HAMBURG, Germany. President Donald Trump, fresh from his two-hour meeting with Russia President Vladimir Putin, was in good spirits as he headed for a dinner at the G-20 meeting here Friday night.
“I had a terrific meeting with President Putin, a really terrific meeting that will mean great things for America,” Trump said. “I’ve said all along America would be better off if we got along with Russia, and our meeting today was a fresh start, a really good start after the disastrous years we’ve had for so long.”
Trump said he and Putin talked about cyber security and bringing peace to Syria—“a really important topic, by the way, really serious stuff”—and about forging closer ties between their two countries in the coming years. “I said I wanted to put the past behind us,” Trump said. “President Putin is a strong leader who I think we can do a lot with. And he certainly respects our strength, our military, our control over the cyber. We’re a really big country and I think he knows that.”
Among the ways he hopes the two countries will cooperate is putting a stop to meddling in the 2008 midterm elections, which Trump said Putin promised not to do. “He said he didn’t meddle in our elections last year—which I’ve been saying all along—and that he wouldn’t meddle next year,” Trump said. “Because I told him, I want to put the Russian hacking thing behind us. We have Hillary Clinton and [former Clinton campaign manager] John Podesta, whose unbelievable ties to Russia need to be looked into. We have to look into that, so we need to move on from the fake news of the Russia hacking. And we are, and we’re working in Syria together. We’re working on cyber security together. They know the cyber security stuff unbelievably well, maybe even better than we do. A lot better than we do. It’s a disgrace.”
Trump used the opportunity to call on Senate lawmakers to roll back their Russia sanctions bill, which he said was too punitive. “We’re forging good ties with Russia,” he said. “They’re helping us with the cyber. We need to put the Clinton-Podesta criminals in jail. That’s not a good bill. And we need to stop millions of illegal votes helping the Democrats. That’s going to be a problem next year. We need to stop the Democrats from winning illegally next year so we can get the better relationship with Russia, do all the good things we’re trying to do, on health care and taxes, and not go backward to more disastrous years like we had under Crooked Hillary and her team of cheaters.”
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President Donald Trump defended his call to Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his reelection to the Russian presidency earlier this week by saying he’s no different than any other leader who picks the candidates he runs against, controls the voting system in his country, and dictates any policy he wants as long as he doesn’t trigger opposition from his opponents who are lying in wait to depose him. “Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau—are they all so much different than President Putin?” Trump said in remarks to reporters this morning. Trump said that Theresa May, who is prime minister of Great Britain, wouldn’t be much different than Vladimir Putin if she had her political enemies assassinated and knew Parliament would rubber stamp any policy she handed it. 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.
The Democratic National Committee has been hacked. Colin Powell has been hacked. The NSA has been hacked. The American Olympic Committee has been hacked. So many opportunities. So many directions. When you can get into any email you want, whose email do you get into next? That’s the question Russia’s state-supported hackers have been asking themselves and now they want to get your input. In a first for Russia’s hackers, they’ve put out a call on their Facebook page to get ideas from you on whose lives they should turn upside down next. “Tom Brady? Beyonce? Barbra Streisand? It’s just so hard to know,” said the group, which calls itself Анонимный, or “anonymous” in Russian. “It’s impossible to keep up with who’s trending. “Drake is big. But you already know what his emails are going to say. There has to be a surprise factor.” More.
Russian president Vladimir Putin says he’s enjoying the positive coverage he’s getting from the endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but he doesn’t want to give the impression his success is all about his leadership skills; it helps to be an authoritarian, he says. Putin says he could never work his will if he couldn’t jail critics or have them killed, which takes care of a lot of opposition. He also takes advantage of a rubber-stamp legislative body and gets to set the terms of his election, which is better than running campaign ads, even if they’re good ones. “Truth be told, it helps to do what you want without checks and balances,” he says. “Sure, I’m a good leader. I’m strong. But at the end of the day, I never lose sight of the real source of my strength: my authoritarianism.” More.
President Donald Trump, on the defensive for staff contacts with the Russian government before he was sworn in as president, said the only scandal is the unsecured server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state when Barack Obama was president. “You have 30,000 emails that could have been compromised because of Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server,” said Trump, who continues to use an unsecured phone for conversations and tweeting and who has taken national security briefings in public locations, including the main dining room at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “We must get to the bottom of her use of a private server when she was communicating with foreign leaders.” To that end, he is directing the Department of Justice to open up an investigation into what Clinton did, and didn’t do, with her server. “Nothing less than our national security is at stake,” he said. More.
