They used to call Bill Clinton the Big Dog, because wherever he went, people paid attention. His growl always drew a crowd.
Well, while President Trump was napping this week, the Sleek Dog got off the porch.
Former President Obama had always planned to model his post-presidential life after the leads of other ex-presidents, like George W. Bush, who paints, or Jimmy Carter, who builds houses for poor people.
He was, he said the other day, “intent on following a wise American tradition of ex-presidents exiting the political stage, making room for new voices and new ideas.”
Turns out, the stakes are too high to remain above the fray.
On Friday, in a speech to students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and on Saturday at a rally in Anaheim for supporters of Democratic congressional candidates in contested Southern California districts, Obama made one thing clear: The muzzle is off.
And you know what else?
Since Trump has spent his presidency trashing Obama, dismantling his legacy piece by piece and making racists feel safe again, the Sleek Dog, whose aloof ways are legendary, has gotten downright snarly.
He called Trump shameless. A fear monger. A demagogue promising “simple fixes to complex problems.” A bully. He accused Trump of “toxic corruption,” of being responsible for the country’s “downward spiral.”
He blamed a spineless Republican Congress for allowing Trump to undermine the nation’s international alliances, to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin — “the former head of the KGB,” as Obama reminded the crowd — and for “actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack.”
“In a healthy democracy,” Obama said, “there’s some checks and balances on this kind of behavior, this kind of inconsistency, but right now there’s none.”
We are in a moment where no one who cares about the fate of the nation can comfortably sit on the sidelines.
Welcome back, Sleek Dog. What took you so long?
Doesn’t it seems like eons ago that Michelle Obama stood onstage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and delivered that memorable line about civility: “When they go low, we go high”?
It seemed so reassuring at the time. Turns out, the line was better as prophecy than as advice.
What followed was a torrent of pettiness and ugliness from Trump, his associates, and his fans. “Lock her up!” said the future national security advisor who later pleaded guilty to lyingto the FBI.
Nice is so overrated.
“We never know what kind of sludge is going to roll out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,” California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman said Saturday as he welcomed about 750 Democrats to a small ballroom in the Anaheim Convention Center.
Obama strolled onstage Saturday, dressed casually in slacks and shirtsleeves. He was less bombastic than he’d been in Illinois the day before. Hey, Sleek Dog can only stay nasty for so long. Unlike our current president, it’s just not in his nature.
“There is no set of issues we can’t solve if we are working together,” Obama said, sounding very much like the optimistic cheerleader of years past. “It’s always tempting for politicians for their own gain and people in power to try to see if they can divide people, scapegoat folks, turn them on each other, because when that happens, you get gridlock and government doesn’t work and people get cynical and decide not to participate.
“And when people don’t participate, that vacuum is filled by lobbyists and special interests and we get into a downward spiral where people get discouraged and think nothing is going to make a difference. And that unfortunately is the spiral we have been on for the past couple years.”
If Democrats retake the House in November — and a handful of traditionally Republican seats in California could make the difference — many citizens will look upon Obama’s return to the political fray this week as the beginning of an American restoration.
A restoration of integrity.
And, possibly even, of the ideal of bipartisanship, strangled by the current chief executive, then dumped by the side of the road in Crazytown, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly’s nickname for the White House, according to Bob Woodward in his new book “Fear: Trump in the White House.”
Trump’s response to Obama’s attack in Illinois? He said he fell asleep. It was his idea of a clever putdown. Instead, it inspired an outpouring of mockery on Twitter. (“Trump ‘fell asleep’ during Barack Obama’s speech because it wore him out looking up all those words in the dictionary,” quipped screenwriter Randy Mayem Singer.)
In truth, it’s the Sleek Dog who has been asleep.
“You can feel people saying, ‘Enough is enough,’” Obama said Saturday. “We’re going to kick off our bedrooms slippers, we’re putting on our marching shoes.”
Nap time is over.
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Do you like being made a fool of? I am not just talking about being made a fool of only within your own family, clan or city. I am not even talking about being made a fool of only within your own country, I am talking about being made a fool of in every corner of every country on the planet. If you are one of the people who were believing the stupid B.S. that Trump kept yelling out to his supporters during his campaign speeches about “whose going to pay for the wall? Mexico,” then my friend, he was simply playing you for a fool and an idiot! If you are not totally aware of it by now, Mr. Trump is an habitual liar, he proves it to the whole world everyday when he opens his mouth or when he Tweets. Mr. Trump is and has been playing ‘his base’ for a fool since he first said he was going to run for Office. Normally I would consider a person a total fool when they themselves are an habitual liar whom knowing that, believes their own lies as truth, this seems to fit Mr. Trump quite well.
