Trump demands to meet whistleblower, warns of ‘big consequences’

President Trump on Sunday evening railed against the whistleblower and other individuals at the center of a growing scandal involving his phone call with Ukraine’s president, warning there could be “big consequences.”

“Like every American, I deserve to meet my accuser, especially when this accuser, the so-called “Whistleblower,” represented a perfect conversation with a foreign leader in a totally inaccurate and fraudulent way. Then [Rep. Adam] Schiff made up what I actually said by lying to Congress,” Trump said in a series of tweets.

“His lies were made in perhaps the most blatant and sinister manner ever seen in the great Chamber,” he continued, before adding that he wants Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.”

“In addition,” he added, “I want to meet not only my accuser, who presented SECOND & THIRD HAND INFORMATION, but also the person who illegally gave this information, which was largely incorrect, to the ‘Whistleblower.’ Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!”

[The Hill]

Trump Rails Against Pelosi Announcing Impeachment Inquiry: ‘Witch Hunt Garbage’

President Donald Trump reacted to the announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry by Speaker Nancy Pelosi by raging against Democrats in a tweet.

Earlier today, suggesting it would be good for him.

At the center of this new impeachment push is Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine, following the reports about him pressing for an investigation into the Bidens and the halting of military aid to Ukraine apparently before that call took place.

[Mediaite]

White House Pressed Agency to Repudiate Weather Forecasters Who Contradicted Trump


Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publicly disavow the forecasters’ position that Alabama was not at risk. NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, issued an unsigned statement last Friday in response, saying that the Birmingham, Ala., office was wrong to dispute the president’s warning.

In pressing NOAA’s acting administrator to take action, Mr. Ross warned that top employees at the agency could be fired if the situation was not addressed, The New York Times previously reported. Mr. Ross’s spokesman has denied that he threatened to fire anyone, and a senior administration official on Wednesday said Mr. Mulvaney did not tell the commerce secretary to make such a threat.

The release of the NOAA statement provoked complaints that the Trump administration was improperly intervening in the professional weather forecasting system to justify the president’s mistaken assertion. The Commerce Department’s inspector general is investigating how that statement came to be issued, saying it could call into question scientific independence.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which is controlled by Democrats, announced on Wednesday that it too has opened an investigation into Mr. Ross’s actions.

The White House had no immediate comment on Wednesday, but the senior administration official said Mr. Mulvaney was interested in having the record corrected because, in his view, the Birmingham forecasters had gone too far and the president was right to suggest there had been forecasts showing possible impact on Alabama.

Mr. Trump was furious at being contradicted by the forecasters in Alabama. On Sept. 1, the president wrote on Twitter that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” A few minutes later, the National Weather Service in Birmingham posted on Twitter that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

For nearly a week, Mr. Trump kept insisting he was right, displaying outdated maps, including one that had been apparently altered with a Sharpie pen to make it look like Alabama might be in the path of the storm. He had his homeland security adviser release a statement backing him up.

Mr. Ross called Neil Jacobs, the acting administrator of NOAA, from Greece where the secretary was traveling for meetings, and instructed Dr. Jacobs to fix the agency’s perceived contradiction of the president, according to three people informed about the discussions.

Dr. Jacobs objected to the demand and was told that the political appointees at NOAA would be fired if the situation was not fixed, according to the three individuals, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the episode.

The political staff at an agency typically includes a handful of top officials, such as Dr. Jacobs, and their aides. They are appointed to their jobs by the administration currently in power, as opposed to career government employees, who remain in their jobs as administrations come and go.

The statement NOAA ultimately issued later on Friday called the Birmingham office’s statement “inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Dr. Jacobs has since sought to reassure his work force and the broader scientific community concerned about political interference.

“This administration is committed to the important mission of weather forecasting,” Dr. Jacobs told a weather conference in Huntsville, Ala., on Tuesday. “There is no pressure to change the way you communicate or forecast risk in the future.”

In the speech, Dr. Jacobs praised Mr. Trump, calling him “genuinely interested in improving weather forecasts,” and echoed the president’s position that Dorian initially threatened Alabama. “At one point, Alabama was in the mix, as was the rest of the Southeast.”

