February 16, 2017…. Day 28
Radio alarm: audio from the day before–Trump saying he was for a two state solution for Israel, or a one state solution, or whatever. Benjamin Netanyahu’s deep chuckles can be heard as Trump talks.
“He’s not wrong on everything. And just because he isn’t like us, roll with it. If there’s a little danger, what the hell, you’re not going to live forever anyway.”
— Charlie Munger, 93 year old white male billionaire with no children or grandchildren. Thanks a fucking lot Charlie.
Oh yeah, Charlie also said “young people should learn more and shop less” in regards to protesters. Republicans see everything in terms of consumerism and commerce, it seems. (Paid protesters.)
Senate Republicans moving much more readily than House Republicans in the direction of a deeper probe of the whole situation with Russia and Flynn. Lots of reminders though that Jeff Sessions, Jim Comey, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell are all running this show.
Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee send Jeff Sessions a letter saying he really needs to recuse himself from an investigation into a campaign and administration that he was part of (he has already said he will not recuse himself)
Scuttlebutt on Twitter, mostly drowned in the noise from Trump’s ghastly 77-minute press conference, that Paul Ryan’s staff kept members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus out of a meeting with ICE this afternoon.
VICE News reports that 200 House Republicans are skipping their customary town halls with constituents during the February recess.
Wall Street Journal reports that Jared Kushner went to speak with Time Warner executives about Donald Trump’s concerns over CNN.
Rear Admiral Harward has turned down the job that General Flynn just vacated. According to Jake Tapper, who talked to a friend of Harward, the Rear Admiral referred to the offer to work in the Trump White House a “shit sandwich”
At Washington State University in Pullman, WA, a group posted fliers telling students to turn in undocumented students to ICE.
Los Angeles Times headline: Factual leaks infuriate a president who tweets nonsense
The Atlantic headline: The nationalist right is coming for Reince Priebus
Trump sent out a detailed poll on “the dishonest media” to all his supporters today. Then asked for money for his campaign at the end.
I’m still processing the press conference, mentally and emotionally and literally, so more on that later. In the meantime, here are some snapshots from the Internet Day in Trump.
Trump solo press conference, without Trump:
- Did you fire Mike Flynn?
- Why did you keep your Vice President in the dark for almost two weeks?
- President Trump, since you brought up Russia, I’m looking for some clarification here. During the campaign, did anyone from your team communicate with members of the Russian government or Russian intelligence? And if so, what was the nature of those conversations?
- President –
- I am. Just wanted to get untangled. Very simply, you said today that you had the biggest electoral margins since Ronald Reagan with 304 or 306 electoral votes. In fact, President Obama got 365 in 2008.
- President Obama, 332. George H.W. Bush, 426 when he won as President. So why should Americans trust –
- I guess my question is, why should Americans trust you when you have accused the information they receive of being fake when you’re providing information that’s fake?
- You’re the President.
- President, thank you so much. Can you tell us in determining that Lieutenant General Flynn — there was no wrongdoing in your mind, what evidence was weighed? Did you have the transcripts of these telephone intercepts with Russian officials, particularly Ambassador Kislyak, who he was communicating with? What evidence did you weigh to determine there was no wrong doing? And further than that, sir, you’ve said on a couple of occasions this morning that you were going to aggressively pursue the sources of these leaks.
- Can we ask what you’re doing to do? And also, we’ve heard about a review of the intelligence community headed by Stephen Feinberg. What can you tell us about that?
- On the leaks, sir –
- Sorry, what will you do on the leaks? You have said twice today –
- Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to get you to clarify just a very important point. Can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign? And, on the leaks, is it fake news or are these real leaks?
- The first part of my question on contacts. Do you definitively say that nobody –
- Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to clarify one other thing. Did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss the sanctions with the Russian ambassador?
- Did you fire him because (inaudible) –
- President, thank you very much. And just for the record, we don’t hate you, I don’t hate you. If you could pass that along.
- If I may follow up on some of the questions that have taken place so far, sir.
- They’re pretty good right now, actually.
- If I may ask, sir, you said earlier that WikiLeaks was revealing information about the Hillary Clinton campaign during the election cycle. You welcomed that at one point.
- You said you loved WikiLeaks. At another campaign press conference you called on the Russians to find the missing 30,000 emails. I’m wondering, sir, if you –
- Maybe my numbers are off a little bit too.
- If I may ask you, sir, it sounds as though you do not have much credibility here when it comes to leaking if that is something that you encouraged in the campaign.
