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'Dicky Durbin' joins long list of Trump nicknames

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 05:27:07 AM
Both as candidate & president, Trump has given others in politics - both friends & (mostly) foes - a long list of nicknames. Now he's added a new one to the list.

Defiant Trump tells critics that he's not a racist

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 05:22:46 AM
Holding no public events on the MLK holiday, Trump faced more criticism as senators offer conflicting accounts about what Trump said in a White House meeting about Haiti, African nations, & immigration.

Bannon to face House lawmakers in Russia investigation

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 05:19:08 AM
Ousted from his jobs at Brietbart and the White House, Steve Bannon - along with Hope Hicks & Corey Lewandowski - are set to face lawmakers' questions on all things Russia. Our panel reacts.

Red flags seen in Trump real estate deals

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 04:53:00 AM
Thomas Frank, FBI reporter for Buzzfeed, talks with Rachel Maddow about official warnings about shell companies and all-cash deals on luxury real estate, circumstances common in money laundering cases and common in Donald Trump deals.

On Trump and the Africa that Lawrence knows

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 04:30:27 AM
Lawrence O'Donnell responds to Donald Trump's 'sh*thole' comment and talks about the Africa he has gotten to know through the K.I.N.D. Fund, Kids in Need of Desks.

Lawrence: Trump not 'least racist' president, just least sane

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 04:28:11 AM
President Trump and his Republican colleagues have changed their stories on the reported 'sh*thole' remark about Haiti and African countries, which Lawrence O'Donnell says is not because Trump didn't say it, but because the GOP wants to soften the...

Frum: Trump's presidency 'a serious attack on ethical norms'

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 04:28:10 AM
Jared Kushner was reportedly warned by U.S. officials about possible attempts by Rupert Murdoch's ex-wife to use their friendship to push China's interests. 'Trumpocracy' author David Frum joins Lawrence O'Donnell and reacts to the story and discusses...

Paul Ryan challenger Randy Bryce raises $1.2 million

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 02:56:24 AM
Randy Brice, the iron worker who is challenging Paul Ryan for his house seat, explains why he believes his campaign is gaining momentum. He says, "We are tired of having a Congress that isn't acting as a check and balance" to Donald Trump.

MLK Day inspires Americans; Trump golfs

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 02:39:00 AM
Dan Rather, author of What Unites Us, talks with Rachel Maddow about the work and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and what it means that Donald Trump did not pay service to the holiday.

Bannon: Just bluster, or is there more?

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 02:23:12 AM
Bannon’s appearance on Tuesday will be the first time he testifies before any of the congressional committees probing Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

Dem Rep.: Trump 'Absolutely Knows That He Is Playing To The Racists'

Monday January 15th, 2018 09:36:38 PM
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) isn’t buying President Donald Trump’s denial that he’s a racist. The Democrat appeared Monday on CNN to discuss Trump’s incendiary remarks during a bipartisan meeting on immigration, during which POTUS reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and unnamed African countries “sh*thole countries” and suggested allowing more people from Norway to enter the country. “I think what the President is doing is diabolical, that he absolutely knows that he is playing to the racists,” said Meeks, who is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Listen, those individuals that we know who were former members of the Ku Klux Klan, they’re the ones coming out supporting the President in a very big way.” “The President said ‘I’m not a racist’ and he told reporters he is the least racist person they have ever spoken to. Is that correct?” asked John Berman. “That’s a joke,” Meeks responded. He then listed several examples of Trump’s racism, including his birther conspiracies about former President Barack Obama and calling the neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville white nationalist rally “fine people.” “His words are clear, the words and actions of a racist,” said Meeks. Trump did indeed tell a journalist that he was “the least racist person you will ever interview” and that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who attended the meeting and confirmed reports of Trump’s language, had “totally misrepresented” his comments. Durbin said Monday that he stands by his confirmation, and challenged the White House to release any recording they might have of the meeting. “Do you support a formal censure of the President?” Berman asked Meeks. “Absolutely,” said the congressman. H/t the Hill.

After Durbin Challenges WH Over Racist Remarks, Trump Cries 'Misrepresented'

