Archive for Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump airs grievances over ‘criminal’ leaks, ‘dishonest’ media, ‘bad’ judges

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

February 16, 2017, 2:16 p.m. Updated February 16, 2017, 4:45 p.m.

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— Confronting a cascade of controversies, President Donald Trump on Thursday angrily denounced the "criminal" leaks that took down his top national security adviser after less than a month and revived questions about his own ties to Russia. But he offered only a lawyerly denial that his campaign aides had been in touch with Russian officials before last fall's election.

"Nobody that I know" he said in the first full-length press conference of his presidency.

Rather than a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, the 77-minute event amounted to an extended airing of grievances, the new president attempting to find his footing after the rockiest launch in recent memory. Trump slammed a "bad court" of appeals judges for blocking his refugee and immigration executive order and denied that his White House was paralyzed by chaos and infighting among top advisers.

"This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine," he boasted.

With his signature hyperbole betrayed by reality, Trump said there has never been a president "who in this short period of time has done what we've done." He blamed any problems on the outgoing Obama administration — "I inherited a mess at home and abroad" — and the news media.

Standing in the stately, chandeliered East Room, Trump lambasted the "out of control" media — long his favorite foe. He appeared to delight in jousting with reporters, repeatedly interrupting their questions and singling out stories he disagreed with, well aware his attacks were sure to be cheered by loyal supporters who share his views.

Despite Trump's declarations, his first month in office has been chaotic by any measure — a flurry of self-inflicted wounds and poorly executed policy. On Monday, Trump asked for the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn following revelations that the Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia. The next day, The New York Times reported that multiple Trump advisers were in touch with Russian intelligence advisers during the election campaign.

Trump panned the report as "fake news" and said he had "nothing to do with Russia."

"To the best of my knowledge no person that I deal with does," he added.

That answer, couched with a caveat similar to one routinely used by witnesses on a trial stand, appeared to give him wiggle room.

The president more clearly defended Flynn's calls with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the transition period after his November victory. He said that while he did not tell his adviser to discuss sanctions with the envoy, "I would have directed him if he didn't do it."

The president said that while Flynn was "just doing his job," he was "not happy" that the adviser had misled the vice president. Trump knew that Flynn had given Pence an inaccurate accounting of his discussions with Russia, but the president did not tell his No. 2 for about two weeks, according to a timeline supplied by the White House.

The president is expected to soon announce Flynn's replacement, with Vice Admiral Robert Harward topping his list. Harward was to meet with Trump aides at the White House Thursday afternoon.

Trump repeatedly tried to steer questions away from his and his advisers' potential ties with Russia, saying attention should rather be focused on why a steady stream of classified information is making its way into news reports. He said the leaks are real but the news is fake, never explaining that.

The president took questions from 17 reporters, far more than at most presidential news conferences. His answers were often unwieldy, almost stream of consciousness, and some of his responses were startlingly strange.

He said the "greatest thing" he could do was "shoot" a Russian spy ship lingering off the East Coast of the United States. He asked an African-American reporter whether she could help set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. He wrongly stated that his Electoral College victory had been the largest of any president since Ronald Reagan, then dismissed the inaccuracy, saying he'd been "given that information."

But, though he's now president, the former reality TV star often appeared to be in his element. He jousted with reporters, particularly those he knows by name from his constant consumption of television news. He jokingly told CNN's Jim Acosta that he had checked whether he was related to Alexander Acosta, the dean of the Florida International University law school who is his new pick to lead the Labor Department.

Acosta's nomination was ostensibly the purpose of the news conference, though Trump dispensed of the announcement in a few brief sentences. The president's original choice to head the agency, Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday, another blow to the new administration.

Trump vowed to move forward next week on his stalled plans to enact "extreme vetting" measures for people coming to the United States. He said he would sign a "new and very comprehensive order" next week aimed at addressing legal issues in the initial directive, which temporarily halted the entire U.S. refugee program and all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations while the government worked on new vetting procedures.

A federal appeals court rejected the measure earlier in the month, and Trump said during the news conference that his administration would be "appealing" that decision. Shortly after, the Justice Department announced that it did not want a larger appellate panel to review the ruling and would instead replace the ban.

Comments

Randolf Fellows 1 month ago

So the leaks are real but any reporting on the information leaked is fake? You have to admire Trump's willingness to contradict himself in the same breath. He does not care if he is caught in a lie. He doesn't have any qualms about contradicting himself. There is no way to engage him in a sincere exchange or have any confidence in the truthfulness of what comes out of his mouth. As his administration becomes more and more mired in scandal and confusion, the ridiculousness of his claims increases. When will Congressional Republicans see what a stupid move it is to continue to back this train wreck?

Michael Kort 1 month ago

Typical Donald Trump response

He told a five year lie about Obama's citizenship to own racist his admirers and it worked so he is back to the well again for another chance to slur Obama with lies and Trump is a master of lying about others and blame shifting when he screws up .

Typical Donald.....Be confrontational.......because mania sufferers do that well !......and do middle of the night tweets because you are having a hard time sleeping.......accuse others of lying and plotting against you to avoid the truth......refuse to take sound advice or public feedback from the press.......have all kinds of ideas with poorly made out plans........surround yourself with yes men who are of little moral conviction or character because desiring to live in a world of fine tuned unreality .

Tony Peterson 1 month ago

Trump continues to act like a petulant three year old toddler screaming because he didn't get the cookie he wanted.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month ago

Did you see the part when he brought up his electoral vote win (why do trumpsters keep talking about the election?) and said he had more electoral votes since Reagan. When a reporter pointed out that his numbers were wrong, he just said "Well, that's what I was told." That's because all his flunkies only tell what he wants to hear. A "leak" from some White House staff members are reporting that anything presented to Trump has to fit what he wants to hear, or it isn't to be reported. Sound familiar to those who studied 20th century history? Or any history of dictatorships.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month ago

watch out Dorothy!! Those flag wavers are out there with their Godwin flags!

