The Civil War monument on Donald Trump's Lowes Island golf course commemorates a battle that's likely fictional
When visiting the newly-minted Trump National Golf Club on Lowes Island in Sterling, Virginia, golfers can stop between the 14th and 15th tees and pay their respects to the many soldiers who died in a Civil War battle there.
Or did they?
Even though there's a monument and plaque commemorating "casualties [that] were so great the water would turn red and thus became known as 'The River of Blood,'" all the local historians reached by The New York Times denied anything of the sort ever happened in the area.
"No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there," Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, the region's historical preservation group, said. Alana Blumenthal, who curates the Loudoun Museum in nearby Leesburg, agreed there had never been a battle at or near the site, as did another expert who chose not to be named.
When told about the historians' denial of the so-called River of Blood massacre, Trump replied, "How would they know that? Were they there?"
He elaborated, explaining that the place he marked on the river was a "prime site for river crossings." "So, if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot — a lot of them," Trump said.
Mr. Trump repeatedly said that "numerous historians" had told him the golf club site was known as The River of Blood. But he said he did not remember their names.
Then he said the historians had actually spoken not to him but to "my people." But he refused to identify any underlings who might still possess the historians' names.
"Write your story the way you want to write it," Mr. Trump said finally, when pressed unsuccessfully for anything that could corroborate his claim. "You don't have to talk to anybody. It doesn't make any difference. But many people were shot. It makes sense." [The New York Times]
China, Iran, and North Korea could join Russia in attempting to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, National Security Adviser John Bolton said on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Bolton told host Martha Raddatz there is "a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling, and North Korean meddling that we're taking steps to try and prevent it" — but he would not answer her question about whether there is any evidence China has tried to hack American elections in the past.
National security adviser John Bolton says in addition to Russia, there's "sufficient national security concern" that China, Iran, and North Korea are meddling in the 2018 U.S. elections.
"Those are the four countries that we're most concerned about" https://t.co/eYlWTEQpta pic.twitter.com/a5ihTMwUGo
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 19, 2018
Raddatz also asked whether Bolton would support fighting the 17-year war in Afghanistan entirely using contractors instead of the U.S. military. (Contractors already outnumber U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan by a large margin.) Bolton dodged the question with a bromide about entertaining new tactics.
Watch that exchange below. Bonnie Kristian
.@MarthaRaddatz: "Would you consider privatizing (in Afghanistan), using contractors instead of U.S. military?"
White House national security adviser John Bolton: "I'm always open to new ideas...That will ultimately be the president's decision" https://t.co/gZkXtxqCCj #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/vaRger8Vvn
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 19, 2018
Former CIA Director John Brennan is considering legal action against the Trump administration after President Trump revoked his security clearance as part of a very public feud, Brennan said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
"I have been contacted by a number of lawyers and they have already given me their thoughts about the basis for a complaint, an injunction, to try and prevent him from doing this in the future," Brennan told host Chuck Todd. "If my clearances and my reputation — as I'm being pulled through the mud now — if that's the price we're going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it's a small price to pay, so I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will do that."
Pressed by Todd as to whether he regrets "essentially accusing the president of treason," Brennan said no. "I've been speaking out rather forcefully, because I believe it's important to do so," he said. "I don't believe I'm being political at all." Contra Todd, who highlighted his prominence as "the former CIA director accusing the sitting president of the United States," Brennan maintained he is merely a "private citizen."
Watch the full segment below. Bonnie Kristian
Those who say President Trump should testify for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation "because he's going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, well, that's so silly, because it's somebody's version of the truth — not the truth [itself[," Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said on NBC News Sunday.
"Truth is truth," Meet the Press host Chuck Todd interjected.
"No," Giuliani replied, "it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth."
After a moment of crosstalk and protestation, Todd observed Giuliani's phrase "is going to become a bad meme."
