V viewers in the United Kingdom will likely not miss watching Fox News, as the network’s parent company 21st Century Fox announced on Tuesday that the company would pull the channel amid low ratings.
“Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement provided to CNN. “We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the U.K.”
While 21st Century Fox said its decision was based on the channel’s inability to attract a considerable audience, critics say it’s actually an attempt to smooth over the media giant’s bid to take over European satellite company Sky. (21st Century Fox owns a controlling stake in Sky PLC, the parent company of the London-headquartered network.)
HuffPost UK reports that if the takeover is successful, it would give Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch access to Sky’s 22 million customers in Europe. This audience would be in addition to those of the three U.K. newspapers ― The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times ― that the media mogul already owns.
In June, officials delayed Murdoch’s attempted takeover of the 61 percent of Sky that his family does not currently own. British authorities asked regulators to review the deal to see if the takeover would give the family too much control over the country’s media landscape.
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Sky ceased broadcasting Fox News on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
(NEW ORLEANS) — White House official Omarosa Manigault-Newman clashed with a veteran news anchor during a panel discussion on policing in black communities held at the largest gathering of black journalists in the country.The director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison was a late addition to the Friday afternoon panel at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans.Her conversation with anchor Ed Gordon became testy when he attempted to question Manigault-Newman on President Donald Trump’s policies around policing in communities of color. Trump recently said some police officers are too courteous to suspects when arresting them.
The conversation quickly escalated into a tense exchange before Manigault-Newman, a former “Apprentice” contestant, left the stage. Several people in the audience, which included non-journalists, turned their backs in protest during the discussion.
GOP Senator Marco Rubio of Florida blasted left-leaning media, Politico, which published an article commenting that he was tweeting “the most Republican part of the bible,” referring to his use of verses from the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.
“Proverbs is the Republican part of the bible? I don’t think Solomon had yet joined the GOP when he wrote the first 29 chapters of Proverbs,” Rubio wrote, after an article in Politico said, “Each day, the Florida senator is quoting a verse from Proverbs, the GOP’s favorite part of the book.”
The article couldn’t stop Rubio from quoting Proverbs.
Hours after commenting on the Politico article, the senator’s tweet read, “Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but those who restrain their lips do well. Proverbs 10:19.”
The article quoted Rubio’s tweet from last month: “As dogs return to their vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Proverbs 26:11.”
The author, Joel B. Baden, professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, wrote that the senator had been tweeting bible verses since May 16.
“He has tweeted a biblical verse almost every day since then. Almost all of them come from the Old Testament, and specifically the book of Proverbs,” Baden wrote, remarking that “Proverbs is probably the most Republican book of the entire Bible.”
The author said other Republicans also like to quote Proverbs, citing Ben Carson as an example.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Carson “compared himself favorably to the blustery style of then-candidate Donald Trump by quoting Proverbs 22:4: ‘By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.'”
Gerald Ford’s favorite Bible passage was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh [the Lord], put no faith in your own perception; in every course you take, have him in mind: He will see that your paths are smooth,” Baden added. “Ford repeated this when he served in the Navy during World War II, throughout his presidency and in his swearing-in.”
President Trump also likes the idea of Proverbs, the author went on to say, quoting from a September 2015 interview on CBN. Trump claimed in that interview that some of his most appreciated verses were from Proverbs, however, he said his favorite verse in Proverbs was “never bend to envy,” which doesn’t appear in Proverbs or anywhere else in the Bible.
“There is surely nothing wrong with a politician turning to the Bible for spiritual, ethical and moral guidance,” Baden wrote. “The Bible is the foundational text of Western civilization, after all. But concentrating exclusively on the parts of it that affirm one’s own perspective is a form of confirmation bias.”
Baden suggested Rubio should read and tweet from Ecclesiastes or from Prophet’s such as Amos: “Because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of stone — but you shall not live in them” (Amos 5:11).
The author also quoted Leviticus 19:33–34, “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself.”
When Rubio first started posting Bible verses to Twitter, there were some negative reactions, which Rubio described as a “Twitter freak out.” One political blogger called the Bible verses “oddly terrifying.”
WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — National Public Radio marked the Fourth of July by tweeting the entire Declaration of Independence, but it seems some Twitter users didn’t recognize what they were reading.