Do you like being lied to, being made a fool of? I don’t and when a jerk goes up to a microphone and starts spouting obvious lies to me and to everyone else, it upsets me. Even though I knew that there was and is no chance that Mexico was/is going to pay for a Border Wall at the Mexico/U.S. Border I still didn’t appreciate Mr. Trump playing millions of the American people for fools on this subject matter. It is true that shortly after Mr. Trump took office that he had a phone call with the then President of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto and “the Wall” was discussed. Yet in that recording which Mexico’s President released Mr. Nieto told Mr. Trump that Mexico was not going to contribute to Trump’s Border Wall. Mr. Trump then all but pleaded with Mr. Nieto for Mexico to pay for The Wall because if Mexico didn’t (and I quote) “it would make him look like an idiot to his base.”
Mr. Trump’s election slogans like ‘The Wall’ and the one about Hillary Clinton and the slogan “Lock Her Up” were just propaganda and lies to his Base, and to the rest of the American people, and in fact, to the world. Concerning the Hillary propaganda of ‘lock her up’ I knew well that this would never happen. Just like ‘The Wall’ Mr. Trump was playing to the ignorance of the people. Folks, Donald Trump and both of the Clinton’s hung around in the same groups up until about 2015, all three of these people have proven themselves to be very crooked and habitual liars. Folks, isn’t it only very logical that all three know enough dirt on each other to fill up Lake Erie with their feces? If President Trump had indeed ordered the DOJ to investigate the Clinton’s for their crimes do you honestly believe that Bill and Hillary would have stayed quite about the deeds of Citizen Trump? Friends you don’t bite the tail of an Asp unless you know that their teeth have been pulled out by their roots first. Honestly I believe that Russia’s President Putin has major felony issues on Mr. Trump and that for those reasons interfered in the 2016 Elections to get Mr. Trump elected President of the U.S.. Now that this happened President Putin has himself a puppet in the Oval Office. I wish that these things were not the truth but I totally believe that history will prove me correct on these issues.
The conclusion in my letter to you today is simple and the title of this article pretty well spells out my belief concerning the physical dollar cost of the Wall that Mr. Trump wants built. Only a total dummy would have believed that Mexico would ever pay for Trumps’s Border Wall, it is difficult to believe that even he was that stupid. So, being that Mr. Trump promised the American people that this Wall would be built and that we the people would not have to pay for it, and he knew that Mexico would not, then isn’t it only proper, fair and correct that this habitual liar pay for this Wall out of his own money if it is ever actually built?
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Almost exactly one year ago, North Korea returned an imprisoned 22-year-old American college student to his family in the United States. It was not a happy reunion.
Otto Warmbier, whom the North Koreans had imprisoned for more than a year, arrived in a coma and died a few days later — spurring President Donald Trump to rail against the “brutality” of a North Korean government that lacked “basic human decency.” Trump gradually focused his attacks on the regime’s leader, Kim Jong Un, calling him a “sick puppy” and a “madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people.”
In Singapore this week, Trump warmly embraced that so-called madman.
He called Kim a “smart” and “funny guy” who “loves his people.” He predicted the two of them would have a “terrific relationship.” Trump told reporters that human rights had come up only briefly, but he gave no indication that he had confronted Kim about Warmbier’s death, whose precise cause remains unclear.
Still, Trump described what happened to Warmbieras a catalyst for the sudden, if uncertain, rapprochement between America and North Korea, saying the University of Virginia student “did not die in vain.”
Trump’s public turnabout on Kim and his regime’s atrocious human rights record was among the most dizzying developments of the past 48 hours, which saw the two leaders meet in Singapore for an unprecedented nuclear summit. It dismayed lawmakers, human rights activists and others who — while supportive of diplomacy — fear that Trump went overboard in his flattery of Kim to the point of normalizing his rule.
“Kim’s gulags, public executions, planned starvation, are legitimized on the world stage,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut raged on Twitter. “What the hell?”
“Talking to dictators is one thing; embracing them is another,” former Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement, denouncing “the horrendous human rights abuses North Korea’s leaders perpetrate against their own people.”
“It was really over the top and excessive,” added Sarah Margon, Washington director for Human Rights Watch.
Amid the outrage is the question of what, practically speaking, Trump could have accomplished.
Past American presidents have pressed Middle Eastern and Asian autocrats over lists of political prisoners numbering in the dozens or hundreds. Kim has imprisoned many thousands of people for what amount to thought crimes, and political executions are commonplace.As a self-proclaimed supreme ruler, it may be nearly impossible for him to concede that he has governed in anything but a judicious way.
