House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today the United States must hold the 2016 presidential election again because of the “tainting” of Donald Trump’s victory by “Russian efforts to help him win office and discredit our democracy.”
The two leaders acknowledged their call for a do-over is unprecedented, but revelations from U.S. intelligence agencies remove doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the election meddling.
“We are faced with a situation our democracy has never confronted before,” said the statement, released jointly by the House and Senate leaders. “A country whose interests are hostile to our own accessed and then disseminated private information with the express purpose of making one candidate look better to Americans than another. Such interference in our electoral process is tantamount to a declaration of war and must be responded to with the same resolve as if our country had been assaulted by military means.”
The two Democratic leaders in Congress, Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) in the House and Charles Schumer (N.Y.) in the Senate, released a separate statement saying they “concur fully” with the recommendation. “We applaud our Republican colleagues for putting partisanship aside and standing behind a recommendation that’s best for our democracy,” the statement said.
A minority leadership aide said the Democrats issued a separate statement rather than join the Republicans as a way to ensure that Americans understand that Republicans, despite winning the White House, are the ones calling for a new election given the gravity of the findings.
Electoral experts said the proposal is indeed unprecedented but it would pass constitutional muster as long as a two-thirds majority in both chambers passed enabling legislation and President Obama, before he leaves office, signs it. “It’s a long shot, but it’s legal,” said Thomas Cooper, professor of constitutional law at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Cooper also said legislation can be passed to extend Obama’s term of office while new elections are held. Other alternatives include having Obama exit the White House on January 20, as planned, and appoint a “caretaker government” until the election is held. “All of these options are about doing what’s right,” Cooper said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Trump, speaking with reporters at Trump Tower in Nw York City, agreed. “If my legitimacy is questioned, we should allow the American people to vote again,” he said.
In another development, the House and Senate leadership said hell is freezing over, the world has stopped turning on its axis, and New England quarterback Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell are yucking it up over a beer at Hooters in Newton, Mass. There were also reports of pigs flying, Donald Trump saying something nice on Twitter about the CIA, and ISIS has said it’s giving up the fight against the Great Satan. “We have decided we like Starbucks and do not want to continue fighting for a fundamentalist Islamic world order. Our way of life is not pleasant, no one is really happy, and it’s impossible to get a decent vanilla latte in the area we command, especially if you want to get one with almond milk.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified): public domain and gs (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
President Donald Trump was overheard singing the Russian national anthem rather than the American national anthem during the opening ceremony of the NCAA football championship game between Alabama and Georgia universities Jan. 8. “От южных морей до полярного края,” the President was heard singing, while those around him were singing, “What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.” Commentators have remarked that the President didn’t appear to know the words to the national anthem, but it wasn’t until a recording surfaced in which his voice could be heard that it became clear it was the Russian national anthem that he was singing. More.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the trial balloons he’s been floating about retiring after tax reform passes have nothing to do with his plans to run against Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. “I am not planning and will not plan to offer Republican voters an alternative to the crazy man in the White House today,” Ryan said. Ryan said there’s no truth to the rumor that he would seek to give an alternative to Republican voters who don’t want to see Trump reelected but also don’t want to see a Democrat take the White House. “I know there’s speculation that I would put myself out there as a safe vote for Republicans who don’t want another Roy Moore-type debacle in 2020, but that is not the case,” he said. More.
President Donald Trump in a somber address to the nation called upon Americans to come together after Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the third-ranking member in the House of Representatives, was shot by an anti-Republican man on Wednesday at a baseball park in Alexandria, Va. Several others, including congressional aides, were also shot. Scalise, who was shot by James Hodgkinson of Illinois, remains in critical condition. “I know there will be a temptation for Republicans to blame Democrats for helping to fuel a partisan atmosphere that might give rise to violence of this kind, but the time to stop the divisive rhetoric that has so long plagued our politics is now,” Trump said. “I know I have contributed to this environment. For that I express my regret. More.