While Trump himself has at times expressed eagerness to testify, his legal team has been wary of permitting it, with Giuliani alleging Mueller is attempting to trap Trump in perjury. His Orwellian phrasing aside, Giuliani's concern is not particularly unusual, especially for a lawyer with a loquacious fabulist for a client.
Giuliani's full interview mostly concerned Saturday's news that White House counsel Don McGahn has voluntarily given 30 hours of interviews to the Mueller team, as well as President Trump's response to that story. Watch the complete conversation with Todd below; the exchange about truth begins around the nine-minute mark. Bonnie Kristian
Syria's Idlib province is expected to be the site of the final major battle of the seven-year Syrian civil war.
The country's strongman President Bashar al-Assad has retaken most rebel-held territory across Syria, and Idlib is the last large rebel-held enclave. About 70,000 rebel fighters are in the province, driven by regime forces from other Syrian regions.
Idlib is also the temporary home of internally displaced people who have fled more intense fighting elsewhere in Syria. Now, the fighting will likely come to their doorsteps once again as a new offensive is thought to be imminent.
"We are asking God for mercy and protection from the bombing and the airstrikes," said a woman named Aisha, who lives in Idlib with her family. "If I take [my children] with me outside, I am scared. If I leave them inside the house, I'm also scared. Wherever I go, I will still be scared for their lives." Bonnie Kristian
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on Wednesday arrested Joel Arrona-Lara as he drove his wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, to the hospital to give birth. Arrona-Lara was detained when he stopped at a gas station, and Venegas, left sobbing at the station, ultimately drove herself to the hospital and delivered the baby alone.
ICE said Saturday the arrest was made because Arrona-Lara is in the U.S. illegally and there is an "outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges." The agency "will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," the statement said. "All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States."
Venegas told CNN the murder accusation is the result of "a misunderstanding." The couple's attorney, Emilio Amaya García, said he was not able to locate a Mexican warrant for Arrona-Lara's arrest. "Using the name and date of birth, we couldn't find anything saying he was in any criminal proceedings," he said.
"I'm well healthwise, but emotionally bad," Venegas said after the birth. Her experience has been a nightmare, she added, and she "had wanted it to be a dream." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump intends to announce this coming week new guidelines for emissions from coal power plants, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
The proposal would reverse an Obama administration policy, the Clean Power Plan, intended to discourage coal use long-term. The new plan would allow states to set comparatively looser standards for coal plants for the next decade.
The Post reports the Trump proposal will result in the release of 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as compared to emissions under the Obama-era rules, and other pollutant emissions will be affected as well:
"These numbers tell the story, that [the Trump administration] really remain[s] committed not to do anything to address greenhouse gas emissions," said Joseph Goffman, formerly associate assistant administrator for climate at the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation. "They show not merely indifference to climate change but really, opposition to doing anything about climate change."
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, meanwhile, hailed the expected rule change as a win. "We're certainly pleased and supportive of the administration rolling back what we thought were harmful regulations," said the organization's president, Michelle Bloodworth. "It's a step in the right direction." Bonnie Kristian
President Trump raged on Twitter early Sunday, continuing an overnight series of tweets on a Saturday New York Times report that White House counsel Don McGahn has cooperated extensively with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation:
The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite - & the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2018
In previous posts, Trump claimed he approved McGahn's information sharing for the sake of transparency and that the Times published the piece to unfairly smear McGahn:
I allowed White House Counsel Don McGahn, and all other requested members of the White House Staff, to fully cooperate with the Special Counsel. In addition we readily gave over one million pages of documents. Most transparent in history. No Collusion, No Obstruction. Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2018
The failing @nytimes wrote a Fake piece today implying that because White House Councel Don McGahn was giving hours of testimony to the Special Councel, he must be a John Dean type “RAT.” But I allowed him and all others to testify - I didn’t have to. I have nothing to hide......
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2018
The president also reprised a familiar refrain of protests and misdirection about collusion, Hillary Clinton, the media, McCarthyism, and the "witch hunt." Read more about the Times story that has him so agitated here. Bonnie Kristian