Avenatti in Iowa, ‘exploring’ a White House run

Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, was in Iowa Thursday, where he told reporters that he is considering running for president in 2020.

"I’m exploring a run for the presidency of the United States, and I wanted to come to Iowa and listen to people and learn about some issues that are facing the citizens of Iowa and do my homework," Avenatti told the Des Moines Register on Thursday.

The Los Angeles-based lawyer toured the Iowa State Fair, a traditional stop for presidential candidates in the state that hosts the nation’s first presidential caucus each election cycle, on Thursday. He is scheduled to speak Friday night at the Democratic Wing Ding fundraiser in Clear Lake, Iowa, an event that hosted Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2015 and former President Barack Obama in 2007.

Avenatti was accompanied in Continue reading “Avenatti in Iowa, ‘exploring’ a White House run”

Trump targets MSNBC, CNN in tweet attacking media

President Donald Trump on Thursday morning attacked MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN while heaping praise on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” writing that the MSNBC cable show is “dead” and CNN is “too predictable.”

“Wow, @foxandfriends is blowing away the competition in the morning ratings. Morning Joe is a dead show with very few people watching and sadly, Fake News CNN is also doing poorly. Too much hate and inaccurately reported stories – too predictable!” the president wrote on Twitter.

The president’s love for Fox & Friends, the morning show where he receives almost unflinchingly positive coverage, is likely only matched by his distaste for CNN, the network he often lambasts as “fake news,” and MSNBC, which he is also often sharply critical of. Trump has often saved particular venom for the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who were once close friends of Continue reading “Trump targets MSNBC, CNN in tweet attacking media”

Trump mulls whether to shut government down before or after midterms

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is considering the merits of a government shutdown over immigration and border security measures and weighed publicly whether it would be more effective before or after November’s midterms.

Trump has said he is willing to shutter the government if his demands, including full funding for his long-promised border wall and an end to certain immigration programs, are not met.

The president told conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh Wednesday that a pre-midterm shutdown might yield a better agreement but that other Republicans have pleaded with him not to shutter the government before the election.

“Well, if you do it before, there’s a lot more pressure to get a great solution. But it’s riskier. If you do it afterwards, there’s less pressure; there’s less risk,” Trump said. “I’m just not sure you’d make as good a deal. I will say a lot of people Continue reading “Trump mulls whether to shut government down before or after midterms”

Reporters skirmish with White House over ID for groceries and voting

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn’t say Wednesday when the last time President Donald Trump went into a grocery store, after the president defended voter identification laws by suggesting that shoppers need to show ID when they check out at grocery stores.

Trump, at his campaign-style rally Tuesday night in Tampa, Florida, asserted that laws requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls were reasonable because “if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card, you need ID.”

Critics of voter ID laws have argued that they are unnecessary because voter fraud in the U.S. is virtually non-existent and because such laws disproportionately disenfranchise poor and minority voters, for whom access to photo ID can be more difficult.

Asked Wednesday about the last time the president, a Manhattan billionaire with his own fleet of private jets Continue reading “Reporters skirmish with White House over ID for groceries and voting”

Trump claims Manafort case has ‘nothing to do with collusion’

President Donald Trump distanced himself on Wednesday from his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, complaining that he was not notified by the government that Manafort had been under federal investigation before the 2016 presidential election.

Manafort is currently on trial, facing charges of tax and bank fraud brought by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose office has been probing allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race as well as allegations that the Trump campaign colluded in those efforts. The charges brought against Manafort are related to his work in Ukraine as a consultant for a Russia-aligned political party.

“Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. “Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to Continue reading “Trump claims Manafort case has ‘nothing to do with collusion’”

China accuses U.S. of ‘blackmail’ amid reports of higher tariffs by Trump administration

Talk that U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports could increase further amount to “blackmail” from the Trump administration that will prompt retaliatory measures from Beijing, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said Wednesday.

“U.S. pressure and blackmail won’t have an effect. If the United States takes further escalatory steps, China will inevitably take countermeasures and we will resolutely protect our legitimate rights,” Geng Shuang, the spokesman, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday, according to Reuters.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Trump administration is considering upping a planned 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent, part of a larger administration push to reset the trade relationship between Washington and Beijing onto terms President Donald Trump says will be fairer to the U.S.

Trump has long complained that his nation is the victim of unfair trade practices by China, which he has accused of Continue reading “China accuses U.S. of ‘blackmail’ amid reports of higher tariffs by Trump administration”

Trump says public availability of 3D-printed guns ‘doesn’t seem to make much sense’

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is “looking into” the availability of plans for the 3D printing of guns, writing on Twitter that he had already been in touch with the NRA on the issue.

“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” the president wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

After a years-long legal battle, Defense Distributed, a Texas-based group, has announced plans to release instructions on Wednesday for guns that can be created by a 3-D printer, including a handgun and parts for a semi-automatic assault rifle. Although plans were not supposed to be available until Wednesday, instructions have already begun to appear online for download, CNN reported Tuesday.