- And if I may follow up on that, just something that Jonathan Karl was asking you about — you said that the leaks are real, but the news is fake. I guess I don’t understand. It seems that there is a disconnect there. If the information coming from those leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?
- And if I may ask — I just want to ask one other question.
- If I may just –
- One more follow-up because –
- Just because of this –
- Just because of the attack –
- Just because of the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I just want to ask you, sir –
- Doesn’t that undermine –
- But aren’t you –
- Real news, Mr. President. Real news.
- I am not related, sir, no. (Laughter.) I do like the sound of Secretary Acosta, I must say.
- I’m sure you checked that out, sir.
- But aren’t you concerned, sir, that you are undermining the people’s faith in the First Amendment freedom of the press, the press in this country when you call stories you don’t like “fake news”? Why not just say it’s a story I don’t like?
- When you call it fake news, you’re undermining confidence –
- — in our news media.
- Isn’t that important?
- We have no doubt that your latest story is (inaudible). But for those who believe that there is something to it, is there anything that you have learned over these last few weeks that you might be able to reveal that might ease their concerns that this isn’t fake news? And secondly –
- Tax reform –Mr. President, since you –
- President, you mentioned Russia. Let’s talk about some serious issues that have come up in the last week that you have had to deal with as President of the United States.
- You mentioned the vessel, the spy vessel, off the coast of the United States.
- There was a ballistic missile test that many interpreted as a violation –
- — of the agreement between the two countries. And a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. destroyer.
- I listened to you during the campaign –
- I’m just trying to find out your orientation to those –
- I’m just trying to find out what you’re doing to do about them, Mr. President.
- How are you interpreting those moves? And what do you intend to do about them?
- Have you given Rex Tillerson any advice or counsel on how to deal?
- Is Putin testing you, do you believe, sir?
- So when you say they’re not good, do you mean that they are –
- No, when I read off the three things that have recently happened and each one of them you said they’re not good.
- But do they damage the relationship? Do they undermine this country’s ability to work with Russia?
- Can we conclude there will be no response to these particular provocations?
- There will be a response?
- There will be a — in other words, there will be a response, Mr. President?
- Can I just ask you — thank you very much, Mr. President — the Trump –
- That’s a good line. Impartial, free, and fair.
- President –
- President, on the travel ban — we could banter back and forth. On the travel ban, would you accept that that was a good example of the smooth running of government, that fine-tuned –
- Were there any mistakes in that?
- Just a brief follow-up. And if it’s so urgent, why not introduce –
- Thank you. I just was hoping that we could get a yes- or-no answer on one of these questions involving Russia. Can you say whether you are aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contacts with Russia during the course of the election?
- During the election?
- So you’re not aware of any contacts during the course of the election?
- Can you just say yes or no on it?
- But in his capacity as your campaign manager, was he in touch with Russian officials during the election?
- President, on national security –
- So, first of all, my name is (inaudible) from Ami Magazine. And (inaudible). I haven’t seen anybody in my community accuse either yourself or any of the — anyone on your staff of being anti-Semitic. (inaudible).
- However, what we are concerned about, and what we haven’t really heard be addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There have been reports out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to –
- Thank you. I’m Lisa from the PBS –
- Thank you, Mr. President. Lisa Desjardins from the PBS Newshour.
- On national security and immigration, can you give us more details on the executive order you planned for next week, even its broad outlines? Will it be focused on specific countries?
- And in addition, on the DACA program for immigration, what is your plan? Do you plan to continue that program or to end it?
- President, Melania Trump announced the reopening of the White House Visitors Office.
- And she does a lot of great work for the country as well. Can you tell us a little bit about what First Lady Melania Trump does for the country? And there is a unique level of interest in your administration, so by opening the White House Visitors Office, what does that mean to you?
- No, it’s not going to be a bad question.
- Well, thank you so much. Mr. President, I need to find out from you — you said something as it relates to inner cities. That was one of your platforms during your campaign.
- Fixing the inner cities. What will be that fix and your urban agenda, as well as your HBCU executive order that’s coming out this afternoon? See, it wasn’t bad, was it?
- I’m very professional.
- Well, when you say — when you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda, as well as your –
- Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as well as –
- No, no, no.
- I’m just a reporter.
- I know some of them, but I’m sure they’re watching right now.
- I hear he wanted that meeting with you as well.
- Yes, Mr. President, two questions –
- (Inaudible) it’s not about your personality or your beliefs. We’re talking about a rise in anti-Semitism around the country, some of it by supporters in your name. What do you –
- You are the President now. What are you going to do about it?
- What are you going to do about the tensions that have been discussed?
- Are you going to give a speech?