Trump Again Lashes Out at Fox News for Not Sufficiently Adoring Him

Donald Trump’s growing annoyance at his favorite news network was on display once again Sunday night, when he ripped Fox News for failing to lavish him with sufficient praise.

The tirade began early Sunday evening with tweets targetting the network’s “weekend anchors.” Watching them, Trump wrote, is worse than watching the “Trump haters” on CNN and MSNBC. He also took a swipe at the New York Times before concluding that “@FoxNews is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!” That’s his way of saying he’s responsible for the network’s success and they should thank him with fawning coverage.

The reason for Trump’s outburst isn’t clear. Maybe he saw soccer fans chanting “fuck Trump” during a Fox News live shot earlier Sunday. Maybe he didn’t like seeing Democratic candidate Michael Bennet on Fox News Sunday. Maybe, as Media Matters’s Matthew Gertz suggested, Trump was inspired by the network twice citing a New York Times report about abhorrent conditions in an immigration detention center.

More difficult to explain are the tweets that came later in the evening. Trump went after Shepard Smith, his most vocal critic on Fox News, and Donna Brazile, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, who recently joined the network. As Gertz pointed out though, Brazile hasn’t been on Fox for a week.

All of this comes as Trump is being courted by a right-wing TV network that promises to be more sycophantic than Fox News ever was. One America News has been called the “Ultimate ‘Pro-Trump’ Network” and Trump has reportedly been tuning into the network more than ever. But apparently not this weekend.

[New York Magazine]

Mexico Agreed to Take Border Actions Months Before Trump Announced Tariff Deal

 The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations.

Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said.

The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas.

And over the past week, negotiators failed to persuade Mexico to accept a “safe third country” treaty that would have given the United States the legal ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not sought refuge in Mexico first.

Mr. Trump hailed the agreement anyway on Saturday, writing on Twitter: “Everyone very excited about the new deal with Mexico!” He thanked the president of Mexico for “working so long and hard” on a plan to reduce the surge of migration into the United States.

It was unclear whether Mr. Trump believed that the agreement truly represented new and broader concessions, or whether the president understood the limits of the deal but accepted it as a face-saving way to escape from the political and economic consequences of imposing tariffs on Mexico, which he began threatening less than two weeks ago.

Having threatened Mexico with an escalating series of tariffs — starting at 5 percent and growing to 25 percent — the president faced enormous criticism from global leaders, business executives, Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and members of his own staff that he risked disrupting a critical marketplace.

After nine days of uncertainty, Mr. Trump backed down and accepted Mexico’s promises.

Officials involved with talks said they began in earnest last Sunday, when Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, met over dinner with Mexico’s foreign minister. One senior government official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the closed-door negotiations that took place over several days, insisted that the Mexicans agreed to move faster and more aggressively to deter migrants than they ever have before.

Their promise to deploy up to 6,000 national guard troops was larger than their previous pledge. And the Mexican agreement to accelerate the Migrant Protection Protocols could help reduce what Mr. Trump calls “catch and release” of migrants in the United States by giving the country a greater ability to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico.

But there remains deep skepticism among some American officials — and even Mr. Trump himself — about whether the Mexicans have agreed to do enough, whether they will follow through on their promises, and whether, even if they do, that will reduce the flow of migrants at the southwestern border.

In addition, the Migrant Protection Protocols already face legal challenges by immigrant rights groups who say they violate the migrants’ right to lawyers. A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from implementing the plan, but an appeals court later said it could move forward while the legal challenge proceeds.

During a phone call Friday evening when he was briefed on the agreement, Mr. Trump quizzed his lawyers, diplomats and immigration officials about whether they thought the deal would work. His aides said yes, but admitted that they were also realistic that the surge of immigration might continue.

“We’ll see if it works,” the president told them, approving the deal before sending out his tweet announcing it.

On Saturday, Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said the government looked forward to reducing illegal immigration and making the border “strong and secure” by working with Mexico to fulfill the agreement.

Mr. Trump’s decision to use trade as a bludgeon against Mexico was driven in part by his obsession with stopping what he falsely calls an invasion of the country and in part by a desire to satisfy his core supporters, many of who have grown angry at his inability to build his promised border wall.

