Trump breaks silence on domestic violence, says he is ‘totally opposed’

Feb. 14, 2018, 12:04 p.m.

  

Former Trump advisor Rob Porter left the White House last week.
Former Trump advisor Rob Porter left the White House last week. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump broke his weeklong silence on spousal abuse Wednesday, but only after declaring that everyone already knows his view on the subject.

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind,” Trump said, according to a pool report by Newsday reporter Laura Figueroa. “Everyone knows that and it almost wouldn’t even have to be said.”

It wasn’t said, for more than a week, as his White House has reeled from the resignations of two high-ranking officials accused of violence against former partners. The women told their stories months ago to FBI investigators conducting background checks on White House aides Rob Porter and David Sorenson, but the men did not leave the White House staff until the accounts went public.

Trump surrogates have expressed concern about family violence over the last week, but the president himself tweeted and spoke only about other subjects. Reporters repeatedly asked Trump surrogates why he wasn’t saying so himself in front of cameras. Only on Wednesday did he first say so for himself.

Courtesy: LA Times

Priebus dishes on White House chaos, Sessions’ near-resignation

Reince Priebus, the former White House chief of staff who has kept a low profile since his ouster last summer, is speaking out on the chaos he witnessed in the West Wing in those early months – detailing the fiery infighting that consumed the Trump team after James Comey’s removal, and the scramble to avert Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation.

“Take everything you’ve heard and multiply it by 50,” Priebus said.

The former Republican National Committee boss spoke to writer Chris Whipple for an updated version of his book, “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency.”

Former White House chief strategist reportedly claims there was insufficient time to get White House to sign off on questions; reaction from Robert Driscoll, former deputy assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

In an adapted passage in Vanity Fair, Priebus and other sources gave new details about what was happening behind the scenes after Trump ousted his FBI director, apparently against the wishes of Priebus and White House Counsel Don McGahn.

The account says in the immediate aftermath, chief strategist Steve Bannon blew up at Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who supported Trump’s decision to fire Comey and supposedly was angry the communications team was struggling to defend it.

“There’s not a f—ing thing you can do to sell this!” Bannon  reportedly shouted at Kushner. “Nobody can sell this! P. T. Barnum couldn’t sell this! People aren’t stupid! This is a terrible, stupid decision that’s going to have massive implications. It may have shortened Trump’s presidency—and it’s because of you, Jared Kushner!

As a special counsel subsequently was named to take over the Russia meddling case, Priebus described the crisis that unfolded soon afterward on the sidelines with Sessions:

"The Five" co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle discusses the missing text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

“Don McGahn came in my office pretty hot, red, out of breath, and said, ‘We’ve got a problem.’ I responded, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘Well, we just got a special counsel, and Sessions just resigned.’ I said, ‘What!? What the hell are you talking about?’ ”

Priebus detailed a scramble from that point on to dissuade Sessions from leaving. He apparently ran to the West Wing parking lot and jumped into Sessions’ sedan, telling him, “You cannot resign.” This led to a meeting with Bannon and Vice President Pence, “and we started talking to him to the point where he decided that he would not resign right then and he would instead think about it.”

According to Whipple, Sessions delivered a resignation letter, but Priebus said he convinced Trump to return it.

Sessions’ resignation threat, which apparently followed a humiliating dressing-down by the president, has emerged in published reports before, though not in this level of detail.

The book adaption goes on to describe another clash. Whipple writes that Priebus was told over the summer to get Sessions’ resignation, but Priebus convinced Trump otherwise.

Whipple also details what led to then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s infamous January 2017 briefing appearance where he attacked the media for coverage of the inauguration crowd size.

He writes that Priebus got a call from a livid Trump just after 6 in the morning after the inauguration complaining about news reports that showed his inaugural crowds didn’t measure up to those of his predecessor. Priebus said Trump insisted, “There’s more people there. There are people who couldn’t get in the gates. … There’s all kind of things that were going on that made it impossible for these people to get there.”

Whipple writes that Priebus thought arguing about crowd size was not a good fight to pick on the day after the inauguration, but the chief of staff knew he had to decide: “Am I going to go to war over this with the president of the United States?”

Priebus was ousted by Trump last July and replaced by John Kelly, whose own job security is now in doubt as Trump complains about Kelly’s handling of allegations of domestic abuse by top aide Rob Porter.  Porter resigned last week.

For all of the drama and tumult of his days with Trump, Priebus told Whipple, “I still love the guy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtesy: Fox News

Senators say they are close to a bipartisan immigration plan

Senators say they are close to a bipartisan immigration plan
Immigration activists hang a banner in the Capitol building in Washington this month. (John Moore / Getty Images)

 

As the White House pushed a 500-page immigration bill as the only option in Congress to help “Dreamers,” a bipartisan coalition of senators appeared close Wednesday to agreeing on an alternative proposal that may draw broader support.

