27 Feb 2017 – Trump: ‘Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated’

President Trump said Monday that “nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” as Republicans have been slow to unite around a replacement plan for ObamaCare.

“I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” Trump said after a meeting with conservative governors at the White House.

The Hill

https://archive.is/MoWvs

27 Feb 2017 – Spicer arranged CIA, GOP intelligence push-back

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer personally picked up the phone and connected outside officials with reporters to try to discredit a New York Times article about Trump campaign aides’ contact with Russia, then remained on the line for the brief conversations

Intelligence officials from the Obama administration said it’s rare for the CIA director to talk directly to a single journalist – that in the past, the director usually was held in reserve to talk to a publisher or executive editor in a case where a news organization was contemplating publishing something that could harm national security.

Axios

https://archive.is/SQRPN

25 Feb 2017 – Donald Trump Says He Will Not Attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

He will be the first president to skip the dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981, who missed the dinner while recovering from an assassination attempt, but still delivered remarks over the phone.

25 Feb 2017 – Mexico threatens trade war over Trump wall tax

Mexico has threatened to retaliate if US President Donald Trump imposes a border tax to pay for his controversial wall.

Mr Trump has used almost every post-election speech to reiterate his promise to build a barrierseparating his country from its southern neighbour.

Proposals are to be sought next month for the wall’s design.

An executive order on 25 January for the wall’s construction also asked government agencies to report on the financial assistance given to Mexico in the past five years.

But Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgaray said his country would respond to any tax levied by the US and that they did not actually need financial help.

He warned Mexico could impose levies on select goods aimed at US regions most reliant on exports south of the border, such as Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin.

Speaking during a radio interview, Mr Videgaray said: “Without a doubt, we have that possibility and what we cannot do is remain with our arms crossed.

“The Mexican government would have to respond.” But he added that levies were “not our preference. Mexico believes in free trade.”

Speaking about the prospect of losing US aid, Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said his country now “has its own capabilities”.

Sky News

https://archive.is/ybldH

24 Feb 2017 – Fox News’ Shepard Smith: ‘CNN’s reporting was not fake news’

Trump Track Note : while this story isn’t a direct action taken by Trump or his administration, and the source is Entertainment Weekly, I feel Fox News defending CNN’s reporting is a worthwhile story for this site. 

As President Donald Trump continued his attack on “fake news” Friday by blocking certain news organizations from an off-camera White House briefing with press secretary Sean Spicer, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith came to the defense of a rival network.

“For the record, ‘fake news’ refers to stories that are created, often by entities pretending to be news organizations, solely to draw clicks and views and are based on nothing of substance,” he said. “In short, ‘fake news’ is made-up nonsense delivered for financial gain.”

CNN has largely been on the receiving end of Trump’s media criticism, with the president having called the network “fake news” last month when he refused to answer a question from reporter Jim Acosta during a press conference.

“CNN’s reporting was not fake news,” continued Smith, “Its journalists follows the same standards to which other news organizations, including Fox News, adhere. Senior administration officials regularly speak without attribution so that the public can be informed of what our government is doing — off the record. Just as CNN reports [Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus sent officials to speak off the record against the Russia/Trump campaign reporting.

After CNN, The New York Times, and other organizations were not allowed into Friday’s briefing, CNN’s Jake Tapper had some strong criticism of the Trump administration.

“This White House does not seem to respect the idea of accountability,” he stated. “This White House does not seem to value an independent press. There is a word for that line of thinking: The word is ‘un-American.’”

Entertainment Weekly

https://archive.is/hnXuB

24 Feb 2017 – CNN and other news organizations were blocked Friday from a White House press briefing

CNN and other news outlets were blocked Friday from an off-camera White House press briefing, raising alarm among media organizations and First Amendment watchdogs.

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were also excluded from the meeting, which is known as a gaggle and is less formal than the televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room. The gaggle was held by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

In a brief statement defending the move, administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the White House “had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today.”

The pool usually includes a representative from one television network and one print outlet. In this case, four of the five major television networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News — were invited and attended the meeting, while only CNN was blocked.