The broadcaster tweeted out the words of the declaration line-by-line Tuesday.
Some of the founders’ criticisms of King George III were met with angry responses from supporters of President Donald Trump, who seemed to believe the tweets were a reference to his presidency.
One tweet read, “A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Another said: “and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.”A Twitter user accused NPR of condoning violence while trying to sound patriotic. The user apologized after the misunderstanding was pointed out. Tweets like that one drew a snarky reply from comedy writer Chris Regan.
Another user asked if the tweet was talking about the U.S. current foreign agenda, asking if Americans were the tyrants.
Others were under the impression NPR was trying to provoke Trump with the tweets and praised the outlet for doing so. Many, recognizing it was the Declaration of Independence, said how history is repeating itself.
NPR broadcast its annual reading of the declaration for the 29th straight year on Independence Day. This is the first year the tradition has been extended to Twitter.
In addition to the text of the document, NPR also tweeted the names of the men who signed the declaration, listing them by colony.
On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet containing video in which he pummels a person with a CNN logo as its head. The tweet was accompanied by these hashtags “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN.”
It’s in keeping with Trump’s broad theme of the media as “fake” and his more narrowly focused message of late that CNN is the worst of the bunch.
(Sidebar: I’m not going to post the tweet here because, well, advocating violence against reporters is not something I want to give attention to.)
In a statement, CNN called it a “sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters.”
“Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so,” CNN’s statement continued. “Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
The appearance was part of a short-lived “feud” between McMahon and Trump, which was billed as the “battle of the billionaires.” (In real life, the two men are very friendly. McMahon’s wife, Linda, is now a member of Trump’s Cabinet as the Small Business Administrator.)
How do I know this? Because I watched it live. Because I love pro wrestling — always have, always will.
And, because of my decades spent watching pro wrestling, I have long believed that one of the best ways to understand the Trump campaign and now the Trump presidency is through the lens of professional wrestling and, in particular, the Vince McMahon-era WWE.
Let me explain.
At the heart of pro wrestling sits this basic fact: It is fake. It is a scripted television show. Yes, it requires physical ability — no one who is not in excellent shape could perform some of the falls and bumps these wrestlers do daily. But it is, at heart, a soap opera. Scriptwriters plot character arcs and narrative building. The outcomes are known before the matches begin. The wrestlers are as much actors as they are athletes. (Look to the acting successes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena for proof of that fact.)
But, and this is the really important part, not everyone who is a fan of pro wrestling knows this. Lots and lots of people who go to the shows, who buy the t-shirts and who subscribe to the WWE Network believe that this is all real. That the feuds are real expressions of dislike between the wrestlers. That “Mr. McMahon” is an evil, money-grubbing CEO. That “Bray Wyatt” is some sort of mystical southern shaman rather than just Windham Rotunda, the son of longtime pro wrestler Mike Rotunda and the grandson of “Blackjack” Mulligan. (I warned you I am a wrestling mark.)
This basic divide between fake and real is what Trump capitalizes on, too.
Anyone who has followed his career in business or politics knows that there isn’t a more attentive media consumer than Donald Trump. He watches cable TV constantly — as evidenced by the installation of a 60-plus-inch TV in his dining room near the Oval Office. (Ask yourself: If he doesn’t watch TV, as he claims, then what does he watch on that TV?) He loves this stuff. Always has. Always will. And, if and when Trump ever reaches out to you as a reporter, he is tremendously solicitous; he praises your work and says you are one of the good ones. (Trump did this to me during the campaign.)
Most people — particularly in the media — know this fact. But lots of other people, including many of Trump’s supporters, truly believe that he hates the media. That he is the fighter against “fake news” they have been waiting for their entire lives. They don’t get that Trump is playing a role, that he is doing a schtick because he knows there is political gain to be had there.
Then there is the fact that pro wrestling has long — and successfully — played to peoples’ stereotypes for eyeballs and audience intensity. When I was growing up in the 1980s, a character named the “Iron Sheik” was the biggest “heel” (a bad guy) in the wrestling world. His character was created following the Iranian hostage crisis of the early 1980s. He would enter the ring carrying an Iranian flag and bow to it before the matches. Nikolai Volkoff, who would sing the Russian national anthem in the middle of the ring, was another of the top heels of that era.
