The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia | TheHill


In the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump has appeared ambivalent about the right response to the kingdom and its crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, whom the U.S. administration has previously backed.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner was an emphatic supporter of Mohammed, often known in Washington circles by his initials, MBS.
On Friday, Trump said he viewed the latest Saudi statement as credible and called the arrest of 18 Saudi nationals in connection with the case “a great first step.”
But the kingdom’s statement — its first acknowledgement after more than two weeks that Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul — drew derision in Washington, including from Republican lawmakers such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Graham has, of late, been a strong Trump ally.
Nine other GOP senators, as well as Graham and Corker, have signed a letter to Trump calling for an investigation into whether sanctions should be levied against individual Saudis over Khashoggi’s death. Those sanctions could target the crown prince himself or his allies.
The Republican critiques point to a larger problem for Trump.
The Saudis are not viewed sympathetically even by conservative foreign policy voices or by Trump’s broader base, which tend to regard U.S. support for Riyadh as a necessary evil aimed at countering Iranian influence in the Middle East.
That makes it harder for Trump to gain traction with his case, outlined this week, that the Saudis have been somehow treated unfairly.
Trump twice compared the Saudis’ situation with that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings — first, in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday and, in milder form, while speaking to reporters on Friday.

 

Source: The Memo: Trump in a corner on Saudi Arabia | TheHill

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UK joins chorus of disapproval after Trump praises assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian


The British government has joined press freedom advocates and journalists in expressing dismay and disgust with Donald Trump’s remarks at a rally, where he praised the unprovoked assault on a Guardian US journalist by the state’s congressman, Greg Gianforte.

At the Republican rally in Montana on Thursday night, the president lauded and made jokes about the violent attack by Gianforte, when he was a candidate, on the Guardian’s political reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017.

A spokeswoman for the British prime minister, Theresa May, when asked about the president’s remarks, said on Friday: “Any violence or intimidation against a journalist is completely unacceptable.”

Journalists across the US launched into fierce criticism of the congressman, via social media.

“Gianforte is a criminal. He pled guilty to [assault]. The president is congratulating a criminal on committing a crime,” said the New York Times correspondent Binyamin Appelbaum on Twitter.

Trump’s comments “mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil,” added the New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Trump fondly reminisced about the physical assault that occurred on 24 Maylast year when Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, asked Gianforte a question about healthcare policy in the course of a special congressional election in Montana. At Thursday’s rally, Trump said that anyone who could perform a body-slam, as Gianforte did on Jacobs, was “my guy”, and that news of the attack, which occurred the night before the special election, probably helped Gianforte win.

Trump finished his account of the physical assault by saying of Gianforte: “He’s a great guy. Tough cookie.” The partisan crowd at the rally in Missoula in western Montana clapped and cheered.

On Friday afternoon, on his way to a rally in Arizona, Trump was asked if he regretted the comments. He said: “No, no, no, not at all,” according to a tweetfrom a CNN reporter traveling with the president. He labelled the rally a tremendous success and called Gianforte a “tremendous person”.

The writers’ organization PEN America, which had filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Donald Trump accusing him of violating the first amendment of the US constitution by using his powerful position to threaten press freedom, has also condemned the president’s encouragement for Gianforte’s attack.

In a statement issued on Friday, PEN America said Trump’s “explicit praise” for Gianforte’s assault “marks a startling new low in terms of the White House’s open hostility toward the press”.

 

Source: UK joins chorus of disapproval after Trump praises assault on Guardian reporter | US news | The Guardian

Trump, GSA head caught putting Trump business ahead of taxpayers : MSNBC


Rep. Elijah Cummings talks with Rachel Maddow about e-mails that show Donald Trump’s direct role in preventing the FBI from moving to a new building and leaving their old building to likely development as a hotel that would compete with Trump’s.

