Trump Urges ‘Retribution’ Against Saturday Night Live and ‘Many Other Shows’

Donald Trump‘s Sunday morning rage-tweet began with the suggestion of “retribution” against Saturday Night Live after the sketch show lampooned his “national emergency” press conference, in a pair of tweets that could serve as the script for next week’s show.

Trump slammed SNL and “many other shows,” called for “retribution,” and suggested that comedy shows be investigated for “collusion”:

Saturday night’s episode of SNL featured a cold-open that tore into the press conference at which Trump admitted his national emergence was not a national emergency while he was declaring a national emergency. There was also a biting segment during Weekend Update in which Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi rubbed Trump’s nose in the border compromise deal.

This is not the first time Trump has levelled accusations of “collusion” and suggested action against this particular television program. In December, Trump said that SNL and “unfair news coverage” should be “tested in courts.”

It is unclear what, exactly, Trump wants investigated, or what “retribution” he thinks is in order, but the First Amendment appears to protect comedy shows, even if they all make fun of the same guy.

[Mediaite]

Trump warns Europe he will free ISIS fighters if allies won’t prosecute them

President Donald Trump threatened Sunday to release hundreds of Islamic State fighters being held in Syria if allies in Europe don’t agree to take custody of the militants.

“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial,” Trump said in a late-night tweet. “The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.”

Trump, who intends to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, said the likely destination for the militants would be European countries. “The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go,” Trump said.

During the civil war in Syria, hundreds of militants flooded into the country, many coming from Europe to join ISIS’ ranks. It’s unclear how many of the militants Trump is referring to are actually European citizens.

Trump’s comments come as global leaders wrap up three days of security talks in Munich, where the conflict in Syria was among the agenda items.

James Jeffrey, the U.S.’s special representative on Syria issues, said in Munich that the U.S. will leave northeastern Syria, but the troop pullout will not be abrupt.

“It will be an orderly step-by-step withdraw,”Jeffrey said without offering a timeline.

In December, Trump called for a complete withdraw of U.S. forces in the country. And on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence reiterated that the U.S. still plans to wind down the mission in Syria.

Still, the U.S. said it intends to keep its coalition together and wants allies to play a larger role in the broader campaign to root out ISIS elements.

Jeffrey said there are hundreds of ISIS cells scattered throughout the region. U.S. air power will remain ready to respond when needed, he said.

Trump has essentially declared victory over the group, which has been forced out of all its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria. But there remain concerns that ISIS could regroup if the U.S. pulls out. Trump said the time has come for other countries to pick up the slack.

“We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!,” Trump tweeted.

[Stars and Stripes]

Reality

Trump promised in the campaign he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS in 90 days. Instead:

1. 90 days came and went.

2. Said you’ll have a plan soon.

3. Your plan was to give the generals 90 days to formulate a plan.

4. Their plan was Obama’s strategy.

5. You take credit for #winning.

Trump just declared a national emergency at the border

After battling for weeks over funding for a border wall, overseeing the longest government shutdown in US history, and finally signing on to a deal to fund the government, President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency over a contrived crisis at the US-Mexico border.

On Friday, Trump invoked his power to declare a national emergency in a unilateral effort to make progress on the border wall Congress has thus far denied him. He initially demanded $5 billion for the construction of about 200 miles of barrier at the border, and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly refused to go anywhere near that figure. He got about $1.3 billion for border fencing in the deal he finally agreed to, a far cry from the desired amount. So he’s going with a national emergency to get more.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it, one way or another, we have to do it,” he said in a speech at the White House Rose Garden on Friday.

Trump will try to cobble together funds from a number of areas and redirect them toward border wall construction. White House officials ahead of the announcement on Friday said he would redirect about $600 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, an account funded by money seized by the US government; $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense’s counter-drug activities; and $3.6 billion from other military construction accounts. Trump won’t try to take anything from disaster relief.

“I didn’t need to do this,” Trump said on Friday. “But I’d rather do it much faster.”

That the president has finally decided to declare an emergency isn’t entirely surprising — he has been wavering on the idea for weeks.

So why declare a national emergency in addition to the spending deal? The short answer is that Trump doesn’t want to admit he lost. He’s already getting less for border fencing than was in the original spending bill he refused to sign in December — and caused a 35-day government shutdown over — so he’s looking to executive action instead.