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn insisted he’s not guilty of colluding with Russia to help Donald Trump become president in 2016 and to prove it, he said he’ll gladly testify before Congress as long as he’s given immunity. “I’m eager to clear my name of these incorrect charges,” said Flynn, who has kept a low profile since resigning in January after just a few weeks working for the Trump White House. “That’s why l’m saying, give me immunity to testify and I’ll tell you everything I know.” Flynn said his testimony will show he has done nothing wrong and the entire Russia-Trump connection amounts to nothing. More.
President Donald Trump, who took a national security briefing on North Korea last week while dining in a public restaurant at his Mar-a-Lago restaurant, tweeted on an unsecured phone today that Americans shouldn’t forget about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state. “I let her off the hook, but we shouldn’t forget how she risked national security with her emails,” Trump tweeted from his iPhone 7. In another tweet, Trump said he might have his Department of Justice take a look at what she did, even though he had said after the election he would let the matter drop, because “Russians, others could have hacked her like they did the DNC.” More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he has created so much doubt about what is true and what is 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 on 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.
Recent sightings in the foothills of Spring Creek, Calif., of a mysterious beauty object have caused a stir in this former mining town 175 miles north of San Francisco. “I haven’t seen the town buzzing like this since we had the frog jumping contest here one year because the track was too muddy in Calaveras County,” says Sam Baker, a retired rancher who serves as the town’s unofficial historian. The cause of all the excitement are recent sightings of an unidentified beauty object that many locals believe is Melania Trump, the rarely seen wife of President Donald Trump. “We thought she only existed in New York City,” says Helen Carter, owner of Carter’s Diner on Route 43. “The idea that she would be sighted way out here—about as far from New York City as you can get—makes me think it’s not really her but a local girl who probably got pregnant and doesn’t want to tell her parents.” More.
Kellyanne Conway, one of the most visible defenders of Donald Trump’s presidency, says photos of her in a bikini are “alternative facts” that are being spread on the Internet to try to take the focus off the things the Trump administration is doing, like accusing President Barack Obama of wire tapping Trump Towers, using the presidency to spread accusations about Muslim attacks in Sweden, and saying immigration curbs are needed because of a massacre in Bowling Green, Ky. “I have clearly been photoshopped into images of other women to hurt Donald Trump by demeaning me as a person,” said Conway, 50. “It’s a personal attack on my character that’s been put forward without regard to the truth and without regard to the long-term impact this will have on our democracy, our shared trust in our institutions, and our credibility as a nation.” More.
Katrina Pierson, the spokesperson for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said this morning that she’s a better liar than new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and that there’s no truth to the rumor that Conway is doing most of the TV appearances these days because Trump is unhappy with how well Pierson is lying. “I know people like to spread the lie that somehow Kellyanne is a better liar than I am, but that is an outright lie and I can say in all honesty I am the better liar and Donald Trump has said he truthfully believes I’m a better liar,” said Pierson, who has been Trump’s chief spokesperson since early last year, when the real estate mogul announced his candidacy. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, fresh from his dramatic trip to Mexico to discuss immigration policy, said he would allow Angélica Rivera, the wife of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, into the country if she wants to come. “We would make an exception for her, absolutely, and I told her that when I was in Mexico,” Trump said at a campaign stop in Albuquerque, N.M. “I told her I’ll have a car ready for her anytime she wants to come. She has my number. She said she’d like to see Trump Tower. I said I’d like to show it to her.” Rivera, 47, an actress and model before she became Mexico’s First Lady, was born in Mexico City. She has been married to Peña Nieto since 2010. Trump’s trip to Mexico has generated a considerable amount of analysis. In Mexico, he appeared to take a conciliatory approach to the country, but that appeared to change in a major address he gave in Phoenix that night. More.
Stephen Miller, the senior advisor to President Donald Trump who has helped shape the White House’s position on immigration and other conservative policies, said today he hates himself and wishes he weren’t such an asshole but that he has stopped trying to be something he’s not and will continue to attach himself to power to make himself feel better. “I’d like to have a friend, but I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be friends with a dick like me, so I’ll just continue to be the biggest asshole I can be,” said Miller, 31. Miller said he first discovered he was a butthole when he was a teenager. “I wanted a friend and found one in Wayne LaPierre [CEO of the National Rifle Association], and although I continue to be friendless, I’m working out my insecurities at the highest levels of power and that makes me feel better when I’m not eating dinner by myself at my lonely townhouse on Capitol Hill,” he said. More.
