Trump Rails Against ‘SPYGATE’ In Wild Tweetstorm After Watching Evidence-Free Fox & Friends Segment

President Donald Trump has ramped up his attacks on the Russia investigation — floating out baseless accusations that an FBI “spy” was dispatched for political purposes to sabotage his campaign and elect Hillary Clinton — and Fox & Friends is eagerly cheering him on.

Fox & Friends opened the show Wednesday morning with a laughably uncritical reading of Trump’s latest tweets, which apparently set off the president on another wild tweetstorm in which he declared the investigation into his campaign, “SPYGATE.”

On Fox News, Brian Kilmeade started by noting that the FBI sent informants to Trump’s campaign in 2016 “to maybe go in there and find out, probe around and see where the Russians had gained access to.”

“And now we know exactly why,” Steve Doocydeclared. “The president sent out a couple tweets, probably why you were sleeping. The reason why the federal government put the spies in there, was so Crooked Hillary would win.”

The hosts of Fox & Friends continued to speculate wildly about the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties, with Doocy and Kilmeade agreeing that the whole thing looks like a “set up.”

The cycle continued later in the morning, when Trump responded to his favorite morning show in another tweet — which blasted “worlds dumbest former Intelligence Head” James Clapper:

“Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State,” Trump continued in his next tweet. “They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before!”

Trump also cited Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, who appeared on Fox & Friends First and Fox Business Network Wednesday morning.

And, finally, we have a new word for this fresh shitshow… SPYGATE!

UPDATE: Matthew Gertz has the goods one where Trump’s quote came from… a Fox & Friends First chyron that — again, without a dash of evidence — boldly declared “NEW BOMBSHELL IN THE OBAMA SPYING SCANDAL”.

[Mediaite]

Trump: ‘Illegal’ and ‘disgrace’ if spies were on my campaign

President Trump said Tuesday it would be “illegal” and a “disgrace” if the FBI had spies embedded in his campaign.

“A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country,” he said. “It would be very illegal, aside from everything else.”

“I hope they weren’t,” Trump added, because “that would be unprecedented in the history of our country.”

The comments come as Trump is escalating his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has repeated conservative claims that federal law enforcement spied on his campaign, perhaps at the direction of senior leaders in the Obama administration, in an effort to sink his chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.

Media reports have said FBI agents used an informant to speak with a trio of Trump campaign advisers after the bureau heard they had suspicious contacts with Russia. There is no evidence a spy or mole was embedded in the Trump campaign.

Critics say Trump is using the allegations to muddy the waters in the Russia probe, which is looking into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election and if the president obstructed the probe.

Trump has repeated conservative claims that federal law enforcement spied on his campaign, perhaps at the direction of senior leaders in the Obama administration, in an effort to sink his chances of winning the 2016 presidential election.

Media reports have said FBI agents used an informant to speak with a trio of Trump campaign advisers after the bureau heard they had suspicious contacts with Russia. There is no evidence a spy or mole was embedded in the Trump campaign.

Critics say Trump is using the allegations to muddy the waters in the Russia probe, which is looking into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election and if the president obstructed the probe.

[The Hill]

Trump Goes Off: FBI ‘Spy’ on Campaign for ‘Political Reasons and to Help Crooked Hillary Win’

President Trump took to Twitter tonight to again go off on the FBI informant at the center of the latest political controversy concerning the Trump campaign.

On Sunday, Trump demanded the DOJ look into whether “the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Well, within just days of that tweet, the President has already reached some conclusions:

If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered – many times higher than normal… Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win – just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!

[Mediaite]

Trump Denounces ‘Witch Hunt’ Again as He Touts Judge Who Criticized Mueller’s Office

President Donald Trump used his appearance at the National Rifle Association annual convention Friday to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation into possible Russia collusion during the 2016 campaign.

The president spoke at the gun lobby group’s annual gathering in Dallas, but while the event was about the 2nd Amendment and guns, the president apparently saw it as the perfect platform to go after America’s justice system. Trump specifically seized upon the news from earlier Friday, when a federal judge, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, voiced concern over the idea of a special counsel in general.

“It’s unlikely you’re going to persuade me the special counsel has unfettered power to do whatever he wants,” Judge T.S. Ellis told federal prosecutors during one of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort‘s first court appearances. The comment prompted speculation that, perhaps, Manafort’s charges, which include money laundering and tax evasion, could be dropped. Most experts, however, still say that’s unlikely.