President Donald Trump said his brain has performed as well as he had expected and often better over the first four weeks of his presidency. “It’s given me great advice on so many things, important national security maters,” said Trump, who spoke to Fox News in an interview Wednesday night. Trump said his brain gave him “particularly good advice” when he learned Michael Flynn, his national security advisor until he resigned earlier this week, had been talking to Russian officials while Barack Obama was still president about lifting sanctions. “My first instinct was to fire him, but my brain told me to wait until the press found out,” said Trump. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he has created so much doubt about what is true and what s not that any compromising information the Russians could reveal about him would not hurt his political standing among his supporters. “If Russian hackers were to reveal that I, say, participated in a golden shower with prostitutes, no one who supports me would believe it,” Trump said today at Trump Tower in New York City. “I’m not saying I participated in that in any of my tips to Moscow when I was seeking Russian money to bail my company out of bankruptcy. But even if I did and the Russians released a video of me doing it, it wouldn’t affect me. Everything is doctored, everything is fake. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he will move U.S. spy operations to Russia, which has “terrific” surveillance and “fantastic” intelligence gathering. “Our spy operations are a disaster,” Trump said after meeting with Mike Pompeo, the Kansas congressman who is in line to head up the CIA. Trump said his “good relationship” with Russia president Vladimir Putin makes the partnership with Russia’s spy agency, known as the KGB, a “fantastic opportunity to get the best intelligence, the best knowledge of what’s going on in the world.” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said he was appointing his “very good brain” to be one of his top advisors on both domestic and foreign policy. “I’ve always relied on my very good brain to decide what to do,” Trump said today at a press availability in his offices at Trump Tower in New York City. “When people would question whether I was doing the right thing or the wrong thing, I would consult my brain and do what makes most sense to it.” Trump said the policy insight of his brain is “the best ever” and there was never any doubt that he would tap his brain right from the start. “My brain has been with me from day one and it’s going to be with me from the day I take the oath of office,” he said. “It’s going to be terrific. There’s never been another advisor as good as this one. You’ll be very impressed.” More.
The erudite George Will, who has been writing about Republican politics since the mid-1970s and who declared this year he was no longer a Republican because of Donald Trump, says it’s bitter to learn he has no influence over people who vote Republican no matter how much ink is spilled or how many trees are killed to put his words into print. “After some 40 years as a political thought leader, I cannot say that anything I say has any influence on anyone at any time or in any place,” he says. “I guess that makes me a . . . nothing, because the whole rationale for my professional existence is to shape Republican attitudes and policy, and I see now that I have less influence than a truck mechanic I met in in Altoona, Pa., who persuaded his wife to vote for Donald Trump.” More.
As he vowed to do, President Barack Obama retaliated against Russian hacking of the U.S. election by releasing photos that Russian President Vladimir Putin is embarrassed to see on the Internet. “We were clear to President Putin that he would regret meddling in the election, which is so fundamental to our Democracy,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest this morning. “President Obama was very clear that the United States would retaliate in a manner and at a time of its choosing, and today we have made good on that threat with the release of these embarrassing photos of Vladimir Putin.” The photos are devastating indictments of Putin, say security experts and intelligence analysts. In one photo, Putin is wearing an anti-Putin t-shirt. In another, he has a propeller hat on his head. In a third, he has a message taped to his back that says “Kick me!” More.
In a major discovery, a diary kept by Donald Trump when he was a young man reveals that the next president of the United States pledged at age 24 to live his life as performance art. “Everything I do, I will do as if the world is watching me at all times and in all places,” Trump writes in a diary entry in 1970. “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? No!!” Later in the same entry, dated March 23, Trump contends he makes no sound in the world if no on is there to hear it. “What’s the point of doing anything if no one sees you do it?” he writes. “I could make all the money in the world, but if I’m not in The New York Times or on NBC TV, who cares? People who live their lives in obscurity, outside the public eye, live sad, pathetic lives. That will not be me!!” More.
President-elect Donald Trump, the most publicity-hungry human being to walk the earth, said today he’s had enough publicity and would prefer he not be thought or talked about for a few minutes. “I’ve achieved what no one has ever achieved,” said Trump, speaking at Trump Tower, the most famous building on 5th Avenue, the most famous street in New York City, the most famous city in the world. “I am in the thoughts of every human being on earth, every moment of every day, and, frankly, it’s a bit much.” Trump said he can’t turn on the TV or radio, or browse the Internet without everything at each moment being about him. “I never thought I would say this, but I wouldn’t mind someone else occupying people’s thoughts and conversations for a while. I could use a breather.” More.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who won almost 3 million more votes than President-elect Donald Trump but lost in the electoral college, had a secret plan to require a minimum percentage of marriages to be mixed as a way to further diversity goals—a longstanding priority of liberal Democrats. “Just as we require a minimum number of federal contracts to go to minority- and women-owned businesses, we will require a minimum percentage of marriages to e mixed, whether by ethnicity, religion, or gender,” says the secret plan, which was revealed in an email and released on WikiLeaks. The email is thought to be part of the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the general election. According to the plan, diverse households are more tolerant of diversity goals than non-diverse households, so by requiring a minimum percentage of marriages to be mixed, the plan theorizes, an increasing number of households will be tolerant of diversity. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said one of the great foreign policy successes in United States history—its purchase of about a third of its landmass in what is known as the Louisiana Purchase—was an “amateur” real estate deal made by “hacks.” Speaking at the last of his “victory rallies,” in Mobile, Ala., Trump said he could have acquired the more than 800,000 square miles of territory from France for 45 million francs, rather than the 68 million francs President Thomas Jefferson paid in 1803. The price tag of 68 million francs translates into about $15 million, or about $250 million in today’s dollars, a price historians say is remarkable for a piece of land that extends from the southern tip of Louisiana to the northern border of Montana and gives the United States its breadbasket—the area of the country that is among the most fertile in the world. More.