Monday January 15th, 2018 09:11:44 PM
After Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Monday that President Donald Trump should release any recordings the White House has of the meeting in which Trump allegedly called some countries “shithole countries,” Trump said Durbin had “misrepresented” what he’d said.  “I don’t know if there was some other recording device that was being used within the Oval Office,” Durbin told reporters in Illinois. “If there was, I want to just call on the White House right now: Release whatever you have. If they don’t have it, so be it.” Sen Durbin this morning stands by his previous comments about what Pres Trump said in DACA meeting — Tony Arnold (@tonyjarnold) January 15, 2018 As first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by Durbin, Trump asked in a meeting Thursday, referring to El Salvador, Haiti and unspecified African countries: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” “Why do we need more Haitians?” he reportedly said. “Take them out.” Initially, the White House did not deny the Post’s reporting, with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins even reporting that unnamed White House staffers thought it would resonate with the President’s core supporters. Trump has since denied both quotes attributed to him by the Post. On Monday, he attacked Durbin specifically. Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2018 “I am stunned that this is their defense,” Durbin said earlier Monday, referring to a claim from one unnamed White House official to the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey that Trump could have said “shithouse.” White House official told me tonight there is debate internally on whether Trump said "shithole" or "shithouse." Perdue and Cotton seem to have heard latter, this person said, and are using to deny. — Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) January 15, 2018 Without citing a source Sunday, the National Review’s Rich Lowry said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump “used a different — my understanding from the meeting, he used a different, but very closely related vulgarity. He said s-house, and not s-hole.” “I don’t know that changing the word from ‘hole’ to ‘house’ changes the impact,” Durbin said. He said twice that he stood by his earlier assertion and that Trump did not say “shithouse.” Durbin was the only Democrat at the meeting Thursday. Two conservative Republicans who also attended — Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) — initially said they “do not recall” whether Trump said what the Post reported, though they both claimed Sunday that he did not. H/t USA Today.

Graham: 'My Memory Hasn't Evolved' Regarding Trump 'Sh*thole' Meeting

Monday January 15th, 2018 07:11:24 PM
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Monday that his memory “hasn’t evolved” in regards to the explosive immigration meeting during which President Donald Trump reportedly called Haiti, El Salvador, and unnamed African countries “shithole countries.” While again refusing to explicitly confirm whether or not Trump made those comments, Graham told the Post and Courier “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.” The South Carolina senator was possibly directing his comments at Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA), who also attended the meeting and initially said they “do not recall” Trump’s “shithole” remarks. Cotton later said that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who confirmed the Washington Post’s original report on Trump’s comments, was “incorrect.” “I didn’t hear it,” he told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson. Meanwhile, Perdue insisted on Sunday that Trump never used that phrase, saying it was a “gross misrepresentation” of what happened in the meeting. Durbin’s spokesman said that both Republicans have a “credibility problem.” Yesterday, Senators Cotton and Perdue “could not recall” what the President said. Today they can. That, folks, is a credibility problem. — Ben Marter (@BenMarter) January 14, 2018 After shocking reports of the meeting arose on Thursday, Graham neither confirmed nor denied their accuracy, saying instead that “following comments by the President, I said my piece directly to him yesterday.” On Sunday, Trump denied making those comments and declared himself “the least racist person you have ever interviewed” when asked about the remarks.

Thoughts on Dr. King's Day

Monday January 15th, 2018 06:42:15 PM
A few more miscellaneous thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr. on this day of remembrance. One: King was a troublemaker. In many ways, he became more of a troublemaker as he progressed through his life. In key ways, in the final years and especially the final year of his life, he was being abandoned by key supporters and sidelined because he was focusing not solely on race (on which the country was then beginning to build at least a notional elite consensus) but on poverty and democratic socialism and the Vietnam War, issues that divided many of his supporters. It is always important to remember that King died in Memphis because he was there to support a strike not an integration march, though racial discrimination and labor rights were and are impossible to separate. National Guard troops stand with bayonets fixed as African-American sanitation workers peacefully march by while wearing placards reading “I AM A MAN.” Today King is seen as almost synonymous with the March on Washington, as though it were his personal effort. That’s not true. He was, arguably, not even the central figure, at least not going into it. But on this front it is always important to remember that the march was called as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Civil rights and equality were at the heart of it. But ‘jobs’ got top billing. We do not have to agree with every tenet of King’s radicalism. But if the day set aside in his honor is to have any real significance, if we are really to honor him, it is incumbent on all of us to resist the sanitized consensus King we see so much of in American public life in favor of the actual, much more radical person. This sanitization isn’t surprising and in some ways it is even valuable, in as much as it has made King a civic totem about racial equality that almost everyone in American public life must pay respect to, even if they don’t honor it or even believe it. Hypocrisy, they say, is the honor vice pays to virtue. And that’s good. If you see the totality of King’s thought and actions, particularly in the last years of his life, they will likely make you feel uncomfortable. And that’s good. District of Columbia Congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton (L) and US Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, (C) compose themselves as Coretta Scott King (R) looks on after the unveiling of a commemorative granite engraving in honor of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 22 August 2003 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC where Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech nearly 40 years ago. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J.RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images) Two: This from King’s daughter, Bernice. As you honor my father today, please remember and honor my mother, as well. She was the architect of the King Legacy and founder of @TheKingCenter, which she founded two months after Daddy died. Without #CorettaScottKing, there would be no #MLKDay. #MLK50Forward #MLK — Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 15, 2018 King is singular. It is also important to remember that King’s public career was little more than a dozen years. Coretta Scott King’s lasted much, much longer and she played a critical role preserving and expanding his legacy after his death. 2nd July 1963: L-R: National civil rights leaders John Lewis, Whitney Young Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer and Roy Wilkins pose behind a banquet table at the Hotel Roosevelt as they meet to formulate plans for the March on Washington and to bring about the passage of civil rights legislation, New York City. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) Three: During the Civil Rights Era people often referred to the “Big Six”, six men who headed various civil rights organizations during the height of the agitation for equality and planned the March on Washington: King (SCLC), James Farmer (CORE), A. Philip Randolph (Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters), Roy Wilkins (NAACP), Whitney Young (National Urban League) and John Lewis (SNCC). Because of his extreme youth at the time – just 21 when he first came to public notice in the 1961 Freedom Rides – and blessed longevity today, Lewis has long been (since Farmer’s death in 1999) the last living representative of this group. All of us today are lucky to be living in a time when this great elder still walks and acts among us. Dr. King was my friend, my brother, my leader. He was the moral compass of our nation and he taught us to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being. #goodtrouble — John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) January 15, 2018 Four: One of King’s most important advisors and collaborators was an out gay man, Bayard Rustin. Bayard Rustin, deputy director of the March on Washington, speaks to the crowd of marchers from the Lincoln Memorial.

