Trump: If FBI ‘implanted’ officials in my campaign, it would be ‘biggest political scandal’ in history

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that if it’s true that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "implanted" officials for political purposes inside his 2016 presidential campaign, it would be the "biggest political scandal" of all time.

"Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story," the president tweeted. "If true – all time biggest political scandal!"

The remarks come two days after The New York Times reported that "at least one government informant met several times" with Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos as part of the Justice Department’s investigation the team’s ties to Russia.

Trump and his allies have seized on the report to question the origins of the federal probe into his campaign and Russian efforts Continue reading “Trump: If FBI ‘implanted’ officials in my campaign, it would be ‘biggest political scandal’ in history”

Trump asks why ‘disgraced’ McCabe not under investigation

President Donald Trump on Friday questioned why "disgraced" former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is not "being investigated" for donations his wife accepted from an ally of Hillary Clinton in her bid for a seat in the Virginia state Legislature.

The president has long criticized McCabe for what he perceives as bias in his handling of federal probes into the 2016 elections, often citing the fact that his wife, Jill McCabe, accepted money in 2015 from a super PAC of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close ally to Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign rival.

"Why isn’t disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe being investigated for the $700,000 Crooked Hillary Democrats in Virginia, led by Clinton best friend Terry M (under FBI investigation that they killed) gave to McCabe’s wife in her run for office? Then dropped case on Clinton!" the president wrote on Twitter.

The decision to oust McCabe Continue reading “Trump asks why ‘disgraced’ McCabe not under investigation”

Planning for Trump-Kim summit will ‘absolutely’ go on, State Department says

The State Department vowed on Tuesday that planning for the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will "absolutely" go on amid reports that Pyongyang is threatening to pull out over ongoing military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea.

Yonhap News Agency, the Seoul-based media outlet, reported earlier Tuesday that North Korea officials are canceling a high-level meeting with South Korean officials and are mulling withdrawing altogether from the highly-anticipated summit between Trump and Kim amid frustration with the military drills.

North Korea’s state-run Central News Agency called the exercises between South Korea and the U.S. a "provocation," Yonhap and Reuters reported.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters during a briefing that the agency had "received no formal or even informal notification of anything" relating to the tests or the summit from North Korea officials, adding that discussions about the Continue reading “Planning for Trump-Kim summit will ‘absolutely’ go on, State Department says”

Trump warns of ‘dangerous anti-police prejudice’

President Donald Trump lamented what he called the spread of a “dangerous anti-police prejudice” in the U.S. during an event to honor fallen and injured law enforcement officials on Tuesday.

Speaking at the 37th annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on Capitol Hill, an event to recognize those killed in the line of duty, the president vowed his administration would work to protect law enforcement officers.

Trump cited efforts by his administration to boost border security measures and tighten federal immigration restrictions as ways to curb violence against both U.S. citizens and law enforcement officials.

“The first duty of government is to protect our citizens,” Trump said. “That is why we are calling on Congress to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities, and shut down policies that release violent criminals back into our communities.”

The president also lamented what he described as a Continue reading “Trump warns of ‘dangerous anti-police prejudice’”

Trump hits ‘Cryin’ Chuck Schumer’ over past opposition to Iran deal

President Donald Trump on Thursday slammed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over his recent criticism of the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, claiming the lawmaker "doesn’t really believe" the agreement should remain in place after previously voting against it.

"Senator Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fought hard against the Bad Iran Deal, even going at it with President Obama, & then Voted AGAINST it!" the president tweeted. "Now he says I should not have terminated the deal – but he doesn’t really believe that!"

In response to the missive, Schumer retweeted the president’s remarks along with the words "Be Best," a reference to first lady Melania Trump’s new awkwardly-phrased initiative on childhood wellness.

After the president announced Tuesday that he will pull the U.S. out of the "decaying and rotten" agreement and reimpose strict economic sanctions on Tehran, the Democratic lawmaker voiced Continue reading “Trump hits ‘Cryin’ Chuck Schumer’ over past opposition to Iran deal”

Dems urge Trump to drop nominee who represented Russian bank

Democratic lawmakers urged President Donald Trump in a letter Wednesday to drop his nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s criminal division due to his past work for a Russian bank with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The group — spearheaded by Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — called on Trump to “withdraw” Brian Benczkowski’s nomination, arguing that “he will not be able to credibly oversee the Division’s involvement in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation and other sensitive matters such as the criminal investigation of Michael Cohen,” the president’s longtime personal attorney.

