Donald Trump Tweets His Defense by Attacking AOC

President Donald Trump’s lawyers, who launched his defense at his impeachment trial in the Senate Saturday morning, have claimed that they will respond substantively to Democrats’ methodical case for why the president should be removed from office. But shortly before the Senate convened for the first day of the White House defense, the president teed up the proceedings with a tweet strong on name calling and short on evidence. 

His targets include two lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandra  Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who have no role in the impeachment trial. Trump also posted tweets quoting Fox Business News host Lou Dobbs praising him. 

Trump’s defenders thus far have not disputed the facts of the case against him. Senate Republicans have complained about comments by Democratic impeachment managers and launched attacks on President Obama’s foreign policy and other topics that are at best tangental. Trump’s lawyers on Saturday have said they will focus on Vice President Joe Biden’s actions related to Ukraine in 2016, and that the president did “nothing wrong. White House counsel Pat Cipollone promised in his opening remarks that Trump’s team will focus on evidence that the House impeachment managers did not include. But their boss appears to have another strategy.

[Mother Jones]

Trump issues veiled threat at NPR after Pompeo blow-up with reporter over Ukraine

President Donald Trump issued a veiled threat against National Public Radio on Sunday morning, just days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on an expletive-filled rant at an NPR reporter that she revealed to the public afterward.

On Sunday, the president retweeted Fox News host Mark Levin who argued, “Why does NPR still exist? We have thousands of radio stations in the U.S. Plus Satellite radio. Podcasts. Why are we paying for this big-government, Democrat Party propaganda operation.”

To which the president added, “A very good question!”

You can see the tweet below:

[Raw Story]

Trump says lead impeachment Democrat Schiff has not paid ‘price, yet’

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the Democratic lawmaker leading the impeachment case against him, Representative Adam Schiff, has “not paid the price, yet” for his actions, a statement Schiff said he viewed as a threat.

The vitriol from Trump against Schiff and other Democrats followed three days of their arguments in his impeachment trial before the U.S. Senate on charges he abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, and then tried to obstruct an investigation by Congress.

“Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!” Trump said on Twitter.

Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if he took the Republican president’s social media post as a threat, Schiff said, “I think it’s intended to be.”

As lead impeachment manager, Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, played a central role in Democrats’ efforts to paint Trump’s behavior as dangerous to democracy the Republican-led Senate, where Trump is likely to be acquitted.

While some Republican senators said Schiff had been effective, most appeared unswayed. The lawmaker from California, a former federal prosecutor, has been a regular target of attack from Trump and Trump’s Republican supporters in Congress.

Some Republican senators took umbrage at Schiff’s more pointed comments, including that the president could not be trusted to do the right thing for the country and that Republican senators were under extreme pressure to acquit Trump.

Schiff said on NBC he was making the argument “that it’s going to require moral courage to stand up to this president.”

“This is a wrathful and vindictive president,” he said. “I don’t think that there’s any doubt about it and if you think there is, look at the president’s tweets about me today, saying that I should pay a price.”

Trump regularly levels personal attacks against political opponents. His broadsides against Schiff have included “pencil neck” and “liddle.” Critics accuse Trump of using an anti-Semitic trope in referring to the Jewish lawmaker as “shifty.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Trump’s Twitter post. Representatives for Schiff said they had nothing to add to the congressman’s comments.

TRUMP’S DEFENSE

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told Fox News Channel she had not spoken to Trump about the tweet but, “I think he means he hasn’t yet paid the price with the voters.”

U.S. Senator James Lankford, a Republican, likened Trump’s comment to those of Democrats who say Republicans will pay a price at the ballot box for supporting Trump or will pay a price in the future as they are held accountable.

“I don’t think the president is trying to be able to do a death threat here or do some sort of intimidation,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Both of them are saying the American people will speak on this.”

Another House impeachment manager, Democrat Zoe Lofgren, told CNN Trump should “get a grip” and be more presidential. “The president has a tendency to say things that seem threatening to people,” she said.

Trump’s team of lawyers began their defense on Saturday, arguing Democrats’ efforts to remove the president from office would set a “very, very dangerous” precedent in an election year.

Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump’s legal team, told “Fox News Sunday” the conduct described in the Senate trial did not amount to an impeachable offense. He shrugged off a recording first reported on Friday in which Trump told Lev Parnas, an associate of his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, he wanted to see the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, fired.

“The president has full authority to fire an ambassador,” Dershowitz said.

During the House of Representatives impeachment hearings last month, witnesses described Giuliani as leading efforts to pressure Ukraine on investigating former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic candidate, and his son Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Yovanovitch was seen as resisting those efforts and was recalled in May.