Bob Forer 1 month ago

Godwin flag? Is that what the Russian flag is called?

Richard Aronoff 1 month ago

Right after he said that he added he was referring to Republican presidents. But don't let facts get in your way.

Corey Williams 1 month ago

HW Bush got 426, but he only got one term so I could see how people forget about him.

Bob Forer 1 month ago

Re: Today's news conference.

In his first explanation of his decision to force out Michael T. Flynn, his national security adviser, on Monday, Mr. Trump said he was not troubled that Mr. Flynn had spoken with Russia’s ambassador in December, when the subject of sanctions against Russia was discussed. “When I looked at the information, I said I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Mr. Trump said. “In fact, I think he did something right.”

Contrast this comment with what Vice President Pence said to Chris Mathews on January 15. Asked if there had been any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, he answered: “Of course not. Why would there be any contacts?”

Great question, Mr. Vice President

Our executive branch is currently one bigly cluster _

Bob Forer 1 month ago

TRUMPS ONLY HONEST STATEMENT AT TODAY'S PRESSER

“There has never been a presidency that has done so much in such a short period of time,”

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month ago

Dang! You guys just about stole all my thunder!!! I am going to have to move faster to these "Trump Thumps" that appear in this news rag that claims to be disinterested in national affairs.

Yeah, two things. Just when I think that Trump has run out of outrageous lies and mis-statements, there is more. Just when I think he has exhausted his supply of targets for his rants and baloney.......well......there is more........and more.........and more ad infinitum.

And just when I think that reasonable and sane Republicans have had their fill of this jerk, well, they cower down and profess to continue to love, cherish and support hem. I guess "reasonable and sane" is not a description I would use for these cowardly Republicans.

And last, where is Bob Snowflake on this???? Did he run out of invective to attack any of us that would dare toss slings ad arrows at the beloved and imperial Commander in Chief.

Geezzz........4 more years of this crap.........are you up for it?? Really????

Bob Forer 1 month ago

Bobby is currently gazing at the Plunder-Monkey-in-Chief while he plunders his own little monkey.

Tony Peterson 1 month ago

Cheetoface won't last a year. Hasn't been in office for a month yet and is already melting down.

Bob Forer 1 month ago

What do you expect from a snowflake?

Richard Heckler 1 month ago

This is guy that was saved from bankruptcy at least once by the Russian mob. How much of Trump does the Russian mob own? Who is dishonest?

This is the guy that refuses to make available his tax history - Hey Trump what are you hiding?

This is the guy that wants to wipe out Planned Parenthood,Social Security Insurance,Medicare Insurance,Medicaid,Public Education,Supports Voter Suppression,Supports Lower wages for the USA work force and supports invasion of the female body.

FYI:

How many republican and democrat voters are Trump the conservatives and blue dog democrats willing to throw under the bus?

=== Government Services Are Good,Reliable , AFFORDABLE and Essential http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=7

=== FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICAID https://questions.medicaid.gov

=== SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

=== FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDICARE http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Medicare_FINAL.pdf

=== FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY INSURANCE http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/faq/

How many Republicans are Trump conservatives willing to throw under the bus?

=== RUINING THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

= http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures#Voter

= http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

Richard Aronoff 1 month ago

They call him crazy. They call him Hitler. A NYT reporter calls his wife a hooker. And the press goes postal when he hits back. Priceless.

Rachel Maddow mentions Hitler so often that I imagine Fred Whitehead uses an 8x10 glossy of her as a pleasuring aid.

What is particularly interesting is the president predicted how most of the media would report on the press conference and he was exactly right.

Trump is a Racist -- notwithstanding the fact that you can go to YouTube and see a video of Jesse Jackson praising Trump on several occasions for his contributions to the black community.

Trump is antisemitic -- notwithstanding the fact that his son-in-law, his daughter and his grandchildren are Jewish.

I lived in New York City for over 30 years -- about a ten minute walk from Trump Tower. NOBODY ever said any of the things that are thrown at Donald Trump until he announced his candidacy. The main stream media gave him absolutely no chance of winning. Now, many members of the MSM are "unhinged" because they can't accept they were so very wrong.

David Marden 1 month ago

Agree that the Trump-Hitler comparisons are a little off. A more appropriate fascist comparable is Mussolini. Mussolini was to Hitler as Trump is to Putin. A narcissistic, blustering puppet.

Greg Cooper 1 month ago

"What is particularly interesting is the president predicted how most of the media would report on the press conference and he was exactly right."

Of course he did: he's not stupid. Anybody who knew what he would do in office or listened to him on the campaign trail knew how he'd react to the media. For heaven's sake, he didn't hide his disdain for the media, so his present bashing of them is no surprise.

What he is, rather than stupid, is inept. At picking his henchmen, at econ policy, at human relations, at foreign policy, at hiding his lack of experience and common sense from the country, other than those who are always going to support him despite factual material. That's the problem here, not that Trump proclaims self-sustaining prophecy, but that he had been doing everything that sensible, informed people predicted he'd do even before he was nominated. And why we can hardly believe that you guys were so taken in by his rhetoric that you elected him.

David Marden 1 month ago

One thing I used to admire be able to admire about conservatives was their insistence on taking personal responsibility for your own condition. As a core principle, it had much to recommend it, except when talk-show gasbags used it to minimize the impact of hundreds of years of slavery and racism on holding African-Americans down. Sadly, conservatives have abandoned personal responsibility in favor of victimhood and finger-pointing. I'm making book on the first date that anyone in the Trump administration takes responsibility for something bad that happens on his watch. My guess - the 12th of never.

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