Some activists nevertheless argued that Trump could have used his interaction with Kim to win a broad gesture such as granting the United Nations access to his forced labor camps, and that if Kim agreed, it would have bolstered the credibility of his pledge to denuclearize. But Kim offered no hint that he is prepared to address the subject, and a joint statement he and Trump signed after their meeting made no mention of it.
Kim’s totalitarian regime may be the world’s cruelest, with practices reminiscent of the Nazis and the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin. The government, run by Kim’s father and grandfather before him, is believed to keep as many as 100,000 people— quite possibly more — in gulags and other detention sites, many in slave-like conditions. Defectors describe a terror state with zero tolerance for dissent, in which entire families are often punished for the actions of one member.
The young Kim — thought to be in his early- to mid-30s — has ruled just as ruthlessly as his father, who died in 2011. He’s alleged to have consolidated power by having an uncle executed — reportedly by anti-aircraft guns — and ordering his half-brother’s murder with nerve agent in a Malaysian airport.
Few observers expected Trump to challenge Kim vigorously on human rights. The subject in general hasn’t been a priority for the Republican president.
Just a few months ago, however, North Korea was an exception to that rule: Throughout 2017, as Trump ramped up sanctions on Pyongyang, he repeatedly highlighted the “depraved” Kim regime’s human rights abuses.
During a visit to South Korea last fall, Trump denounced the “horror of life” across the border, saying that people “would rather be slaves than live in North Korea.” In January, Trump invited to his State of the Union address Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean amputee who’d fled the country on crutches that he raised in defiance as Trump hailed his bravery on national television.
And by all accounts, Trump was genuinely distressed by the fate of Warmbier, whom the North Koreans held captive for 17 months for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel wherehe was staying during a visit. (In a statement Tuesday, Warmbier’s family said: “We appreciate President Trump’s recent comments about our family. We are proud of Otto and miss him. Hopefully something positive can come from this.”)
But Trump is a real estate mogul who puts great stock in personal relationships, and he appears to have decided it’s more productive to be nice to a ruthless autocratalready accustomed to being treated like a god.
When asked by Voice of America’s Greta Van Susteren how Kim reacted when Trump raised human rights, Trump said: “Very well,” before acknowledging it was only a small part of the conversation. Trump went on to indicate that the reason Kim has been a “rough guy” is because that’s the only way his family has known how to rule.
“He’s doing what he’s seen done,” Trump said, suggesting that Kim can change. “He’s smart, loves his people, he loves his country. He wants a lot of good things, and that’s why he’s doing this.”
Although Trump is the first sitting president willing to meet face-to-face with a North Korean leader, other U.S. presidents have sat down with autocrats from friendly and adversarial countries alike.
Former President Richard Nixon made history when he met China’s Mao Zedong in February 1972. Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, met with Cuba’s Raúl Castro. Plenty of U.S. presidents have met, and even held hands, with the monarchs who’ve led Saudi Arabia.
James Carafano, a foreign policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, said thatin the long run the United States must engage North Korea on its human rights practices but that diplomacy at this stage requires prioritization.
“In good U.S. diplomacy human rights is always on the menu. That doesn’t mean it’s always the first course,” Carafano wrote in an email.
Several U.S. lawmakers, including top Democrats, sent out carefully crafted statements that either didn’t raise or made scant mention of human rights — reflecting a widespread belief that ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons through diplomacy is a much higher priority.
“We must remain sober about who Kim Jong Un is: a brutal dictator who has killed his family, overseen campaigns of mass murder and starvation, and masterfully manipulated his rivals on the global stage,” Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said at the end of a lengthy statement.
One concern is that Kim — who rarely leaves North Korea and has limited diplomatic experience — will take Trump’s lack of emphasis on human rights as a sign of American indifference to how he treats his people.
Amnesty International spearheaded a letter to Trump in advance of the summit urging him to seize the opportunity this week to ask Kim for immediate positive moves on human rights. Francisco Bencosme, who handles Asia-related issues for Amnesty, stressed that it’s not known exactly what Trump said to Kim about human rights, but it doesn’t appear the president took a strong stance.
Bencosme said Trump could have asked Kim to give U.N. officials access to North Korean prisoners, or urged him to help reunite North and South Korean families torn apart by the Korean War. Such moves would have been “a way of opening up the aperture on human rights issues,” Bencosme said.
And such moves are not without precedent.
The Obama administration’s outreach to Myanmar, long an isolated, pariah regime, included requests that the government free hundreds of political prisoners to help demonstrate its seriousness about improving ties with the United States. That led to freedom for at least 1,500 people, including some very prominent opponents of the junta that had run the country. But even within the Obama administration there were fierce debates over how much to push Myanmar on human rights.
When asked by a reporter Tuesday whether he had “betrayed” the people trapped in North Korea’s gulag system, Trump grew defensive — then suggested those prisoners should think long-term.