Top Republicans back the administration approach from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. That measure protects 1.8 million Dreamers from deportation in exchange for massive long-term cuts in legal immigration of family members of immigrants. It also includes $25 billion for President Trump’s border wall and a ramp-up of border enforcement that would also increase the pace of deportations.

But even as White House aides framed any rival alternatives as unworkable bills that Trump would not sign into law, a group of senators, the Common Sense Coalition, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), appeared on the verge of a breakthrough on a different strategy.

Their proposal would likely take a more narrow approach favored by Democrats, linking Dreamer protections and the $25 billion in border security. It would steer clear of the more complicated issues of family visas or legal migration limits that have drawn sharp opposition to the White House approach.

While many senators from both parties have come to agree that Congress should protect the Dreamers, there is no such consensus around what to do about their parents, who brought the Dreamers to the United States illegally as children. Dreamers have been protected against deportation from an Obama-era program that Trump is ending.

“Our group from the very beginning has been committed to coming up with a bipartisan plan on immigration, and that is what it appears we’ve been able to do,” Collins told reporters.

The group of about 25 senators has been meeting privately, including Wednesday morning, and was expected to roll out legislative text later in the day as they began whip-counting ahead of possible votes, others said.

“I know that the president wants a result, and my experience in the Senate is that you’re more likely to be able to get a result when you have a bipartisan plan,” Collins said, “and that’s what we’re seeking.”

The White House panned the other bills ahead of possible votes as the Senate leadership push to wrap up debate this week.

“They’re just not serious proposals designed to actually become law in the United States,” said a White House official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. “You would basically be wasting Americans’ time and the Senate’s time going down some of the roads that people are talking about.”

Most proposals emerging in Congress, including the one from the White House, offer the young people a 10-year path to eventual citizenship — far beyond the protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that only provide temporary permission to live and work in the United States.

White House officials consider the pathway to citizenship to be a “dramatic concession” that is “very large and generous.” Their proposal, under Grassley’s bill, goes beyond the nearly 700,000 immigrants currently protected under DACA, and extends to other young immigrants who either did not initially qualify or sign up for the Obama program.

“We went as far as we could in that direction, but any further and the House would never take up the bill and the president wouldn’t be able to sign it,” a White House official said.

The White House said it dropped earlier demands such as requiring businesses to use E-Verify, a federal database that allows employers to check the immigration status of new hires.

The bill is backed by top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Congress is trying to develop a solution before Trump ends the DACA program March 5. That could leave Dreamers exposed to deportation, but court actions have temporarily blocked the program’s termination.

Senators and many lawmakers in the House reject the White House proposal as too far-reaching. It had no Democratic support as debate in the Senate on immigration entered its third day and senators scrambled to find consensus.

Instead, the bipartisan effort from Collins and the other senators would provide the border funds and Dreamer protections, but prevent Dreamers from sponsoring their parents for temporary or permanent legal status, as has been proposed in other bills and is now allowed for others who gain citizenship under immigration law.

“It’s a bitter pill — to deal with $25 billion for the wall and not be able to have Dreamers claim their parents — but the choice is that or nothing,” said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

“We’re conceding that the kids are without blame,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who worked with the bipartisan group. “You can’t reward parents who brought them across.”

Other bills have been offered, most offering Dreamers a decade-long path to citizenship along with border funds, with more narrow or expansive reforms to other immigration laws.

A bipartisan effort from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) reflects a House bill that sticks with Dreamer protections and border security.

One proposal from Flake tries to bridge the divide between the White House and Democrats by reallocating family visas to other categories, including for high-tech workers, entrepreneurs and those with advanced degrees. Another from Flake simply extends the DACA program for several years, with border security funds, while Congress addresses broader reforms.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have objected to using the DACA debate to enact sweeping immigration law changes that have traditionally been considered as part of comprehensive efforts to deal with the broader population of 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S.

The White House’s proposal would increase deportation officers by more than 50% from about 5,000 to 8,500, and add some 6,370 Border Patrol agents to a current force of about 20,000, an increase of about a third.

Immigration judges would be increased to about 500, up from about 330. The number of government immigration lawyers would be increased as well, with an eye toward trying to get deportation cases resolved faster.

Funds going to Mexico through the Merida Initiative, designed to bolster anti-drug forces in Latin America, would be cut by half until Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can certify to Congress that Mexico has taken steps to slow illegal immigration and counter corruption.

 

Courtesy: LA Times

Mainstream media reacts angrily to memo, while playing down its contents

The mainstream media didn’t get its way on Friday when the controversial memo detailing alleged government surveillance abuses was released.

