Trump bashes FCC move to doom Sinclair-Tribune deal: ‘Disgraceful!’

President Donald Trump on Tuesday night bashed an FCC decision that likely doomed conservative broadcast giant Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media.

"So sad and unfair that the FCC wouldn’t approve the Sinclair Broadcast merger with Tribune," Trump tweeted. "This would have been a great and much needed Conservative voice for and of the People. Liberal Fake News NBC and Comcast gets approved, much bigger, but not Sinclair. Disgraceful!"

The FCC, led by Trump-appointed Chairman Ajit Pai, unanimously voted earlier this month to send the deal to an administrative law judge for review, a drawn-out process the agency has previously used to kill mergers. Pai said he had “serious concerns” about the deal. The agency was particularly troubled by station spinoffs Sinclair sought to use to come under federal ownership limits while still retaining significant ties to the divested stations.

The move to send the Continue reading “Trump bashes FCC move to doom Sinclair-Tribune deal: ‘Disgraceful!’”

Zuckerberg defends allowing InfoWars, Holocaust deniers on Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the social media platform’s decision not to kick off conspiracy theory-peddling websites like the far-right InfoWars, saying in an interview released Wednesday that doing so would violate Facebook’s commitment to being an open platform.

The company has faced mounting criticism over the past week for allowing the Alex Jones-led site, a known purveyor of misinformation about issues like the Sandy Hook massacre and Pizzagate, to remain on the platform. Democrats grilled Facebook policy official Monika Bickert over the choice at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Zuckerberg responded to the criticisms during an interview with Recode.

“Look, as abhorrent as some of this content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice,” the Facebook CEO said.

Zuckerberg said that instead of banning websites outright, the company removes individual posts that violate Facebook’s terms of service. Continue reading “Zuckerberg defends allowing InfoWars, Holocaust deniers on Facebook”

Zuckerberg defends allowing InfoWars, Holocaust deniers on Facebook

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the social media platform’s decision not to kick off conspiracy theory-peddling websites like the far-right InfoWars, saying in an interview released Wednesday that doing so would violate Facebook’s commitment to being an open platform.

The company has faced mounting criticism over the past week for allowing the Alex Jones-led site, a known purveyor of misinformation about issues like the Sandy Hook massacre and Pizzagate, to remain on the platform. Democrats grilled Facebook policy official Monika Bickert over the choice at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Zuckerberg responded to the criticisms during an interview with Recode.

“Look, as abhorrent as some of this content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice,” the Facebook CEO said.

Zuckerberg said that instead of banning websites outright, the company removes individual posts that violate Facebook’s terms of service. Continue reading “Zuckerberg defends allowing InfoWars, Holocaust deniers on Facebook”

Zuckerberg, Sandberg donate to charity seeking to unite separated migrant families

Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook have donated to a fundraiser aimed at reuniting migrant children separated from their parents, a company spokesperson said Monday.

The online campaign, launched by former Facebook staffers Charlotte and Dave Willner, is raising money for the Texas-based Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which provides legal services and support to immigrants and refugees. According to the campaign’s Facebook page, it had raised over $2.3 million out of a $3-million goal as of Monday evening.

The Facebook representative did not say how much Zuckerberg or Sandberg contributed.

The donations come amid a growing firestorm over the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Facebook spokesperson declined to comment further on the company’s stance on the policy.

The page for the fundraiser features language highly critical of the practice.

"We are collectively revulsed Continue reading “Zuckerberg, Sandberg donate to charity seeking to unite separated migrant families”

Trump-Kim summit: Everything you need to know

President Donald Trump is poised to hold a historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, the first known face-to-face between a sitting U.S. president and a head of the Asian country.

The summit is the culmination of months of posturing and negotiating between top U.S. and North Korean officials and comes less than two weeks after Trump reversed his decision to scrap plans for the meeting, which is set to take place in Singapore.

Here’s everything you need to know about the who, what, when, where and how of the highly anticipated diplomatic gathering.

When will the Trump-Kim summit be held?