Tax Filing Reveals Thousands Eric Trump's Foundation Paid To Trump Org

Monday January 15th, 2018 10:34:30 PM
A new tax filing shows that Eric Trump’s charity golf tournaments did in fact pay tens of thousands of dollars to Trump properties, despite Eric Trump’s earlier assertions that much of the group’s expenses were written off by his father’s businesses, the Daily Beast and Forbes reported late last week. Eric Trump’s former foundation — from which he resigned as a board member last year, when it also changed its name from the Eric Trump Foundation to Curetivity — donated slightly more than $3 million to charitable causes in 2016, according to its filing. The filing also shows that the foundation paid tens of thousands of dollars to Trump Organization properties for goods and services provided during charity golf tournaments and dinner events, including $98,730 to the Trump National Golf Course in Westchester, New York for the foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. The filing consistently claims the payments were for well less than the value of the goods and services provided. In sum, the two publications counted, Eric Trump’s foundation paid his father’s private businesses roughly $145,000 in 2016. Trump seemed to respond to the reporting Monday: I will be always be incredibly proud of my work for @StJude, raising $16.3+ million dollars over the last 10 years at a 9.2% expense ratio. Their research continues to save millions of lives worldwide and they are truly the greatest peripatetic research hospital in the world. — Eric Trump (@EricTrump) January 15, 2018 In June of last year, Forbes reported on a series of conflicts of interest facing Eric Trump’s foundation, including board members who were reliant on the Trump Organization for much or all of their livelihoods, that the foundation re-donated money to other charities who in turn hosted fundraisers at Trump properties, and that the overhead expenses for charity events hosted by the organization spiked well into the hundreds of thousands annually beginning in 2011, reportedly at Donald Trump’s command. The Daily Beast reported in September, based on tax records and financial disclosures, that between 2007 and 2014, the foundation “spent $881,779 on its annual Golf Invitational at Trump-owned clubs, a portion of which—$100,000 in 2013 and $88,000 in 2014—was reported as paid directly ‘to a company of a family member of the Board of Directors.’ In other words, Donald Trump himself.” “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Eric Trump incorrectly told Forbes last year, the outlet noted Friday. One former employee each of the Eric Trump Foundation and Trump National Westchester told Forbes in June that Trump had insisted on his son’s foundation paying for the events. “Mr. Trump had a cow,” Ian Gillule, Trump National Westchester’s former membership and marketing director, told Forbes, describing the elder Trump’s reaction to the written off expenses. “He flipped,” Gillule continued. “He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not–everybody gets billed.'” The report spurred New York’s attorney general, Eric Schniederman, to announce a probe into the foundation, one his office told the Daily Beast was “ongoing.” Also revealed in the new filing: Curetivity’s new board members, who include White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who the Wall Street Journal recently reported paid hush money to an adult film actor a month before the 2016 election over her reported sexual encounter with the elder Trump.

