Republican Sen. Bob Corker blasts Trump for pressuring DOJ

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Republican Sen. Bob Corker blasts Trump for pressuring DOJ

Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Bob Corker continued his criticism of President Donald Trump on Friday, saying Trump is pressuring the Justice Department to “pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place.”

“Like me, most Americans hope that our justice system is independent and free of political interference,” Corker said in a statement Friday afternoon. “President Trump’s pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people’s confidence in our institutions.”
It is the third time in recent weeks Corker has been highly critical of the President. The Tennessee Republican announced in September that he’s not running for re-election.
Trump has repeatedly in the past 24 hours criticized the Justice Department, including in a radio interview where the President described himself as “unhappy” with the department. On Friday morning, Trump told reporters that Justice should be investigating Democrats.

Retiring Republican Senator Flake Blasts Trump For “Disregard For Truth And Decency”

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD And Fox News)

 

Sen. Jeff Flake Throws In Towel On Re-Election Bid, Blasting Donald Trump’s “Disregard For Truth And Decency”

Jeff Flake Speech

Writers of Washington-set political dramas threw themselves on their couches today and chewed the pillows in an ecstasy of grief when Actual Washington topped most of their plotlines in a single day.

Not one but two Republican senators blasted their own party’s POTUS as a lying lout and warned the world he is a menace and a danger. But that did not stop them from attending a “unity lunch” on Capitol Hill with President Donald Trump – who got a Russian flag thrown at him as he was entering the event.

Donald Trump Russian Flags
REX/Shutterstock

After the lunch, during which Trump received multiple standing ovations, Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flakebecame the second member of Trump’s own party to devote Tuesday to denouncing the exec branch’s flagrant “disregard for truth or decency.” In a passionate address to fellow senators, and TV cameras, Flake also lamented the White House’s “reckless provocations” and undignified behavior Flake called dangerous to the country.

Flake announced on the floor of the Senate that he will not run for re-election after his current term ends in early 2019, saying he cannot be “complicit or silent” to what the current administration is up to. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed his remarks as the comments of a guy who was going to lose his re-election bid, badly.

“I rise today with no small measure of regret,” Flake said in his announcement. “Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs.

“It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”

“We must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue – with the tone set at the top,” Flake said pointedly, though he never mentioned Trump by name.

“We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons.”

“Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” Flake said.

Just a few hours earlier, and shortly before Trump’s lunch with GOP senators, Sen. Bob Corker, who heads the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, gave a pop-up presser in a Hill hallway at which he said the world is bearing witness to Trump’s lies, adding that POTUS’ legacy will be the “debasing of our nation.”

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Trump Only Lies If He Opens His Mouth Or Tweets: Ignorance With No Limits

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Bob Corker Says Donald Trump Is an ‘Utterly Untruthful President’

10:03 AM ET

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker harshly criticized President Donald Trump anew on Tuesday, calling him an “utterly untruthful president” and saying he would not support his reelection.

Corker, who is not running for reelection next year, was responding to tweets from Trump attacking him. The tweets appear to have been prompted byCorker’s comments that the White House should “step aside” and let Congress take the lead on writing upcoming tax legislation.

Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts,” Trump said in a string of morning Twitter posts. “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee [sic] when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!”

Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts….

…Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!

Corker responded by repeating his earlier criticism that the White House is being run like “an adult day care center,” with staff trying to manage the president’s moods.

Trump then went after him again.

Isn’t it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn’t get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!

In an interview with CNN, Corker then said that “everything [Trump] said today was absolutely untruthful,” but he stopped short of calling Trump a liar.

“We grew up in our family not using the l-word, but they’re provable untruths,” he said. “The president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.”

Corker, who endorsed Trump in 2016, added that he would not support Trump again and said that he is not a role model for children.

Trump is scheduled to meet with Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday. He recently told party members in a conference call asking for GOP unity that he’s a Republican “inside, out and backwards” and that he’s “for the Republicans.”

I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VANITY FAIR HIVE)

 

Trump White House

“I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES AS ADVISERS FEAR THE PRESIDENT IS “UNRAVELING”

In recent days, I’ve spoken with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.
Donald Trump in the Diplomatic Room at the White House, October 2, 2017.
By Joshua Roberts/Reuters.

At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”

The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

According to two sources familiar with the conversation, Trump vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!” (A White House official denies this.) Two senior Republican officials said Chief of Staff John Kelly is miserable in his job and is remaining out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision. Today, speculation about Kelly’s future increased after Politico reported that Kelly’s deputy Kirstjen Nielsen is likely to be named Homeland Security Secretary—the theory among some Republicans is that Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing before his departure.

Video: The Stakes are Too High for the Trump Presidency to be Funny

One former official even speculated that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have discussed what they would do in the event Trump ordered a nuclear first strike. “Would they tackle him?” the person said. Even Trump’s most loyal backers are sowing public doubts. This morning, The Washington Post quoted longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack saying he has been “shocked” and “stunned” by Trump’s behavior.

