President Donald Trump says his “very good brain” might be next on his list of security officials to be denied access to the country’s highest level of classified intelligence. “I might do it,” he said in remarks to reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting this morning. “We’ll see what happens, but it’s something that might have to be done.”
Former CIA chief John Brennan had his security clearance revoked this week after Trump accused him of becoming a national security threat because of his erratic and biased comments on the Russia probe.
White House aides say Trump’s brain has been fluctuating back and forth between letting the Russia probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller proceed without interruption and pulling the plug on it by replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with someone who will fire Rod Rosenstein, the Justice official who oversees Mueller.
“What we’re seeing is the president’s brain trying to process two very different ideas and as a result the advice he’s getting from his brain—which he relies on more than any other advisor—has been increasingly conflicted,” says one aide who asked not to be identified.
Another advisor says Trump is “frustrated” that the one advisor that he trusts without reservation, his brain, hasn’t been giving him the clear, unequivocal advice he has come to expect from it, especially now that the Russia investigation appears to be nearing an end. “You can imagine how difficult it’s been for the president to suddenly get what he considers weak advice from his brain, which he’s been so proud of all his life,” says the aide.
Trump for years has touted his brain as his best advisor. He told Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe during the 2016 presidential campaign that he consults first and foremost his brain whenever he makes important foreign policy decisions. “I have a very good brain,” he said at the time. “I listen to a lot of people and I talk to a lot of people, but my primary consultant is myself.”
At other times he’s talked about his I.Q. being “one of the highest,” that he’s, like, “a smart person” who “comprehends things very well, better than almost anybody,” and that he has “the best words.”
Given this reliance on his brain for advice, analysts say, the impact on U.S. national security if top security clearance is taken away from his brain could be significant. “We’re really talking about his number one advisor here, so we have to expect a severe gap in the options he’s presented when a major international event unfolds,” says one analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That could be very dangerous for us.”
The analyst says he knows from sources that it’s been Trump’s brain that has been responsible for the president’s tweets on North Korea, Russia, and Iran. “How would those tweets look if his brain wasn’t involved?” the analyst said. “We are moving into unchartered territory. If his brain isn’t writing those tweets, who will?”
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President Trump said he’s not worried about the law closing in on him because as long as he has his tweets, he can keep federal authorities at bay. “The coppers will never get through my onslaught of tweets about witch hunts, fake news, and Hillary Clinton’s emails to nab me!” he promised the people who follow him on Twitter this morning. Trump said he’s not rattled by the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort on eight counts of bank and tax fraud or the guilty plea by his former fixer Michael Cohen on campaign and finance fraud because his deft use of Twitter enables him to ward off arrest at the hands of federal law enforcement. “The Deep State might amass outside the White House but they’ll never lay a finger on me!” he tweeted this morning. More.
Trump to Tackle Social Media Censorship of Alex Jones, Other Conspiracy Theorists Once He’s Done Censoring John Brennan, Other Intelligence Critics
President Trump said the social media censorship of conservative commentators like Alex Jones is unacceptable and he will use every tool he has available to him to stop it once he’s done revoking the security clearances of loudmouth critics like John Brennan. “They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others,” Trump tweeted this weekend, referring to decisions by Facebook, Apple, and YouTube to remove content by right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. “Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen.” Jones, who hosts the popular Info Wars news program, faces a defamation lawsuit by parents of children who were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting six years ago. He has called the shooting a hoax and given out the addresses of some of the parents, who now face death threats by Jones supporters. More.
After a series of high-profile departures from his White House team, President Trump is increasingly relying on the advisor he said he would use most on the campaign trail: his “big, beautiful brain.” “I rely on myself first of all,” Trump said while campaigning for president in 2016. “I have a very big brain. You don’t have to feel bad. It’s not your fault.” But now aides are wondering if Trump’s brain will be the next member of his team to go. “After the departures of Mike Flynn, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon, Jon Porter, and now Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn, there’s a concern that Trump’s brain is ready to jump ship as well,” said one White House aide who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic. 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 mouth of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was caught talking without the candidate’s brain at a rally in Altoona, Pa., today, marking the seventh time in the last day and a half that unsupervised words from the candidate’s mouth were allowed into the world. “The only way we could lose, in my opinion—I really mean this, Pennsylvania—is if cheating goes on,” Trump said at the rally. Trump, who is down in the polls in this and other battleground states, has started letting his mouth talk without restraint about cheating and rigged elections as a way to delegitimize the election outcome should he lose, setting the stage for widespread instability in the world’s oldest democracy. More.
Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon Ronald Madison has studied the brain of Republican presidential nomination front-runner Donald Trump and says it really is a “big, beautiful” specimen of human’s most important organ. “When Donald Trump compliments his own brain, he does so on good grounds,” says Madison, who studied Trump’s brain in 2013, when the real estate mogul went to the Mayo Clinic for tests. Madison says Trump was complaining of “low energy” and wanted to rule out anything neurological, so he arranged to have a battery of tests done. “What I found was, of all the brains I’ve seen, Trump’s was certainly one of the biggest and most beautiful ever,” he says. “It’s a very good brain.” More.
Senior White House advisors say the media is missing the big picture of what President Trump is trying to do with regard to his foreign policy, because it’s not the haphazard approach it appears to be. Instead, everything is tied to the idea that the United States leads best when it leads from Putin’s behind. “If you want to give it a name, you can call it ‘Leading from Putin’s Behind,” says National Security Advisor John Bolton. “Are we leading? Absolutely. We’re leading in Europe. We’re leading in the Middle East. But we want to be subtle about it. We don’t want to be perceived as throwing our weight around. Thus, we’re leading from behind. It’s not a new concept. But we’re not just leading from behind. It’s more strategic than that. We’re leading from Putin’s behind.” More.
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.
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 has charged the Democratic party with already having rigged the 2020 presidential election and he says his Democratic opponent has already cheated. “Loser Dems haven’t even waited until my first year as president is over before rigging the 2020 elections because they can’t win on their own,” Trump said today. He also accused his Democratic opponent of cheating. “My Democratic opponent, who had the help of the crooked and corrupt DNC, is already getting dead people, immigrants, criminals to vote in New Jersey and other unAmerican, socialist states.” Trump vowed to “lock up” his Democratic opponent “who is totally corrupt, by the way” after the election. “We must SAVE USA the beautiful from liberal elite who will EXPAND the deficit and cut the Regs for liberal Wall Street and sexual harassers in Hollywood who don’t represent America.” More.
A handful of Americans, allegedly operating out of the nation’s highest office, tried to influence the presidential election in Russia this week in favor of keeping President Vladimir Putin in office, a secret U.S. intelligence report says. “We have reason to believe officials used public statements, policy actions, and other overt and covert tools to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin in office,” said the report, issued today jointly by all of the national security agencies of the United States. Although the report didn’t directly accuse any specific federal officials of intervening in the Russian election, it said the nation’s “top officials . . . More.
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.” 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.
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.
Republican lawmakers in the Senate say they urgently must pass tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy before the end of the year because of pressure coming from Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “Would it be better to slow down and better think through our tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy? Of course,” says John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate whip. “Right now our own analysis is showing a $1 trillion addition to the budget deficit even after projected growth in the economy. So, if we had more time we could craft changes that address that and still give our wealthy donors what they want. Unfortunately, time is a luxury we don’t have.” That’s because Mueller’s investigation is winding down. More.
President Donald Trump today called on his former Democratic opponent for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, to step down. “Witch hunt against DT most unfair ever,” the president wrote on Twitter early this morning. “Where’s investigation into Dem/HC Russia collusion?! Clinton needs to step down NOW!!” Reached while walking her dog with her family in the woods outside of Chappaqua, N.Y., Hillary Clinton said she had no comment.Trump reiterated his call for Clinton to resign at a press briefing later in the morning. “Where are the calls from the fake media for Hillary Clinton to resign?” he said. “She needs to be investigated. She will be investigated. We know about the corruption, the uranium deal that let the Russians buy a quarter of our uranium here in the United States, and the money that went into her sex-harasser husband’s phony foundation.” More.