 

Source: Trump, GSA head caught putting Trump business ahead of taxpayers : MSNBC

Donald Trump’s racist obsessions are the real story — not Elizabeth Warren’s heritage | Salon.com


After years of Donald Trump taunting Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with the racist nickname “Pocahontas” and suggesting, falsely, that she used her family’s claim to have Native American ancestry for a leg up in her law career, the truth is now out: Warren, as her family has long believed, is partly of Native ancestry. A DNA test, analyzed by a Stanford scientist prominent in the field, confirms not just this fact but the Warren family’s timeline, which traced their Native ancestor back to the 1700s.

Now this largely irrelevant question — once again, Warren never used her claim to Native ancestry to influence her career trajectory — should be settled. Maybe the mainstream media can turn its attention to the more important and more interesting story, which is why Trump is so obsessed with this question of Warren’s ancestry in the first place. An overwhelming amount of public information suggests that Trump has an unhealthy obsession with questions of bloodlines, ethnic heritage and genetics. Worse yet, his understanding of these issues appears to be filtered through the lens of eugenics, a pseudo-science with an unsavory history that looks even more troubling in light of Trump’s overt and well-documented racism.

This isn’t even the first time Trump has become fixated on the question of the racial heritage of a major Democratic politician. It was he, after all, who catapulted a fringe conspiracy theory that Barack Obama had somehow faked his birth certificate into the mainstream news cycle, hyping this conspiracy theory not just on Fox News but on NBC and ABC. Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate, settling the issue in the mainstream media — which should have never let Trump play this racist game in the first place — but Trump kept on hyping birtherism, using his Twitter account to repeatedly insinuate that Obama had cheated his way into the White House.

Trump praises first responders after Hurricane Michael

 

Source: Donald Trump’s racist obsessions are the real story — not Elizabeth Warren’s heritage | Salon.com

Trump falsely says Kavanaugh was ‘proven innocent’ at swearing-in | US news | The Guardian


Donald Trump, speaking at a triumphalist White House ceremony, has made the baseless claim that the new supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh was “proven innocent” of allegations of sexual assault.

In what he acknowledged was a break from tradition, the US president told a packed East Room on Monday: “On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure. Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.”

 

Source: Trump falsely says Kavanaugh was ‘proven innocent’ at swearing-in | US news | The Guardian

Why Kavanaugh should not be confirmed


If Kavanaugh’s nomination is successful then justice, truth and honesty is failing in the US.

Phil Ebersole's Blog

Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh is a political hack who should not have received the Court of Appeals appointment he has, and should have been rejected by the Senate committee as a nominee for Supreme Court without calling Christine Blasey Ford to testify,

He got his start helping special prosecutor Ken Starr investigate Bill Clinton, was part of the legal team that challenged the voter recount in Florida in 2000 and then worked for White House Special Counsel Alberto Gonzalez in the George W. Bush administration.

There are questions as to whether he was involved in discussions of warrantless surveillance, warrantless detentions and torture, and George W. Bush’s sweeping assertions of presidential authority in signing statements. Kavanaugh has said these issues weren’t part of his job, while the Trump administration has held back on releasing the documentary record of Kavanaugh’s service.

What Kavanaugh thinks about these questions goes to the heart…

View original post 438 more words

Trump Even Inherited His Father’s Self-Made Myth – Bloomberg


The estate the future president was referring to was the lucrative collection of housing and commercial properties his father Fred had assembled over decades, making the Trump family wealthy. Based on reporting I had done for a biography, “TrumpNation,” it was my understanding that Trump had turned to his siblings for a pair of loans totaling $30 million so he could avoid plunging into personal bankruptcy in the early 1990s.

Trump’s siblings doubted their brother could repay them because his collection of condominium buildings, casinos, hotels and other assorted properties was collapsing under the weight of billions of dollars in bank loans he couldn’t repay. So they made him pledge his future share of his father’s estate as collateral and loaned him the money. Trump gave me his “word” that none of that had happened, but I wrote about it anyway. When he later unsuccessfully sued me for libel he was forced to acknowledge under oath during the litigation that he had, indeed, borrowed from his family.

