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Donald J. Trump White House Page 67
Conservative CNN host. S.E. Cupp on Saturday said that special counsel Robert Mueller's report showed that President Trump is "unfit to lead," but added that Congress should refrain moving to impeach him.Special counsel Robert Mueller painted a damning picture of the Trump administration, even as he handed the president a victory on the central issue of collusion with Russia. The Trump White House, as portrayed by Mueller, revolves around an impulsive and angry president who issues orders that underlings often defy, ignore or seek to delay. The depiction will enrage a president who fixates on the concept of strength and is hypersensitive about any suggestion that he is not in absolute control of his administration.The grown-ups who protected Trump and us, from Trump’s worst instincts, are gone now. The president, who thought Mueller was the beginning of the end, is about to really begin. Trump, convinced he alone outwitted the deep state, is now unleashed to be a purer version of himself. He will listen even less to his aides, except the most servile, like the recently appointed Attorney General William Barr who followed directions perfectly with his No Collusion, No Collusion Summary of the Mueller Report, stopping just short of his boss declaring it “bullshit.”Special counsel Robert Mueller painted a damning picture of the Trump administration, even as he handed the president a victory on the central issue of collusion with Russia. The Trump White House, as portrayed by Mueller, revolves around an impulsive and angry president who issues orders that underlings often defy, ignore or seek to delay. The depiction will enrage a president who fixates on the concept of strength and is hypersensitive about any suggestion that he is not in absolute control of his administration.These are the highlights of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.The special counsel’s findings validate the concerns of anyone who feared how Donald Trump would wield presidential power. Mueller’s report cataloged dozens of behaviors from Trump and his advisers—from sharing internal campaign polling data and strategy with a suspected agent of a foreign power to repeatedly lying to the public to systematically seeking to thwart investigations—that would have inspired volcanic eruptions of outrage from congressional Republicans and the conservative-media infrastructure if perpetrated by a Democratic president.As president, he tried to control the investigation and fire Mueller. As a candidate, he appeared to know what WikiLeaks planned, ordered Hillary’s emails to be found, and more.More than two dozen times, Trump’s answers to Mueller included phrases “I can’t remember” or “I do not recall.”Even with redactions, Mueller’s report is clear Trump undermined the Russia investigation.'Why in the world would you want to put your enemy on the payroll?' said one adviser close to the White House.Mueller laid out the evidence for members of Congress to take action against President Trump. Will they?His strategy to spin first and release later left many questions unanswered and raised the specter of a cover-up.Congress reasserted its constitutional power over declaring wars. Trump called it an attempt to “weaken my constitutional authorities.”Want an impeachable offense? Trump covered up the last Russian attack and seems to be begging for anotherThe president also goes after Pelosi, saying she has 'lost all control of Congress.'Trump has done things that make Bill Clinton’s wrongs look like a high-school date in the malt shop. His party doesn’t care.The GOP changed the rules to polarize the federal bench, but that will come back to haunt Republicans.In recent weeks, the president has labored to reshape a federal government he feels is frustrating his agenda.Even GOP allies of the president are distressed by the chaos unleashed on federal immigration policy.The White House hard-liner is driving a more aggressive immigration approach.The president has issued threats to foreign countries, domestic corporations and an American state. Then, he retreated.Trump’s Fed pick, Stephen Moore, was held in contempt of court for failing to pay ex-wife more than $300,000It’s just the latest unflattering headline for the controversial nominee.In one week, 4 major Trump-policy spins and flips
Trump's retreat from closing the border: More proof that when it comes to making deals, Trump is a bustJared and Ivanka named in whistle-blower's list of 25 White House staff who got security clearances despite 'disqualifying' red flags involving 'foreign influence,' drug use and crimeWhistleblower says at least 25 people were granted security clearances by White House after initial denialsWhite House whistleblower says 25 security clearance denials were reversed during Trump administrationTrump ‘Very Bitter and Sensitive’ About Puerto Rico, and Dems Say His Team Is Stonewalling Their InvestigationTrump’s hyperbolic, fast-and-loose style didn’t lead to criminal charges from Mueller. Now we’ll find out how it fares in the financial world.Exclusive: Puerto Rico governor warns White House: 'If the bully gets close, I'll punch the bully in the mouth'Candidate Trump wanted to expand coverage. President Trump wants to slash itProsecutors left a trail of breadcrumbs about Trump's finances, and House Democrats are now digging deeperTo suppress and spin the Mueller report, GOP pulls out the playbook of lies it used to sell us on invading Iraq