But instead of focusing on the contents, the liberal media members who had reservations about the document’s release are harping on negative reactions to President Trump’s decision to make it public.

The House Intelligence Committee released the memo about alleged abuses involving FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, dn Friday afternoon after news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post criticized the decision to do so.

The polarizing memo had liberal media members howling that its release would pose a risk to national security less than 24 hours ago, but the same pundits are now calling it a “dud” and mocking conservatives for overhyping its content.

“It falls well short of what some Republicans promised: to cast doubt on the origins of the Russia investigation,” a prominent bullet point on The Times’ website said shortly after the release.

The home page of The Washington Post featured a trio of headlines that played down the content of the memo, “Ongoing battle between White House and FBI intensifies after memo’s release,” Sentence buried in GOP memo may undercut Trump efforts to discredit Russia probe,” and an opinion piece, “The White House’s laughable spin that releasing the memo is all about ‘transparency,’” were all prominently displayed.

The Associated Press’ wire was packed with angry reaction to the memo and offeref very little about what the document actually said. AP pieces about the memo led with lines including “Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending his deputy in the face of criticism from the president,” “House Democrats are angry about the release of a classified GOP memo” and “The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is challenging the accuracy of a memo.”

A giant headline across the HuffPost page simply stated, “Meh-morandum: This thing’s a dud!”

Former FBI Director James Comey blasted the “dishonest” and “misleading” memo, saying it “inexcusably exposed” classified investigations. Several news organizations used Comey’s reaction as their hook in stories playing down the memo,  with splashy headlines using the former FBI chief’s negative reaction.

Meanwhile, reporters from both CNN and MSNBC have been accused on social media of misleading viewers regarding the content of the memo. NBC News’ Katy Tur “fixed” an inaccurate tweet after critics called her out, while CNN’s Jim Sciutto has been criticizedfor saying that Republicans first paid for the disputed Steele dossier.

Others have picked on the way the memo was written.

NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell said the language in the memo is “mischievous,” while Vox founder Ezra Klein said it read like a “Breitbart article.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell issued a statement ridiculing the media coverage of the memo, saying it deserved “Watergate-like media coverage.”

“Now that the memo is public, the media owe it to the American people to report this story fairly and truthfully,” he wrote. “We have witnessed over a year of an unparalleled, deliberate effort by the press to remove a president they despise, and it is time they are held accountable.”

Courtesy: Fox News

 

Trump Says He’s Open to U.S. Citizenship for DACA Illegal Aliens

President Trump told mainstream media reporters on Wednesday that he was open to breaking his immigration commitment by giving a pathway to U.S. citizenship to nearly 800,000 illegal aliens shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In statements outside the White House, Trump told the Associated Press (AP) that he would be open to giving U.S. citizenship to DACA illegal aliens, saying “It’s going to happen.”

The AP reported:

President Donald Trump says he’s open to a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.

Trump told reporters, “We’re going to morph into it. It’s going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.” [Emphasis added]

Trump was talking about the young immigrants who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

According to Bloomberg News, an anonymous administration official is already walking back Trump’s comment about citizenship for DACA illegal aliens, saying the remark does not indicate an upcoming policy proposal by the White House.

Trump on DACA recipients: “Tell em not be concerned, OK? Tell em not to worry about it. We’re going to solve the problem… They should not be concerned.”

Trump on citizenship for DACA recipients: “We’re going to morph into it. It’s going to happen, at some point in the future, over a period of 10 to 12 years.”

Trump also said he would be demanding at least $30 billion to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as an end to the process known as “chain migration,” where newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S., and an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery program, which imports 50,000 random foreign nationals every year from countries with known terrorism issues.

On immigration bill, Pres Trump said he wants $30-billion – including $25-billion to build a border wall. In exchange, would agree to a path to citizenship for DACA “Dreamers,” during a 10-12-year period if no criminal record.

Pres Trump also said he wants family reunification/chain migration limited to husbands/wives and children. Says parents are tricky. Wants visa lotteries to undergo significant changes – or ended.

“If you don’t have a wall, you don’t have DACA,” said Pres Trump, again insisting the wall is essential to an immigration deal. He wants $25-billion in funding, but believes it won’t cost that much. “We’re talking about probably 800 miles of wall,” says the pres.

In another break of commitment, Trump said he was open to potentially extending the DACA program beyond its March 5 deadline of when Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it would officially end.

If no immigration deal by March 5th DACA deadline, he might extend the deadline. “Yeah I might do that,” but he’s not guaranteeing because he wants to give Congress incentive to act.

While the White House’s official position on a DACA deal has been that they would be open to giving legal status only to DACA-enrolled illegal aliens in exchange for the end to chain migration, elimination of the Visa Lottery, and full funding for a border wall, the administration has never been supportive of citizenship for illegal aliens.