Many of his top advisers, including those who oversee his political and economic agendas, were opposed to the tariff threat. But the president’s ire is regularly stoked by the daily reports he receives on how many migrants have crossed the border in the previous 24 hours.

Mr. Trump’s top immigration officials had repeatedly warned the president that results from their work to curb the flow of migrants might not be evident until July, and urged patience.

But that effort became more difficult in May, when the numbers spiked to the highest levels of his presidency. During the week of May 24, 5,800 migrants — the highest ever for one day — crossed on a single day. That was quickly followed by a group of 1,036 migrants who were caught on surveillance cameras crossing the border en masse.

Mr. Trump later tweeted out the video, and the tariff threat soon followed.

Throughout the week’s negotiations, officials on both sides worried about what Mr. Trump would be willing to accept in exchange for pulling back on his tariff threat. That question hung over the talks, which were led one day by Vice President Mike Pence and included Mr. Pompeo and Mr. McAleenan.

Mexican officials opened the negotiations with the offer to deploy their new national guard troops against migrants, using a PowerPoint presentation to show their American counterparts that doing so would be a breakthrough in their ability to stop migrants from flowing north through Mexico, often in buses.

In fact, Mexican officials had already made the same promise months earlier when Ms Nielsen met in Miami with Ms. Sanchez and aides to Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican foreign minister. The purpose of the meeting, according to people familiar with it, was to press the Mexicans to act faster.

Ms. Sanchez also told Ms. Nielsen that the Mexican government’s new national guard, which had been created just a month earlier to combat drugs and crime, would be redirected to the border with Guatemala, the entry point for most of the Central American migrants.

At the time, Ms. Nielsen and the other American negotiators referred to the Mexican promise as the “third border” plan because the Mexicans proposed creating a line of troops around the southern part of their country to keep migrants from moving north.

Mexicans had begun to follow the plan, but not quickly enough for the Trump administration, which said that only about 1,000 Mexican national guard troops were in place by May.

Friday’s agreement with Mexico states that the two countries “will immediately expand” the Migrant Protection Protocols across the entire southern border. To date, migrants have been returned at only three of the busiest ports of entry.

But officials familiar with the program said Saturday that the arrangement struck by the two countries last December always envisioned that it would expand along the entire border. What kept that from happening, they said, was the commitment of resources by both countries.

In the United States, migrants must see immigration judges before they can be sent to wait in Mexico, and a shortage of judges slowed the process. The Mexican government also dragged its feet on providing the shelter, health care, job benefits and basic care that would allow the United States to send the migrants over.

The new deal reiterates that Mexico will provide the “jobs, health care and education” needed to allow the program to expand. But the speed with which the United States can send more migrants to wait in Mexico will still depend on how quickly the government follows through on that promise.

Perhaps the clearest indication that both sides recognize that the deal might prove insufficient is contained in a section of Friday’s agreement titled “Further Action.”

One official familiar with the negotiations said the section was intended to be a serious warning to the Mexican government that Mr. Trump would be paying close attention to the daily reports he received about the number of migrants crossing the border. The official said that if the numbers failed to change — quickly — the president’s anger would bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

“The tariff threat is not gone,” the official said. “It’s suspended.”

[The New York Times]

Trump Invents Quote From Kevin McCarthy to Tout Support on Tariffs, Border Policy

It would appear that President Donald Trump drastically twisted a recent quote from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in order to claim he’s on solid political footing with his plans to put tariffs on Mexico.

On Wednesday, Trump thanked McCarthy on Twitter because he supposedly said this about the president’s plans:

There’s just a slight problem: that quote doesn’t seem to exist anywhere except in Trump’s tweet.

Politico traced the so-called quote to an interview McCarthy gave to Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night, during which, the Fox News host asked him about Trump’s tariffs.

Here are those remarks in full:

“No. No, we support this president. And why, when you’re about to have a meeting – the secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is meeting with Mexico tomorrow. We want to solve this crisis at the border – Why wouldn’t you help them be as strong as they can be? Stand up with him, and you know what, if you give the president his strongest hand, you’ll never end up with tariffs and we’ll have a border that is secure.”

As you can see, this is rather different from how McCarthy supposedly said that support for Trump’s tariffs “makes any measure the President takes on the Border totally Veto proof.”