“We would have literally closed down,” a former Trump Organization employee with direct knowledge of Trump’s attempts to keep his company and himself afloat told me in 2005. “The key would have been in the door and there would have been no more Donald Trump. The family saved him.”

It wasn’t really the entire family that saved Trump, of course. It was Fred, the man who held the purse strings. And the president, who is 72, has spent about five decades pretending not only that his father never rescued him from bankruptcy but that he played a minimal role in his business successes.

“It has not been easy for me,” Trump said in 2015 during the presidential race. “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”

As I noted in a column in 2016, Trump was lying when he said that — allowing him to also gloss over how central his father was to his career.

When Trump entered the Manhattan real estate business in the mid-1970s, Fred cosigned bank loans for tens of millions of dollars, making it possible for Trump to develop early projects like the Grand Hyatt hotel. When he targeted Atlantic City’s casino market, Fred loaned him about $7.5 million to get started. When he floundered there in the ’90s, Fred sent a lawyer into a Trump casino to buy $3.5 million in chips so his son could use the funds for a bond payment and avoid filing for corporate bankruptcy. There are many other examples like these.

 

Source: Trump Even Inherited His Father’s Self-Made Myth – Bloomberg

Fraud of Trump’s self-made persona exposed in father’s financials : MSNBC


Rachel Maddow shares highlights from extensive New York Times reporting showing that contrary to Donald Trump’s efforts to portray himself as the product of his own work, much of his money is the result of his father feeding money to

 

Source: Fraud of Trump’s self-made persona exposed in father’s financials : MSNBC

Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford at Mississippi rally as supporters cheer | US news | The Guardian


In a raucous campaign-style rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, Donald Trump mocked Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who in wrenching testimony before the Senate judiciary committee last week said that the supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager. Kavanaugh has denied the incident.

As hundreds of supporters cheered, Trump delivered a crude imitation of Ford from her testimony, in which she vividly described a violent sexual assault by Kavanaugh in the early 1980s but admitted that details of the time and place were lost to memory.

Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 20 women, whose allegations he has denied and dismissed. But last week he called Ford a “very credible witness” and said: “I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman.”

 

Source: Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford at Mississippi rally as supporters cheer | US news | The Guardian

‘Really a sociopath’: Psychiatrist explains how ‘fragile’ Trump is both an authoritarian strongman and a baby : RawStory


A senior official in the White House wrote an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times declaring that Trump is unfit for office and a danger to American democracy. (According to literary scholar Don Foster’s analysis for Salon, the likely author is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.) On at least two other occasions, White House insiders reached out to Yale University psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee with their concerns that Donald Trump was “unraveling” and that they were “scared” by his behavior. According to a New York Times report, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein considered secretly recording Donald Trump as part of a broader plan to recruit senior administration officials and Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from the presidency.

Donald Trump’s lack of mental wellness continues to be on full display. Last week, in an almost 90-minute press conference Trump showed once again that he is detached from empirical reality, declaring that China respects him because of his “very, very large brain,” misrepresenting the facts and habitually lying about matters large and small. On Saturday night at a rally in West Virginia, Trump showed his authoritarian inclinations and grandiose, malignant narcissism by declaring that he and North Korea’s murderous dictator, Kim Jong-un, “fell in love” because of the “beautiful letters” they exchanged.

What are the origins of Donald Trump’s mental health issues? How does his childhood help to explain his pathological adult behavior? Is Trump capable of self-reflection and empathy? Is he in fact a sociopath? Is Trump’s infantile behavior and chronic lying unprecedented in the history of the American presidency? Why are some people so intensely attracted to Trump and what he represents — and what does his power over his supporters reveal about their collective mental health and psychological well-being?

In an effort to answer these questions I recently spoke with Dr. Justin Frank. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the George Washington University Medical Center

 

Source: ‘Really a sociopath’: Psychiatrist explains how ‘fragile’ Trump is both an authoritarian strongman and a baby : RawStory