The Trump campaign is trying to force hostile pundits off the air in revenge for their Mueller report commentaryBy Sinéad BakerPresident Donald Trump's re-election campaign sent a memo to TV stations asking them to consider dropping six current and former intelligence and Democratic officials as guests. It accused the Democratic National Committee chairman, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, the the former CIA director, and others of "lying to the American people" about the Mueller investigation. It listed six people alongside quotes from media appearances they made in 2017 or 2018, where some talk about other investigations into Trump. The campaign says the guests should either be excluded totally, or asked to justify their past statements before each appearance. President Donald Trump's re-election campaign sent a memo to TV networks in a bid to force hostile pundits off the air in revenge for their commentary and predictions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report. The memo was sent by Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh to TV networks and producers on Monday. It accused "certain guests" of "lying to the American people" about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and Trump's campaign. By Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak, CNNWashington (CNN) For more than two years, Donald Trump has wanted the investigation into allegations of collusion with Russia to go away. Now that it has, the President isn't prepared to let go. Even as the specter of Robert Mueller's probe has vanished, Trump plans to turn the investigation, Democrats' constant accusations of wrongdoing and the media's coverage of it all into a new foil, half a dozen advisers and aides said. He has already signaled he'll weaponize the results, targeting those who ordered the investigation and Democrats he says waged political warfare. The counteroffensive has some advisers concerned the President could overstep, diminishing a clear victory by sinking back into old grudges or calling for extreme steps to punish those he views as foes. The conclusion of Mueller's investigation without evidence of collusion could present an opportunity to move past a dark period and toward a sunnier, more disciplined presidency -- an outcome some advisers have wished for in private. Maybe for a different President. Instead, Trump appears poised to relive the first two years of his presidency and the "witch hunt" investigation that clouded it, this time through the lens of personal and political vindication. His public comments since his attorney general summarized the report for Congress on Sunday have all carried the threat of payback -- for Democrats who accused him of stealing his office and the media that he says fanned the flames -- and offered a preview of his rhetoric on the 2020 campaign trail. "There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things. Very bad things. I would say treasonous things against our country," a furious Trump said Monday in the Oval Office, where he was meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We've gone through a period of really bad things happening. Those people will certainly be looked at." There is no indication so far that Trump is planning to order the counter-investigation he has floated, but as he prepares to wage a tough battle for re-election, the President and his campaign advisers see the report's conclusions as political gold, even if it means keeping the lingering questions of Russian election interference and legal wrongdoing in the political bloodstream for years to come. Just as Trump embarked on a victory tour in the months after the 2016 election, reliving the greatest hits and assailing those who said he could never win, his upcoming rallies are likely to resemble a victory lap centered on the Mueller probe -- one that could stretch through November 2020. By Ariane de Vogue and Tami Luhby, CNN(CNN) The Trump administration on Monday said the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down, in a dramatic reversal.In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the Obama-era health care law. In a letter Monday night, the administration said "it is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed." "The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal," said Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the Justice Department. It's a major shift for the Justice Department from when Jeff Sessions was attorney general. At the time, the administration argued that the community rating rule and the guaranteed issue requirement -- protections for people with pre-existing conditions -- could not be defended but the rest of the law could stand. After the Justice Department took that position, federal District Judge Reed O'Connor struck down the entire law and the case is currently before a federal appeals court. Trump and the administration repeatedly promised -- particularly leading up to the midterm election -- to protect people with less-than-perfect medical histories. But this shift in the Justice Department's stance doubles down on stripping away all the