“I think I’ve helped them because I think things will change,” Trump said. “That large group of people that you’re talking about — I think ultimately they are going to be one of the great winners as a group.”
Asked about Warmbier, Trump said the college student’s tragic death had played a pivotal role in bringing about the summit — even though he had not previously mentioned it as a reason for his diplomatic push with Kim.
“I think without Otto, this would not have happened. Something happened from that day. It was a terrible thing. It was brutal. But a lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea,” Trump said.
“I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain.”
Trump used the language to describe the Syrian President after his alleged involvement in a toxic gas attack last month.
In a tweet the US leader condemned a “mindless chemical attack” in Syria that killed women and children, called Syrian President an “animal” and delivered a rare personal criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting the Damascus government.
Explaining how he felt about Trump’s insult, Assad claimed he was not moved by Trump’s words, before then retaliating by returning the insult.
Russian broadcaster RT asked Assad if he also had a nickname for Trump, to which the Syrian president answered: “This is not my language, so, I cannot use similar language.
Assad has branded President Donald Trump an “animal” as he hit back at the US leader
Donald J. Trump
Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…
Prince Charles greets Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad at St. James Palace in London. 17 December 2002
Assad also stated that Trump’s invention of an insulting nickname did not move him or Syria in the slightest.
He said: “It didn’t move anything and this language shouldn’t move anything for anyone.
“The only thing that moves you is what people that you trust, people who are level-headed, people who are thoughtful, people who are moral, ethical, that’s what should move anything inside you, whether positive or negative.
“Somebody like Trump will move nothing for me.”
Assad and Putin hold meeting on future peace talks
Trump’s tweet was followed by US led airstrikes against Syrian governments sites
Before he took office in January 2018, Donald Trump blamed former President Barack Obama for deciding not to respond to Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Trump has also blamed his predecessor for supporting Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Assad after a 2011 uprising, saying in 2015 that “Assad may be bad, but we have absolutely no idea who these people are that we’re arming.”
Trump branded Obama “the founder of ISIS” and recently wrote on Twitter:
“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago!
There’s a lot of pieces of the Comey book — “A Higher Loyalty” — kicking around the media world at the moment. Some are salacious, others are stunning and some are just plain surreal.
I scanned through all of the available excerpts and plucked out the lines that are most devastating for Trump. Then I ranked them by level of damage they are likely to cause. Here they are, ranked from least to most problematic for the President of the United States.
11. “His face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his…..As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.”
This is, in a word, dumb. Or, in another word, petty. If Comey wanted to build the narrative with this book that he is truly committed to the good of the country rather than in selling books or scoring partisan points, he’d have been better served to leave this stuff out. Noting the size of Trump’s hands or the fact that he tans feels beneath the broader stated mission of the book: To reveal why Trump is simply not fit for the office he currently holds. Comey also mentions that Trump was shorter than he looked on TV. First off, everyone is short to the 6’8″ Comey. Second, who cares?
10. “I stared at the soft white pouches under his expressionless blue eyes. I remember thinking in that moment that the president doesn’t understand the FBI’s role in American life.”
Again, the fact that Trump has “soft white pouches” under his “expressionless blue eyes” feels more like an unnecessary jab than an essential insight. BUT, Comey’s next sentence is important — because he’s right. Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he simply doesn’t understand — or doesn’t care about — the unique role the Justice Department plays within the federal government. Yes, they work under him. But they don’t exactly work for him. He’s never seemed to get that.
9. “I had often wondered why, when given numerous opportunities to condemn the Russian government’s invasions of its neighbors and repression — even murder — of its own citizens, Trump refused to just state the plain facts…Maybe it was a contrarian streak or maybe it was something more complicated that explained his constant equivocation and apologies for Vladimir Putin.”
There’s no question that prior to the last week or so, Trump has been largely unwilling to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country as a whole. (The Syrian chemical attack and Russia’s continued support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to have changed how Trump thinks about Putin.)
But, we already knew that. And everything else in this excerpt is pure speculation. “Maybe it was something more complicated” isn’t exactly hard and fast evidence.
8. “Another reason you know this isn’t true: I’m a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me, no way.”
This one is more salacious than anything else. But, that Trump feels the need to convince Comey that he never watched two prostitutes pee on one another is, um, something else.
7. “He brought up what he called the ‘golden showers thing’ . . . adding that it bothered him if there was ‘even a 1 percent chance’ his wife, Melania, thought it was true….In what kind of marriage, to what kind of man, does a spouse conclude there is only a 99 percent chance her husband didn’t do that?”
Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as simply salacious. Yes, there is that. But it is absolutely telling about the state of Trump’s marriage that he was asking the FBI director to prove the falsehood of the “pee tape” to his wife — almost certainly because she wouldn’t believe him.