While Kelly can’t control Trump’s tweets, he is doing his best to physically sequester the president—much to Trump’s frustration. One major G.O.P. donor told me access to Trump has been cut off, and his outside calls to the White House switchboard aren’t put through to the Oval Office. Earlier this week, I reportedon Kelly’s plans to prevent Trump from mingling with guests at Mar-a-Lago later this month. And, according to two sources, Keith Schiller quit last month after Kelly told Schiller he needed permission to speak to the president and wanted written reports of their conversations.

The White House denies these accounts. “The President’s mood is good and his outlook on the agenda is very positive,” an official said.

West Wing aides have also worried about Trump’s public appearances, one Trump adviser told me. The adviser said aides were relieved when Trump declined to agree to appear on the season premiere of 60 Minutes last month. “He’s lost a step. They don’t want him doing adversarial TV interviews,” the adviser explained. Instead, Trump has sat down for friendly conversations with Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee, whose daughter is Trump’s press secretary. (The White House official says the 60 Minutesinterview is being rescheduled.)

Even before Corker’s remarks, some West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannontold Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term.

This post has been updated to clarify the details of the negotiation with 60 Minutes.

“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

(Title quote is from Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee)

Photo

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, last week in Washington. CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday laced into Senator Bob Corker, a Republican whose support the president will need on tax reform and the future of the Iran nuclear deal, saying on Twitter that the senator had decided not to run for re-election next year because he “didn’t have the guts.”

“Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee,” Mr. Trump wrote. “I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement).”

Mr. Trump also said that Mr. Corker had asked to be secretary of state. “I said ‘NO THANKS,’” Mr. Trump wrote.

Mr. Corker offered a barbed response. “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center,” he wrote on Twitter. “Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

Continue reading the main story

The Tennessee senator has been a favorite target of Mr. Trump’s for months, after the senator, who was once a campaign supporter, became increasingly critical of Mr. Trump’s performance in the White House.

After a report last week that Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had once referred to Mr. Trump as a “moron,” Mr. Corker told reporters at the Capitol that Mr. Tillerson was one of three officials helping to “separate our country from chaos.”

In August, Mr. Corker had told reporters in Tennessee that the president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”

Mr. Trump’s feud with Mr. Corker is particularly perilous given that the president has little margin for error as he tries to pass an overhaul of the tax code — his best hope of producing a major legislative achievement in the coming months.

If Senate Democrats end up unified in opposition to the promised tax bill, Mr. Trump would be able to lose the support of only two of the Senate’s 52 Republicans in order to pass it. That is the same challenging math that Mr. Trump and Senate Republican leaders faced in their failed effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Corker, who is outspoken about the nation’s mounting debt, has already signaled deep reservations about the Republican effort to pass a tax overhaul, saying he would not vote for a tax bill that adds to the deficit.

In addition, Mr. Corker, who leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could play a key role if Mr. Trump follows through on his threat to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal, kicking to Congress the issue of whether to restore sanctions on Tehran and effectively scuttle the pact.

Senator Bob Corker Lets Us Know What He Thinks Of Donald Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker suggested Wednesday that Gens. John Kelly and James Mattis as well Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are the “people that help separate our country from chaos,” a stinging criticism of President Donald Trump from a man once considered an ally in Washington.

Asked directly by a reporter whether he was referring to Trump in using the word “chaos,” Corker, who announced last month he would retire in 2018, responded: “(Mattis, Kelly and Tillerson) work very well together to make sure the policies we put forth around the world are sound and coherent. There are other people within the administration that don’t. I hope they stay because they’re valuable to the national security of our nation.”
Stop for a second and re-read that last paragraph. The sitting Republican chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee is suggesting that if Tillerson was removed from office (or quit), the national security of the country would potentially be in danger. And he’s refusing to knock down — and thereby affirming — the idea that Trump is an agent of chaos who pushes policies that are not always “sound” or “coherent.”
That. Is. Stunning.
Corker also blasted Trump for undermining Tillerson — most recently with a weekend tweet suggesting that the secretary of state’s diplomatic work to solve the North Korea crisis would fail.
“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump tweeted Sunday morning.
Corker said that Tillerson is “in an incredibly frustrating place,” adding: “He ends up not being supported in the way I would hope a secretary of state would be supported. … He’s in a very trying situation — trying to solve many of the world’s problems without the support and help I’d like to see him have.”
Those comments land amid reports that tensions between Trump and Tillerson are worse than ever. They also come on the same day Tillerson held an impromptu press conference to dismiss that he has ever considered resigning his post, but also refused to deny that he had called the President a “moron” during a moment of pique over the summer.
This is also not the first time that Corker, who was once mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick and was on the short list for secretary of state, has been overtly and harshly critical of Trump. Corker drew national headlines in August when he suggested that Trump“has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”
Trump responded back via Twitter: “Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!”
Trump and Corker eventually huddled at the White House to make amends and, according to reports, Trump asked Corker to run for a third term. Less than two weeks later, Corker announced he was retiring.
Corker’s comments Wednesday are rightly read as a continuation of his August remarks. Then, he openly questioned Trump’s stability and competence. Now he is making clear that if not for Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly, Trump would be leading the nation — and the world — into chaos.
There’s no question that Corker feels freer to speak his mind without the worry of angering the President and potentially stirring up a serious primary challenge. But what’s even more important/scary to contemplate: If this is Corker saying what he really thinks about Trump, what must the rest of Republicans in the Senate and House think of their President? And when will they speak out?