And while The New York Times was kept out, conservative media organizations Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One America News Network were also allowed in.

CNN

https://archive.is/oFpeM

23 Feb 2017 – Spicer: Feds could step up enforcement against marijuana use in states

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects states to be subject to “greater enforcement” of federal laws against marijuana use, a move that could undercut the growing number of jurisdictions moving to legalize the drug for recreational purposes.

Spicer, speaking at a White House press briefing, said that President Trump sees “a big difference” between use of marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes.

Spicer said that state’s allowance of marijuana for recreational purposes “ is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment on Spicer’s remarks on Thursday afternoon following the briefing.

Washington Post

https://archive.is/s8ZcE

23 Feb 2017 – FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN.

But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate.

 The White House initially disputed that account, saying that McCabe called Priebus early that morning and said The New York Times story vastly overstates what the FBI knows about the contacts, but a White House official later corrected their version of events to confirm what the law enforcement official described.
https://archive.is/jApx0

23 Feb 2017 – Trump wants to expand U.S. nuclear arsenal, make it ‘top of the pack’

President Donald Trump said on Thursday he wants to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity.

In a Reuters interview, Trump also complained about Russian deployment of a cruise missile in violation of an arms control treaty and said he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when and if they meet.

On another front, Trump said China could solve the national security challenge posed by North Korea “very easily if they want to,” ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to exert more influence to rein in Pyongyang’s increasingly bellicose actions.

Speaking from behind his desk in the Oval Office, Trump also declared himself “very angry” at North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and said accelerating a missile defense system for U.S. allies Japan and South Korea was among many options available.

Reuters

https://archive.is/AgCrq

22 Feb 2017 – Trump revokes Obama guidelines on transgender bathrooms

President Donald Trump’s administration on Wednesday revoked landmark guidance to public schools letting transgender students use the bathroom of their choice, reversing a signature initiative of former Democratic President Barack Obama. 

Obama had instructed public schools last May to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their chosen gender identity, threatening to withhold funding for schools that did not comply. Transgender people hailed it as victory for their civil rights.

Trump rescinded those guidelines, even though they had been put on hold by a federal judge, arguing that states and public schools should have the authority to make their own decisions without federal interference.

Reuters

https://archive.is/8tzxQ

20 Feb 2017 – Trump’s first month of travel expenses cost taxpayers just less than what Obama spent in a year

On Monday, President Trump will return to Washington, D.C. from his private Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he’s spent the last three weekends.

The Washington Post reports that those three trips “probably cost the federal treasury about $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel, including money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency.”

The three Mar-a-Lago getaways, combined with the hundreds of thousands of public dollars spent on Secret Service protection during two international trips Trump’s adult sons have taken to promote their father’s business, cost taxpayers about $11.3 million over the first month’s of Trump’s presidency, according to the UK-based Independent. President Obama, by contrast, spent an average of $12.1 million on travel each year.

It wasn’t even a year ago that Trump was complaining about taxpayers “paying a fortune for the use of Air Force One.” And then another tweet dating even further back:

Trump’s decision to spend three consecutive weekends at his “southern White House” stands in contrast to what he promised during the campaign, when he said he’d “rarely leave the White House.”

“I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done,” Trump told a reporter in 2015. “I would not be a president who took vacations. I would not be a president that takes time off… You don’t have time to take time off.”

While in Florida on Sunday, Trump, who repeatedly criticized Obama for playing golf while president, enjoyed his sixth golf outing during his first month as president. On Monday, the White House admitted to misleading reporters about the amount of golf Trump played during his 18-hole excursion with pro golfer Rory McIlroy.

Think Progress

https://archive.is/9wy2y

20 Feb 2017 – President Trump Names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster New National Security Adviser

President Trump has announced that Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be his new national security adviser. McMaster will replace retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after revelations that he had misled top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

The president made the announcement in a brief appearance before reporters at Mar-a-Lago, his resort estate in Florida on Monday. He spent part of the weekend interviewing generals after his first choice — retired vice admiral and former Navy SEAL Robert Harward — turned down the job.

