$1*/ mo hosting! Everything you need to succeed online with us!

Trump, NYT Publisher Spar Over President’s Attacks on US Media

U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday he recently told the publisher of The New York Times how he came to describe the mainstream news media as the “Enemy of the People,” but the news executive said he in turn told Trump his language was “inflammatory” and “increasingly dangerous” for journalists around the world.

In a Twitter comment, Trump described his July 20 meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger as “very good and interesting.” The U.S. leader said he “spent much time talking about the vast amounts of Fake News being put out by the media & how that Fake News has morphed into phrase, “Enemy of the People.” Sad!”

Sulzberger, perhaps the most prominent publisher in the U.S., said that in keeping with the “long tradition” of Times publishers meeting with past U.S. presidents, the conversation was “off the record,” at Trump aides’ request, meaning it was not intended for publication.

But the publisher said that with Trump’s tweet putting the meeting on the record, he decided to respond to give his account of the conversation from notes he took, along with those of the newspaper’s editorial page editor, James Bennet, who also attended the meeting.

“My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric, Sulzberger said. “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”

The publisher said, “I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

Sulzberger added, “I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.”

He said that “throughout the conversation I emphasized that if President Trump, like previous presidents, was upset with coverage of his administration he was of course free to tell the world. I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”

Trump often disparages news accounts he does not like as “fake news,” while calling Sulzberger’s paper the “failing New York Times.”

As he spoke to a veterans group last week, Trump pointed to reporters and told his crowd, “Stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.”

To accompanying boos of reporters, Trump said, “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”

Sulzberger did not say how Trump reacted to his comments at their White House meeting.

 

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Sunday to shut down the government if Congress does not fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to thwart illegal immigration.

The U.S. leader claimed opposition Democrats need to give him “the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” and other tougher national immigration policy changes. But it was a splintered Republican majority bloc of lawmakers, along with unified Democratic opposition, that twice in recent weeks rejected immigration changes Trump supported.

Trump, in a Twitter comment, called for the U.S. to “finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!

Trump’s call for a wall, a favorite vow from his 2016 presidential campaign, would likely cost more than $20 billion, but Congress so far has allocated only $1.5 billion for extra border security. Democrats have often assailed the wall proposal, along with some Republicans. Trump, meanwhile. has long claimed Mexico would pay for it, but Mexican leaders have adamantly said they would not, leaving the U.S. president to plead with Congress to fund it.

Trump’s threatened government shutdown would come as spending authorization runs out again at the end of the current fiscal year at the end of September, about five weeks before nationwide congressional elections on November 6. U.S. lawmakers usually, but not always, reach a spending accord shortly before funding runs out or after a short funding hiatus, as occurred last year.

As he continued to lobby for a border wall, Trump issued a new warning to migrants looking to illegally cross the Mexican border into the United States, saying they would face “consequences” even if they are accompanied by children.

He said that many of the border crossers “are just using children for their own sinister purposes.”

“Congress must act on fixing the DUMBEST & WORST immigration laws anywhere in the world!” Trump said. After the recent defeat of immigration legislation, there is no current active move to change U.S. immigration policies and one of the two chambers of Congress, the House of Representatives, just left Washington for a five-week summer recess.

Trump contended that “Democrats, who want Open Borders and care little about Crime, are incompetent, but they have the Fake News Media almost totally on their side!”

Trump’s latest attacks against U.S. immigrants entering the U.S. illegally — most of them from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — comes as his administration continues to deal with the fallout of his “zero tolerance” policy of weeks ago in which more than 2,500 children were separated from their parents as they crossed into the United States.

A month ago, Trump ended the breakup of families. Under a court order, the U.S. government reunited by last Thursday more than 1,800 children with their parents, other family members already in the U.S. or sponsor households.

But more than 700 more are awaiting reunification or can’t, for one reason or another, be reunified. A total of 431 parents were deported without their children or left of their own accord. Nearly 100 children have parents who can’t be located.

