Trump gives Putin light-hearted warning: ‘Don’t meddle in the election’

President Donald Trump issued a breezy warning to his Russian counterpart Friday against meddling in US elections, laughing and smiling as he told his counterpart not to interfere.”Don’t meddle in the election, please,” Trump said, smirking and wagging his finger at Putin. He only raised the matter after being questioned by reporters whether he would issue a warning.”Yes, of course I will,” Trump said before making his joking aside.It was an off-hand moment that came at the start of the men’s first meeting since the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s investigation.Trump said he enjoyed a “very, very good relationship” with Putin, and said “many positive things are going to come out of the relationship.””We have many things to discuss, including trade and some disarmament, some little protectionism, in a very positive way,” Trump said.

When he made his playful admonishment against election interference, Putin sat beside him laughing. Trump’s aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also smiled.It was hardly the serious confrontation that many of Trump’s critics — and even some officials in the US government — have been hoping he’d make ahead of the 2020 contest, which could be vulnerable again to foreign meddling efforts.Instead, it appeared to be Trump’s way of injecting levity into what remains a deeply fractured Washington-Moscow relationship.In the seven months since Trump last encountered his Russian counterpart, the Russians detained a former Marine on espionage charges and were accused by Mueller in his report of waging a “sweeping and systematic” influence campaign during the 2016 election.That’s a distant cry from the warmed-up relations with Russia that Trump entered office vowing to pursue. When he sat down with Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit here on Friday, ties between the two countries were near the lowest ebb since the Cold War.In Trump’s view, that’s the fault of Democrats and overzealous investigators intent on finding links between his campaign and Russian officials. As he greeted Putin for the first time since Mueller concluded his investigation and released a final report, there was little to indicate his view of Moscow’s influence efforts has changed or that his prickliness on the topic had waned.”I’ll have a very good conversation with him,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he was departing for Japan.But he declined to detail what he might say regarding election meddling, or whether he would raise it at all.”What I say to him is none of your business,” Trump said.

[CNN]

Trump jokes to Putin they should ‘get rid’ of journalists

Donald Trump joked with Vladimir Putin about getting rid of journalists and Russian meddling in US elections when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan.

As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US president lightheartedly sought common ground with Putin at the expense of the journalists around them in Osaka.

“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,” Trump said.

To which Putin responded, in English: “We also have. It’s the same.”

Twenty-six journalists have been murdered in Russia since Putin first became president, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), many of them investigative reporters scrutinising governmental abuses.

Trump has frequently referred to the press as the “enemy of the people” and in February the CPJ expressed concern about the safety of journalists covering Trump rallies, where they have been the target of derision and abuse from the president and his supporters. It is a year to the day since five Capital Gazette employees were killed in their newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. The shooting led to the organisation Reporters Without Bordersadding the US to its list of the five deadliest countries for journalism.

It was the first meeting between the two men since a summit in Helsinki last July, and since the publication of a report by the special counsel Robert Mueller, which found Russia had interfered extensively in the 2016 US presidential election, but found insufficient evidence that the Trump campaign had conspired with Moscow.

When journalists asked Trump just before he left for Japan what he would like to talk to Putin about, he told them it was “none of your business”. As they sat alongside each other, a reporter asked whether he was going to tell Putin not to meddle in the 2020 election.

Trump said: “Yes, of course I will,” drawing a laugh from Putin. Then, without looking at Putin, Trump said briskly: “Don’t meddle in the election, please,” and then repeated the phrase with a mock finger wag as Putin and the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, smiled broadly.

Relations between the two countries have been sour for years, worsening after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war. In a recent television interview, Putin said relations between Moscow and Washington were “getting worse and worse”.

Trump has sought better relations with Putin to tackle a host of issues, including his goal to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. On Friday, he emphasised the positives.

“It’s a great honour to be with President Putin,” Trump said. “We have many things to discuss, including trade and including some disarmament.”

Trump and Putin had been scheduled to meet at the end of November at the last G20 in Buenos Aires, but Trump cancelled the meeting as he flew to Argentina, citing Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian navy ships and sailors. The two spoke informally at the event. The Ukrainian sailors have still not been freed.

“We’ve had great meetings. We’ve had a very, very good relationship,” Trump said on Friday. “And we look forward to spending some very good time together. A lot of very positive things are going to come out of the relationship.”

In May, the two leaders had their first extensive phone conversation in months. Trump said they talked about a new accord to limit nuclear arms that could eventually include China. Russia is under punitive sanctions imposed by the US and the EU and wants them lifted.

Trump’s critics have accused him of being too friendly with Putin and castigated him for failing to publicly confront the Russian leader in Helsinki over Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election.

In an interview with the Financial Times on Thursday, Putin claimed Trump’s victory in 2016 and the rise of nationalist-populist movements in Europe signalled the death of liberal policies in the west.