Then there’s the fact that Trump seems to believe that proving the tape doesn’t exist to Melania Trump is a worthy use of the FBI’s time. Which is, um, something.
6. “It is also wrong to stand idly by, or worse, to stay silent when you know better, while a president brazenly seeks to undermine public confidence in law enforcement institutions that were established to keep our leaders in check.”
Comey here is echoing people like Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake who have castigated their fellow Republicans for refusing to condemn Trump when he attacks the Justice Department or the Intelligence Community. The argument is that silence is essentially assent. Only by saying, “No, what Trump is doing is wrong and should stop immediately” can Republicans hope to have a party in the post-Trump era.
Amid Trump’s ramped-up rhetoric on deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and special counsel Robert Mueller, it will be interesting to see what Republican reaction will be if the president decides to fire either (or both) of those men. Will Republicans speak out?
5. “Asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes. He then began discussing cases where women had accused him of sexual assault, a subject I had not raised. He mentioned a number of women, and seemed to have memorized their allegations.”
Two things are at work here — one not terribly problematic for Trump, the other potential more so. The first is that he demonstrates he has a massive ego and believes that he is so appealing to women that any story about him frequenting prostitutes simply can’t be believed.
The second is that he is intimately familiar with the details of the bevy of accusations made against him by a number of women during the 2016 campaign. That level of interest/obsession belies the public face of dismissal and unconcern Trump and his people have presented when confronted with the allegations.
4. “Now it was pretty clear to me what was happening. The setup of the dinner, both the physical layout of a private meal and Trump’s pretense that he had not already asked me to stay on multiple occasions, convinced me this was an effort to establish a patronage relationship.”
This is very important. What Comey is alleging here is that Trump, from the start, saw his relationship with Comey as entirely transactional. I’ll let you stay in your job as FBI director but I want something for it. That something, as we now now, was a loyalty pledge that Comey refused to give.
Trump’s approach to every encounter appears to be similar to what Comey describes here. Let’s make a deal where you get something but, far more importantly, I get something.
3. “[Kelly] said he was sick about my firing and that he intended to quit in protest. He said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people who would treat someone like me in such a manner. I urged Kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president. Especially this president.”
This anecdote is going to make chief of staff John Kelly’s life even harder than it already is. Rumors of him clashing with Trump and/or being on the way out are everywhere. Now, he’ll have to face a barrage of questions over whether Comey’s recounting of the moments right after Trump fired him are accurate. And if Kelly says they are, how can he stay in his job? If he says Comey got it wrong, will Trump even believe him?
2. “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”
In this excerpt, Comey is comparing Trump to a mob boss. Which is a tough comparison to make when you are dealing with the President of the United States. But, Comey is right in the main when it comes to how Trump sees himself and how he leads his team. Trump must always be the strongest and toughest one in any room. He expects total loyalty from those who work for him — and works to rid his inner circle of those he believes have shown even a speck of disloyalty to him. He doesn’t tell the truth about things that are easily and provably false — largest inauguration crowd ever, millions of illegal votes cast — and then dares those around him to question him.
I don’t know any mob bosses personally but there’s not question that Comey nails Trump here.
1. “This President is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”
These two sentences are the most damaging thing to Trump so far in the Comey excerpts because they speak to a number of demonstrated truths. We know that Trump said more than 2,000 things in his first year in office that were either partially or entirely untrue. We know he looks at every situation as a chance to extract something for himself. That he is immensely self focused to the point of a blindness as to how his actions might be perceived by people who aren’t him. We know that he either misunderstands or chooses to ignore traditional norms for how a president acts, what he says and how he treats those who work for him.
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Fourteen months into his presidency, Donald Trump is acting more defiant and independent as more and more senior-level aides and administration officials resign or are fired, according to a Washington Post report published Saturday.
The paper obtained the details of this new White House scene through interviews with 23 administration officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Noting that this type of defiance is typical for Trump, who for years ran the Trump Organization with a heavy hand, the paper reported that with both the President’s handful of advisers and his chief of staff John Kelly “nowhere to be seen,” Trump was left without a collection of “moderating forces eager to restrain the president from acting impulsively.”
As a result, the President made appearances and statements that many considered to be things over which his inner circle might have voiced disapproval. And by the end of the week, the President was at Mar-a-Lago with Don King, a boxing promoter who vented to Trump about the Stormy Daniels situation, according to the Post.
“It’s utterly ridiculous,” King said to Trump, according to the report. CNN has reached out to King for further comment.
