Trump Defends Kavanaugh After NYT Report: ‘Should Start Suing People’ or DOJ ‘Should Come to His Rescue’

President Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning defending Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after a new report in The New York Times.

The Times reported on another allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh yesterday:

A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)

Mr. Kavanaugh did not speak to us because we could not agree on terms for an interview. But he has denied Dr. Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, and declined to answer our questions about Mr. Stier’s account.

There’s now renewed outcry over Kavanaugh and calls for additional investigation, including from 2020 candidate Julián Castro:

President Trump defended Kavanaugh on Twitter this morning, saying people are lying about him to “scare him into turning Liberal,” even suggesting he “should start suing people for liable [sic], or the Justice Department should come to his rescue.”

Trump previously misspelled “libel”


Brett Kavanaugh should start suing people for liable, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue. The lies being told about him are unbelievable. False Accusations without recrimination. When does it stop? They are trying to influence his opinions. Can’t let that happen!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019

[Mediaite]

Trump lashes out at MSNBC’s Joy Reid, claims she has ‘NO talent’

President Trump on Saturday lashed out at MSNBC’s Joy Reid, saying that the TV host has “NO talent.”

“Who the hell is Joy-Ann Reid? Never met her, she knows ZERO about me, has NO talent, and truly doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor needed for success in showbiz,” Trump tweeted.

“Had a bad reputation, and now works for the Comcast/NBC losers making up phony stories about me. Low Ratings. Fake News!” he continued.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the president to go after Reid ahead of her Saturday morning show, though the MSNBC host had criticized recent remarks by Trump while guest hosting “All in with Chris Hayes” on Friday night.

The Hill has reached out to MSNBC for comment.

The MSNBC host and a hashtag for her show, #AMJoy, trended on Twitter Saturday after the president’s post, with members of the program appearing to take the president’s tweet in stride.

“Great job getting us trending, #reiders! Can we get our #AMJoy hashtag even higher? Let’s do it!” the

Trump’s tweet Saturday morning came hours after Reid appeared on the network and highlighted a number of recent remarks by the president.

In a segment on Trump’s visit to Baltimore for the House GOP retreat, she mocked his “Mike Pounce” gaffe and said he “went on to treat the gathered Republicans to some smoking hot beauty tips” while discussing his remarks on lightbulbs. 

She also said that he sounded “like a desperate man” when he said “whether you like me or not it makes no difference because our country will go to Hell if any of these people get in.”

Reid has been critical of the president in the past, releasing a book about Trump earlier this summer titled “The Man Who Sold America.”

She said in a tweet earlier this month that Trump “has turned the presidency into a travel agency servicing the Trump Organization and its properties and golf clubs around the world.” 

Trump’s tweet attacking the MSNBC host Saturday morning came after he sent another tweet saying “A Very Stable Genius!” and offering thanks for the comment, though he did not provide any more information on the remark or attribute it.

[The Hill]

‘I don’t blame Kim Jong Un’: In dismissing Bolton, Trump sides with North Korean leader — again

Having ousted John Bolton from the White House, President Trump delivered a kick to his former national security adviser to illustrate just how far he had fallen. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the president said, “wanted nothing to do with” him during diplomatic talks over the past 17 months.

“I don’t blame Kim Jong Un,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.

Trump’s remarks on Wednesday revealed lingering resentment that, in his view, Bolton had threatened to derail the United States’ historic first summit with Kim last year by taking an unnecessarily provocative position in suggesting that Pyongyang must follow the “Libya model” and relinquish all of its nuclear weapons under any prospective deal.

Trump’s willingness to publicly side with Kim over a recently departed senior aide marked the latest in a string of extraordinary episodes in which he has aligned himself with one of the world’s most brutal dictators against individual Americans, the intelligence community, the military and U.S. allies.

Since the second U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi in February collapsed without a deal, Trump has sought to rekindle dormant bilateral negotiations by flattering Kim — but also by offering him political cover on a list of provocations that cut against U.S. interests.

This summer alone, the president has:

●Reiterated his belief that joint U.S.-South Korea military drills are “ridiculous and expensive” — this time after receiving a personal letter from Kim complaining about the exercises.

●Declared that the North’s testing of short-range missiles did not violate an agreement with Kim, prompting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to call the tests a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

●Endorsed, while on a state visit to Tokyo, North Korean state media’s mockery of former vice president Joe Biden as a “fool of low IQ,” saying he agreed.