3D-printed weapons could be printed without serial numbers, spurring concern about the impact such untraceable weapons could have. Attorneys general from eight states, plus Continue reading “Trump says public availability of 3D-printed guns ‘doesn’t seem to make much sense’”

Trump attacks ‘globalist’ Koch brothers

President Donald Trump lashed out Tuesday morning at the billionaire conservative donor Koch brothers, who Trump said “have become a total joke in real Republican circles,” in the wake of their sharp criticism of the president and his trade policies.

“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” the president wrote on Twitter. “They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more. I made them richer.”

The Koch’s network of donors met last weekend in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the Kochs’ criticism of the president, especially on trade, came to the forefront. Charles Koch, who leads the donor network, said in a video presentation at the meeting that a “rise in protectionism” represents “a natural tendency, but it’s a destructive Continue reading “Trump attacks ‘globalist’ Koch brothers”

Giuliani accuses special counsel’s office of acting in ‘bad faith’ over Trump-Mueller interview

President Donald Trump’s attorney on Monday accused special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of acting in “bad faith” in setting up an interview with the president over its investigation into collusion and conflict of interest.

Rudy Giuliani told CNN that the president’s legal team has waited 10 days for a response from Mueller’s office on negotiations over what can be asked during the interview, saying that the president would only answer questions about allegations of collusion between his campaign and the Russian government and not about questions related allegations of obstruction of justice.

“They haven’t gotten back to us in 10 days over our recommendation of how to do an interview. I am sure they are in bad faith about an interview at that point,” said Giuliani, who heads the president’s outside legal team.

The former New York mayor said he would advise against allowing such an interview but that the Continue reading “Giuliani accuses special counsel’s office of acting in ‘bad faith’ over Trump-Mueller interview”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I have ‘at least five more years’ on the bench

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Sunday that she intends to serve “at least five more years,” a stretch that would extend her career beyond her 90th birthday.

"I’m now 85," Ginsburg said on Sunday, according to CNN. "My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years."

Ginsburg, nominated by former President Bill Clinton and confirmed to the Supreme Court in 1993, is already the court’s oldest justice and is also among its most liberal. Her future on the bench has been the subject of significant speculation since her departure during President Donald Trump’s term would afford him the opportunity to appoint a third Supreme Court justice, shifting the court’s balance of power for years, and potentially decades, to come.

Trump campaigned hard on a promise to nominate only conservative judges, pledging to Continue reading “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I have ‘at least five more years’ on the bench”

Trump gets the economy Jeb Bush dreamed of: 4 percent growth

As a presidential candidate, Jeb Bush made a bold economic proposal that drew immediate scorn from the chattering class in Washington: aiming for 4 percent growth.

The target, which Bush proposed as he declared his candidacy in February 2015, was “104% nonsense” according to a Vox headline. “Economists on Bush’s Promise: Close to 0 Percent Chance of 4 Percent Growth,” was the headline on a blog post from the New York Times’s “Upshot” blog. Economists who spoke to POLITICO at the time were equally skeptical.

But on Friday, 4 percent growth was exactly what Bush’s campaign-trail antagonist Donald Trump got to celebrate on the South Lawn of the White House. He called it “an economic miracle” after the Commerce Department released its second-quarter report showing GDP growth of 4.1 percent, up from 2.2 percent in the first quarter of the year.

“We’re going to go a lot higher Continue reading “Trump gets the economy Jeb Bush dreamed of: 4 percent growth”

Trump praises report showing U.S. economic growth

President Donald Trump on Friday morning touted a Department of Commerce report estimating that the nation’s gross domestic product grew 4.1 percent in the last quarter.

“These numbers are very, very sustainable. This isn’t a one-time shot. I happen to think we’re going to do extraordinarily well in our next report next quarter. I think it’s going to be outstanding,” Trump said on the White House’s South Lawn, flanked his vice president, treasury secretary, commerce secretary and economic advisers. “I won’t go too strong because then if it’s not quite as good you’ll not let me forget it. But I think the numbers are going to be outstanding. We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportion.”

Trump did not respond to shouted questions from reporters regarding a CNN report that Michael Cohen, his longtime attorney, is prepared to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that the president was aware Continue reading “Trump praises report showing U.S. economic growth”

Trump denies knowing about Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer

President Donald Trump insisted Friday morning that he was not aware of a summer, 2016, meeting between officials from his presidential campaign, including his son, and a Russian attorney who promised Kremlin-sourced information on Hillary Clinton, contradicting a CNN report that he personally approved the meeting.

“So the Fake News doesn’t waste my time with dumb questions, NO, I did NOT know of the meeting with my son, Don jr. Sounds to me like someone is trying to make up stories in order to get himself out of an unrelated jam (Taxi cabs maybe?),” Trump wrote, alluding to his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen. “He even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary’s lawyer. Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice!”