Dana Sabraw, a U.S. judge in San Diego, California, who is overseeing the reunification of families, said the government deserves “great credit” for the reunification of the 1,800 children with their parents or other family members. But he also said “the government is at fault for losing several hundred parents in the process and that’s where we go next.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Court Pick Kavanaugh’s Gun Views Are No Mystery

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he recognizes that gun, drug and gang violence “has plagued all of us.” Still, he believes the Constitution limits how far government can go to restrict gun use to prevent crime. 

As a federal appeals court judge, Kavanaugh made it clear in a 2011 dissent that he thinks Americans can keep most guns, even the AR-15 rifles used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. 

Kavanaugh’s nomination by President Donald Trump has delighted Second Amendment advocates. Gun law supporters worry that his ascendancy to America’s highest court would make it harder to curb the proliferation of guns. Kavanaugh has the support of the National Rifle Association, which posted a photograph of Kavanaugh and Trump across the top of its website. 

The Supreme Court has basically stayed away from major gun cases since its rulings in 2008 and 2010 declared a right to have a gun, at least in the home for the purpose of self-defense. 

Gun rights advocates believe Kavanaugh interprets the Second Amendment right to bear arms more broadly than does Anthony Kennedy, the justice he would replace. As a first step, some legal experts expect Kavanaugh would be more likely to vote for the court to hear a case that could expand the right to gun ownership or curtail a gun control law.

Kavanaugh would be a “big improvement” over Kennedy, said Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. Kennedy sided with the majority in rulings in 2008 and 2010 overturning bans on handgun possession in the District of Columbia and Chicago, respectively, but some gun rights proponents believe he was a moderating influence.

“Kennedy tended to be all over the map” on the Second Amendment, Pratt said.

​’Dangerous views’

Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who was gravely wounded in a 2011 shooting at a constituent gathering, said in a written statement that Kavanaugh’s “dangerous views on the Second Amendment are far outside the mainstream of even conservative thought.”

She predicted that Kavanaugh would back the gun lobby’s agenda, “putting corporate interests before public safety.”

In his 2011 dissent in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh argued that the district’s ban on semiautomatic rifles and its gun registration requirement were unconstitutional.

That case is known as “Heller II” because it followed the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller striking down the city’s ban on handguns in the home.

Kavanaugh said the Supreme Court held that handguns are constitutionally protected “because they have not traditionally been banned and are in common use by law-abiding citizens.”

“Gun bans and gun regulations that are not long-standing or sufficiently rooted in text, history and tradition are not consistent with the Second Amendment individual right,” he wrote in a point rejected by the majority.

Critics contend Kavanaugh’s analysis is flawed because AR-15s were not around during the early days of the republic.

Constitutional limit

In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote that he had lived and worked in Washington for most of his life and was “acutely aware of the gun, drug and gang violence that has plagued all of us.”

He said few government responsibilities are more significant than fighting violent crime. “That said, the Supreme Court has long made clear that the Constitution disables the government from employing certain means to prevent, deter or detect violent crime,” he wrote. 

He said it was unconstitutional to ban the most popular semiautomatic rifle, the AR-15, since it accounted for 5.5 percent of firearms by 2007 and over 14 percent of rifles produced in the U.S. for the domestic market.

He said semiautomatic rifles had been commercially available since at least 1903, “are quite common in the United States” and the Supreme Court said in a 1994 ruling that they “traditionally have been widely accepted as lawful possessions.”

Semiautomatic rifles were used in several mass shootings in recent years, including the February killing of 17 people at a Florida high school.

Kavanaugh rejected the majority’s reasoning that semiautomatic handguns were sufficient for self-defense, saying: “That’s a bit like saying books can be banned because people can always read newspapers.”

He belittled the description of the guns as “assault weapons,” saying that handguns could be called the “quintessential” assault weapons because they are used much more than other guns in violent crimes. 

He was equally dismissive of Washington’s gun registration protocol, saying it had not been traditionally required in the nation and “remains highly unusual today.”