●Stated that he would not have authorized using Kim’s family members as spies against the regime amid reports that the CIA had cultivated the dictator’s half brother as an intelligence asset. (Kim Jong Nam was assassinated in Malaysia in 2017, at the North Korean leader’s direction, according to South Korea’s spy agency.)

Former U.S. officials said Trump’s approach with Kim fits his pattern of trying to maintain good personal relationships with hostile foreign leaders in hope that it will pay off at the negotiating table. Yet they emphasized that the strategy has not led to breakthroughs on Trump’s biggest foreign policy initiatives, including an effort to secure a trade deal with China.

“It’s his idea that you have to be utterly obsequious with your negotiating partner to suggest you’re a good guy and they should deal with you,” said Christopher Hill, who served as the lead negotiator in the George W. Bush administration during the Six Party Talks with North Korea. “Of course, he’s got very little to show for it. The North Koreans have just pocketed it.”

Although Trump has emphasized that Kim has abided by a private pledge in Singapore to refrain from testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, experts say the North has improved the accuracy and maneuverability of its short-range arsenal.

White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump


Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly disavow the forecasters’ position that Alabama was not at risk. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, issued an unsigned statement last Friday in response, saying that the Birmingham, Ala., office was wrong to dispute the president’s warning.

In pressing NOAA’s acting administrator to take action, Mr. Ross warned that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation was not addressed, The New York Times previously reported. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone, and a senior administration official on Wednesday said Mr. Mulvaney did not tell the commerce secretary to make such a threat.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intervening in the professional weather forecasting system to justify the president’s mistaken assertion. The Commerce Department’s inspector general is investigating how that statement came to be issued, saying it could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which is controlled by Democrats, announced on Wednesday that it too has opened an investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions.

The White House had no immediate comment on Wednesday, but the senior administration official said Mr. Mulvaney was interested in having the record corrected because, in his view, the Birmingham forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been forecasts showing possible impact on Alabama.

Mr. Trump was furious at being contradicted by the forecasters in Alabama. On Sept. 1, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

For nearly a week, Mr. Trump kept insisting he was right, displaying outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

Mr. Ross called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings, and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode.

The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed to their jobs by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain in their jobs as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday called the Birmingham office’s statement “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

[The New York Times]

Trump Says He Doesn’t Know Primary Challengers Before Criticizing Them With Very Specific Attacks

President Donald Trump said Monday that he does not know the three men challenging him for the Republican nomination. He then went on to make very specific comments about each of them.

Speaking outside the White House en route to a rally in North Carolina, the president took pointed shots at former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh, and former South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford.

“I don’t even know who they are,” Trump said. He added, “I don’t know them. I don’t know them.”

Then, “One was a person that voted for Obama, ran as a vice president four years ago and was soundly defeated. Another one got thrown out after one term in Congress, and he lost in a landslide. And the third one, Mr. Tallahassee trail or Appalachian trail … he wasn’t on the Appalachian trail. He was in Argentina.”

Later in the pool spray, Trump defended Kansas, South Carolina, and Nevada for not holding Republican primaries in 2020.

“Three people are a total joke,” Trump said. “They’re a joke. They’re a laughingstock. I have nothing to do [with it] — the four states that canceled it don’t want to waste their money. If there was a race, they would certainly want to do that. But they’re considered to be a laughingstock. They’re considered to be a joke. And those four states don’t want to waste their money.”

[Mediaite]

Trump says he won’t debate primary opponents

President Trump on Monday indicated he would not be willing to debate the Republicans seeking to run against him in a primary for the party’s 2020 nomination.

“They’re all at less than 1 percent. I guess it’s a publicity stunt,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for North Carolina.

“To be honest, I’m not looking to give them any credibility,” he added.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.), former Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld have each announced campaigns against Trump.

The Arizona Republican Party earlier Monday canceled its 2020 presidential primary contest, joining the GOP in South Carolina and Kansas. Nevada may follow suit as the Republican Party seeks to clear Trump’s path to reelection.

Trump defended the decisions, saying those states “don’t want to waste their money.”

The move to cancel a primary is not unprecedented. The Arizona Democratic Party did not have primaries in 2012 and 1996, when former Presidents Obama and Clinton, respectively, were running for reelection.

[The Hill]

Trump dismisses idea of allowing Bahamians into U.S. after Hurricane Dorian

President Donald Trump on Monday downplayed the idea of allowing Bahamians fleeing the destruction of Hurricane Dorian into the United States on humanitarian grounds, hours after his acting Customs and Border Protection chief said it was worth considering.