McMahon grasped early on that playing on peoples’ fears and anger was a ratings goldmine. Booing is a powerful thing. Uniting behind a common enemy has real resonance. That McMahon created cartoon villains — broad-brush sketches of what made people afraid or upset — was besides the point. That it worked was the whole point.
Trump traffics in this same sort of approach. He is a famed — by his own account — counter-puncher. He does better when there is something or someone to run against.
In the 2016 campaign, that was easy; he had “Crooked” Hillary. But, as president, Trump has struggled to find an enemy. The Republican-controlled Congress? Meh. The leaderless Democratic party? Not so much.
What he has turned to then is the media. And he has worked aggressively to paint journalists as not only biased and “fake” but also as a stand-in for the so-called “elites” Trump supporters detest. If Trump was running the WWE, he would create a wrestler who was a reporter. That character — call him Clark Can’t — would have gone to Harvard, would work for CNN or The New York Times, would wear glasses and would spend the time before each match lecturing the crowd about how they need to be more politically correct. (In truth, the character would likely be a huge success as a villain.)
There’s one crucial difference between what Vince McMahon does and what Donald Trump does, however. McMahon is the CEO of an entertainment company whose lone goal is to make money for that company. Donald Trump is the president of the United States, whose salary is paid by taxpayers and whose job is to represent a nation of 300 million people stateside and in the world community.
Pro wrestling is fake. Being president isn’t. Trump seems not to know or care about that distinction.
My commentary this evening was brought on by President Trumps latest immature tweets about the two folks who do a radio program called ‘The Morning Joe’. Like most Americans I wish that our President would be banned from Twitter as long as he is still our President because he does tend to say many things that are beneath the dignity of the Office he holds. Mr. Trump in my opinion has done many things to show his lack of knowledge since he has been in Office like not knowing that his favorite former President had died more than 15 years before the Civil War ever started yet was speaking about how he was distraught about that war. He has shown that he knew basically nothing about issues in the Middle East even though he liked to brag how he knew more than our military Generals knew and he has made it clear that he has no need for morning briefings from our Intelligence Agency Heads. Yet to me the most embarrassing thing he has done yet is how he acted at the group photo at the last NATO Summit. When he pushed the Prime Minister out of the front row center spot that he, Mr. Trump wanted to be in, he actually embarrassed me that he was even an American let alone our President.
Most of us probably remember at least a little bit about the young man in California that was nicknamed the ‘affluenza’ brat from a wealthy family who killed 4 people (if I remember correctly) while driving a car while drunk. His lawyer was able to get him off with just probation and no jail time because he had been raised ‘to wealthy’ to know right from wrong. He must have had an amazing lawyer and or an incompetent Judge for that verdict to have happened. You would think that a child who is being raised in a home where the family is in need of nothing would be a very grateful young person and not a menace to society but this is not always the reality. There is also another issue here in America where our legal system does not tolerate parents if they in any way discipline their child and the children know this so many act out like pure spoiled brats. Yet when a child acts out at school the courts then blame the parents for doing a bad job of raising their child when in many cases it is the politicians and courts that are to blame and not the parents.
I have always been a person who has been pleased when someone I know accomplishes something like being able to purchase a new car or is able to buy a new house or even be able to purchase a new living room suite or a new lawn mower. I have always been pleased when a person through their hard work or even good luck is able to become quite wealthy, as long as they did it honestly and decently. When a person obtains their wealth through stealing from other people then I have no respect for them.
Donald Trump grew up in a very wealthy household and all I can say about that is, good for him. His Dad taught him many things in his childhood years, some good some bad, just like most parents do. Donald Trump was given millions from his Dad when he graduated college and all I can say to that is, good for him. The issue I have with Donald Trump is his pure greed and huge ego as those two issues are an embarrassment to any person whom possesses them. Mr. Trump has bullied and stolen his way into becoming the billionaire that he is on the backs of anyone he felt he could ‘get over’ on. He has proven without any doubt that money is his God and when this is so a person tends to act like an immature habitual liar just as he is today and it appears that he has always been. I will end this commentary with this one thought and hope, for our Nations sake I really hope that somehow Mr. Trump would grow up and act like a responsible adult and quit acting like a little spoiled affluenza child in an old man’s body.