“[Liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades,” he said. “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”

Trump later held talks with Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. “He is a special man, doing very well, very much loved by the people of Brazil,” Trump said, smiling broadly. For his part, Bolsonaro told the US president: “I have been a great admirer of you for quite some time, even before your election. I support Trump, I support the United States, I support your re-election.”

[The Guardian]

‘Shoot them!’: Trump laughs off a supporter’s demand for violence against migrants

A roar rose up from the crowd of thousands of Trump supporters in Panama City Beach on Wednesday night, as President Trump noted yet again that Border Patrol agents can’t use weapons to deter migrants. “How do you stop these people?” he asked.

“Shoot them!” someone yelled from the crowd, according to reporters on the scene and attendees.

The audience cheered. Supporters seated behind Trump and clad in white baseball caps bearing the letters “USA” laughed and applauded.

“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump replied, smiling and shaking his head. “Only in the Panhandle.”

Though Trump didn’t explicitly endorse the suggestion to shoot migrants, his joking response raised concerns that he was tacitly encouraging extrajudicial killings and brutality against asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants. The president has long been accused of endorsing acts of violence through his incendiary rhetoric and allusions to the potential for violence at his rallies, a charge that members of his administration deny.

Reached for comment by The Washington Post on Trump’s reaction at the Florida rally, Matt Wolking, deputy communications director for the Trump campaign, pointed to a response he had given to many critics on Twitter. The president, he noted in his tweet, had specifically said that Border Patrol wouldn’t use firearms to stop migrants from entering the country.

The incendiary remark from the crowd came as Trump, standing before roughly 7,000 people who had gathered at an outdoor amphitheater in the hurricane-damaged Gulf Coast town, railed against what he described as an “invasion” of migrants attempting to enter the United States. Often, he claimed, only “two or three” border agents will contend with the arrival of “hundreds and hundreds of people.”

“And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” Trump said of the border agents. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?”

The fans seated directly behind Trump wore serious, perturbed frowns, which were quickly replaced by broad grins after the shouted suggestion that the solution involved firearms. Uproarious laughter rippled across the room as audience members whistled and offered a round of applause.

To critics, Trump’s failure to outright condemn the idea of shooting migrants amounted to a “tacit endorsement” of the sentiment. Many pointed out that such rhetoric was especially concerning in light of the fact that an armed militia group, the United Constitutional Patriots, had been searching the borderlands for undocumented migrants and detaining them against their will.

Last month, after the group’s leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, was arrested on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, the FBI said that the 69-year-old claimed militia members were training to assassinate former president Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and prominent Democratic donor George Soros.

One member of that militia had also questioned why the group wasn’t killing migrants, according to a police report first obtained by left-leaning news outlet The Young Turks.

[Washington Post]

Media

Trump Posts Insane Video of Biden Getting Touched Inappropriately By Biden: ‘WELCOME BACK JOE!’

President Donald Trump tweeted another comedy video clip Thursday afternoon, this one taking a shot at former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden has come under criticism for what several women have labeled inappropriate touchiness and feeliness that didn’t rise to the claim of harassment but nonetheless made each feel uncomfortable. Biden posted a non-apology apology video on Wednesday — that received a tepid response from some progressive provinces — and that provided source material for the satirical video Trump tweeted below:

According to AP’s Zeke Miller, it appears that the satirical video was first posted by White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino:

The video was originally posted by Twitter user and — self-described “Eternally Sarcastic MemeSmith” — @CarpeDonktum, and an apparent favorite at the White House, since he was the individual behind the “Everybody Hurts” State of the Union video that eventually had to be edited with a different music bed after R.E.M. called out copyright ownership for the song.

[Mediaite]

Trump uses racist accent to declare the death penalty for drug dealers makes him ‘excited’

In the middle of a speech declaring a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, a sniffling President Donald Trump segued into the details of trade negotiations with China, and said he was ‘most excited’ about language providing for the death penalty for drug dealers. Trump also made a point of imitating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s accent.

Trump said that before discussing trade with the Chinese president at the summit in Argentina in December, they discussed the problem of drugs.

“I said, ‘listen, we have tremendous amounts of fentanyl coming into our country, kills tens of thousands of people, I think far more than anybody and I’d love you to declare it a lethal drug and put it on your criminal list,’” Trump said, adding that he was surprised when Xi told him China didn’t have the same problems with drugs as the U.S.

“I said ‘you have 1.4 billion people, what do you mean you have no drug problem?’” Trump said. Then, in an accent meant to approximate Xi’s, Trump said the Chinese leader replied, “‘Death penalty. We give death penalty to people that sell drugs, end of problem.’” 

Trump said America should adopt the same policy.