“We have to be very careful. Everybody needs totally proper documentation because the Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there,” Trump said on the White House South Lawn before departing for a campaign rally in North Carolina, where he also planned to survey Dorian damage.

“I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.”

Earlier Monday, acting Customs and Border Protection chief Mark Morgan said during a press briefing that while there has not been any formal grant of temporary protected status, or TPS, for Bahamians affected by Dorian, it was not something he had ruled out. TPS provides legal status to migrants from countries affected by war or natural disaster and allows them to live and work in the U.S. for a set period of time.

Morgan said he had yet to discuss it with Trump but said, “I think it would be appropriate to have that circumstance. History shows we’ve done that before.” He added that if it’s a “lengthy time” before residents of the Bahamas can get back on their feet, he expected the discussion to happen.

Instead of allowing Bahamians into this country — which Trump said is “also recovering from the hurricane” — Trump suggested those struggling in devastated areas of the Bahamas could go to the “large sections” of their country that were not hit.

The conflicting stances came a day after more than 100 Bahamians were forced off a ferry boat before it could reach Florida, according to two U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

Those removed from the boat were supposed to be taken to the Bahamas capital of Nassau first to get visas, a process that authorities in the United States have been coordinating with the Bahamas government on to ensure is done correctly, Customs and Border Protection officials said in a statement on Monday.

The ferry boat operator had not coordinated the evacuation with U.S. authorities first, the officials said.

Customs and Border Protection said in a statement on Monday that it is “supporting the humanitarian mission with interagency partners in the Bahamas” following Dorian, one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever recorded.

“CBP continues to process the arrivals of passengers evacuating from the Bahamas according to established policy and procedures — as demonstrated by the nearly 1,500 Hurricane Dorian survivors who arrived at the Port of Palm Beach, Fla., aboard a cruise ship on Saturday and were processed without incident,” the agency said.

The agency added it was “notified of a vessel preparing to embark an unknown number of passengers in Freeport and requested that the operator of the vessel coordinate with U.S. and Bahamian government officials in Nassau before departing The Bahamas.” The agency said that it has already processed nearly 1,500 storm survivors at the Port of Palm Beach, Fla., aboard a cruise ship on Saturday.

Video of the evacuees being ordered off the boat was first shared by Miami’s WSVN reporter Brian Entin late Sunday.

Anyone arriving in the U.S. from another country needs to first meet with a Customs and Border Protection officer at official ports of entry and must have valid identity and travel documents, the agency’s statement said.

Dorian has killed at least 44 people in the Bahamas, according to the country’s health minister. The storm hit the islands as a Category 5 last Sunday and Monday, leaving tens of thousands of residents homeless. It then slammed North Carolina’s Outer Banks Islands before pounding Canada’s Atlantic Coast.

[NBC News]

After hate-watching MSNBC prison reform special, Donald Trump attacks Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

As a televised town hall hosted by Lester Holt wound down Sunday night on MSNBC, President Donald Trump posted a rambling series of tweets claiming that he had not received enough credit for his work on criminal justice reform as he took aim at the “boring musician” John Legend and “his filthy mouthed wife” Chrissy Teigen. 

“When all of the people pushing so hard for Criminal Justice Reform were unable to come even close to getting it done, they came to me as a group and asked for my help,” the president tweeted. “I got it done with a group of Senators & others who would never have gone for it.” 

Trump was referring to the First Step Act, legislation designed to shorten the mandatory sentences for some federal drug offenses, which was signed into law with bipartisan support in December. However, criminal justice advocates question the current commitment to the implementation of the law. It seeks $75 million a year for five years for prison education and job-training, but Trump’s 2020 budget priorities only showed $14 million to finance its programs. 

“I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did,” Trump continued Sunday. “Guys like boring musician @johnlegend, and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is—but I didn’t see them around when we needed help getting it passed.” 

It should be noted that in the “Dateline” episode that preceded Sunday’s town hall, Holt did credit Trump for the First Step Act. Though, as Holt pointed out, “That doesn’t affect more than 90 percent of the U.S. prison population, which is locked up in state and local facilities.” 

While Legend, who uses his platform to advocate for prison reform, was part of the town hall, Teigen was not mentioned during the broadcast. However, if you have been remotely active on Twitter since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, you’re already aware that the commander-in-chief has a proclivity to start — and maintain — crude Twitter feuds with celebrities and members of the media, especially women. 