On Friday, CNN reported that White House officials were starting to consider Dan Scavino to be the replacement for former communications director Hope Hicks, who finally left the White House this week. While Scavino, who is Trump’s current social media director, may not become the new communications director, many West Wing officials are expecting him to fill the confidant and conspirator role that Hicks’ resignation left open.
CNN also reported Thursday that Trump’s outside advisers have told him over the past week that neither a chief of staff nor a communications director may be necessary. So far, the President has given no indication as to whether or not he’s interested in taking the advice, and, on top of that, there are no signs that Trump is looking to dismiss Kelly.
As far as his “hasty” decisions go, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the Post: “The President is in an action mood and doesn’t want to slow-roll things, from trade to the border to staffing changes.”
“He wants to make things that he’s been discussing for a while happen,” she said. “He’s tired of the wait game.”
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(CNN)In a late-night TV appearance Friday, former President Jimmy Carter appeared to ding President Donald Trump, suggesting the current commander-in-chief is “a jerk.”
“Does America want kind of a jerk as president?,” Stephen Colbert asked the 39th president on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” after inquiring whether Carter had been “too nice” to be commander-in-chief.
“Apparently, from this recent election, yes. I never knew it before,” Carter answered.
Asked by Colbert about what it takes to be president, Carter said he “used to think it was to tell the truth.”
“But I’ve changed my mind lately,” he continued.
Although the remarks seemed in jest, they marked a shift from some of the former president’s earlier statements about his successor. In an interview last October, Carter appeared to come to Trump’s defense, saying the “media have been harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about.”
The 93-year-old former president told Colbert that he prays for Trump, but he wasn’t sure if his prayers would be answered.
“I pray that he’ll be a good president, and that he’ll keep our country at peace, and that he’ll refrain from using nuclear weapons, and that he will promote human rights. So, yeah, I pray for him,” Carter said.
Carter also offered his thoughts on North Korea, reiterating his opposition to sanctions. He told CBS News last week that he had received a briefing from the Trump administration on North Korea and that he’d be willing to travel to that nation on the current administration’s behalf.
CNN’s Nicole Chavez and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.
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Then, The Washington Post published a bombshell report that at least four countries had discussed how to use Kushner’s sparse experience, financial troubles and intricate business arrangements to manipulate him.
The triple blows at Trump’s inner circle added to the already incredible personal, political and legal pressure heaped on the President and the strain on those staffing his turbulent presidency.
They come at a moment when Mueller’s probe is gathering pace, cranking out indictments of Trump associates, and appears to be posing a more severe threat to the President, Kushner and other important associates.
The developments were more than a personal and public humiliation to Kushner, who has played an influential, if mysterious, role in the administration.
They put the sustainability of his role as a top foreign policy adviser to Trump in doubt because he will have access to far fewer government secrets and cannot see the Presidential Daily Brief, the collection of the spy community’s treasures prepared for the commander in chief.
The downgrade appears to make it all but impossible for Kushner to do his job even though the White House and his lawyer say that is not the case.
But how for example can he carry out his duties running the Middle East peace process or liaising with top Gulf powers if he is not privy to the latest intelligence about his interlocutors or other key regional players like Iran?
Similarly, Kushner could find himself asked to leave sensitive meetings in the White House or force top intelligence or foreign policy officials to avoid the most sensitive subjects in meetings that he is in with the President.
“He can’t see intercepted communications — that’s top secret, he’s now downgraded to secret … he can’t see the most secret CIA information about their informants,” said Phil Mudd, a former CIA and FBI official who is now a CNN national security analyst.
“He can’t see some of the stuff our Western allies see,” he added.
Ultimately, unless Kushner is cleared by the FBI to receive a permanent security clearance or gets a waiver from the President his diminished role will spur fresh speculation about his longevity as a White House staffer.
His departure and potentially that of his wife Ivanka Trump, who just controversially led a US mission to South Korea’s Winter Olympics at a time of flaring nuclear tensions with North Korea, would mark a huge earthquake in Trump world.
As it is, the couple will see their “influence diminished,” a GOP source close to the White House told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Fresh doubts over Kushner’s position also risked reflecting poorly on Trump, given that the President made a close family member who was apparently unqualified or at risk of being compromised by foreign powers such a pivotal adviser.
After all, Trump pledged to hire the most qualified people in the world to serve in his administration, and made the alleged mishandling of classified material by his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton a key argument of his campaign.
Trump was already under ethical fire for breaking anti-nepotism conventions by hiring family members. Kushner’s new troubles will make those questions even more acute.
“This is a stunning blow to President Trump,” said CNN presidential historian Timothy Naftali, noting that Kushner was one of the few senior advisers with whom Trump felt comfortable.