Granting a pathway to U.S. citizenship to DACA illegal aliens would break Trump’s long-held campaign promise that no amnesty for illegal aliens would be granted until illegal immigration to the U.S. was fully ended.

In Trump’s historic 2016 immigration speech, he specifically said “There will be no amnesty.”

“For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined today.”

“It’s our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us.”

“Anyone who tells you the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time in Washington.”

Trump’s comments come just after a new Harvard-Harris poll revealed that his pro-American immigration agenda of reducing legal immigration levels to raise the wages of Americans is wildly popular with American voters, as Breitbart News reported.

For example, 85 percent of black Americans said they supported a merit-based immigration system, rather than the current flow of chain migration. Another 72 percent of Democrat, former voters for Hillary Clinton agreed that the legal immigration system should be based on skills, not family ties.

Currently, the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants every year, with more than 70 percent coming to the country through the process of chain migration. Mass immigration to the U.S. has had a detrimental impact on America’s working and middle class, which have seen stagnant wages for decades and continued outsourcing of blue-collar and some white-collar jobs.

The poll found that more than 80 percent of Americans support curbing legal immigration levels, a plan that Trump has endorsed to raise the wages of working and middle-class Americans and stem the current never-ending flow of cheaper, foreign competition that burdens the country’s blue-collar workers the most.

Since DACA’s inception, more than 2,100 illegal aliens on the program have been kicked off because they were found to be either gang members of convicted criminals.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

Omarosa resigns from Trump administration job

“Apprentice” star turned White House official Omarosa Manigault Newman will leave the Trump administration next month, according to the White House.

“Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Her departure will not be effective until January 2018. We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service.”

Omarosa joined the administration as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison.

She reportedly has drawn scrutiny from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly for her work in the office designed to garner outside support for the president’s agenda.

The former “Apprentice” contestant recently drew press attention after she brought her 39-person bridal party inside the White House this past spring for an “extended” photo shoot in the Rose Garden. It is unclear whether she had permission. She was reportedly banned from posting any  of the photos online by White House officials citing security and ethical concerns.

Manigault Newman’s decision comes at the start of what’s expected to be a round of departures heading into the new year.

The White House said last week that deputy national security adviser Dina Powell will leave the administration early next year.

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Courtesy: Fox News

White House releases ‘explosive’ tally of green cards issued in ‘chain migration’

For the first time, the White House said, the federal government has counted the green cards issued between 2005 and 2015 to migrants admitted through family preference, or as immediate relatives of migrants already admitted into the country in perhaps the fullest portrait of “chain migration” ever developed.

“For years, we’ve known that large numbers of immigrants have been coming based on petitions from previous immigrants,” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Cissna told Fox News. “But this is the first time we really kind of see the whole scope of the problem. And legislators or policymakers at DHS can do what they need to do address the problem.”

During the ten-year time frame, officials said, the U.S. permanently resettled roughly 9.3 million new immigrants on the basis of family ties.

That’s more than 70 percent of all new immigration in that period, the White house said, adding it is also the primary driver of low-skilled workers’ entry into the U.S. A phenomenon analyst say most directly hurts American minority groups with comparable skills.

“These numbers are explosive. They show that American immigration skews almost entirely towards family-based admissions,” said a White House official who briefed Fox News on the data.

GOP congressman talks ending chain migration, the visa lottery program and more on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

Mexico is at the top of the list with 1.7 million admissions, India and the Philippines each have more than 600,000, and Iran has more than 80,000.

President Trump has urged congressional Democrats to address chain migration in any compromise on the so-called “Dreamers” immigrants brought here as children who will face deportation in March if a deal on their disposition is not reached.

Republican Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia have proposed eliminating the preference afforded to extended and adult family members.

“We have current immigrants determining who future immigrants will do – will be, independent of their ability to be contributory to our economy,” Perdue told Fox News.

The group “New American Economy,” compromised of 500 mayors and business leaders committed to comprehensive immigration reform notes that 40 percent of America’s Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

“Could we do it better? Should we have more focus on merit? Absolutely,” said the group’s Executive Director Jeremy Robbins. “But that doesn’t mean in the least that we don’t want to be reuniting families, strengthening communities and bringing more people here.”

On Fox News Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed the President’s call to end chain migration in exchange for any deal on DACA. McConnell explained that last year’s Presidential election gave lawmakers a mandate to enact the pro-American immigration reforms that the President campaigned on. McConnell also warned that it would be “dumb” and political suicide for Democrats to shut down the government and endanger national security over unrelated legislative policy matters, such as granting work permits to illegal immigrants.

Fox News’ James Rosen contributed to this report.

Courtesy: Fox News

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