“President Xi agreed to put fentanyl on his list of deadly, deadly drugs, and it’s a criminal penalty and the penalty is death,” Trump said. “So that’s frankly one of the things I’m most excited about in our trade deal.”

[Raw Story]

Trump just responded to ’69’ with ‘Nice!’ — effectively ‘killing’ a popular sexually suggestive meme trend

“The Gallup Poll just announced that 69% of our great citizens expect their finances to improve next year, a 16 year high. Nice!,” the President boasted.

As the social media savvy are already aware, it’s common to reply to mentions of the number 69 — code for a certain sex position — with the word “nice.”

The trend got a boost by a 2016 tweet by then-President Obama about the Senate’s refusal to hold a hearing or vote on his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

Obama tweeted out a meme with the figure “69%” in large font, and the message, “A majority of Americans want the Senate to hold hearings and vote on Judge Garland.” Hundreds responded by commenting “nice.”

But the response appears to have been used well before that.

Now, fans of the game have swore off the reply since the current President used it Wednesday morning.

“Trump did a 69/nice tweet, which means I’m never going to do one again,” one user wrote.

Others have declared the gag over. “Trump killing the 69 joke is so on brand it feels impossible,” someone else tweeted.

But some vowed to keep the trend going, claiming Trump has only made it stronger. “Trump making 69 jokes dumber only adds to their power…we must never stop,” a guy who goes as Shaun tweeted.

[New York Daily News]

Trump Calls Senator Richard Blumenthal ‘The Dick’ in Bizarre Tweets

After watching Senator Richard Blumenthal on TV, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to attack him again and nickname him “The Dick.”

Many times when Blumenthal has spoken out against Trump, Trump has fired back with shots at the Connecticut Democrat over his admission that he “misspoke” about his service during Vietnam following critical reporting on the subject. On the campaign trail, he spoke of his service “in Vietnam,” but he never served in Vietnam. The New York Times called him out at the time for the “misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events.”

Trump once again went after Blumenthal and this time just straight-up called him “the Dick”:

Update

Trump was probably responding to Blumenthal’s Friday night appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball, in which he said the walls are closing in on the President:

 

Trump Mocks Elizabeth Warren at Event: I Have ‘More Indian Blood’ Than She Does

President Donald Trump mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren at an event on Saturday

Appearing at the Future Farmers of America convention in Indiana, Trump delivered a rally-style speech. After speaking out about the mass shooting at a Pennsylvania synagogue on Saturday morning that left at least 11 dead, Trump turned to his usual topics.

He apparently referenced Warren’s recent claims to Native American heritage when imagining debating her in the 2020 campaign.

“Maybe Elizabeth Warren is gone,” Trump said. “She may be gone. She may be gone. What a sad thing happened to her. Turned out that I had more Indian blood in me than she has.”

As the crowd began to cheer, Trump continued: “What a sad event. And I have none.”

“We can’t resist,” he added. “Can we resist?”

Trump is also set to hold a rally Saturday afternoon. He said he was considering calling off the political rally after the morning’s mass shooting, but later announced it would go on as planned.

[Mediaite]

On Day of Mass Shooting, Trump Jokes He Nearly Canceled Speech Due To ‘Bad Hair Day’

On the day of a horrific shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that claimed the lives of at least 11 people, some people wondered if President Donald Trump would go ahead with planned events for the day, including speaking at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis and a rally in Illinois.

Trump decided to go ahead with both events, but he did joke at the convention for young future farmers that he almost canceled for another reason ― a bad hair day.

He recalled for the crowd that earlier in the day, he had been holding a news conference about the mass shooting ― which he referred to as a “very unfortunate news conference” ― when he became drenched from the wind and rain. The elements apparently left his hair looking not exactly the way he likes it.

“I said, ‘Maybe I should cancel this arrangement because I have a bad hair day,’” he told the crowd. “And the bad news ― somebody said, ‘Actually it looks better than it usually does.’”

Though he drew laughter from the crowd, many people found the joke to be in poor taste, given the circumstances.

[Huffington Post]

Trump: Elizabeth Warren ‘Owes the Country an Apology,’ I’ll Give the Money ‘If I Can Test Her Personally’

President Donald Trump took questions from reporters while in Georgia this afternoon surveying the damage from Hurricane Michael.

And he was asked again for his reaction to Elizabeth Warren––whom he has insulted as “Pocahontas” multiple times––releasing her DNA test today.

One reporter asked the President if he owes her an apology. Trump responded, “She owes the country an apology. What’s the percentage? 1/1000?”

Trump was also asked about the money he offered to Warren to prove Native American heritage and he said this:

“You mean, if she gets the nomination, in a debate, where I was gonna have her tested? I’ll only do it if I can test her personally, okay? That will not be something I enjoy doing either.”

[Mediaite]

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