NPR

https://archive.is/b0sWb

Site Opinion #1 – 20 Feb 2017

     There are too many half-truths and purposefully misleading information in news right now. A few posts have been removed from this site due to those reasons, and there are three that I would like to use as examples.

13 Feb 2017 – Trump turns Mar-a-Lago Club terrace into open-air situation room

    This story broke when North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile and Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago club with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The article from Washington Post stated the following:

What was happening … was an extraordinary moment, as Trump and Abe turned their dinner table into an open-air situation room. Aides and translators surrounded the two leaders as other diners chatted and gawked around them, with staffers using the flashlights on their cellphones to illuminate documents on the darkened outdoor terrace.

As Weitzman and other patrons watched Saturday evening, Trump and Abe remained at the table and discussed their response to a ballistic missile test by North Korea. While waiters came and went — and while one club member snapped photos — the two leaders reviewed documents by the light of an aide’s cellphone.

That strange scene — in which Trump turned his table into an al fresco situation room — astounded White House veterans, who were used to presidents retiring to private, secured settings to hash out such an event.

DeAgazio told The Post that after Trump and Abe had spoken for a few minutes, they left the open terrace and spent about 10 minutes in private before conducting a joint news conference at about 10:30 p.m.”

    The last paragraph comes at the very end of a rather large article. Now, all the information is there for those who sit down a read the entire story, but we all know it’s the headline that gets spread and seen the most while many people who click only skim the first few snippets.

    No one but the few who were at the table with Trump know what those documents were, nor does anyone else know if those documents were classified or not. I also have not seen any source on what exactly was said between the two world leaders, so it seems that they were not overheard.

    However, the way this story is framed makes it sound like Trump was blasting state secrets from the terrace, and that’s what people are going to take away from this story.

    Should he have stayed out on the terrace? Probably not, but then again, we don’t know what was said or what he was looking at. Only at the end of the article does the Washington Post mention that “they left the open terrace and spent about 10 minutes in private”.

    This whole article blew up about Trump’s incompetence, but, if you read the entire article, it boils down that he got the news about the test-fire, had relevant info presented to him, and left to a more secure spot.

    This story was removed for misleading information. Moving on to a story that seemed to be flat-out lying.

    18 Feb 2017 – Leaked tape reveals Trump invited club guests to ‘come along’ during cabinet interviews

We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump says in the tape, obtained by Politico and published Saturday. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government.

    Link to the leaked tape

    The hot thing right now is to hate on Trump. I can understand why people can find joy in that, but nowhere in that tape does he say the bolded part above. If you want to hate him, do so based on facts. The tape itself is cut in many places. Could he have said the general/dictator line? Possibly, but where can we hear it? It’s not in the tape. Who is the person saying that those words came out of his mouth?

Yes, he told the club members, “You are the special people.” That’s not great, but if you listen to the tape, he’s not saying they are now a sect who is above the law, but expressing thanks to them for being there from the very beginning. Also, the way he extends the offer join in on staff interviews was done so at the end in an off-the-cuff, Trump-styled brag.

Trump needs to make grand efforts to further himself from his prior businesses, and this tape is not helping his situation. But the tape is also not as damning as many sources portray it to be. Politico, The Hill, and Mirror.uk all have the general/dictator line, but none have the audio of it.

Finally:

    17 Feb 2017 – Trump tweets: The media is the ‘enemy of the American people’

 

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017

 

   I have changed the title on this website to: 17 Feb 2017 – Trump tweets: The ‘FAKE NEWS media’ is the ‘enemy of the American people’

    There’s a great number of worrisome things surrounding this tweet, you don’t need to intentionally tweak the title to make it even worse.

    This headline is simply misleading. Using The Hill as the foundation for this story (although many other outlets reported it the same way), you can see that the headline is only half-true. Sure, it sticks out that Trump never criticizes right-leaning sources, and attacks those who are critical of him. And that the president shouldn’t try to destroy an entire block of news networks. But, again, the way this story was reported makes it seem like he wants to destroy the entire news/media conglomerate, which is not true.