[Mediaite]

Trump: ‘Foolish’ for GOP to try to stop tariffs on Mexico

President Trump on Tuesday insisted he will follow through with new tariffs on Mexico if it does not do more to curb illegal migration and said it would be “foolish” for congressional Republicans to try and stop him.

“We are going to see if we can do something, but I think it’s more likely that the tariffs go on,” Trump said during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Addressing deliberations by Republicans on a measure that could limit his tariff power, Trump said, “I don’t think they will do that. I think if they do, it’s foolish.”

Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexican imports are scheduled to take effect on Monday. A 5 percent tariff on all goods would be imposed, and it could grow to 25 percent by October unless Trump is satisfied with steps taken by Mexico on immigration.

A team of Mexican diplomats is in Washington this week seeking to convince the administration to back away from the plan, which has also unsettled U.S. businesses. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to break off from Trump’s European trip to attend the meetings.

Asked if Mexico has done enough to avoid the tariffs, Trump responded “no, we haven’t started yet” and reaffirmed the tariffs will begin “next week.”

But the president added the two countries would be talking over the coming weeks and months and expressed hope Mexico will “step up and give us security for our nation.”

Trump’s tariffs, which were opposed by some of his closest trade advisers, have also run into resistance on Capitol Hill where Republicans who traditionally support free trade want the president to change course, fearing they could derail efforts to ratify a new North American trade pact.

Some GOP senators have floated the possibility of passing legislation to disapprove of the Mexico tariffs and curtail his ability to unilaterally impose tariffs in the future, but there are differences on how to proceed.

Trump suggested GOP lawmakers would be punished politically for going against him, claiming he has a 94 percent approval rating among Republican voters and pointing out “there’s nothing more important than borders” for his base.

It remains unclear what Mexico might have to do in order to satisfy the president’s concerns.

In announcing the tariffs, Trump tweeted that all illegal immigration would have to “STOP” but administration officials later said there was no specific goal that would need to be met and instead the Mexican government would have to show progress on securing its border with Guatemala, deporting migrants and cracking down on criminal gangs.

Navy says it was asked to ‘minimize visibility’ of USS McCain for Trump visit

The Navy has acknowledged receiving a request to “minimize visibility” of the USS John S. McCain during President Trump‘s visit to Japan earlier this week but said the ship remained in its normal configuration.

“A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit,” Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, chief of Navy information, told CNN in a statement late Friday. “There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain.”

The spokesman said that the Navy is “fully cooperating with the review of this matter.” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said earlier this week that he had directed his chief of staff to look into the incident because he never authorized any “action around the movement of activity regarding that ship.”

Shanahan maintained Friday that the U.S. military would not “become politicized” amid questions over a White House order to keep the USS John S. McCain “out of sight” during Trump’s visit to Japan.

The ship is currently under repair, with one Navy official telling CNN that the White House request was impractical.

“Our business is to run military operations and not to become politicized,” Shanahan told reporters during a news conference in Singapore on Friday when asked if he shared Trump’s assessment that whoever gave the order was “well-meaning.”

“I’ll wait until I get a full explanation of the facts before I’ll pass judgment on the situation, but our job is to run the military. And I would not have moved the ship. I would not have given that direction,” he added.

Trump said Thursday that he “didn’t know anything” about the request to hide the guided missile destroyer during his visit to the Yokosuka Naval Base on Memorial Day. However, he went on to chastise the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over his vote that helped torpedo GOP efforts to repeal ObamaCare in 2017, saying he “was not a big fan of John McCain.”

“But I would never do a thing like that,” he added. “Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him. And they were well-meaning, I will say.”

[The Hill]

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: Fox’s Napolitano asked me to pardon his friend, put him on Supreme Court


President Trump
 tweeted Saturday that Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano met with him and urged him to nominate Napolitano to the Supreme Court as well as grant a pardon to one of Napolitano’s friends.

Napolitano, a former superior court judge in New Jersey, works as a legal analyst for Fox News. In a pair of tweets Saturday evening following his campaign rally in Green Bay, Wis., the president accused the commentator of becoming “very hostile” after Trump supposedly turned him down for the nation’s highest court.