The event will commence on Monday, June 11, at 9 p.m. ET, which is 9 a.m. Tuesday morning in Singapore. Trump flew to Singapore on Saturday after cutting short a visit to the G-7 summit in Canada.

Where will the Trump-Kim Continue reading “Trump-Kim summit: Everything you need to know”

Trump on possible Sessions dismissal: ‘We’ll see what happens’

President Donald Trump again stoked speculation he may fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying "we’ll see what happens" when pressed on the possibility.

"We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens," the president told reporters outside the White House when asked about the possibility of dismissing the beleaguered attorney general.

Trump has repeatedly publicly slammed Sessions for recusing himself last year from the federal probe into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election and ties to his presidential campaign.

Earlier this week, Trump tweeted: "The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn’t tell me he was going to recuse himself…I would have quickly picked someone else. So much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined…and Sessions knew better than most that there was No Collusion!"

In late May, Trump tweeted a quote from an attorney calling Sessions recusal an "unforced betrayal of the Continue reading “Trump on possible Sessions dismissal: ‘We’ll see what happens’”

Trump says he’s ‘not above the law’ but insists he can pardon himself

President Donald Trump said Friday he is “not above the law” while insisting he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself should criminal wrongdoing be unearthed in the probe into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election.

Top Democratic lawmakers expressed deep concern after Trump claimed earlier this week he was entitled to pardon himself, blasting the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into contacts between his campaign officials and Russia as “unconstitutional.” Trump’s assertion was further undercut by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who on Wednesday said Trump “obviously” shouldn’t pardon himself because “no one is above the law.”

The president, speaking to reporters outside the White House on Friday, expressed a similar sentiment when asked about the topic.

"No, I’m not above the law, I never want anybody to be above the law,” Trump said.

But Trump went on to stress that pardons “are a very positive Continue reading “Trump says he’s ‘not above the law’ but insists he can pardon himself”

Trump on Giuliani: ‘Rudy’s great, but Rudy is Rudy’

President Donald Trump on Friday brushed aside a question over whether his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is causing headaches, saying Giuliani is “doing a very good job,” but added “Rudy is Rudy.”

Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who joined Trump’s legal team to help deal with the federal probe into Russian election meddling in 2016 and ties to the Trump campaign, has grabbed headlines in recent weeks with a string of bombastic statements.

Giuliani stoked controversy earlier this week when said he did not hold the same respect for adult film actress and producer Stormy Daniels, who says she was paid to keep quiet about a sexual relationship with Trump in 2006, as he did for women in other professions.

Asked whether he was concerned about the former New York City official’s public comments, Trump voiced approval for Giuliani’s job performance.

“Look, Rudy’s great, but Rudy is Continue reading “Trump on Giuliani: ‘Rudy’s great, but Rudy is Rudy’”

Trump voices support for bipartisan pot legislation

President Donald Trump said Friday he “probably will end up supporting” bipartisan legislation to bar the federal government from interfering with marijuana legalization laws at the state level, putting him at odds with efforts by his own Justice Department to crack down on the substance nationwide.

The bill, unveiled by Sens. Cory Gardner of (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), lawmakers of two states that have voted to legalize certain types of pot use, would in effect give states the right to determine their own approach to regulating the drug.

Pressed on whether he supports the measure while addressing reporters outside the White House on Friday, the president said he supports it now and will “probably” support it going forward.

“I really do. I support Senator Gardner,” Trump said of the lawmaker’s bill. “I know exactly what he’s doing, we’re looking at it. But I probably will end up Continue reading “Trump voices support for bipartisan pot legislation”

Pompeo: Reports of rift with Bolton on North Korea ‘a complete joke’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called reports of a rift on North Korea between himself and national security adviser John Bolton “a complete joke,” even as he acknowledged that the two advisers to President Donald Trump were likely to “disagree with great consistency over time.”

During the White House press briefing, Pompeo was asked to explain the extent of his disagreements with Bolton on North Korea amid reports the two officials have clashed on their approaches to negotiating with the North’s government. Pompeo, a leading figure in the ongoing discussions with the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and other North Korean officials, framed his disputes with Bolton as ordinary differences of opinion.