Cohen, who is represented by Lanny Davis, a former attorney for Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, is at the center of CNN’s Thursday story, which Continue reading “Trump denies knowing about Trump Tower meeting with Russian lawyer”

Avenatti now representing 3 women who claim to have been paid hush money by Trump

Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuits against President Donald Trump, now also represents three additional women who claim to have had affairs with Trump that they were paid to stay silent about.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that Avenatti announced his new clients at a forum in West Hollywood, California, but declined to name them. He said he had evidence of the three women’s respective affairs with the president but was “not at liberty to share” it. All three women, he said, were paid “hush money” before the 2016 election.

Avenatti emerged months ago as a prominent figure in the president’s legal battles, representing Daniels in her legal quest to be freed from a nondisclosure agreement related to a one-night affair she claims to have had with the president. She is also suing the president for defamation over a post to his Twitter account Continue reading “Avenatti now representing 3 women who claim to have been paid hush money by Trump”

Trump says his administration will look into Twitter ‘shadow banning’ Republicans

President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration “will look into” allegations that Twitter has reduced the visibility of certain prominent conservatives on its platform, a practice referred to as “shadow banning.”

“Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Vice News reported Wednesday that Twitter’s search feature did not auto-populate prominent conservatives including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, Donald Trump Jr. spokesman Andrew Surabian and multiple GOP members of Congress. Prominent liberals and Democratic members of Congress did not have their accounts similarly hidden from the search function, Vice reported.

Twitter said it was aware of the problem and was in the process of fixing it, telling Vice that the platform’s “technology is based on account behavior not the content of Tweets.”

Conservatives have long complained about unfair treatment Continue reading “Trump says his administration will look into Twitter ‘shadow banning’ Republicans”

White House says Trump won’t meet Putin until next year

President Donald Trump will not host Russian President Vladimir Putin in Washington until 2019, White House national security adviser John Bolton said Wednesday, because it is Trump’s preference not to do so until “the Russia witch hunt is over.”

“The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year,” Bolton said in a statement distributed through the White House press pool.

There is no hard deadline for special counsel Robert Mueller to wrap up his Russia investigation, which Trump has often referred to as a "witch hunt," and no public indication that Mueller will do so by the end of the year.

Trump on Cohen tape: ‘What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?’

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that it is “so sad” that his longtime personal attorney recorded their private conversations, suggesting that audio released Tuesday has been doctored to exclude “positive things” that he was “presumably” saying.

“What kind of a lawyer would tape a client? So sad! Is this a first, never heard of it before? Why was the tape so abruptly terminated (cut) while I was presumably saying positive things?” the president wrote on Twitter. “I hear there are other clients and many reporters that are taped – can this be so? Too bad!”

Trump’s social media post follows CNN’s Tuesday night publication of a recording of him speaking with his longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, about a payment intended to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims to have had an affair with the president. Trump has previously denied the affair and being aware of Continue reading “Trump on Cohen tape: ‘What kind of a lawyer would tape a client?’”

Trump attacks ‘weak politicians’ who speak out against tariffs

President Donald Trump on Wednesday called lawmakers upset over his tariff-heavy trade policies “weak” and suggested that those complainers should “be cool” because such negative talk is dragging down ongoing negotiations.

“Every time I see a weak politician asking to stop Trade talks or the use of Tariffs to counter unfair Tariffs, I wonder, what can they be thinking?” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. “Are we just going to continue and let our farmers and country get ripped off? Lost $817 Billion on Trade last year. No weakness!”

“When you have people snipping at your heels during a negotiation, it will only take longer to make a deal, and the deal will never be as good as it could have been with unity,” he continued in a second post. “Negotiations are going really well, be cool. The end result will be worth it!”

Many Republican lawmakers, Continue reading “Trump attacks ‘weak politicians’ who speak out against tariffs”

Trump praises tariffs as ‘the greatest’ ahead of meeting with European Commission chief

President Donald Trump defended his trade policy Tuesday morning, declaring that “tariffs are the greatest” because they allow him to fight back against nations that engage in trade practices unfair to the U.S.

“Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs,” the president wrote on Twitter. “It’s as simple as that – and everybody’s talking! Remember, we are the “piggy bank” that’s being robbed. All will be Great!”

Trump’s tweet comes as he is scheduled to meet this week with Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, on trade issues.

Trump has paid special attention to international trade in recent months as part of his effort to rebalance trade relationships around the globe with terms that are more favorable for the U.S.

Controversially, much of Trump’s efforts thus Continue reading “Trump praises tariffs as ‘the greatest’ ahead of meeting with European Commission chief”

Holder to decide on 2020 presidential run ‘early next year’

Former Attorney General Eric Holder is considering a presidential run in 2020, he told late night host Stephen Colbert Monday night, but won’t make his decision about such a bid until next year.

“I’m thinking about it and what I’ve said is that I’d make a determination sometime early next year,” Holder said on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “My focus, really, now is on 2018, the midterms and trying to make sure that Democrats take back the Senate, take back the House, and that we do well, importantly, at the state level.”

Colbert raised the idea by reading a post to Twitter by journalist April Ryan, who cited sources close to Holder to report last week that he was “seriously considering” a White House run. The post prompted applause from the “Late Show” audience, which Holder paused for a second to soak up.

“Were you Continue reading “Holder to decide on 2020 presidential run ‘early next year’”