Machine guns

Still, Kavanaugh supported the ban on full automatics or machine guns, reasoning that they “were developed for the battlefield and were never in widespread civilian use.”

In 2016, Kavanaugh dissented when two of his colleagues lifted an order blocking the city from enforcing a limit on issuing licenses to carry concealed firearms.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence said the dissent shows Kavanaugh believes the district’s “good reason” requirement for concealed-carry permit applicants is unconstitutional. His views on that subject drew more scrutiny after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 days ago in a Hawaii case that people have the right to openly carry guns in public for self-defense. 

 

Phil Mendelson, a Democrat and chairman of the D.C. Council, said Kavanaugh’s dissent made clear that “his views on gun control are on the extreme side.” Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, a Democrat and professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, said she’s “worried about the shift to the right, for sure.”

Some legal experts believe Kavanaugh’s confirmation would make it more likely the court would hear another potentially groundbreaking Second Amendment case. Only four of nine justices need to vote in favor of reviewing a case.

UCLA law school professor Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, said Kavanaugh could become that crucial fourth vote because three justices — Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito Jr. — all have voiced support for the court to take on Second Amendment cases.

Still, it takes five justices to win a case and Chief Justice John Roberts may turn out to be as reluctant as Kennedy to further define the law.

Georgia State University law professor Eric Segall said the court’s recent silence on gun laws has fueled speculation that neither the conservative justices nor their liberal colleagues knew how Kennedy would vote. Segall suspects the Supreme Court would be more likely to review a Second Amendment case if Kavanaugh is confirmed because there is less uncertainty about where he stands compared with Kennedy.

“The lower courts are just all over the place, reaching different results on different gun laws. The court has to provide guidance at some point, and it will,” Segall said.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

AP Fact Check: Trump Falsely Claims Historic Turnaround

President Donald Trump falsely claimed he’s pulled off “an economic turnaround of historic proportions.”

Speaking at the White House Friday after the government reported that the economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the second quarter, Trump declared that the gains were sustainable and would only accelerate. Few economists outside the administration agree with this claim.

His remarks followed events Thursday in Iowa and Illinois, where Trump falsely repeated a claim that the U.S. economy is the best “we’ve ever had” and incorrectly asserted that Canada’s trade market is “totally closed.”

 

WATCH: Trump Says Economy Numbers Sustainable, But Experts Doubtful

A look at the claims:

Historic turnaround

TRUMP: “We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.” — remarks Friday at the White House.

THE FACTS: Trump didn’t inherit a fixer-upper economy.

The U.S. economy just entered its 10th year of growth, a recovery that began under President Barack Obama, who inherited the Great Recession. The data show that the falling unemployment rate and gains in home values reflect the duration of the recovery, rather than any major changes made since 2017 by the Trump administration.

While Trump praised the 4.1 percent annual growth rate in the second quarter, it exceeded that level four times during the Obama presidency. But quarterly figures are volatile and strength in one quarter can be reversed in the next. While Obama never achieved the 3 percent annual growth that Trump hopes to see, he came close. The economy grew 2.9 percent in 2015.

The economy faces two significant structural drags that could keep growth closer to 2 percent than 3 percent: an aging population, which means fewer people are working and more are retired, and weak productivity growth, which means that those who are working aren’t increasing their output as quickly as in the past.

Both of those factors are largely beyond Trump’s control.

Trade deficit

TRUMP: “One of the biggest wins in the report, and it is, indeed a big one, is that the trade deficit — very dear to my heart because we’ve been ripped off by the world — has dropped.”

THE FACTS: Trump is correct that a lower trade deficit helped growth in the April-June quarter, but it’s not necessarily for a positive reason.

The president has been floating plans to slap import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign goods, which has led to the risk of retaliatory tariffs by foreign companies on U.S. goods.

This threat of an escalating trade war has led many companies to increase their levels of trade before any tariffs hit, causing the temporary boost in exports being celebrated by Trump.

Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial, said the result is that the gains from trade in the second quarter will not be repeated.