“Thank you to brilliant and highly respected attorney Alan Dershowitz for destroying the very dumb legal argument of ‘Judge’ Andrew Napolitano,” Trump wrote.

“Ever since Andrew came to my office to ask that I appoint him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I said NO, he has been very hostile! Also asked for pardon for his friend. A good ‘pal’ of low ratings Shepard Smith,” the president added, referring to Fox’s chief news anchor, who has often been critical of the White House.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment regarding when the conversation with Napolitano occurred or whom the Fox News commentator supposedly asked Trump to pardon.

Trump frequently showers praise on Fox News figures who are seen as allies of his administration, including Dershowitz, who has defended the president amid the now-concluded investigation into Russia’s election interference and Trump’s campaign.

[The Hill]

Trump Knocks McCain Again for Saving Obamacare During NRA Convention Speech

President Donald Trump made a dig at late Senator John McCain for voting against an Obamacare repeal bill, which ultimately killed Republican efforts to remove the ACA.

“We got the individual mandate, the absolute worst part of ObamaCare eliminated,” Trump said while bragging about his accomplishments to a raucous crowd gathered in Indianapolis for this year’s National Rifle Association convention. “Now we’re going for the rest.”

“And we had it [repealed] except for one vote,” he added, referencing the infamous McCain vote that saved Obamacare. “You know what I’m talking about.”

The crowd responded to Trump’s McCain jab with cheers and applause.

In nearly an hour long interview on Sean Hannity‘s Fox News show last night, Trump ripped McCain for doing the GOP “a tremendous disservice” and “the nation a tremendous disservice, tremendous, and it’s unfortunate.”

“He went thumbs-down at the very last moment and I thought it was a disgraceful thing to do and very, very bad for our country and bad for health care,” he added. “It was done and then John McCain, at the very last moment, late in the evening, went thumbs-down and everybody said, ‘What was that?’”

During his NRA speech, Trump also warned the audience that “socialists and far left Democrats want to destroy everything that we’ve done.” He went on to say that Democrats want to ban “new guns and confiscating existing guns from law-abiding citizens.”

“What they don’t tell you is, the bad guys aren’t giving up their guns and you’re not going to be giving up your guns either,” he added.

[Mediaite]

Trump: I get why Barbara Bush disliked me — ‘Look what I did to her sons’

President Donald Trump says he understands why Barbara Bush wasn’t fond of him, saying that the former first lady was right to be “nasty” to him, because he was so critical of her sons.

“I have heard that she was nasty to me, but she should be. Look what I did to her sons,” Trump told the Washington Times in an interview published Thursday night about his comments about former president George W. Bush and former presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

“She’s the mother of somebody that I competed against. Most people thought he was going to win and he was quickly out,” Trump added, referring to Jeb, who he beat in the 2016 GOP primary. “I hit him very hard.

“That’s when his brother came to make the first speech for him,” Trump said. “And I said, ‘What took you so long?’”

As a candidate, Trump was aggressively critical of Jeb Bush — whom he blasted as having “low energy” — as well as the former president, who Trump repeatedly criticized for his handling of the war in Iraq.

Trump’s comments about Barbara Bush came after the late first lady’s intensely critical comments about him to USA Today reporter Susan Page for her biography “The Matriarch” became public.

Bush, who passed away last April, had told Page she so fiercely disliked Trump that she blamed his attacks on her son Jeb Bush for what she called a heart attack and, by the end of her life, no longer considered herself a Republican.

Excerpts of the book released last week detailed Bush’s long-standing scorn for Trump, which went back decades. In diary entries from the 1990s, which she made available to Page, she described Trump as “greedy, selfish, and ugly.”

[NBC News]

Trump tells Republicans they lost in 2018 because the election was rigged

President Donald Trump warned Congressional Republicans to be “paranoid” that Democrats were rigging elections.

Trump spoke at a fundraiser for the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), the organization in charge of House elections for the GOP.

During his remarks, Trump denied that he was a reason why Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives during the blue wave of the midterm elections.

“I say, what the hell do I have to do with it?” Trump said, according to Washington Postnational political reporter Felicia Sonmez.

Trump then seemed to suggest the 2018 midterms were stolen.

[Raw Story]

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