Regardless, Trump took the judge’s remarks as a win. The president partially quoted an article from CNN, an outlet he says he regards as “fake news,” to the crowd of thousands gathered for the NRA annual convention in Dallas.

“Judge T.S. Ellis, who is really something special I hear from many standpoints – he is a respected person – suggested the charges before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia were just part of the Mueller team’s designs to pressure Mr. Manafort into giving up information on President Donald Trump or Russia’s involvement in the campaign,” Trump said, appearing to read from a separate news report.

“I’ve been saying that for a long time. It’s a witch hunt,” Trump said before tossing a piece of paper behind him.

“Then,” Trump continued reading, “none of that information has to do with information related to the Russian government or coordination with the campaign of Donald Trump.” The president kept quoting from an article, saying, “Then, ‘how does this have anything to do with the campaign?’ the judge asks.”

While I am no lawyer or legal expert, I have listened to and read the works of other highly regarded lawyers who say that even though the president and his team claim the money-related charges against Manafort are outside the scope of Mueller’s jurisdiction, the fact of the matter is that the crimes were still uncovered. Thus, they are prosecutable. To say that just because a possible crime was discovered as the result of an investigation into unrelated matters is to abandon the U.S. justice system and the rule of law, which Trump claims he wants to protect.

So long as the appropriate permissions were gathered to obtain evidence in a case (and I have no information to suggest those permissions were not granted in Manafort’s case), a legal charge such as the one against Manafort is valid. It may not be politically convenient. In fact, the Russia investigation is nothing short of a nightmare for the Trump administration. That said, the president cannot have it both ways. Either he supports the rule of law, whether or not it directly affects him and his presidency, or he doesn’t.

[Mediaite]

Trump Threatens to ‘Get Involved’ With the DOJ: ‘At Some Point I Will Have No Choice’

President Trump has once again weighed in on Republican concerns that the DOJ is not providing documents in a timely manner.

It’s gotten to the point where some Republicans have begun drafting articles of impeachment against Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as a “last resort.” Rosenstein fired back yesterday by saying the DOJ will not be “extorted.”

And now the President himself is getting into this ongoing battle:

[Mediaite]

Trump asks court to dismiss emoluments lawsuit against him

President Donald Trump has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing him of violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause related to private payments from other governments.

Trump is asking the judge to dismiss the complaint against him as an individual.

He’s also being sued separately for violating the Emoluments Clause — which prohibits federal officeholders from receiving gifts and payments from foreign states or their representatives — in his official capacity as President.

Trump, in the new filing, claims the District of Columbia and Maryland state attorneys general suing him can only bring a court action like this against him as President.

Even if they could sue Trump as an individual, “the President still is absolutely immune,” according to the filing.

Previously, the judge let the lawsuit move forward and focused it on proceeds from the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Following that ruling, the case will challenge payments made by foreign officials for services at the Trump International Hotel but will not include visits to Mar-a-Lago in Florida or other Trump properties.

Maryland and DC have argued that the Trump International Hotel’s operations put other nearby hotel and entertainment properties at a competitive disadvantage and that the Trump hotel got special tax concessions.

But the judge did not make any rulings on the allegations in the case, which accuse Trump of taking illegal gifts from foreign governments through his family’s business.

The court is still weighing the definition of emoluments and other questions raised in the lawsuit.

[CNN]

Trump asked CIA official why drone strike didn’t also kill target’s family

President Trump reportedly asked an official at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) why they didn’t kill a terrorist target’s family during a drone strike.

The Washington Post reported Thursday after watching a recorded video of a Syrian drone strike where officials waited until the target was outside of his family’s home, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?”

The agency’s head of drone operations explained to an “unimpressed” Trump there are techniques to limit the number of civilian casualties.

Trump called for the CIA to start arming its drone in Syria and reportedly asked for it to be started in days.

[The Hill]

Reality

All four Geneva Conventions from 1949 contain “Common Article 3,” which applies to “armed conflict not of an international character.” What does that mean? The U.S. Supreme Court, in the 2006 case Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, ruled that “armed conflict not of an international character” means a war that is not fought against a sovereign state. (A sovereign state simply means a country with a recognized government.) Since groups like ISIS are not considered sovereign states, that means that Common Article 3 applies to the current war on terrorism.