Flake Compares Trump To Stalin In Upcoming Speech

Monday January 15th, 2018 05:06:35 PM
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has a speech planned for Wednesday that will take President Donald Trump to task for his attacks on the media by comparing him to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The Arizona senator’s office on Sunday released excerpts of a speech the senator is expected to give on the Senate floor. The excerpts, published by multiple outlets, show Flake blasting Trump for declaring the press as the “enemy of the people” in a similar style as Stalin. “Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own President uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies,” Flake will say, according to the Washington Post and NBC News. “It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.” He adds, “When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn’t suit him ‘fake news,’ it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.” The senator doubled down on his planned remarks and emphasized his point about Khrushchev during an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on Sunday. “I don’t think that we should be using a phrase that’s been rejected as too loaded by a Soviet dictator,” he said. Flake is expected to deliver the speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, the same day as Trump’s so-called “Fake News Awards.” The “awards,” which Trump plans to give out for the “most dishonest and corrupt” coverage of himself, were originally planned for January 8. Trump later postponed them to January 17. Trump has repeatedly complained about “unfair” reporting on his presidency, which has undergone scandal after scandal as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference has put several Trump officials under intense scrutiny. Flake, who plans to retire after the end of his term this year, has been openly critical of Trump, though he still reliably votes the party line. In his retirement speech in October, the Arizona senator painted himself as a D.C lawmaker unafraid of speaking out against the President and urged his colleagues to do the same. “When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?” he asked.

"King, There Is Only One Thing Left For You To Do."

Monday January 15th, 2018 04:25:21 PM
The fact that the FBI sent Martin Luther King a letter demanding he kill himself or risk the release of recordings of his extra-marital assignations has been known for decades. But the complete and uncensored version of the letter only came to light three years ago. You can see it here. Yale historian Beverly Gage happened on the original version of the letter during research at the National Archives. There is a lot contained in this letter. To put it mildly. One is about the history of the FBI. Going back into its earliest origins the FBI provided a conventional law enforcement function. Even in the era in which events like this letter happened it played a role investigating and prosecuting what we now call hate crimes in the South that state authorities not only refused to prosecute but in which they were in many instances. I’m tempted to refer to actions like this as “abuses.” But that doesn’t really cover it. ‘Abuses’ suggests some frequent or even systematic divergence from some recognized norm or behavior. The Hoover era FBI was quite simply, in vast domains of its action and purview, a lawless organization. It not only routinely broke the law with illegal searches and surveillance. It operated as what amounts to an internal secret police force not only surveilling and attempting to disrupt groups which might plausibly, if not always accurately, be seen as plotting the overthrow of the state but reformist groups, mere dissenters and activists, who threatened the country’s racial or political status quo. Even that doesn’t cover the extent of the cancer Hoover himself represented. Hoover did not found the FBI but he essentially created it. The FBI’s predecessor organization, the Bureau of Investigation, was formed in 1908. It only became the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935, at which point Hoover had already been running it for a decade. But this evolution and name change obscures the larger fact that the institution we know as the FBI, as opposed to an obscure federal investigatory office from which it emerged, was Hoover’s creation. Not only did Hoover turn the power of the FBI against reformers like King he managed to remain in power for almost 50 years in significant measure because the presidents who might have fired him and in a number of cases wanted to fire him feared retribution. The Hoover era FBI collected compromising information on lots of people, as we can see from the King example. It’s a matter of some historical debate how much presidents retained Hoover specifically because they feared retribution. Nixon explicitly mentions this concern on one of his tapes. (Ironically, Nixon and Hoover had a close personal alliance that went back 20 years.) But Hoover was canny and political and made himself helpful, perhaps even indispensable, to presidents who might otherwise have wanted to fire him. The other thing about the “King” letter is that our heroes are complex and flawed. Clearly the FBI’s efforts to collect incriminating information and use that information to attempt to blackmail King into suicide was horrifically wrong. But this history of infidelity could have come to light in legal ways. It’s hard to believe that a couple decades later it wouldn’t have come to light through aggressive media sleuthing. Would the country have been better off for having that information? It’s very hard to see how the answer to that question can be a yes.

Trump Denies 'Sh*thole' Comment, Says He's 'The Least Racist Person'

Monday January 15th, 2018 03:12:09 PM
President Donald Trump denied Sunday that he is a racist after multiple named and unnamed people said that he called Haiti, El Salvador and other African nations “shithole countries” during a meeting Thursday. The President’s defense came in response to a press pool reporter’s question at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. After Trump made a remark about the ongoing immigration negotiations, the reporter asked, “Do you think your comments the other day made it harder?” “Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?” the President responded. “They weren’t made.” The reporter asked Trump about those who think he’s a racist. “No, no, I’m not a racist,” the President replied. “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.” Watch below: NEW: In the wake of his recent comments, Pres. Trump tells reporters in Florida: “I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you will ever interview.” — ABC News (@ABC) January 15, 2018 Trump has repeatedly made racist remarks, from claiming that Mexican immigrants were rapists who brought drugs and crime with them to America, to saying that there “were very fine people on both sides” of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year. Writing in the New York Times opinion section Monday, David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick documented what they called “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List.” The Washington Post first reported Thursday that Trump called certain countries “shithole countries” during a meeting on immigration Thursday, citing multiple unnamed people in the room, and that he asked “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) later said the Post’s reporting was accurate, as did Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), according to his colleague Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who spoke to the Charleston Post & Courier. After releasing a joint statement Friday announcing that they “do not recall” whether Trump said what the Post reported he did, Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) — both immigration hardliners — claimed Sunday that Durbin had misrepresented the President. The Trump administration has announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status — a protection from deportation for undocumented people facing armed conflict or environmental disaster in their home countries — for roughly 200,000 Salvadorans, 60,000 Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans.