There has been some debate about whether Trump can indeed declare an emergency at the border considering there isn’t really one, and the answer, at least initially, seems to be that he can.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor on Thursday that he would support the emergency declaration.

[Vox]

Trump calls on Omar to resign over remarks condemned as anti-Semitic

President Trump on Tuesday called on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to resign for comments on Israel that were criticized as anti-Semitic.

“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Trump said of the freshman lawmaker.

Omar apologized on Monday for suggesting that U.S. support for a Jewish state is the result of money flowing from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.

The comments were quickly condemned by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders. But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Roll Call that Omar would not be stripped of her committee assignments. 

The president said Omar’s comments are “deep seated in her heart” and called her apology “lame.”

Trump was similarly critical of Omar on Mondaynight but had stopped short of calling on the congresswoman to step down.

“I think she should be ashamed of herself,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.  

Asked at the time what an appropriate response would be for Omar, Trump said, “She knows what to say.”

Omar prompted criticism from members of both major parties on Sunday evening when she retweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald’s response to a story about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promising “action” toward the Minnesota lawmaker and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over their alleged anti-Semitism.

She captioned that retweet with the message, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” referring to money.

Conservatives have touted GOP leaders’ decision last month to strip Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) of his committee assignments after he questioned why the term “white supremacist” is offensive, contrasting it to Democrats’ response to Omar.

But some Democrats have called Republicans’ punishment for King too little too late, pointing out that the Iowa lawmaker has made inflammatory comments about Hispanic immigrants for years.

[The Hill]

Trump: ‘Some of the Most Dishonest People in Media Are the So-Called Fact-Checkers’

President Donald Trump used part of his Monday night rally in El Paso, TX to rail against a particular branch of the media: fact checkers.

As Trump slammed former president Barack Obama‘s “you can keep your doctor” promise from the Affordable Care Act, he accused fact-checkers of never calling out the falsity of that claim.

“Where are the fact-checkers? Some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called ‘fact-checkers’…That didn’t turn out to be what he said.”

Trump’s remarks come after he got on Twitter earlier today and parroted Fox News opinion host Jesse Watters who said “the fact-checkers have become fake news.”

To put some perspective on Trump’s complaints, Politifact has figured that approximately 70 percent of Trump’s political statements are factually-challenged to varying degrees, plus Washington Post‘s fact-check finds that Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims throughout his presidency so far.

[Mediaite]

Trump Taunts Protesters at Rally: ‘Go Back Home to Mommy’

President Donald Trump‘s rally in El Paso was repeatedly interrupted by protesters.

At one point, Trump was talking about passing Veterans Choice when the crowd started booing at a protester in the crowd.

“USA, USA, USA!” the crowd chanted as Trump looked on from the podium.

Then, Trump said this, taunting the protestor: “Where do these people come from? Where do they come from? They go back home to mommy. They get punished when they get home.”

At another point in the rally, another protester — the fourth according to journalist Brandon Waltons — caused another interruption, prompting Trump to ask if there was any place more fun to be than a Trump rally.

[Mediaite]

Trump Quotes Inane Media Criticism From Fox News Host Jesse Watters: ‘So True!’

President Donald Trump quoted a mind-numbingly inane piece of media criticism from a Fox News host Monday morning in an attempt to undermine fact-checkers.

Jesse Watters, who hosts a Saturday night show on Fox News, kicked off last week’s iteration with a lazy generalization: “The media fact-checkers are lying to you.”

Watters’ dismissal of fact-checkers relied on reports that Trump’s recent false claims about violent crime in El Paso were false. Watters took issue with a specific headline from Vox, which he called a “distortion.”

“The fact-checkers have become fake news,” he declared confidently.

Trump parroted the remark on Twitter Monday, calling it “So True!”:

Fact checkers can slip up — we’ve chronicled bad fact-checking on this very site — but to dismiss the entire practice as “fake” is, of course, remarkably stupid. There’s no doubt why Watters is taking aim at fact-checkers, however, and why the president is parroting his attack. The Washington Post‘s running fact-check found that in his first two years in office, Trump made a mind-blowing 8,158 false or misleading claims. That’s an average of 5.9 PER DAY.