He also said he still had faith in the Birmingham office. “The purpose of the NOAA statement was to clarify the technical aspects of the potential impacts of Dorian,” Dr. Jacobs said. “What it did not say, however, is that we understand and fully support the good intent of the Birmingham weather forecast office, which was to calm fears in support of public safety.”

[The New York Times]

After hate-watching MSNBC prison reform special, Donald Trump attacks Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

As a televised town hall hosted by Lester Holt wound down Sunday night on MSNBC, President Donald Trump posted a rambling series of tweets claiming that he had not received enough credit for his work on criminal justice reform as he took aim at the “boring musician” John Legend and “his filthy mouthed wife” Chrissy Teigen. 

“When all of the people pushing so hard for Criminal Justice Reform were unable to come even close to getting it done, they came to me as a group and asked for my help,” the president tweeted. “I got it done with a group of Senators & others who would never have gone for it.” 

Trump was referring to the First Step Act, legislation designed to shorten the mandatory sentences for some federal drug offenses, which was signed into law with bipartisan support in December. However, criminal justice advocates question the current commitment to the implementation of the law. It seeks $75 million a year for five years for prison education and job-training, but Trump’s 2020 budget priorities only showed $14 million to finance its programs. 

“I SIGNED IT INTO LAW, no one else did,” Trump continued Sunday. “Guys like boring musician @johnlegend, and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is—but I didn’t see them around when we needed help getting it passed.” 

It should be noted that in the “Dateline” episode that preceded Sunday’s town hall, Holt did credit Trump for the First Step Act. Though, as Holt pointed out, “That doesn’t affect more than 90 percent of the U.S. prison population, which is locked up in state and local facilities.” 

While Legend, who uses his platform to advocate for prison reform, was part of the town hall, Teigen was not mentioned during the broadcast. However, if you have been remotely active on Twitter since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, you’re already aware that the commander-in-chief has a proclivity to start — and maintain — crude Twitter feuds with celebrities and members of the media, especially women. 

The habit is frequent enough that it has populated numerous listicles such as “Trump’s Most Ridiculous Twitter Feuds In 2017” and “Donald Trump vs. Everyone: His 20 Best Media Feuds.” 

Chrissy Teigen ended up on Trump’s online enemies list during the 2016 election after she voiced her disdain for his politics on Twitter. In July 2017, the president blocked Teigen after she tweeted that “no one likes you.” 

As of last night, Trump still has Teigen blocked. Nonetheless, he still appeared to be nursing a grudge. 

“lol what a p**sy ass b*tch. tagged everyone but me. an honor, mister president,” Teigen responded. “[T]he absolute best part of his tweet is I literally didn’t speak in the special, nor was I mentioned. I’m cackling at the pointless addition of me because he cannot not be a bitch.” 

As of Monday, the Twitter landscape overwhelming reflected the content of Teigen’s response, with the following topics trending: #foulmouthedwife, #PresidentPAB, #PABOTUS and #TeamChrissy.

Meanwhile, Legend issued a more subtle retort to Trump. 

“Imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody–ANYBODY–will praise you,” the musician tweeted. “Melania, please praise this man.  He needs you.” 

[Salon]

President Trump Tweets Sensitive Surveillance Image of Iran

President Trump has tweeted what experts say is almost certainly an image from a classified satellite or drone, showing the aftermath of an accident at an Iranian space facility.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir [Space Launch Vehicle] Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” the president said in a tweet that accompanied the image on Friday. “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.”

NPR broke the news of the launch failure on Thursday, using images from commercial satellites that flew over Iran’s Imam Khomeini Space Center. Those images showed smoke billowing from the pad. Iran has since acknowledged an accident occurred at the site.

Some of the highest-resolution imagery available commercially comes from the company Maxar, whose WorldView-2 satellite sports 46-centimeter resolution.

But the image shown in the president’s tweet appears to be of far better quality, says Ankit Panda, an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, who specializes in analyzing satellite imagery. “The resolution is amazingly high,” says Panda. “I would think it’s probably below well below 20 centimeters, which is much higher than anything I’ve ever seen.”