Report: Trump Pledges To Campaign For Midterms As GOPers Fear Tough Fight

Sunday January 14th, 2018 07:32:13 PM
President Donald Trump promised last week to campaign for Republican members of Congress after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) warned him that the political landscape is not in their party’s favor, the Washington Post reported Sunday. The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed White House officials, that McCarthy explained the political landscape to Trump in a slide presentation while the President was at Camp David last weekend. According to an unnamed official cited in the report, McCarthy warned Trump of potential outcomes ranging from a scenario where Republicans lose control of the House to another where Republicans maintain control but lose seats. Amid a wave of impending Republican retirements, most recently including Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Trump’s own approval ratings, which are at a historic low for a president barely finished with his first year in office, Republicans are taking up a defensive position. “We are going to have a very challenging cycle,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) told reporters last week. “There’s no question the majority’s at risk.”

GOP Rep. Says Trump's Remarks On Haiti, Africa Are 'Indefensible'

Sunday January 14th, 2018 03:42:30 PM
Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) on Sunday said President Donald Trump’s remarks about Haiti and African nations are “indefensible.” “I can’t defend the indefensible. You have to understand that there are countries that do struggle out there, but their people, their people are good people. And they’re part of us. We’re Americans,” Love, whose parents are from Haiti, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” while meeting with lawmakers. According to the New York Times, Trump also asked, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” While Trump claimed his reported remarks were “not the language used,” he did not specifically address what language he did use during the meeting.

Dem Senator: 'No Question' That Trump's 'Sh*thole' Remark Was Racist

Sunday January 14th, 2018 02:51:40 PM
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) on Sunday said there is “no question” that President Donald Trump’s remark insulting Haiti and African countries “was racist.” “There’s no question what he said was un-American and completely unmoored from the facts,” Bennet said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “I was raised not to call people racist on the theory that it was hard for them to be rehabilitated once you said that, but there’s no question what he said was racist.” The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” during a meeting with lawmakers. “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” Trump said, according to the New York Times. Trump on Friday claimed he did not say “anything derogatory about Haitians” and that his reported remarks were “not the language used,” but did not specifically address reports that he named “shithole countries.”

Trump Starts Morning With Attacks On WSJ, Dems, Praise For 'Fox And Friends'

Sunday January 14th, 2018 02:29:33 PM
President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked the Wall Street Journal for a report on the United States’ relationship with North Korea and went after Democrats who are trying to negotiate a deal to protect undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, but found time to praise “Fox and Friends.” Trump claimed that the Wall Street Journal “falsely” quoted his claim to have a relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “Obviously I didn’t say that. I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters,” Trump tweeted. “They knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story.” The Wall Street Journal stated falsely that I said to them “I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un” (of N. Korea). Obviously I didn’t say that. I said “I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” a big difference. Fortunately we now record conversations with reporters… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018 …and they knew exactly what I said and meant. They just wanted a story. FAKE NEWS! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018 The Wall Street Journal on Sunday released a full transcript of its interview with Trump. The White House released what it said was audio of the exchange. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump said, “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.” When pressed on whether he has spoken to Kim, Trump said, “I don’t want to comment on it—I don’t want to comment, I’m not saying I have or I haven’t.” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed a recording of the exchange includes the consonant: Here is the official audio showing WSJ misquoting @POTUS — Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 14, 2018 Trump also claimed that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is “probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it.” “They just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military,” he tweeted. The sole spark of positivity in Trump’s morning tweets was his praise for “Fox and Friends” contributor Stuart Varney, who he thanked for saying that Trump is “not getting the credit he deserves.” “President Trump is not getting the credit he deserves for the economy. Tax Cut bonuses to more than 2,000,000 workers. Most explosive Stock Market rally that we’ve seen in modern times. 18,000 to 26,000 from Election, and grounded in profitability and growth. All Trump, not 0… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018 …big unnecessary regulation cuts made it all possible” (among many other things). “President Trump reversed the policies of President Obama, and reversed our economic decline.” Thank you Stuart Varney. @foxandfriends — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018

Hawaii Senator: False Alarm Of Incoming Missile Was 'Totally Inexcusable'

Saturday January 13th, 2018 07:10:17 PM
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Saturday said a false alarm warning Hawaii of an inbound missile threat was “totally inexcusable.” “The whole state was terrified,” Schatz tweeted. “There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process.” There is no missile threat. It was a false alarm based on a human error. There is nothing more important to Hawai‘i than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 13, 2018 AGAIN FALSE ALARM. What happened today is totally inexcusable. The whole state was terrified. There needs to be tough and quick accountability and a fixed process. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 13, 2018 The initial alert sent out to cell phones read, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” A second alert declared the first warning a “false alarm” and said, “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii.”