Republican lawmakers on Thursday swiftly rebuked President Donald Trump for crudely claiming that “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift,” saying such tweets are beneath the office of the president.
In a two-part tweet, Trump said he “heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore).” He then went on to hit Brzezinski: “how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
The messages, some of the most graphic and personal sense Trump became president, were condemned by Republicans who are struggling to push Trump’s legislative agenda forward while the White House is consumed by the Russia probes and self-inflicted dramas.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday during his weekly press conference, adding, “Look, what we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn’t help do that.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went further, tweeting, “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”
Graham later told POLITICO that Trump’s insult was “highly inappropriate” regardless of any impact it might have on distracting from the GOP agenda. Asked if the president should apologize, Graham said, “I would, if I were” Trump.
The tweets echo some of Trump’s attacks from the campaign trail, during which he went after then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly after the first debate by saying, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
But the messages take on a new tenor now that Trump is in the Oval Office, and is trying to pull off big legislative lifts — including a Obamacare repeal bill and tax reform package — that require message discipline.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly defended the tweets, explaining the president fights back when he feels the criticism toward him is unwarranted.
“Look, I don’t think that the president’s ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn’t push back,” Sanders told Fox News on Thursday morning. “There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him but to frankly everyone around him. … This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media or liberal elites in Hollywood or anywhere else.”
Sanders said she personally has been attacked on “Morning Joe” on matters that have nothing to do with her beliefs, ideology or policy. “I have seen far worse things [than the tweets] come out of that show,” she said.
The first lady’s office responded to the president’s tweet through a spokeswoman who reiterated what Melania Trump said in an April 2016 speech.
“As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, said in a statement.
But there’s evidence that the public is frustrated with the president’s Twitter use. More than 6-in-10 registered voters say Trump should stop tweeting, including 49 percent of Republicans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted ahead of Trump’s latest attack and released Thursday.
And some Republicans in Congress said Trump crossed a line with his vulgar message.
Following a hearing on U.S. Capitol Police, Republican Sen. James Lankford said in a statement that the president “should model civility, honor, and respect in our political rhetoric. The President’s tweets today don’t help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue.”
Unlike other Republicans who in the past have vocalized their opposition to Trump’s actions, Lankford isn’t a notably frequent Trump critic.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who is a frequent critic, tweeted: “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agreed, telling reporters that what Trump tweeted was “so blatantly sexist” and “really saddens me because it is so beneath the dignity of the president of the United States to engage in such behavior.”
She also blasted her Republican colleagues who haven’t condemned the president’s rhetoric. “The Republicans, they can tolerate almost anything — a candidate beating up a reporter and then cheering him on as he arrives in Congress, the tweets of the president of the United States,” she said at her weekly news conference. “They set a low standard for public officials in terms of their demeanor.”
Trump’s tweet dominated the conversation on a day when the House was scheduled to vote on two immigration bills, the Senate was focused on getting its Obamacare repeal legislation back on track, and part of the administration’s travel ban was set to be enforced Thursday evening. The White House had also designated this “energy week,” with Trump scheduled to deliver remarks at an energy event at the Energy Department.
Republicans expressed frustration that the president’s tweets do nothing to further the GOP agenda.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is among the Republican holdouts on the health care bill, tweeted: “This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov’t and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another skeptic of the GOP health bill, tweeted, “Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down.”
Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham sent out a tweet chastising the White House’s message discipline: “Today ALL comms coming out of WH shd be focused on #KatesLaw and #NoSanctuaryforCriminalsAct — not cable TV hosts.”
GOP strategist Rick Tyler, a former communications aide to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s White House bid, told POLITICO that Trump’s tweets have “zero benefit” and criticized the administration’s defense of them as “childish.”
“Republicans will arrive at the 2018 elections with absolutely no accomplishments and nothing to run on,” Tyler said. “In order to effect large-scale public policy change through legislation, you must have a communications strategy to convince the country that the direction you’re going is somewhere they’d like to go.”
While Trump’s attack on Thursday morning provoked a big response, the “Morning Joe” hosts have a notorious love-hate relationship with the president. During the 2016 campaign, Trump was a frequent call-in guest to the show and as recently as March retained Joe Scarborough’s advice on matters before addressing Congress. But the MSNBC show has also faced criticism for being too cozy with the administration.