[Reuters]

Trump Goes Off on ‘Mini Mike Bloomberg’ After Fox & Friends Airs Attack Ad

President Donald Trump fired back at Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg in response to his new campaign ad — airing on Fox & Friends — slamming the president’s behavior as “erratic and out of control.”

Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign manager Kevin Sheekey who took aim at Trump’s military accomplishments and why Bloomberg would be a more stable commander-in-chief: “It’s not all about spending money… so throwing money at a problem is not leadership.”

Trump, who refers to the billionaire as “Mini Mike Bloomberg,” tweeted following the ad that the presidential hopeful and former New York City mayor “is playing poker with his foolhardy and unsuspecting Democrat rivals.”

“The fact is, when Mini loses, he will be spending very little of his money on these “clowns” because he will consider himself to be the biggest clown of them all – and he will be right!,” President Trump blasted.

Galia Slayen, national spokeswoman for the 2020 Bloomberg campaign, responded to Trump’s tweet by asking if the attacks on “mini” Mike Bloomberg is set to become “a morning routine.”

[Mediaite]

“Birth tourism” is Trump’s next immigration target

The Trump administration has a new target on the immigration front — pregnant women visiting from other countries — with plans as early as this week to roll out a new rule cracking down on “birth tourism,” three administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has threatened to end birthright citizenship and railed against immigrant “anchor babies.” The new rule would be one of the first tangible steps to test how much legal authority the administration has to prevent foreigners from taking advantage of the 14th Amendment’s protection of citizenship for anyone born in the U.S.

  • “This change is intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” a State Department official told Axios.
  • The regulation is also part of the administration’s broader efforts to intensify the vetting process for visas, according to another senior administration official.

The big picture: “Birth tourists” often come to the U.S. from China, Russia and Nigeria, according to the AP.

  • There’s no official count of babies born to foreign visitors in the U.S., while the immigration restrictionist group Center for Immigration Studies — which has close ties to Trump administration immigration officials — puts estimates at around 33,000 every year.

How the new regulation would work: It would alter the requirements for B visas (or visitor visas), giving State Department officials the authority to deny foreigners the short-term business and tourism visas if they believe the process is being used to facilitate automatic citizenship.

  • It’s unclear yet how the rule would be enforced — whether officials would be directed to consider pregnancy or the country of the woman’s citizenship in determining whether to grant a visa.
  • Consular officers who issue passports and visas “are remarkably skilled at sussing out true versus false claims,” the senior official said.
  • “The underlying practical issue is that very few people who give birth in the U.S. got a visa for that specific purpose. Most people already have visas and come in later,” according to Jeffrey Gorsky, former chief legal adviser in the State Department visa office.

This is but one step in the administration’s plans to make it harder for people from other countries to benefit from birthright citizenship.

  • “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” the senior official said. “Just the legal recognition that this is improper and wrong and not allowed is a significant step forward.”
  • The plans to address the use of B visas for birth tourism were included in the latest version of the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.
  • Immigration experts expect there to be a similar rule for Customs and Border Protection to go along with the State Department’s regulation.

What to watch: Most of Trump’s major immigration moves have been met with lawsuits. If the regulation leaves it to officers’ discretion to ensure that B visas aren’t used for birth tourism, it would be difficult to challenge in court, according to Lynden Melmed, an attorney and former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • “State Department officials have all the discretion in the world to deny people visas,” said Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute. Foreign nationals who are outside the U.S. and have not yet received visas “don’t have a lot of legal standing.”
  • But specific restrictions that could keep out non-birth tourism visitors — such as pregnant women coming to the U.S. for business, etc. — would be legally questionable, according to Melmed and Gorsky.

[Axios]

Trump to New York City: If a storm comes, don’t look at me, get a mop!

New Yorkers worried that global warming might flood the city should get mops, President Trump says.

The Queens native — famed for supporting walls that keep immigrants out — on Saturday ripped the idea of a seawall to protect the city from calamities like 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive devastation.

“A massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway,” Trump tweeted. “It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!”

A seawall is one of five proposals considered by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the greatest city in the world from storms that could become more frequent with climate change.

Besides the Mexican border wall, Trump is also fine with seawalls that protect one of his golf courses in Ireland.

Trump last year changed his official residency from New York to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. He hasn’t said whether he’d like a seawall to protect the oceanfront portion of that property.

[New York Daily News]

Trump promotes violence in support of white supremacist rally in Virginia

President Donald Trump slammed Virginia Democrats over several gun violence prevention measures they’re looking to pass in the state, as a white supremacist group gears up to protest at an annual gun rights rally outside the state capitol. 

“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” the president tweeted on Friday evening. “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!” 

Trump’s tweet came shortly after law enforcement arrested three suspected white supremacists in Maryland and Delaware who had allegedly talked about opening fire at Monday’s pro-gun rally.