President-elect Donald Trump caused a stir December 3 when a photo of him exiting his plane showed he was using Scotch tape to hold his tie together. Given the pride he takes in his wealth and appearance, the incident made us wonder what else he’s holding together with Scotch tape. Here’s what we found. More.
Americans across the country took delight in watching President-elect Donald Trump give the world’s largest country a poke by speaking on the phone with the president of Taiwan, a breach of diplomatic protocol, and then tweeting snarky statements about China’s trade practices. “It feels good after so many years of watching China eat our lunch to see our president-elect give the country the ol’ Donald Trump treatment,” says Ronald Portman, a retired mechanic in St. Paul, Minn. “Ha ha.” More.
Americans say they’re still proud* to be Americans. That’s the theme of a group that Americans launched today, called America Proud!®, to express how proud* they are to be Americans, today and tomorrow. “We’re Americans first and always will be, and with our new organization, we’re telling the world that we stand tall* as Americans because we love our country,” says Jared Brown (not his real name), a ski instructor in Park City, Utah, who is president of the new group. More.
NEW YORK CITY—President-elect Donald Trump said this morning he’ll take revenge on personal slights against him and humiliate his critics “on behalf of everyone in the United States” and not just on his own behalf. “No one wants to settle scores for all Americans more than I do,” he said while meeting with potential picks for his cabinet in Trump Tower. “I want people to know they can take pride when I hit back at someone doubly hard when they cross me. I take pride in that, and I hope all Americans will, too.”nTrump said he’s spent his life rewarding people who say nice things about him and striking back at people who call him names, and that won’t change now that he’ll be rewarding and striking back at people on behalf of everyone. More.
With his inauguration approaching, President-elect Donald Trump has asked a group of scientists to determine how much hair spray he’ll need to keep his famous combover in place during his inauguration speech, which traditionally takes place outdoors. The group has been meeting for almost a week and more meetings are planned between now and inauguration as it tries to nail down the precise amount he’ll need given the unpredictability of the weather in Washington in January. “It’s a challenging task,” said Jeffrey Barnes, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering in Palo Alto, Calif. “Wind, rain, snow, cold temperatures—there are a lot of unknowns come inauguration day that could play havoc on what is arguably the most famous combover in the world.” More.
Facebook annouced today that it has been the subject of a fake news story that it is banning fake news stories after it was accused of allowing fake news stories to tilt the presidential election to Donald Trump. “We are not banning fake news stories, despite what you might have read in a fake news story on Facebook, and we have no plans to ban fake news stories,” said Mark Zuckerberg, the chief of the popular social media site. Zuckerberg called it “questionable” that the widespread sharing of fake news on Facebook had any affect on the election outcome, and it’s for that reason there will be no policy change to ban fake news. “Does fake news get shared on facebook?” Zuckerman said. “Of course. It’s impossible to stop. But we do not believe that fake news on our site had anything to do with the election of Donald Trump.” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said he appreciates the gracious concession call he received from his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, after the results of their bitter presidential contest were finalized. But he also said he wouldn’t have extended the same courtesy to her had he won the popular vote but lost the electoral college the way she did. “’What a rigged system!’ is how I would have put it,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News this morning. “To win more votes than the other candidate and still lose the election? Of course I would have accused the system of being rigged. Who wouldn’t? Hillary Clinton wouldn’t, that’s who. And I appreciate that.” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said at a press conference this morning that, during his 18-month campaign for office, he weakened the very foundations on which American democracy rests. He questioned the legitimacy of President Obama, threatened not to accept the election results if they didn’t go his way, denigrated the judicial system, insulted his opponents, and tacitly endorsed racist, bigoted, and misogynistic views. Even so, he’ll he a good leader of the very institutions he tried to undermine. “I had to get to this point first,” he told reporters at the press conference. “I didn’t want to pull the rug out from underneath our democracy, but how else was I going to win? Believe me, it makes it that much harder for me to govern now that I’m here. But I had to do what I had to do.” More.