​Best economy ever

TRUMP: “We’re having the best economy we’ve ever had in the history of our country.” — remarks in Granite City, Illinois.

THE FACTS: Even allowing for Trump’s tendency to exaggerate, this overstates things.

The unemployment rate is near a 40-year low and growth is solid, but by many measures the current economy trails other periods in U.S. history. Average hourly pay, before adjusting for inflation, is rising around a 2.5 percent annual rate, below the 4 percent level reached in the late 1990s when the unemployment rate was as low as it is now.

Pay was growing even faster in the late 1960s, when the jobless rate remained below 4 percent for nearly four years. And economic growth topped 4 percent for three full years from 1998 through 2000, an annual rate it hasn’t touched since.

Canada market closed

TRUMP: “The Canadians, you have a totally closed market … they have a 375 percent tax on dairy products, other than that it’s wonderful to deal. And we have a very big deficit with Canada, a trade deficit.” — remarks in Peosta, Iowa.

THE FACTS: No, it’s not totally closed. Because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada’s market is almost totally open to the United States. Each country has a few products that are still largely protected, such as dairy in Canada and sugar in the United States.

Trump also repeated his claim that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada, but that is true only in goods. When services are included, such as insurance, tourism, and engineering, the U.S. had a $2.8 billion surplus with Canada last year.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Trump Says Economy Numbers Sustainable, But Experts Doubtful

Friday’s positive numbers on the U.S. economic growth are “very, very sustainable,” according to U.S. President Donald Trump. His comments came after figures showed U.S. GDP growth hit 4.1 percent in the second quarter. The question is whether that growth is sustainable, as VOA’s Bill Gallo reports from the White House.

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Pentagon Creating Software ‘Do Not Buy’ List to Keep Out Russia, China

The Pentagon is working on a software “do not buy” list to block vendors who use software code originating from Russia and China, a top Defense Department acquisitions official said Friday.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters the Pentagon has been working for six months on a “do not buy” list of software vendors. The list is meant to help the Department of Defense’s acquisitions staff and industry partners avoid purchasing problematic code for the Pentagon and suppliers.

“What we are doing is making sure that we do not buy software that has Russian or Chinese provenance, for instance, and quite often that’s difficult to tell at first glance because of holding companies,” she told reporters gathered in a conference room near her Pentagon office.

The Pentagon has worked closely with the intelligence community, she said, adding “we have identified certain companies that do not operate in a way consistent with what we have for defense standards.”

Identifying these companies has meant that they are put on a list that is shared with the Pentagon’s acquisitions staff.

Lord did not provide any further detail on the list.

She also said an upcoming report on the U.S. military supply chain will show the Pentagon depends on Chinese components for some military equipment, a top Defense Department official said Friday.

The industrial base report will show “there is a large focus on dependency on foreign countries for supply, and China figures very prominently.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Trump Thanks North Korea for Return of US War Remains

U.S. President Donald Trump extended a word of gratitude to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Friday for returning to U.S. authorities what are believed to be the remains of 55 U.S. service members who were killed in the Korean War more than six decades ago.

“I want to thank Chairman Kim for keeping his word,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “We have many others coming, but I want to thank Chairman Kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me and I’m sure he will continue to fulfill that promise as they search and search and search.”

The transfer of the remains is the beginning of the fulfillment of an agreement reached between Kim and Trump during their historic Singapore summit last month.

About 7,700 U.S. soldiers are listed as missing from the Korean War, and 5,300 of the remains are believed to still be in North Korea.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon Friday the return of the remains may help remove a cloud of uncertainty that some grieving families have been forced to grapple with for decades.

“We have families that … have never had closure. They’ve never gone out and had the body returned, so what we’re seeing here is an opportunity to give those families closure, to make certain that we continue to look for those remaining.”

The White House said Thursday that a U.S. military plane transporting the remains departed Wonsan, North Korea. The plane landed Friday morning at Osan Air Base near the South Korean capital of Seoul, where the White House said a formal repatriation ceremony will be held on August 1.