In a Vanity Fair report from May on the co-hosts’ recent engagement, the couple acknowledged meeting with the president more than a week after his inauguration, where Trump reportedly suggested they have their wedding at Mar-a-Lago or the White House. According to Scarborough, Trump even suggested he could be the one to marry them.
Scarborough and Brzezinski have since become increasingly critical of the president, and Trump has repeatedly attacked them on Twitter, but Thursday’s messages marked a new low.
Brzezinski responded to Trump shortly after his tweets on Thursday with her own post of a Cheerios box detailing a child and the slogan “Made For Little Hands” — a seemingly pointed reference to the campaign trail during which Trump’s hand size was often targeted.
MSNBC, meanwhile, was direct and unsparing in its criticism.
“It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job,” an MSNBC spokesperson said, echoing a similar sentiment from the organization’s spokesman Mark Kornblau, who tweeted that he “never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States.’”
It was not immediately clear what specific comments set off the Twitter attacks this morning, but Brzezinski did hit the president this morning on “lying … and destroying the country.”
“Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself, lying every day and destroying the country,” Brzezinski said in reference to a Washington Post report that alleges a fabricated Time magazine cover photo featuring Trump is hanging in at least five of his golf clubs.
Also, on Tuesday’s episode of “Morning Joe,” Brzezinski and Scarborough went back and forth on Trump’s hand size and his onslaught of media-focused tweets of late.
“That’s a very small person,” Brzezinski said.
“I work in cable news and I can tell you that’s sad, pathetic. Think bigger,” Scarborough countered, adding that while the “worst health care strategy ever” rages, Trump’s talking about the media.
“Keep on being small,” Brzezinski said.
“Tiny. That’s the word,” Scarborough corrected.
On the campaign trail, the president was often criticized for his treatment of women, most notably after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.
And in a bizarre moment on Tuesday, while on the phone with Ireland’s new prime minister, Trump called forward an Irish journalist to comment on her smile.
Despite the furor around his tweets on Thursday, Trump did get some support outside of the White House.Fox News primetime host and frequent Trump defender Sean Hannity tweeted various links to “Morning Joe”-related coverage. “Maybe liberal Joe should stop calling the @POTUS a schmuck, a liar, a thug and mentally unhinged. Were they kissing @POTUS ass at xmas? Yes,” he tweeted.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also appeared to defend the president, noting that he’s dealing with an adversarial news media.
“The media is salting him every day,” Shelby said. “I guess he’s fighting back.”
Other lawmakers, however, said they were trying to tune it out.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he didn’t want to talk about the president’s tweets because he’s trying to “stay positive.”
“If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all,” Johnson said.
“The American people need us to be focused on health care and tax reform, not Twitter fights and cable news,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said on Twitter.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, summarized Trump’s comments in three words: “Inappropriate. Undignified. Unpresidential.”
Thursday morning’s tweet storm also fits into Trump’s recently stepped-up crusade against the media in which he has targeted other outlets that he believes are publishing unfair coverage of his administration.
Trump attacked The Washington Post on Wednesday, complaining that the “fake news” newspaper was protecting Amazon from tax liabilities with its coverage.
Representatives for Brzezinski and Scarborough did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hadas Gold, Elana Schor, Kyle Cheney, Austin Wright, Heather Caygle and Diamond Naga Siu contributed to this report.
Russia’s Putin: Top Goal for Journalists Is ‘Do Not Offend’
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says the most important principle for journalists is to avoid upsetting those featured in their articles and television broadcasts.
Journalists should ensure their work “won’t be offensive to those about whom they do their reports,” Putin said Saturday, according to the TASS news agency.
The Russian leader made the comments while talking to a child interested in working in journalism at a summer camp in Crimea, the southern Ukrainian region that Russia annexed in 2014.
The number of independent media outlets in Russia has fallen drastically under Putin and there have been several murders of high-profile journalists.
The journalists’ group Reporters Without Borders placed Russia 148th in its ranking of world press freedoms published this year.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
(Commentary: Mr Putin you are wrong on this matter and you know it so in fact you lied to this child who asked you this question. Sir, the most important principle for a journalist is ‘to always tell the truth’. This is the truth because no matter what a person/journalist says they are going to offend people.)