[Mediaite]

Trump again confuses climate with weather in tweet attacking Amy Klobuchar

Donald Trump attacked Amy Klobuchar on Sunday, in a tweet that appeared to demonstrate a lack of understanding about climate change.

The Democratic senator had announced that she was running for the presidency earlier that day, in a speech delivered as snow fell around her in Minneapolis

“As your president, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life,” she told a crowd of people gathered at a park along the Mississippi River.

The Minnesota senator added that on her first day as president she would have the US rejoin the Paris climate agreement, which Mr Trump withdrew the country from in 2017.

“Well, it happened again,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“Amy Klobuchar announced that she is running for President, talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard of snow, ice and freezing temperatures.”

“Bad timing. By the end of her speech she looked like a Snowman(woman)!”

Conflating weather and climate change is a common error and Nasa has a webpage dedicated to distingushing the two.

“The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time,” it states.

“Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”

Mr Trump has a long history of spreading incorrect information about climate change, despite the wealth of information available.

His tweet came just three weeks after another one in which he discussed forecasts of heavy snow.

“Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now,” the 72-year-old said. 

Mr Trump also once claimed that climate change was a Chinese hoax, invented to hurt US exports.

Ms Klobuchar responded to his mockery on Twitter by saying that science supported her policies.

“Science is on my side,” she wrote, addressing the president. 

[The Independent]

Trump says Democrats ‘cannot legitimately win’ 2020 presidential election

Donald Trump has claimed the Democratic Party “cannot legitimately win” the 2020 presidential election, in an angry tweet condemning congressional oversight of his administration.

“The Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see,” Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.

“When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn! The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”

The US president’s comment, in response to a grilling of his acting attorney general by the House judiciary committee, echoed similar ones he made in 2016 when he threatened to not accept the results of the “rigged” presidential election should he have lost.

Ned Price, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, accused Mr Trump of launching an early bid to sow doubts about the legitimacy of next year’s vote.

“The first two sentences are laughable. The third is frightening—especially the use of the adverb “legitimately”, he tweeted.

“He’s setting the stage, months in advance, to be able to say the 2020 election was stolen. It’s fair to start asking whether Trump would cede power peacefully.”

Prominent lawyer and Trump critic David Leopold accused the president of attacking “the legitimacy of the 2020 election which he increasingly expects to lose”.

“That’s what thugs in power do,” he added.

Sam Vinograd, a former director on the National Security Council, said Mr Trump was aligning with Russia in “undermining confidence” in American democracy.

Mr Trump went on to claim on Twitter, without providing evidence, that America would be in recession if he had lost the election to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“We have a great economy DESPITE the Obama Administration and all of its job killing Regulations and Roadblocks,” he wrote. “If that thinking prevailed in the 2016 Election, the U.S. would be in a Depression right now! We were heading down, and don’t let the Democrats sound bites fool you!”

The president’s outburst came the day after Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, was repeatedly pressed by judiciary committee members on his relationship with the White House and his views on Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.

Mr Whitaker, an appointee of Mr Trump, at one point caused the committee and audience members to gasp in disbelief when he avoided answering a question from the chairman by telling him his time had run out.

“Mr Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,” he said in response to Jerrold Nadler.

The heated exchange arrived after the committee chairman asked Mr Whitaker whether he had “ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel”.

[Independent]

Trump: Adam Schiff is a ‘Political Hack’ with ‘No Basis’ In Sharing House Intel Transcripts With Mueller

President Donald Trump blasted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) during a cabinet room press spray, calling the Californian Democrat a “political hack.”

On Wednesday morning Schiff announced plans to share more than 50 transcripts of committee interviews with the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he continues to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian efforts to influence the general election of 2016.

Schiff told reporters what he plans to share, which “includes transcripts that the special counsel and Justice Department have not had access to and a great many that they have, but have not been allowed to use for particular purposes including in prosecutions for false statements, obstruction, or perjury or any other like offense.”

When Trump was asked to comment on this recent development news that the House Intelligence Committee, of which Schiff is chair, voted on Wednesday to provide transcripts from dozens of witness interviews to the office of the Special Counsel,  the commander in chief replied “He has no basis to do that, he’s just a political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself.”

Trump continued “no other politician has to go through that…it’s called presidential harassment.”

Lawmakers approved of the release in a bipartisan voice vote in a closed-door meeting according to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX.)

[Mediaite]

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