 major U.S. cities to deter further migrants, the Post reported, citing seven current and former DHS officials. The plan involved fast-tracking immigration court cases and expanding the government’s authority to deport migrants who did not show for their hearings. Arrests of the no-shows would involve coordinated raids of the homes and neighborhoods of parents with children, according to the Post.

Nielsen and then-acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Ronald Vitiello put a stop to the plan, citing lack of preparation by ICE personnel and public relations concerns, according to the Post.

“There was concern that it was being hastily put together, would be ineffective, and might actually backfire by misdirecting resources away from critical border emergency response operations,” one DHS official told the Post.

Major boosters of the plan within the administration included senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Matthew Albence. The plan, which is reportedly still under consideration, incorporated cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, according to the Post.

The two officials’ pushback was a major factor in their ouster, according to the Post, citing administration officials. When Trump announced the withdrawal of Vitiello’s nomination as ICE director in April, he expressed a desire to go in a “tougher” direction without further elaborating.

“Both he and Nielsen instinctively thought it was bad policy and that the proposal was less than half-baked,” a DHS official told the Post.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

[The Hill]

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