White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, after testifying in a closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, said she’s launching a movement called #WhiteLiesMatter to protect President Trump’s ability to lie on behalf of the American people.
“No one should be telling this President and this White House what they can and cannot say to forward the agenda of the American people,” she said.
Hicks accused Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee of repeatedly challenging her about what’s true and what’s not after she admitted she tells white lies on behalf of the President. “Democrats want to tell the President and his White House what to say,” she said in a tweet last night. “We must not let them. #WhiteLiesMatter.”
Jason Bellevue, a political science professor at the University of Maryland who is working on a book about presidential communication, says the White House is wrong to say they lie. “How do we know they’re not lying about that?” he said. “They’re opening up Pandora’s box here.”
Questions about the administration’s lying are arising in the media. “Is the nuclear button on the president’s desk a white lie or is it really there and is it really bigger than the button on the desk of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un?” Jake Tapper asked White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway last night on CNN. “How are we to know what’s a white lie, what’s another kind of lie, and what’s not a lie?”
Conway said the controversy over the #WhiteLiesMatter movement is an effort to direct the conversation away from the ways the Trump Administration is making the lives of Americans better. “Why doesn’t the media want to talk about the wins?” Conway said. “I know the wins don’t fit the narrative the media wants to peddle, but the truth of the matter is, Americans are finally winning again.”
“Is that true or is that a lie?” Tapper asked.
In a tweet this morning, President Trump said “millions of Americans are joining #WhiteLiesMatter. It’s the biggest movement ever, bigger than the other movements, and exposes the FAKE NEWS. White lies and not the same as other lies. They’re lies in the service of TRUTH. Americans get the difference. Too bad media doesn’t!”
As of 10:10 p.m., Eastern time, Tuesday night, Hope Hick’s #WhiteLiesMatter tweet had 169 likes and 40 people talking about it.
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The House Intelligence Committee released its long-awaited report on whether Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump and concluded that, while there were errors of judgment by Trump campaign officials, there was no collusion with Russian attempts to tamper with the election. It also recommended measures to protect future U.S. elections against tampering, and also recommended the redeployment of remaining Russia funds to investigate still-open questions about the 2012 attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and the culpability of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “There remain unanswered questions about Secretary Clinton’s negligence and misconduct in the days and weeks leading up to the horrific attack on the United States,” the report says. More.
President Donald Trump this morning says hell probably lie about it, although he’s not sure if he’ll use the lie he’s been planning to use or a different lie, including one he hasn’t thought of yet. “We’ll see how it goes when we get to that point,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “One thing I think I’ve made clear is, I don’t like to give away my plan. I like to keep people guessing.” Trump said he will probably lie later this week given the decision he made last week. “You know, we have to deal with the fake news like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “I’m just going to see what the expedient thing to say is, and, frankly, I don’t know what that will be yet—or maybe I do. Maybe I don’t want to tell you.” He said part of what he says might be truthful. “Maybe there’s an expectation I’ll lie completely,” he said. “We just don’t know, but there could be some truth to what I say. More.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) probably aren’t going to say anything about it, according to the two congressional leaders’ aides. Max Phillip, McConnell’s chief of staff, said it’s the Majority’ Leader’s intent not to say much about President Trump’s tweet comparing his nuclear button to the nuclear button of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Would he plan to comment on that anytime soon?” Phillip said. “I wouldn’t expect that.” Phillip said there’s always a temptation to say something when the President’s son is accused of treason by a person who was the President’s top aide just a short while ago, but the Majority Leader will probably not address it. “You have to think about what you remark on and what you don’t remark on, and I think the Majority Leader will probably choose not to remark on that,” he said. More.
President Donald Trump said it was a lie when a man he said was lying about him called him a liar. “The liar who lied about my lying is a liar,” the president said in remarks to reporters this morning. Trump said the liar lied about his lying even after lying about being a liar. “When a liar lies about his lying, you know it’s a lie,” he said. “It’s a lie to think you can lie about a lie, because people know it’s a lie and I’m not lying about that.” Trump said he had to call the liar a liar after he lied about him lying about his lying. “What he said was a lie, because he said I was lying.” More.
President Donald Trump is expected to blame his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton later today. An administration official this morning said the President will be saying it’s Clinton’s fault and that Clinton’s actions raise questions. “Let’s not forget that questions remain unsettled over what Clinton did and what she didn’t do,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the President’s intentions. The official said Trump plans to assign the blame to Clinton and will likely point to unanswered questions as well. “He will be clear that the Democratic nominee he ran against is at fault, but whether he will pivot to unanswered questions in her past isn’t clear,” the official said. “We’re talking about the President. He goes off script sometimes.” More.
Reporters from national news outlets were mystified today as presidential spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders talked about concern in the White House over a “brain drain” of senior staff in the new year. “She said the White House was concerned that many senior aides were talking about leaving this year, but no one could figure out how that connected to a brain drain,” said Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News. Jake Tapper, chief Washington correspondent for CNN, said he was equally mystified by the comment even though he knows of “a lot of senior staff” who plan to leave. Sanders’ comment left reporters so confused that the White House press office was flooded with calls after the briefing, but no one was able to get clarification about a brain drain. More.
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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.