False Alarm Terrifies and Terrorizes Hawaii

Saturday January 13th, 2018 06:56:16 PM
We still have no clear explanation, certainly no good explanation, other than that it was a false alarm. But just after 8 AM this morning in Hawaii residents received an emergency alert on television and mobile devices warning of an incoming missile attack on the state. It was explicitly alerted as “not a drill.” Again, it was a false alarm.  Twitter immediately lit up with people sending screen grabs of what appeared to be, in fact what was, a warning of an imminent attack (albeit an erroneous one). Within what I estimate was perhaps 20 minutes the first news that it was a false alarm began to be spread on Twitter by state elected officials and then state emergency management officials. I’m not clear on how long the alert remained current before being officially countermanded or called off over the same emergency alert channels, but it seems to have been just under 40 minutes. The initial message was stark an unambiguous. Here’s what people in the state saw on their iPhones … Uh… — southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) January 13, 2018 Here is what people heard on television … TV with the alert — Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) January 13, 2018 The clearest explanation we’ve received so far is that this was “human error” and that the state was in the midst of conducting a drill when the error was made.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Says Missile Alert Was False Alarm

Saturday January 13th, 2018 08:12:58 PM
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency on Saturday said there is no missile threat to the state, despite an emergency alert that directed residents to seek immediate shelter due to an inbound “ballistic missile threat.” NO missile threat to Hawaii. — Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) January 13, 2018 White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters told reporters that President Donald Trump had “been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise.” “This was purely a state exercise,” Walters said. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “I have confirmed with officials there is no incoming missile.” HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE TO HAWAII. I HAVE CONFIRMED WITH OFFICIALS THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. — Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 13, 2018 Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said the alert was “a false alarm based on a human error.” There is no missile threat. It was a false alarm based on a human error. There is nothing more important to Hawai‘i than professionalizing and fool-proofing this process. — Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 13, 2018 A spokesman for the state’s emergency management agency told BuzzFeed News, “We have absolutely no indication it was any kind of hacking.” Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency spokesman said the agency had been performing a standard drill and normally an alert wouldn't be sent, so they suspect a technical issue occurred: "We have absolutely no indication it was any kind of hacking." — Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) January 13, 2018 Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) said he is “working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future.” STATEMENT: While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future. — Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) January 13, 2018 The National Weather Service in Honolulu released a statement saying that the initial alert was “a test message.” “The Warning Message received this morning DOES NOT DEPICT A REAL MISSILE THREAT. It was a test message,” the service said. The initial alert was sent out to mobile devices and broadcast on television. Omg — Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) January 13, 2018 TV with the alert — Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@michellebvd) January 13, 2018 A second alert to residents read, “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False alarm.” Just got this second alert, almost 40 minutes later. — Sonali Kohli 🙆🏾 (@Sonali_Kohli) January 13, 2018 This post has been updated.

Some Dems Say They Plan To Boycott Trump's First State Of The Union Address

Saturday January 13th, 2018 05:36:31 PM
Three Democratic lawmakers announced last week that they will not attend President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address. “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said on Friday on MSNBC. “I don’t trust him, I don’t appreciate him and I wouldn’t waste my time.” Waters said Trump is “someone who lies in the face of facts, someone who can change their tune day in and day out.” “What does he have to say that I would be interested in?” she said. “He does not deserve my attention.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said he will skip Trump’s address and work in his home state instead. “Rather than listening to yet another destructive and divisive speech by Trump, I will not attend this year’s annual address to Congress,” Blumenauer said in a statement. Blumenauer said he will instead listen “to Oregonians about what they think about the State of the Union” in his home state. “Hearing from Oregonians and working together to protect our values and advance policies that actually strengthen our communities is a more productive use of my time,” he said. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) on Friday said he would not attend Trump’s address after Trump allegedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” “I cannot in all good conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans,” Lewis said on MSNBC. “I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself.”

White House Physician Declares Trump In 'Excellent Health' After Physical Exam

Saturday January 13th, 2018 02:55:45 PM
The White House physician on Friday declared President Donald Trump “in excellent health” after Trump received his first annual physical exam while in office. “The President’s physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well,” Dr. Ronny Jackson said in a statement. “The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday.” Jackson is a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and has served as physician to the President since 2013. Trump’s personal doctor, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein of Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital, in 2015 claimed that Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” if he won the 2016 election. Several months later, Bornstein—who said he dashed off the initial summary in five minutes as a limousine waited outside his New York office—added that if “something happens” to Trump, “then it happens to him.” “It’s like all the rest of us, no?” he said. “That’s why we have a vice president and a speaker of the House and a whole line of people. They can just keep dying.”