The habit is frequent enough that it has populated numerous listicles such as “Trump’s Most Ridiculous Twitter Feuds In 2017” and “Donald Trump vs. Everyone: His 20 Best Media Feuds.” 

Chrissy Teigen ended up on Trump’s online enemies list during the 2016 election after she voiced her disdain for his politics on Twitter. In July 2017, the president blocked Teigen after she tweeted that “no one likes you.” 

As of last night, Trump still has Teigen blocked. Nonetheless, he still appeared to be nursing a grudge. 

“lol what a p**sy ass b*tch. tagged everyone but me. an honor, mister president,” Teigen responded. “[T]he absolute best part of his tweet is I literally didn’t speak in the special, nor was I mentioned. I’m cackling at the pointless addition of me because he cannot not be a bitch.” 

As of Monday, the Twitter landscape overwhelming reflected the content of Teigen’s response, with the following topics trending: #foulmouthedwife, #PresidentPAB, #PABOTUS and #TeamChrissy.

Meanwhile, Legend issued a more subtle retort to Trump. 

“Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody–ANYBODY–will praise you,” the musician tweeted. “Melania, please praise this man.  He needs you.” 

[Salon]

Trump Threatens to Ban Washington Post Reporters From White House Over Critical Reporting

President Donald Trump and his administration have a tendency to rage at media coverage. Few single reports have drawn such intense acrimony as the Washington Post’s recent story on Trump’s “lost summer,” which reported on a season “defined by self-inflicted controversies and squandered opportunities.”

The piece prompted a rare rebuke in the form of an op-ed, written by White House communications staffers Stephanie Grisham and Hogan Gidley, for the Washington Examiner on Friday.

Trump — who has spent most of his time focused on hurricane maps this week — took aim at the two authors of the Post report, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker, in a tweet sent out Saturday morning.

“The Washington Post’s @PhilipRucker (Mr. Off the Record) & @AshleyRParker, two nasty lightweight reporters, shouldn’t even be allowed on the grounds of the White House because their reporting is so DISGUSTING & FAKE,” Trump wrote, before touting one of his accomplishments: “Also, add the appointment of MANY Federal Judges this Summer!”

As CNN’s Brian Stelter points out, Trump’s threat to ban the two reporters from the White House is “notable because his admin has tried booting individual reporters twice now, and lost in court both times, as recently as this week.”

He’s referring to CNN political analyst and Playboy reporter Brian Karem, whose press pass was revoked after a verbal spat with Seb Gorka on the White House lawn — until a judge ordered the White House to restore it this week. CNN’s Jim Acosta also sued the White House after it suspended his press pass, which was also restored.

The op-ed from Trump’s comms team criticizing the Post has faced media criticism in its own right. After all, in the piece Grisham and Gidley accuse the Post of failing to report on accomplishments that the Post reported on thoroughly. In an inadvertent display of the Post’s necessity, their piece even links to the paper’s coverage of a topic they complain the paper didn’t cover.

Watch Rucker defend his reporting on MSNBC Friday below:

[Mediaite]

NOAA backs Trump on Alabama hurricane forecast, rebukes Weather Service for accurately contradicting him

The federal agency that oversees the National Weather Service has sided with President Trump over its own scientists in the ongoing controversy over whether Alabama was at risk of a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time Trump tweeted Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

Referencing archived hurricane advisories, the NOAA statement said that information provided to the president and the public between Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 “demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama.”

In an unusual move, the statement also admonished the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., which had released a tweet contradicting Trump’s claim and stating, “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”

The NOAA statement said: “The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Released six days after Trump’s first tweet on the matter, the NOAA statement was unsigned, neither from the acting head of the agency nor any particular spokesman. It also came a day after the president’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser released a statement justifying Trump’s claims of the Alabama threat.

The NOAA statement Friday makes no reference to the fact that when Trump tweeted that Alabama was at risk, it was not in the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty,” which is where forecasters determine the storm is most likely to track. Alabama also had not appeared in the cone in days earlier, and no Hurricane Center text product ever mentioned the state.

Trump’s tweet that Alabama would be affected by the storm gained national attention Wednesday when he presented a modified version of the forecast cone from Aug. 29, extended into Alabama — hand-drawn using a Sharpie. The crudely altered map appeared to represent an effort to retroactively justify the original Alabama tweet.

The doctored map went viral, becoming a source of ridicule among political pundits and late-night talk show hosts, who accused the president of dishonesty.

[The Washington Post]

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