    Like I said, if you want to hate on Trump, do so. But do so using truths and not on sensationalized/misleading headlines.

    To lightly touch on the “FAKE NEWS!” buzz-phrase going around. People color an entire news agency at the hint of misleading/false information. Yeah, it would be great to have a purely honest, straight-forward news agency that didn’t have to rely on a subscriber base to succeed, I wish you the best of luck in finding that. Meanwhile, the news sources we do have should be lambasted for rushing an article that’s only half-correct, covered in spelling errors, and full of click-bait.

    But it’s important not to shove your fingers in you ears and refuse to even listen to a story because it’s from somewhere you’ve had a bad experience with. Use critical thinking at any site you look at. To close your mind from any news source (from CNN to Fox) solely based on personal bias means you’ve already lost.

    One last thing before I get too preachy or my soap-box gets too high. I’ve interacted with a great many people since this site’s inception 11 days ago. Within those days, this site has seen more than 39,500 unique visitors and over 1,100,000 hits. Many have offered help from web development, source-checking, and encouragement. I’m thankful for all the help.

    Many also have called me a shill, tried hacking my password, and called me a “Fake News spreader”.

    To each his own of course, but I bring this up because I want to mention a particular interaction I had with someone who wasn’t a fan of this site.

    It started with him attacking the site and saying I was just trying to spread more misinformation when I was just getting the word out about what I was trying to do.

    It is so easy to attack on the net, and I was about send a snarky, retaliatory reply when I stopped and rewrote what I was about to say. I ended up talking to him, discussing certain aspects of posts that could be misleading. We reached a middle ground and he ended up encouraging me to write this opinion piece, and I thank him for it.

    What if I sent that snarky response? What if I matched aggression with aggression? This site would not have grown. I’d have one less reader. I would not be pursuing this avenue to connect with those who visit this site.

     The insensitivity behind anonymous internet posts is bleeding more and more into real-life. I feel no one should be purely democratic and no one should be purely republican. To restrict yourself to one of two camps severely limits possibilities to come together and be stronger. To discount someone’s entire view because they are on the “opposite team” will hurt you just as much it will hurt the cause the other person holds close to them.

     There’s lot going on right now that’s getting everyone angry and more divisive than ever.

     But there’s a lot of good that can come from this. A spotlight has been focused on our government and DNC like never before. More people are getting involved in politics because they want to see less corruption. People are taking the time to learn voting dates and procedures. Protest/marches are coming to the forefront, with the Women Protest garnering more than 4.5 million people around the world. Not one reported act of violence. Of course not, what with everyone’s mother being there…

     Right now, the scab that has been covering the US government has been scratched off and the nastiness that lied beneath for so long is exposed to the world. Do we let other countries/ourselves rub dirt in it, letting it scab up again? Or do we try to take care of it right this time and have it heal correctly?

   -N

 

P.S.- Let me know if you want to see more of this kind of post by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. I’ve never written anything like this before and if you think this helps or brings down the site, let me know. Even one or two words like “Neat” or “stop it” would be helpful.  

19 Feb 2017 – Senior Trump appointee fired after critical comments, anonymous sources say.

A senior Trump administration official was fired following criticism in a private speech of President Donald Trump’s policies and his inner circle of advisers.

Craig Deare, whom Trump appointed a month ago to head the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere division, was on Friday escorted out of the Executive Office Building, where he worked in Washington.

A senior White House official confirmed that Deare is no longer working at the NSC and has returned to the position he previously held at the National Defense University. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an incident not otherwise made public, and provided no further details.

But current and former administration officials say Deare’s termination was linked to remarks he made Thursday at a private talk at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

According to one person who attended the discussion, Deare slammed the Trump administration for its policies on Latin America, specifically its rocky start to relations with Mexico. That person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private event.

The person who attended the Wilson Center talk also noted that Deare made several remarks about how attractive Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, appeared, remarks that person described as “awkward.” Mr. Trump has also made several remarks in the past about how attractive his eldest daughter is, once commenting on a television talk show, that “if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her.”