protections that were a hallmark of the landmark heath reform law. Overturning the law would have far-reaching consequences -- way beyond disrupting coverage for the millions of people who get their health insurance on the exchanges or through Medicaid expansion. Obamacare saves senior citizens money on their Medicare coverage and prescription drugs. It lets many Americans obtain free birth control, mammograms and cholesterol tests. And it allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they turn 26. And, even the Trump administration is using the landmark health reform law to try to lower prescription drug prices. The Trump administration would not defend the law in court so a coalition of 21 Democratic states led by California stepped in. "This lawsuit is as dangerous as it is reckless. It threatens the healthcare of tens of millions of Americans across the country -- from California to Kentucky and all the way to Maine," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. "The Affordable Care Act is an integral part of our healthcare system. ... Because no American should fear losing healthcare, we will defend the ACA every step of the way." After November's midterm elections, the Democratic-led House of Representatives also moved to defend the law. In briefs filed with the appellate court, House lawyers said that if O'Connor's ruling were upheld "the consequences will be devastating." "Millions of Americans will be denied affordable health care," the House lawyers wrote. They added that "insurance costs will skyrocket" and "Medicare recipients will face steep increases in the price of drugs and other services." The tape of a private meeting was made shortly after the lawyer for an influential industry group was tapped for a high-level post at the Department of the Interior.By LANCE WILLIAMSGathered for a private meeting at a beachside Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, the oil executives were celebrating a colleague’s sudden rise. David Bernhardt, their former lawyer, had been appointed by President Donald Trump to the powerful No. 2 spot at the Department of the Interior. Just five months into the Trump era, the energy developers who make up the Independent Petroleum Association of America had already watched the new president order a sweeping overhaul of environmental regulations that were cutting into their bottom lines — rules concerning smog, fracking and endangered species protection. Dan Naatz, the association’s political director, told the conference room audience of about 100 executives that Bernhardt’s new role meant their priorities would be heard at the highest levels of Interior. “We know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues,” Naatz said, according to an hourlong recording of the June 2017 event in Laguna Niguel provided to Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. The recording gives a rare look behind the curtain of an influential oil industry lobbying group that spends more than $1 million per year to push its agenda in Congress and federal regulatory agencies. The previous eight years had been dispiriting for the industry: As IPAA vice president Jeff Eshelman told the group, it had seemed as though the Obama administration and environmental groups had put together “their target list of everything that they wanted done to shut down the oil and gas industry.” But now, the oil executives were almost giddy at the prospect of high-level executive branch access of the sort they hadn’t enjoyed since Dick Cheney, a fellow oilman, was vice president. “It’s really a new thing for us,” said Barry Russell, the association’s CEO, boasting of his meetings with Environmental Protection Agency chief at the time, Scott Pruitt, and the then-Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke. “For example, next week I’m invited to the White House to talk about tax code. Last week we were talking to Secretary Pruitt, and in about two weeks we have a meeting with Secretary Zinke. So we have unprecedented access to people that are in these positions who are trying to help us, which is great.” Mueller report's release to AG Barr is the end of the beginning for Trump, not the beginning of the endDemocrats are gearing up to fulfill their oversight responsibilities in a manner wholly consistent with what Republicans called for during the Obama years.By Kurt Bardella, NBC News THINK contributorSpecial counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation into the relationship between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia is finally over, bringing an end to this dramatic investigative chapter into the activities of the American president and those closest to him. But the thing is, this was just chapter one. Anyone thinking or hoping that the completion of the Mueller report would be the finale of the story will be sorely disappointed. Because the next chapter belongs to Attorney General William Barr and the new Democratic majority in the House as they fight for full access to the report and the underlying evidence used to compile it. And remember, while Mueller’s long-awaited report was submitted to the Justice Department on Friday, Barr has yet to determine what will be publicly revealed to Congress, if anything at all. First, Congressional oversight committees will fight for possession of the Mueller report. Then, they will use the Mueller report as a blueprint to guide their investigations into every part of Donald Trump’s presidency including his foreign policy decisions, financial interests, political activities, and personal relationships. Just three months ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that “some of it should be sanitized…I’ll trust Mr. Barr too work with us to get as much out as we can.” Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, advocated for the president’s legal team to have the right to “correct it” before the report is made public or released to Congress. Anything short of releasing the full, un-redacted report to Congress will presumably result in a high-stakes standoff between Congress and the executive branch. Should the attorney general fail to voluntarily produce the report, Congressional committees will subpoena the Justice Department for it. If the DOJ refuses to comply with the subpoena, a lawsuit will be filed and this could end up in the Supreme Court’s hands. Meanwhile, newly minted private citizen Robert Mueller will almost certainly be invited to testify at a congressional hearing to discuss his report’s findings. By Niall StanagePresident Trump’s ugly grudge with the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been on vivid display this week, overshadowing the White House’s economic message and roiling its GOP allies. Among people who are part of Trump’s orbit, there is tacit acceptance that the McCain battle does the president little good. But there is also a combination of head-scratching and shoulder-shrugging. “In the short term the question is, would it be best for him to focus on other things? Well, sure,” said one former White House official. "But this is actually the appeal of Trump: You are not getting a phony politician, you are getting someone who is telling you what he actually thinks.” The battle with McCain, and Trump’s other big feud this week with George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, are bringing new scrutiny to Trump’s willingness to hold a grudge — even with someone in the grave. And Trump, true to form, is not backing down. On Thursday, he reportedly described McCain as a “horrible person” in an interview with Maria Bartiromo set to air Friday on the Fox Business Network. The previous day, the president had startled even seasoned Trump-watchers by complaining that he had not received sufficient thanks for McCain’s funeral. “The McCain attacks are strange. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” said a GOP strategist with ties to the White House. “I don’t know if he is trying to fill time or trying to distract from Robert Mueller,” the special counsel whose report is expected soon. The audience listening to Trump’s remarks about McCain’s funeral gave them a notably muted reception. In broader GOP circles, they have created a weariness. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted Thursday: “Mr. President, seriously stop talking about Senator McCain.” Trump can make up with someone and seemingly let a grudge die. During the GOP presidential primary, he gave out Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) personal phone number and suggested Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) father was connected to the assassination of President Kennedy. The senators and president have since made up, though many political observers have noted that both Graham and Cruz needed Trump’s support with the GOP base. Trump has weathered innumerable controversies before, and this week’s events represent continuity of a kind, since his unusual ability to sail through such storms was first displayed early in his campaign when he suggested McCain should not be considered a war hero because of his years as a POW during the Vietnam War. Since then he has feuded not only with GOP primary rivals, but with the parents of an American soldier who was killed in action, his own attorney general and his former secretary of State, innumerable journalists, TV shows including “Saturday Night Live,” and the cast of “Hamilton” — among hundreds of others. The willingness to incite and intensify verbal assaults is an ingrained part of his character, according to some of the people who have known Trump longest.Personal attacks were “quite common” during his time as a real estate developer in New York, said Barbara Res, a former vice president of the Trump Organization who worked with the future president for more than a decade. She recalled a long-running, and now barely remembered, feud with another New York developer, Leonard Stern, in the late 1980s. “If somebody wrongs him in any possible way, he will fight back and he will fight back much, much harder,” said Res. She added that she experienced this herself after she made a comment suggesting he was dishonest “and he came back at me gangbusters.” Sam Nunberg, who worked for the future president for several years but was fired from the nascent presidential campaign in 2015, contended that Trump “was completely disloyal and he left me out to dry.” “I was working for him for four and a half years. I was on the campaign for all of six weeks and he screwed me over.” Trump later threatened to sue Nunberg. Nunberg said the case was settled “amicably.”
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