“At a time when the Department of Justice’s handling of criminal matters has come under intense public scrutiny, it is essential that the Criminal Division have an experienced and well-qualified leader whose judgment and independence are beyond reproach. Mr. Benczkowski, who has no prosecutorial experience, does not meet these criteria,” the group of Democratic senators wrote. “Simply Continue reading “Dems urge Trump to drop nominee who represented Russian bank”

Trump warns of ‘very severe consequence’ if Iran restarts nuclear program

President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned of “very severe consequence” if Iran relaunched its nuclear program after he vowed to pull the U.S. out of the landmark deal, adding that he “would advise them very strongly” against restarting the program.

Asked about the possibility, Trump said “Iran will find out” his course of action if they take such an action.

"They’re going to find out. I don’t think they should do that,” Trump told reporters during a Cabinet meeting. “I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear program. I would advise them very strongly.”

The president added: “If they do, there will be very severe consequence."

Trump on Tuesday said he would impose “the highest level” of economic sanctions against Tehran, dealing a grievous blow to the breakthrough nuclear agreement reached by former President Barack Obama. Critics warned that the action could create a diplomatic crisis Continue reading “Trump warns of ‘very severe consequence’ if Iran restarts nuclear program”

NBC’s Matt Lauer investigation finds ‘no evidence’ leadership knew of complaints

An internal NBC investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former “Today” show host Matt Lauer released Wednesday “found no evidence” that leadership at the network or show received any complaints about the ousted personality’s “workplace behavior” prior to November.

Additionally, the report found, “All four women who came forward confirmed that they did not tell their direct manager or anyone else in a position of authority about their sexual encounters with Lauer.”

The investigation, launched shortly after Lauer’s ouster in November and led by NBCUniversal general counsel Kim Harris, comes amid increased scrutiny over the network’s handling of sexual harassment allegations and a string of troubling revelations about their former star morning show host.

The probe included interviews with nearly 70 current and former NBC staffers, including former executives Steve Capus, Jim Bell and Pat Fili-Krushel, and focused on the allegations of four women who came forward late last Continue reading “NBC’s Matt Lauer investigation finds ‘no evidence’ leadership knew of complaints”

Melania Trump aide scolds media for pointing out recycled Obama-era document

The office of first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday scolded "opposition media" for pointing out that Trump reused an educational booklet from the Obama-era Federal Trade Commission in unveiling her new "Be Best" campaign on childhood wellness.

After Trump launched the childhood "well-being, social media use and opioid abuse" initiative on Monday, numerous outlets, including POLITICO, reported that one of the documents distributed by the White House were a nearly identical match to a report released by the FTC under former President Barack Obama.

BuzzFeed offered up the headline "Melania Trump Reused An Obama-Era Pamphlet For Her New Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign" while other outlets delivered more cutting headlines, such as "Melania Trump Ripped Off an Old FTC Document for ‘Be Best.’"

There were also numerous parallels drawn between the recycled document and the incident at the Republican National Convention, where it appeared that Melania Trump reused many of the Continue reading “Melania Trump aide scolds media for pointing out recycled Obama-era document”

Gary Cohn: ‘I feel happier’ after leaving Trump’s White House

Gary Cohn, the former top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he feels “freer,” “more rested” and “happier” since exiting the White House, adding that he stands by his opposition to the trade tariffs that led to his departure.

In his first interview since resigning as director of the White House National Economic Council in March, Cohn said he has yet to decide on his next career steps and is enjoying life outside the West Wing.

“I’m taking my time right now and seeing what’s out there in the world,” Cohn told CNBC. “I feel freer, I feel more rested, I feel happier.”