Trump's Tirade is a Return of the Repressed in American Politics

Saturday January 13th, 2018 01:53:54 PM
I am of Trump’s generation, and I grew up with the sentiments that he expressed about Haiti and African countries. When I was a kid, one of the hit songs in 1948 was the Andrew Sisters’ “Civilization.” You can click here to listen to it. Here’s a stanza:So bongo, bongo, bongo, I don't wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no no no Bingo, bangle, bungle, I'm so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go Don't want no jailhouse, shotgun, fish-hooks, golf clubs, I got my spears So, no matter how they coax him, I'll stay right here.So to many people of, say, sixty years or over, what Trump said resonated. It was all very familiar. So what? you might ask. My point is this: that Trump has vocalized sentiments – and let’s just call them prejudices – that are in many Americans, but that in the wake of the civil rights and anti-war movements were suppressed in public, political discourse. Even George Wallace in his 1968 campaign never talked about “nigrahs.” Jesse Helms ran subtly racist ads (the famous “Hands” ad), but he never made an explicit racist appeal. Neither of those politicians would have publicly described Africa as a “shithole.” And the American voter has grown, too. Think of those Trump voters who backed Obama in 2008 or 2012. Or the South Carolina Republicans who put Tim Scott in the Senate. That would not have happened in 1956. Tim Scott’s parents probably wouldn’t have been allowed to vote. America and Americans have changed.What is so scary about Trump’s comment is that it genuinely represents a return of the repressed. It’s something people of Trump’s generation might still say around the bar at the country club, but would never say in public and that many, if not most, Americans know better than to act upon when they vote. I always said this to people who wanted to reduce Trump’s voters to racists. My reply: I’m a racist, too – I get bad grades on those implicit racism tests that the political scientists give -- and I would never have voted for Trump. Americans are complicated, and our political choices can’t be reduced to a single sentiment. But Trump is determined to prove otherwise. A Trump aide boasted to CNN that his comments would appeal to "his base." That's the perfect pun. His comments do appeal what is most base in us and our politics. He is the most dangerous politician to achieve high office during my lifetime.

Making Sense of Texas' Latest Gerrymandering News

Friday January 12th, 2018 11:33:28 PM
The Supreme Court just announced it’ll hear two Texas redistricting cases. There’s been a lot of news about redistricting and the courts lately, and it can get confusing. So it’s worth sorting through what it all means. First, we need to separate cases involving claims of racial gerrymandering (discriminating on the basis of race) from cases involving claims of partisan gerrymandering (discriminating on the basis of, yes, party). Of course, there’s overlap between these two categories, because race and party are so closely intertwined in modern American voting patterns. And sometimes plaintiffs bring both types of claims against the same redistricting plan. But, mostly, they raise pretty different issues. These latest Texas cases raise mainly racial gerrymandering claims (there’s a petition from Democrats that does allege partisan gerrymandering — you can see how this stuff gets convoluted! — but it sounds like the court didn’t agree to hear it). The Texas cases are complicated and they’ve been playing out in some form since 2011. But, in a nutshell, the plaintiffs allege that Texas’s Republican-drawn congressional and state legislative maps were deliberately created to dilute the growing voting power of Texas’s soaring Hispanic population. That would violate the Voting Rights Act’s ban on racial discrimination in voting. Texas’s original maps were already blocked on those grounds back in 2012. (In one damning email that surfaced during the case, a GOP operative asked a mapmaker to find areas where Hispanic turnout was low, in order to help in “shoring up” two incumbent Republican congressmen — clear evidence of deliberate racial bias.) At issue now are the redrawn maps, which, according to a lower court ruling last year, still discriminate on the basis of race. Why do these latest cases matter? For one thing, Texas was found to have intentionally discriminated on the basis of race. That’s a higher standard than is needed to block the maps. And it matters because if SCOTUS upholds the finding of intentional discrimination, it could lead to Texas being bailed back in to the VRA’s “pre-clearance” regime. That would mean Texas would have to get all its changes to election and voting rules, even minor ones, pre-approved by the Justice Department or federal courts before they could go into effect. It’s the system that applied in Texas and most other southern states until the Supreme Court weakened the VRA in 2013. Texas would be the first state to be put back in. So that’s a big deal. It’s also possible (though, I think, unlikely) that the court could use the case to make a big sweeping pronouncement about the VRA’s ban on racial discrimination in allowing access to the ballot, not just in drawing districts. For years, conservatives have been arguing that the VRA’s ban on racially based voting restrictions requires clear evidence of racist intent. Civil rights advocates say reading the law that narrowly would make it all but useless, since almost no one these days is dumb enough to write in an email that they want to discriminate against minorities. Instead, civil rights advocates say, actions in voting policy that clearly have a discriminatory result, and that are accompanied by other less direct evidence of racial motives, also fall under the ban. So if the court takes on that issue — and again, it likely won’t, but it could — it could greatly improve the chances that voter ID laws and other voting restrictions would be blocked in court. Meanwhile, on the partisan gerrymandering side, there are other cases before the court where even more is at stake. In October, SCOTUS heard Gill v. Whitford, a challenge to Wisconsin’s state legislative districts. They were drawn by the GOP so ruthlessly that even if Democrats get a majority of votes, Republicans are guaranteed around 60 percent of seats. The plaintiffs in the case say that violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. Then there’s this: SCOTUS recently announced it would hear a second partisan gerrymandering case, this one a challenge to a Maryland congressional district drawn by Democrats. We don’t yet know why they agreed to hear a second case, and it raises slightly different legal issues. But there’s speculation that the justices may want to strike down Wisconsin’s map but are afraid that doing so would seem too political. So ruling against a Republican map and then a Democratic one in quick succession might help ease those concerns. But there’s more: On Tuesday, a panel of federal judges found that North Carolina’s congressional map was a partisan gerrymander. North Carolina is likely to appeal to SCOTUS, and the case is likely to be put on hold pending a ruling in Gill. It’s an open question as to whether courts can even intervene in partisan gerrymandering claims. But if the Justices rule that they can, and strike down Wisconsin’s map, they would strike a major blow for fairer elections. In 2012, Democrats got over a million more votes for Congress than Republicans, but the GOP still wound up with a sizable majority, thanks to their gerrymander. In both national elections since then, the GOP has again come out with far more seats in Congress than its vote share deserves. The result has been to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning areas — which tend to mean minority-heavy areas — just as surely as voter ID laws or other outright voting restrictions do. In other words, it would be a major step toward getting election outcomes that at least roughly reflect voter’s preferences.