CBS News

https://archive.is/Ulzpz

 

19 Feb 2017 – Trump clarifies ‘Sweden’ remark, says he was referring to Fox News report

President Trump on Sunday attempted to clarify his remark at a weekend rally that suggested a terror attack had taken place Friday night in Sweden.

“My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden,” the president tweeted.

Friday night’s edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” featured an interview with documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz about a surge in violent crime in Sweden.

Fox News

https://archive.is/gDRps

/

News of Mr Horowitz’s documentary made headlines last year when he told conservative outlets such as Breitbart News, that there were Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe.

“Over the last two years, they’ve taken in over 350,000 Syrian refugees,” he said. “The reason why I went there was to investigate why Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe. Rape was not unknown, but relatively minor. There were few incidents of rape, let’s say about ten years ago. And rape has absolutely skyrocketed in Europe.”

The New York Times said that Swedish officials had said that their statistics did not justify the kind of assertions made by Mr Horowitz, and that the country had a high number of sexual assault reports, relative to other European countries, because more victims come forward, not because there was more violence.

The Independent

https://archive.is/z91mj

18 Feb 2017 – Angela Merkel and European leaders resist Donald Trump’s ultimatum to increase defense spending or risk losing US commitment to Nato

European leaders have pushed back at Donald Trump’s ultimatum that they increase defence spending or risk America scaling back its commitment to Transatlantic protection.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said her country would not accelerate existing, long-term plans to ramp up the military budget by 2024 despite a demand by the US this week that countries increase spending by the end of the year.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, also said countries must not cave in to US demands.

James Mattis, US defence secretary, earlier this week warned Nato that a new “political reality” after the election of Donald Trump meant it was no longer possible for allies to shirk their share of the defence burden.

Unless nations began spending more, Mr Mattis said Washington could “moderate” its commitment to them.

The Telegraph

https://archive.is/oBO64

18 Feb 2017 – Trump cites a nonexistent incident in Sweden during his rally on Saturday

President Donald Trump cited a nonexistent incident in Sweden while talking about the relationship between terror attacks and refugees around the world during a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on Saturday.

“You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden … Sweden … who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening Brussels, you look at what’s happening all over the world,” Trump said.

No incident occurred in Sweden on Friday night.

Business Insider

https://archive.is/0JrOV

Update: Sweden asks the U.S. to explain Trump comment on Sweden

“We have asked the question today to the state department. We are trying to get clarity,” said Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson.

*As of now, it is unclear if Trump was talking about a specific event or describing a trend.

Reuters

https://archive.is/G883D

17 Feb 2017 – Trump tweets: The ‘FAKE NEWS media’ is the ‘enemy of the American people’

The Hill

https://archive.is/nN5wi

 

17 Feb 2017 – Donald Trump overturns law preventing companies dumping coal mining debris in streams and rivers

The Senate’s 54-45 vote sends the measure to President Donald Trump.

Republicans and some Democrats say the rule could eliminate thousands of coal-related jobs and ignores dozens of federal, state and local regulations already in place.

The Interior Department said in announcing the rule in December that it would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters.

The vote was the first in a series of actions Republicans are taking in coming weeks to reverse years of what they call excessive regulation during Obama’s presidency.

Independent

https://archive.is/AvjyU

16 Feb 2017 – Flynn in FBI interview denied discussing sanctions with Russian ambassador

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn denied to FBI agents in an interview last month that he had discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States before President Trump took office, contradicting the contents of intercepted communications collected by intelligence agencies, current and former U.S. officials said.

The Jan. 24 interview potentially puts Flynn in legal jeopardy. Lying to the FBI is a felony offense. But several officials said it is unclear whether prosecutors would attempt to bring a case, in part because Flynn may parse the definition of the word “sanctions.” He also followed his denial to the FBI by saying he couldn’t recall all of the conversation, officials said.

Any decision to prosecute would ultimately lie with the Justice Department.

https://archive.is/fgbuF