Asked whether the former Goldman Sachs president and chief operating officer had interest in taking on a new role as a board member or CEO of another major company, Cohn said he was “less inclined to do board work” and more interested in working Continue reading “Gary Cohn: ‘I feel happier’ after leaving Trump’s White House”

Melania Trump steps into higher profile role at the White House

First lady Melania Trump unveiled a new campaign aimed at boosting the social and physical well-being of children and reducing “destructive and addictive behavior” on social media and beyond on Monday in her first major White House address since President Donald Trump was elected.

The initiative — called the “Be Best” campaign — “will champion the many successful well-being programs that provide children with the tools and skills required for emotional, social, and physical health,” according to the website for the newly-unveiled push.

"There are too many critical issues facing children today,” Melania Trump said during a speech at the Rose Garden as the president and other administration officials looked on. “So the three main pillars of ‘Be Best’ will be include well-being, social media use and opioid abuse.”

The first lady has maintained a limited political portfolio since the president entered office while signaling an interest in tackling Continue reading “Melania Trump steps into higher profile role at the White House”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she’s ‘not aware’ of other Trump hush agreements

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday she is “not aware” of any other women who were paid to keep silent about alleged affairs with President Donald Trump.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and new member of the president’s legal team, said Sunday that while he had “no knowledge” of other payments made by Michael Cohen, he believed that “if it was necessary,” Trump’s longtime personal attorney would have struck additional deals.

Pressed at Monday’s press briefing about the possibility of Cohen making payments to other women, Sanders said she had no knowledge of such “activity.”

“I’m not aware of any other activity, but I would refer you to Rudy Giuliani to respond to any of those questions or anybody else on the president’s outside counsel,” Sanders said at the press briefing.

Asked about the possibility during an interview on ABC News on Sunday, Continue reading “Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she’s ‘not aware’ of other Trump hush agreements”

Trump slams Kerry over ‘shadow diplomacy’ on Iran deal

President Donald Trump slammed former Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday for reportedly meeting with foreign officials in a bid to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, calling his "shadow diplomacy" a "possibly illegal" act and bashing his role in negotiating the international agreement.

"The United States does not need John Kerry’s possibly illegal Shadow Diplomacy on the very badly negotiated Iran Deal," the president tweeted. "He was the one that created this MESS in the first place!"

According to a Boston Globe report published Friday, Kerry recently met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the United Nations "to discuss ways of preserving the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons program." The meeting, according to the report, came as part of a campaign by the former secretary of state to preserve the deal, a crowning achievement of his tenure under former President Barack Obama.

Kerry’s actions have drawn scrutiny Continue reading “Trump slams Kerry over ‘shadow diplomacy’ on Iran deal”

Trump vows to defend gun owners’ rights ‘under siege’

President Donald Trump on Friday declared that gun owners’ rights are “under siege,” pledging that his administration will work to protect them in an address at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention.

“Thanks to your activism and dedication, you have an administration fighting to protect your Second Amendment, and we will protect your Second Amendment,” Trump told a raucous crowd of NRA members in Dallas, Texas. “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.”

Trump lauded efforts by the organization’s members and leaders to shield gun owners, while again plugging support for some of his most controversial proposals aimed at addressing mass shootings in schools.

“We strongly believe in allowing highly trained teachers to carry concealed weapons, if they’re highly trained,” he said. “And we want highly trained security guards.”

The remarks came just over Continue reading “Trump vows to defend gun owners’ rights ‘under siege’”

Trump says he’d ‘override’ lawyers and sit with Mueller if treated fairly

President Donald Trump said Friday that he “would love to speak” to special counsel Robert Mueller, potentially even if his lawyers advised him against it.

Pressed about the possibility while addressing reporters outside the White House, Trump said, “I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me. In fact, against my lawyers, because most lawyers they never speak on anything. I would love to speak.”

But the president cautioned that he would not opt to sit down with Mueller’s team of federal prosecutors if he felt he would be treated fairly.

"If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyers,” the president said.

The president has seemingly wavered on the possibility of meeting with Mueller’s team, which is investigating Russian election interference during the 2016 elections and ties to the Trump campaign.