Woman In Missouri Gov Blackmail Scandal Asks For Privacy

Friday January 12th, 2018 11:03:39 PM
The unnamed woman who was allegedly targeted for blackmail by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) to keep her from going public about their affair spoke out through her lawyer for the first time Friday, urging the press to respect her privacy. The lawyer, Scott Simpson of Knight & Simpson, said in a statement that the woman is “extremely distraught” that the allegations have been made public. Simpson also said the woman believes her ex-husband “betrayed her confidence” by speaking with the media. “This story has taken an emotional toll on our client and she is extremely distraught that the information has been made public,” the statement, which was obtained by TPM, reads. “It is very disappointing that her ex-husband betrayed her confidence by secretly, and without her knowledge, recording a private and deeply personal conversation and then subsequently released the recording to the media without her consent.” The story broke late Wednesday after the ex-husband provided local station KMOV with a recording he made of a conversation in which the woman describes Greitens tying her up to exercise equipment in his basement and taking a nude photograph of her without her consent. The woman told her husband that Greitens threatened to release the photo if she revealed the affair. On Thursday, TPM reported that the woman later told her husband that Greitens had slapped her after she told him she’d had sex with her husband. Greitens has confirmed that he engaged in an affair but strenuously denied any reports that he attempted to blackmail or slap the woman. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney is investigating the allegations. The statement from Simpson added that the woman has “consistently and continuously asked the reporters to not publish the story.” “Our client is a single mother working hard to raise a family,” the statement continues. “She is saddened that during this time of national introspection on the treatment of women in our society, allegations about her private life have been published without her permission.” The statement does not deny any of the specific allegations that the ex-husband and his attorney, Al Watkins, have made. Read the full statement below: Our law firm represents the unnamed woman in the recent story involving Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. We are reaching out to you today to ask the media and the public to respect our client’s request for privacy. This story has taken an emotional toll on our client and she is extremely distraught that the information has been made public. It is very disappointing that her ex husband betrayed her confidence by secretly, and without her knowledge, recording a private and deeply personal conversation and then subsequently released the recording to the media without her consent. Prior to releasing the story, a number of reporters made contact with our client asking her to comment on the information provided by her ex-husband. In response, she has consistently and continuously asked the reporters to not publish the story. Any comments that were made “on the record” or “off the record” have consistently been requests for privacy. Our client is a single mother working hard to raise a family. She is saddened that during this time of national introspection on the treatment of women in our society, allegations about her private life have been published without her permission. At this time, our client would like to thank each reporter and media outlet who honored her request for privacy prior to the story’s release. She wants to remain a private citizen and does not want to be a part of this story. We are asking the media and the public to continue respecting her privacy. Editor’s note: This story initially said the photograph incident occurred in the woman’s home; it actually occurred in Greitens’ home, as TPM has previously reported.

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