Panda says that the tweet discloses “some pretty amazing capabilities that the public simply wasn’t privy to before this.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence referred questions about the image to the White House, which declined to comment.

The image shows the aftermath of the accident, which experts believe took place while the rocket was being fueled. Clearly visible is the truck used to transport and erect the rocket, and the words “The product of national empowerment,” which have been written along the edge of the pad. The picture also shows extensive debris and charring around the pad.

It was not entirely clear where the president’s photo came from. Panda believes it was most likely taken by a classified U.S. satellite. But Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network at the One Earth Foundation, believes that the resolution is so high, it may be beyond the physical limits at which satellites can operate. “The atmosphere is thick enough that after somewhere around 11 to 9 centimeters, things get wonky,” she says.

That could mean it was taken by a drone or spy plane, though such a vehicle would be violating Iranian airspace. Hanham also says that the European company Airbus has been experimenting with drones that fly so high, they are technically outside the atmosphere and thus operating outside national boundaries. But she says she doesn’t know whether the U.S. has such a system.

Glare in the center of the image suggests the image in the tweet was itself a photo of a briefing slide. Panda suggests it could have been displayed on a computer screen in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. It’s also possible it was a photo of a piece of paper.

Either way, Panda notes that a small redaction in the upper left-hand corner suggests the intelligence community had cleared the image for release by the president.

But both he and Hanham question whether releasing it was a good idea. “You really risk giving away the way you know things,” Hanham says. “That allows people to adapt and hide how they carry out illicit activity.”

“These are closely held national secrets,” Panda adds. “We don’t even share a lot of this kind of imagery with our closest allies.” In tweeting it out to the world, Trump is letting Iran know exactly what the U.S. is capable of. He’s also letting others know as well, Panda says. “The Russians and the Chinese, you’re letting them know that these are the kind of things that the United States has the capability of seeing,” he says.

[NPR]

Trump Tweets Videos of Fox News Segments Trashing Comey, Decrying ‘Attempted Coup’

President Donald Trump‘s public complaints about Fox News this week have not stopped his his typical social media habit of sharing clips from the network.

Today he posted a number of videos from Fox News trashing former FBI director James Comey after the OIG report released yesterday. Comey was not charged, but he was criticized for setting a “dangerous example” with his actions.

This morning Trump shared a Fox & Friends segment with former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright saying “in 2016, we had effectively a coup” going on:

This afternoon, he shared clips of both Congressmen Doug CollinsPeter King (who railed against an “attempted coup” too), and Jim Jordan:

[Mediaite]

Trump jokingly blames Dow plunge on Seth Moulton’s withdrawal from 2020 race

President Trump joked on Twitter that “perhaps” the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 500 points on Friday because Rep. Seth Moulton dropped out of the crowded Democratic race for president.

“The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!” Trump tweeted.

Rather, stocks fell sharply on Wall Street after Trump said he would respond to China’s latest tariff increase by calling on U.S. companies to consider alternatives to doing business in China.

Stocks had been wavering between gains and losses earlier in the day after China said it would retaliate against the latest round of tariffs imposed by Washington with duties on $75 billion of U.S. products.

Moulton, a three-term congressman from Massachusetts and U.S. Marine veteran who served four tours of duty in the Iraq War, struggled to gain traction in the Democratic race. He ended his long-shot bid in San Francisco at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting.

“I am ending my campaign for president,” Moulton, 40, said Friday, adding, “I am leaving this race knowing that we raised issues that are vitally important to the American people and our future.”

When a reporter for Bloomberg News asked Moulton for his reaction to Trump’s tweet, the Democrat shot back: “I’m glad he thinks that I have more influence over Wall Street than he does.”

[Fox News]

Trump unleashes bizarre stream of gobbledygook when reporter asks him to describe his health care plan

President Donald Trump has vowed multiple times over the past two-and-a-half years to unveil his own replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act, but so far no actual plan has come to light.