According to Common Article 3, people who are taking no active part in the hostilities “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely… To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever … violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.”

Experts said this language would make Trump’s approach a violation of the Geneva Conventions, assuming that the family members were not taking part in terrorist activities.

Trump: ‘Take the guns first, go through due process second’

President Trump on Wednesday voiced support for confiscating guns from certain individuals deemed to be dangerous, even if it violates due process rights.

“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time,” Trump said at a meeting with lawmakers on school safety and gun violence.

“Take the guns first, go through due process second,” Trump said.

Trump was responding to comments from Vice President Pence that families and local law enforcement should have more tools to report potentially dangerous individuals with weapons.

“Allow due process so no one’s rights are trampled, but the ability to go to court, obtain an order and then collect not only the firearms but any weapons,” Pence said.

“Or, Mike, take the firearms first, and then go to court,” Trump responded.

Trump met with lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss gun laws and school safety in the aftermath of a Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead.

The suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was able to legally purchase the AR-15 reportedly used in the shooting despite numerous calls to law enforcement about his unstable behavior.

[The Hill]

Media

CNN

‘I just don’t know what that means’: Trump gets completely lost during meeting on school shootings

President Donald Trump on Thursday appeared to get completely lost during a discussion on preventing school shootings being held at the White House.

During the talk, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill talked about active measures that schools can take during shootings that can go into effect automatically without the police even being on the scene.

“We also have countermeasures that can be employed by the sheriff’s department within seconds to contain the attacker and in a sense turn the attack on them,” Hill said. “That is a critical piece.”

A confused Trump asked him to explain the concept of countermeasures.

“I just don’t know what that means,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know what that means.”

Hill proceeded to give him an example to illustrate it.

“If you are in a hallway, with an active shooter in a hall, and he’s going around looking for targets, you got the doors locked, and somebody is monitoring and, for example, they have smoke canisters that can come in and blind to shooter, which distracts them,” he said. “That gives time and, you know, that critical time when he is allowed looking for targets.”

Trump still didn’t seem to understand the concept, however.

“In the meantime, he’s shooting everybody, though,” the president said.

“Well, in this particular school, they’re locked down,” Hill patiently explained.

[RawStory]

Media

Donald Trump Boldly Suggests Movies, Video Games Should Get a “Rating System”

In a Thursday meeting to discuss school safety in the wake of the Parkland shooting, Donald Trump suggested that movies and video games are influencing the youth’s perception of violence—and because of that, there should be a “rating system” in place, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He did not acknowledge the fact that explicit ratings systems for movies and video games have existed for decades.

“We have to look at the Internet, because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being formed. And we have to do something about maybe what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it,” Trump said. “And also video games. I’m hearing more and more people say the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts. And then you go the further step and that’s the movies. You see these movies, they’re so violent and yet a kid is able to see a movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved. Maybe they have to put a rating system for that.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Domestic Policy Council Director Andrew Bremberg, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and adviser Kellyanne Conway also attended the meeting Thursday, in addition to local officials.

His puzzling call for a ratings system aside, Trump echoed a common debate that is often stirred up after mass school shootings, one that places the blame on pop culture. As T.H.R. points out, he’s far from the first politician to voice concerns over violent video games. In the past week, Republican Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and Republican Rhode Island Representative Robert “Bobby” Nardolillo mentioned video games, with the latter proposing a tax on games rated “M” for mature or above. (Because, again: the games already get ratings based on their violent content.) Back in 2005, even Hillary Clinton spoke out against increasingly violent games, saying they are “stealing the innocence from our children” and should be monitored like “tobacco, alcohol, and pornography.”

The vocal students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where the Parkland shooting occurred, do not agree. Rather than blaming violent video games and films, they have instead made waves by calling out inactive politicians and the N.R.A. In a stirring Wednesday night town hall meeting hosted by CNN, the students—as well as parents, teachers, and other locals—took Senator Marco Rubio and N.R.A. spokeswoman Dana Loesch to task, demanding gun-control reform. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie was killed in the shooting, told Rubio outright that both his comments, as well as Trump’s comments, have been “pathetically weak.”

[Vanity Fair]

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