Special counsel investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice
The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials to determine whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said. (Patrick Martin,McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post)
Last month President Trump apparently told the Russians he fired FBI director James B. Comey to relieve pressure on him. Except, in firing Comey, Trump has upped the pressure cooker he’s in by a factor of 10.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, related to Comey’s testimony alleging that Trump tried to interfere in some of the FBI’s Russia investigations.
Until recently, the FBI’s investigation had focused on Russia meddling in the presidential campaign and whether Trump’s campaign helped. We knew the investigation was looking into Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, but we had no idea how much higher it would go. Now, that investigation has branched out into obstruction into its first investigation. And the spotlight on the obstruction case is entirely on the president himself.
This is the great irony for Trump, an irony he doesn’t seem to have comprehended: When he feels backed into a corner, he lashes out in politically inadvisable ways that often makes his life much more difficult. But he can’t seem to stop doing it.
As a candidate behind in the polls, Trump lurched at Hillary Clinton in a way that gave her supporters leverage to claim Trump wasn’t supportive of women. As a president who watched health-care legislation stall in the House of Representatives, he blamed conservatives in a way that fractured his delicate relationship with Congress. When he tweeted about an impending court decision on his travel ban, a federal court used that against him.
Some of that still worked out for him, some of it hasn’t.
But when Trump feels encroached by a serious and multipronged legal investigation, lashing out attracts a different set of consequences for the president: Legal ones that directly threaten him.
You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA
“He expanded [the pressure he’s in] considerably,” said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a white collar lawyer who represented officials in the Clinton White House and now is with Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. “That, combined with the recent emoluments clause lawsuits, really leads to the perception of a wall around him.” (We’ll get to the emoluments lawsuits in a minute. )
Jacobovitz doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that, last week, a friend of the president said Trump was considering firing Mueller. (A consideration the White House didn’t deny: They later said Trump has “no intention” of firing Mueller.)
A few days later, sources with knowledge of the closed-door special counsel investigation leaked to The Post that Trump himself is under investigation. That’s a shocking development.
But making the scope public is like a buffer for Mueller’s job security — and it could act as a buffer to try to save the president from himself.
“Now it’s clear that he’s being investigated, it makes it even more difficult to fire Mueller,” Jacobovitz said, “because it looks like he’s trying to terminate an investigation against himself. … It would be political suicide.”
If Trump were to follow through on his natural instinct to lash out and fire Mueller, he would have little support. Pretty much everyone who’s anyone in Washington has made clear they think it’d be a terrible, terrible idea for Trump to sack Mueller.
“I think the best advice is to let Robert Mueller do his job,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters on Tuesday.
For how Trump could, feasibly, fire Mueller, here’s a flow chart by Washington Post’s Philip Bump, who explains the process in detail here:
Attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the president, alleging he’s violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by not fully separating himself from his business. (He retains an ownership stake in the business his sons run.) So has a government watchdog advocacy group. And nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress will soon file a similar lawsuit.
If any one of those gets traction in the courts (and Jacobovitz thinks one will), Trump could be investigated for his personal finances as well as his actions as president. Oh, and Mueller’s investigation is also reportedly looking into unexplained “broad financial crimes.”
Add it all up and you have a president who could soon be under attack on multiple legal fronts. Trump’s go-to move when he feels under attack is to respond in a way that exacerbates the situation. That’s why there’s an obstruction of justice investigation in the first place.
At this point, the president has boxed himself into a corner where following his instincts could make his life exponentially worse.
The United States on Wednesday said it was voicing its “strongest possible” concern to Turkey over violence that erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington.
Police said the fighting that flared outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday injured 11 people, including a Washington police officer, and led to two arrests.
“We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
A video posted online showed men in dark suits chasing protesters and punching and kicking them as baton-wielding police tried to intervene. Two men were bloodied from head wounds as bystanders tried to assist dazed protesters.
Erdogan was in the U.S. capital on Tuesday to meet with President Donald Trump.[nL2N1II15R] A spokesman for the Turkish embassy could not be reached for immediate comment.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Ian Simpson; Editing by Richard Chang and Tom Brown)
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