“This is a big deal … he must be fuming,” Naftali told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
The idea that key foreign countries, including Mexico, Israel, China and the United Arab Emirates had acted on conversations about how to manipulate Kushner, according to current and former US officials familiar with intelligence reports cited by the Post, is also a problem.
After all, the optics of a senior presidential adviser sitting down with leaders who have been publicly reported to have tried to compromise him would weaken his leverage.
The political implications of the Kushner news are less profound than the national security questions but no less intriguing.
The strike against Kushner is a bold move by Kelly who has worked to remove what he sees a distracting elements around the President — such as former top political adviser Steve Bannon and former foreign policy aide Sebastian Gorka. But his decision to take on the President’s son-in-law is the most significant and potentially risky coup yet.
Last week, Trump told reporters he would let Kelly decide what to do about his son-in-law’s clearance but stressed that Kushner had done an “outstanding job.” The comment was seen by many in Washington as a broad hint to Kelly that the President wanted Kushner kept in the loop.
Now any attempt by Trump to contradict Kelly’s move would shatter the chief of staff’s authority and make his position all but impossible. But if Kelly prevails, his decision on Kushner will be regarded as a gutsy political victory and would undercut speculation he cannot last much longer in the White House.
Signs that Mueller is looking into Trump’s finances meanwhile add a layer of intensity to the drama surrounding his investigation.
The President has previously warned that he would not tolerate the special counsel seeking such information, so speculation about whether Trump will try to fire Mueller will be revived.
While there is no indication so far of any wrongdoing by Trump or collusion with a Russian election meddling effort, the report again poses the question of whether his past business dealings could have been a target for any Russian attempt to compromise him.
Any sense on the part of the President that the walls are closing in will not have been helped by Tuesday’s testimony to a House committee by Hope Hicks, his communications director and close campaign aide.
Because Of President Putin I feel Sorry For The Russian People
Most people in their lives simply want certain basic things to be a reality for themselves and their loved ones. People want to feel safe in their own homes, communities, and countries. People want a safe and dependable economy so that they can afford housing and food along with such thing as social services, good schools, dependable utilities and regular trash pickup. They also want their government officials to have all these things at the top of their to get it done list, people want the government to work for their best interest, not always the politicians best interest. I am not saying that everything is perfect here in the U.S. because it isn’t. Our government at seemingly every level is only interested in their own bank accounts and getting reelected.
Depressing would be one way to describe the evil that saturates the worlds governments, and unfortunately the wonderful country of Russia and all of their people are in the Iron fist of a President that only seems to care about personal power and reforming a Communist Soviet Empire. When Mr Putin first took the reigns of power in Russia I had some high hopes for him and the Russian people because of the knowledge that his Mom was a Christ believing person even though he himself is an atheist.
I believe that the vast majority of the people in both of our countries want more than anything to live in peace with all nations and all people’s, but the current reality makes this hope quite futile. Mr Putin just like George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, in my opinion, are all guilty of mass murder and they all should be arrested by the ICC, taken the the Hague, and tried for their crimes against humanity. I do believe that because of our current, illegal unconstitutional actions in Syria that President Trump should be added to this list of international criminals along with Presidents Assad and Putin. President Putin seems far more interested in power and domination of people and their countries over peace and prosperity for his own people. Spies and military career type people very seldom manage to be effective peace-loving leaders who put the people’s well-being first. The American leaders (Bush, Cheney) had no legal Constitutional right to invade Iraq and the blood of the people will be upon their hands when they stand at the Judgement Seat of Christ. President Putin is guilty of the spilled blood all over Crimea and Ukraine. President Putin seems to have set as his main agenda the reoccupation of the former Soviet Satellite countries even though it would have best served all people in the region to have good relations with their neighbors for the purpose of economic growth and prosperity for their people.
America and Russia should have enough good sense to forge economic and security ties with each other for the benefit of all their citizens. Divide and conquer has been a war strategy since evil first entered the heart of mankind. There is a war coming that neither Russia, the US, Europe, Asia, or any of the other nations on earth are going to be able to avoid and the blood will run high upon all the lands and I am not speaking about these fore mentioned conflicts. Every nation on Earth will suffer for the current stupidity and egos of many of the worlds leaders actions of today’s time. I will fully explain exactly what Armageddon is in a soon to come post, this is not what I am speaking about at this moment, but what is going on IS a major building block toward that direction.
If you as a person who lives in Russia, or China, should be able to understand, as should all our leaders, there is a real Cancer on their door steps called Islam and they will never stop attacking until all of us/you are dead. We the people of the freedom loving world, and I do include the people of all Nations, even if our so-called leaders are either blind, ignorant, or just plain evil, want to be able to live in peace, but that is not going to happen. I know that this is not going to happen, but until all people of the world insist that all people who serve/believe in Allah as a god are removed from all the non-Islamic Nations we will always have hate filled mass murderers among us. Our current President here in the US seems to be ignorant to these realities of the Islamic faith, makes me wonder if he is either ignorant, or a traitor to the ideals of our fore fathers here in America.
