CNN's Chris Cuomo says Trump's 'insistence on covering for himself' has cost the U.S. 'a lot of legitimacy'
President Trump came out on Tuesday with what he called a "clarification" of remarks he made in Helsinki on Monday, but CNN's Chris Cuomo and his giant computer screen weren't buying it.
While standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump had an "epic fail in front of the world," Cuomo said, choosing Putin's "lies over his own country's truth." Trump on Tuesday said he misspoke, and meant to say "I don't know why it wouldn't be" Russia that meddled in the election, rather than "would." Cuomo had the portion of his remarks up on the screen, and ripped apart this explanation, going sentence by sentence.
Trump believes when the 2016 election is attacked, it "delegitimizes his win," Cuomo said, and "if it comes down to what is best for Trump or what is best for you, you're going to lose, and the world saw this yesterday and it was shameful." The most authentic proof of this is found in Trump's prepared remarks from Tuesday. They were typed, but Trump wrote in huge letters on top, "There was no colusion [sic]."
"Why?" Cuomo said. "Even though it has nothing to do with saying it is true that Russia attacked us, it is what he cares about, and you know it's authentic because he misspelled collusion and that is something he does, he misspells words." Trump also crossed out a line about bringing those involved "in that meddling to justice," and that's because "he hates the notion that there could be any sense of justice, fairness under law, that involves punishing him or anyone around him," Cuomo said. "The insistence on covering for himself cost our country a lot of legitimacy in Helsinki." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia
While speaking at a rally in Montana on Thursday evening, President Trump said should he ever find himself debating Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), he'll "gently" throw an ancestry test kit at her and offer $1 million to her favorite charity if she takes it.
Trump has long called Warren "Pocahontas," a reference to her claimed Native American heritage, and used the name throughout his speech. He promised that "in the middle of the debate, when she proclaims that she is of Indian heritage because her mother said she has high cheekbones — that's her only evidence, that her mother said she had high cheekbones — we will take that little kit ... we will slowly toss it, hoping it doesn't hit her and injure her arm, even though it only weighs probably two ounces." (Warren cites family lore, not her cheekbones, when discussing her heritage.)
The reason why he'd lightly throw the kit? "We have to do it gently, because we're in the #MeToo generation — so we have to be very gentle," Trump said. He told the crowd that he'd offer Warren $1 million "if you take the test and it shows you're an Indian. And we'll see what she does. I have a feeling she will say no, but we will hold it for the debates." Trump has been criticized for mockingly calling Warren "Pocahontas," and in a message to the deceased historical figure, he said: "Pocahontas, I apologize to you. To the fake Pocahontas, I won't." Catherine Garcia
"The situation isn't very nice," Merkel mused. "I don't think that ratcheting up the rhetoric is going to improve things," she continued. "Sometimes I get the impression that the U.S. president believes that only one side wins and the other loses," said Merkel, adding that she believes mutually beneficial arrangements are possible.
Merkel is not the first to identify Trump's zero-sum view of trade (and everything else). Negotiation experts and people who have negotiated with and against Trump described him as "confident, competitive, aggressive, impulsive, zero-sum, win-at-all-costs, transactional, unpredictable, often underinformed and ill-prepared, gut-following, ego-driven, want-it-and-want-it-now negotiator" in a recent Politico report, a pattern of behavior that was on full display in Quebec.
The White House is stonewalling information requests from the Government Accountability Office, GAO general counsel Thomas Armstrong said in a May 9 letter to White House counsel Don McGahn. Armstrong's complaints were made public after excerpts of his note were quoted by congressional Democrats in a separate letter asking House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to hold a hearing on the Trump administration's informational obstruction.
Armstrong's quotes say the White House has ignored or declined GAO requests for information on "such diverse topics as the role of the [National Security Council] conflict prevention, mitigation, and stabilization efforts abroad; inspector general vacancies; and the cost of presidential travel and related security measures."
This is not the first time the GAO has reported noncooperation from the Trump White House. As the Democrats' letter mentions, the agency had trouble obtaining information for a September, 2017 report on the presidential transition the previous year.
Only a handful of people remain on a special team at the Department of Education tasked with investigating possibly fraudulent activities at large for-profit colleges, with current and former employees telling The New York Times their duties changed after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos hired people who once worked at those for-profit institutions.
The team was created in the wake of the 2016 collapse of Corinthian Colleges, as complaints started to flood in about for-profit institutions and their false advertising and program claims. At the end of the Obama administration, the team had about 12 people, but now, there are just three, and they are focusing on processing student loan forgiveness applications, the Times reports. Last year, investigators were looking into everything from the advertising to job placement claims at such for-profit schools as DeVry, but that investigation came to a screeching halt in early 2017, just a few months before DeVos named Julian Schmoke, a former dean at DeVry, as the team's new supervisor.
Members of the team were also investigating Bridgepoint Education and Career Education Corporation, but those cases have been shuttered, too, the Times reports; former employees of those institutions now work for DeVos: Robert Eitel as her senior counselor and Diane Auer Jones as her senior adviser on postsecondary education. Elizabeth Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, told the Times in a statement that none of these new employees who used to be at for-profit schools have influenced the work of the unit. Read more about the team and new hires at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ignored the advice of senior U.S. diplomats and urged the Department of Homeland Security to end protections for 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians living under temporary protected status (TPS), current and former State Department officials told The Washington Post.
In cables, the diplomats said they were strongly opposed to ending the immigrants' TPS, because sending an influx of people back to those areas could lead to destabilization and launch a surge in new illegal immigration, the Post reports. Congress established TPS in 1990 with the goal of preventing the deportation of people from countries that are reeling from violence or natural disasters.
Several people told the Post that last October, Tillerson sent a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, claiming that conditions had improved in Haiti and Central America enough that immigrants from those areas no longer needed TPS. He told her this "was just something she had to do," but she discussed it with an aide who was once ambassador to Honduras, and he warned her that Honduras was in no way ready to accept so many people and that gangs would try to recruit the deportees.
When Duke announced she was not ready to make a decision and gave Honduras a six-month extension, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was enraged, the Post reports. Duke approached the issue "like a real human being," a former colleague told the Post, but she knew her career was finished and announced her resignation in February. Read more about the Trump administration's push to end TPS at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia
Before he called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, President Trump was warned in all caps by national security advisers not to congratulate Putin on his re-election, officials familiar with the phone call told The Washington Post.
Trump did congratulate Putin, and the White House later said they also discussed arms control and the situations in Syria and North Korea. His briefing materials included the note "DO NOT CONGRATULATE," and aides told Trump he needed to condemn the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in England earlier this month; several countries, including the U.S., say Moscow is likely behind the attack. Trump didn't bring this up, the Post reports. Analysts say Russia's election, which Putin won with 76 percent of the vote, was undemocratic, and there are videos showing ballot box stuffing.
One senior White House official told the Post that it's not clear if Trump read the materials, and another said National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster did not explicitly say anything about not congratulating Putin during a phone briefing ahead of the call. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was not impressed by Trump's conversation with Putin, and tweeted Tuesday afternoon: "An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election." Catherine Garcia
President Trump incorrectly described a phone call he had with South Korean President Moon Jae-in as being with someone from North Korea, a National Security Council official said Monday.
While discussing North Korea on Saturday, Trump said "they, by the way, called up a couple of days ago. 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'So would we, but you have to de-nuke, you have to de-nuke.'" In reality, the call on March 1 was with Moon, the official told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. "President Trump did not have a call with the North Koreans," the official confirmed. The leaders did talk about North Korea, and Moon told Trump about the envoy he was sending to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong Un. Catherine Garcia