White House

Trump Unloads on Critics After Disciplined Week

“For the last week on the road, President Trump had been measured, disciplined and studiously scripted as he picked his way through the geopolitical minefields of Asia,” the New York Times reports.

“Then came the weekend.”

“In a stream of tweets on Sunday, the president said those who wanted to investigate his ties to Russia were ‘haters and fools,’ ridiculed ‘crooked’ Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated effort to reset relations with Russia and fired back at North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, for calling him old, saying that he could call Mr. Kim ‘short and fat’ — but had restrained himself.”

“That followed a freewheeling session with reporters on Air Force One on Saturday.”

Trump Remaking the Judiciary at a Rapid Pace

New York Times: “Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor.”

“Republicans are systematically filling appellate seats they held open during President Barack Obama’s final two years in office with a particularly conservative group of judges with life tenure. Democrats — who in late 2013 abolished the ability of 41 lawmakers to block such nominees with a filibuster, then quickly lost control of the Senate — have scant power to stop them.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television. I know they like to say that. People that don’t know me, they like to say I watch television — people with fake sources. You know, fake reporters, fake sources. But I don’t get to watch much television. Primarily because of documents. I’m reading documents. A lot. And different things. I actually read much more — I read you people much more than I watch television.”

— President Trump, quoted by Axios.

U.S. Journalists Locked Out of Trump Appearance

“Nearly all U.S. journalists covering Presiden Trump’s appearance at a major economic summit in Vietnam were barred from attending key events Friday and Saturday, including photo-ops featuring interactions between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Politico reports.

“A Fox News video crew and an official White House photographer were granted access to the meetings. Fox was the news organization that was tasked with providing pool video to other news outlets. But the rest of the pool reporters, including independent photographers from U.S. news organizations, were blocked from covering the event.”

White House Braces for Another Staff Shakeup

“The White House is bracing for another staff shakeup upon President Trump’s return from Asia, with senior-level staff moves that could further consolidate chief of staff John Kelly’s power in the West Wing,” Politico reports.

“Deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn — a former top Jeff Sessions Senate aide who played a central role during the presidential transition — is expected to be reassigned to the Commerce Department or another federal agency… Kelly is also preparing to replace his deputy Kirstjen Nielsen, who is awaiting confirmation to fill Kelly’s old job as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.”

Papadopoulos Lied to Protect Trump

“George Papadopoulos, the Trump foreign policy aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, initially misled agents out of what he claimed was loyalty to President Trump,” ABC News reports.

“Trump had publicly denied that there had been any contact between his campaign and Russian officials, and Papadopoulos did not want to contradict the official line, the source said.”

Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Plan to Deliver Cleric

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Under the alleged proposal, Mr. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., were to be paid as much as $15 million for delivering Fethullah Gulen to the Turkish government.”

Mueller Interviews Top White House Aide

“White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has been interviewed as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe,” CNN reports.

“The interview brings the special counsel investigation into President Trump’s inner circle in the White House. Miller is the highest-level aide still working at the White House known to have talked to investigators.”

“Miller’s role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey was among the topics discussed during the interview as part of the probe into possible obstruction of justice.”

Russian Offered to Send 5 Women to Trump’s Hotel Room

“After a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to ‘send five women’ to Donald Trump’s hotel room in Moscow, his longtime bodyguard told Congress this week,” NBC News reports.

” Two of the sources said the bodyguard, Keith Schiller, viewed the offer as a joke, and immediately responded, ‘We don’t do that type of stuff.'”

“That night, two sources said, Schiller said he discussed the conversation with Trump as Trump was walking back to his hotel room, and Schiller said the two men laughed about it as Trump went to bed alone.”

Treasury Secretary vs. Treasury Secretary

New York Times: “Raising eyebrows in economic circles, Lawrence Summers, the mercurial Treasury secretary for President Bill Clinton, has leveled a barrage of increasingly personal criticism at the current Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin. In podcasts, blog posts, op-eds and on Twitter, Mr. Summers… has accused Mr. Mnuchin of damaging the credibility of Treasury by making ‘irresponsible’ economic assessments of the administration’s tax plan and acting as a ‘sycophant’ to President Trump. The attacks have alternately amused and angered those who run in economic circles, with some saying it is Mr. Summers who is damaging the credibility of the office by leveling public attacks on a sitting Treasury secretary.”

Team Trump Deflects Blame After Election Losses

“The White House was in damage control mode on Wednesday as it sought to deflect blame for Tuesday night’s sweeping electoral losses and reassure Republicans who fear President Trump’s unpopularity will cost them at the polls in 2018,” The Hill reports.

“A person familiar with the president’s political operation dismissed the notion that an anti-Trump wave is building, arguing that Democrats had merely held on in states they were expected to win. New Jersey is a deep blue state and Virginia has gone for the Democrat in the last three presidential elections.”

Wilbur Ross Isn’t a Billionaire as Claimed

According to financial-disclosure forms Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross filed after his nomination, Ross has less than $700 million in assets despite repeatedly claiming he’s worth more than $2 billion, Forbes reports.

“And after one month of digging, Forbes is confident it has found the answer: That money never existed. It seems clear that Ross lied to us, the latest in an apparent sequence of fibs, exaggerations, omissions, fabrications and whoppers that have been going on with Forbes since 2004.”