In January, Trump said he was “looking forward” Continue reading “Trump says he’d ‘override’ lawyers and sit with Mueller if treated fairly”

Trump says Giuliani will ‘get his facts straight’

President Donald Trump on Friday distanced himself from Rudy Giuliani’s explanation of a hush-money payment long-time Trump lawyer Michael Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels, saying Giuliani will “get his facts straight" and that “he just started a day ago.”

Giuliani, the former New York major who recently joined Trump’s outside legal team, set off a furor when he revealed on Fox News late Wednesday that Trump had repaid Cohen for the $130,000 hush deal — a move that appeared to contradict Trump’s prior denial of any such payment.

While Giuliani claimed that Trump was not aware of the repayment because Cohen had authority to act independently, the revelation still set off a fresh controversy and Giuliani’s extensive interviews could have introduced new legal headaches for the president.

“Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago,” the president said while addressing reporters outside the Continue reading “Trump says Giuliani will ‘get his facts straight’”

White House warns of ‘consequences’ for defense build-up in South China Sea

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday “there will be near-term and long-term consequences” in response to a reported build-up of defense systems in the South China Sea.

Sanders said the Trump administration has “raised concerns” about the measures “directly” with Chinese authorities.

The remarks came in response to reports that Chinese officials have installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on several of its outposts west of the Philippines in the South China Sea, a hotly-contested area in east Asia.

“We’re well aware of China’s militarization of the South China Sea,” Sanders said during the White House press briefing.

She added: “We’ve raised concerns directly with the Chinese about this, and there will be near-term and long-term consequences, and certainly we’ll keep you up to date.”

Last November, President Donald Trump offered to mediate disputes in the region, which has faced competing claims by various Continue reading “White House warns of ‘consequences’ for defense build-up in South China Sea”

Comey blasts Giuliani for comparing FBI agents to ‘stormtroopers’

Former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday rebuked Rudy Giuliani, a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, for referring to bureau officials as "stormtroopers," saying U.S. leaders should emulate federal workers "rather than comparing them to Nazis."

During an interview on Fox News Wednesday, Giuliani blasted an FBI raid of the offices and home of Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Giuliani framed the seizure of documents as a disproportionate action in the FBI investigation into Cohen’s payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who says she was paid to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump.

Giuliani characterized the raids as "big stormtroopers coming in and breaking down his apartment and breaking down his office." The remark appeared to reference a paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party — known as the Sturmabteilung, or Storm Detachment — that played a role in the rise of Continue reading “Comey blasts Giuliani for comparing FBI agents to ‘stormtroopers’”

Justice Dept. to send more judges, prosecutors to border, Sessions says

The Justice Department will send 35 prosecutors and 18 judges to the southern U.S. border to bolster efforts to prosecute immigrants entering the U.S. illegally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday.

Among the assistant attorneys dispatched to the border, 15 will be allocated to Texas, eight to California, six to Arizona and six to New Mexico. The immigration judges, meanwhile, will be deployed to adjudicate cases in courts along the U.S-Mexico border in parts of the same states.

“The American people made very clear their desire to secure our borders and prioritize the public safety and national security of our homeland,” Sessions said in a statement. “Promoting and enforcing the rule of law is essential to our republic. By deploying these additional resources to the Southwest border, the Justice Department and the Trump Administration take yet another step in protecting our nation, its borders, and its citizens. Continue reading “Justice Dept. to send more judges, prosecutors to border, Sessions says”

Who is Emmet Flood, Trump’s new Russia probe lawyer?

Emmet Flood, the veteran D.C. lawyer replacing Ty Cobb on President Donald Trump’s legal team, is no stranger to highly publicized legal bouts involving the White House.

Flood, a current partner at the firm Williams & Connolly, has represented several top government officials in different administrations, including former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and former Vice President Dick Cheney. He most notably represented Clinton during the impeachment proceedings brought against the former president by the House of Representatives and tried before the Senate.

During Bush’s second term, Flood served for two years as the lead lawyer for the White House’s counsel office in handling inquiries from congressional investigators.

Flood represented Cheney in private practice in a civil suit brought against him and several other Bush administration officials by Valerie Plame, the former CIA operative whose identity was leaked and revealed by the press. The incident resulted in Continue reading “Who is Emmet Flood, Trump’s new Russia probe lawyer?”