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September 2, 2020

First lady Melania Trump knew exactly what she was doing when she wore a jacket that read "I DON'T REALLY CARE, DO U?" while traveling to and from a Texas facility holding migrant children, her former friend and adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff says.

In her new book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, Winston Wolkoff said this attire was chosen specifically to "get the media's attention. Otherwise, no one would have covered the story."

The trip took place in June 2018, and Winston Wolkoff said she later spoke with Trump about what she saw at the facility. The first lady told her people were going "crazy about the zero-tolerance policy at the border," but it wasn't as horrible as it sounded.

Stating that she was directly quoting Trump, Winston Wolkoff writes that Trump said the children she met were "brought in by coyotes, the bad people who are trafficking, and that's why the kids were put in shelters. They're not with their parents, and it's sad. But the patrols told me the kids say, 'Wow I get a bed? I will have a cabinet for my clothes?' It's more than they have in their own country where they sleep on the floor. They are taking care nicely there."

Winston Wolkoff writes that Trump went on to say mothers taught their children to tell border agents, "I'm going to be killed by gangs!" so they would be allowed into the United States. "They are using that line and it's not true," she said Trump told her. "They don't want to stay in Mexico because Mexico doesn't take care of them the same as America does."

Speaking with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night, Winston Wolkoff said these were the first lady's exact words, and there is "no way to fabricate any of my story." Catherine Garcia

September 1, 2020

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and adviser to first lady Melania Trump, revealed on Tuesday night's Rachel Maddow Show that she secretly recorded Trump after the White House made her "their scapegoat."

Winston Wolkoff's new book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, was released Tuesday. In it, Winston Wolkoff also writes about the work she did helping plan President Trump's inauguration, and the fallout when it was reported that her firm received more than $26 million from the inaugural committee. Winston Wolkoff says most of that was then paid to other businesses. But the report turned her into "the cover girl for the inauguration shenanigans," she previously told ABC News, and she was stunned when the first lady didn't help clear her name.

Winston Wolkoff told Maddow she didn't press record until "Melania and the White House had accused me of criminal activity and publicly shamed and fired me and made me their scapegoat." At that point, the first lady was "no longer my friend," Winston Wolkoff continued. "She was willing to let them take me down, and she told me herself this is the way it has to be. She was advised by the attorneys at the White House that there was no other choice because there was a possible investigation into the presidential inauguration committee."

Friends don't do that to each other, Winston Wolkoff told Maddow, and she decided she had to do "anything in my power to make sure that I was protected. At first I really did think that maybe she would come to my aid, maybe she would tell the truth, but she turned her back and folded like a deck of cards." The recordings are "evidence" to back up her version of events, Winston Wolkoff said, and she has privately played at least one tape to a reporter. The more Trump and the White House "continue to lie about what they've said, done, and do, the more I will continue to prove their claims false," she added. Catherine Garcia

June 19, 2017

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is heading home from Washington, D.C., in less than two weeks, and he doesn't seem to sorry to say goodbye. The Trump administration, he told the Sinclair Broadcast Group, is not all it was cracked up to be.

"The reality is, sadly, I don't see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration," Chaffetz, the House Oversight Committee chairman, said. "I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon."

Chaffetz was careful in assigning blame, admitting, "I think if we went to the senior-most people, even the president himself, they would be pulling their hair out and they would hate to hear that." But Chaffetz did have one person he was willing to point a finger at: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"In many ways, [the Trump administration is] almost worse [than the Obama administration] because we're getting nothing, and that's terribly frustrating and, with all due respect, the attorney general has not changed at all," Chaffetz said. "I find him to be worse than what I saw with Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available. I just, that's my experience, and that's not what I expected."

In May, Chaffetz abruptly announced his plans to leave Congress at the end of June. As he told the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the decision hinged on wanting to spend more time with his wife and children. But the obstacles his committee faced in its probes clearly irks him, too: "We have everything from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which is really one of the critical things. There was the investigation into the IRS. And one that was more than seven years old is Fast and Furious. I mean, we have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice and still to this day, they will not give us those documents. And at the State Department, nothing," Chaffetz said. "Stone-cold silence."

Read the full interview here. Jeva Lange

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