“Once Special Counsel Robert Mueller files his charges against the president for firing the former FBI director and then lying about why it was done, and the vice president is charged with knowing that information and yet publicly giving other reasons for it, I am constitutionally in line to assume the presidency,” Tillerson said in a briefing today. “I will make it my priority to bring together all Americans after what will be a traumatic and fraught time. That is why I’m prepared to pardon the president and vice president but glad that it won’t be necessary because the pardons are already signed by the president.”Tillerson said he expects the pre-pardons to hold up in Court because the president has unabridged power to pardon and President Trump has exercised that power. “There are no rules against the president being one of the persons the president pardons,” Tillerson said. “Maybe there should be, but no one ever expected a president to do that. Be that as it may, his pardon of himself should stand, and certainly his pardon of the vice president should stand as well.”
Tillerson said he expects to be president soon after Special Counsel Mueller files his report to Congress because Trump’s attempt to lie about why he fired FBI Director James Comey is a textbook case of obstruction of justice. “The special counsel has the original draft of the memo that sets out why the FBI director was being fired,” he said. “That memo is unequivocal that the firing is over his refusal to end the investigation into Russian collusion. The official justification that was released, set forth in the memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was written solely to provide cover to the president. The special counsel has everything he needs to prove that. As we say in Texas, he’s screwed.”
Tillerson said the special counsel also has conclusive proof Trump personally intervened in how his son, Donald Trump, Jr., characterized his meeting with Russian operatives during the 2016 presidential election against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The indisputable reason, as documents show and as Trump, Jr., said in testimony before Congress, was Russian help in attacking Clinton. But Trump himself changed the explanation to say it involved U.S. policy on adoptions of Russian children. “That’s also a textbook case of obstruction,” he said.
Once he assumes the presidency, Tillerson said, he will focus on healing the nation by making clear the United States does not condone the white supremacist agenda and will also take a more welcoming posture toward immigrants. He also said Trump’s pre-pardon of himself and Pence will go a long way to healing the nation, because it would have been divisive had he been the one to do it.
“A lot of people would have been mad at me, even calling for my removal,” he said, “which would just add to the divisiveness. So, I thank the president for doing it ahead of time. I think it was far-sighted of him—certainly more far-sighted than other things he’s done.”
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Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, under fire by his family-values supporters for liking a porn video on his Facebook page, says the woman in the video is not a woman he imagined having sexual relations with. In a televised address he aired from his home office in Texas, where he’s been since Hurricane Harvey swept through the southeastern part of his state, Cruz said the allegations of him wanting to have sex with that woman are false and that he never asked anyone on his staff to lie about it. “I want to say one thing to the American people,” Cruz said in the address. “I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not imagine having sexual relations with that woman, the blonde woman in the video. I never told anyone to lie, not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people.” More.
PALO ALTO, Calif.—A major symposium on the presidency of Donald Trump erupted into a heated discussion yesterday as some of the United States’ most distinguished professors of political science disagreed over whether President Trump is an utter moron or an absolute idiot. Benjamin Heitzberg, professor emeritus of political science at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said Trump burst from the starting gate as an utter moron by targeting an entire religion in his immigration ban. “The United States has become a great nation in part because it’s been a beacon of hope for people the world over to come here and realize their full potential,” said Heitzberg, who last year was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the International Society of Political Scientists. “Only an utter moron would purposefully damage one of the country’s greatest intangible assets.” More.
Vice President Mike Pence blames “fake news” on the rumor circulating in the media that he suggested to President Donald Trump that his TV ratings would go up if he rode out Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm with 185 miles-per-hour winds, at Trump’s estate in South Florida, Mar-a-Lago. “I never recommended Mar-A-Lago to the President nor did I suggest or even hint at Mar-a-Lago as a safe and appropriate place from which to monitor and provide leadership during the storm known as Hurricane Irma,” Pence said in a statement released this morning. Good vantage point[/caption]The Pence statement went on to accuse news organizations with “shoddy fact-checking” and “outright lies” in attributing the Mar-a-Lago suggestion to him. “If the news media wants to be a source of information worthy of the American people’s trust, it should improve its news gathering and fact checking operations so that the information it provides to the citizens of this country is factual and accurate.” More.
Vice President Mike Pence confided to his aides that he’s happy to be president after Donald Trump is removed from office later this year but he’s also nervous about the number of times he’ll have to be alone with a woman who is not his wife. “The presidency is a big responsibility and there are a lot of important women I’ll have to meet and I’m not sure I’ll always be able have an aide with me,” said Pence, who adheres to a policy of never being alone with a woman unless she’s his wife, Karen. “Take Theresa May,” he said, referring to the prime minster of Great Britain. “I know there will be occasions when the two of us will have to have a private talk. I’m just not sure what I’m going to do. I’m very concerned about this.” More.
In a problem that has never happened before, according to historians, just nine weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump the White House has exhausted its supply of foreign leaders willing to come to Washington to meet with the president and analysts cannot figure out why. “In every past administration, the problem has been too many foreign leaders wanting to come to Washington to meet with what many people regard as the most powerful person in the world,” says Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for CNN. “Now, leaders around the world are saying they’re too busy to come. It’s weird.” That’s not to say President Trump has hosted no foreign leaders. Among others, he’s hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. And just last week he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But White House aides say no more foreign leaders are lined up to come. More.
WASHINGTON—In a sensational shot across the bow, American President Donald Trump said at the White House today that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is a “vindictive, narcissistic sociopath’ who mustn’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons because he’s “impulsive, unstable, and holds a grudge.” Trump also said he lies “practically every time” he opens his mouth. “What we have in North Korea is a man who only got where he is today because of his father,” Trump told reporters. Kim is the third leader in the Kim dynasty, which began in 1948 when Kim Il-sung led his country’s effort to overthrow Japanese rule. Kim then elevated his son, Kim Jong-il, to the post of Supreme Leader in 1994, and then Kim Jong-il elevated Kim Jong-un in 2011, when he was 27. 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.
White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer said there’s no truth to rumors that President Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have agreed to shoot a television commercial for Viagra®, the erectile dysfunction drug, while Duterte is in Washington for his White House meeting. “The fake news operation of the Democratic party is at it again,” said Spicer at his press briefing this morning. “The claim that President Trump and Philippine President Duterte have any intention of shooting a Viagra® commercial is absurd.” More.
Former FBI Director James Comey, whose eleventh-hour intervention in the 2016 election is widely believed to have resulted in the election of Donald Trump as president, said he never would have thrown the election to Trump if he had known getting fired just a few months later would be his reward. “Donald Trump has a lot of nerve firing me when I’m the whole blippin’ reason he’s even in his blippin’ office,” said Comey, a Republican who was appointed to head the FBI four years ago. More.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up a week-long meeting with Chinese government and business leaders with a request for the Chinese to give back the millions of jobs American businesses shipped to them over the years. “We are not blaming you for taking them,” Kerry said in his departing statement, given at the American embassy in Beijing. “We gave them to you of our own free will, and you were free to take them. But we’d like to have them back now, and so if you wouldn’t mind returning them to us, we would appreciate it.” The United States has transferred some 15 million jobs to Chinese companies since China was granted Most Favored National (MFN) trade status in 1994, when Bill Clinton was president. Since that time, China has grown to have the second largest economy in the world and is on the verge of overtaking the United States in the size of its gross domestic product, although the country would still lag the U.S. in per-capita GDP. More.