The remains will be transferred from the base to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii, where forensic work will be done to identify them.

Friday (June 27) marks the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 war that split the communist North and the democratic South.

The remains were the first returned to the U.S. since a joint U.S.-North Korean effort between 1996 and 2005 recovered what were believed to have been the remains of 220 U.S. soldiers.

Since then, U.S. efforts to bring more American service members home have been slowed due to escalating tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs.

White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman and Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb contributed to this report.

 

 

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Bolton May Meet Russian Security Official By End of Summer

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton may meet the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, by the end of summer, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.

Ryabkov said a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was also being discussed but there had been some difficulties over scheduling.

“We are looking into different options of where minister Lavrov and Secretary of State Pompeo could possibly meet, including the sidelines of international events,” Ryabkov said.

 

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

CNN: Lawyer Says Trump Knew in Advance of Meeting with Russian

U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said that Trump knew in advance about a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower at which Russians offered to provide damaging information about his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, CNN reported Thursday.

CNN, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter, said Cohen is willing to make that assertion to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign.

“He cannot be believed,” Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, told Reuters Thursday, referring to Cohen. “If they rely on him … it would destroy whatever case they have.” Giuliani was referring to Mueller’s investigation.

Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. His attorney Lanny Davis declined to comment.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for Manhattan federal prosecutors, also declined to comment.

Cohen under investigation

Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, and for possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who has claimed she had a sexual encounter with Trump, and other matters related to Trump’s campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters.

Cohen has not been charged with any crime. Trump has denied having had an encounter with Daniels.

Previously Trump has denied knowing in advance that the meeting was going to take place, and he has denied that there was any collusion between his campaign and Russia. Moscow has denied meddling in the election.

​Trump Tower meeting

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., along with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and senior campaign aide Paul Manafort took part in the meeting with Nataliya Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer and acknowledged Kremlin informant.

Donald Trump Jr. told investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 that he did not tell his father about the meeting beforehand, according to documents released by the committee.

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organization and Donald Trump Jr., told Reuters, “Donald Trump Jr. has been professional and responsible throughout the Mueller and congressional investigations. We are very confident of the accuracy and reliability of the information that has been provided by Mr. Trump, Jr., and on his behalf.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

Democrat Senator Confirms Russia Tried to Hack Computers

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri says Russian hackers tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate her Senate computer network, raising questions about the extent to which Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 elections.

McCaskill, who is up for re-election this year, confirmed the attempted hack after The Daily Beast website reported that Russia’s GRU intelligence agency tried to break into the senator’s computers in August 2017. The Daily Beast report Thursday was based on the site’s forensic analysis after a Microsoft executive said last week that the company had helped stop email phishing attacks on three unidentified candidates.

In a statement, McCaskill said she wants to hold the hackers and Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable.

“While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this,” she said. “I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.”

Her office would not give any details about the attempted attack or say how they learned about it. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he did not have immediate comment. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday night.

Vulnerable Senate seat

McCaskill, a Democrat in a state that overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump, is considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for re-election this year. According to The Daily Beast, the email phishing scam that targeted her office was similar to a successful Russian hacking of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, in 2016.

The report comes two days after Trump suggested that the Russians may try to help Democrats in this election cycle. He has repeatedly questioned the extent to which Russia interfered in the 2016 elections despite an assessment from the country’s intelligence agencies that they did. The intelligence agencies said Russia was attempting to help Trump win the election.

Trump tweeted Tuesday, without evidence: “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”

Warner urges action

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said the news confirms what he and others have warned for some time.

“The Russians saw 2016 as a success, and they’ll be back in 2018, unless we do far more to protect ourselves than we’re currently doing,” Warner said, “Unfortunately, the lack of leadership from the White House means that we still have no all-of-government approach to addressing this threat.”

Build a better website in under an hour. Start for free at us!

    $.99* .COM Domain! You be you with us!     Web Hosting $3.95