The suspects belong to a violent white-supremacist group called “the Base,” whose aim is “to accelerate the downfall of the US government, incite a race war and establish a white ethno-state,” according to an affidavit filed in Georgia court, as The Wall Street Journal reported.

Several other members of the Base were arrested throughout the country this week on different charges. 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced Wednesday that the state would temporarily ban firearms in Capitol Square prior to Monday’s rally, citing the arrests and threat of a shooting. 

Gun rights groups appealed Northam’s decision, but a federal appeals court judge upheld the temporary gun ban on Thursday, writing that “the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not unlimited.” 

“This is the right decision,” Northam said in a Thursday statement about the ruling. “These threats are real — as evidenced by reports of neo-Nazis arrested this morning after discussing plans to head to Richmond with firearms.”

Virginia Democrats, who control both the state house and senate, are working on passing several gun regulations, including background checks on gun sales, a law that would allow authorities to confiscate a gun from someone they believe is a danger to themselves, a ban on firearms in government buildings. 

Tens of thousands of pro-gun protesters are expected to gather outside the state capitol building in the annual Lobby Day protest.

[Business Insider]

Trump Retweets Image of Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer in Traditional Islamic Clothing Before Iranian Flag

President Donald Trump took his attacks on Speaker Nancy Pelosi Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to a whole new level Monday morning, by retweeting a photoshopped image of the two in traditional Muslim garb before an Iranian flag.

The tweet came in a flurry of frenzied presidential tweets (and retweets) critical of Speaker Pelosi’s criticism of the Trump administrations handling of Iranian foreign relations, in particular, that following the deadly drone strike that took the life of Quds force leader and Iranian Republican Guard Major General Qasam Soleimani.

In the days that followed Soleimani’s death, a million Iranians reportedly flooded the streets of Teheran to protest the U.S. killing of the number two leader of Iran. But as Iran eventually admitted to shooting down a Ukranian airliner and killing 167 civilians, protests have started against the Iranian regime.

[Mediaite]


Kellyanne Conway Lies About AOC and Ilhan Omar Literally As She Praises Collins Apology for Smearing Democrats

Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway smeared Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) even as she was congratulating Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) for similarly smearing Democrats as loving terrorists.

Earlier this week, Collins said thatDemocrats are “in love with terrorists,” then defended the comments to Fox News before finally apologizing on Twitter.

Conway gaggled with reporters in the Brady briefing room Friday, and was asked about the potential for a change in “tone” represented by Collins’ apology. In the midst of a lengthy answer lauding her own efforts at elevating the tone, Conway slammed AOC and Rep. Omar by falsely claiming one of them had apologized to the Iranian people for the attack that killed Qasem Soleimani, and called their group “The Squad That Doesn’t Do Squat” as part of her tone-elevating effort.

“We had members of Congress earlier this week apologizing to the Iranian people, on behalf of America,” Conway claimed.

“Who? Can you name them?” asked Breakfast Media correspondent Andrew Feinberg.

“Yeah, what’s her name, was it AOC or Omar who did that?” Conway asked to a staffer, and added “Someone from the squad that doesn’t do squat, I’m pretty sure it was AOC, in a tweet, somebody said ‘Oh 52% of us believe a different way.”

“And we can’t have that, so I’m glad that Chairman Collins, excuse me Ranking Member Collins apologized for that comment, I know him, I know he didn’t mean it that way, so I’m glad he apologized. I apologize many times, I just don’t really hear a lot in return,” Conway said.

But the tweet to which Conway ws referring came not from a member of the squad, but from actress Rose McGowanwho tweeted, following the strike, “Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani”.

In a follow-up tweet, McGowan said she is a “registered Republican.”

[Mediaite]

Trump hits Senate for giving impeachment ‘credibility’ by holding trial

President Trump on Sunday tweeted that Republicans risked lending credibility to the impeachment inquiry brought by the House by holding a trial in the Senate.

The president said any proceedings in the Senate would be based on “no evidence,” and appeared to urge Senate Republicans to reject the idea of holding a trial at all.

“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, “no pressure” Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” Trump tweeted.

Trump spent much of Sunday tweeting about the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, which, he wrote in one message, “should not even be allowed to proceed.”

“Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?” he added in another tweet. “Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before. House Republicans voted 195-0, with three Dems voting with the Republicans. Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have battled for weeks over the scope of the Senate impeachment trial, with Pelosi holding firm in her demands for McConnell to guarantee that witnesses will be called before she presents the Senate with the House-passed articles of impeachment.

Last week it was reported that McConnell had signed on to a measure that would allow the Senate to dismiss the House articles of impeachment without a trial.

[The Hill]

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