war of words
September 3, 2019

After Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tried to use her city as an example why "gun control doesn't work," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot came back with a sharp response, calling him a "coward" and telling him to get his facts straight.

On Monday, Cruz tweeted a link to an article about shootings that took place in "Democrat-controlled Chicago" over Labor Day weekend. Cruz, whose own state was rocked by two deadly mass shootings within the last few weeks, added as a caption: "Gun control doesn't work. Look at Chicago. Disarming law-abiding citizens isn't the answer. Stopping violent criminals — prosecuting & getting them off the street — BEFORE they commit more violent crimes in the most effective way to reduce murder rates. Let's protect our citizens."

Lightfoot was quick to respond. "60 percent of illegal firearms recovered in Chicago come from outside IL, mostly from states dominated by coward Republicans like you who refuse to enact commonsense gun legislation," she tweeted. "Keep our name out of your mouth." She included information from the 2017 Gun Trace Report, which was released by the city and its police department, showing that between 2013 and 2016, "the majority of illegally used or possessed firearms recovered in Chicago are traced back to states with less regulation over firearms, such as Indiana and Mississippi."

On Tuesday night, Lightfoot extended an invitation to Cruz, telling him that if he wants to visit Chicago "and learn about the root causes of gun violence, I'll be glad to show you around & we can have that convo. But enough with the dishonest use of our city as a cheap symbol to cover for the @gop's unwillingness to protect their constituents." Catherine Garcia

May 28, 2019

This one might backfire for President Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign has responded forcefully to Trump, after the president insulted Biden during a press conference in Japan on Monday.

Trump, who has never been particularly friendly toward Biden (and vice versa), said that he agrees with Kim Jong Un's opinion that Biden is a "low IQ individual" — though the official translation of the North Korean leader's insult was "an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being." Trump worsened the blow against Biden when he called Kim "a smart man." The words, predictably, drew ire stateside, even rankling some feathers in the Republican party — some GOP members of Congress chastised the president for siding with a "murderous dictator" against a "fellow American."

Upon Trump's return to the U.S., the Biden campaign let him know they were paying attention to the whole thing, as well.

It may seem odd that it took Biden's team a whole day to respond, but that delay may actually be the result of some careful strategy. Tim O'Donnell

May 14, 2019

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fired back against former FBI Director James Comey on Monday, admonishing him for "speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul."

Comey has made several unflattering public comments about Rosenstein, whose last day as deputy attorney general was Saturday. During a CNN town hall on Thursday, Comey said Rosenstein was "not strong enough" to stand up to President Trump, and in a New York Times op-ed earlier this month, he argued that working for Trump eats away at your soul and wondered how in the wake of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Rosenstein could praise Trump in his resignation letter and quote him on the rule of law.

NBC News obtained Rosenstein's prepared remarks for an event Monday night with the Greater Baltimore Committee, and in his speech, an indignant Rosenstein called Comey a "partisan pundit," and said he finds it "disappointing" that Comey is "selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and fate of my immortal soul." Conjecture about souls, he added, is "not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally, we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony." Catherine Garcia

May 2, 2019

The Department of Justice is firing back after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime.

Pelosi during a press conference on Thursday said that Barr lied to Congress, adding that "nobody is above the law" and suggesting that action will be taken.

In response, the Department of Justice said in a statement, "The baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible and false," per CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

Pelosi in a closed-door meeting earlier in the day had said Barr lied to Congress when he told Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) in April that he was not aware of concerns members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team had with his summary of their investigation's findings, when Mueller had sent him a letter expressing concern. Barr on Wednesday defended his answer, saying that Mueller assured him on a phone call that his summary of the findings was not inaccurate. Brendan Morrow

August 18, 2018

President Trump this week revoked security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan, and Saturday morning he continued his feud with Brennan on Twitter:

The tweet may have been prompted by an interview Brennan gave on MSNBC Friday night. "The fact that [Trump is] using a security clearance of a former CIA director as a pawn in his public relations strategy I think is so reflective of somebody who is drunk on power," Brennan told host Rachel Maddow. "I think he's abusing the powers of that office."

Brennan argued Trump's decision "flies in the face of traditional practice, as well as common sense, as well as national security." The former CIA director's cause has been supported by a dozen former U.S. intelligence chiefs; Trump meanwhile, reportedly intends to revoke other people's security clearances, too. Bonnie Kristian

July 26, 2018

Iranian state media was unperturbed when President Trump tweeted an all-caps message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, but Iran's Quds force chief was not happy.

War with Iran would "destroy all that you possess," said head of special forces Qassem Soleimani on Thursday. "You will start this war but we will be the ones to impose its end." Reuters reports that he also mocked Trump's "ethics of night clubs and gambling halls."

On Sunday, Rouhani warned that "peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," which Trump did not take well. Trump took to Twitter to issue his own threat, writing "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE."

Despite the all-caps aggression, Iranian media dismissed Trump's tweet as a "passive reaction" to Rouhani's statement. The odd series of outbursts seemed over, until Soleimani decided to send a message of his own during an impassioned speech on Thursday. "You have to be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic,” said Soleimani. "You know our power in the region and our capabilities in asymmetric war. We will act and we will work." He continued by telling Trump to threaten him, not Rouhani, and said that "Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him." Read more at Reuters. Summer Meza

January 17, 2018

After HLN's Ashleigh Banfield ripped apart an article published over the weekend accusing actor Aziz Ansari of sexual assault, the author fired back, calling Banfield a "burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been."

A woman using the pseudonym "Grace" spoke to the website babe.net, saying Ansari pressured her to engage in sexual acts, ignoring her cues that she was uncomfortable. Ansari said in a statement he was "surprised and concerned" because he thought they were both on the same page, and he had several defenders, including Banfield. On her show Monday, Banfield said it was "appalling" that Grace tried to frame what happened as a rape or sexual assault and "potentially destroyed this man's career over it, right after he received an award for which he was worthy." When Banfield's producer invited the article's author, Katie Way, to appear on the show, she responded with a scathing email that attacked Banfield's age and looks.

Banfield shared some of the comments on her show Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the entire email was sent to Business Insider from Way's editor, Amanda Ross. In the email, Way said she's "certain no one under the age of 45" has heard of Banfield, and said she "targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she's never f—g met before, for a little attention." Way called Grace "the bravest person I've ever met" and said she will never appear on HLN. "I will remember this for the rest of my career — I'm 22 and so far, not too shabby!" Read the harsh email in its entirety on Business Insider, and watch Banfield's reaction in the video below. Catherine Garcia

December 10, 2016

The Trump transition team forcibly repudiated reports late Friday evening that the CIA has concluded with "high confidence" Russia interfered with the U.S. election to help President-elect Donald Trump win.

"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," the Trump camp said in an unsigned statement slamming the CIA. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'"

Trump himself likewise rejected suggestions of Russian manipulation earlier this week in his "Person of the Year" interview with Time. "I don't believe it. I don't believe they interfered," he said, postulating that intelligence agents who say otherwise are politically motivated. Bonnie Kristian

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