The Russian and American nations are now at a crossroad in human history. We can all forge strong economic and security ties along with all of Europe and Asia or we can rot from the cancer of ignorance and hate. Any military General knows that if you can infiltrate your target from the inside then you can have a much better chance of victory when you attack from the outside. The last count I know of said there are about 18 million Islamist living within the American borders. There is absolutely nothing that is peaceful about Islam, their prophet orders that all people of the earth must die who are not completely devoted to, and worshiping servants of Allah, and then the spoils of Jihad will be theirs. This so-called “war on terrorism” will never end until the Second Advent of Christ. Life as we in civilized society know it is soon going to explode, these current days are going to be the “good ole days” for our children and their children, and that is a sad reality.
I beg the leaders of all Nations to quit fighting against each other, to form strong peaceful relationships with each other. All nations badly need to cultivate all needed energy resources that will totally eliminate all oil imports from all Islamic nations and quit giving the Islamic leaders/worshipers the financial and physical means to kill you and your families with. Allah is not God, I know that the believers of Islam do believe that they are worshiping God the Father but they are mistaken, they have been mislead. I admire the believers of the Islamic faith for their devoutness to their beliefs, they put the followers of most other religions to shame in that respect. The word Allah is a very old Arabic name for God the Father so believing that they are worshiping God is very understandable. The trouble is that their faith/religion has been high-jacked and it is not God whom they are actually worshiping. Allah is the THE Anti Christ, for those who follow him will lose their Souls, lives, and their countries to pure evil.
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(THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED ON MAY 24TH OF 2014) (NOW THE U.S. HAS AN IDIOT AND A HABITUAL LIAR AS OUR PRESIDENT, SO WHICH ONE IS WORSE IS MY QUESTION TO YOU. IF NO WORLD LEADER CAN BELIEVE A SINGLE THING THAT YOUR PRESIDENT EVER SAYS, HOW CAN THEY TRUST HIM EITHER?)
Here in America these last few years we have grown rather accustomed to the term “Leading From Behind”, according to our President. My wife and I have discussed the logic, reasoning, and intelligence of such an approach several times throughout Mr Obama’s years in office. My wife and I both wish that the world was not filled with so many dangers, we also wish that America did not have to play the part of Global Cop, but unfortunately, we do. Even on that conclusion my wife and I disagree. My wife is not overly entrenched in politics at any level, this includes paying much attention to events and how they string together. My Bride wants the U.S. to invert, to pull away from all other countries with our military and our money and to put those efforts into helping the American people first. I wish that these things could be so, but it is way too late for just kindness and words to make such an action possible as to introvert away from the whole world and to just pretend the rest of the world isn’t really there.
Truth is, there are people in the Military, Security Divisions, and Politics throughout the world who wish that they could be bigger and badder than all their neighbors and that they themselves should lead. Simple what I am getting at, if a country’s leadership decides to do something like a radical expansion of their existing territories and they know in advance that there is no country that will or can stop him from expanding, there will be even more bloodshed. It is a reality that I do not like either but what we are all faced with from now throughout our very last breath and that is Spiritual Warfare. Warfare of the physical things that we see with our eyes possess physical harm that we can see, warfare for your Spiritual Soul has many snares that the eye does not comprehend.
When you have a country like Russia whose President decides to expand their territory over soil belonging to another country and He know’s in advance that no one will physically stop them, they expand. When a country becomes the expected defender of Freedom and fairness throughout the world they can not back out of the position if there is no one/country to take your place. There are bad people in our world who have ever-increasing positions of power, if no one stands up to protect the smaller and the weaker nations these independent nations will soon not exist. Before you realize it there is another big powerful nation who decides to annex a whole Sea or Gulf as their own disregarding international laws.
This current Administration in D.C. has constantly shown weakness throughout the world by failing to lead or engage on the World Stage. When our President showed our timidness in Libya, Egypt, and especially in Syria and with Iran even to the point of infuriating our two biggest allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia. For many years now some of our so-called upper crust have degraded Russia and China as they supposedly downgraded from Superpower status. What I have to say to this ignorance is simple, when a nation has thousands of Nukes with the required launching systems, they are a Superpower! We have (not I) humiliated two great Nations and their People by stepping on their national pride. Then when these nations aggressive leadership see that we will not step into protect another nation or treaty, we have shown these aggressive leaders as well as our “friends” that we will only give words of encouragement and nothing else. This Administration has caused the Evil in this world to smile and our friends to tremble.
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