Senate Panel Approves Stiff Iran Sanctions and Says Russia Is Next

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved on Thursday the most sweeping sanctions against Iran since the United States and five other nations reached an agreement with Tehran in 2015 to sharply limit that nation’s nuclear capability, and the committee warned Russia that it was almost certain to be the next target.

Because Iran has complied with the nuclear accord, the Senate committee had to find other reasons to impose the sanctions, and linked the penalties to Iran’s continued support for terrorism and its human rights violations, among other concerns. But the timing of the long-planned punishment was awkward, coming right after Iranians overwhelmingly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, who has moved to expand personal freedoms in the country and integrate its economy with the West.

The Trump administration has supported new sanctions against Iran, which were approved 18 to 3 by the committee and could receive a full Senate vote as early as next month.

But Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had pleaded for more time before new sanctions were imposed on Russia, hoping to use the first few months of the Trump administration to fundamentally change a relationship he recently said had hit its lowest point in years.

Continue reading the main story

Lawmakers on Thursday strongly hinted that they were no longer interested in giving Mr. Tillerson much additional rope, and the drive in both parties to impose sanctions is a clear outgrowth of the investigations into whether President Trump’s associates had improper connections to Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee — the committee’s Republican chairman and often a defender of Mr. Tillerson’s approach, to the chagrin of lawmakers in both parties who had hoped to pursue sanctions sooner — said he had seen “no difference whatsoever” in Russia’s conduct, citing its “work against our interest” in Syria.

“Unless he can come in and demonstrably show us — and I don’t think he will be able to, based on the intelligence I’ve read — we are going to move ahead with a Russia sanctions bill during this next work period,” Mr. Corker said of Mr. Tillerson.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, the committee’s top Democrat, offered an addendum. “We have seen a change in Russia behavior,” he said. “It’s all been bad.”

During the presidential campaign Mr. Trump called the Iran nuclear deal a “disaster” that would eventually allow Iran to produce its own nuclear weapons. But as president he has been loath to make good on his promise to scrap the accord. Should he do so, Iran would be free to resume the production of uranium and plutonium, which are sharply limited under the existing agreement for the next 13 years.

Still, the vote on Thursday underscored the degree to which the broader promise of the Iran nuclear deal has gone awry. President Barack Obama and John Kerry, the former secretary of state, had hoped the deal, while limited to nuclear fuel production, would open a pathway to cooperation between the two countries.

Instead, both countries have retreated to their corners, with the Iranians working in other ways to influence activities in the Middle East, especially by propping up President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The United States has done nothing to build on the accord, and Mr. Trump just visited Saudi Arabia, heaping praise on a country that has never held an open election and has a human rights record that rivals Iran’s.

Mr. Corker noted that the committee had waited to take up the sanctions bill until after the Iranian election, at the request of some members.

Among those who urged senators to reject the sanctions was Mr. Kerry, who negotiated the nuclear deal. “After Rouhani’s re-election, there is much up in the air/room for misinterpretation,” he said in a series of Twitter messages earlier this week. “This is not the moment for a new Iran bill.”

He lost that argument, with many of the Democrats on the committee voting for the sanctions. Mr. Cardin called Mr. Rouhani’s victory “an encouraging vote,” but argued that the new legislation remained essential.

“This bill is surgical,” he said, noting it had been designed to avoid undermining the 2015 agreement. “Just because they entered into a nuclear agreement, we’re not going to permit them to continue to support terrorism.”

Republicans have continued to express concerns about the Obama administration’s efforts. Senator Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho, said the issues addressed in the current bill should have been part of the nuclear agreement.

“We shouldn’t have to do this,” Mr. Risch said, before supporting the measure, adding that “these people are not people who want to get on the international stage and take a place with the rest of the countries that want to see peace and harmony.”

Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, interjected: “These people — that’s a tough, tough phrase,” he said. “We’ve got no beef with Iranian people.”

Mr. Risch clarified that he was referring only to hostile Iranian leaders, not its citizens. “I should have made that clear,” he said.

Mr. Corker suggested that the bill was in fact “very congruent with the will of the Iranian people themselves,” an assertion that a fellow Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, disputed.

Later in the meeting, the committee approved a separate measure to boost efforts to counter Russian propaganda and election interference in the United States and around the world.

Some senators made clear that they had expected to take up true sanctions by now.

“This is not a sanctions bill, though many of us wish it were,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said pointedly. “This is a defensive measure.”

Two committee members — Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, and Mr. Kaine — also introduced on Thursday a bill to authorize military force against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, a move intended to curb executive authority and reassert congressional power over authorization.

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