“I love good fiction as much as the next person,” Pompeo told reporters, “but it is without foundation, so much so that, you know, I’ll be polite, since I’m a diplomat now — suffice it Continue reading “Pompeo: Reports of rift with Bolton on North Korea ‘a complete joke’”

Trump: ‘We certainly would like to see normalization’ with North Korea

President Donald Trump said Thursday he hopes and expects to normalize relations with North Korea “when everything is complete,” the latest indication the U.S. may be willing to ease off its harsh economic sanctions or move toward more regular diplomatic dealings as part of its talks on denuclearization.

“Normalizing relations is something that I would expect to do, I would hope to do, when everything is complete,” Trump said of North Korea during a bilateral press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Rose Garden. “We would certainly hope to do that.”

In his own remarks, Abe also expressed a willingness to normalize relations between Japan and North Korea.

The remarks come just days out from a historic summit between North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and Trump in Singapore on June 12, when the world leaders are expected to discuss efforts to denuclearize the Korean Continue reading “Trump: ‘We certainly would like to see normalization’ with North Korea”

Majority of voters say NFL players kneeling is not unpatriotic

A majority of U.S. voters say that National Football League players who kneel in protest during the national anthem are not unpatriotic, according to a new poll released Thursday.

By a 58 to 35 percent margin, those surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll voiced disagreement with the notion that those protesting against racial inequality during games are disrespecting America. A majority of voters, 53 percent, also offered support for athletes’ right to protest on their playing fields and courts, while 43 percent expressed opposition.

The findings were sharply divided along partisan lines. Seventy percent of Republicans called NFL players kneeling unpatrioric and 81 percent said they did not have a right to protest in-game, while 85 and 82 percent of Democrats disagreed, respectively.

Demographically, voters largely agreed the protests were not disrespectful to the country, with the sentiment mustering a majority across genders, racial groups, education levels and ages. Continue reading “Majority of voters say NFL players kneeling is not unpatriotic”

Trump: DOJ must not let Wasserman Schultz, aide ‘off the hook’

President Donald Trump on Thursday urged the Justice Department to not let Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and one of her former aides "off the hook," suggesting the imbroglio over IT staffer Imran Awan allegedly committing fraud on a home equity loan is "a key to much of the corruption we see today."

"Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook," the president tweeted. "The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today."

The remarks come amid reports Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, are poised to strike a plea deal over the investigation into their alleged conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Trump has publicly criticized his own Justice Department over the ongoing federal probe into Russian election meddling in 2016 and ties to his campaign while questioning why it has not more aggressively Continue reading “Trump: DOJ must not let Wasserman Schultz, aide ‘off the hook’”

Trump: DOJ must not let Wasserman Schultz, aide ‘off the hook’

President Donald Trump on Thursday urged the Justice Department to not let Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and one of her former aides "off the hook," suggesting the imbroglio over IT staffer Imran Awan allegedly committing fraud on a home equity loan is "a key to much of the corruption we see today."

"Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook," the president tweeted. "The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today."

The remarks come amid reports Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, are poised to strike a plea deal over the investigation into their alleged conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Trump has publicly criticized his own Justice Department over the ongoing federal probe into Russian election meddling in 2016 and ties to his campaign while questioning why it has not more aggressively Continue reading “Trump: DOJ must not let Wasserman Schultz, aide ‘off the hook’”

Trump jabs Flake amid 2020 speculation: He ‘doesn’t have a clue’

President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned how Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) could "think about running for office" given his "record low polling numbers," taking aim at one of his most outspoken Republican critics in Congress who has declined to rule out running against the president in 2020.

"How could Jeff Flake, who is setting record low polling numbers in Arizona and was therefore humiliatingly forced out of his own Senate seat without even a fight (and who doesn’t have a clue), think about running for office, even a lower one, again?" the president tweeted. "Let’s face it, he’s a Flake!"