In a sensational claim, the supermarket tabloid Weekly National Report says a 50-year-old woman in Fayetteville, Ark., Dannielle Eggles, is the daughter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and she’s demanding a “White House bedroom” for her and her husband if he is elected president. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I feel I must come forward because it’s time for my daddy to stop pretending I don’t exist,” Eggles said at a press conference in Fayetteville yesterday. Eggles, a clerk at Target, said she had resigned herself to living in the shadow of her famous father and her glamorous half brothers and sisters, but six months ago she and her husband, Ron Eggles, decided she could no longer do that. “We just thought it wasnt fair that Ivanka, Tiffany, Eric, Donald, Jr., and Barron all get to live the high life while we have to scrape our fingers to the bone just because daddy pretends I don’t exist.” More.
SACRAMENTO—Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said at a campaign rally here today she doesn’t believe Donald Trump is a homosexual but she hears “more and more” rumors that he is and she agrees his actions “can lead one” to believe that. “In some ways, I would respect him more if it turns out he secretly is a gay man trying to lead a straight life, because it would explain his struggles with the truth and perhaps his insecurity,” said Clinton, who is campaigning in California this week to prevent a last-minute primary win by her rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Clinton said it’s time for discrimination against people for sexual orientation to stop, and Trump—should the rumors prove true—should use his position to help bring about equality in the United States. “Again, if Donald Trump is gay—and I’m not saying he is—then good for him. He should embrace it, celebrate it.” More.
Vice President Mike Pence, amidst revelations that he used a personal email account to conduct official business when he was governor of Indiana, said what he did was different from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email when she was secretary of state. “What Hillary Clinton did was a clear violation of law and a threat to national security while my use of personal email was a smart and necessary action that benefitted the people of Indiana,” Pence said in a statement released today. Pence’s use of a personal AOL email account was revealed yesterday in a report by The Indianapolis Star. More.
President Donald Trump took the opportunity before a friendly audience at the Conservative Political Action (CPAC) Conference in Washington yesterday to blast his presidency as a “fake” occupation of the White House and has vowed to bar himself from government despite the role the Constitution has assigned to the president. “Nobody appreciates the constitutionally protected role of the presidency more than me,” said Trump, who spoke on the second day of the annual event. “That’s why no one is in a better position than me to recognize a fake presidency when there is one.” Trump said no presidency deserves the label “fake” more than his because his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in November depended on the FBI, voter suppression, and the Russian government. More.
President Donald Trump announced that John Miller, his spokesperson going back to his days as a New York real estate developer, is replacing Sean Spicer as press secretary. “I’ve known John all my life and no one has my back the way he does,” Trump told reporters at the announcement today. “When John talks, you know what he says is coming directly from me. He knows me like no one else.” MIller, 70, who also goes by the name John Barron or John Baron, served as spokesperson for Trump in the 1980s and 1990s, when Trump was trying to make a name for himself as both an astute businessman and a man-about-town. “It’s a good choice,” says Sue Carswell, a reporter for People magazine. More.
President Donald Trump introduced his latest picks for national security advisor, deputy secretary of state, and director of the secret service, but none of the appointees allowed themselves to be publicly identified. “I am ‘honored’ to be chosen to help keep our country safe as national security advisor,” said the person named to that post, whose face was kept hidden by a bag. “I have worked in national security for decades and have dedicated my life to our country’s safety. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.” The appointee, who stands about 6′ 1″ and looks to be between 195 and 210 pounds, said he accepted this “very important position” out of love of country. 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.
Shinzō Abe, the Japanese prime minister, made a desperate cry for help last week in the White House, where his hand was held against its will by the hand of President Donald Trump. “Nobody likes to be imprisoned, but few things are worse than having your hand imprisoned because your hand is the most important exponent of freedom a person has,” said Abe, the leader of Japan since 2012 and not normally a person given to abstract philosophical musings about freedom and hands. Abe said he empathizes with Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, who, during the presidential inauguration on January 20, made a similar desperate cry for help about her imprisonment by her husband. More.