As noted by CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, Trump was asked by a reporter in New Hampshire this week to describe his health care plan, and the president responded with a stream of gobbledygook.

“So, we have a great plan coming out,” the president began when asked about his plan. “It’s going to be — if we can take back the House because we’re not going to get the Democrats to vote for it, because they’re doing Medicare for all, which is going to take away your freedom, take away your doctors, take away everything that you should be able to have, and most importantly, it’s going to take away — we have 180 million people right now that have private insurance and they love it, and all of that’s going to be taken away. It’s absolute craziness.”

Instead of talking about his own health care plan, the president then proceeded to make false statements about Medicare for All.

“On top of everything else, they’re looking at 80, 90, 95 percent tax, because there’s no — there’s no way they can afford it,” he said. “But people don’t want to go to a hospital, to go to a doctor. They don’t want to go. They want to have their own doctor, number one, and we went through this with Obamacare, which we got rid of the individual mandate, by the way, which is very important.”

After all this, the president finally pivoted back to talking about his own health care plan, but he offered zero details about what it would contain.

“But we have a great health care plan,” he said. “If we get the House, we hold the Senate, we keep the presidency, we’re going to have great health care, much better than Obamacare, at much less cost.”

[Raw Story]

Trump praises his rally audience for not acting like ‘credible people’ after ‘CNN sucks’ chant

President Donald Trump praised an unruly crowd at a 2020 re-election campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Trump was falsely claiming that China is paying for the tariffs in his trade war when he went off on the press.

“But when you listen to the fake news — look how many there are,” he said as he gazed out to the press area.

He then stepped back from the microphone as his supporters booed the concept of a free press.

The crowd started chanting, “CNN sucks.”

“Are we sure that we are in New Hampshire?” Trump asked. “You know, you have a reputation
— I know it is not true because I know you too well. You have a reputation of being staid, very elegant, staid, and credible people. You are not acting it tonight and that’s good.

[Raw Story]

El Paso’s Republican mayor says Trump called him a ‘RINO’ during visit after mass shooting

The Republican mayor of El Paso, Texas, said this week that President Trump referred to him as a “Republican in name only” – or “RINO” – when the president visited the city following a mass shooting.

Mayor Dee Margo (R) told “PBS Frontline” in an interview that aired Wednesday that Trump made the remark while the two held an impromptu meeting amid the president’s visit in the wake of a shooting that left 22 people dead.

During their discussion, Margo said, Trump called him a “RINO” after he objected to the president’s “misinformation” about crime in El Paso.

“He said, ‘You’re a RINO,’ and I said, ‘No, sir. I am not a RINO.’ I said, ‘I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by [the Texas] attorney general, and that’s all I did,'” Margo told Frontline, adding that his response prompted a grin from the president.

Margo earlier this year denounced Trump for saying in his State of the Union address that El Paso experienced a dramatic dip in crime after installing a border fence. The criticism came amid a push for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Margo tweeted shortly after the speech that “El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the US.”

“We’ve had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity,” Margo wrote. “It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe.”

He later added that Trump may have been given incorrect information from the Texas attorney general about crime statistics during his previous visit to McAllen, Texas.

Days later, Trump took aim at Margo, saying during a February rally in El Paso that “people were full of crap” if they say a border fence hasn’t made a difference in reducing crime.

“There’s no place better to talk about border security, whether they like it or not,” Trump said at the time. “I’ve been hearing a lot of things. ‘Oh the wall didn’t make that much of a difference.'”

“I don’t care if a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat, they’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference,” he added.

Margo said his recent meeting with Trump occurred as the president traveled to the airport after visiting medical staff and shooting survivors in El Paso. The two discussed border security, according to Margo, who said he told Trump that a physical barrier is not a “panacea.”

“I said, ‘If you want to deal with immigration, the first thing you do is you have Homeland Security define what is a secure border and what they need in the way of resources to handle that,'” Margo said, adding that his comments about crime in El Paso seemed to “resonate” with Trump.

Asked about Trump calling his previous comments “full of crap,” Margo said he he hoped Trump “wouldn’t say that now, given our conversation.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[The Hill]

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