It was not immediately clear what "lower" office Trump felt Flake may be weighing. But Flake, who is retiring from the Senate this year, again stoked speculation he may challenge Trump in the Republican presidential primary in 2020, telling NBC last month he has not ruled out Continue reading “Trump jabs Flake amid 2020 speculation: He ‘doesn’t have a clue’”

White House ‘looking into’ news Pruitt had aide hunt for Trump hotel mattress

The White House is “certainly looking into” testimony by an aide to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt that he asked her to purchase a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) are demanding that House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) subpoena Pruitt for documents they say will shed light on the EPA administrator’s requests, which also included booking a personal flight to the Rose Bowl and searching for housing for him.

Addressing the reports during the White House press briefing on Monday, Sanders said the administration would examine the matter. But she declined to comment on the mattress allegations.

“Certainly looking into the matter,” Sanders said. “I couldn’t comment on specifics of the furniture used in his apartment."

According to Cummings and Connolly, Millan Hupp, Pruitt’s scheduler, Continue reading “White House ‘looking into’ news Pruitt had aide hunt for Trump hotel mattress”

George H.W. Bush discharged from hospital in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush has been discharged from a hospital in Maine after receiving treatment for low blood pressure, his spokesman announced on Monday.

"President @GeorgeHWBush was discharged from @SMHCHealth today after being treated for low blood pressure," Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted Monday. "The president is deeply appreciative both for the terrific care and the many good wishes he has received."

The former president, father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, was admitted to the Southern Maine Health Care in Biddegord last Sunday after dealing with "low blood pressure and fatigue," McGrath announced last week.

It was the latest stint undergoing treatment for the 41st president, who was hospitalized in April to treat a blood infection the same weekend he attended the funeral service for his late wife, former first lady Barbara Bush.

The former president, 93, has been Continue reading “George H.W. Bush discharged from hospital in Maine”

Mattis: Sanction relief for North Korea requires ‘irreversible’ steps to denuclearization

North Korea will only receive sanction relief once its government takes "verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Sunday.

The Trump administration official painted a far-from-rosy picture of negotiations with Pyongyang during a security summit in Singapore on Sunday, stressing that the U.S. will not budge on its harsh economic penalties on North Korea until the country demonstrates its commitment to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

"We must remain vigilant, and we will continue to implement all U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea," Mattis said while speaking along South Korean and Japanese defense officials at Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual international forum on security attended by top government officials and academics. "North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization."

He added that "we can anticipate, at best, a bumpy road to the negotiation" with Pyongyang and North Continue reading “Mattis: Sanction relief for North Korea requires ‘irreversible’ steps to denuclearization”

Trudeau: Rationale behind Trump’s tariffs ‘insulting and unacceptable’ to Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada on Friday hammered President Donald Trump’s decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on several of its trade partners while calling it “insulting and unacceptable” to frame the measure as a response to a national security threat.

Trudeau said the tariffs were particularly offensive to his country’s service members, who he pointed out have fought alongside U.S. troops using the very same steel and aluminum imports Trump is seeking to exact penalties on.

“Our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II … and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to them,” Trudeau said during an interview with NBC News from his Parliament office in Ottawa.

The Trump administration on Thursday Continue reading “Trudeau: Rationale behind Trump’s tariffs ‘insulting and unacceptable’ to Canada”

Trump says Kim meeting is back on: ‘We’re getting along’

President Donald Trump held an extraordinary Oval Office meeting with Kim Jong Un’s deputy on Friday, after which he snapped a chummy photo with the North Korean official and announced that the historic summit with Kim is back on.

"We’ll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore," Trump told reporters on the South Lawn after escorting Kim Yong Chol, Kim Jong Un’s second in command, into a vehicle.

However, Trump tempered expectations for what the meeting in Singapore will yield, saying nothing will be signed during the summit and that it will simply be the beginning of a process toward denuclearizing North Korea.

"It’s a process…We’re not going to go in and sign something on June 12 and we never will," the president said. "We’re going to start a process."

The meeting was the latest dramatic twist in the lead-up to the summit, which would mark a legacy-affirming Continue reading “Trump says Kim meeting is back on: ‘We’re getting along’”